OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Girls and boys attending public schools in Oakland can now expect to have equal opportunities to play sports following a settlement between the district and Legal Aid at Work, a legal services nonprofit.

The agreement announced Monday by Legal Aid at Work also provides that female students receive equitable athletic amenities such as facilities, publicity, scheduling and transportation. And the district has agreed for its efforts to reverse inequities to be monitored for three years.

Complaints from students and parents and reports of cuts to girls’ sports prompted Legal Aid at Work to send a demand letter to school district officials in September 2018.

Kim Turner, director of Legal Aid at Work’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports Project, said the district was planning to make disproportionate cuts to girls’ sports in response to budget cuts.

Through participating in sports, students learn time management and resilience among other skills that will help them succeed, Turner said.

“Athletics is part of one’s education,” she said.

Economics professor Betsey Stevenson at the University of Pennsylvania has found that girls who play high school sports earn 8 percent more as adults and complete 0.4 years more education than women who did not play sports in high school. That edge is especially important for students from low-income families, Turner said.

Collaborating on the effort to increase girls’ access to sports is a sign of Oakland Unified School District’s commitment to eliminate inequity and give all students equal opportunities to benefit from school athletics, according to a statement from the district.

OUSD’s mission is “to build a full-service community district focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, eliminating inequity and providing each child with excellent teachers, every day, according to the district statement.

Turner said officials collaborated with Legal Aid at Work on the agreement and the parties met in the middle.

“Girls of OUSD not only will get equal chances to play as a result of this agreement, but also will receive many lifelong benefits associated with athletics participation,” Turner said.

Officials said they are pleased with the agreement.

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