Oakland Unified School District Board votes to keep 5 schools open, reversing previous closure plan

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — On Wednesday, the newly elected Oakland Unified School Board voted to reverse the planned closing of five schools. It comes after the district’s financial shortfall prompted the district to close and consolidate schools in early 2022.

The school board’s vote to avert Oakland school closures reads in a resolution: “OUSD is not in a financial crisis – it has a healthy fund balance and the district is projecting a budget surplus.” in all years of the multi-year plan”.

There is some truth to this. Oakland Unified receives one-time funding from the state and can cover the costs of keeping these schools open. But funds must eventually run out.

In May 2022, ABC7 interviewed former board member Shanti Gonzalez.

RELATED: OUSD votes to move forward with school closure plans despite serious setback

“The district board of education has been quiet and the state has made it clear that we cannot use one-time funds to pay for day-to-day district operating costs,” Gonzalez said.

On the other hand, Oakland Unified needs to pay off a $60 million loan from the state 20 years ago, and that will improve their financial situation.

But in order to get out of admission, they must not only repay this debt, but also show that they are financially responsible.

Mike Hutchinson introduced the resolution.

RELATED: Oakland school closures: Protester vows to keep fighting amid security clashes

“We allocated money to a school called ‘Farewell Schools’, which accepts students from closed schools. As part of the resolution we passed yesterday, this will allow us to reallocate money to cover the additional costs of reversing the closures,” Hutchinson said.

Oakland will have to rely on a reception that continues to decline.

In his report, the superintendent projected there would be 458 fewer students at Oakland United University next year, 2023-2024. A district without students receives less money from the state.

“The way to increase enrollment and attendance is to support neighborhood schools and make them the best they can be,” Hutchinson said.

RELATED: Preliminary list of Oakland school closings released without OUSD approval

But as for last night’s vote, you could tell the board you “put the cart before the horse” – voting without looking at the tax impact analysis, which is always required before a vote of this nature.

Comment: “The analysis cannot be completed in such a short period of time (less than a day), so the staff will publish their analysis on January 25, 2023.”

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