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Major Reversal: Oakland Unified Votes to Keep Schools Open After All

It was a historic night in Oakland Wednesday as the school board voted to keep schools open in the district.

This came after violent clashes broke out last school year when parents in the district staged protests for the closure of a neighborhood school.

Almost three hours after the meeting started, the vote came in and the satisfied audience left around 10 p.m.

All Oakland Unified School Board members voted yes to rescind the plan to close six schools at the end of the year.

Two members voted no, with one abstaining.

“I feel really happy and emotional that everyone supported us and all the parents and teachers,” said Angelina Villanueve, student at Brookfield Elementary. “Like if you supported, today thank you so much.”

Last year, violence clashes broke out when community members in the district staged protests and an occupation of Parker Elementary, which eventually closed.

It gained national attention and some said it also helped fast forward the necessary change in board members, and this vote to stop the practice of closing schools in the district.

School Board Member Mike Hutchinson, who brought forth this resolution, had tears of joy and said he’s been fighting school closures for years.

“Here we are seven years later and not only do we have control back of our school district,but we’ve been able to bring all of the community together and and reject this policy of school closures. It means a lot, we have a lot of folks in Oakland who carry a lot of scars and trauma from having had our schools closed, from having to live under this threat and it just really represents a new day, with a new board,” said Hutchinson. 

The following schools won’t close or some grades won’t be shortened at the end of the year:

  • Brookfield Elementary
  • Carl B. Munck Elementary
  • Grass Valley Elementary
  • Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy Elementary
  • Horace Mann Elementary
  • Hillcrest will not truncate grades 6 through 8

The one director who abstained, Nick Resnick, said the registrar’s office said it made a mistake in the rank-choice voting system and that he actually lost the seat.

It sparked a recount that has not concluded yet.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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