Welcome to GO’s School Board Watch for the meeting taking place Wednesday, March 28, 2018.
This week’s agenda includes the following key items:
- Commitment to Continuous Improvement of Fiscal Practices
- Quality School Development: System of Schools
- Measure G Committee Recommendations
The Board will hear a second reading of a resolution that would commit the District to aligning its budgeting and fiscal practices with the Smarter School Spending Framework, a system endorsed by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The GFOA is an association of more than 19,000 governmental finance officers (federal, state, and local) across the U.S. and Canada and is a nationally recognized leader in public finance. In August, the Board adopted a policy on financial reserves that aligns with the Smarter School Spending Framework, and, on February 28, adopted a policy on structurally balanced budgeting that also aligns with the GFOA framework. Future policies aligned to the GFOA Smarter School Spending Framework that the board plans to consider are a long-term planning policy, a fiscal emergency protocol policy, and revisions to the whistleblower policy.
The Board will hear a first reading of a policy that seeks to address the inefficiencies and inequities that result from having multiple, uncoordinated school governance systems within the same district. While the total number of students is approximately the same as it was in 1998 (50,000 students), policies governing the size and number of schools have not adjusted to account for the growth of charter schools from nearly nonexistent to almost one-third of Oakland public schools. This policy would require that the Superintendent and Board create plans and guidelines that would reallocate resources, facilities, and assets to improve school quality, create a decision-making matrix for how schools are added and withdrawn from the OUSD system, and set targets for school size and total number of schools.
Parcel Taxes and Bonds
The Measure G Parcel Tax Independent Citizens Oversight Committee will present recommendations to the Board for improving Measure G allocations and impacts. The accompanying report finds that there is a significant lack of transparency and consistency in Measure G allocations. Community and school site stakeholders, including the committee itself, are unable to answer how Measure G funds are allocated. The report also finds that while Measure G funds are to be allocated for programs like art, music, and school libraries, in practice, the funds are being used to supplement base funding. According to the report, “Each year for the last four years, more than 50% of Measure G funds were spent on teacher salaries and benefits under the Basic School Support or Class Size Reduction programs.” The committee will present a series of potential solutions to increase transparency around the Measure G allocation process and ensure consistent and strategic uses for Measure G funds.
Until next time!