Oakland schools that went way over budget

Some of you have been asking for this information, as I reported it a couple of years ago: A list of OUSD schools and how closely they’re sticking to their budgets.

The closing-of-books presentation on last night’s agenda contains that very list, starting on page 26. I’ll embed it below as well.

NOTE:  Some schools received an extra sum of money last fall through the district’s $3 million “balancing pool” — extra money for schools that end up in a fiscal bind, often because of bad enrollment projections or tiny enrollments. (You’ll find a spreadsheet I put together with the money requested and rewarded in 2011-12 here.)

That extra money was rolled into those schools’ working budgets and did not count against them in the over/under column.  But, even with the extra help, you’ll see that some of them still overspent.

Elementary schools, combined, spent $917,276 more than they had; middle schools, by $456,130; and high schools by $784,047. That’s more than $2 million.

Schools that went well over their general-purpose budgets, according to the district presentation: Futures Elementary (10.4 percent over budget); Marshall Elementary (now closed) (9.9 percent over, after receiving an extra $80,000 from the balancing pool); Emerson Elementary (8.6 percent); Roots International Middle (9.2 percent); CBIT (15.9 percent) and Leadership Prep (13.2 percent), both at Castlemont; and College Prep and Media Academy at Fremont High (15.1 percent). Media received an extra $75,000 from the balancing pool.

Some schools didn’t spend all the money they had; La Escuelita Elementary came in almost 10 percent under-budget. And some schools, including Thornhill, Hillcrest and Montera, spent little or none of their special-purpose (“restricted”) funding. About 40 schools spent 90 percent or less of that money. Sometimes a grant arrives late into the school year or schools hold onto it for a reason.

Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal said district administrators planned to meet with leaders from all the schools that overspent by at least 2 or 3 percent to determine what happened.

Board member Gary Yee said he felt it was important to hold schools accountable; as he sees it, they’re otherwise spending other schools’ money.

Do you agree?
Closing of Books – Fiscal Year 2011-2012

Katy Murphy

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

  • Murphy’s Law

    Let me get this right…
    Schools overspent by 2 million.
    Special Ed overspends by millions.

    Yet some schools were closed to save district 2 million.

    Wonder how those school communities (closing schools) feel about their big spending peers. Seems like schools in OUSD are detached from their impact to the system. I bet the same applies to hiring, enrollment, transfers, etc. A collection of free agents rarely does well as a team. See: LA Dodgers

    Is there a relationship between spending and academic achievement? Did overspenders’ students make more academic progress than budget hawks? Which schools underspent the most, but still grew in API? Those schools should be rewarded.

    On the other hand, schools that went overbudget but still dropped academically should be sanctioned.

    Public can forgive budget problems when kids are improving. But if they’re going backwards, we’ve got a real problem.

  • makeitgoaway

    How does one hold a “school” accountable? Please tell me Katy how many Administrators got fired or removed because of this? Wait, I think I know the answer….ZERO.

    Who is the head accountant in charge of monitoring school site spending? Is that the same person who oversaw the special education budget which plunged the District into a deficit and caused cuts everywhere?

  • EffectsofReform

    Let’s see another column of information that shows the percentage of children receiving free or reduced lunch at the school. I bet it would line up neatly with “overspending” school sites. This is because the funding formulas are inequitable. Districts will never be able to overcome that fact. Schools with children with higher incomes will (for the most part) be able to bridge the gap with parent volunteers, fundraising, more oversight (again, volunteers). They will not “need” their restricted funds (which are not enough to cover cost for many children anyway). Perhaps these “overspending” sites will be closed in order to “save” the other schools who are able to make their bottom line. This will teach our kids a fine lesson: the more you have, the more you will continue to have. Is that what will be communicated in the meetings with these sites? “Congratulations, you work with a more well-off population,” and “I’m sorry, but your population is really straining our bottom line.”

  • J.R.

    The root cause of inequity begins with the individual, and the fact that people on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder tend to have more children just makes it that much harder.


