Oakland Schools Suit Against State Is Futile

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The Oakland school board is suing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell for raiding the district's accounts and giving $450,000 to charter schools. O'Connell is a big charter schools backer and has received oodles of campaign cash over the years from wealthy charter school supporters. The state supe thought it was unfair that Oakland voters turned down a ballot measure last fall that would have raised money for charter schools. O'Connell appears to be clearly in the wrong here - if he didn't like the outcome of an election, then he should sponsor another measure. But the school board's suit isn't likely to go anywhere.

That's because the board has no legal say in how the district spends its money. O'Connell still maintains complete power over the district's finances as part of Don Perata's 2003 state takeover bill. The only group that seems capable of stopping O'Connell is Oakland taxpayers, because they have never approved sending their tax dollars to charter schools. But will any of them file suit?

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