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fullsizerender-1-300x137-4670042It’s not often enough that we get to say these two words: We Won! On June 24th, the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to adopt a proposal developed by low-income students and parents to bring $4 million in additional state funds to Oakland schools. This is what “local control” looks like!

The Oakland Allies Coalition, made up of PLAN, Oakland Community Organizations, Californians for Justice, Public Advocates and Public Counsel, organized for months to bring the proposal to a vote. We brought parents and students to meet with members of the school board to make clear that what was needed was not more funding for administration, but more funding to help students and families directly to the school site.

As one East Oakland mother, Luz Alcaraz of Community United Elementary School, testified: “By sending money directly to our school, we will be able to have more caring adults in our schools to support our children – not only to improve their reading and writing skills, but also their emotional and physical health.”

The proposal adopted leverages funds coming from the Local Control Funding Formula to aid students who are low-income, learning English or in foster care. The School Boards decision, which includes significant new investments to address the needs of these students, clearly shows that our voices have the power to make a difference.

The proposal includes:

  • Sending $4 million dollars directly to schools to support Oakland’s children
  • Two new coordinator positions to support foster children and youth
  • Four new full-time staff positions to support families, students and educators to effectively participate in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process, as well as plans and budgets in schools and at the district level
  • New investments in programs and services to support English Language Learners, including Newcomers in schools across OUSD.

While we are enthusiastic about the district’s commitment and progress to represented in this decision, there is more work to be done, Along with our coalition allies, PLAN will continue to press for:

  • A plan for shared accountability that demonstrates how funds and decisions benefit students at the district and school level
  • Continued improvement to planning and budgeting processes to enable parents and students to participate in a meaningful way.

We extend our deepest thanks to the parent and student leaders who worked so hard for this victory, for the community organizations that stood together to win this victory, to the school board that honored this process and to YOU, for supporting this work! As PLAN leader Maria Munoz declared at the end of her testimony: “Los padres unidos jamas sera vencidos,”

By Melia Franklin

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