The Oakland school district might be finished downsizing

Staff Photojournalist
photo by Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

I meant to post this story sooner: OUSD’s school closure process — which was supposed to last for two to three years and shrink the district by 20-30 schools — will likely stop after the first round, when the district is a dozen schools smaller than it was last fall.

District officials say the target changed because they are projecting a balanced budget for 2012-13, one without a structural deficit for the first time in more than a decade. You can find the story through the above link and read up on the district’s latest budget report here. The financial report will be presented at tomorrow night’s 5 p.m. board meeting.

P.S. Some have asked whether, in light of this development, OUSD will once again use adult education funding for adult education. California school districts are now — at least, for the time being — allowed to use the once-protected funding stream for any purpose, and many have spent it on k-12 programs. OUSD eliminated its large high school diploma program and its adult ESL classes, with the exception of Family Literacy, among others. I’ve submitted your queries; so far, however, I’ve heard no talk about rebuilding adult ed.

Two related school closure issues:

On March 28, the school board discusses what to do with the closed school buildings. OUSD spokesman Troy Flint said the district is considering moving the offices (including the Family and Community Office) now located on 2111 International to Lakeview Elementary, one of the five elementary schools slated to close in June.

UPDATE: Flint initially thought the future use of Lakeview and other closed school buildings was on the March 28 agenda, but it’s not. I’ll let you know when I find out more.

– Flint also confirmed what some have posted here on this blog: oversubscription of the high-performing Crocker Highlands Elementary School. Because of the boundary expansion made after the closure of nearby Lakeview, some children in the Crocker neighborhood were not admitted to their home school. Flint wouldn’t provide numbers today, but said district staff are meeting on Friday to discuss the problem. (Sue Woerhle, an OUSD veteran who retired from the district almost five years ago, is once again in charge of the student assignment process.) In light of Crocker’s oversubscription, I’m puzzled by a statement in a proposed board resolution, which would amend a zoning oversight by adding one side of a street to the Crocker attendance area. I’m not saying the change itself doesn’t make sense — just noting that the resolution ignores the problem at hand.

I’ve bolded it below:

On January 11, 2012, the Board of Education approved school attendance boundary changes as a
result of the school restructuring decision made by the Board of Education on October 26, 2011.
Included in those approved changes was the Crocker Highlands Elementary attendance area.
Subsequent analysis by staff following the January 11, 2012 has determined that Trestle Glen
Road, which traverses the interior of the Crocker Highlands Elementary attendance area,
currently hosts one block where only those addresses on one side (even numbers) is included in
the Crocker Highlands Elementary attendance area. The remaining section of the block (odd
numbers) of Trestle Glen Road resides in the Glen View attendance area.
The staff recommendation addresses this anomaly by adjusting the Crocker Highlands
Elementary attendance area to include the odd-numbered addresses on Trestle Glen Road as
reflected in the attached map and list of affected addresses. Staff has determined that the
inclusion of the affected addresses is not likely to cause an undue burden on the enrollment
demands of Crocker Highlands Elementary attendance area. Signatures have been received by
the district from a majority of the residence affected agreeing with the proposed change.

Are other schools facing similar over-enrollment issues? What should the district do about it?


Katy Murphy

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

  • J.R.

    Some good news!

  • livegreen

    God forbid those kids might have to go to Glenview…

    Of course Glenview is another overenrolled school.

    Which brings up another issue. For these two or other overenrolled schools, OUSD is not compensating them for the higher # of students they enroll.

    If more kids go to these schools than expected OUSD does NOT adjust their pass-through funding to them. Instead OUSD is reallocating this money to under enrolled schools.

    Some might call this misappropriation of funds. Some might call this something else…

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    The District has already begun its repairs of Lakeview. They know full well what they are going to do, so why discuss it? They went in PAINTING while students were in class, exposing students to those nauseating fumes. Then when it was objected to, the offenders acted as though they were making the repairs for “the students” . Many of these repairs and such should and could have been done last year, last summer, or last weekend, but not while teachers are teaching and STUDENTS are present.
    Why does everyone like to pretend that there is no real plan for these closed schools. They were chosen for a reason, We the People, just have not been told yet. Transparency……
    And What is OVERSUBSCRIPTION? Overenrollment? Why not put another portable on their yard if they need another classroom? hm?

