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O’Connell to make a big announcement on Monday

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, July 5th, 2007 at 11:39 am in local control, School board news.

UPDATE: After the 8 a.m. meeting at the district office, the group heads to Franklin Elementary School, 915 Foothill Blvd., for a press conference. 

I returned from vacation today to hear some important Oakland school district news:  After four years under state control, a slice of democracy is in sight.

At 8 a.m. Monday at the OUSD central office, the state superintendent of public instruction is scheduled to meet with school board members, the state-appointed administrator and some state lawmakers to hash out the details of an agreement that would allow the board to have authority over its “community relations and governance.”

The announcement is scheduled for 9 a.m. The whole event, of course, is open to the public.

Community Relations and Governance is one of the five operational areas (The others are personnel, finance, pupil achievement and facilities) that has received relatively high marks on Oakland’s periodic progress reports by the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team. But, to the dismay of some board members, state superintendent Jack O’Connell has kept the area under state control.

Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for O’Connell, says the timing of the development has nothing to do with a related bill making its way through the state legislature. AB45, which will be heard by the Senate Education Committee at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, would force O’Connell to relinquish state authority over certain areas if the district makes enough progress on its FCMAT reports.

I’m not clear what the new arrangement will look like, logistically speaking. It will be interesting to see how much latitude the board will have in shaping policy without control over pupil achievement, finances or personnel.

What are your thoughts?

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  • Swampfox

    Smells like politics to me. African proverb: When the Elephants fight, the grass suffers.
    Sacramento translation: When Sen Don Perata and State Sup Jack O’Connell, OUSD tends to get stuck paying the bill.

    Ask yourself this question: Why would Jack O’Connell suddenly give back power in one area while he is opposed to AB45?

    Answer: My guess is Super Jack wants to look like a good-ol-boy for his pals in the State Senate and seem well…reasonable and responsive. Sadly I am not buying it.

    Hopefully AB45 will clear the CA Senate Education Committee on 11 July, and we can all go on our merry way in trying to imporve OUSD.

  • Jim Mordecai

    I spend a lot of time observing State Administrator/school board meetings and Javetta Robinson has been professional and apparently on top of a difficult job of steering the District’s financial ship. Getting an internal audit function in place so as not to overspend is critical to the recovery of the District’s finances. I am now worried that their will not be the will to put in place the checks and controls on spending that are necessary. I fear Ms. Robinson is irreplaceable.

  • Jim Mordecai

    After four years the members of the Oakland School Board are accountable for their
    actions. Will they refuse to sign on for a half a loaf when they can get the whole loaf
    with passage of AB 45.

    Will restoration of governance mean Board Members also get their pay and benefits
    restored as provided in AB 45? How can Superintendent take such action in that it
    is in conflict with SB 39?

    Has Jack O’Connell a deal with the Governor to veto AB 45 when partial power is
    returned to the Oakland School Board?

    Would not reaching agreement put more pressure on the Governor to sign AB 45?

  • John W.

    Mr. Mordecai’s comments are thoughtful and based on his observation of circumstances
    in OUSD in conjunction with a consideration of political realities. It’s too bad such
    propensity isn’t contageous in the larger OUSD community. It is would go a long way
    in helping cure a lot of local ills.

  • Jim Mordecai

    I wrote the opposite of what I meant in my last sentence. When I wrote that the Board reaching agreement on return of two areas would put more pressure on the Governor
    to sign AB 45, I meant to write that I believe the agreement would put pressure on the Govenor to veto AB 45 because the agreement would be evidence of the process
    working.

    The Board is faced with a one in the hand verses two in the bush situation. I would say
    it is better to stick with AB 45 and not reach agreement until its passage. But, not an
    easy call.

  • James Jones, Jr., Parent, etc.

    The Amended version of AB45 no longer calls for the immediate return of authority to the Board; it simply outlines a process for the eventual return of control. The 1st amendment of AB 45 cut most of the language directed at Jack O’Connell. Even with AB45, Jack O’Connell is still in control because the return of each Operational Area is conditional and can be revoked on FCMAT’s recomendation. Those powers revoked are then returned to the State Administrator. And the Board has to have control of at least 1 area in order to collect their salaries.

    Check it out: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_45&sess=CUR&house=B&search_type=email