    The taxpayers(working stiffs) provide all districts with monetary resources(tax money), and the districts try to fill in the parental responsibility and financial gaps(income redistribution). The parents of struggling children have economically and academically failed their own children, and the government cannot squeeze enough money(taxes out of people) to fill in the gaps, bottom line.

  • Nontcair

    Board member Gary Yee said he felt it was important to hold schools accountable;

    Voters need to hold Yee accountable.

    Incidentally, Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal is described by SJMC as receiving a total compensation package worth almost $259K.

    Now what’s all this talk about public education being for “the children”?

  • Nextset

    Spending has nothing to do with achievement in school.

    Cognitive ability walks in the door with the students. That is what determines achievement in school.

    This is why the Chicago Teachers laugh at the notion that they will ever be “evaluated” by student performance.

    I’m not saying that the school districts shouldn’t be able to make political decisions to spend money on life support things for ghetto kids they don’t provide for white kids in (largely) white schools. Ditto the birth defect/drug babies in “special ed”. Just don’t think they are buying PSAT scores. They are providing life support so that the birth parents don’t have to.

    If the district cannot enforce budget discipline that’s their business. As long as the state/feds bail them out, they don’t have to have budget discipline. When the state collapses or has had enough the “schools” can be closed.

    Brave New World.

  • Observer

    Anyone else notice the funds spent on Early Retirement (p.22)?

    $3,093,022 from Unrestricted funds


    From Restricted Funds

    Total of $10,451,631 to send some folks off to early retirement? And they do this annually?

  • Katy Murphy

    This is not an annual process, but something some districts have done in an attempt to minimize layoffs and, over time, create savings.

    Here’s an OUSD document from 2010-11 that was posted on the GO Public Schools site: http://www.goinfocenter.org/Retirement%20Policy.pdf

  • Nontcair

    Under Article 9 §5 OUSD is only required provide one free school per year. The remainder of OUSD’s schools, though completely unnecesary, could be financed entirely through user fees (tuition).

    OUSD incorporates about 130 schools. AFAIAC, 129 of them are OVER budget.

  • Gordon Danning


    Your interpretation of Article 9, sec. 5 of the California Constitution is valid only under one theory of statutory construction. There are others.

    PS: Please review the meaning of the terms, “completely unnecessary” (hint: it is not synonymous with “required by the State constitution”) and “budget” (similar hint)

  • Jim Mordecai

    Site based budgeting seems like a good idea. But, Oakland’s form of Results Based Budgeting provides an example with problem with that seemingly good idea but the problem is how to deal with over-spending and ironically under-spending.

    It is obvious that overspending is a problem and the less obvious is the money is suppose to be for children that don’t get the services they are entitled when site budgets are under-spent.

    One more problem with RBB is that when surprise budget cuts happen because of the State’s surprise cuts, or a department such as Special Education surprise submits incorrect budget information, the Central Office is up a creek without a paddle. Under Oakland’s RBB its Central Office has given up centralized control to sites and compared to traditional centralized budgeting has a time lag in responding to economic “surprises”. In this time of surprises is it no wonder that other school district management is not jumping on the idea of Oakland’s RBB decentralized budget management approach?

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nontcair

    The constitution *requires* one school per district. The legislature, counties, municipalities (LCM) — whoever controls the process — can draw those district lines any way it wants.

    LCM could chooose to break up OUSD into 130 separate distrcts, in which case each of those schools would be “required” and need to be “free”, so I don’t dispute the legality of those schools or their current financing mechanism.

    All I’m saying is that the Legislature could vote to start charging tuition or even to eliminate them.

    Since public schools are completely unnecessary — the private sector is more than capable of satifying the true demand for education services — I strongly prefer the latter.

    Regarding the budget, I’m just not sure what you’re trying to say. Since public education sops us around half of the general fund, implementing my recommendations would immediately put the *current* year budget in surplus, ie save us $46B or so.

  • Gordon Danning


    Your interpretation of the state Constitution is incorrect, or is atleast contrary to how the state Supreme Court has interpreted that provision for more than 100 years: “This provision entitles ‘the youth of the State … to be educated at the public expense.’ (Ward v. Flood (1874) 48 Cal. 36, 51.)” Hartzell v. Connell (1984) 35 Cal.3d 899, 905.