  • Katy Murphy

    Joel Velasquez, a Lakeview parent, said that in addition to the flurry of repairs (including one that, he said, was not requested by school staff and damaged a mural in the auditorium), some district employees have been visiting classrooms to check out the space and ask questions about the possible office relocation, which has upset parents and teachers.

    By the way (in case your question wasn’t rhetorical!), oversubscription means more applicants than spots. A school could be oversubscribed, but not overenrolled — or it could be both. I don’t know what the case is at Crocker, but adding a kindergarten class is typically more involved than adding a portable. Depending on the school’s class sizes in the upper grades and future enrollment trends, it could mean adding a class, eventually, at each grade level. That might be under consideration though.

  • On the Fence

    On Nov. 18th Katy posted a blog about redrawing the boundaries after the school closures. Although there were 3 distinct proposals, Crocker Highlands was proposed to have same expanded catchment area in each proposal. I posted my strong concerns that the new area would render an oversubscription to this very desireable public elementary school. The worse case scenario, in my opinion, was to create another Hillcrest or Redwood Heights fiasco whereby there are not enough spaces in the local elementary school for all of the families, thus alienating a functioning community.

    I am disgusted that the district has again foregone common sense and created a NEW problem in an area that was thriving and had a high functioning public school. How is it that citizens such as myself and others could easily predict the problem with oversubscription to Crocker Elementary while the paid officials (presumably with data and training) could not?!?

    The problem is this; families in this neighborhood have invested time, money, and their children to this thriving public school. Perhaps they did not buy in Hillcrest or Redwood Heights to avoid the known issue with overenrollment in those areas. Perhaps they strained themselves financially to move to this particular area in order to avail themselves to the local school, knowing that they would not have to spend on private education. They now face an uncertainty that was CREATED by OUSD and was easily avoided.

    Some of the families in this area do have the means to choose a home purchase in Piedmont, Lamorinda, or to send their kids to private. Others may opt for charters. Why, oh why would OUSD put stress on a high performing school and alienate families some of whom can opt out? Nextset has been adamant that OUSD is only in the business of running ghetto schools, and will eventually serve a population with no means of escape. Livegreen tells us that OUSD keeps alienating the middle class. Damn right! In my opinion, this is a royal mess manufactured by OUSD. Thanks Tony Smith! Good going OUSD!!!!

  • Adams Point Mama

    Like everyone else, I’m not surprised about Crocker. Didn’t anyone in OUSD consider this obvious outcome?

    Another question — I had heard rumors that Kaiser mighr relocate to Lakeview. That would make a whole lot more sense than turning into district offices. Anyone hear more about that?

  • AH

    Katy, I would love to see data about which schools were chosen by students from the closing schools. I did hear that almost everyone got their first choice (as they should have). Is it possible to track that down?

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    What is the enrollment of Crocker?
    Why can’t Crocker expand?
    Why is it more complicated than adding a portable?
    Why is expansion a solution and adding portables a solution at other sites, but it is not a solution for Crocker?

  • Harold

    Crocker Highlands is really locked in. There is no parking, other that the street. The students don’t need their playground shortened – by adding portables. This mess didn’t need to happen. Why our Superintendent wants screw around with this wonderful neighborhood school, is really puzzling to me. We bought our home (a block from the campus), because of the school and the FAMILIES who make it such a great school. These changes may lead to more neighborhood kids attending Corpus Christy or Charters.

    Bad move Mr. Smith!

  • On the Fence

    I’m not in the know for all of the questions asked, but I can give my opinion as to why a portable would be a very poor option. Space is at a premium on the very small campus at Crocker. I don’t think that a portable would fit and still allow the school to have enough of a yard space for the kids who attend need space for lunch, recess and PE. The building and campus is quite compact.

    Furthermore, the school’s popularity has grown in the past few years such that many more of the neighborhood families are sending their children to Crocker than before. I would assume that the incoming K classes reflect a greater number of neighborhood kids than in years past when there were more spaces for out of neighborhood children. If that is true, then that data should have been available to officials who were thinking about how much to expand the boundaries. I believe that is accurate. The point of more neighborhood kids is just to look at what type of capacity existed for pushing the boundary.

    I have said before that ‘the more the merrier’, but only up to the point where you create a situation such as that of Redwood Heights and Hillcrest.

    I do not believe that creating uncertainty for existing families or making neighborhood kids opt for schools in other areas of Oakland is reasonable just because OUSD did not use common sense or care in creating these new boundaries.

