Reporting Mark Seelig
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OAKLAND (KCBS) – Parents and administrators had a robust discussion Tuesday as the Oakland school board took public comments on its plan to close five elementary schools and expand two others.
Instead of closing 10 schools, Superintendent Tony Smith proposed shutting just five: Lakeview near Lake Merritt, Lazear in the Fruitvale District, Marshall in East Oakland, Maxwell Park near Mills College and Santa Fe in North Oakland.
Parents at Lazear said closing the school would be like breaking up a family.
“Every day, we’re giving the best education we can,” said principal Kareem Weaver.
KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:
The plan unveiled over the weekend calls for two other elementary schools, Burckhalter and Kaiser, to be expanded, and perhaps relocated, in order to accommodate 380 students each.
The $2.26 million the district will save is only part of the benefit, said district spokesman Troy Flint.
“More importantly, it’s going to free up resources that we can invest in the remaining schools,” he said.
Oakland has 38,000 children enrolled at 101 schools. The San Jose Unified School District by contrast serves 32,000 students at 52 schools.
“We have too many schools for the number of students,” Flint said.
The school board met at the Oakland High School theater. A final decision on the closures is expected by Oct. 26.
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