The Oakland Unified School District got a helping hand from the state this week, but it comes with some hard decisions.
The district faces a $30 million budget shortfall next year. The following year, its planned budget hole is $60 million.
On Thursday, the district superintendent and state lawmakers announced cuts won't be so bad next year. The district will receive financial relief through the Education Trailer Bill, AB 1840.
"But it does mean we have to seriously look at staffing, looking at different models of staffing and also looking at the elephant in the room, which is the number of schools that we have in relation to enrollment," Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel said.
That could mean consolidating schools, selling off property and other potentially agonizing decisions, Johnson-Trammel said.
The aid program comes with oversight from the Alameda County Office of Education and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, which will be working with the district on its fiscal recovery plan with the requirement to report the district’s progress to the state Legislature and administration, according to an OUSD news release.
In the first year, the state will cover up to 75 percent of the deficit, in the second year, it will be up to 50 percent and in the third year up to 25 percent, the release says.
Earlier this month, the cash-strapped district had to cut an after-school food service that fed 3,000 at-risk students due to budget cuts.
In August, donations from an anonymous party and from the Oakland Raiders helped save a number of the district's athletic programs that were on the chopping block.