The Oakland school board voted unanimously on Wednesday night to approve a new budget policy that sends more money to schools by capping central office expenditures at 12 percent of the district’s unrestricted funds. The policy also directs Interim Superintendent Gary Yee to maintain school-site decision-making while prioritizing the neediest students during the budget process. But the devil is in the details and hundreds of parents, teachers, and principals filled the auditorium at La Escuelita Elementary School to speak for and against elements of Yee’s controversial implementation plan.
Still to be decided are such contentious issues as whether to charge schools for “average” teacher salaries or “actual” teacher salaries, and whether to use a centrally mandated staffing formula rather than a student-based budgeting formula.
Yee promises to meet with principals, teachers, parents and community organizations to help build the new budget system, and he will report back to the board in February and March on a proposed implementation plan. Meanwhile principals are still waiting for hard numbers to begin planning for the 2014-15 school year. For more background, see our story in this week's issue.