OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It was another contentious school board meeting in Oakland Tuesday night. But unlike the Oct. 23 meeting, when police were called to hold back protesters, tonight the protest came in the form of Christmas carol parodies.
"They're making mistakes and kids are paying the price. Budget cuts are coming to town," the group sang to the tune of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."
But like the Oct. 23 meeting, the disruption was enough to prompt Oakland School Board Interim President, Jody London, to move the meeting. It comes a day after London was served with a notice of intent to recall.
"There are board members that need to go. People need to be held responsible for the behavior of October 23," says parent Saru Jayaraman, with the coalition, Oakland is Not For Sale.
She claims to be have been injured at the Oct. board meeting. Jayaraman was also among the group who served London.
But after the protest, the meeting continued. The board moved to an upstairs boardroom leaving people to make public comment on the ground floor via video.
The main topic of concern on the agenda was discussion around the proposed interim budget.
"No school closures! Oakland is Not For Sale!" was one of the chants earlier in the night, and a main concern for parents, teachers and students who turned out for the meeting.
"Keep our schools open and fund them properly, please," says Alejandro Estrada who has three children attending Oakland schools.
The Oakland Is Not For Sale coalition claims the district mismanages money, has little accountability and has few metrics to prove which policies are actually working.
"This is one of the wealthiest moments that we have had in the history of Oakland. It just makes no sense to be closing schools at this time," says Zachary Norris, who has two kids in the district. "This is not just an issue of education, it's an issue of gentrification. This is disproportionately impacting black and brown students."
London countered by saying the money just isn't there. Revenue is down while costs are up, including the recently approved salary increases for teachers following the teachers strike earlier this year. She adds that Oakland has more schools to operate compared to Bay Area districts.
"Oakland has 36,000 students in 83 schools. Fremont has 35,000 students in 42 schools," explains London.
The board voted to categorize the district's budget as "qualified status," meaning the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations, projecting possible future budget cuts of up to $21 million.
The budget now goes to the county for review.
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