    I sense that there is some question by Lisa that suggests that I am asking for special treatment for Crocker. I am only pointing out that the redrawn boundaries penalize all the families in the newly drawn Crocker area. Uncertainty is toxic and stressful for any family. Many families have made very, very careful choices to ensure the education of their kids. OUSD has made a horrible error, in my opinion.

    It seems pretty cavalier and thoughtless to suggest that local families just suck it up and add portables.

  • OUSD Parent

    Crocker does not have the real estate to expand its enrollment. Lisa, have you seen that campus? It’s not big enough to add another portable. I’ve seen this issue come up several times when enrollment is discussed on this site. Several of the high performing hills schools in the hills (Hillcrest, Thornhill, Crocker) don’t have room or space to expand. The one campus that I know of that does have the real estate, Montclair Elementary, is being expanded and built out to support more students.

    There are a lot of elementary schools in Oakland that have large areas that can house additional portables but Crocker is not one of them.

  • Katy Murphy

    UPDATE: OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint initially thought the future use of Lakeview and other closed school buildings was on the March 28 agenda, but it’s not. I’ll let you know when I find out more about when those discussions will take place.

  • Wishful Thinking

    After reading posts last fall and sharing the same concerns as On The Fence, we were trying to stay optimistic about the Crocker boundary extensions given that our oldest is due to enter K in the fall. The OUSD and the school principal during tours seemed to reassure everyone that they had it “under control” even though we had already heard stories last year of neighborhood families having to appeal to get in. (Maybe they’ll have to have to add another K class, maybe there won’t be as many families applying, etc. etc.)

    Well, letters went out last week and although we were accepted into Crocker for kindergarten, there are a number of families, who live in the ORIGINAL Crocker catchment area, who were not accepted. I hear that a total of 18 families were grouped together and told they had to go to Cleveland – none had listed it as a choice. Many of these students lived 1, 2 and 3 blocks from the school – crazy!!! This is completely unfair given that residents of Crocker Highlands pay a premium in home prices and property taxes to live in the neighborhood BECAUSE OF THE SCHOOL, whether people want to acknowledge it or not. It is unconscionable that OUSD would allow it to happen – EVERYONE saw it coming. This will happen again next year and the year after until OUSD decides to admit they were wrong and restore the boundaries.

    Lastly, I was also shocked to see the language associated with tonight’s board meeting agenda item further extending out the crocker boundaries:
    Staff has determined that the inclusion of the affected addresses is not likely to cause an undue burden on the enrollment demands of Crocker Highlands Elementary attendance area.
    What the hell is wrong with these people???

  • livegreen

    It’s not just OUSD that keeps alienating the middle class. The City of Oakland is even worse. In turn this undermines the tax base and makes it harder to pay for services for everyone (incl. the poor) AND functioning schools. But that’s another story…

  • livegreen

    Question: Is the overcrowding of Crocker due to the expansion of their catchment area, or because school’s closing went through a special early Options process? Or both together?

    Those are different, but of course the results are the same. The problem is this now going to be a fiasco for somebody. My question: was Options Enrollment speaking to Facilities speaking to the Rexo’s?

    What did the Board Member representing this area know, and what did Board Members approve?

    Either there was a major communications lap that occurred somewhere, or some folks made some really bad decisions, or there’s an ulterior motive we don’t necessarily know about yet.

    Either way, and in summary, it seems like an extreme lapse in judgement (& I’m being nice) to commit to school closures because of under enrollment only to create an over enrolled school.

    Not only does it defeat the facts on the ground. It defeats their entire argument (one that many of us had believed).

  • Public School Supporter

    Reading this discussion has brought out the public school curmudgeon in me.

    Why would anyone think that buying a home in a particular school zone guaranteed their child’s future enrollment in that school? Especially in a district like Oakland where the “desireable” schools are acknowledged to be such a scarce commodity. I mean, one hopes to send one’s child to a neighborhood school, and of course stability is better than uncertainty, but it is also the case that our urban school district has a lot of needy schools– some dynamism and change (including closing schools, redrawing zone boundaries) may be ultimately a good thing. Maybe not a good thing for individual families, but I don’t understand the general air of outrage at the district from people who don’t seem to be personally affected.

    To me, what is “unconscionable” is that we as a community allow inequities to exist to the extent that many relatively privileged parents consider a majority of OUSD schools to be unacceptable for their children. (I know there is no easy solution to that problem.)

