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One school’s (enrollment) numbers game

Rachel Kargas is a parent at Oakland’s Cleveland Elementary School, where fewer children enrolled this fall than expected because of a nearby school’s kindergarten expansion. She tells us how this shortage has led to last-minute combination classes, and what she fears that will mean for students. How has the numbers game affected your school? — Katy

My son is a first grader at Cleveland Elementary. We have enjoyed the school thus far; it is a high-performing school with a wonderfully diverse population. My son had a great kindergarten experience at Cleveland.

On day one of first grade we were informed that my son would be placed in a mixed first- and second- grade class. This came as a shock to many parents. We had been given no advance warning about this class structure, and it appeared the teacher was almost equally surprised. After several weeks the second graders were moved out of the classroom, but now we are told that due to a shortage of students at Cleveland, they will be eliminating a kindergarten teacher and forming a combined first grade/kindergarten class.

As a parent of a student who will likely be affected by this decision, I am appalled. While I understand that combination classes are successful in some districts, I am concerned that this model is being executed in haste, and the teachers have not had time to properly prepare for the challenges of a mixed grade class. I worry about the size of the class and the divided attention of the teacher who will suddenly need to teach two curriculums. I am left feeling a lack of confidence that my child will receive the education he deserves.

We moved to our neighborhood because Cleveland had a reputation as a high-performing school. I now feel that we are being treated as a second-rate institution, lacking the support and funding to continue to be successful. This situation and reputation may very well discourage future parents from choosing to send their children to Cleveland.

Cleveland lost many students after Crocker Highlands Elementary School opened up an additional kindergarten class due to demand. As a result, slots have opened up at our school, but families who were previously turned away from Cleveland are now sending their children elsewhere. We would like to give those families the opportunity to enroll their children in Cleveland, thus eliminating the need to restructure our school.

We have a large group of concerned parents who are hoping to persuade OUSD to halt their plans to combine first grade and kindergarten classes and consider other solutions. Our children deserve it.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Observer

    People can be so damn inconsiderate! The problem is they have to hold the slots–that are filled by real, live students—until they’re 100% sure those kids aren’t going to show up. Every year teachers, principals and the admissions office shuffle and shift the first few weeks because a few hundred parents can’t be bothered to pick up the phone and call that their kid will NOT be attending. Or even return a phone call. It’s so disruptive. Our principal sent out emas and robo calls all summer and we are still dealing with shuffles.

  • On The Fence

    Yet another really awful outcome resulting from the poor decision making of the district. Cleveland is a great school with an API and other scores that are nearly indistinguishable from Crocker’s. Cleveland had room to spare and could have accepted a larger number of families with homes in the Lakeview district. This would have given Lakeview families access to a very high achieving elementary. Instead, Crocker, a school that had literally filled to capacity all 3 of their kindergarten classes with neighborhood kids the year prior, was slotted to take on a large unsustainable boundary. Crocker could not accommodate all the kids, so the district tried a stop-gap measure and opened up a fourth kindergarten and then struggled to fill it. Crocker is unsure how to plan and must consider lots of odd configurations or lose teachers too.

    This poor planning fiasco will continue to hurt families at Cleveland and Crocker. Both schools need stable numbers to help with their planning and funding. Parents invest in schools that can offer some stability, like being able to retain teachers and know if they will be looking at combination classes. Parents also need to have a good sense of the chances that they will get into their neighborhood school. The way the Lakeview district was divided up last fall made a mess for both schools and could have been avoided.

    I feel terrible for the Cleveland families who are actively investing in their neighborhood school because the district actions has undermined their efforts. OUSD needs to retain families who live in their communities and invest in their local public schools. Thanks again Tony Smith, another successful school compromised by your decision last Fall!

  • infuriated

    Again OUSD has failed our community due in large part to school closures and the hasty boundary changes that have resulted. The repercussions truly are disastrous, and again Tony Smith has egg on his face.

