Families Worried After Unexpected Closure of 2 Fruitvale Schools

Families in one of Oakland's most vulnerable neighborhoods are scrambling to find a new place to educate their kids after the city closed the doors to the local schools.

Two schools in the Fruitvale neighborhood received shutdown notices, which left some families with worry and a longer commute.

Chabot Space and Science Center, a center that features interactive exhibits, planetariums, a theater and hands-on activities, is temporarily taking in some of the Fruitvale students. However, the center is seven miles away from the neighborhood and it's impossible for some families to bring their kids.

Parents just learned Thursday night during a meeting with the charter schools, that Epic Middle School and Adjoining Latitude High School will not be allowed to operate where they have been teaching kids for the past six years.

School officials say Oakland planning and zoning officials denied their conditional use permits at the last minute, just as the school year begins.

Both schools are operated by Education for a Change, a public charter school group.

Hae-Sin Thomas, the group's CEO and long time community educator says her and other teachers are "heart broken."

She said one of eight grade teachers said "this kind of unstable situation is actually not good for the student population we serve," the teacher said, "especially one of our most vulnerable groups that need stability, they need to know where they're going to be next week."

Achieve Academy, a public school in the Oak Tree neighborhood in Oakland, is also taking some of the Fruitvale students.

The schools' staff hopes someone will step up and offer a suitable place to educate their kids through the rest of the year, and hope the new location is closer to their homes.

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