I plowed through a draft of the Oakland school district’s strategic plan today — all 50 pages of it. It’ll be discussed at a special board meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday (tomorrow) at the district headquarters. You’ll find links to the report below.
I won’t be surprised if long-time observers of the school system remind us all of the Five-Year Plans of OUSD Past — enthusiastically presented, but long since forgotten. I wonder how this plan compares to former superintendents’ visions for Oakland Unified. It certainly contains some provocative ideas, such as “risk screens” for African American male students at certain transitional points, and school quality reviews that go far beyond the API score.
The plan describes various school funding formulas that the district might adopt — but it doesn’t recommend any. The current system, Results-Based Budgeting, allocates funding based on each school’s average attendance. And unlike schools in most other districts, Oakland schools must cover the actual salaries and benefits of their teachers out of that budget. Schools with lots of teachers who are high on the pay scale typically have a harder time making ends meet in this system, as do those with low attendance rates and/or declining enrollment.
Those schools might find the below statement interesting:
The critical factors of enrollment and teacher salary and benefits do not universally allow for a balanced budget, requiring subsidies based on school size and salary/benefit costs, rather than student needs. While the definition of an adequate core program may change as district‐wide priorities and financial position change, it is the main responsibility of the school district to provide a basic educational program to all students.