OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Oakland’s school board was set to meet Wednesday to consider a proposal by Superintendent Tony Smith to close five elementary schools to save $2.2 million a year and use those funds to improve other schools.
The elementary schools slated to be closed in 2012 are Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe.
Under Smith’s proposal, another eight school programs would be redesigned; two—Burckhalter and Kaiser—would be expanded; and one middle school would see its grades reconfigured.
The school closures would affect about 1,000 students.
Oakland Unified School District officials said they want to make the changes because they operate far more schools than districts with nearly twice as many students.
Smith’s proposal is strongly opposed by many teachers and parents.
The Oakland Education Association, the union that represents the district’s teachers, said in a statement, “The process the school district used to determine which schools should be closed, relocated or potentially expanded was flawed and rushed.”
The union said the projected $2.2 million in savings represents only half a percent of the district’s $375 million general fund.
Union officials said, “$2 million in savings is not worth disrupting over 1,000 lives.”
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