Parents try to recall board members over closures

December 14, 2011 7:39:30 PM PST
Parents of the children who attend schools on Oakland Unified School District's closure hit list are angry. A group, called the Concerned Parent and Community Coalition will present hundreds of signatures at Wednesday evening's board meeting to launch a recall effort against the board members they believe to be responsible.

"We're going to be serving the five board members that voted 'yes' a petition to recall," parent Joel Velasquez said.

Velasquez and others believe that these particular closures will have a significant impact to the predominately black and Latino children who attend the schools. They have made their opposition known in previous demonstrations, so far to no avail.

The school board says that several factors played into their decision, student enrollment and the cost to operate the facility, among them, and by shutting the doors at the schools on their list, the district will save $2 million per year.

"California has endured unprecedented cuts to school funding; here in Oakland that's meant that our budget has decreased by about a third over the last three years, which is one of the factors driving the decision to close schools," OUSD spokesperson Troy Flint said.

But parent Kaylen Miller says closing that many schools will mean packed classrooms and fewer choices for parents.

"They had an optional fair for us to pick but, in the paper that they showed us, it's like limited spaces, so I may not be the only one to pick that particular school," Miller said.

The impact of the recall petition has yet to be determined. Wednesday's move would only be a first step; because board members are elected officials, the signatures will need to be verified by the county election office in order to get onto next year's ballot.

The decision on the school closures appears to be final.

"There's no intent to change the direction, which is that those schools would close at the end of this 2011-2012 year," Flint said.


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