GO Board Watch: September 14, 2016

OUSD Response to the Grand Jury Report, Teacher Credentials, and the Closing of the Books

Welcome to GO’s School Board Watch for Wednesday, September 14, 2016.  

This week’s agenda includes:

  • Honoring OUSD’s Teachers of the Year
  • Approving applications for Teacher Credentials
  • The District’s response to the Grand Jury Report
  • The District’s plan to research and develop feeder patterns
  • The Superintendent’s calendar for LCAP/Budget development
  • Board approval of the closing of the books for FY 2015-16

Check out the full agenda.

1) Professional Culture

Teachers of the Year

The Board will officially recognize Faustena Byrd-Linarez and Diana Culmer as OUSD’s Teachers of the Year for 2015-16.

Ms. Byrd-Linarez is a Kindergarten and T-K teacher at Carl B. Munck Elementary. She has been an innovator and leader for her colleagues and students. She has developed “Meaning Play” centers at several elementary schools throughout the district to facilitate educational and socio-emotional growth for Oakland’s youngest students. She has also developed professional development programs for teachers in ELA and Art, to help teachers and students meet their goals.

Ms. Diana Culmer is a Special Education at Grass Valley Elementary. Ms. Culmer is a true teacher leader who has coached numerous new teachers and served as the special education lead at her school. In Ms. Culmer’s classroom, students with a wide-variety of disabilities engage in higher order thinking are engaged and active in their education.

Congratulations to Faustena Byrd-Linarez and Diana Culmer! We thank you for your service and we are proud to have you in our district.

Teacher Credentialing

The Board will be voting to approve Provisional Internship Permits for 28 teachers and Variable Term Waivers for 13 teachers.

OUSD was able to start this school year with teacher vacancies in the single-digits. While this is a great improvement, OUSD was able to fill those positions by hiring teachers who do not yet have their full teaching credentials.  According to the Variable Term Waiver memo:

“If a fully credentialed candidate is not available employing agencies must recruit candidates in this order:

  • A candidate who is scheduled to complete his or her preliminary credential requirements within six months
  • A candidate who is qualified to participate and to enroll in an internship program
  • A candidate who qualifies to use a local assignment option
  • A candidate who qualifies for the Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) or the Short Term Staff Permit

If the employer is unable to find an individual who qualifies for one of the staffing options listed above, the Variable Term Waiver may be requested for the most qualified candidate.”

2) Quality Schools Development

OUSD Response to the Grand Jury Report

The Board will be hearing OUSD’s official response to the Alameda County Civil Grand Jury’s report titled “The Oakland Unified School District and Charter Schools”.

The full response to the report is 153 pages long and addresses in detail the four key findings and eight recommendations of the report. OUSD will be presenting a powerpoint that summarizes OUSD’s responses to the findings and recommendations.

In short, OUSD agrees with three out of four findings: 1) Charter schools are insulated from adequate public insight; 2) Current authorization and evaluation systems for charter schools are insufficient; 3) OUSD has the desire to implement plans to ensure equitable opportunities for all students in Oakland. OUSD disagrees with the finding that there is not a plan in place to deal with the increase in charter schools. OUSD points to the fact that most of the increase in the number of charter schools happened when OUSD was under State Administration and that since 2007 there has been only 5 new OUSD-authorized charter schools.

OUSD states that it already has plans in place that address most of the recommendations, except where lack of resources or legal frameworks restrict their ability to do so. OUSD maintains that the Equity Pledge will rectify many of the issues highlighted in the Grand Jury’s report.

With regard to the comparative performance of charter-run public schools to district-run public schools, the Office of Charter Schools reports that when performance is compared by school level, rather than a straight average across all levels, 47% of charter schools perform below district average in ELA, compared to 65% of district-run schools, and 43% of charter schools perform below district average in Math, compared to 67% of district-run schools. (Page 9 of the full report.)

Feeder Pattern Presentation

This presentation to the Board lays out the timeline for exploring the issue and developing a fact base around creating feeder patterns within OUSD.

The District describes its ultimate goal as “Support[ing] all schools, neighborhoods and communities to create pathways and feeder patterns in every Oakland neighborhood.” To that end, OUSD will spend 2016-17 researching the current state of feeder patterns in Oakland (including geographic, programmatic, and relational feeder patterns) and the impacts of the feeder patterns on enrollment trends and demographics. The resulting “data fact base” will inform District policies and programs on whether establishing feeder patterns would better serve all Oakland students.

3) Budget and Fiscal Management

Closing of the Books

The Board will be approving the completion of the District’s Annual Statement of All Receipts and Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2015-16, also known as the “Closing of the Books”. The Annual Statement will be sent to the Alameda County Office of Education in advance of the Sept. 15th deadline.

For the first time since 2002, OUSD is completely current on its accounting and has no outstanding audits.

On page 14 of the presentation, the Chief Financial Officer offers several cautions for OUSD’s future finances.  For examples, the consequences should Prop 55 fail to pass, the that Cost of Living Adjustments will not keep pace with actual increases in Cost of Living, and that LCFF is nearing full funding such that future increases will be smaller.

This presentation also contains a lot of information in the appendices including three year spending trends in several key areas.

Supt. Report on LCAP/Budget Development for 2016-17

The Superintendent will be presenting his calendar and work plan to create a fiscally sound budget for the 2017-18 school year that aligns budget development and the LCAP community engagement process. The Board will receive monthly updates on the budget development throughout the process. The Superintendent hopes to have a finalized LCAP and Budget adopted by June 28, 2017.

4) Board Development and Strategy

No informational or action items presented.

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