Data Sharing Agreement and Next School Year’s Budget Reductions Proposal

For more, click here for the full agenda.

Note: If this meeting is “willfully interrupted, the Board may move to the Committee Room as soon as practicable and resume the meeting. If the Board moves to the Committee Room, it will allow public comment–as necessary and if feasible–from the Great Room.” 

Item #20-0343

There is currently no way to look at the enrollment data for all schools in the city – both district and charter – to see a complete picture of citywide enrollment patterns and make decisions that could increase efficiency and equity. This lack of data makes it difficult both for system leaders and for parents to understand which schools, programs and features are desired by Oakland families, which families have access to quality schools (and more importantly, which families do not). 

Tonight, a data sharing agreement between the District and Oakland Enrolls will be shared and discussed. Oakland Enrolls is a non-profit that manages the Oakland Common Charter Application which brings together the applications of 92% of the students that attend Oakland’s charter public schools. The proposed agreement states that Oakland Enrolls would share anonymous student-level data with the District for the District’s analytic purposes (one-way sharing). All data from both OUSD and Oakland Enrolls (85% of charters opted in) will be shared with an unaffiliated third party (UC Berkeley) and will not contain identifiable student information like names, email addresses, phone numbers, or home/mailing addresses. This one-way, anonymous data sharing agreement takes into account previous concerns raised last year over a different two-way data sharing agreement by ensuring confidentiality and removing the risk of personal information being shared. 

As part of our 1Oakland values, we believe that this data sharing agreement is a step forward to a more unified system that will increase equity in our city.

  • The agreement empowers decision-makers with more insight into district and charter school enrollment patterns and behaviors so they can recommend changes
  • The agreement allows more families to get their preferred school choice by reducing the number of families who hold seats in both systems (thus preventing other families from getting seats until late in the enrollment cycle) 
  • The agreement allows the Oakland community to analyze the impact of many different policies including the Opportunity Ticket, enrollment zones, and/or student assignment policies

While this agreement is a huge step towards a more holistic picture of enrollment patterns and trends, there is still some data missing. More than 10% of Oakland public charter schools have not opted-in to the common charter application and/or the data sharing agreement, leaving the district with an incomplete picture. We urge these schools to opt in and help build a coherent enrollment system across sectors.  

Items #20-0180 and #20-0425

At the last school board meeting, the District and Board discussed their latest thinking on how they plan to make 

$21.5M in budget reductions to 2020-21 in order to stay fiscally solvent and maintain their emergency fund, 3% reserve. The proposal included eliminating and reallocating central office and school site positions, and other expenditures. It also included a list of the impact for each of those departments. 

Over the past month, the district has held multiple stakeholder conversations with student, parent, employee, and leadership communities to offer guidance to the Superintendent and the Board to inform their decision-making and, most importantly, articulate their priorities for student success. They have also been looking at other district data to broaden their understanding of other strategies used to allocate resources.

Tonight, the District is looking for guidance from the Board on the Budget Prioritization/Reductions proposal along with the Budget and Finance committees’ alternative recommendations for school-site budget reductions. The district noted that the numbers listed in the proposal are feasible reductions and do not account for potential revenue increases the district might receive, like Saturday school, because they are not yet concrete revenue streams. 

The first reading of the Budget Prioritization/Reductions proposal, which directs the Superintendent to  proceed with a plan to reduce a total of $20M in spending for the 2020-21 school year, where $15.3M of the reductions will come from the Central Office, $2.5M from school site discretionary budgets (excluding schools in design or year one or two of implementation of Blueprint for Quality changes) and $2.2M in cost savings resulting from bell schedule coordination, increasing enrollment in OUSD’s meal program, reducing energy consumption, reducing staff and energy costs at vacated or merged schools. They also recommend that, if necessary, the District uses part of its reserve to avoid reductions of assistant principals and clerical staff at school sites, and that if one-time revenue becomes available after the Governor’s revised budget (in May) they should immediately allocate to maintain a 3% reserve. Any additional ongoing funds that become available should be used to restore site discretionary budgets that were reduced, with priority going to schools with the highest percentage of students receiving free or reduced price lunch. 

Although the district has been anticipating these reductions since last year in order to stay fiscally solvent, we know that they are going to be painful for educators, families, and students. It is important for the district to continue to further engage the community and think about the community as partners in this work. As these decisions are being made we urge the Board and district to continue to:

  • Prioritize funding school sites: Our community must see evidence that every possible dollar follows students. Keep cuts away from school site budgets.
  • Strategically redesign of the central office: Drive the redesign of the central office by limiting central office expenses to the areas that are 1)legally required  2) support a limited number of strategic central initiatives and departments that have the greatest impact on students and schools.
  • Smarter spending practices and analysis: Impact on student outcomes should drive the rationale for future budget decisions. The current reality is that those systems and culture are not yet in place, but moving forward, the district must expect that all central office departments establish clear goals, measurable outcomes, and demonstrable impact on student outcomes.

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