Grand jury dings state administration of Oakland schools

The Alameda County Civil Grand Jury wasn’t impressed with what it learned about the Oakland school district’s finances under state administration.

The management of OUSD’s finances under state control was one of 11 investigations included in its 2007-08 report (Page 49). The grand jury found that: “the district was hampered by continuous staff turnover, particularly in the area of finance, numerous reorganizations and a succession of state administrators. … After nearly five years of state management, OUSD’s budget remains unbalanced and the district’s future is unclear.”

I’m not sure if the watchdog group crunched any numbers for this brief report. They interviewed Joel Montero, the CEO of the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team, which audits the district; Oakland Unified’s CFO Leon Glaster; former CFO Javetta Robinson; former State Administrator Randolph Ward and Oakland school board president David Kakishiba.

It should be noted that 2008-09 budget — which was approved after the report was written — is balanced for the first time in years. And, while the grand jury suggested the district should have sent pink slips to its classroom teachers in response to the state budget cuts, OUSD spokesman Troy Flint says such layoffs weren’t necessary because of the district’s high attrition rate.

In fact, Flint said, some schools are still trying to fill vacancies.

What do you make of this report?

Katy Murphy

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

  • Sue

    No surprises. I’ve been saying the same things – in layman’s terms – since the first year of Dr. Ward’s administration.