By Christin Ayers

OAKLAND (KPIX) — A day after the Oakland school board voted to merge high-performing Henry J. Kaiser Elementary school in the Oakland hills with Sankofa Academy, a struggling school in the North Oakland flatlands, parents of Kaiser students are vowing to fight.

Alicia Johnson, who has a first-grader and third-grader attending Kaiser, said parents are still processing the district’s decision.

“We had hoped they would listen to the community outcry,” Johnson said.

“I was very disappointed,” added Jeanna Penn, whose kindergartner goes to Kaiser. “I think the district is making a mistake.

The vote, which came early Thursday morning, will mean students, teachers and staff from Kaiser Elementary will have to relocate to — and merge with — lower-performing Sankofa Academy in North Oakland by fall 2020.

Johnson said Kaiser parents are considering legal action, citing possible discrimination under Proposition 209. At the board meeting, some teachers announced they would refuse to participate in the design plan to merge the schools.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said that won’t stop the board from moving forward.

“If one or two people or a collection of people say they’re not going to cooperate, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Sasaki said the district is prepared for challenges, legal or otherwise, but believes merging the schools is the right move for a district with too many schools and not enough students.

“We’re very, very confident that we’re going to create a much bigger and great school at the Sankofa campus,” he said.

Johnson said while the district is planning the merger, parents are planning to organize.

“We will meet as a community to decide how we’re gonna move forward,” she said. “Definitely some of these board members will be facing recall elections and they will be facing heavy action against them to not get re-elected in 2020.”

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