Protests outside Oakland Unified meeting over proposed multi-million dollar budget cuts

ByJobina Fortson KGO logo
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Protests outside Oakland Unified meeting over proposed multi-million dollar budget cuts
Protestors held up signs outside the Oakland Unified meeting where the superintendent discussed proposed budget cuts.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- As a teacher strike continues to loom over Oakland Unified Schools, the superintendent is proposing multimillion-dollar cuts to keep the district out of the hole.

Details of the new budget plan were revealed for the first time on Wednesday night at the district's board meeting. The plan is not going over well with some.

RELATED: Oakland Unified officials, teachers working to avoid strike

"We feel like despite all of the transparency speak, you know like their website now and everything, they are still having meetings behind closed doors," Sayuri Sakamoto, a special needs teacher and Oakland Education Association board member, said.

OUSD's superintendent, Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, is proposing a cut of $21.75 million to the district. The public got to view her proposal and a breakdown of the numbers at Wednesday night's meeting.

The money is coming out of five categories, Central Administration ($11.93 million reduction), Central Services to School Sites ($3.75 million reduction), School Sites Discretionary Funds ($3 million reduction), Contracts and Max. Restricted Funds ($1.47 million reduction), Operational Savings ($1.6 million).

RELATED: 95 percent of Oakland teachers vote to strike

Among many things, the proposal includes cuts to school counselor positions, teacher training, central office staff, and the restorative justice program, which did not go over well with students.

"We should not have to suffer because of your inability to manage money," a student told the district's board during Wednesday's public comment period.

"So here's the challenge," Shanthi Gonzales, director of district 6, said. "We want to be able to pay our staff more competitively, but we cannot maintain the same number of employees and pay them more. There aren't new resources coming in and the enrollment trend is going down."

RELATED: Oakland Tech High School students hold walkout

The Oakland Education Association said they're against cuts. Parts of the new budget proposal have become issues that continue to bring them a step closer to the picket line.

OUSD's board will meet again on Feb. 11 to vote on approving the Budget Reduction Plan. A budget revision meeting will be held on February 13th.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Oakland teacher strike.