Some Oakland school sports reinstated thanks to anonymous donor

Image 1 of 2

The Oakland school district has reinstated high school girls' golf, tennis and lacrosse for this fall, thanks to an anonymous donor. 

The donor kicked in $35,000 to specifically reinstate those girls' sports. 

Earlier, Oakland school officials had said they were “re-examining” the decision to eliminate 10 sports at city high schools that would affect about 500 students.

"I'm excited because people actually cared about us," said Janissa Salazar, a senior at Skyline High School.

On Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that some had determined that the cuts hit girls harder than boys and likely leave the district in violation of federal law.

The decision to cut the teams — coming two weeks into the school year — appeared to violate Title IX, a civil rights statute requiring schools to provide boys and girls an equal opportunity to participate in athletics. 

The official announcement Friday eliminated bowling, golf, tennis, wrestling, swimming, girls’ lacrosse, girls’ badminton and boys’ volleyball. 

The district said they were dropping the sports to save $500,000 from the budget. 

District officials said the cuts to the athletic teams were necessary given Oakland Unified’s soaring budget deficit, which is expected to reach $20 million next year and $60 million the year after.

Of the estimated 530 students affected by the cuts, 347 were girls and 183 boys, according to a district analysis released late Friday.

District officials said the cuts were made without a clear analysis of the gender inequity and they were reviewing the decision.

"We at the district didn't handle the situation as well as we should have. For every student, athlete, coach, teacher or principal, I apologize," said John Sasaki, spokesman for the school district.

"To have made these cuts without considering the districts obligation under Title IX seems like an elementary mistake," said UC Hastings Law School professor David Levine.

The school district says it is still trying to determine if it is now in compliance with the law.

The district also wouldn't say if the $35,000 donation came from an individual or a business.

For now, other sports, including wrestling, girls volleyball and swimming remain in jeopardy.

"My daughter has scoliosis. Swimming really helps her," said parent Olga Cortez.

Additional details on the development of the sports being reinstated, following the donation have not yet been released. 

KTVU's Rob Roth contributed to this report