    Please understand, Crocker added another kindergarten because of a boundary change that was rammed down their throats by OUSD. Crocker was already at 100% capacity before the boundary change. In changing the boundary the number of households eligible to attend Crocker more than doubled! This at a school who’s kindergarten was already completely full. Now the school has lost an art room, sent away parents and youngsters that live within a stones throw of the school, created an unsustainable flow of students into that school and caused tremendous stress on every family that lives within the neighborhood, especially those who have under school-aged children. There is so much uncertainty in where their children will be accepted.

    I agree that what Oakland families need, just like families anywhere, are sustainable neighborhood schools, a high degree of certainty that their child will be able to attend his/her local school, reducing the stress on parents. It is shameful that OUSD and Tony Smith seem to be going out of their way to ruin what few success stories Oakland schools have achieved. We deserve better.

  • Murphy’s Law

    Another unintended consequence:

    “Crocker is unsure how to plan and must consider lots of odd configurations or lose teachers too.”

    If they lose teachers, it will be based on seniority. Correct? That means that a teacher who has been there and done a great job would be cut if one of the new teachers has more seniority. Is this right or is there a special consideration in play. I can’t imagine the district and union would allow something like this to happen so I hope they are working on it.

    Then again if the persn being bumped out is ineffective and the incoming teacher is known to be very effective…

  • LK

    This kind of mid-stream consolidation is nothing new in ousd. It has been going on longer than I have been teaching (15+years). The district makes projections for each school then after they count the actual bodies in the classroom they make adjustments. It’s all about money – putting students in the largest possible classrooms and reducing expenditures per child.

  • MJ

    I am a parent of a child in the class that would be disbanded and combined, and I am frustrated by the processes that allowed this situation to occur.

    It is unconscionable that the proposed change would remove a teacher in the school’s only integrated Kindergarten special education/general education classroom. This is not equitable, and it flies in the face of common sense! How is it in best interests of the children in that class to have such a disruptive change one month in? A parent of one of the Exceptional/Special Education students said to me last night, “Educators always stress to us that continuity, routine, and structure are so important for students with special needs. This proposed change runs counter to everything we’ve been told by educators.” Do the rules of seniority trump common-sense decision making?

  • Ms. Sarah

    I am SO frustrated by this “consolidation” at Cleveland which is clearly an administration mistake. In spite of the full knowledge that charters were actively recruiting from our school we were assigned an enrollment goal of 374 General Ed. students (a higher number than we’d ever had before, or will PHYSICALLY fit in our small classrooms–and 25 kids higher than we were told by an Executive Officer four years ago, when we had one more teacher than we do now, than we would EVER have to cram onto our campus). As far as I know that number was created without input from parents or teachers and now because we have not reached that goal (we are at 346 students, only 15 kids less than we had last year in spite of 50 kids moving or transferring over the summer) we’ve been told we have to cut a teacher. So now an administration mistake has to be paid by our five and six year–olds and most recent hire–an enthusiastic and skilled new teacher who’s salary is in itself an insult and far lower than the ADA gathered by 15 students. The short sighted result of this numbers decision will be to drive more families from our school. In spite of cuts every year for the last 6 I have had kids at Cleveland our kids and instructors continue to achieve. But we can’t keep being hobbled by district decisions and cuts that are based on numbers and not what is in the best interest of our kids. When will we start making decisions based on people and not arbitrary numbers? Where is the accountability? And why if Crocker can get a special dispensation to run an extra kindergarten for a year, because parents in that more affluent neighborhood were reportedly upset at being placed at Cleveland, can Cleveland not be allowed a year (or even a MONTH) to increase enrollment?

  • On The Fence

    Ms. Sarah,

    I agree it is frustrating and results from an administrative mistake, but OUSD, not Crocker created this mess. Crocker was a victim in this distric fiasco, just as Cleveland is. Crocker can not sustain a fourth kindergarten class and this addition is really stressing the campus and will have long lasting repercussions. As far as I understand, a fourth kindergarten was not what Crocker parents lobbied for at all, this was a stop-gap measure suddenly thought up and decided by the district to quell the upset with over-subscribing our community. Let me say that I am happy that all the neighborhood families were accommodated, but the gross oversubscription should never have occurred in the first place! Crocker is facing the same numbers crunch with bodies and faces the same inability to retain the teachers. The same talk about combo classes and losing teachers is already a reality at Crocker, although not with the imminence that Cleveland seems to be facing.

