Oakland Unified Schools dealing with $10M budget shortfall

Dozens of upset parents, teachers and students are protesting proposed budget cuts to Oakland Unified School District. 

"Our schools cannot take cuts, number 1. We cannot have cuts period. Number 2, this shouldn't have ever happened," says parent Mona Lisa Trevino. 

"This is a result of a mismanaging of funds and somebody should be paying the price for that," says parent and kindergarten teacher Olivia Udeovic.

The district says it needs to reduce spending by $10 million, all the while protecting the state required minimum reserve of two percent. 

The district is looking at hiring freezes, limiting purchases made with general funds and no travel. 

"I'm creating a GoFundMe for my class to go on a field trip and I'm paying into a GoFundMe for my daughter’s class to go on her field trip," says Udeovic.

The group took their concerns to the board members meeting inside Oakland City Hall.
OUSD is also looking at where it can have additional savings within special education and early childhood education. 

Although the district didn't give specific details on what will be cut, organizers say the cuts could mean a reduced number of teachers in schools and increasing the number of combination classes. That's when more than one grade level is taught in a single classroom.

"When people in the school district and people on the school board are not taking care of our budgets and they're making mistakes like this. There's absolutely no reason why they should charge our children for their mistakes," Trevino.

Another major bone of contention, the possible cancelation of bus service to three Oakland schools, AC Transit supplies the district 56 supplemental buses at the tune of $3 million a year.  The transit agency says that is nearly a third of its operating cost for the supplemental service.  If the bus lines are cut, it would affect hundreds of students at Montera Middle, Skyline High and Community Day Schools.

The transit agency says the district refuses to pay the $2.25 million in reimbursement.

However, OUSD says the funding the state used to pay for those bus lines no longer exist and the funds it gets now for public transportation goes to pay for special ed. students to get to and from school mandated by federal law. 

“Across AC Transit service area they have numerous school districts, numerous private schools that get supplemental service, but we’re the only district that actually pays money for it.  Where’s the equity in that?” said OUSD spokesman John Sasaki.

AC Transit says OUSD owes $700,000 for the bus service.  Still the transit agency says there will be no changes to bus service through the end of the current school year.