The families at East Oakland’s Lazear Elementary School have come to a decision, says parent leader Olga Galaviz Gonzalez: If the Oakland school board votes to close it next year, as Superintendent Tony Smith has recommended, they will try to reopen it as a public, independently-run charter school.
“We’ve been working on it,” Gonzalez said about the charter school petition.
Lazear’s school board representative, Noel Gallo, says he opposes the closure and that he is no longer interested in selling the property. He says that if the board votes to close the school on Oct. 26, he would support the charter petition.
I wrote about Lazear in the spring of 2010, when the parents went out on strike, unhappy with the principal and one teacher in particular. I revisited the school a year later — in April –and found a much happier, academically-focused place.
Now, Lazear is on a list of five elementary schools slated for closure, along with Lakeview, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe. Its state test scores, though lower than neighboring schools, rose 27 points to 714.
“That school has turned around, and now we want to close it,” Gallo said.
Lazear’s enrollment on the 20th day of school was 248, though it might have been higher without district interference, Gallo said. The school board trustee said the student assignment office directed some families to other schools at the beginning of the school year, saying Lazear was about to close or that it was full.
“They were being told, `Lazear isn’t taking more kids,'” he said.
I’ve heard of this happening before, at other schools being considered for closure.
From a news release Lazear parents sent out today:
…Lazear in particular has been an ugly stepchild of the
District and during the past ten years the parents have had to go on
strike twice due to problems at the school, which the District chose
Now the District wants to close Lazear, but parents are still fighting
for their beloved school. Tonight parents will run this meeting and
the District can choose to support this school or Lazear will go
The school board discusses the issue Wednesday night at a 5 p.m. meeting to be held in the Castlemont High School auditorium, 8601 MacArthur Blvd.