For more, click here for the full agenda and read about a few more items below.
Note: Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order Nos. N-25-20 and N-29-20, members of the Board of Education, as well as the Superintendent or designee and other designated staff, will join the meeting via phone/video conference and no teleconference locations need be posted. You can watch the meeting as usual here, but you can also join the video call by clicking on this link at the scheduled meeting time or calling (669) 900-9128, then enter Webinar ID 399 210 883, then press “#”. See further details on pages 3 and 4 in the agenda.
Typically low-income families of color are disproportionately impacted by school closures. The intent of the Opportunity Ticket is to ensure that students in a closing school have prioritized access to the schools they believe are best for their children. In mid-March, the Board discussed the recommendation made by the Opportunity Ticket Working Group and the Superintendent to also include students displaced by closing charter schools in addition to those displaced by closing district schools.
Today the district is bringing forward a revised version of the policy that allows both students from district schools and charter schools to be eligible for the Opportunity Ticket. However, the revised version also includes two new proposed revisions:
- Prioritization of the Opportunity Ticket will come before neighborhood prioritization only for the 2020-21 school year admissions and will come after the neighborhood prioritization for the 2021-22 school year admissions.
- The Opportunity Ticket will be sunsetted at the end of the next school year (end of 2020-21), with the intention that it will be revisited before then as part of the Board and Superintendent’s work around equitable enrollment policies.
We are pleased to see that under this revised version all students who are displaced by school closures – whether they attend district or charter schools – would be eligible to receive the Opportunity Ticket. However, we are deeply concerned by the additional proposed changes. The Opportunity Ticket was a grassroots parent-driven policy that put equity at the center, ensuring marginalized families have greater access to quality schools. This new proposal undercuts the original intent of the policy. It gives greater weight to more privileged families who are fortunate enough to live near high-demand schools instead of to marginalized families who are most impacted by school closures.
While we value the desire expressed by some board members to preserve the idea of the “neighborhood school” we also know that Oakland neighborhoods are deeply segregated. This is the result of decades of racist and intentional policies like red-lining. The proposed language will likely mean less access for low-income communities of color and greater access for more affluent communities. This is unacceptable.
The Board has an opportunity to send a bold message that we, as a city, are choosing to dismantle privilege-based systems of oppression, not perpetuate them:
In order for the District to maintain its fiscal stability, they recently approved cuts to next school year’s budget. The budget cuts include layoffs, additions, and merged classified positions for 2020-21, which the board will be voting on tonight.
Given the dramatic changes and instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district and Board will begin to discuss and identify their state and federal legislative prioritize (e.g. prioritizing what types of funding, analyzing the need for relief measures, and identifying specific needs around building infrastructures for distance learning to support teachers and students).
The board will be voting on a long-term lease of at least 15 years for Aspire Berkley Manyard (2020 to 2035). Per the first read the District will be sharing responses to a number of questions from the Board around options such as exploring a mutual agreement for lease extensions, the duration of the lease, and incentives for Berkeley Maynard to increase services for Special Ed students.
Long-term leases are an important way of providing stable learning environments to students and minimize negative impacts of Prop 39. It is important that the Board always considers offering long-term leases to schools with demonstrated track records of success and quality. In this case, based on our latest GO Data Report, Aspire Berkley Maynard is the only school in Oakland where low-income black and Latino students actually outperform the OUSD proficiency district average for all students in ELA.