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Wednesday's Board Meeting: Criteria for School Closures, Mergers, and Other Changes

In School Board Watch

This week's School Board meeting includes discussion and possible adoption of the criteria for the closing, transforming, or merging of OUSD schools.

What: OUSD Board of Education Meeting,
Where: 1025 2nd Avenue
When: 5 pm, Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School closures can be among the most difficult times and choices for any school community.  The District needs your feedback (attend Wednesday's School Board meeting and/or send feedback and support to the Quality Schools Development Group or your School Board member) to make sure our students and schools get the support they need.

We at GO look forward to the coming months as a time when the Oakland education community can be sensitive, deliberate, and thoughtful. We must make choices that will keep our children as our focus. This includes ensuring that, if schools must be closed, families at those schools are cared for during transition and schools receiving those families are also supported to ensure they are strengthened by the process and remain high-quality schools.

It is our understanding that the following will happen:
(1) OUSD staff present criteria to the Board for adoption;
(2) if the Board adopts the criteria, then district staff will present a list of schools for recommended closure/merger;
(3) with Board approval, district staff will begin reaching out to affected school communities (meetings, info, etc.);
(4) the Board approves a final list of changes by Wednesday, October 26; and
(5) OUSD begins working on the transition process for the 2012-13 school year.

At this Board Meeting, the District will present the following.

First: The OUSD staff is proposing a set of guiding principles that will help the district meet its goals with this process. The list in the Board Presentation has additional explanation:


GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Reinforce neighborhood schools
  • Increase access to quality alternatives
  • Reduce displacement of students and families
  • Consider a variety of factors in decision-making
  • Integrate school closure among multiple strategies to achieve goals

Second: The OUSD Staff is proposing a six-step process that will help them decide which schools to close. There is much more detail in the Board Presentation (PDF).  GO includes a few quick clarifying comments below. The PDF has a more detailed explanation of the process.

SIX STEP PROCESS
1: Where do we need to operate schools?

This step looks at many factors (such as, the number of students who live close to a school) and ranks schools from high to low.  Schools with a low ranking may be placed on a closure list.

2: Which schools listed have been included in another restructuring strategy?
This means that "transformation," STEM schools, and others will be excluded from the list.

3: Which schools listed had the lowest ranking (based on step one, above) with the greatest distance from other low ranking schools on the list?

4.1: Which schools listed are located in greatest proximity to one another?

Are there schools that are ranked low and close to another low ranked school?

4.2: What if low ranked schools share a boundary?

If there are low ranked schools that share a boundary then OUSD will look at three factors:  Performance, School Choice, and Fiscal Health

4.3: Which schools, when considering other factors, ranked lowest in one or more of these additional categories?
This step will identify schools that are (1) low-ranking (based on step one) and (2) are close to another low-ranking school, and rank them based on Performance, School Choice, and Fiscal Health. If they are low ranking on those factors, then they will stay on the closure list.

5: (optional) Which schools, when considering other factors, nonetheless represent viable options as receiving schools for students displaced by school closure?

6: Which schools are the Superintendent and staff recommending to the Board of Education for Closure beginning Fall 2012?

The top left sidebar of the OUSD website includes a link to watch the meeting live on Wednesday if you can't make it in person.

Tags: Quality Schools, School Board Watch

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