For a short moment today, I thought the OUSD administration had given the public a full accounting of where students from recently closed elementary schools ended up this fall — more specifically, how many of the children at Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe remained in the district.
It’s been the subject of speculation for months, as student enrollment is closely tied to the amount of funding a school district receives from the state. If a school district loses too many students after it closes schools, it also stands to lose the savings underlying the whole plan.
The text at the top of Slide #6 on the enrollment presentation suggests that everything went according to plan — that only 19 percent of the affected left the district, about the national average. What’s more, it notes that the steep enrollment drop that crept up on the Oakland school district this fall had little to do with the restructuring plan.
The slide reads: “Percent of student loss from closed elementary schools is slightly lower than national average closure loss (20%). Total student loss represents small portion of total enrollment loss for OUSD in 2012-13.”
Then I saw the four bar graphs, one for each of the elementary schools on the closure list — except for one that’s nowhere to be found: Lazear Elementary.
Once again, in a school closure analysis, it’s almost as if Lazear never existed — when, in fact, its parents turned it into an independently-run charter school (on appeal to the county) after the board voted to close it, merely to keep it open. And they didn’t win their appeal until June 14, just as Lazear children — who had been assigned to other OUSD schools — were scattering for summer vacation. Even then, it was unclear whether Lazear would be able to stay in its location, as a charter school.
Today’s a district holiday, but I’ve asked, again, for information about Lazear. (I’m also trying to understand why the total enrollment figure listed for 2011-12 — 37,742 — is significantly lower than those provided to me last fall by the district — 38,039. Both were based on the 20-day count and included all students.)
The enrollment presentation — along with the district’s budget priorities for 2013-14 — will be discussed at Wednesday night’s regular Oakland school board meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.