    Please, please, please do not attempt to color this conversation as, ‘Crocker has gotten something special because they are affluent!’ That is far from what has occurred. The district used extraordinarily poor data and used absolutely no common sense in their decision making and now several successful schools are paying for it dearly.

  • Crocker Mom

    Also, at the meeting last spring between OUSD and Crocker to discuss the problems that arose from the boundary changes, It came out that the 18 (I think that was the number) families that didn’t get into Crocker, were placed at Cleveland, even though not one of them had Cleveland listed as one of their options. So, those families were placed there, AHEAD of the families who actually WANTED to go there. Make no mistake, this unfortunate and unnecessary fiasco was totally and 100% created by OUSD. Crocker and Cleveland are in this mess together.

    People really, really need to put pressure on OUSD to fix this mess so that schools and families can plan accordingly and have peace. OUSD sighted “Mega Boundaries,” which are the larger middle school boundaries that all the elementary schools feed into, as the reason they put all the turned away Crocker families into Cleveland originally. They wanted to be sure they had a spot at a school that was also in the same “Mega Boundary” as Crocker and would feed into Brewer. Well, low and behold, it turns out that the NEW Crocker boundaries are NOT in that “Mega Boundary” and actually go to Westlake. So I guess it’s only a priority sometimes? OUSD is laughable at this point. It’s just a question of whether they are completely incompetent or have underhanded motives at this point.

  • John Garrett

    Subjectively, it seems to me the creation and subsequent unwinding of OUSD’s small neighborhood schools initiative has caused persistent difficulties with enrollment boundaries. Adding to the difficulty is that many families place high value on API scores when pursuing a school, almost to the exclusion of other characteristics.

  • LN

    If Crocker is just as upset, then Crocker parents should also go to the School Board meeting tonight to express their frustration! Cleveland parents will be there to voice our concerns about these issues. Overenrollment in a nearby school with another good performing school that’s so-called under-enrolled is a result of poor planning and impacts everyone.

  • Cleveland parent

    The biggest OUSD claim in the teacher cut and “under enrolled” stance by OUSD is that Cleveland did not meet their “projected enrollment.” Why would OUSD project a HIGHER enrollment this year than last when it’s own Long Term Enrollment projections from June 27, 2007 show a continued and dramatic annual enrollment decline? I know that Katy’s blog touched on this report previously and the report cited Charters as one of many reasons for the decline. I mention Charters not to blame those schools but to highlight the fact that OUSD would know full well with their vote to add significant charter sites in Cleveland’s district that the numbers would be impacted significantly and yet did not take those findings and facts into consideration when setting enrollment projections that were higher than ANY year prior. So we know families are leaving the area, we know Charters are forming in the area, we know district projections show declining numbers and yet we still base our projections higher than last year and then penalize families, students and qualified teachers for poor decisions made by OUSD. It’s a travesty and an example of the continued grossly negligent and short sighted decisions made by OUSD. ALL students and families in Oakland should be outraged that these people who sit in positions that are supposed to support the rights and well being of ALL children are making decisions WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY. They made these mistakes, they made this mess, they should take responsibility for their actions. I would also like to add that Cleveland class numbers are NOT severely “under enrolled” they are just not at the maximum capacity allowed by law. This idea of maximum capacity is supposed to PROTECT the students and staff from over crowded classroom is should not be the considered (as it is being in this case) the minimum number in terms of receiving adequate funding from OUSD. Again, our kids and teachers suffer and the only thing that matter to OUSD is what their bottom line is and how much they can transfer the blame for their mismanagement back onto the parents, children, teachers and community at large. THIS scenario is why families are leaving OUSD and OUSD should not be holding those its serves accountable for its lack of proper planning, side deals and ineptitude.

  • Harold

    This isn’t a private school. Go out and let your voice be heard at the school board meeting.

    The school board shouldn’t be a ‘rubber stamp’ for the Superintendent.

    Additionally, if the board doesn’t serve the interests of the community – vote for someone who will in November!