    As far as I know, families whose children already attend Crocker, or those who have a sibling attending Crocker, were not denied spots, just new families. In fact, the parents I know who didn’t get in to Crocker got into a good, close by school (Cleveland). They will therefore have plenty of opportunity to invest “time, money and their children” in a neighborhood school. I don’t see any reason why Crocker and Cleveland can’t continue to thrive.

  • OUSD Parent

    Public School Supporter, Cleveland is a good school but it is a couple of miles away from Crocker. I completely understand the upset when a child could potentially walk to school with other neighborhood kids but instead must be driven to a different neighborhood. I’m all for public schools, and mixing things up a bit is fine, but I do understand why these Crocker parents and families are upset by what is happening.

  • wdcrachel

    Wow, Public School Supporter, Thank you.

  • Super

    It will be important to understand the nature of the oversubscribed status of Crocker. It could take a few years for some of the spots available to out-of-district sibling students to be freed to students within the district. As I understand it, the first priority students admitted into Crocker are siblings, regardless of whether the family lives in the district or not. Then the priority becomes the new families within the district. I’ve thought the situation will re-balance over time but I already sense that families are drawn to the new parts of the catchment so their kids can enroll into Crocker.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    I do not begrudge Crocker for wanting to keep everything as it were. If portables cannot fit on the yard I understand that. I also get that uncertainty is toxic and stressful for any family. We do not disagree.
    There are specs, ratios and building codes for everything, but not the square footage of playground space for children? I have been to Crocker and it is a very unique space.
    I , however, think it is a bit cavalier and thoughtless to suggest that the inconvenience of a few people not attending their closest school is so huge a concern when whole schools are being closed,hundreds of families are being disenfranchised and portables are being placed on small school yards in many schools to now expand them and absorb the hundreds of children who are being displaced.
    But my questions still were not answered ….
    What is the enrollment of Crocker?
    Why can’t Crocker expand?
    Why is it more complicated than adding a portable?
    Why is expansion a solution and adding portables a solution at other sites, but it is not a solution for Crocker?
    What is the size of the play space available to the children at Crocker and how does that compare to other schools of similar size?

  • Crocker Parent

    I can only give you my unofficial observations and best guesses, but I am a current parent at Crocker (not in the neighborhood) and will give it my best shot.

    When I toured schools, which I did extensively since we were going through options, I
    would say that most, if not all, of the schools I looked at had bigger yards. I did not look at Thornhill, which I think my be smaller, but Peralta,, Kaiser, Carl Munk, Montclair, and Joaquin Miller appeared to have more space. Some of those schools also already had portables. I have no idea if we can fit a portable and still provide adequate space for children to play, but I do believe we are working with a smaller space than is usual. Currently only two grades go to lunch recess at a time which is quite a juggling act, and it’s pretty crowded, especially as the kids get bigger and more active!

    Regarding adding one kindergarten class. While we may be able to find space for them, unless you add teachers at every grade (which obviously we don’t have the space or budget for),there is the problem of four full kindergarten classed going into three classes in 1st and 2nd grade. Last year we lost one teacher and went to two larger third grade classes. Currently we have more second graders than can fit in two classes (approx 75). I’m not sure how the school is going to handle that at this point, but I think it’s going to have to be addressed before hiring another kindergarten teacher.

    I not sure exactly what the enrollement is, but I think it’s gone up over 380. It has gone up every year we’ve been there. I’m not really offering an opinion, but trying to answer the questions Lusa asked as best I can. I don’t have a dog in this fight as my kids are enrolled and we don’t live in the neighborhood. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there are even that many outside of the boundery kindergarteners coming in. Maybe a handful at most. Certainly not 18! I am pretty frustrated that OUSD is once again causing uncertainty and stress due to poor planning. They had to know that Crocker couldn’t absorb that entire catchment area.

  • liza lyons


    Portables are being added to other sites? We were told that OUSD was trying to end reliance on portables. We were told that we cannot consider more portables.

    Where is OUSD adding portables?

  • AH

    I’ll bet those neighborhood families who were denied a spot at Crocker would be happy to have a portable.

  • AH

    Regarding too many kids per grade at Crocker–

    Peralta is a small school, smaller than Crocker. They are VERY creative about how they divide up the kids, including split grades, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea. But it seems to work at Peralta. Out of 11 classes, four are split grades. All are at full capacity (which means 31 kids per class in 4th and 5th grade). We have portables on a very tiny campus. We also have two grades at a time having lunch. Peralta’s gotten creative about how to handle full enrollment on a small campus–with much success.

