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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Santa Fe School Closure: Emeryville Will Be Effected

Public School On Oakland/Emeryville Border To Close,
Repercussions For Emeryville

News Analysis
The Oakland School District's dire and unraveling travails threaten to spill over into Emeryville with the recent announcement of the probable closure of its Santa Fe Elementary School.  Oakland's Superintendent of the Schools, former Emeryville Superintendent Tony Smith, is gunning for Santa Fe school, a public elementary school right on Emeryville's border with Oakland.  Such a closure would likely bring more Oakland inter-district transfers to Emeryville's Anna Yates Elementary School, threatening to erode student/teacher ratios here.

Further, a large Oakland exodus to Anna Yates would take pressure off Emeryville leaders to provide more family friendly housing.

The city council and the school board in Emeryville has experienced growing resident pressure to produce more suitable homes for families to support last year's $400 million school bond funded Center of Community Life; a new school and community center slated for San Pablo Avenue.  The proposed new school has been facing a shortage of students owing to our peculiar demographics, brought on by 20 years of primarily building loft-type condominiums.  The housing Emeryville leaders have been delivering has netted an extremely low number of Emeryville children, a problem vexing civic leaders as they now scramble to attract families.

A large influx of new Oakland students from a Santa Fe Elementary School closure would help fill the new school, easing Emeryville's need to supply family housing to support the school regardless of continuing promises made by the decision makers to build more family housing in Emeryville.

Below is a re-print from KGO News:

Oakland parents upset over 

possible school closures

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday night, hundreds of parents and 
teachers crowded an Oakland School Board meeting to fight a plan 
to close or consolidate 13 campuses at the end of the school year. Superintendant Tony Smith's plan included closing: Lakeview, 
Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park, and Santa Fe elementary schools.

Smith says Oakland Unified has 101 schools, but it only needs
about 70. Closing five schools and consolidating eight others
could save millions of dollars.
"What does the district want for or kids? Are they going into 35
kid-classrooms now? Is that what's happening?" asked Karen
Harper, a Maxwell Park Elementary School parent.

Larger classes are 
on the way. Apparently 
the small schools 
philosophy isn't working 
because Smith says 17 
percent of students are 
not passing the high 
school exit exam. Nearly half are African American.
"And that's not OK. So we're stretched way too thin and we got to
figure out how to better use our resources," said Smith.
"There are 35 charter schools in Oakland. That's why our public
schools are under enrolled," said Robin Ogden, a Lakeview
Elementary School parent.
Some parents had concerns about integrating K through 12 into
one school. Others said they don't have cars to travel to the new
schools of their choice and one parent tried to throw another
school under the bus.
"According to documents on the OUSD restructuring website,
Santa Fe is consistently rated higher than Sankofa in school
choice. Santa Fe has a higher number of students who live in
the surrounding area and go to its school," said Peter Von
Ehrenkrook, a Santa Fe Elementary School parent.
"I will either take her out of the district or home-school her
until you guys can find a resolution," said Ingrid McGraw,
a Lake View Elementary School parent.
Oakland Unified does not want to lose students because
school funding is based on average daily attendance.
This is just the beginning of a three-year project that will
see the eventual closure and consolidation of about 30 schools.
This was just the first reading of the recommendation.
There will be two more meetings before a decision is made
to close the schools next fall. It should happen at the end
of October.


  1. I don't begrudge the Oakland families of Santa Fe because of the potential move. What is upsetting is that, with the voters passing the Emeryville school/community center bond, it will be on Emeryville residents alone to repay this debt. I find it obserd that Emeryville tax payers are going to have to pay back all of the money when a good number of families using this new school are coming from Oakland. It doesn't make any sense to me.

  2. Note to readers-
    An anonymous commentor asked that I place the following comment here:

    Anonymous said...
    I'm new to Emeryville- Somebody please explain to me how a City that is 1.5 square miles and has a resident population of 9000 people pays for a 400 million or almost 1/2 billion dollar bond? Is this a Joke? Please, do tell!

  3. I've lived in Emeryville for ten years. God forbid Emeryville would have affordable housing. Not everybody works at Pixar and can afford $300,000 for a condo. Am lucky, I have my very own slum landlord. Is there any middle ground, between a slum landlord and a $300, 000 condo, I can only hope one day there will be.

  4. Emeryville plays a very good game of "hide the ball" with voters. Even in a City that has so few families with children, voters respond to ballot measures couched in terms of "earthquake safety for our kids." The bond consultants who came in to advise the City Council on how to get the bond measure passed told the City Council not to have public meetings on the bond issue before the measure was placed on the ballot. Presumably because too many questions, damaging to the success of the bond measure, would have been raised.

    If you are new to Emeryville and care about matters like this, please make sure you are registered to vote, and vote in the upcoming City Council election. For the first time there are two new candidates who are challenging the way business has been done in Emeryville in the past.

  5. The repercussions came a long time ago. Look at the state of the district as a whole for crying out loud.