Meet the new CFO for Oakland schools

On Monday, Vernon E. Hal will replace Leon Glaster as the Oakland school district’s chief financial officer. Unlike many of the school system’s top officials, he has deep roots in the school district — as a resident, an OUSD grad and a former district administrator.

Between 1990 and 2000, Hal served in the Oakland school district as controller; assistant superintendent for business services and operations; and associate superintendent for business services, according to information provided by the district.

He was there during the five-week teachers strike of 1996, and left in 2000, the same year former Superintendent Dennis Chaconas came on board.

After leaving the district Hal became the managing director for a small, Oakland-based security broker, Impact Capital Management, according to OUSD. Hal also was an audit manager for Deloitte & Touche in the 1980s.

With looming state budget cuts and local enrollment declines, Hal has a tough job ahead. For those of you tuned into OUSD issues long before I was, what do you know about his work?

photo courtesy of Vernon Hal

Katy Murphy

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

  • Jim Mordecai

    Why would the Oakland School Board pick someone that could be associated with the breakdown in budgeting controls that lead to the State take-over?

    When did the District lose control over its budget systems was never clearly established?

    Defenders of Dennis Chaconas feel he inherited the problem and was unfairly nailed to the cross for the sin of lack of budget accountability.

    Picking Vernon Hal makes sense from an experience stand point. But, why would the Board select the CFO that left in the same year Dennis Chaconas arrived? Loyal Chaconas supporters felt he inherited the financial disarray leading to the State take-over and blame those that proceeded the Chaconas administration for the District’s financial collapse.

    This appointment will likely open up old wounds about who was accountable for the State take-over while it enrages Chaconas loyalist?

    It is hard to understand why the Board would make an appointment likely to create controversy.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Big Oak

    Here we have it guys! The reason traditional districts are a dying breed- dysfunction.

    OUSD will be out of state control in the coming years, but I guarantee they will be there again in about 5- you watch!

    I am moving out of this city soon, never bought property when other did- and now laugh my ass off at those that said I was dumb for not buying in this city.

    Oakland is a joke. Black and liberal politics destroy cities (look at New Orleans and St. Louis my hometown). Get ready ladies and gentlemen-lets watch the destruction of OUSD. Charter schools beware, cause the attacks will get stupid as they look to blame others for their stupidity!

  • Equois

    BIG OAK…You sound like a redneck….Good Riddance!

  • Nextset

    Equois: I guess you don’t know many Rednecks – and have a real limited circle of aquaintances. For your information, you can be any color and draw these conclusions about the future of Oakland and OUSD.

    While you did express a personal rejection of Big Oak, as if that means anything to anybody – you avoided any comment on the points he was making. Is Oakland deteriorating in terms of crime and it’s relative viability compared to other Northern CA cities? Are desirable people moving out and taking their businesses and professional talent with them? Will OUSD turn into a Los Angeles Unified, or for that matter a Stockton Unified? And why or why not?

    How much more Dellums’ Management can Oakland take and still be economically viable?

    As to Mr Glaster – I hope he gets a more formal photo out for professional use… In his position it would probably help the district to circulate a formal photo rather than this one.

  • John

    Yes indeed Equois! St. Louis is a veritable breeding ground for back wood urban red necks not educated in the ways of our Oakland urban Oakies.

    BIG OAK obviously hasn’t learned, or successfully trained, to be a true practitioner of “tolerance.”

    I’d happily add a “good riddance” of my own if I wasn’t afflicted by a strain of intolerance similar to the one elevating BIG OAK’s temperature. Please pray for us!

    As for my recollections of Hal the OUSD CFO between 1990 and 2000, the OUSD CEO never allowed us too much of a peek look under the hood. Even when the car or negotiations broke down we never knew how full the tank was until the car started sputtering to a near stop in 2002 (not even the driver knew), but Hal had already left the vehicle – so at least there’s no grease on his resume from that break down.

    Anyway, given what’s happening in private sector waters these days it’s probably in Hal’s best interest to drop anchor and sign up for another stint in the old public watering hole. I remember he used to war a suit, it’s good to see him looking more casual in the photo he provided Katy, for as we all know it’s time for “change!”

  • Jose, Former Student


    We know were we stand with “Big Oak!” Where is your “tolerance” for another perspective?

  • Big Oak

    Wait a minute! Tolerance?! Same as we have to tolerate criminals taking siege of cities? Or sending kids and tax dollars to a terrible school system?

    I guess I am the first black redneck. I know what I am and where I stand and can call the issue like I see them, you very accepting people (being nice) are allowing scoundrels, thieves and political correctness ruin your sorry ass city.

    I bet your kids, if you ever have any- will go to good schools, and be more liberal minded than you, and the self perpetuating cycle will remain in the city of dope.

    Good Riddance? No, good luck to you all. I dont hate but pity those that will suffer due to your Tolerance.

  • John

    BIG OAK for PRESIDENT! This could be his well articulated campaign platform: “Stop people from allowing scoundrels, thieves and political correctness to ruin our sorry ass cities” and country!

    He’s sooooooo unaccepting of the accepting.

    He’s The One!

    Leave Oakland but DON’T leave this blog BIG OAK. The unaccepting of the accepting need you!

  • A Life Time Educator

    I think that it is funny that people run but take their problems with them.
    I second the good riddance
    And may your issues be there waiting in your new home.

  • Katy Murphy

    I just got a call from Sheila Jordan, the Alameda County schools superintendent, about Vernon Hal’s appointment. She was around during Hal’s tenure in the 1990s, and during the Oakland school district’s subsequent fiscal implosion in the 2002-03 school year.

    “It was not during his tenure that the budget fell apart,” she told me.

    Jordan said Hal brings great skill and experience to the job. “I’m so pleased that he’s willing to come back because it’s hard to get someone to take on that role.”

  • Turner

    Hmmm…I don’t know how much credibility I would give to Sheila Jordan. It is during her watch that several school districts have imploded or have come close to it: Oakland, Emery, Berkeley, Hayward, etc. That’s close to 100,000 students who are managed by weak central administrators. Too many, if you ask me.


  • Allison

    Vernon Hal proved to be very competent during his tenure at OUSD. The financial crises that sunk the district during the Chaconas administration should not be link to Mr. Hal. Mr. Chaconas broke the bank all by himself.

    OUSD should be pleased to acquire Mr. Hal’s expertise and his amiable personality.

  • Turner

    We’ll see, won’t we?
    In the next year or so, we will have indisputable evidence of his expertise…


  • Steve

    I know Vernon from my CAL days and my years at Deloitte and Touche. While we have not been in touch in recent years, I can say that OUSD is fortunate to have a person with his capabilities on the job. Most school districts cannot attract someone with his credentials to be their CFO.

    For those that think this is a mistake, can you come up with a better appointment or someone with better qualifications?

    Lets wish him the best in this very difficult job.

    Steve Fong