Oakland School Board to vote on recommended budget cuts

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- In a week, the Oakland School Board will vote to approve budget reductions for next year. Wednesday night they will discuss some of those proposed cuts in a meeting which is expected to be a heated one.

There is no hiding it, Oakland Unified faces some serious financial problems.

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"If you understand what's happening in Oakland right now, they have a structural deficit which means that their expenses are going to keep rising but the money they are getting to run the district is pretty flat," said Nima Tahai, of the non-profit Go Public Schools, which works to expand access to quality education for children in underserved communities.

On Wednesday, in a meeting with parents and community leaders, Tahai explained what the school district is facing.

Some of the reasons why Oakland Unified has a structural deficit are because of pension payments that have gone up and special education costs have increased. Also, the state of California is not giving school districts like Oakland enough money to meet those demands.

In a recorded message to the community the Superintendent, Kyla Johnson Trammell, highlighted what to expect at Wednesday night's meeting.

"We will address budget cuts and school closure proposals," explained Trammell.

Roots International Academy middle school will likely close next year.
Last Friday during a teacher walkout some of them addressed the closure.

"We're fighting this proposal and telling the school board to vote no on the proposal," said Quinn Ranahan, a teacher at Roots International.

The superintendent's financial team is recommending cuts between $14-million and $25-million at the district level and another $3-million to schools.

Judi Burle is a former teacher and Oakland parent who predicts the cuts will be devastating.

RELATED: Oakland parents launch preemptive strike ahead of possible school closures

"We're going to have larger class sizes up to the state limit, we're going to have fewer resource for curriculum, for building maintenance," said Burle.

"There are significant concerns that if they don't reduce their spending that they are just kicking the can down the road and frankly they could be taken over by the county or state," stated Tahai.
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