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On the Agenda: Big decisions

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In the realm of school board meetings, tomorrow is an important night.

  • State Administrator Vincent Matthews decides whether to close Sankofa Academy and Burckhalter Elementary, as his staff recommends, or to give the schools a chance to improve and attract more students.
  • The board, with its new powers, decides whether to shrink Hillcrest’s boundaries and change the attendance lines for all of the district’s middle schools — or to wait.

David Kakishiba, the board president, told me today that he feels the board needs to re-evaluate its policies about boundaries and enrollment before making such a decision.

“It’s probably inevitable there’s going to be some boundary changes, but I think proposing boundary changes without first having the policy discussion is sort of going backward,” he said.

We’ll see what happens.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sue

    Policy first, then change boundaries in conformance with the policy. Makes sense to me.

  • Cindy

    Amen! Policy and process first. We can’t make boundary decisions based on the desires of any single school. We need to do what is right for ALL of Oakland, as we are part of a much bigger community. We all pay the same base property tax, regardless of where we live.

  • dan

    So, were any decisions made regarding the changes in middle school boundaries on Wednesday night? If not, was the discussion rescheduled for another time?

  • Katy Murphy

    The board tabled the proposal to change the middle school boundaries and the Hillcrest boundaries. They’re postponing the decision until they’ve reviewed their enrollment policies.

    There will be a story about it in the paper tomorrow, and hopefully online today. It’s written!

  • Karin Foust

    I am curious about the best way to follow the upcoming policy discussions. How do the politics of the sub-committee work? Are those open meetings with public comment?

  • jim2812

    The State take-over brought an end to the Committee system of the Board with its loss of power. However, Measure E the local parcel tax committee has continued since its passage during the State take-over. Its name was changed to the District Budget Committee but the Committee is limited to oversight functions relating to Measure E monies only. You can read on the District website the agenda for Measure E meetings but the record is incomplete as some of minutes from its meetings this year have not been posted.

    In January there will be a School Board organizational meeting and if additional subcommittees are going to be restored they’ll do so most likely at that meeting.

    Aside from the Measure E oversight committee that will become the Measure G oversight committee if Measure G passes in February, there is the independent citizens school bond construction Measure B oversight committee and they have been active since passage of Measure B.

    All meetings including subcommittee meetings are suppose to operate within the Brown Act rules requiring notication to the public of agenda items and the right of the public to speak to items on the agenda. Additional right of the public under the Education Code is the right to put items on the Board’s agenda for public discussion. This right does not extend to subcommittee meetings. If a subcommittee discusses an item and allows the public to comment at its subcommittee meeting, the Board does not have to allow public to comment when that same agenda item comes before the full Board for a vote.

    For those interested, the Board Bylaws posted on its website lists the rules governing both subcommittee meetings and school board meetings.

    Jim Mordecai