Chair thrown at meeting where Oakland school board rejects re-opening schools for 3rd time

The Oakland school board on Wednesday voted on an emotional issue for parents, students and staff.

But after a long meeting, the board voted 4-2 to reject the parent's resolution to rescind school closures.  

The decision came after two and a half hours of  public comment and a presentation by parents who are fighting to keep schools open.

"I'm justifiably upset there was no listening. They knew coming in what they were going to say, what they were going to do," said parent Holly Shogbesan.  

The mood was contentious throughout the meeting held at La Esquelita School.

The board immediately adjourned the meeting following the vote when a chair was thrown towards the stage where board members were sitting. 

This vote was the third time the board has rejected similar resolutions during the past few months.  

The district said it is dealing with declining enrollment and a budget deficit. 

"I do not believe we have the resources to maintain the number of schools that we have and the footprint.  It stretches our resources too thin," said school board member  Aimee Sueko Eng.  

"I'm very upset but not surprised.  I have fought against school closures for a long time.  The last thing I ever imagined is I would be sitting on a school board and have my colleagues on the board not listen to the community and vote to close community school when we have money to keep our schools open," said school board member Michael Hutchinson.  

This fight is over 10 public schools either already closed or slated for closure next year. 

Opponents said the district is closing schools that serve a large population of Black and Latino students.

"They're cutting services for our children. They're cutting teachers, so we're upset," said parent Max Orozco.  

During public comment, opponents said  the fight to keep schools open is not over.

"You look like us but you're not," said Ben Tapscott, former basketball coach and teacher at McClymond's High, "I can't wait for November to get you people out of here."  

Opponents say they'll bring their fight to the ballot box in November when three seats on the board will be up for a vote.  

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on facebook @AmberKTVU,  instagram @AmberKTVU  or twitter @AmberKTVU