New school opens in Oakland after long delays, but with no students due to COVID-19

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After long delays and higher-than-expected costs, Glenview Elementary in Oakland finally reopened but with no students because of pandemic. The project was supposed to end in June 2018 much to the dismay of neighbors.

What should have taken two years to build, ended up being a construction project full of disruptions.

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Friday, there was an abundance of gratitude and apologies coming from the Oakland Unified School District and the construction teams.
"And it stalled and it delayed and of course people were frustrated," Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell told a group of people who came to see the school.

Initially in 2012, the Glenview Elementary project was limited to one that would replace portable classrooms, but that changed and the district decided to rebuild the school thanks to new bond monies.

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Two Vallejo teachers were placed on administrative leave after a viral video surfaced showing them bad mouthing their students after class on Zoom. The school district confirmed two teachers recorded in the video work at Jesse Bethel High School.

Then the Oakland Heritage Alliance stepped in, as explained by one parent.

"They threatened to sue the school district over historic preservation and the compromise was to preserve the very front facade of the building," explained Hugh Morrison a former parent of the school.

Even though that old facade was not the original one when the school was first built. That caused even more delays.

The superintendent explained the delays were primarily due to leadership turnover.

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"It's no secret in OUSD that we have really struggled to have stability and leadership. When you have changes in leadership, things get lost," added Johnson-Trammell.

So how does the school district make sure that other future projects don't have they same kind of delays? The district said today there is a lot more oversight with safe guards in place.

"We have given some additional authority to our Citizen Bond Oversight Committee in terms of making sure that we are actually doing what we told voters we would do," expressed Jody London of the Oakland Board of Education.

But today, the project has been completed even though the 475 students who would have been here are learning at a distance because of COVID-19, another unexpected delay.

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