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OUSD budget trends and another central reorg

The first reading of the Oakland school district’s 2011-12 budget proposal happens at tonight’s 5 p.m. board meeting (Catch it live here). So I did some number crunching, building on an analysis from earlier in the year that compared 2009-10 spending and 2010-11* budget estimates.

You’ll find the combined totals toward the bottom of the spreadsheet, with the changes over time highlighted in blue. If you notice any errors, please let me know so I can fix them.

*Note: The district’s estimates for 2010-11 have changed since the February budget presentation. I’ve included both sets of numbers for the current fiscal year.

OUSD budget trends

You might have noticed that the budget for professional development and curriculum would be half the size that it is this year. It can’t be a coincidence that the district is overhauling its Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction department — which “wave” would this be? — though few details have come through official channels about the reasons for the reorganization, how many jobs will be eliminated, and how it will work. Maybe it will come up tonight.

Betty Olson-Jones, the teachers union president, said about 20 teachers-on-special-assignment who are part of that department got May 15 consolidation letters, and that they might be reassigned to the classroom. I’ve also heard that staff in that department had to reapply for their jobs.

Olson-Jones said Maria Santos, the deputy superintendent for instruction, leadership and equity-in-action, told her she wanted to move quickly after the teacher convention to change the way the district does professional development. While teachers had many suggestions for improving PD, Olson-Jones said, “Teachers didn’t say to destroy the LCI department,”

“I can’t figure it out,” she said. “They only thing they’ve told me is they need to reorganize the department to align it with the strategic plan.” (Which, she noted, has yet to be approved by the school board.)

Do you understand what’s happening? Tell us about it.

Here is the full budget presentation. Skip to page 14 to find the OUSD budget info.

Proposed OUSD budget, 2011-12

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sam Davis

    Katy,
    Please write about the cuts to Family Literacy and Adult Education. Our extremely effective program is being decimated. Many teachers are being laid off and only a few of us have any hope of being rehired on a part-time basis for next year, plus there are a large number who are taking early retirement and won’t be replaced. The families we serve are devastated. The 80% cut to Adult Ed this year is on top of the 60% cut that we got last year. It is a real tragedy.
    Thanks for all that you do.

  • Leslie

    Maybe someone can answer these questions. I have not completed reading the updated district plan and honestly, I do get lost in both the length and vagueness, however, I have been told it includes many new positions, including a mandate for schools to hire site directors(not the principal). Is someone able to confirm that information? Also, it seems that principals have an end of year overnight retreat in Santa Cruz. Where does that money come from?

  • livegreen

    One thing to note is how little Central Office Operations has been reduced compared to site based. This is a shame! I understand there have been little to no salary and comp cuts to OUSD Administrators because they think it would risk losing them. To which I ask:

    -Is salary and benefits the only reason they stay here?
    -Is this really even true? (Where are the salary comparisons to prove it)?
    -Even if it is true, are other districts hiring so much that it would impact us?

    -Referring to my first point, is pay your only ethos to b doing hard work in Oakland? No, it isn’t? Then why cut sites and central svcs to sites so much more than Central Office Operations?

    What about teachers and parents? You think we love putting up with all the constant hard work and risk of merely living in this City? And you wonder why people vote with their feet.

    Yes, Lamorinda does sound pretty nice right now. Even though our school is improving, the District doesn’t seem to notice or care. Especially when a school is in the middle. Doesn’t have the private money that hills schools have, or the extra public money that the flatlands schools have. (Esp. when you dip below 50% FRL they take it all away, as if that suddenly magically beamed the school to Montclair).

    I might yet take back the consistency argument I made in support of Tony before…

  • J.R.

    Sam and Livegreen,

    The sad truth is the taxpayers are being denied the benefit of their own tax money( the education of our children)to benefit the new elite. It’s very simple, everyone knows what teachers do every day and how crucial they are, but would we even know or care if central office people were gone and only the most crucial people kept. There is a lot of money going down a hole somewhere, because it’s not ending up in the classroom where it should.

  • Ms G

    As I skimmed through the budget presentation, my main take-away was: Good Dads. Clearly the author of the presentation deliberately decided to include many random, positive pictures of men with children (or animated lion daddy with lion cub). I don’t really understand how that is related to the budget. Anyone? If the purpose of including these photos was to distract from the sad budget figures, it worked for me.

  • Cranky Teacher

    OUSD should hire 10 forensic accountants to track down all the waste and theft that happens every day. Right now I am trying to track down 3K in equipment that never made it from the warehouse to our site. I can’t tell you how many hours I waste on this kind of crap.

  • Frustrated and fed up

    I work in LCI and I have two kids in OUSD. I’ve been here for two decades and this year is the most dysfunctional in a long, long time. You really should do some investigation of what’s going on with this “re-org” and of the decision making policies in the central office. It’s horrifying.

    I was so hopeful that Tony would be able to turn things around, but our district now feels more hopeless than ever. He speaks all about building relationships and bringing people together to do this work, yet his actions are completely different. He is not interested in what’s going on in Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, and he’s allowed Maria Santos free reign, with some scary consequences. He does not respond to emails or calls to find out what’s going on or engage in this situation. It’s very, very sad.

    So many amazing educators from Oakland have left this year, many more are about to resign. Tony does not seem to care (and has said that more or less). We are losing so much institutional memory, experience, passion and commitment. I am also leaving to go to a district where I feel I can apply my skills and make an impact on kids. I will also pull my children out of OUSD.

    And yes – all jobs within LCI were “consolidated,” and everyone had to re-apply for their jobs. Their managers are doing the hiring, and want to re-hire everyone. Although Maria will have final say, it seems. It’s very vague, lots of rumors running that she wants to bring in her people, and she changes her mind every three days about the process and how decisions will be made. All the managers also have to re-apply for their jobs – they have no idea if they’ll be re-hired. It’s been incredibly humiliating, distracting, demoralizing, and insulting.

    As I said, although I care deeply about this city and it’s students, and I have given two decades of my life to working here, and I wanted to send my kids through public school, I’m done. I really wish Tony showed more interest in what is going on; with all he knows and with his background and experiences, I expected so much more of him. I also teach credentialing students at a local university; I will no longer encourage them to come and teach in this district.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Dear Frustrated and Fed Up,

    While I’m sure it is grounded in real experience, I question your perspective when it is so reactive. You are pulling your kids AND telling future teachers not to work here based on how your department cutbacks are being handled during the worst budget crisis anybody still working in education can remember?

    Wow. If we teachers reacted that way to the insane administrative turnover we ROUTINELY experience, we’d never hang in there.

    Cue: Nextset telling me I should have quit a long time ago.

  • J.R.

    Question,
    Can someone outline and specify what LCI is and does on a daily basis? What are the practical applications, and what is the defined purpose?

  • HR

    Regarding budget. There are many area with budget excess, however, I was very surprised that OUSD decided to save money by cutting the hot water in schools. Classrooms and restrooms no longer have hot water. How much does this save and does it offset any health issues.