  • Nontcair

    Why are you barrists always so ready to appeal to authority?

    The opinion expressed 150 years ago by a majority of political appointees, whose respect for the Constitution then was no better then than yours is today, does not impress me.

  • Lisa CapuanoOler

    Katie ,
    Do you know how much money was spent on expanding the schools that were expanded for closures? And also how much was spent on the “remodel” of Lakeview? Do you have any ” before and after” pictures to show the taxpayers of Oakland how their money is spent for offices for administration, and what the site looked like for years when it was just a school?

  • Gordon Danning

    Nontcair’s latest post really doesn’t merit a response, but, just in case there are students who read this blog, I thought it might be useful to point out a few lessons regarding how to construct an argument in support of a thesis.

    1. Note that Nontcair repeatedly engages in what is called an “ad hominem” argument — that is, instead of attacking the substance of what his opponent says, he attacks the opponent. Thus, he refers to me as a “barrist” (which is apparently a pejorative term for someone with legal training), accuses me of not respecting the Constitution, and accuses the authors of the Ward v. Flood opinion as “political appointees,” thereby implying that their opinion was tainted by political considerations. if you’ve ever taken a debate class, I’m sure you know that ad hominem arguments are not valid forms of argumentation.

    2. Moreover, Nonclair doesn’t even know me — he bases his claim that I don’t respect the Constitution purely on the fact that I disagree with him on the meaning of one word therein! He has no knowledge of the many times I have stood up for student speech rights, or objected to spending decisions that seemed to skirt the letter of the law. Thus, even his ad hominem argument is a poor one. Please do not emulate him in your own writing.

    3. Also note that his “arguments” consist purely of his own personal opinion of what the Calif Constitution means. He uses a literalist approach, which is fine, but refuses to acknowledge that there are other ways of interpreting a constitution or statute, such as trying to determine the intent of the authors thereof. But, most importantly, note that I actually took the time to do some research, to find evidence to support my argument — that is, I looked to see how the Calif. Supreme Court has interpreted the clause at issue. I’m sure you know that my approach is a better model for your own writing. (Of course, it remains possible that my argument is wrong — there might have been subsequent cases that reinterpreted the “free school” clause. However, Nonclair did not do the research needed to determine whether that is the case.)

    4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, let’s return to Nonclair’s use of the term “barrist.” This sort of thing is all do common — when faced with a statement by someone with a modicum of expertise, Nonclair doesn’t stop and say, “Hm, this guy has some expertise, so I should do a little extra research.” Instead, he denigrates the notion of expertise itself! This is akin to the old tendency to refer to scientists as “eggheads,” and is a tactic employed by those who deny the validity of the theory of evolution. You don’t want to be in that company.

    5. Oh, one last point: You will meet many stupid people in your life, who will say many stupid, stupid things. At some point, you just have to roll your eyes and ignore them. The only exception is when they make personal attacks; it is important to respond to those attacks, because your reputation can suffer, even when the attacks are foolish or come from a foolish, foolish person. But, it is important not to respond in kind, with emotional attacks; it is better to use evidence and logic to point out where your attacker has acted foolishly or unethically.

  • Nextset

    Gordon, I enjoyed your post.

    Nontclair sounds to me like a product of the public schools. He’s (I assume he is male?) not been taught critical thinking and tends to get emotional when attempting discourse. That behavior has not been beat out of him in school. It’s also normal behavior for black students. It would not be if they had some of the teachers I did.

    Starting with the Nuns in primary school we were assigned to debate sides of a political issue that were unpopular – that we/our parents were never expected to actually support. It was explained that this was an exercise and our own feelings were irrelevant to debating.

    That was in 6th or 7th grade. By 8th grade we were pretty good at this. The entire class of 30 participated this way. Later in public high school in various classes we were expected to take an assignment regardless of any feelings of our own and support the assigned side in teams or individually. In Law School the same thing happens. You draw your assignment and make the best of it.

