On October 11th, the Oakland Unified School Board will be providing direction to the Measure G1 Oversight Committee with regard to whether or not students in county-authorized charter schools should receive benefit from the G1 tax measure that our GO network helped develop and advocate for, and which was resoundingly passed last fall. *SEE UPDATE BELOW
It is absolutely necessary that every Oakland resident and family who supported the tax measure and pays for the tax measure be allowed to benefit from the measure. There is simply no school-based criteria that should justify any Oakland resident or student being deprived their fair benefit.
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James Harris and Nina Senn have been the school board leaders most involved in getting G1 on the ballot and passed. They are also leading the effort to put forward a board resolution providing direction on who should be allowed to benefit.
When our GO network supported the tax measure last fall, it was with the clear understanding that this tax measure would benefit all students in all public schools—with the only criteria for exclusion being residency. In others words, any child in any public school would be counted toward the school’s allocation, as long as that student was an Oakland resident, and whose household would presumably vote on the tax measure and contribute to the tax dollars collected —either as a homeowner or rent payer. Students from other cities enrolled in Oakland public schools would not be counted in determining school allocations.
Because the tax measure was written vaguely (it says “any school within the district”), the Board is suggesting that it’s open for legal interpretation whether or not students in county-authorized schools should be allowed to benefit. There is absolutely no explicit language suggesting grounds for exclusion of certain schools or students. The district boundaries are the city of Oakland’s boundaries.
This is not a legal interpretation issue; this is a clear values issue.
No student, voter, or tax-paying parent should be deprived benefit from the generosity and support provided by local tax measures because our elected leaders see vague language as a loophole opportunity to exclude them.
Now more than ever, our students and families need to see our elected leaders acting in inclusive, caring ways—not finding ways to exclude students from their fair benefit.
This decision impacts a small number of schools (6) but has significant impact on students in those schools being able to access all the benefits promised by the tax measure.
A parent’s job is to pursue the best education possible for each of their children. I’ve never heard a parent say they considered a school’s “authorizer” when picking the best public school.
Our community’s job is to support all of our students as best we can. Voters did so by resoundingly passing G1, thinking it would benefit all students in all public schools.
Our school board’s job is to be in service of all voters and to put tax payers’ dollars to best use in service of all our children.
We need our school board to step up and do the right thing. All Oakland students deserve to benefit from our city’s generosity in passing G1. In divisive times, we need inclusive, student-centered leadership.
Thank you for all that you do for all our students.
*UPDATE: On October 10th, 2017 OUSD’s school board clarified that all district and charters schools serving grades 6,7, or 8 are eligible for Measure G1 funds. This includes all county-authorized charter schools formed prior to the date of the passage of the Teacher Retention and Middle School Act or Measure G1 on November 4, 2016. In addition, all schools who receive G1 funds will be subject to the same application, oversight, and audit requirements. A stakeholder group is to bring back findings no later than June 30, 2018 regarding charter school governance, authorization, enrollment and the eligibility of future county-authorized charter schools.
It is our hope that everyone comes together to ensure resources are distributed equitably for all public school students residing and attending a school in Oakland, regardless of who authorized their school.