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Oakland school board reverses decision to shutter elementary schools

Oakland school board reverses decision to shutter schools
Oakland school board reverses decision to shutter schools 00:46

OAKLAND -- Ending months of protest by parents, teachers and students, the Oakland school board late Wednesday voted to reverse a decision to close or consolidate several schools.

The Oakland Education Association greeted the decision with a tweet declaring -- "AIN'T NO POWER LIKE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE!"

The vote to reverse the decision passed by a 6-1 margin with newly sworn in member Nick Resnick abstaining.

Citing projected budget shortfalls, the board voted nearly a year ago to close, consolidate or downsize 11 schools over a two-year span after hours of emotional debate.

State educators and Oakland Unified said the district had way too many schools after losing 15,000 students in the last 20 years.

The OUSD chief budget officer pointed out that this district has about 80 schools serving 33,000 students. Fremont Unified has 42 schools and 34,000 students. San Jose Unified has 41 schools and 30,000 students. Stockton has 48 schools serving 35,000 students.

Parents and teachers picketed, students walked out.  Two Oakland Unified School District teachers staged an 18-day hunger strike that ended up with one of them requiring hospital treatment.

Board president Dr. Gary Yee's Oakland Hills home was vandalized after one passionate meeting and protesters occupied the shuttered Parker Elementary School.

Wednesday night's vote saved 5 elementary schools -- Brookfield, Carl B. Munck, Grass Valley, Horace Mann and Korematsu Discovery Academy -- from closing this year. 

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