    In other words, good schools keep the kiddies out of their comfort zones and learning the ropes.

    We grew up not being allowed to whine, get emotional or to name call the opposition (overtly anyway).

    This is not the black experience in schools generally – because people don’t want to upset the chillun. It has been said that one can recognize a black law student’s test paper/bar exam essay at a glance. Because of the typical backgrounds they come from they are severely handicapped in Law School – there is not enough time for them to reorient the way they think and approach every problem. The Ca bar exam stats are published by race and the blacks are at the very bottom. I would never have passed without my experiences in Catholic Primary and the High Quality Public School experiences. While I suppose College could make the difference I was a business major and law school classmates were as varied as Botany, Chemistry and other lab sciences and other majors that did not reach these issues. Primary and Secondary School was that important to me. I didn’t go to OUSD except summer school at Oakland Tech – for Lab Sciences & typing.

    I don’t know for sure what happened to Nontclair but he/she is behaving like a black public school product. Complete with the name calling. Extreme harm is being done to the black kids in urban schools by not toughening them up.

    In society we don’t even shake such people’s hand. They are nothing, unemployable, and unusable.

    But then, that’s the Brave New World. We are divided into Castes from birth and the Caste system is reinforced in public schools where everyone learns to stay in Caste behavior.

    Too bad for Nontclair. Wonder what he/she does for a living?

  • Super

    Excellent post Gordon. I, too, rarely if ever agree with his/her positions. And as I’ve said to Nontcair in past postings, I am all too happy that s/he is the voice for her/his cause. As long as that is the case, there’s very little chance that that cause will be advanced.

  • J.R.

    “Too bad for Nontclair. Wonder what he/she does for a living?”

    Probably a community activist with an affiliated group(such as BAMN or NAN. I can see the title now, it’s called N.A.G.(nag and groan)or W.I.M.(where is mine)?

  • Nextset

    It’s been my experience that a lot of these community activist types are drug addled and mentally ill. Typically Bi-Polar with Bi-Polar relatives. They use drugs to self medicate. They latch on to some cause because it gives them power and status – and they perceive they are “rescuing” someone other than a cat or dog. Some of them hoard causes – and turn up across long distances for the cause de jure. They can’t hold a job, have no career or profession, and even can’t maintain housing without being kept by a relative or occasionally a friend or lover who gets off on their crazyness.

    They do not age well at all. The drug issues are progressive and if they start using Meth it’s all over. Alcohol is much slower in it’s destruction.

    I just don’t have enough on Nontclair to get a feel of how far gone he is – but if he has a 9 to 5 job he’s good at it would be a good thing. I can’t place his politics – there are elements of liberal and conservatism with an unorganized radical approach typical of uneducated young people.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion in trying to understand his point of view. I could be totally wrong.

    I’m following Jerry Brown’s public statements on the tax increases. It’s clear to me he feels they will fail and his spin on things is vintage Jerry. He offered the people of the state a more pleasant way out of things. If they vote for austerity he will give them austerity in spades with massive state cuts. He can do it either way and whatever comes it will be done his way.

    It’s almost like he’s looking forward to the chaos – with he being at the center of things setting policy. I really think Jerry Brown is the democrat to manage the Chaos. At least he has been around since Moses and knows the state government and finances as well as anybody living. He and Willie Brown I suppose.

    I’m really afraid November is going to be the start of something big and bad. Like 2008. We know there is a war coming. Maybe multiple wars – when the shooting starts it would be time for everybody to settle scores at once. The politics, the economy and the coming War are likely intertwined. We live in interesting times.

    If I am right I think that educational policy is about to change in a big way.

    Brave New World.

  • Mel Stenger

    Publishing Board presentations is certainly the right and indeed the function of media. Commentary is also appreciated and an exercise of freedom of speech. As principal of Thornhill Elementary I take very seriously my responsibility to manage our very limited resources. Six years ago I was told to reserve about 10-15% of my budget; I ignored that recommendation and put effort into spending my entire budget. In the current year we have been given the goal of spending our budgets to within 2%, plus or minus. Considering that goal, our ending surplus of $20,218 is 1.3%, well within our district’s goal for efficiency.

