Oakland, CA -It’s been an outgoing battle for the Oakland Education Association, as more teachers continue to get laid off. The Oakland Unified School Districts all over Alameda County are cutting down grants and funds, instead of taking from administration offices. Last year former OUSD Chancellor, Antwan Wilson declared a budgetary crisis, $30 million downfall.
After years of mismanaging budget cuts, parents from OUSD were determined to get involved, by participating in the Education Board Meetings. Sonia Escobar, a mother and activist from International Community School, is among one many parents engaging with teachers. “This has been going on for many years, in the next few months their going to close-down schools and combine them with others,” said Escobar.
In effort to protect the rights of school teachers, for a better education for their students. “Our priority are the budget cuts, termination of the teachers that we want and combo classes. That is our priority today.”
According to press release from International Community School, “If administration had received the same percentage raise as teachers, OUSD spending on administration would have increased by $5 million from 2013 through 2016. But it rose by $14 million in that period.”
On Wednesday April 12, 2017, the Board of Education held their meeting at the Oakland City Hall. That same evening, teachers, parents and students rallied a peaceful protest at the Frank Ogawa plaza. Children eagerly waited in line for stencil t-shirts, “fighting for schools, that children deserve.” While rest of crowd chanting, “the schools united will never be divided.” in Spanish.
That night, children and parents were voiced their concerns of the lack of supplies provided in school, grants taking away, bus transportation and combination of two grades in one class. Among the group was a distraught female Fruitvale teacher who lashed at the Board of Education, after being terminated from OUSD without a single explanation.
“I would not be hired next year for the next contract. I was told to contact Human Resources to find out what my options are,” said the former Fruitvale teacher.
Originally from Simi Valley, a suburban middle-class town in Southern California, after graduating from Northridge University. She taught 11-years for private schools in So Cal and decided to move to the Bay Area to teach at OUSD Fruitvale District. In her three years of teaching at OUSD, “It was hard, I didn’t receive same support as other years. Is not that I didn’t receive supplies, but I didn’t receive most necessary supplies,” instead she took it upon herself to bring school materials to class or wait till end school year to receive them.
On March 10, 2017, her principal handed over a letter from OUSD dated February 28, 2017, ending her contract. Not comprehending her termination, she resorted to Human Resources for answers, “They told me that I had until resign by April 14, 2017. If I wanted to get a job elsewhere, it would not show up my record.” Having no other choice, documents were signed off for her resignation, under the condition that OUSD permitted her to file for unemployment and benefits. At this moment, she remains under probation.
No further updates have been provided by the Board of Education over budget costs. For more information for future meetings got to: www.ousd.org.