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October 24 OUSD board meeting: Oversubscription of kindergarten seats at Crocker Highlands

In School Board Watch

The Oakland Unified School District held a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 24.
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The meeting was brief by the board's standards-around three hours-with a majority of the audience present for an item from Director David Kakishiba (District 2) regarding the oversubscription of kindergarten seats at Crocker Highlands Elementary School.

Kakishiba wrote a letter last week that outlined the issue: in March, after the close of the options process, Crocker had a significantly greater number of kindergarten students than it had spots for, coming after the school's boundary was expanded after the school closures last year. The district temporarily fixed the problem by creating a fourth kindergarten class at the school for this year, but the issue remains for future years.

Click here to watch a video of Kakishiba explaining the letter.

Kakishiba's request, which was approved by the board, was for Superintendent Tony Smith to examine "recommended remedies to effectively mitigate the incidence of over-subscription of available kindergarten seats by children residing within the Crocker Highlands Elementary School attendance area" at the Dec. 12 board meeting.

A large number of parents--26--both of current Crocker students and parents who hope to send their kids there when they're older, signed up to speak on the oversubscription issue at Wednesday night's meeting. That included District 2's city councilmember, Patricia Kernighan.

Kernighan said there are "twice as many kids in the area as the school can handle," and that she thinks the "net result will be fewer families choosing Oakland public schools" if a permanent alternative solution can't be reached. 

"I think that many of families, in the face of that uncertainty, will choose to move or go to private schools," Kernighan told the board.

Click here to watch a video of Kernighan and some Crocker parents speaking to the board.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to approve a new contract between the district and School Police Officers

According to Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan, who reviewed a tentative agreement between the board and the officers' union, the new deal provides:

  • An annual uniform allowance of $800 for each officer
  • A five-percent pay increase for a shift worked with a canine or on a motorcycle
  • A quarterly dues contribution of $150 for each officer
  • Payment of all costs associated with care of canines utilized by the district

The total cost to the district over the next two years will be approximately $65,000 according to Jordan.

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