  • Super

    Another question that might shed some light on the situation. Did parents of the disenfranchised students coming from one of the closed schools (e.g. Lakeview) receive special priority in the options process to place their students in the school of choice? And if so, did many pick Crocker?

    More data would be nice. At a minimum, OUSD owes an explanation to the Crocker-area families assigned to Cleveland.

  • Kaisermamaof1

    To Adams Point Mama
    That was a misleading and non-factual rumor circulated earlier in the year by the publicly elected branch of the OUSD.
    Proving the point, that rumor and innuendo will persist and people will repeat and believe them, despite being untrue well past the time when these rumors should be believed.

  • schoolfriend

    Tony made sure his children attended Crocker before his fiasco. Perhaps if his suggested changes affected his kids he’d think differently.

  • DogintheFight

    I have a child enrolled at Crocker, and my comment has more to do with the duplicitous culture of OUSD that lends to the stress many other bloggers have mentioned. I am just blowing off steam.

    Ours, and several of our friends’ families were overtly lied to about boundaries and enrollment in Crocker, Glenview, and Kaiser two years ago that led to our enrolling in private school initially. We all reapplied early the following year and got in, but that experience left a bad taste in our mouths, and a whole lot of suspicion toward OUSD.

    The one good thing that’s come out of this disgusting train wreck is that we are all aware and talking about it now. Hopefully, we also will deflect our frustration at closer and more democratic reviews of any new propositions for legislation before we vote on them at the polls, and hold accountable the appropriate persons, be they the Superintendent or others who determine the marching orders for our city.

  • kellor

    How does one or OSUD decide what the Crocker neighborhood boundries should be?
    We live at the 3 houses off the Crocker boundires before Lakeview closed?
    We live just at the Lakeshore end of Trestle Glen.
    When we bought the house 28 years ago we were in the Crocker District. Then some OSUD moved the lines
    Once again it has happened with no real plan in place or awareness of the # of kids
    We have lotteried for Crocker and Edna Brewer and got it in . My 13 year is now off to Tech.
    When she started at Crocker 8 years ago it was a school that very few wanted their children to attend. It took the parents ,staff and kids to build then outstanding school that now everyone wants to get into today.
    WE support Public Schools and have been very impressed at all the schools We want the same for our son
    Yet it has always been a headach to work with in the system and will continue to be
    I have frinds who have moved thru the tunnel . They have bought a house in a near a school they wanted for their child
    Gues what she was sent to a school at the other other end of town as were 12 other kids

    This is a problem not just in Oakland.
    Now with a 4 year old I have no idea where he will end up for K
    While I hope it is our neighborhood school Crocker
    If not then I hope it is in a school such as Cleavland that is on the verge of becoming another great OSUD school for my son.
    I cant with for the sitting Board memebrs to take the action that is really needed to offer our kids a outstanding education.
    It takes each of us . the staff,parents and kids to make that happen.
    crocker,as both times we did the lottery we did not get in to our first choice.
    we had to push and hope for openings at the last minute. We were lucky
    We have alot of soon to be great schools.. lets help build them up to Crocker level.

  • On the Fence

    I am just an ordinary citizen, but here is the solution that I would propose:

    Let all the kids who were let in to Crocker this year attend. In particular, this would not penalize the kids who were displaced by the Lakeview closure. This would allow all those who have already gotten their acceptance letters to attend, and presumably any siblings that they may have coming down the pike.

    Redraw the boundary so that it is larger than the original catchment area, but not so large as to create a shortage of spaces. Spend the effort and resources to understand how the demand for Crocker Highland Elementary is growing, so that we do not underestimate the demand for the school in the newly drawn area.

    Make every effort to accomodate any neighborhood families that were displaced this year, by whatever means are feasible. If there are still families who cannot be accomodated this year, give them first priority for any openings mid year and next year.

    Expand boundaries of nearby schools that have room to accept a greater number of students. For example, if Crocker neighborhood students are being sent to Cleveland, it signifies that Cleveland must have more room.

    Ensure that sufficient research is done so that Cleveland, Piedmont, Lincoln or any other school that can accomodate students does not face a situation similiar to the oversubscription fiasco of Crocker.

