GO Board Watch: November 14th 2018

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Three big things on the agenda for this week’s Oakland School Board are:

1. Community of Schools Citywide plan – OUSD explores reducing 24 schools

2.  Budget Development Recommendations – Fiscal Vitality Committee findings

3.  Bond and Measure Oversight reports- Concerns Shared

For more than just three big things,  Click here for the full agenda

1st BIG THING:  Community of Schools Citywide plan  (item # 18-2365)

Last Spring the OUSD School Board passed the Community of Schools Board Policy 6006 and called for the Superintendent to develop a plan that addressed Oakland’s entire portfolio of schools, including district and charter schools.  The policy named five specific areas that needed to be addressed in the Superintendent’s plan:

  • Facilities
  • Enrollment and Transportation
  • Charter School Authorization
  • Sharing Best Practices across schools
  • Defined Autonomies for district schools 

Slides 30, 31 and 32 provide preliminary analysis of the total number of elementary,
middle and high schools that OUSD is exploring to reduce
GO’s Perspective: Our network, through the 1Oakland campaign, advocated for the school board to pass the Community of Schools Policy.  While the Superintendent’s citywide map is a step towards acknowledging changes to Oakland’s overall number of schools, the plan falls short of explaining how these changes increase the number of quality schools for all students. The plan also falls short of adequately addressing the five specific areas listed above and named in the board policy.  

2nd BIG THING: Budget Development Recommendations (item # 18-2385)

This fall a sub-committee of three OUSD board members held over 10 meetings as part of the Fiscal Vitality Committee.  That committee is now bringing their recommendations to the full board to vote on a resolution that would direct OUSD staff on how to approach making $30 Million dollars in cuts to the district’s budget.

GO’s Perspective: OUSD needs to address their $30M projected deficit and that will require significant changes to district budgeting and prioritization.  The challenge ahead will be follow through on making these difficult cuts and genuine engagement with the community to help all stakeholders understand why these reductions are necessary and how the community can provide feedback on difficult trade-offs.

3rd BIG THING:  Bond and Measure Oversight reports

This is a combination of two different agenda items, both are annual reports from citizen oversight committees on OUSD bonds and measures.  Both committees raise concerns about the conditions in place for the oversight committee to fulfill their responsibilities.

  1. Measures A, B, and J Citizens’ Facilities Bond Oversight Committee 16-17 Annual Report

In their Executive Summary, the Measure A, B and J oversight committee shares, “The Citizens Bond Oversight Committee is highly concerned about the current state and past management of Measure J and B bond-funded projects.”  The report goes on to share, “To date the majority of 11 original site-specific major projects from Measure J Bond language have not been completed…”

  1. Measure G Parcel Tax Citizens Oversight Committee 16-17 Annual Report

In the Chairman’s Notes, the Measure G oversight committee’s report includes, “The 2016-17 school year was a frustrating one for the Measure G Committee.”  After describing the limiting factors of challenges filling all 7 member seats and not having finance department staff assigned or available to support the committee for nearly five months, the Chairman’s note goes on to say, “Ultimately this has greatly impacted the Committee’s ability to fulfill its statutory responsibility.”

GO’s Perspective: As OUSD strives for Fiscal Vitality, it is critical that tax dollars are not taken for granted and properly managed to improve safety, well being and produce better outcomes for all students.

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