OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The Oakland Unified School District is apologizing after failing to deliver hot lunches to roughly 20kindergartners, first graders and second graders at Oakland’s Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School.

An email from school principal Dennis Guikema thanked students who did not bring their own lunches for their patience, adding that they “had to sit without food while their peers ate, an unfair outcome of a situation over which they had no control.”

Guikema’s email said that food service staff scrambled to prepare pizza that was supposed to be served Tuesday and gave students and impromptu outdoor “pizza party” to make up for the delay.

OUSD spokesman John Sasaki said the district made a mistake, brought on by a lack of staffing and a breakdown in communication.

“We, the school district, are sorry that this happened,” Sasaki said. He said the district would bring on additional delivery drivers to ensure it did not happen again.

But Clarence Hunt, the father of a second-grader said the incident is the latest failure of an “incompetent” district.

“This is just another part of what the district has done to show that they really don’t care about children, parents, teachers at this school,” Hunt said.

The mix-up came on the heels of the OUSD school board’s vote last week to merge Kaiser Elementary with lower-performing Sankofa Academy in North Oakland. Many Kaiser parents have accused the district of managing funds poorly and have vowed to fight the merger.

Alicia Johnson, who has two students at Kaiser, said the school lunch issue is symptomatic of a larger problem.

“There’s just no way you can trust OUSD to make these very important decisions when the day-to-day things, we cannot rely on them to do for our kids,” she said.

Hunt added, “If today is any indication of what we can expect by way of design of a new school, it’s going to be a disaster waiting to happen.”

Sasaki said the food flap was unrelated to the board’s decision to merge the schools.

“They’re two totally separate issues,” he said. “We’re sorry that this happened a day after certainly a very tough week for the Kaiser family.”

 

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