Oakland County considers closing schools amid budget shortfalls

Typically a boring affair, a fortnightly school board meeting, anything but Monday night.

More than 1,800 people flocked to the Oakland Unified School District’s virtual board meeting to express their anger and frustration over plans to close, merge, or downsize 16 of the district’s 80 schools. The meeting started at 6 pm, attracted so much publicity that it ended at 3 am.

“I should be sleeping right now, but I’m here to fight for our school,” said a fourth-grader at a guillotine school.

The proposed closure in one of California’s largest school districts has rocked Oakland, with teachers organize a hunger strike and high school students walk out of class on Tuesday. Another rally is planned for this weekend.

Opponents say the changes will increase class sizes, lead to layoffs, worsen education quality and force families to travel longer distances to attend school. They were particularly upset that the plan had been announced during the Omicron spike, with relatively little warning.

The list of schools under consideration was not made public until late last week, and the council is expected to vote on the measure on February 8. If approved, most cases close. doors will happen before the fall of this year.

Mike Hutchinson, a board member who opposes the closures, said during Monday’s meeting: “I’m really begging you not to try to do this, especially during a pandemic. “How can anyone with a good conscience threaten anyone by shutting down our school over the course of 10 days when you know our community is suffering?”

However, district officials say they have few options.

Student enrollment in Oakland Unified has fallen by more than 15,000 over the past 20 years because of falling birth rates, the pandemic, and the rise of charter schools, according to district data.

The student reduction has resulted in a $150 million annual reduction in the state budget for the district, which currently has an annual budget of approximately $700 million, San Francisco Chronicle narrated.

For the upcoming financial year, the district is facing a $12.3 million deficit in addition to $3.2 billion in needed repairs at school facilities, according to data presented at meeting.

The district’s financial problems are so severe and protracted that facing a takeover by state or county officials if it doesn’t find a fix.

Which brings us to the school closure plan.

School district officials say they could save between $4.1 million and $14.7 million by consolidating schools with no learners, allowing them to cut staffing and overall costs. 26 of the district’s schools have so few students that they are considered financially unsustainable by the district.

Oakland Unified has 80 schools for 35,000 students, while the similarly sized Fontana and Fremont school districts have about 40, according to district data.

Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell acknowledged that the closures will disproportionately affect Black students, who make up 22% of the total district but 36% of students affected by the closures, according to data district data.

“It was not easy for me to present this information, especially knowing that African-American students and families will be most impacted by these recommendations,” Johnson-Trammell said. reported by The East Bay Times. “At the same time, we must be honest about the challenges we face as a school district.”

Today’s travel tip from Beverly Pachner, who lives in Oakland:

“There is no better place in the Bay Area to discover flora from around the world University of California Botanical Garden. Located on 34 acres in Strawberry Canyon, its diverse collection includes more than 10,000 species of plants from almost every continent. While many species are rare or endangered specimens, native plant species are also well represented. While every path is worth following, my favorites are the South African hillside, the Deserts of the Americas collection, the Japanese pool, and the Chinese Medicinal Garden. Walking through this amazing garden is a great way to take a trip around the world without leaving California. ”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in upcoming versions of the newsletter.


High reference paintings of Californian artist, Troy Lamarr Chew II.


With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re asking about love: no Who you love, but what you love your California corner.

Send us a love letter via email to your city, neighborhood or area in California – or to the entire Golden State – and we may share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can contact the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.


In late January, Erik Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell said “I like” on pitcher’s mound at Dodger Stadium.

The men knew their wedding would mean a lot to not only their 75 guests but also countless others who have seen members of the LGBTQ community struggle to find acceptance. recognized in professional baseball and other sports.

Read more Their love story on The New York Times.


Thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow. – Soumya

P.S. here Small crossword todayand a clue: Pepperidge Farm Cookies (5 letters).

Jonah Candelario, Briana Scalia, and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can contact the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/us/oakland-unified-school-closures.html Oakland County considers closing schools amid budget shortfalls

Fry Electronics Team

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