    I do not understand the lack of candidates for these seats on our school board…

  • Frustrated

    This is how OUSD handicaps its high performers and drives away the very families and students that they should WANT in their schools. Bureaucrats see nothing but numbers, and keep talking about the “very real” numbers they face, yet seemingly have no accountability to the very real students impacted by their decisions. How do we keep the decision-makers accountable? How do we preserve the quality we’ve worked so hard to create as a school community?

  • Cleveland parent

    Upon further review, we’ve found that the enrollment numbers for Cleveland are consistent this year in terms of class size as they have been every year since 2008! Further proof that OUSD’s claim about our current “under enrollment is nothing more than an excuse for poor decision making in how families were assigned to what schools through the options process. The school and its children should not have to shoulder the responsibility for the mistakes made by OUSD.

  • MuseKing

    I’m sorry to say that you are all missing the point here– this problem goes WAY beyond Crocker, OUSD, and Tony Smith. This is a CALIFORNIAN issue that started with the passage of Prop 13. California’s public education system has been deteriorating for decades and due to Corporate public interests, and lack of UNITY and concerted ACTION by parents and teachers’ unions, there has been no meaningful, long-term proposals to fix it. None of these issues will be resolved until Prop 13 is amended somewhat to protect homeowners and seniors (to some degree, based on need– NOT tenure of ownership) and provide sufficient, stable funding to CA public education. If you are a frustrated parent or teacher, I recommend that you join forces with a grass-roots organization called ‘Educate Our State’ which is advocating for meaningful changes to CA’s public education system– with a narrow focus in the short-term on getting one or both of the CA Voter Props (Props 30 & 38) passed in Nov. If NOT, there will be an ADDITIONAL automatic cut of $5.5B– not a typo!– to Ca Public Education. Visit http://www.educateourstate.org and take the Pledge to Vote ‘Yes’ for Education in Nov (and find out more about how to get involved to REALLY fix the problem– a GREAT way to vent your frustration! :)

  • MuseKing

    Sorry, some typos in the above, I hope you take my gist!

  • J.R.

    Museking,
    Thanks, I will look at it.

  • Lemons into Lemonade!

    As someone who endured the rather laborious options process (we were originally denied Cleveland due to over enrollment this year), it breaks my heart to think of the families (many who would have attended Lakeview) who were forced to go to crammed schools that are struggling academically. If you are a parent who wants a great, diverse, high performing school for your child this year (and I’ve met many of you, disgruntled at being denied any of your school selections), please call Sue Woerle IMMEDIATELY and leave a message letting her know you’d like your child to fill one of the available spots at Cleveland. We would love to have you join our community and to save our newest K teacher from losing her position due to poor planning.
    Sue Woerle, Interim Director OUSD
    Ph. 510.273.1644

  • Oakland Educator

    Tonight once and for all Dr. Smith is going to take care of American Indian Charter Schools. I know personally he has onvinced Jumoke Hinton to vote with our team. All American Indian has been doing is taking kids from OUSD and tonight we will put a stop to it.

  • Katy Murphy

    I know this is off the thread, but since it came up …

    Here’s a story about American Indian schools and the “Notice of Violation” that the Oakland school board considers tonight: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_21638402/oaklands-award-winning-american-indian-charter-schools-face

  • Katy Murphy

    I’m live-tweeting from the Oakland school board meeting, where Cleveland parents have addressed the board about the restructuring decision.

    Lots on the agenda tonight.

    My Twitter name’s @katymurphy

  • oaklandedlandscape

    Where are the students going? Parents are enrolling them elsewhere. I find it interesting that folks blame charters. Look at your own schools. Easy to blame others. The trend will continue until parents feel that OUSD is a better “option”.

  • Jesse James

    Katy, please please please research the high number of principals on special assignment. There seem to be a high percentage of failed site administrators sitting around downtown while budgets are slashed at sites. Without their positions, I bet there’d be money for supplies and afterschool tutoring, class size reduction at my site. By the way, just as she did last year, our principal on special assignment just sits in our office gossipibg with our secretary! What a waste of money and time!!

  • Nontcair

    We moved to our neighborhood because Cleveland had a reputation as a high-performing school.

    Here we go again. Public eduction being used as a *political* instituton. In this instance, to protect private property values in certain neighborhoods.

