OAKLAND (KCBS)— The board at Oakland Unified School District is expected to make a decision Wednesday on whether or not to close the oldest charter school in the city.

E.C. Reems Charter School provides individual attention in the classroom for its students, many who are considered to be at risk or who have struggled with learning in the past.

Administrators, parents and staff held a rally outside the school where they said E.C. Reems provides a vital service to the community.

The school district has wanted to close Reems, claiming that its attendance has dropped from 370 to about 238, operates in the red, and tests lower than nearby schools.

Principal Dr. Lisa Blair said the school has an outstanding record and countered that attendance is way off the mark in many of Oakland’s schools adding that they’ve never had a dropout in its 14-year history.

“[There’s] really no reason to close our school. Our students graduate. They attend the better high schools. Through the ABC Program, our students move into private high schools and receive scholarships for up to $148,000 for four years. That is tuition for college,” Blair said.

Pastor Brondon Reems, with Center of Hope Community Church in East Oakland, said if it weren’t for the school that many of the parents wouldn’t be able to afford private schooling for their kids.

“Many of them could not drive their kids to school and then pay for the after-school daycare. Our school really takes care of the needs of the children,” he said.

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