After months of protest by parents, teachers and students, the Oakland (Calif.) school board has voted to reverse a decision to close or consolidate several schools.
The Oaklandside reports that the district will keep open five elementary schools that had been slated for closure this year.
Brookfield Elementary, Carl B. Munck Elementary, Grass Valley Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, and Korematsu Discovery Academy will stay open, and Hillcrest K-8, which would have lost its middle school grades, will remain intact.
“As a Parker Elementary School community member I saw the devastating impact of the school closures on our community and I don’t want that to happen across the city, especially in East Oakland,” said new board member Valarie Bachelor, referring to one of the two schools that closed last year.
The board vote does not change the fate of either of the schools that were closed last year, Parker K-8 and Community Day School, or a third school, La Escuelita, which had its middle school shuttered.
The board’s decision last year to close schools sparked an immense backlash that included protests, walkouts and a one-day teachers’ strike.
Questions remain about the financial implications of the vote. District leaders who supported closing schools said they were necessary to balance the budget. Over the past several years, Oakland has had declining enrollment, a trend that is expected to continue.
The schools that were targeted for closure were operating at less than capacity, officials said.