OAKLAND (KCBS) – A plan to shutdown dozens of public schools in Oakland appears to be on hold as the financial outlook improves for the Oakland Unified School District.

The Oakland School Board voted to shutdown five elementary schools and merge several others back in October.

That was expected to be the first round of closures. But now, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Tony Smith said there’s no immediate need to close 20-30 schools as had been talked about earlier.

Smith said on KCBS’ In Depth last week that it has been tough to get the district’s finances in order.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“It’s been really hard work and the community has made some hard decisions and the board has demonstrated really great leadership,” Smith said. “We’ve had to cut more than $60 million each year that I’ve been here.”

Smith said things are beginning to look up for the district.

“In this budget that we’re about to put forward to the board, we will have a structurally balanced budget,” he said.

Smith said that even with the improving budget situation, some smaller campuses in the district could still face consolidation.

There’s also still a chance that additional campus closures could be needed beyond the next school year.

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