Oakland Unified must make drastic cuts, projected $24M deficit

The Oakland Unified School District must make drastic cuts.

The Oaklandside reported that the school board is discussing making $51 million in reductions on Wednesday at its meeting before a final vote on Feb. 28.

Staff have projected a $24 million deficit in the upcoming school year, and an additional $27 million in labor costs.

Following last year's teachers strike by the Oakland Education Association, the district had to come up with about $25 million to pay salaries in the 2023-2024 budget, which will cost  $110 million over three years.

Budget cuts are also necessary, The Oaklandside reported, to offset the deficit caused by tens of millions of dollars in COVID relief funding that is expiring in the fall. 

The one-time relief funding allowed OUSD to hire hundreds of new positions including teachers, social workers, aides, tutors, and other support staff to help students recover from the impacts of the pandemic and distance learning.

Also, declining enrollment is a drain on the budget.

In 2018, there were 37,000 students attending OUSD schools. Last year, there were about 34,000.