    Given that this is just my off the cuff wishful thinking, my ideas may be seriously flawed. I suppose that the real point of my post is that I hope that the district will amend this situation ASAP however they determine is best.

    By the way, Katy. I would like to know if the district is willing to rethink the boundaries of Crocker Highland or if they will let this become yet another problem that families must deal with in this district. Can you find out what the district’s response is to this issue and whether they plan to make any changes? Thanks!

  • Harold

    We need effective leadership from Second Avenue, not politically-correct social engineering.

    Put up a bunch of portables at Crocker and its going to turn into a commuter school.

  • Livegreen

    Either OUSD has bungled this or they’re planning on adding a new building at Crocker.

    I say this both because of my comments above, also because OUSD has bungled enrollment projections for the past few years (school boundaries too), and because adding new portables makes absolutely no sense esp. when their goal in the Facilities Master Plan is to take them out everywhere else. & Crocker is not on the Facilities Master Plan.

    OUSD has repeatedly underprojected increased enrollment at growing schools. The problem is it allocates both student slots AND school budgets based on those faulty projections. Then the school gets oversubscribed and beyond capacity and SURPRISE! the current situation.

    Re. funding the District still gives the school it’s budget based on it’s underenrolled and faulty projections. (Where does that money go? Hint: Equity).

    And that is WITHOUT the increased size of the attendance area.

    Now OUSD is left with a giant Hillcrest style mess on it’s hands. Go figure.

    It’s time for OUSD to reform how it does projections. & get them & mapping to pick up the phone. That’s what it’s there for…

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    @ 22
    The District will be placing portables at schools slated for expansion.
    No one is asking for “political correct”ness… how about morality.

    I had to laugh….who said Crocker was taking in any families displaced by Lakeview’s closure?

  • Crocker Parent

    I heard there are 8 Lakeview students who have chosen Crocker as their school. They would not be kindergarteners though. I suppose they could have younger siblings who are entering kindergarten though who could get sibling priority.

  • Livegreen

    Lakeview students cab also affect the # of Grade 1-5 classes, thereby possibly decreasing the # of Kinder classes, all in a finite space. 8 students won’t make an extra class by themselves but combined with other high #’s might force a “tipping point” or a split level class.

    Also Lakeviw students might b optioned in. The increased geographic boundary might or might not include them…

  • del

    Hmmm hundreds of minority children are having their schools closed and are being forced to go to new schools. But it appears by many of the above comments that the real problem is that some of them will be going to the fancy hills schools.

    And the idea that paying a lot for house somehow entitles a person to a “better” public education than others is disgusting.

  • Harold

    @Del – paying a lot for a house and coming out of pocket (big time) through the PTA does pay for a lot at slope and hill schools – who don’t get as much money from the district.

    I have a friend who was Principal of a flatland elementary school, a few years ago. He told me flat out that his PTA meetings would get two or three people showing up. That’s not going to pay for: a Librarian, Music Teacher, Computer Teacher, etc. The district -relies- on well to do families ability to supplement all these things at slope/hill schools.

    Buying a house doesn’t guarantee anything – but an active PTA and lots of PTA money does make things happen. Maybe our Superintendent doesn’t “mind” the idea of all that money going to private school tuition, or charters.

    What is “disgusting” is OUSD’s inability to lead from Second Avenue.

  • Nextset

    Del: You are darned right that paying more for a house entitles you to what goes with it – better services including better schools. Why do you think the house (same construction and square footage) is worth more? Expensive Dirt??

    The fact that you don’t like it doesn’t not make it not so.

    Perhaps in this case the buyer of the house made the major miscalculation of buying in Oakland – a failed city. This is why prices are higher for the same house in Piedmont, Bellmont, Orinda and all the other better places. Some of these places are not on a bus line and don’t have a BART station either. Blackhawk anyone??

  • Jim Mordecai


    “Entitled” seems like a legal concept and moving to a high rent zip code can’t legally gain a family their children’s admission to a public school even if it is next door.

    As a lawyer you would better define “entitled” than me.

    My uneducated view in the matter would be that a district might have a policy saying the school next door is filled, in part with students from out of the neighborhood, and their in no room for the neighborhood family’s children. In other words there is not usually today a legal entitlement to attend the neighborhod school. (Wasn’t that in part what the 50’s bussing struggle was about?)

    But, since zip codes normally reflect political power, it is usually a moot point whether there is entitlement as wealth usually prevails.

