School closure meeting moves to bigger venue

So many people are expected to attend Wednesday night’s Oakland school board meeting — where the board is likely to signal its direction on potential school closures — that the district has moved the meeting to a larger venue: the auditorium of Oakland Technical High School, 4351 Broadway.

No final decisions are expected Wednesday night, but the board could establish criteria for closure — or make it clear that it won’t support the large-scale closure plan proposed by Interim Superintendent Roberta Mayor as a cost-saving measure.

You can find the agenda here. The public part of the meeting begins around 5 p.m.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Karen

    The date of the school closure meeting needs to be CHANGED. OCTOBER 8-9 is Yom Kippur, the highest holy day in the Jewish religion. OUSD should be sensitive and well-organized enough to schedule such important public meetings on evenings when such conflicts are not an issue. The major Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holidays are available on nearly every commercial calendar. OUSD needs to take note of these and also MAIL notices of meeting times to parents BEFORE the meeting dates, not after. I, along with everyone I know, received the letter from Dr. Mayor announcing the public meetings around school closures after nearly all of them were already over. What kind of organizational process is that??

  • Sue

    Karen, I’m not Christian, Jewish or Muslim, but I’m an elder in my religious community. If the school district is going to schedule meetings around the “big three” religions’ holy days, they could find themselves getting sued for discrimination the first time a meeting conflicts with a minority-religion’s holy day… Not a good idea for a district that’s already under state control, and there are a *lot* of minority-religions in Oakland, not just mine.

    The problem of meeting announcements arriving in the mail *after* the meeting date – yeah, they really need to do better! But it’s been like that for as long as DH and I have had anything to do with the district. Older son is in the 11th grade at Skyline, and he started in a CH preschool class when he was four. So, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the district to fix this problem… I’ve heard the same excuse blaming the post office for the mail not getting delivered in a timely manner for way too many years, and I’ve had bigger things to spend my time and energy on fixing – or at least trying to fix.

  • former hills parent

    Regarding school closures. Until OUSD tightens its belt and does close small schools the district will always find itself in deep financial distress. Look to those school districts that have demonstrated both academic success and fiscal sustainability. This does not happen by accident. It takes planning and thoughtful leadership, both of which OUSD has not demonstrated in the past. Maybe this is the beginning of the school board taking such responsibility to make those hard decisions.

  • Katy Murphy

    I just spoke with Troy Flint, the district’s spokesman, about why the board meeting was scheduled on Yom Kippur, a high Jewish holiday, and why it wasn’t rescheduled.

    Flint said: “It was a regrettable mistake for which we are deeply apologetic. It’s certainly not the intention of the district or the board to disenfranchise any group, particularly due to religious convictions. Unfortunately, that has been the effect of our actions, and we’re sorry for that.

    “We’re taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and that board meetings and other events of substantial interest do not conflict with major religious holidays.”

    Flint said the Yom Kippur conflict came to his attention last week, and that there were concerns about moving the date of the meeting on short notice. Should the date have been changed anyway?

  • BJ

    Yes, I think that mtg date should have been changed anyway despite the short notice.

    It seemed like OUSD central office is always making regrettable mistakes: sending out the notices about these meetings after most of these mtgs have already taken place, scheduling meetings during religious/cultural holiday.
    OUSD administration, quit blaming the post office for your own shortfalls. The post office has never been late with my mail.

    I believe it is their intention to leave the public out of public education.

  • former hills parent

    OUSD actually means “one uninformed school district”

  • Jean Parker

    I’m confused. When asked why the board meeting was scheduled on Yom Kippur, Troy Flint (OUSD district spokesperson) said:

    “It was a regrettable mistake for which we are deeply apologetic. It’s certainly not the intention of the district or the board to disenfranchise any group, particularly due to religious convictions. Unfortunately, that has been the effect of our actions, and we’re sorry for that.”

    Yet, OUSD is not rescheduling the meeting? Is this a disconnect for anyone else? OUSD admits that its scheduling error disenfranchised families in our school community but it is still moving forward with its meeting?

    I’ve seen some wackadoodle OUSD responses, but this really takes the cake.

  • Catherine

    Would we even be having this discussion if the meeting was called for Christmas day?

    That would be regrettable. And the meeting would be rescheduled.

  • Maria Ku

    Actually, post office has nothing to do with the late notices. In my case and the case of some other families, the notice of the 6 “upcoming” meetings were mailed out by OUSD AFTER the last meeting took place. The notice was translated in all possible languages and was titled “Community Engagement Meeting Schedule” – what a bad joke!

    I send an email about this fact to both Mr Matthews (got a read receipt in 5 minutes and no reply at all) and to Ms Mayor (got a read receipt in 30 minutes and no reply at all). (I also sent a letter to the editor to the Chronicle, Tribune and the East Bay Express.)

    The hypocritical OUSD is trying to keep all of us out of the process.

  • Sue

    Maria, you are right. I’m the first person who posted the USPS excuse, because I’ve been a parent in the district for twelve years, and I’ve heard that tired, lame excuse – “not my fault, it’s his/her/their/somebody else’s fault” – too many times.

    I gave up tilting at this particular windmill a very long time ago. Teachers, other parents, and the OUSD website were all better ways to learn about scheduled meetings. Lately, Katy and this blog have joined the list.