NOTE: OUSD spokesman Troy Flint says that while closure or merger is a possibility for each school, the district is not planning to recommend this outcome for all of the focus schools. Other possibilities include increasing enrollment, support, etc. So, the same as in previous years.
OUSD has released an updated list of schools that have not measured up academically, that have too few students to be financially viable, or both. They’re called “Focus Schools,” but as anyone who’s ever been on the list knows, it really spells the possibility of a merger or closure. Especially now, when the district is looking to cut $27 million from next year’s budget.
The list doesn’t look much different from last year’s, even though the criteria have changed slightly:
- North Oakland: Far West High School and Sankofa Academy (elementary)
- West Oakland: Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and Lafayette Elementary
- East Oakland: Burckhalter Elementary, Howard Elementary, Explore College Prep Middle School, Leadership High School (Castlemont), East Oakland School of the Arts (Castlemont), Castlemont Business and Information Technology School; Youth Empowerment School (new high school on old King Estates middle school campus)
It’s worth noting that Sankofa made the list, even though the district’s first criteria is academic growth and it has made huge leaps on its Academic Performance Index. The elementary school is tiny (one classroom per grade and only 111 students last year), but its API is 718 this year, up from 535 in 2007.
This presentation is on Wednesday night’s agenda, and it was already discussed by the Teaching and Learning Committee. The superintendent makes his recommendations Dec. 9, after a series of community meetings, and the board is scheduled to vote on the supe’s recommendations on Dec. 16.