News Update

Oakland students, teachers and parents condemn proposal to close schools at board meeting

For weeks, Oakland Unified students, teachers and parents have condemned the school board’s proposal to close and merge up to 15 of the district’s schools, a plan that is expected to pass at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

More than 1,800 people attended the virtual school board meeting, and at 8:40 p.m. the public comment portion of the meeting had reached its second hour. Students whose schools were slated to close spoke about their love of coming to school and seeing their friends and teachers, and adults questioned the reasoning behind closing schools, which the district maintains is needed to address years of enrollment loss.

At the top of the meeting, board member Mike Hutchinson proposed pushing the proposal off until January 2023, giving the district enough time to properly engage with the community and explore alternatives. However, Hutchinson’s proposal didn’t garner enough votes.

Prior to the meeting, board member Sam Davis announced that he would amend the proposal to remove the following schools from the closure and merger list: Prescott Elementary, Westlake Middle School, West Oakland Middle School, Ralph Bunche Academy, Dewey Academy, Manzanita Community School and Fruitvale Elementary School. Davis is expected to amend the resolution after public comment.

Westlake teachers Moses Omolade and André San-Chez, who are on day eight of a hunger strike in protest of the closures, said that even though their school was taken off of the list, they will continue their hunger strike until the district backs off of all school closure plans.