Oakland school board votes - again - to keep school closures in place

The Oakland Unified School District board voted 4 to 2 Wednesday to rescind a resolution called "Community not Closures" to re-open some closed schools.

The parents and families at Parker Elementary brought the resolution to the school board earlier this month. 

If it were approved the resolution would have been binding, however board members could have added changes and amendments to it.

The same members of the board already voted twice earlier this year to close about 10 schools districtwide in the next two years.

Parker Elementary was one of them.

While the school was closed last month, a group of parents and community activists staged a sit-in at the school, which is still going on. The group has kept the doors open on weekdays, 10am to 5pm as a community school for neighborhood children.

"There are about 10 to 15 kids who come here everyday, sometimes more," said parent organizer, Azlinah Tambu, whose children attended Parker but have now been reassigned to other schools. She is one of the parent leaders of the group fighting to reopen Parker.

"It took all of this: trespassing and reopening the school on our own terms, for the [OUSD board] to even look this way. So having this resolution on the agenda is big, it's a win," she said.

With the resolution, parents wanted the district to use a grant to keep Parker Elementary, Community Day School and the upper grades of La Escuelita open.

The resolution also called on the district to roll back the closure of other schools - like Hillcrest Middle School, Grass Valley Elementary and Carl B. Munck Elementary

The group behind this resolution says they have a lot of community support: About 2,000 people wrote letters to the board, supporting the resolution. But in the end it failed.

Many of those supporters said they planned on attending the 6 p.m. school board meeting at La Escuelita.

In a separate issue, the OUSD board will announce the appointment of a new director at a public zoom meeting this afternoon. The new director will fill the vacancy of the District 6 board director who abruptly resigned, seven months before her term ended.

Tambu is one of the nine finalists for the job. She knows she's a long-shot, but says her activism and involvement with OUSD has just begun.

The 3 p.m. meeting can be found here. 

The agenda and Zoom link for the 6 p.m. meeting is here.