Ten protesters — two of them Oakland teachers, one an Oakland high school student, and two of them attorneys — were arrested by Oakland School Police at about midnight last night while sitting-in at the Oakland school district Board Room in the Paul Robeson Building (1025 – 2nd Ave.).
Last night, the school board meeting recessed when community members demanded they immediately rescind their Fall 2011 decision to close 5 schools: Lakeview, Santa Fe, Thurgood Marshall, Maxwell Park, and Lazear Elementary Schools. (The meeting continues today at 1:00pm where community members will also make their demand known.)
On the Board’s agenda last night and today, is a proposal to lease-over Santa Fe park — which hundreds of Oakland parents, teachers, and students have rallied to save — to neighboring Emery Unified School District. Oakland community members oppose this backroom deal to lease and eventually sell their beloved schools. Superintendent Smith’s has withdrawn his five-year plan to close 30 schools — of which the 5 school closings were the first phase — citing that there actually is no budgetary necessity to go forward with it. This confirms community members’ assertion that the claim that the 5 schools must close due to budgetary reasons is a lie.
Last night, because of the large outpouring of the community combined with BAMN’s readiness to sit-in, the school board tabled a planned resolution to reject the application from Lazear Elementary teachers and parents to convert their school to a charter: a last-ditch effort by parents to retain some control and stability at their school. This issue was postponed for April 25. With continued mass and militant community mobilizations ASSERTING OUR POWER IN NUMBERS we can win!
The School Board has recessed until tomorrow! There is a determined core of people staying here in the Board chambers through the night that is willing to risk arrest, demanding that the Board reverse the vote to close 5 schools now.
Channel 2 and Channel 5 are here. BAMN members and parents and students from the schools are doing interviews. The school board is still in closed session. People are talking and the mood is positive!
Protesters are now chanting “Keep the schools open! Rescind the vote!”
The school board is leaving the room. The school board plans a 1-hour closed session and then resume. The community will not let them unless they rescind the 5 school closures.
The Oakland School Board was scheduled to vote tonight on leasing Santa Fe Elementary to the Emeryville School District, and turning Lazear Elementary over to the Charter School Operators! We will NOT allow this to go through! There is Power in our NUMBERS and in the TRUTH. THERE IS Plenty of Money in the District. No schools have to close but we MUST MOBILIZE and ASSERT OUR POWER TO WIN!
Everyone – young, old, and in between — must mobilize to this meeting and demand that the only acceptable decision is for these five schools to stay open as the public elementary schools they are now. If we assert the power of our numbers and don’t take no for an answer, we can win.