January 10, 2013
By Barbara Grady
A year after expanding the attendance boundaries of several schools to accommodate kids from four schools it closed, the Oakland school board on Wednesday voted to shrink the boundaries of Crocker Highland Elementary School area after huge enrollment in September led the school to scramble to open a fourth kindergarten.
Figuring it would have "chronic oversubscription" at the school based on 2010 U.S. Census data showing the number of toddlers in the neighborhood and realtor reports of new families moving in, district staff recommended making the boundaries a smaller circumference around that school and widening the attendance area of nearby Cleveland Elementary School. Cleveland is a similarly high performing school with an education program that is much like Crocker Highland's, district staff said. Crocker Elementary had an Academic Performance Index score of 953 last year and Cleveland a score of 837. Both of those numbers are considered high.
Dozens of parents showed up to the Oakland Unified School District board meeting. Most of them have children who are not yet old enough to attend school, but the spoke of worries about where their kids would go. Many agreed with the plan that eventually was adopted by the board. It can be read on the board's agenda HERE as the fourth. It takes a triangular area that stretches from Lakeshore Avenue to Grand Avenue up to Rosal/Fairbanks avenues and puts that in the Cleveland Elementary School attendance area. Most of the triangle used to be part of the Lakeview Elementary School attendance neighborhood before Lakeview was closed last summer.
The OUSD has struggled with adjusting to ever changing enrollment. With its total enrollment rapidly declining, it voted in 2012 - amid much protest - to close five elementary school buildings over the summer and reassign the students. The parents and teachers of one school transformed their school to a charter school rather than accept the closure. Now some schools in the district are over subscribed, typically the highest performing ones.
Wednesday's board meeting was the first for newly-elected members Roseann Torres and James Harris. Both were quiet and voted in tandem with other board members in approving this plan, as well as other items.