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School Calendar for 2023-24

With today being the last day of school, many people have been trying to find the school calendar for next year. 

It was finally confirmed a month ago (it had been held up in negotiations with OEA until then), but it hasn’t yet made its way onto the OUSD website.

You can find it by clicking here and then clicking on the attachment.

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On May 15, Oakland Unified celebrated the 22nd Annual African-American Honor Roll event, first organized by Oscar Wright (top left). Pictured are the honor roll students from Claremont Middle School.

My Take on the Oakland Teachers' Strike

The recent seven-day strike was very hard on the whole community. In the end, on May 15 the teachers’ union (OEA) signed a tentative agreement (TA) which included essentially the same raises that had been offered on May 1 before the strike.

Instead of compensation, the focus of the strike was on the Common Good issues. Separately from the TA, the union also ended up signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on four of these topics: community schools, housing/transportation, reparations for Black students, and school closures.

Many people have asked me why I stood firm in my conviction that while the district could and should have discussions on these topics with OEA that lead to the MOUs, it should not include them in bargaining (i.e., the TA). This is a fine legal distinction, and was the direction that the Board gave its negotiating team before the strike, yet it seems like the goal of the strike was to change that direction.

In the end, the Board did not meet during the strike, and so the direction did not change. I go into great detail on my own reasons for that in a long write-up that I have just published online. Of course, I can’t speak for the district as a whole or for any other board members on this.

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Congratulations to all the high school graduates in the Class of 2023! Pictured are scholarship winners at Oakland International High School at their graduation ceremony on May 23.

Measure Y Spending Plan Changes

In 2020, Oakland voters approved a $735 million facilities bond, Measure Y, to address some of the over $3 billion in repairs and renovations needed across the district. The following year, the board adopted an initial spending plan for these funds.

On May 18, the Facilities Committee voted to recommend to the full board the changes to the spending plan that facilities staff have proposed. 

The report from staff at that meeting was greatly improved over the April version. First, they included details on the scope of the five largest projects at McClymonds, Melrose Leadership Academy (MLA), Garfield, Roosevelt, and CCPA.

Second, they used data, including considering equity for more vulnerable student populations, to compare the need at those five sites. 

Third, they made a clear recommendation to the Board (unlike the April report which gave three different options, some of which had unclear numbers attached to them). 

The staff recommendation that the committee approved was to increase the budgets for McClymonds, Roosevelt and CCPA by a total of $65.7 million to account for significant inflation in construction costs over the past couple of years. 

That difference would be made up by:

  • reducing the project at MLA by $13 million,

  • reallocating $17 million that had been slated for projects related to consolidating schools

  • reducing the district-wide projects (a large collection of smaller projects at schools all across Oakland) by $15.7 million

  • using the $20 million contingency fund for the district-wide projects

As you can imagine, there was a lot of public comment at the committee meeting from members of many of the impacted school communities.

The next step is that the Citizens Bond Oversight Commission (CBOC) will give their feedback on the revisions at their May 31 meeting. Then, it will come to the full board for approval or revision, possibly on June 7, but that’s up to Board President Mike Hutchinson.

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Congrats to teacher Santiago Bustamante who was honored as Claremont Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Rockridge Masons Lodge, based on the recommendation of Principal Tremaine Moore.

May 31 Oakland Unified Budget Forum

I am hosting another forum on budget issues--I was planning to do another subject this time, but the budget staff found it so helpful to hear from the community that they asked me to please do one more on the same topic, and how could I turn them down after everything Lisa Grant-Dawson and DeCarlos Kaigler have done to better manage our finances?

It will be on Wednesday, May 31 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. You can get the Zoom link by registering at this link.

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The Rudsdale High School graduation took place yesterday, May 24, in the auditorium at Oakland Tech. It was very moving to see the accomplishments of these students, many of whom are newcomers to the United States, while others overcame tremendous personal and societal challenges to take advantage of this alternative education program. Congrats to all the grads!

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