Oakland Unified School Board Set to Vote on Possible School Closures

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The Oakland Unified School District board on Tuesday will decide whether to close eight schools and merge four other schools.

The district says student enrollment numbers are dropping and claims the district is forced to spread too little money across too many schools.

In a span of three years, Cora Rodman Santos went from celebrating her first day of kindergarten at Carl B. Munck Elementary to taking part in a protest to save her school.

"My daughter is terrified that her school is going to close," Anna Rodman Santos said.

Carl B. Munck Elementary could close in a matter of months if the school board votes to approve the district’s money-saving consolidation plan.

The district says student enrollment is dropping and in order to close a massive budget gap, eight schools will need to close, four schools will have to merge and grades at two schools will be eliminated.

In a letter to the board, the district says, "While we do not deny these changes are difficult and painful for African American and Latino families, we aim to build improvements in school environment and academic outcomes through these changes."

"All of this has happened in less than a month," Oakland school board Director Mike Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson is pushing back against the district’s school closure plan, saying families did not get enough time to weigh in.

"We have seen a dip in enrollment during these two years of pandemic but so has every district across the country," he said.

Opponents say they're holding out hope that they can convince Gov. Gavin Newsom to step in and fill the budget gap with state surplus money.

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