Oakland school district officials have said for years that the district runs too many schools — 101 for 38,000 students.
Superintendent Tony Smith has been judicious with his use of the `C’ word, though he’s blamed some of the district’s financial challenges — and its relatively low teacher pay — on the number of schools in the district.
Now, his staff have come up with a complex ranking system (link below) for choosing which schools to close or merge. The school board votes on the criteria tomorrow, during its 5 p.m. meeting. The closure list would be announced at the end of October, according to GO Public schools. It’s unclear from the presentation how many there would be, but I’ll let you know when I find out.
A slide on Page 6 of the presentation compares OUSD’s enrollment and number of schools to other districts. The Oakland school district has 71 percent more schools than Stockton (which has 59) and almost three times as many as Clovis (which has 36); both districts have the same number of students as OUSD, according to that analysis.
The plan calls for an emphasis on neighborhood schools and takes into account population density. Schools that are being reconfigured or merged this year would not be considered for closure under this plan, nor would the schools — such as McClymonds — that are participating in the district’s STEM initiative. I’ve asked for a list of those schools.
For the remaining schools, the district will create three separate rankings: performance (test score growth); school choice (demand for a school in the Options process), and fiscal health, which includes such measures as attendance rates, suspension rates and chronic truancy. It will also consider whether closing any of the schools that rank low on the list would pose a major challenge for special education students.
Our blogs are having technical difficulties, but you can find the link to the presentation here. What do you think of this approach?