Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Talks Budget Crisis

The superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District on Wednesday discussed a new initiative to help the district through its current budget problems as a possible teacher strike looms on the horizon.

Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell met with members of the media to talk about the Community of Schools initiative, which would provide the district a path forward financially. The school district faces a $30 million budget deficit next year and a $60 million deficit the following year.

Johnson-Trammell's remarks came hours before the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meets to talk tens of millions of dollars in cuts to the district, which could include layoffs, reductions in services and additional schools closures.

Johnson-Trammell acknowledged that the district has made mistakes in the past that lead to the district's financial woes, but she also pointed out that enrollment is flat. Enrollment is down by 12,400 students.

Enrollment numbers are one reason why the district recently agreed to shut down Roots International Academy at the end of the year.

Last week, the teachers' union voted to authorize a strike. Teachers have been without a contract since July of 2017 and are demanding a 12 percent increase over the next three years.

Johnson-Trammell said talks between both sides have resumed. When asked if any progress is being made, Johnson-Trammell said, "I'm an eternal optimist. I'll put it that way."

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