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Archive for the 'local control' Category

And the state takeover comes to an end

It’s taken the better part of a decade, but the Oakland school board — not the state superintendent — will finally, once again, call the shots. Tonight, the board approved an agreement to restore local governance to the district, six years after the fiscal crisis and state takeover of 2003.

The transfer will be made official on Monday, two days before Tony Smith assumes the superintendent’s post. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009
Under: local control, School board news | 12 Comments »

Matthews: One foot out the door?

State schools superintendent Jack O’Connell has been mum about the return of local governance to the Oakland school board, five months after OUSD passed muster with state auditors from the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team.

Maybe his Oakland appointee, Vince Matthews, knows something we don’t; he’s looking for another job. 

In fact, Matthews was recently one of six finalists for a school district in Reno, Nevada — the Washoe County School District. But he later withdrew his name (as did a few of the other finalists). He told me this afternoon that he was still job hunting. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2009
Under: local control, OUSD central office | 7 Comments »

Whereas, we want our power back

On Monday, the Oakland school board will issue a resolution to support Assemblymember Sandre Swanson‘s latest attempt to end the state takeover. AB 791 would require State Superintendent Jack O’Connell to restore the last two areas of local governance — academic policy and finances — to the OUSD board by January 4 July 1, 2010. 

In December, state auditors gave OUSD high enough ratings for O’Connell to cut the district loose, but he has yet to make a move. It’s been almost six years since the takeover.

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
Under: local control, OUSD central office, politics, School board news | 9 Comments »

Superintendent search: Who will fit the profile?

Based on input from the hastily scheduled superintendent search forums (I went to one at Westlake Middle School with about 10 people, including the school principal), the search firm Ray & Associates created a profile of the ideal candidate, which the Oakland school board approved this week.

You can find the complete document, which touts Oakland’s assets  — diversity, weather, professional sports, even the zoo – here. Candidates have until April 21 to turn in their applications for this $275,000-plus-benefits job (which, strangely enough, might seem like a deal after paying two executives $250,000 apiece.)

The characteristics sound pretty generic, actually. Do you agree that the profile (below) describes the sort of leader/superhuman Oakland needs? What would you add?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Under: leadership changes, local control, OUSD central office | 11 Comments »

Wanted: An Oakland superintendent

Anyone dreaming of an Oakland superintendency had better have their resumes polished and their references lined up. Tomorrow, at long last, the Oakland school board will tell the world that it’s looking for a new leader. Officially.

About time, isn’t it?

In the weeks to come Next week, there will be a series of community meetings Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Under: leadership changes, local control, OUSD central office, School board news | No Comments »

OUSD vs. O’Connell

DIY court research, anyone? If you want to see the documents for yourself, just click here, then click on the ”Case Summary” link and enter this case number: RG09440971

Update: A judge denied the Oakland school district’s request to order a temporary halt to the transfer of funds to charter schools. One reason? The school board might not have the legal authority to file such a lawsuit, since it doesn’t have all of its governing powers back.

The scoop: The Oakland school district has filed suit against State Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2009
Under: charter schools, finances, lawsuits, local control, OUSD central office, politics, School board news | 5 Comments »

County official is “alarmed” by O’Connell’s Oakland charter directive

Two weeks ago, I blogged about a $60 per student fee that State Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell has directed his Oakland appointee, Vincent Matthews, to give the city’s independently run, public charter schools — a total amount now estimated to be $450,000.

O’Connell’s directive — which Matthews plans to approve at Wednesday night’s board meeting – was not well received by the Oakland school board. Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan doesn’t like it, either.

Jordan has written an open letter to O’Connell, calling for him to suspend the mandate Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, March 9th, 2009
Under: charter schools, finances, local control, politics | 5 Comments »

Ruling by committee

Wanna talk safety? How about academics? Facilities? Finances? Ethics?

You name it, there’s a new committee for it. Under state control, the Oakland school board went years without being able to cast a vote that counted or delve into critical issues with district staffers. Now, the elected officials appear to be in the midst of a governing frenzy – and who can blame them? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
Under: families, local control, OUSD central office, School board news | 1 Comment »

Some light TV for your Saturday

As most of you know, the Oakland school district, like others throughout California, faces some painful financial decisions. Some of its programs and services – and who knows what else — could shrivel up or disappear altogether.

Thirty million dollars is not a small amount of change, and that’s what district officials think they’ll have to cut from next year’s budget.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, the board meets all day in its regular spot to hear various proposals. I won’t be there in person, but I’ll try to catch some of it on TV.

KDOL (Channel 27) is airing it live, for those of you rare Bay Area types who actually have television sets and cable.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Under: finances, initiatives, local control, OUSD central office, School board news, students, teachers | No Comments »

Keeping a close watch on the cash flow

Two words came up at tonight’s school board meeting that might sound uncomfortably familiar to those of you who watched OUSD’s financial house implode in 2002 and 2003: Cash flow.

As I listened to the discussion (and the tone of everyone’s voice), it became clear to me that school officials don’t just have to figure out a way to balance the budget in the face of multimillion-dollar cuts. They need to plan, right now, for the possibility that the state — if unable to resolve its mounting fiscal problems — does not make payments to school districts at some point in the coming months.

“We do need to take a very careful look at the cash flow,” interim superintendent Roberta Mayor said. “If the district runs out of cash, that’s a major, major problem.”

With monthly payouts averaging $38 million, however, it’s not like OUSD can survive on its squirreled-away savings for long. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: finances, local control, OUSD central office, politics, School board news | 2 Comments »