    Seems like you feel wealth should usually prevail while I believe it should be decided in a political struggle because there is never settled class struggle and no final solution–French Revolution and Pol Pot intolerable solutions not reflective of that struggle. Magna Carte is reflected of that struggle as the Millionare’s tax in my view.

    Jim Mordecai

  • On The Fence

    Del, You wrote, “Hmmm hundreds of minority children are having their schools closed and are being forced to go to new schools. But it appears by many of the above comments that the real problem is that some of them will be going to the fancy hills schools.”

    Whoa, hang on there! Why must this conversation devolve into an accusation of racism? Seems like an attempt to shut down the conversation and shut down those with a different opinion. As a matter of fact, that is exactly the opposite of what has concerned me from the start! Reread my posts from Nov. 19th.

    My whole point was that the area that was added is really dense. In fact it is a pretty dang affluent and highly educated area and therefore the families there likely underutilized their public school option, Lakeview Elementary. If we are to believe what was posted above, only 8 families from Lakeview Elementary will come to Crocker! That is tiny!

    My issue is that the newly added area is simply too dense with families to be able to be added without creating oversubscription. Look at the area, it has tons and tons of families, many of whom have opted for private schools or charters. Many of these families would opt into, or back in to public school if they could go to a school like Crocker.

    I don’t begrudge them. I am a strong believer in public education. I went to Oakland public schools and applied for out of neighborhood schools. My own kids initially got into Crocker out of neighborhood and were welcomed without question by the community. Not that it is necessary to add this, but we are a ‘minority’ family. None of the posters so far have made any indication of not liking minority children in their fancy school. That is not the point.

    The unfortunate situation is that there is not enough room in this school. When OUSD does not make proper calculations and over extends the boundaries to a school it creates a horrible situation such as that in Redwood Heights and Hillcrest, stress and anxiety over not enough seats for the neighborhood kids. Not a good position to be in for any family.

    That type of uncertainty will make lots of families consider raising their kids in communities where they know they can get into a school of their choice (or communities where they feel every school is acceptable to them). It may also lead some local families to apply widely to private schools, when they otherwise would not, in case they do not get into the neighborhood school.

    Again, I think that all the families lose with this type of stress and uncertainty. I am disgusted that OUSD and Tony Smith created this issue, and I hope that he will consider amending this situation.

  • disappointed in OUSD

    Note to Del…this issue that is on our hands is NOT about race and socioeconomic class!! It’s about numbskulls that seem to think it’s OK to change the rules of logic such that 1 + 1 = 3 (so to speak).
    And why do you fault the people who want the best education for their kids that they can get, for a price they can afford, and for planning ahead for their kids education? What would you choose if you had choices in front of you and you were trying to figure out your child’s education plan? It seems clear that your opinion (at least on education) is more socialist in nature, which is fine. But that is a whole different topic saved better for a dinner conversation or perhaps a different era past or future. We just don’t have that kind of a system in place so it’s a complete waste of time to call people’s ideas on wanting to choose and seek out the best education for their kids as “disgusting.” You seem bitter that you have to belittle a high-performing school as “fancy” instead of “good.” I think it’s clear where the discrimination is coming from but you’re lashing out at the wrong people.

    Back to the point…SO disappointed in OUSD! They need to redraw or revert the boundaries of the schools that are having this problem and find a sensible solution to the original problem that doesn’t just continue to make new problems again and again within the community.

    If only we had the space at Crocker how great that would be to invite more children and families into that wonderful community. But the school is kind of like those streets in Crocker…skinny, small and locked in. Can’t widen our streets, can’t expand the school.

  • Chris

    I know we all know this, but I’m never afraid of being redundant. Something resembling the answer is to make all of Oakland’s Public schools of the same ilk, and quality. Then there is only the preference of the Real Estate that attracts buyers to an area. And yes I’m confident enough to say that a more expensive house only guarantees a more expensive house and yes, dirt. The tax fund is a pool and should not, cannot differentiate, it should, like justice, be blind. We are easily divided, thus easily conquered by this complicated foe, public education and how to provide it. I think my new challenge is to help at a different school, one that really needs it.

  • Livegreen

    Del, who has talked about race? Who has even hinted at it? You are not even reading bet the lines. You are inserting your own. On the Fence and Disappointed hit the mark.

  • Super

    Chris, your proposal has about as much a chance as me having a glass of wine on the moon (at least in this lifetime).

