The school board is back in action this Wednesday after their well-deserved summer break. Here’s our summary of what they will be discussing this Wednesday, August 8.
This week’s agenda includes the following key items:
- Changes to Enrollment Priorities
- Dual Enrollment Policy
- Confirming Commitment to Fiscal Solvency
The Board will hear a presentation on proposed changes to the Dual Language Enrollment Policy. The ideal balance for two-way immersion programs is 50% English dominant students and 50% students orally proficient in the pathway language, with neither group ever falling below 33%. OUSD currently has three two-way immersion programs: Melrose Leadership Academy (MLA), Oakland School of Language, and Manzanita SEED. For the 2018-19 school year, MLA and SEED saw a significant increase in English-speaking applicants and a significant decrease in the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
In order to maintain the appropriate balance of students, the District is proposing codifying the following enrollment ratios for immersion programs during Open Enrollment:
Dual Language Enrollment Administrative Regulations Executive Summary, Page 3
This enrollment policy will apply to schools as they reach the two-way immersion designation (at least 33% of each language group). Students applying to these programs beyond early grades (TK-1 for 50-50; TK-K for 90-10) would be given priority if a) they are currently enrolled in an OUSD dual immersion program or b) they have demonstrated grade-level proficiency using a recognized assessment. The regulations would also improve assessments for determining pathway language fluency for students whose home language is not English.
The Board will hear a first reading of proposed changes to the administrative regulation Intradistrict Open Enrollment. Here are some of the significant changes being considered:
- All 5th and 8th grade students will be required to apply for enrollment, including students attending TK-8 and 6-12 schools. The “positive affirmation” that a student is planning on staying within their current school is intended to make enrollment more predictable for the school.
- The “Family Priority” will be clarified into “Sibling Priority” and “School Staff Priority”, which mean that students with siblings attending the school and students with parents that work at the school will be given priority in the enrollment lottery, respectively.
- The resolution would clarify the order in which different priorities are considered: 1) Continuing students, 2) Siblings, 3) Neighborhood, 4) School staff, 5) Oakland resident.
- At the time of application, students will be assigned to the highest priority group for which they qualify.
The Board will consider a resolution that states that according to current projections, OUSD will not meet the state-mandated financial reserve of 2% in 2019-20 and 2020-21, with a projected ending fund balance of negative $20.3 million and negative $59.0 million, respectively. Unless there are positive material changes to revenue or expenditures, the District will be required to implement budget reductions of 234 Certificated FTE positions, 104 FTE Classified, Management, and Confidential positions, $400,000 in books and supplies, and $3.5 million from services and operating expenses beginning in 2019-20. The resolution commits the Board to working with bargaining units during 2018-19 to find alternatives to drastic reductions in the workforce.
The financial outlook for public education in Oakland and across our state is worrisome, and we applaud the board for taking proactive steps to prevent bankruptcy and state receivership. We call on the board and district staff to ensure a thoughtful process with community input and effectiveness data for programs to determine where cuts should be made in order to keep the impact on students, especially historically underserved students, as minimal as possible.