At the City Clerk’s Office today, I learned that a handful of people are running for Oakland school board after all!
But it’s not a big day for democracy: Few Oaklanders, it seems, want a piece of the board’s renewed governing power and responsibility. Only one of the three incumbents — Gary Yee, in District 4 — will be challenged in November. Ben Visnick, the previous Oakland teacher union president, is taking him on.
That means David Kakishiba (District 2), who almost stepped down last fall because of a conflict-of-interest ruling by the school district’s general counsel, and Chris Dobbins (District 6), who was censured by his fellow board members in 2007 because of a relationship with a 17-year-old student, will be elected to another four-year term by default.
SPEAKING OF THE SCHOOL BOARD: It’s holding its first regular meeting since June at 5 p.m. Wednesday (agenda here). Staff is recommending the approval of Vincent Academy, a K-5 charter that would open in West Oakland in 2011. It would be affiliated with the nonprofit St. Vincent’s Day Home and run by an entity called Partners in Oakland Education.
What do you make of this paragraph in the staff report? Specifically, I wonder what “facilitate engagement” means. West Oakland’s Martin Luther King Elementary faced closure last year, mostly because of its low enrollment, and charter conversion was presented to the parents as an alternative. (It was not well-received, at least by some of the more involved, vocal parents at MLK.)
Additionally, staff recommends that the OUSD Board of Education directs staff to facilitate engagement between the Vincent Academy petitioning group and the Martin Luther King elementary school community, staff and site leadership, in an effort to pro-actively ensure the thoughtful development of public school programming in West Oakland designed to effectively serve the target population.
A LITTLE SELF-REFLECTION: At a public meeting held at 1 p.m. tomorrow, the board will critique its own performance. The meeting’s at the OUSD headquarters, 1025 Second Avenue. I’ll post the evaluation next week.
How would you rate the board’s efficacy? How well do you think its members work together? How could it become more effective, in your opinion?