  • Public School Supporter

    I can’t believe I am agreeing with Nontcair on something, but I also winced when reading, “we moved to our neighborhood because Cleveland had a reputation as a high-performing school.” Cleveland may have that reputation, but OUSD overall does not. Do people really believe that higher neighborhood property values “buy” them a “good” school, even within a district with so much diversity and inequity?

    Mixing it up– while undoubtedly causing growing pains in years when enrollment goes up or down (exacerbated by poor planning/communication)– seems to me like a really good thing.

  • AC Mom

    To #25 and #26:

    No one at Cleveland has a problem with “mixing it up”. It’s a Title 1 school, with a socio-economically, ethnically and linguistically diverse population. Its students come from throughout Oakland. In fact, OUSD had reported that the majority of Cleveland students come from outside of the school boundary. This is not protecting property values, it is about a situation that with better planning and consideration could have been avoided or at least mitigated. Cleveland parent’s advocacy for their children is no different than what we have witnessed via this blog at any other school in OUSD.

  • On The Fence

    This is not about mixing it up. This is about district ineptitude. I support Cleveland families in their advocacy for their students and their teachers. I am sorry that I could not personally attend the board meeting in solidarity with those families due to a prior engagement.

  • What

    What happened last nightwith aipcs

  • Cleveland parent

    At the end of last night’s meeting we heard from a Crocker parent who said that the district came to Crocker and OFFERED them a 4th class. Further exemplifying the failures at the district level that lead to this situation at Cleveland.

    Also, just to add to the conversation above about the demographics at Cleveland, here are stats from our latest SARC report:
    Socioeconomically Disadvantaged 55%
    English Learners 56%
    Black or African American 17.5%
    American Indian or Alaska Native 0.3%
    Asian 58.3%
    Filipino 0.6%
    Hispanic or Latino 6.4%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.6%
    White 9.7%
    Two or more races 5.3%
    Students with disabilities 6.9%

    Our school is diverse AND high achieving. We are inclusive of all families and welcome families from any and all neighborhoods and believe that are diversity is a big part of why it’s such an amazing school. My family in particular chose Cleveland as our first option because of this fact and I know any others that do as well.

    The district shouldn’t punish Cleveland for its own mismanagement of the restructuring and the options process.

  • Katy Murphy

    The OUSD board voted 4-2 to issue a “notice of violation” to American Indian Model Schools. Alice Spearman and Chris Dobbins voted no, and Noel Gallo was absent.

  • livegreen

    The decisions that led to this mess were made by someone in charge of enrollment and mapping. This is not the first time geographic boundaries have not reflected on-the-ground neighborhoods and enrollment.

    Part of this is very complex (shifting numbers and populations, families not telling OUSD when they decide not to enroll, etc). Even what constitutes a neiborhood or community meshed with how many families therein will go to OUSD, and finally how much school capacity there is.

    However this situation was not one of them. Few kids in Lakeview’s catchment area actually went to Lakeview, therefor most or many families in the catchment area would continue Doug what they’d been doing: goig to other schools outside there area or have a better choice if they’d been assigned to Cleveland (or even Piedmont Ave Elementary for those on that side).

    The other source of the confusion might be the neighborhoods NW of Grand Ave (near Lakeview) and between Grand and Lakeshore…this area interacts and abuts Crocker & Trestle Glen, but is somewhat distinct. The map and boundary makers might have been well intentioned in putting it all together, while not knowing some of the subtleties.

    It really points to how complex these are and that these considerations, along with OUSD’s legitimate financial considerations, should b better shared and decided with the communities. Before the decisions are finalized.

  • livegreen

    Above Doug = doing and goig=going

    Apologies on behalf of my iPhone

  • Nontcair

    #30 quoted from a “SARC” report. Apparently that is the “product” of a bureaucracy which exists to perform racial profiling.

    Totally offensive. Doesn’t anybody remember Prop 209? Article 1 §31:

    The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of .. public education ..

    The reason OUSD tracks race is so that it can either discrimate against or grant preferences to certain racial groups.

    This Democrat obsession with race (AKA “diversity”) has got to stop.

