How many schools are in OUSD, anyway?

The number 101 (as in “101 schools for 38,000 kids”) has a catchy ring to it, but how accurate is OUSD’s school closure talking point?

Board member Noel Gallo raised the issue last night, saying he’s seen totals in the mid-90s. A parent just asked about it too, wanting to get the number right for an editorial. It’s not a figure you can round very easily.

A school enrollment spreadsheet I requested from the district lists a total of 99 schools, and that includes Youth Empowerment, a small high school on the King Estates campus that closed in June. (Technically, it’s classified as a proposed merger, but I doubt many students who attended YES would define it that way.)

Maybe the disputed figure actually supports the argument that OUSD has more schools than it can manage — no one seems to be quite sure exactly how many that is!

Katy Murphy

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

  • Yasmin Anwar

    I’m glad you brought this up. Our group of Kaiser parents have been counting the schools on the OUSD website and we keep coming to the same number: 98. Are there three schools that we’re missing, anyone? We really need to get an accurate number nailed down, for the sake of credibility.

  • Monica Yu

    I’d like to think a little deeper about how OUSD has been using the “101 schools for 38,000 students” phrase in comparison to other districts. Do the other cities we’re compared to have similar demographics to Oakland? Do they offer the same kind of alternative programs (MetWest, Oakland International High, etc.)? Do they also have small schools on shared campuses, counted separately?

    OUSD has not considered consolidation of small schools that share a campus (such as ACORN Woodland / EnCompass Academy). The reasoning goes that doing so would not save much money, since such schools often already share many resources (libraries, cafeterias, after-school programs). That makes sense, but if these shared sites are less expensive to run, then we don’t really operate 101 (or even 98 or 95) independent schools. Used comparatively, the number 101 seems inflated and misleading to me. And, Oakland is a unique city with unique needs. Maybe we should think more about what works for Oakland and less about comparisons with other districts!

  • Teacher

    My friend who works for as an administrator for MDUSD swears there are close to 90 schools in that district if continuation and alternative schools are counted … could it be that OUSD is not comparing apples and apples? (The district web site says there are just 55 schools in MDUSD.)

  • Katy Murphy

    That’s a good question. I’ll try to find out.

  • Katy Murphy

    I counted 56 schools in MDUSD on to this list from the CDE. The list includes a number of continuation schools: http://bit.ly/qpbdoP

  • Jake

    This OUSD publication lists 102 schools:

    But I’m guessing when they use the “101 for 38k” line, they are excluding either Home & Hospital (a program, not a school, though I don’t know if it’s listed on CBDEDs or counted distinctly for NCLB), or Gateway to College, which may or may not serve students within the 38k, depending on who’s counting and why.
    Temporary Alternative Center might also be the non-school school, I suppose…

    By way of explaining other numbers, here’s several more ways the count can get weird, depending on your definitions/spreadsheet:
    -Advance Path (Accelerated remediation at Castlemont Campus)–not widely known, not always listed
    -Bunche & Rudsdale are sometimes listed as having both an Academy and a Continuation school
    -K-8 Schools are sometimes counted once, sometimes twice. Melrose Leasership Academy is probably the most frequent case.
    -Sojourner Truth & Independent Study are sometimes considered to be different entities
    -Castlemont has 5 schools now, with the addition of Freshman Prep Academy (and if you remember to count Advance Path)
    -Some state lists include schools with no students either as funding placeholders, or because there are still previously attending students elsewhere in the dataset, or just because they haven’t been deleted yet

  • anon

    Advance Path is no longer on the Castlemont campus. It moved up the hill to former YES.

  • Stacey

    This is a tangential but related post. Just to provide another list of sites to count (and more): we’ve uploaded a list of 2011-12 OUSD Special Education Programs Pre-K to Adult. The list is of school sites and of the programs at each site. It was provided at the last OUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education meeting. It’s on our wiki at http:oaklandcac.pbworks.com on the “Meeting Presentation Materials and Handouts” page (http://oaklandcac.pbworks.com/w/page/35184141/Meeting%20Presentation%20Materials%20and%20Handouts). Anyone should be able to view or download the document which is in pdf form. Our next CAC meeting is Nov. 7th from 6:30 – 8:30pm at Sankofa Academy and the final count of the number of schools may remain unresolved but we will be talking about special education programs at our schools — what there is and what we as a community think we need.

  • Special Education Parent

    Thanks Stacey for sharing this information with the community.

    I am still trying to understand how the Special Education numbers figure in the larger conversation about the number of students served per total sites.

    I can’t vouch for the the accuracy of the information on the OUSD website but this is their quote about the number of students served: “Oakland Unified has more than 5,000 identified Special Education students, and the Special Education Office conducts about 7,000 Individual Education Programs (IEPs) each year.” How do these 5,000 to 7,000 figure within the oft-repeated 38,000?

    Our students and the programs/classrooms/schools that support them are often invisible in discussions about (re)designing our district and maximizing resources. And we also often need to remind folks that there are students with Special Needs in every classroom and school in OUSD. Some of them are supported by their Special Day classrooms; some of them learn in general education classrooms.