  • Nontcair

    Of course we know that the Framers intended a public education system which would operate in all sorts of ways *prohibited* by the Constitution.

    Since this discussion is supposed to be about the budget, we should also acknowledge how the Framers intended a public education system of the grand scale we have today, with (among its many mal-attributes) its tens of BILLIONS in cost/taxes each year.

    Isn’t it odd how some people find within original intent a justification for giving the government virtually unlimited power while denying rights to private individuals? For instance, the Framers never intended that private individuals be allowed to own semi-automatic weapons.

    Just saying.

  • Nontcair

    Ward v. Flood (1874)

    The case had to do with a colored girl suing (unsuccessfully) to gain access to a SF public school.

    A few points.

    #1) The decision was 2-1 (Dissenter apparently wrote no opinion).

    #2) The three justices were all *elected* (wiki).

    #3) The case was not over whether CA public schools need to be numerous, all free, open to all, or any other factors you would like us to believe “dis/proves” my/your point.

    The Justices expressed their sentiment in favor of your point of view, but so what? That in and of itself holds no bearing on what the Legislature can decide to do, an assertion backed up by the Court’s essentially upholding “separate but equal”.

    Had SF only a *single* school the Justices would have found in her favor and ordered her admitted (equal protection), but *legally* nothing can prevent the Legislature from limiting the district to a single school in the first place.

    Not now. Now then.

    The Justices can no more order the Legislature to rollout an expansive school system than you can.

    I was also pleasantly suprised to read how in 1870 Art 9 §3 set the public school year at “only” 90 days.

  • Special Ed Parent


    Can you please clarify that the so-called Special Ed overspending error did not originate in Special Ed? Also, no one is talking about how Special Education has been historically underfunded in dramatic ways, even before the current funding crisis. Talking about “overspending” in Special Education given the disastrously unmet needs before this date and more so now, completely ignores the real experiences of these students who generally do not participate in the life of schools nor benefit from many of the basic things that other students at sites receive. It does not make sense to compare the complicated situations in the entire system of Special Education with a site budgeting process that has mechanisms to review all expenditures and their impact.

  • Jim Mordecai

    The special education and all OUSD budgets are about to be impacted by Russlynn Ali’s Education Department Office of Civil Rights 5-year plan for intervention so that Black students will not be suspended at over 7 times the rate of White students.

    The 20-page report and plan identifies Black special education students as being suspended at even higher multiple to White students. It is a shock to some that Black Students with IEPs are the group with the highest number of suspensions.

    By bringing a charge of discrimination against the District, Russlynn Ali’s Office is negotiating intervention programs that will become an unfunded District mandate.

    And, by signing off on the “voluntary” resolution plan or face litigation all parts of the budget will have to pay for these negotiated programs. The cost to the District for the plan’s implementation has so far not been stated.

    The Board may even approve the Voluntary Resolution Plan (VRP) without any idea of its cost. But, the District will of course rob Peter to pay Paul. Only it will be students, including Black special education students’ services that will be cut to pay for Russlynn Ali’ Office of Civil Rights plan to end OUSD’s racially unfair and discriminatory policies.

    Russlynn Ali a lawyer and CEO of Oakland based Ed Trust West a civil rights advocacy organization was appointed by President Obama to run the Office of Civil Rights. With her unique understanding of what she thinks will reduce structural racism in Oakland and getting back to her roots her office is attending to California’s structural racism in Oakland and Los Angeles and other urban areas.

    I doubt if she is looking to enforce the same type of review of District policies in a swing state in this election year. Nor is she going after the suspension and expulsion policies of charter schools. I think discipline and disaggregating how it is employed by groups is important although there is a tendency to leave out special education students and this VRP doesn’t to its credit but it does leave out the issue of class. Not only the color of the skin or ethnic identity be give attention so too should be socio-economic class. Whereas poverty creates conditions that challenge schools, schools such as Thornhill with a single digit poverty index of 5% enrolled in free and reduced breakfast and lunch program do not have to deal with the added challenge of poverty that 90% or more of the other OUSD schools must face.

