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Bill seeks to avoid planned Oakland school closures

oakland elementary school kids david silver.jpg
David Silver
/
Flickr / Creative Commons
A look at some of the diversity in the Oakland Unified School District classrooms

Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced Assembly Bill 1912, which doesn't stop the closure and consolidation plan Oakland school board members voted last Wednesday, but could pave the way for avoiding it.

The bill also gives more time for the school district to show that it is solvent financially. Bonta's bill sends OUSD about $10 million that was in the prior year's state budget, without an obligation to close or consolidate its schools, as is now required.

Bonta said her bill gives OUSD "a little grace" so they don't have to make "potentially irreversible" decisions affecting mainly Black and Hispanic students during the pandemic.

Under Bonta's bill, the school district would have another year to decide whether to consolidate schools.

Oakland teachers argue that the schools now slated for closure this year and next serve mainly Black students and that the school district has a pattern of aiming to close schools in Black and Hispanic communities.

The school district is planning this year to close Community Day School and Parker K-8 School, while eliminating grades six to eight at La Escuelita School and merging Rise Community School and New Highland Academy.

The school district's plan is meant to address an expected budget deficit.