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An unwanted fresh start, midyear

By Katy Murphy
Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 8:23 pm in budget, students, teachers.

Staff Photojournalist

Today, I wrote about the practice of moving teachers from school to school, weeks into the school year, to balance the budget. It’s happening to five Oakland teachers this year, including Breianna Davis, shown above with her kindergarten students at Carl B. Munck Elementary School. Next week, she’ll be at another school, and her 22 students will be divided among the remaining kindergarten and first-grade teachers at Munck.

Three other elementary schools will undergo a similar adjustment: Bella Vista (which is losing two teachers), Laurel and Community United. All but one are kindergarten teachers.

According to Brigitte Marshall, the district’s new director of HR, the original list of consolidations was at least three times as long. Troy Flint, the district spokesman, said 400 fewer students enrolled than expected (and 28 fewer at Munck), creating a $1.4 million deficit. As I’ve written before, many families don’t show up on the first day — or even the first week — of school, which makes it hard to make staffing changes early in the school year. They rely on a count taken on Day 20, which is in late September.

But I imagine such explanations make little sense to the teachers and families making this kind of adjustment on the eighth week of school.

Stay tuned for a guest blog post from a teacher at Bella Vista.

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  • Ms. J.

    Katy,
    Thank you for writing about this. I don’t have anything to add but hope people will get a chance to read the guest blog with one of our teacher’s reflections in consolidation and how destructive it is.
    Meanwhile, I have heard that a new AIPCS will be opening on October 30th. Can this be true? Do you know anything about it?
    Ms. J.

  • Katy Murphy

    I’m almost positive OUSD hasn’t approved a new AIM charter, and I doubt a new school would open in October anyway. Maybe it’s moving to a new building. I’ll check into it.

  • del

    There are more teachers than that changing schools. An elementary school actually added a position, and the teacher who was previously consolidated from that school chose to return to it last week. Another elementary lost a position, and that teacher ended up replacing the first teacher who chose to go back the the site they worked at last year. All in all, three schools were affected.