OUSD to vote on closing campuses despite community objections

After a week of protests, the Oakland Unified School District board is poised to vote Tuesday evening on whether to close school campuses.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. and students will be allowed to speak. 

Last week, board members heard from the community for about nine hours during a special informational meeting about closing up to 19 schools. Parents and teachers talked about wanting to save their beloved classrooms from the chopping block.

But district officials say the school closures are for financial reasons: OUSD could see a deficit of up to $40 million over the next two years.

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In an interview last week, board president Gary Yee said the superintendent's presentation was compelling.

"That was also a powerful argument for the challenges the district faces fiscally," Yee said. "Not so much this year because we have quite a bit of one-time money from the state and feds, but in the long term fiscal health of the district, it's always been a chronic problem." 

Those against the proposal say they feel blindsided by the district's choices on which schools to close. 

They accuse the district of targeting majority Black and brown schools.