    I would like to hear how Special Ed considerations figured in the final recommendations made by the Superintendent. Special Ed was mentioned in the criteria, but how exactly did it play a role in the decisions made.

    (Perhaps Katy could help us figure that out.)

    Stacy: Again, thanks for the information!

  • Request

    Could you add the link “Read the rest of this entry” to this article?


  • Katy Murphy

    I’m afraid that’s all she wrote! If you want to see all of the comments beneath the blog post, click on the headline or the comments link. Or maybe I’m not understanding your request.

  • Makeitgoaway

    That’s 101 principals at $135,000 salary and benefits minimum plus 200 VPs at a cost of $100,000 cost and benefits each (and I am probably low). Oakland should have no more than 40 schools based on student population.

    Katy does OUSD pay a bonus to the superintendent and individual principals based on performance like Alameda does?

  • OaklandPrincipal

    Here are the numbers for teachers, APs, and Principals.

    OUSD Principal Salaries: 72-100k
    HaywardUSD Principal Salaraies: 95-127k
    FremontUSD: Principal Salaries: 101-155k

    OUSD Assistant Principals: 60-85k
    HaywardUSD Assistant Principal: 87-113k
    FremontUSD Assistant Principal:101-140k

    OUSD Teacher Sal: 39-71k (186 days)
    HaywardUSD Teacher Sal: 56-93k (196 days)
    HaywardUSD Teacher Sal: 52-86k (182 days)
    FremontUSD Teacher Sel: 54-99k




  • Jesse James

    Those OUSD numbers do not include benefits. I am not sure if the Fremont and Hayward numbers do. The question listed above asked about giving bonuses for raising test scores. I have never heard of that. Does anyone know about such a thing? By the way, usernames have no meaning. I could easily sign in as “superintendent” next time. If you want to add validity and “power” to your responses and username then use your real identity!

  • OaklandPrincipal

    OUSD and Hayward have same benefit set-up. Fremont doesn’t pay medical; they give the money to employees (as of 1/1/97) and let them buy their own.

    @JesseJames, these are just facts. How people interpret them is up to them. Constituencies will interpret things according to their agenda, but the facts are the facts.

    My post was a response to this: “101 principals at $135,000 salary and benefits minimum plus 200 VPs at a cost of $100,000 cost and benefits each”

    a 20 year veteran principal with a Phd leading the district’s largest high school will top out at 100k… which is right around where new principals start in Hayward/Fremont.

    Teachers, APs, Principals, clerical staff, librarians, custodians are all lagging behind their peers in neighboring districts. Not sure why that is. Don’t care. It is what it is and we all choose to work here of our own free will. But the perception of our pay ($135k!!!) is pretty funny.

  • Teacher

    Another problem with Makeitgoaway’s post … Not every one of the so-called 101 OUSD schools have two vice principals, and some have none.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Most elementary schools in OUSD do not have AP’s.

    Hayward USD does not include health benefits in their compensation packets; employees can buy their own from the district. Otherwise, OaklandPrincipal is correct: OUSD principals are low paid as compared to neighboring districts, just like our teachers. That is why they have had such a hard time getting applicants for Skyline. No one wanted to take on such a large high school with a history of chewing up and spitting out the admin, when the salary is so low.

  • Makeitgoaway

    That’s salary plus benefits. Don’t you know what your benefits are Oaklandprincipal? Normally they run 25% to 35% above salary. Hope you didn’t get that Phd. In economics.

    Oakland principals should be low paid compared to other districts. There are too many of them with small schools doing a horrendous job- same with Hayward. and those are just the “facts” based on CST scores, dropout rate, school violence statistics, SAT, and math and reading level scores. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • http://PetervonEhrenkrook Peter von Ehrenkrook

    This evening, October 18, 2011, I attended the Oakland Unified Facilities Meeting and received some answers to questions I have been asking over the last few weeks.

    It seems the Sankofa site is not restricted by a will solely for use as a public school. The neighboring Bushrod facility is restricted. In addition, there has been $8,802,811.00 approved for renovations of the Sankofa site. While I do not doubt this may be necessary, that amount of money is the more than four times what is being touted as the cost saved through the five proposed school closures.

    I asked the Facilities Committee what criteria are used for allowing a school to go K-8, and I hope to receive a response. David Montes de Oca informed the staff of Santa Fe today through Principal Guzman that our application was never received. He also indicated that it would never have been approved. I asked the Facilities Committee to clarify how this judgement was made if an application was never received.

    It is still a mystery to us how our former principal and Board President Jody London failed to follow through on this application after our April 12, 2011 School Site Council meeting, in which President London recommended we improve our student population by going K-8.

    I made two other statements to the OUSD Facilities Committee. First, Santa Fe has a shut down but fully operable CDC facility, as well as a vacated Adult School complex on the Santa Fe site which would provide ample space for expansion to a K-8 with no extra cost to the district. These spaces could and should be used to increase our incoming student population. By the way, the district has spent $16 million on building and renovating other CDCs, according to a report made at tonight’s meeting. Secondly, we are a QEIA school, whose yearly funding of $204,388.64 will not follow our staff if we are transferred to new sites. In terms of fiscal responsibility, these should be major factors in the board’s decision regarding the closure of Santa Fe.