Oakland Tribune: School closures an issue in Oakland school board race

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October 4, 2012
By Katy Murphy

Until now, Thearse Pecot's decades-long involvement in Oakland's public education system has focused mainly on the schools her children and grandchildren have attended. But the latest round of school closures -- which included Santa Fe, her grandchildren's school -- prompted her to challenge Jody London for the District 1 seat on the Oakland school board.

"We've got to stop tearing down our communities by closing neighborhood schools," Pecot said.

Pecot sued the district in April to block the closures, alleging that it was discriminating against poor and minority families. While the case has yet to make it to court, she said it demands the reopening of Santa Fe Elementary. Pecot said that if she succeeds in unseating London, she will fight to prevent additional school closures. None are being considered at the moment, though if statewide tax measures fail and education funding "trigger cuts" proceed, schools throughout California will face some painful choices.

The other priorities Pecot listed -- from improving safety on school campuses to lowering the dropout and truancy rates -- were broad and ambitious, though she offered few specifics of how her approaches would compare to the district's current policies and initiatives. She said she would advocate giving children more enriching activities to keep them interested in school.

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