    It’s not just the “better” school that makes the school desirable, it’s the community, composed of parents who have the time, dedication, interest, wealth (etc, etc.) to make a little or a lot of difference, whether at the church, school, rec park, you name it. As long as the socioeconomic and other conditions are different, so will many things in the community, including the school.

    It’s all about investing for the greater good. Time, energy, resources, money. Community’s that do that tend to succeed; those that don’t, languish and rely on public support to stay afloat. Most are inbetween.

  • Peach

    Most of the parents who contribute here are those whose children attend hills schools. The Crocker situation is unfortunate, but one that flatlands schools lived with in the 80s and 90s when enrollment was growing. The “solution”- lots of portables and year round schools.

    Let’s all take a moment and think about the Santa Fe students who will cross Market St., Martin Luther King, and Shattuck Ave. to attend Sankofa. Or others that will now cross Telegraph to attend Emerson. Let’s also empathize with their parents who have to be at work and who cannot drive or walk their 6-11 year olds to and from school whatever the weather.

    Or the Maxwell Park students who will now cross High Street to attend Allendale. And the Marshall students who have to contend with 98th Ave, and the freeway to go to Grass Valley.

    Hope the district has plans for good traffic signage (from the city) and crossing guards for the little ones from day one. And one hopes that the academic programs at the receiving schools are designed for the newcomers to do well and for their teachers to feel welcome.

  • OUSD Parent

    Peach, this “Hills Parent” happened to post similar concerns for the flat land kids when their schools were put on the chopping block. I am all for safe neighborhood schools where families are able to access their kids schools on foot. I’m not a big fan of cars. I do get tired of hills folks always being painted as rich racists who could care less about the rest of the kids in Oakland. Not the case. I may not speak for all hills parents but I know I speak for many when I say that ALL OF OAKLAND’s kids deserve much better than the district is able to provide. This particular thread concerns Crocker and its challenges. Other threads, especially the ones that addressed the closing of schools in the flat lands and Kaiser (which is in the hills) had plenty of input and concern for those kids who now have to jump through too many hoops to get to school each morning – safely.

  • OUSD Mom

    Shouldn’t the dissatisfaction be directed towards the state and OUSD for not properly funding all schools? Crocker and other “Hills” schools have the same as other schools without the PTA money that pays for EVERYTHING extra. ALL the schools should have those “extra” (I don’t really consider PE and library to be “extra,” but that’s where we are at) things, and they should be funded by tax dollars, not individual contributions. Then, at least one factor would be equal. I feel like the anger is being a little misdirected.

  • J.R.

    The problem is not that we don’t tax people enough and/or have enough money(that is a red herring created to lock in massive public sector debt service). The real problem is that not enough money gets to where and who it is intended for.


    The debt will never go away because it is growing, as these retirees and pensioners get raises and make more money than when they were working(getting benefits that far and away exceed what they put into it).

    A major problem also is that California is 12% of the US population, and yet has almost 40% of the US total of people on public assistance. You have to remember that the district pays for students who are on free or reduced lunch which is in the 70% range I believe. Along with that is the massive cost of illegal immigration(more kids = more teachers,more staff = greater cost borne by taxpayers). To sum it up, do not blame taxpayers, you should be thanking them profusely for pulling this wagon, while most have chosen to jump in the wagon.

  • OUSD Mom

    @ J.R. Saying I should be “thanking tax payers profusely” sort of implies that I’m not one of them, no? Perhaps you should be thanking me? I wouldn’t make that assumption though. I’ll assume you pay your fair share as do I. Anyway, I didn’t say that people should pay more taxes (not that I’m saying some people shouldn’t), I said tax dollars should be used to fund basics for the schools, not private contributions.

  • J.R.

    Put it this way, there is no prop 13 to protect me so I pay over triple compared to most of my neighbors. As for as for addressing you personally(as I don’t know your status, I should have worded it better to say , those that depend on taxes should feel fortunate. The state is to blame, but not for the reason you cite, they have taken peoples money and spent it recklessly on a bureaucracy that is too big, bloated and overpaid(not to mention the programs they run). The budget framework of all public sector institution has always been flawed. The premise was always to use every last dime so that the next budget will be at least as much.To a pragmatist, a cut toward a balanced budget is : reduced revenue = budget cut until balance is achieved. To a progressive a budget cut is a reduction in the size of the expected raise in compensation, which is not really a cut at all.