The state’s budget crisis has put the Oakland school district in a bind; CFO Vernon Hal announced last week that he had “run out of magic tricks.” While federal stimulus funds have helped avoid catastrophe, the district’s working 2009-10 budget is still a half-million in the red.
At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the board and state administrator hold a public meeting to discuss what to do before the final budget is adopted on June 24. Should the district…
- Close schools targeted for a gradual phase-out? Estimated savings ~ $1 million
- Snatch $1 million from the adult school’s ending fund balance? (staff is leaning toward this)
- Reduce School Resource Officers?
- Delay purchase of English Language Arts instructional materials?
Another topic that might come up on Thursday: class sizes.
If OUSD’s average class size of 25 grew by just one student, it would save $5 million, according to Chief Financial Officer Vernon Hal. Hal also says that Oakland has the fifth-smallest average class size of districts with over 20,000 students.
Should Oakland allow its class sizes to get bigger – and if so, should the be determined by each school, or centrally?
You can find Hal’s budget presentation from last week here. Page 38 shows how the Oakland school district stacks up to others in California, by class size, number of schools and number of students. You can see where they’re going with this…
image from Marcin Whichary’s photostream at flickr.com/creativecommons