View Full Version : East Bay Oakland Unified problems grow as budget shrinks

04-13-2011, 09:43 AM
This from SFGate (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/12/MNSU1IS87E.DTL) by Jill Tucker:
Oakland schools Superintendent Tony Smith has been called pretty much every unprintable word in the book and told more times than he can count that he must hate children.

The vitriol, he said, comes with the territory.

After years of systemic mismanagement, a near financial collapse and a state takeover, there is a lot of mistrust and anger in the Oakland Unified School District. As frustration festered, civility and compromise gave way over the years to shouting and self-interest in the district, officials said.

And that is likely to make it all the more difficult to find common ground to balance a budget for next year that could be $30 million smaller than this year's. That's $844 less for each of the district's students - an unfathomable sum, said Smith, if the state's worst-case scenario plays out.

Added to the financial strain is the $6 million the district has to send the state each year to pay back a $100 million bailout loan made in 2003 during an earlier time of financial turmoil in the district.

It's no wonder teachers, parents and principals are frustrated, Smith said.

"So much of the anger is so appropriate," he said.
During a school board meeting last week, an overflow crowd of some 200 parents, teachers and children packed an adjacent hallway, banging drums and shouting as Smith laid out a budget plan for next year.

The financially risky proposal would allow the district to rescind the vast majority of the 671 pink slips sent to teachers in March, avoid controversial furloughs and even retain a 2 percent teacher raise in January.

Instead, the district would dip into its $19 million reserve fund, bringing it down to $10.5 million; borrow from an early retirement fund; use up the last $2 million of the 2003 state loan; redirect funds from adult education programs; and cut 137 teacher positions vacated by early retirements and attrition.

read more>> (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/12/MNSU1IS87E.DTL)