  • MJ

    …Or maybe it tracks race so that it can make sure that it’s treating ALL kids fairly…

  • Nontcair

    How many $100K+ government bureaucrats are “working” full-time to collect, collate, and run regressions on these pseudo-”statistics”?

    Once again we see public education involved in an activity that has nothing to do with teaching Johnny how to read.

    This one is particularly offensive.

  • Luis Rivera

    What does not seize to amaze me is how the district walks over the parents, once and again, and they (we) do not show up at the ombudperson’s office to file a complaint (s). Then it would go to the rexos’ office, who could start being accountable for something other than schmoozing and taking care of their political image.
    However, let’s understand they are human. Please, observe than in matters of dirty laundry with potential consequences for their political image, they send in to schools the administrators that support them (aka admin on “special” assignment).
    Who in Dr. Smith and Friends’ Inc. could have made this decision about Crocker? Montes de Oca? Settles?
    Boy, these folks have the dubious merit of making the full service story sound and feel like a nightmare.

  • Luis Rivera

    On second reading some comments before I wonder if people really think that speaking out during a board meeting helps. Some of the bureaucrats and careerists there are pretty hardened in hearing pretty much anything, and doing nothing. Their politeness speaks volumes about how much they care, and how affected they are people speaking, yelling or bringing banners.
    Again, why not leaving your complaints on paper in the ombudsperson’s office, where the words cannot just disappear and there is a legal protocol for dealing/following up with uniform complaints?

  • Jim Mordecai

    Nonclair:

    Of course principals do not teach students to read but they will now, thanks to the VRP, be assigned to learn how to enter electronically data on disciplined students. There will be 21 required items for each student disciplined.

    #1 the name, identification number, race, ethnicity, sex, age, disability and/or English Language Learner (ELL) status, homeless or foster care status, as applicable, and grade level of each student referred for discipline.

    #15 I believe will be subject to bargaining even though the agreement was made with the Federal Government.

    #15: The staff member who assigned the penalty/sanction (by staff employee number).

    #21: Whether the student was given access to appropriate due process procedures in connection with the penalty/sanction, including but not limited to being given the opportunity to present his or her version of events and/or an explanation for their conduct prior to the imposition of sanctions, and whether, when and how their parents were contacted in connection with each referral incident.

    You may not be interested in what principals and teachers are to do under the VRP agreement but do take notice of the agreement to but financing of the plan as a budget line item. And, it will take big bucks to pay for all the in-services and the agreed to “experts” to consult on evaluation of the District’s effectiveness in ending the District’s policies of discrimination.

    Remember this plan was negotiated between OCR and Superintendent Smith and his staff without teachers or rincipals or parents involvement of a top down plan. Now if it doesn’t work and makes discipline problems worse it will not be the Feds fault, not the Superintendent’s fault but the schools’ principals and teachers. What a revolting situation the School Board voted to put its principals and teachers in not to mention a budget that can’t afford the plan.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Murphy’s Law

    1. “Do the rules of seniority trump common-sense decision making?”

    Yes

    2. I see nothing wrong with people moving to an area becuase the neighborhood school is good. People have common sense and make decisions based on what’s best for their family – including property value. Idealism aside, regular people do what they feel is best for their families. Property values matter. local economies matter. Frankly, people look at the cost of private school tuition and factor it into the mortgage payment they are willing to pay based on the qualiy of their local school.

    3. Seems to me that all of this shuffling is a result of the closing of schools. Was this mapped out ahead of time? Did anyone consider the possibility that the students and families would NOT go where they were assigned? Anybody? Were there any voices focusing on the system impact of that possibility – including consolidations?

    4. The board went through a pressure cooker last year. After listening to all the weeping and wailing from families at closing schools last year, its unreasonable to think they would bend to the crocodile tears from parents of a couple impacted classrooms this year. Interestingly enough, some of the parents and communities that remained silent last year are impacted this year and are trying to rally a public (and board) that’s tired of fighting. School comunities must learn that they can’t be silent while something unseemly is happening in another part of town.

