Teachers’ union to file lawsuit after Oakland school board approves closures – NBC Bay Area
The union representing Oakland public school teachers plans to file a lawsuit against the district’s decision to close or merge nearly a dozen schools.
Oakland Unified School District administrators this week narrowly approved a measure outlining the closures as part of an effort to tackle a budget shortfall.
“Today, our union will take legal action against Oakland Unified to prevent the hasty and unnecessary closure of schools serving predominantly Black students,” Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown said in a statement. “And, if that happens, I’m prepared to call on Oakland educators to strike to protect our schools. OUSD has the reserves to keep the schools running, and that excuse needs to end now.”
The union said it plans to file a complaint with the Employment Public Relations Commission to challenge the district’s decision, which was made in a contentious meeting that began Tuesday and continued until in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Additionally, the planned closures have sparked protests from students, teachers and parents, including a hunger strike by two educators.
Despite public opposition, council approved an amended version shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The approved measure will result in the closure of two schools at the end of the current school year: Community Day School and Parker Elementary School.
Five other schools will close at the end of the next school year in 2023: Brookfield Elementary, Carl B. Munck Elementary, Grass Valley Elementary, Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy and Horace Mann Elementary.
Additionally, the approved measure merges RISE Elementary with New Highland Academy Elementary for the start of the 2022-23 school year. Beginning in the same school year, La Escuelita Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary will eliminate students in grades 6 through 8.
According to the district, mergers or school closures are needed due to declining enrollment, especially in its elementary schools. Since public schools are funded based on enrollment, this resulted in a deficit over the next two years. The district says 35% of its schools are listed at “below-bearable” levels.
Bay City News contributed to this report.