    Race and racism shouldn’t be ignored but neither should poverty’s challenges for schooling all that enroll.

  • Nontcair

    Let’s see if this works ..

    Hartzell v Connell (1984)

    The majority was led by the totally discredited ROSE BIRD, Cruz Reynoso and Grodin. Lest anyone forget, all three of those clowns were appointed to SCOCA by Jerry Brown.

    What more do you need to know?

    As if that weren’t enough, note that in Part II, the opinion references none other than .. the notorious Ward v Flood decision of 110 years earlier as “proof” that CA public education (or at least, its extra-curricular activities) must be “free”.

    Once again we see an agenda-driven lawyer referencing an opinion by radical leftist judge who referenced … an original opinion by a socialist judge which had NO bearing on the *political* question of whether schools needed to be widely available and free of charge.

    It’s that same old “appeal to authority” trick.

  • Nontcair

    More about Bird’s (et al) “opinion”.

    She references a (favorable) court case in MICHIGAN, whose public education system is as fully politicized as that of any other state. See Ward Connerly.

  • Nontcair

    Bird then goes on to provide a pompous, tendentious, academic-style, “historical” account of public education in this country, even going so far as to quote from the lion of american public education, the fanatical egalitarian busybody, Horace Mann, who warned that without (large-scale) public education, most citizens would be condemned to serve as:

    the vassals of as severe a tyranny, in the form of capital, as the lower classes of Europe are bound to in the form of brute force.

    We need to save the poor masses from those greedy capitalists by making them docile, loyal sujects of the State!

    This you consider to be a serious “legal” opinion? It’s pure partisanship.

  • Nontcair

    Here’a another Birdism:

    The contribution of education to democracy has a political, an economic, and a social dimension.

    Did you get that?

    Public education is such a crucial element in shaping the sort of society that I desire that it has GOT TO BE FREE (and compulsory).

  • J.R.

    Excerpts from article:


    “Pedro Noguera, a sociology professor at New York University who taught at Lowell Middle School in West Oakland in the 1980s (that campus now contains a Knowledge Is Power Program school and West Oakland Middle School), said that racism is not always at work. He noted that many principals in Oakland are black”……

    “Fixes of the sort recommended by Noguera are difficult to put in place. Four years ago, a group of parents in Los Angeles looked at suspension data very similar to Oakland’s. At public schools in South Los Angeles, black students were 21 percent of enrolled students and 47 percent of suspensions. The parents urged Los Angeles Unified to change its discipline policies to something called School-Wide Positive Behavior Support, which eschewed excluding students from the school community as a form of punishment in favor of modeling good behavior and academic interventions. While studies show such methods work, schools in South Los Angeles have had a hard time putting them into practice. Schools in South Los Angeles continue to suspend black students at an even higher rate than they did four years ago”.

    “In OUSD, 45 percent of the suspensions were for defiance, and 28 percent were for fighting. The suspensions cost OUSD around $420,000 last year in lost revenue. But studies show that the costs are greater for the suspended students”.


    These new bureaucratic positions create more jobs(we taxpayers are on the hook for more of that, and kids just receive less), but there won’t be much to show for it. These kids will never learn to respect authority or live within a civilized framework of society if progressives keep designing new ways of bailing out antisocial misfits. Policy by the proverbial gun to the head(lawsuit or otherwise)when the real problem is lack of respect and forthright attitude. These kids are going to stretch the limits of propriety now that they have teachers and admin backed into a corner. It’s going to get much worse, how ironic that progressives are getting the tables turned on them.

  • Nontcair

    You have got to read this thing to believe it.

    WARNING: not after breakfast.

  • OUSD Parent

    So, is data collected that shows that racism is involved with these suspensions? For example, are hispanic, asian and/or white kids behaving in a way that would warrant a suspension but not receiving one, when the african american kid does get the suspension for the same infraction?

    Are all kids behaving badly and just the african american kids being reprimanded? If this is the case then racism is involved. But if there are more african american kids behaving badly, even though there are fewer of them, how can their suspensions be called racist?

