Even if you can’t make it to the 6 p.m. special meeting tonight at the Oakland school district office (1025 Second Ave.), you might want to take a look at the presentation district staff have prepared, which will likely be the basis for the board’s discussion.
Much of the information has already been out there; I believe this is an opportunity for board members to weigh in on budget cuts for next year.
In the appendix, you’ll find the average class sizes and total number of teachers at individual schools — as well as the money that each school might gain or lose if the district decided to tie the school funding formula to certain class sizes.
This is all leading up to two big meetings: On Dec. 9, Superintendent Tony Smith lays out his recommendations for 11 schools with low enrollment, low test scores or both. (i.e. closures/mergers/other options). On Dec. 16, Smith will present a proposal for cutting the 2010-2011 general purpose fund by $27 million, or about 10 percent.
According to staff’s calculations, the minimum number of students needed for a school to “break even” on its fixed costs and teacher salaries is 317 for elementary schools, 476 for middle schools and 602 for high schools. And that’s assuming average class sizes are 27, 32 and 32, which is about six students larger than the current averages.
Twenty-nine of Oakland’s elementary schools (48 percent), 12 of its middle schools (71 percent) and 15 of its high schools (83 percent) are smaller than that — in some cases, by design.
Some of you have shared your thoughts on class sizes, school size and budget cuts, but maybe you came up with some new ideas during the Thanksgiving break.
What would you do if you were the superintendent or CFO of Oakland Unified and faced a deficit of $27 million?