GO Board Watch: September 12, 2018

Welcome to GO’s School Board Watch for the meeting on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.  Read on for some good news about OUSD’s Close of Books!

3 BIG THINGS on this week’s agenda include:

1.  District Close of Books Report for 2017-2018 School Year

  • This is important because it tells us if OUSD overspent its budget last year and if there will be midyear cuts again this year.

2.  District Academic Focus and Results Update

  • This is important because it gives us an overview of the district’s student performance data across several key categories.

3.  OUSD’s Endorsement of Measure AA, The City of Oakland Children’s Initiative of 2018

  • With the upcoming election in November, ballot measure AA is focused on helping bring more money to OUSD students.

Looking for more than just three big things?  Click here for the full agenda.

Read below for a summary and GO’s perspective on THREE BIG THINGS happenings at this week’s board meeting.

District Close of Books Report for 2017-2018 School Year (item # 18-1557)

The district’s unrestricted expenses from last school year ended up being $10.0M less than expected, mostly due to the ongoing effects of midyear budget cuts. This is very good news, because it makes it very unlikely that school sites will experience any midyear cuts.  It should be celebrated that this is a step in the right direction, considering that during last year’s Close of Books, OUSD found $9.1M in new expenses that they hadn’t accounted for.

Combined with revenues that came in slightly higher than what the district expected, OUSD will officially end the last school year with a 3.4 percent reserve, more than two percent more than what they’d expected. That’s above both the state-mandated two percent and the OUSD Board Policy of maintaining a three percent reserve. As the district continues to improve its internal fiscal systems, this will give the district a healthier-than-expected emergency fund to manage any unforeseen costs.

Despite the generally good news from the Close of Books, OUSD still has a lot of work to do to become fiscally solvent. The district is facing ongoing costs that are growing much more quickly than their revenues. To stay afloat, the district plans to cut about $30M from the 2019-20 budget.

For more information on why the close of books is important and why it takes so long to report, click here.

District Academic Focus and Results Update  (item # 18-1846)

In this presentation from Chief Academic Officer Sondra Aguilera, OUSD shares their instructional theory of action and the latest data on student outcomes.  OUSD’s instructional focus includes: Conditions for Student and Adult Learning, Standards Based Instruction and Developing Language and Literacy across the Curriculum.  CAO Aguilera’s presentation also includes data about the district’s overall performance in several key categories including student safety, suspensions and end-of-year assessment performance data.

The presentation is full of important data to provide a snapshot of OUSD’s overall performance. Here are two slides from the presentation that spotlight OUSD schools with the most academic growth in ELA and Math over the last three years:


OUSD’s Endorsement of Measure AA, The City of Oakland Children’s Initiative of 2018 
(item # 18-1837)

The Board will consider a resolution which would endorse Measure AA, The City of Oakland Children’s Initiative of 2018, which will be on the ballot in November and proposes a $198 parcel tax per single-family home. Currently, the net revenue per student in early childhood education is -$143. If the District continues with its plan to expand services, the net revenue would be even lower at -$957. If Measure AA were to pass in November, the net revenue per student in preschool would increase to approximately $1,300 at scale, according to the provided analysis. This would allow the District to provide higher quality services and expand access to early childhood education.

GO is proud to be endorsing Measure AA and the support that it will offer to Oakland’s youngest learners. GO believes in high quality education for all students and we look forward to the parcel tax dollars expanding seats for some of our city’s highest need students.  You can learn more about the Oakland Children’s Initiative by visiting their website here.

And that is a look at 3 BIG THINGS on this week’s School Board agenda.  For long time readers and those new to Board Watch, I would love your feedback on how to make these e-mails as helpful as possible for you!  Are they too long? Too short? Drop me a line at ntahai@gopublicschools.org and let me know how I can continue to evolve GO’s Board Watch to be a must read for you every two weeks.

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