Despite public outcry, Oakland Unified to close, merge, reduce grades for 11 schools
After weeks of protests by students, teachers and families, hours of outcry at school board meetings, and an ongoing hunger strike by two educators, Oakland Unified’s school board in the early hours of Wednesday morning voted to close, merge or reduce grades for 11 schools across the district.
A tense, eight-hour special school board meeting that started Tuesday concluded with school board members voting 4-2 on an amended list of closures, mergers and grade reductions. Board members Gary Yee, Sam Davis, Aimee Eng and Shanti Gonzales voted in favor of the closures; Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Williams voted against them, and Clifford Thompson abstained.
Under the plan, Community Day School and Parker Elementary will close at the end of the current school year. Carl Munck, Brookfield, Grass Valley, Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy and Horace Mann elementary schools will close at the end of the 2022-23 school year. RISE Community School and New Highland Academy will merge for the start of the 2022-23 school year. Also, La Escuelita TK-8 will no longer offer grades six through eight at the start of the next school year, and Hillcrest K-8 will no longer offer grades six to eight by the start of the 2023-24 school year.
Advocates are calling for protests, staff sickouts and student protests starting Wednesday to denounce the board’s decision.