Increase funding and smarter spending

Why Budgeting for Impact:

GO Public Schools envisions a school district in Oakland that is financially prudent and laser-focused on excellence in order to serve each student equitably. This requires the use of best practices and courageous decisions to prioritize resources in areas that result in the highest possible results for student outcomes.

OUSD’s financial reality is that prior fiscal mismanagement, rising costs, and flat revenue are requiring cuts to existing staff, programs and schools. The district’s budget reduction process is happening under the supervision of the State, Country and Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) – and this is forcing OUSD to name their priorities and make difficult trade-offs.

We will work to increase funding for all Oakland public schools (via statewide levers like Prop 13 reform and local ballot measures), ensure our community knows what is happening with OUSD’s finances, and advocate for smarter spending of available resources with a laser-focus on excellence and equity.


In 2016, OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson abruptly resigns and the district announces ~$30 million projected deficit for 16-17 school year. More midyear cuts to school site are announced. GO and members of the district attend the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) conference to learn best practices. GO engages WestEd to support the superintendent.


GO launches the Budgeting for Impact campaign with a second trip to GFOA conference and developed and activated principal leadership for GFOA. With more news of fiscal instability (FCMAT, the Alameda Grand Jury report OUSD’s projections/admissions of mistakes, and more), GO worked with the Board of Education to pass key policies and 7-0 vote to commit to GFOA smarter spending framework.


GO presented a Budget road-show with over 300 Oaklanders – explaining root causes of budget cuts and addressing misinformation. All of our advocacy demands for OUSD’s budget cuts decisions are met. GO also supports state-level funding and hosts 3 events to train over 100 people on the need for more finances.


Provide training and build a base of advocates for winning campaigns for more funding for Oakland education. Provide information and perspective on OUSD’s budget decisions with a focus on need for smarter spending.

Our Wins

In 2017, we launched the Budgeting for Impact campaign, which included bringing OUSD leaders to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) conference which promotes better practices for spending. Through our Teacher Policy Fellowship and working with Oakland principals, GO recommended and advocated for the school board to pass a reserve policy (the 2018-2020 Fiscal Vitality Plan) with a list of 23 recommendations for action to help rectify OUSD’s poor fiscal health. These recommendations include: zero-based budgeting practices, structurally balanced budget policy, and improved budget presentation guidelines, all in line with GFOA principles.

This also led to the OUSD School Board voting to commit to the GFOA spending framework. The Smarter School Spending Framework, a financial framework endorsed by a nationally-recognized leader in public finance, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

In 2018, we launched the Budgeting for Impact Roadshow, which is an information session which explains the root causes of budget cuts and explains misinformation. To date, the Roadshow has been presented to over 300 Oaklanders.

In 2019, GO advocated for more funding at the state level and hosted 4 events to train over 100 people on the need for more state funding. We regularly provide analysis and perspective on important budget related concerns as OUSD works towards a better spending framework and more fiscal solvency.

Budgeting for Impact News and Stories

Grand Jury: “OUSD’s Broken Culture: Millions Wasted Each Year”

Jessica Stewart | 05/28/19 

On Monday, the Alameda Grand Jury issued a scathing report looking at OUSD’s fiscal practices and raising serious concerns about the district’s stewardship of public funds.

Answering your questions about the OUSD budget

Nima Tahai | 04/30/19

We recently reached out to Oaklanders – parents, educators, and community members – to find out what questions they had about OUSD’s budget and finances.

GO’s analysis of OUSD’s 2nd interim budget update

Nima Tahai | 03/13/19

Interim reports are a “snap-shot” in time that give a pulse check on the district’s fiscal picture. Below you will find GO’s observations and questions from OUSD’s 18-19 2nd interim.

OUSD Budget Cuts FAQ

Nima Tahai | 03/06/19

What is the bottom line?
Final budget reductions include $3M to school sites and $17M of reductions to central positions serving schools including Restorative Justice,…

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