    5. The OEA and OUSD gave initial proposals for a new contract. Do they have to renew? There should be an overarching agreement, but free agency should be built in as well. After a certain number of years, people ought to be able to seek employment and seek a higher salary from schools. Let them bid. People will pay BIG money for a great teacher. There should be a veteran minimum. Think of it as the NFL. Union with free agency. Rest in Peace, Gene Upshaw – a union leader with courage and conviction.

  • Murphy’s Law

    AIPCS possible closure.

    That some people are celebrating is absolutely sickening. They are so wound up in their political position or personal vendetta, that they don’t see the school’s status for what it is:

    The students and families of Oakland lose with this school closing. I know the board feels it has given chances and is compelled to act. But undoubtedly they are doing this with heavy hearts. Kids have thrived at these schools. Amid all the charges and allegations, political pandering, and factional bickering, there have always been students from this school who have been wildly successful despite difficult backgrounds.

    That people are expressing excitement about this school closing is sickening. When a high performing school closes, we all lose.

    Just looking at the reaction of the constituencies is sobering and sickening. OEA, for one, owuld be wise to simply stay out of it. No public comments. No open signs of celebration. No chatter in the board mtg hallways about “We finally got his butt…” It is not in your best interest to celebrate the unraveling of something that many families feel connected and whose students have done so well. A few unwise members speaking ignorantly in the hallway, oblivious to media and reporters around them, can really end badly.

    If teachers and administrators took an extra hundred million dollars out of Oakland coffers, but turned all of their schools into high performing schools where 95% of the kids went to college and thrived…. would Oakland’s citizens go for it? I can’t speak for all of Oakland, but I bet the answer would be “Yes”. Talk about the impact on crime, health, economics, property values, city services, poverty, and culture!! We paid at least that much for the Raiders.

    I’m not saying Chavis did what is alleged, but I do know it’s sad to think of closing down a high performing school.I also think his schools were threatening to others because of test scores, enrollment, expansion, and their pilosophy making a mockery of the traditional company lines for underperformance.

    I don’t begrudge the Board members who voted “no”. They are, I assume, considering the best interest of the kids. That’s their job. When the district is losing 8 million in special ed, it must be infuriating to have to shut down greatschools becuase of 2 or 3 million dollars alleged to be misappropriated by an individual.

    File charges vs him, if you must, leave the school alone. Better yet, thank him for his service and pick his brain about how he got the schools to improve, then send him on his way after reaching an agreement to pay back whatever he is alleged to have taken.

    The closing of quality schools really is unfortunate.
    The CELEBRATION of the schools closing is sickening.

  • Outraged

    Someone mentioned earlier that we should be outraged by the actions of OUSD and that the School Board shouldn’t be a rubber stamp for Tony Smith. The School Board is, in effect, a rubber stamp for Tony Smith when Montes de Oca and his staff present erroneous and incomplete data to the Board concerning the closure of Lakeview and the Board votes unanimously in favor using this faulty data.

    The fact of the matter is that Cleveland’s underenrollment problem and Crocker’s overenrollment problem could have been completely avoided had anyone spent the time and diligence to realize that Crocker was already full. Wasn’t one of the most important considerations in redirecting the Lakeview students that they be given a better option than where they were? All four schools receiving students from Lakeview were deemed to be better, but how is doubling the number of homes in the Crocker boundary, thereby potentially halving someone’s chance of getting in there, providing them with a better solution?

    OUSD has once again successfully evaded common sense.

  • wiley

    whheeeew
    Consolidating teachers because of underenrollment is not a new phenomenon,ask many, if not most, of the flatland employees- yes that means losing a teacher and creating combination classes. Not to be a sadist,but think of the empathy that can now be shared with less affluent schools because of this situation.

    That still doesn’t feel good, I know.

    What I am hearing is that Crocker does not have an influx of Lakeview students and the demographics of Crocker remains the same. Is that a good thing?

    I am curious about the amount of consultant money that was spent to support the school closure efforts- does anyone know?

    I also wonder why families did not ask these questions when Montes was having the community meetings. There was no hidden agenda.

  • A coding error

    @ Wiley
    If there is no hidden agenda, that is due to the high degree of improvisation in management decisions, embellished with never-ending sentences by OUSD’s orators, abundant in the transitions department. Champions of eduspeak. Leaders for what?