Part of the Bay Area News Group

Got questions for Tony Smith?

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 11:36 am in families, parents, Tony Smith.

Oakland’s new superintendent will talk about the challenges ahead and respond to your questions and comments at a North Oakland town hall meeting at the end of the month. 

The forum takes place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Oakland International High School, 4521 Webster Street. It’s open to the public, and you don’t have to be a North Oakland resident to attend, said school board member Jody London, who organized the event for her district.

“I think he’ll provide some great information about the state of the district — where we are, where we’re going,” London said.

London said other board members are planning to organize events with Smith in their respective districts. Read the Sept. 30 meeting flier here.

Tribune file photo by D. Ross Cameron/Staff

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  • Elementary Parent

    I have a question for Tony. It’s about how he can make Oaklands strongest elementary schools accessable for young students and their parents who use public transportation to get to and from the school.

    I am particularly concerned about the changes as they impact the accessibility of our high performing public schools.
    When I was first deciding Kindergarten school selection many factors weight in on the decision. But one factor was absolute.
    I needed my child to attend a public elementary school accessible by public transit.

    I choose Glenview because it was a great school that I could get to by bus and then get to work by transbay bus.
    I meet other parents making the same bus journey to get there kids to school.
    Loving the school, I relocated to the neighborhood.

    Many of Oakland’s highest performing elementary schools are not public transit friendly and some of the proposed changes make matters worse.

    A quick look at schools that score 800 or above on the API (Yes, I know this in not the only measure of a school, but it good quick measure of school performance) I found 19 elementary school over the 800 mark. Then I asked how many of them could be reach by a bus that runs more frequently than every half an hour and with a 10 minute or less walk from the bus stop to the school. I know many parents who would be stricter, noticing number of transfers and total travel time from their home. Using 511 trip planner 9 out of 19 high performing Oakland were not public transit friendly. That means that families needing public transportation have their choices of quality public elementary school cut almost in half!

    Proposed Service Changes to the 18, 59/59A, 13. 98 and 14 and maybe more lines will all further reduce the accessability of school for some families.
    Transbay service on 21 out of 23 lines between San Pablo to Oakland are eliminating all morning runs after 8am, which means that parents will be unable to drop there kids school, wait for the bell, and then head to work.

    Changes such as stopping many runs of the 18 at MacArthur, before they reach Edna Brewer will also impact middle school accessability, The proposed new 58L line may help, but I encourage others to further explore middle school and high school accessablility issues. This is a little easier to do because AC transit shows all middleschools and highschools on its Proposed Bus Service Changes Map. You can see at a glance which schools are completely isolated from bus lines. Elementary schools are not shown on the map, and it does not appear the effect of service changes on students, parents, staff, teachers, and aftershool workers were considered.

    Good schools don’t do you any good if you can’t get there. Parents need to be able to get from there children’s school to work sites in the east bay, San Francisco, and beyond. Teachers, staff and after-school workers need reliable transportation to their jobs. Oakland schools are loosing thousands of dollars of federal funding do to student late arrival to school. Waiting longer for buses is a safety issue for students of all ages.

    I encourage anyone who check my work, or do your own further digging into transit routes and changes to schools important to you and your neighbors. Most importantly I encourage all who are concerned about education issues to have their voices heard on the current transit service cuts.

    Jennifer (mom of 3rd and K)