Oakland Unified board to consider selling properties

August 13, 2013 5:44:30 PM PDT
Is the Oakland Unified School District sitting on some hot real estate? The school board will vote Wednesday on a strategic plan on a how to best manage its assets. Oakland Unified School District is one of the largest property owners in that city. This goes back decades ago. Every time new homes were built, a school would be put in.

Right now, the school district owns 108 properties on 525 acres of land. What the board wants to do is decide if the school district should sell some of the buildings they no longer use, or lease them.

Remember, because of declining enrollment, there are fewer students today so the district closed some schools. Then you have the district's administrative offices at 1025 2nd Avenue. That building was almost sold in 2006 to a developer back east, but the community objected. And recently, it was flooded. There was so much damage that it has been closed for months now.

The district still owes the state $65 million from a loan it had to take out in 2002 because of financial mismanagement. So, really what they want to know is how to get the biggest bang for their buck.

"This special committee held a series of hearings in April and May. We heard from our community. We heard from our unions and from folks in the development community, and they said you've got great property there. I would happily enter into a long term lease with you," explained school board member Jody London.

Again, another option is to sell. So, the board will vote Wednesday on whether or not to start looking at its portfolio. Then in December, the school district and the superintendent will come back with ways to implement this plan and how to make it a reality.

To be clear -- no schools will close. None of the properties being considered for sale are used as schools today.

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