    As a parent with children in OUSD schools I want the administrations to be on top of behavior issues in the classroom. I want kids who are disruptive on a regular basis to be reprimanded. I hear about bad behavior all of the time. It’s a problem and I don’t think enough is being done. I don’t want racist policies in place but I want the problem kids, regardless of their race, to be removed from the classroom so they don’t ruin it for everyone else.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Do you classify the head of the Department of Education Civil Rights Compliance Division Russlynn Ali a progressive? Do you also consider Ed Trust West the organization Russlynn Ali was CEO a progressive organization? It is Russlynn Ali’s department that negotiated the 5-year voluntary resolution plan with the additional jobs that the District must finance.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    Ed-trust could be called common sense centrist, but if anyone(Russlynn Ali) looks at the issue of discipline policy through the biased lens of race(teachers and admin discipline policies as racist) which is by definition a social reform agenda(which is progressive). Just listen to Oscar wright, and you will find the perfect example of why these kids are enabled to fail. It isn’t their fault, somebody is purposely causing them to fail, they are victims. The victimization mentality with the help of liberals and progressives are what is stunting the maturity of these individuals. You will not be responsible and mature if you,your parents, and grandparents have never had to be responsible for yourselves.

  • J.R.

    Bottom line, when you it comes to tax money, and there are admin positions created, raises, bonuses whatever, there will be less resources for kids in the classrooms where the learning happens. It’s a sad destructive situation, much like being in a pot of water which is gradually turned up, we’re done in the name of political correctness.

  • Jim Mordecai


    I agree that the proposed 5-year “Voluntary Resolution Plan” means less resources for kids (all kids no matter what group enrolled in OUSD) in the classroom.

    It is progressive Russlynn Ali pushing the Board into how it will spend its budget for the next five years.

    Strange, but on this issue I find myself a conservative, wanting to maintain local power over discipline issues.

    Jim Mordecai

  • J.R.

    The problems are in the home, that is where the solution should begin.


  • Nextset

    JR: I really disagree with you there. In the 20th Century, especially in the early 20th Century, the public schools were charged with bringing the children of the ghettos and the lower orders into modern society. There was no dependence on the PTA in the slums of New York City and Chicago. The schools were standalone agencies that were there to teach the proles how to walk and talk, how to dress, how to keep house, read, to maintain sanitation (toothbrushing, etc).

    Public schools were created to promote social and economic mobility and to take trash kids beyond what their trash parents were. Teachers told the parent(s) how it was going to be not the other way around. And they didn’t bother about parental permission for much of anything. They WERE in place of parents. The ghettos of the early 20th Century were just as bad as the worse now. But those public school by and large lifted generations of people out of the gutters. Ours don’t try. We don’t tell these kids right and wrong and how to be. We tell them that all “cultures” are as good as Western Civ and that they can do whatever they want. That is bad teaching.

    This all becomes so much simple if we stop worrying about what the parents want. If they were any good their kids would go to better schools.

    The public schools should be run to do what needs to be done, and to let the parents get on with their working for a living. The schools are here to teach Otis and Latifah how to read and write, how to stay out of prison and the graveyards – to live well, and how to make a (nice??) living in the Brave New World. If the parent’s have a lot of wishes they need to take them to private and church schools.

  • Nextset

    Here are examples of the better schools.

    I rather doubt students there are kept around if the curse and threaten the teachers – or each other.


    In Oakland you have Head-Royce:


  • J.R.

    The root of the problem is the home(or lack of same).We have also reached and exceeded a saturation point in regards to the amount of underemployed people that the dwindling number of taxpayers are able to sustain(in addition to all the public workers who retire(with good or great pensions and benefits) while still in their productive years. I want you to go and watch the board meetings online and look for public comments,and click there:

    Listen to Mr.Wright, and you will hear him state what is being “done to” black children or how black kids are not “being educated”. What Mr.Wright has never learned or understood in his 80+ years is that education, and success are not a passive endeavor, and that parents and their children must embrace it, and nurture it within themselves. We must learn to do for ourselves or the government will do everything for us and to us. These kids are not incapable, they are very capable(most of the population is average IQ and perfectly capable of meaningful work) and just require examples of how to live their lives. Parents need to step up and do that.

