These are my priorities for serving our students and families as School Board Director:
- Stable Classrooms within Safe, Racially Just Community Schools
- Responsible, Equitable and Transparent Budgeting
- Accountability to OUSD's Laws & Its Own Adopted Policies
- Equity Must Live in All That We Do
- Responsible, Equitable Stewardship of our District Properties
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Stable Classrooms within Safe, Racially Just Community Schools
- My vision for all Oakland children is that they have safe and racially just community schools in their neighborhoods, diverse school communities that work together to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, are educated and developed to their fullest potential, and are inspired and ready to pursue their dreams, wherever that takes them.
- I envision honest conversations about how the community can work together to counteract the effects of historic oppression from the home to the school.
- I am excited about communities co-creating their schools, including the culture, academic curriculum, partnerships and structures for ongoing evaluation and conflict resolution. I will work to create partnerships across all systems to ensure stability in services based on needs.
- Lastly, I see our schools as stable spaces with strong systems in place which ensure continuity of vision and service regardless of who transitions in or out of each position within our district.
Responsible, Equitable and Transparent Budgeting
- For too long, the Oakland School Board has been an irresponsible steward of our tax dollars, resulting in mid-year cuts, negative budget certifications, audit management concerns and mistrust from a wide variety of stakeholders. This is not acceptable. We must change the way we budget to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students in a transparent process that makes crystal clear what we value. Our budget development process must include all stakeholders - students, families and educators - so that they will have a concrete say in how our education dollars are spent. We must have a budget that reflects our values, and in which structures, initiatives and people we are investing our tax dollars.
- Responsible budgeting should be transparent so that everyone, from high school students to Board members, can truly understand it. Our Budget & Finance and Audit Committees must be spaces where we engage in dialogue about the effectiveness of investments and explore alternatives that support the district to be increasingly responsible fiscal agents of millions of tax dollars to educate our students. Strong systems that reflect our values will help keep OUSD on track to becoming a truly Full Service Community School District that values equity and excellence.
- As a past member of the District Budget Advisory Committee (DBAC) (which was disbanded several years ago by the Superintendent) I have long advocated for a complete, transparent audit of the district's budget, I appreciate the work of our audit committee to ensure that prior recommendations for internal controls are moving forward but it is only with a deep, independent look into the budget that we can understand what is working for students and what is not.
- As an elected School Board member, I would particularly prioritize being on the Budget and Finance committee, given my experience in both working to design the Local Control Funding Formula and advising the Superintendent about the budget in the past. As a member of the budget committee, I would hold budget hearings for every department and every district school examine how every part of our system uses precious resources. To achieve this analysis, we need a “zero based budgeting” process, including for our central administration and the implementation of and fidelity to strong internal budget controls to ensure that budget adjustments directed by the school board are fully implemented by the Superintendent. I would also advocate for the reinstatement of the District Budget Advisory Committee
Accountability to OUSD's Laws and Its Own Adopted Policies
As School Board Director, I will work to ensure that the School Board follows California law, its own adopted policies and best practices with fidelity when making policy, budget or property management decisions. In addition, I will always push the Board to make decisions in partnership with students, parents, educators and community partners.
Equity Must Live in All That We Do
For Students with Disabilities
- To ensure equitable funding of programs for students with disabilities, I will dig deep into the current student and teacher needs within OUSD and how our Special Education programs are meeting those needs, identifying gaps in services and potential solutions.
- I particularly want to understand how OUSD is improving internal controls around medical reimbursements for SPED services and how behavioral health services at the county and statewide level are being integrated into our Special Education programs and identify opportunities for strengthening integration to best support the development of each disabled student.
- I want to establish consistent communication with the Community Advisory Committee and deepen my understanding of the barriers they have experienced with tracking funding and support for SPED programs.
- I will also prioritize strengthening our pipeline for special educator development, as well as exploring the site roles necessary for each type of program within OUSD.
- For Students with Disabilities
For Black Students
- The Reparations for Black Students Resolution grew out of a campaign I co-led to understand what Black students and families need to ensure the social emotional and academic well being of our Black students. Every demand is a summary of community-driven, solution oriented actions for OUSD to undertake to strengthen its commitment to Black students' academic success and solve critical structural barriers to achieving that. While the OUSD passed the Resolution in part, neither the Board nor the Superintendent has been fully committed to fulfilling the obligations laid out in the Resolution. The Reparations resolution must be included in the Board’s work plan to keep us on track for fulfilling the promises made to Black students through this Resolution.
- As a School Board Director, I will ask the Superintendent to provide a comprehensive presentation about the status of Black students within our system and an analysis of the fiscal investments in Black students within the general fund and restricted funds, including inviting city and county departments to lift up their partnerships with OUSD that support serving our Black students.
- I would call for a retreat of the Board to discuss the information in detail and determine how we can improve our monitoring of this policy and related policies to ensure transparency around our most vulnerable student population in our public schools.
- For Black Students
For Language Learners
- Improve how we teach English language development across our diverse student population which speak over 30+ different home languages.
- Provide greater interpretation and translation services for families to ensure they are able to fully participate in their child's education.
- Ensure that students that want to learn a second or multiple languages have options throughout K-12 in our neighborhood schools.
- Celebrate multilingual achievement by expanding the Seal of Biliteracy program and elevating that our students should be learning multiple languages to be a part of our 21st century global community and economy.
- Invest in recruitment of educators and staff who speak diverse languages.
- For Language Learners
For All Students
- Ensure that schools in every neighborhood have engaging programs available to all students which enrich and support them in their growth and development.
- Expand athletic opportunities to include more girls and coed sports teams.
- Create safe spaces for our LGBTQ+ students to learn and thrive.
- Invest in and retain teachers who reflect the diversity of our communities.
- For All Students
Responsible, Equitable Stewardship of our District Properties
- Oakland taxpayers have consistently voted to support OUSD Facility bonds, yet many schools still have lead in the pipes, lack modernizations that are important to creating inclusive environments and, as was made so clear during the pandemic and “smoke days” need climate control and air circulation upgrades. We have not been responsible stewards of our facility bond money (as pointed out by the Alameda County Grand Jury in 2018) and our oversight commissions, including the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee and the Audit Committee, often have vacancies that imperil our ability to adequately monitor our spending. I will encourage parents and community members with the capacity to provide responsible oversight to serve on these commissions and look forward to working with them to transform how we use public dollars to improve our facilities.
- OUSD must use its facilities in ways that support students and the fiscal vitality of the district while also meeting its obligations under Proposition 39 to provide space to charter schools that request it. That does not mean, however, that we should be displacing our most vulnerable students, and I will work to make the changes needed to ensure that we are acting responsibly and equitably in its implementation. In addition, our experience in Oakland, the city with the highest proportion of charter schools statewide, raises some very serious equity issues about how Proposition 39 is implemented. I will work with state representatives and leaders in other districts to craft impactful amendments to the regulations that guide Prop 39 implementation. I am committed to being a convener of those conversations and supporting collective statewide advocacy to have maximum impact.