5

OUSD vs. O’Connell

DIY court research, anyone? If you want to see the documents for yourself, just click here, then click on the ”Case Summary” link and enter this case number: RG09440971

Update: A judge denied the Oakland school district’s request to order a temporary halt to the transfer of funds to charter schools. One reason? The school board might not have the legal authority to file such a lawsuit, since it doesn’t have all of its governing powers back.

The scoop: The Oakland school district has filed suit against State Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell – the guy who still controls the district’s finances and academic policies from Sacramento, almost six years after OUSD’s 2003 fiscal meltdown and state takeover.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday, in an attempt to reverse the decision. Last week O’Connell’s appointee, Vincent Matthews, approved a $450,000 transfer from the district’s general fund to Oakland’s independently run charter schools, according to news release sent out this morning.

The Board has taken this legal action only as a necessary last resort to prevent the District from being forced to allocate funds at a time when the funds simply do not exist. The mandated allocation would be over and above the funding that charter schools are entitled to receive by law and, furthermore, the extra allocation made by the Superintendent/State Administrator is not authorized by law.

The Board attempted to avoid the lawsuit by repeatedly requesting that the State Superintendent and State Administrator delay this action to allow for a dialogue. These requests have been ignored. Also ignored were the Board’s demands that Superintendent O’Connell and Administrator Matthews comply with their legal duty to participate in dispute resolution in such situations, as stated in the April 2008 MOU between the parties.

You can find a copy of the release here.

What do you make of this development? Did the school board do the right thing by authorizing this lawsuit?

Katy Murphy

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

  • http://jeanswatercolors.blogspot.com Jean Womack

    Keep up the good work, Katy. You’re a great reporter.

  • Katy Murphy

    Why thank you, Jean. That’s very kind of you to say.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Combined non-taxable donations from the Walton Family Foundation & the T. Gary & Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation to OUSD charter schools.

    In 2006 = $1,115,000
    In 2005 = $840,000
    In 2004 = $1,725,000
    In 2003 = $400,000

    Remember, the number of students this money supported was only a small portion of OUSD’s total student body. This was “super-food” to get the charter movement in Oakland started. With this extra funding, the charter schools could appear much shinier than the regular public schools.

    Also, be aware that O’Connell received contributions for his 2002 campaign from Eli Broad ($100,000), John Doerr ($205,000) and Reed Hastings ($250,000), three men who also served together on the board of directors of EdVoice, a pro-charter organization. According to “Eli’s Experiment,” Bob Gammon’s East Bay Express article of 10/10/07, O’Connell and Hastings have been friends for years.

    The goal of this movement is to weaken public school districts, as O’Connell’s action exemplifies. Once this is accomplished, a new type of school district can be created. It will be operated by boards of directors who are businessmen, instead of school boards elected by the public.

    WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION: PHILANTHROPY TO OAKLAND CHARTER SCHOOLS:
    http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/PubApps/showVals.php?ft=bmf&ein=133441466

    2007 Form 990 (for grants given in 2006)
    - American Indian Public High School = $230,000
    - Oakland Charter High = $230,000
    - Oakland Health Science Academy (under development) = $230,000
    - Envision Academy (county-approved, located in Oakland = $230,000
    - Also, something called the “Oakland Design Sciences High School.” The address given is 1055 Dyer Place, Oakland, CA 92651. There is no such address in Oakland, but there is a 1055 Dyer Place in Laguna Beach, CA 92651. This school was given $20,000 in both 2005 and 2006, each time listing a non-existent Oakland address.
    TOTAL = $940,000

    2006 Form 990 (for grants given in 2005)
    - American Indian Public Charter School = $230,000
    - Junior Space Exploration Academy = $230,000
    - Oakland Aviation High School = $230,000
    - Oakland Charter Academy = $20,000
    - Oakland Design Sciences High School = $20,000
    - Oakland Health Science Academy = $20,000
    - Oakland School for the Arts = $10,000
    TOTAL = $760,000

    2005 Form 990 (for grants given in 2004)
    - American Indian Public Charter School = $20,000
    - Berkley Maynard Academy (Aspire Public Schools) = $370,000
    - California College Prep Academy (Aspire Public Schools) = $370,000
    - East Bay Conservation Corps (EBCC) Charter School = $110,000
    - Lighthouse Community Charter High School = $180,000
    - LPS- Oakland School = $230,000
    - Millsmont Academy (Aspire Public Schools) = $370,000
    TOTAL = $1,650,000

    2004 Form 990 (for grants given in 2003)
    - ARISE Charter School = $150,000
    TOTAL = $150,000

    WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION: PHILANTHROPY TO PRO-CHARTER ORGANIZATIONS (partial listing of organizations)

    2007 Form 990 (for grants given in 2006)
    - Alliance for School Choice, Inc. = $2,247,095
    - California Charter Schools Association = $1,450,000
    - KIPP Foundation = $8,539,450
    - New Leaders for New Schools = $1,298,085
    - NewSchools Venture Fund = $50,000
    2006, 2005: Research in progress

    2004 Form 990 (for grants given in 2003)
    California Charter School Association = $2,875,800
    New Schools Venture Fund = $2,350,000

    T. GARY & KATHLEEN ROGERS FAMILY FOUNDATION: PHILANTHROPY TO OAKLAND CHARTER SCHOOLS
    http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/PubApps/showVals.php?ft=bmf&ein=943381315

    2007 Form 990 (for grants given in 2006)
    - Lighthouse Community Charter School = $50,000
    - Aspire Public Schools (for Millsmont) = $65,000
    - EC Reems Academy of Technology and Arts = $10,000
    - Envision Academy = $10,000
    - Oakland KIPP Bridge College Prep = $20,000
    - Oakland School for the Arts =$10,000
    - Oasis High School = $10,000
    TOTAL = $175,000

    2006 Form 990 (for grants given in 2005)
    - Lighthouse Community Charter School = $50,000
    - Aspire Public Schools (for L. Wilson and Millsmont) = $30,000
    TOTAL = $80,000

    2005 Form 990 (for grants given in 2004)
    - Lighthouse Community Charter School = $50,000
    - Aspire Public Schools (for Monarch) = $25,000
    TOTAL = $75,000

    2004 Form 990 (for grants given in 2003)
    - Lighthouse Community Charter School = $250,000
    TOTAL = $250,000

    T. GARY & KATHLEEN ROGERS FAMILY FOUNDATION: PHILANTHROPY TO PRO-CHARTER ORGANIZATIONS
    2007 Form 990 (for grants given in 2006)
    - California Charter Schools Association = $50,000
    - New Leaders for New Schools = $30,000
    - Alliance for School Choice =$25,000

    I look forward to investigating the figures for Eli Broad and Bill Gates.

  • Former OUSD parent

    One question I have had through all of this is: WHERE DOES JACK GET THE POWER TO ORDER VINCE TO TRANFER THESE FUNDS?

    I wonder if it is implied in the takeover provisions within the ED Code. If not, I would love to see Jack removed from his office using a Quo Warranto proceeding.

  • TheTruthHurts

    All I know is this is bad. O’Connell will not come out shining in this one. I’m at a loss as to how they’re gonna try to explain skipping mediation, skipping discussion and skipping the purpose (if not the law) of state receivership.