  • Nextset

    JR – who’s average IQ are you referring to? Black kids are in large numbers their own average IQ not the average of some other group. They have major and problematic differences in onset of puberty and hormone levels compared to other groups. Properly handled these things can be used as advantages. We refuse to make what we can out of what we have to work with.

    No. We don’t require the parents of black kids to do anything. They can be a bad as they want to. The school is charged with dealing with their products as they find them, not on some imaginary plane of preparedness by Ozzie and Harriett. If they had great parents they’d not be in black schools.

    The schools in the slums of St Louis, New York and Chicago in 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950 and 1960 did better than Los Angeles and Oakland do today. They didn’t whine that every school failure was the fault of the parents then. The parents then were slum dwellers, single mothers, field hands from the south, and on and on. The reason the urban public schools exist is to take the products of the slums and make them something much more than the parents they came from.

    That’s not a hard concept. It starts with the public realization that the parent’s have (typically) no accomplishment themselves and are in no position to educate their products. So you don’t need to hear about what the parents like or what they want. It really doesn’t matter. They don’t matter. The job of these urban public schools is to provide social and economic mobility for the students that their ghetto parents cannot.

    That means teaching the kiddies not to be ghetto, how to think, walk and talk. And yes, it means teaching them that their parents are bad (one way of saying “Limited”) and not to be like them, to be better than them. Or at least to have that opportunity. You can lead a horse to water and if it won’t drink it’s a bad horse.

    It’s the refusal nowadays to follow time tested policy in urban education that gives us unemployable products. I argue that the little black kids now are no more unmanageable than the black kids of 1940 despite the current excess of single mothers.

    Things would improve fast if we got rid of Pacification, got in their (the students’) faces until the behavior changed, and segregated the school campuses based on deportment and performance. It would also be safer and more pleasant for the workers to work in – the only group who’s comfort I care about.

    It’s nice if the parents are good for something but that is optional in a public school.

  • Nextset


    Sorry to vent, we’ve tried this be-nice-to-the-black-folks nonsense for decades and things only get worse. My Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and other relatives ran black primary, secondary and college public schools and classrooms for generations before integration ruined the party they had going for them. Their methods of teaching and running schools lifted their students out of the fields and the slums. If they saw how the urban schools are run today they’d be saying “No Wonder you are having problems”…

    I never heard them once say they couldn’t teach one of their kids because the slattern of a mother wouldn’t support the school. They took the kids as they found them and managed them regardless of the family problems. If they could help, fine. But it was not essential to fix a bad home in order teach basics.

  • A coding error

    Meeting with overspending principals? If they are part of the cheerleading group, it will be a patting on the back. If you are not…
    There is no accountability, no ownership whatsoever in the fiscal department. Isn’t it the case that purchases get reviewed by procurement, just like transfers or consultant contracts need to be approved by a string of people? Ah, and Vernon Hal has never done anything wrong. Ever.

  • ExAdmin

    As a former OUSD principal, I want to add that I believe a missing piece of the problem of overspending has not been sufficiently revealed! It is absolutely insane to blame the administrators for overspending given the fact that a great deal of the over-budget expenditures are based upon factors outside our locus of control. For example, our budget took a HUGE hit as the result of three “high-salaried”, mostly ineffective teachers that were transferred (involuntarily) to our site after being conveniently “consolidated” from other schools!!!! Administrators have no control over this situation as it manifests LONG after RBB sessions take place. This dilemma is mandated by OEA contractual terms so administrators MUST accept these often substandard teachers, eat the cost of the difference between their high-range salaries and the “average” salaries budgeted for in RBB. We suffered without supplies and much needed student materials in order to fund inadequate teachers that were PLACED at our site without consideration for budget, correct grade placement, OR a match of qualifications and cultural proficiency. The problem is much deeper than holding administrators accountable for overspending! Yet another case of shifting the blame without accurate information . . .