Oakland: School administrator closes 4 schools
Cites declining enrollment and poor academic
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
March 1, 2007
OAKLAND (BCN) - Kimberly Stratham, the Oakland school
district's state-appointed administrator, decided late Wednesday
night to close four schools at the end of the school year in June
because of a combination of declining enrollment and poor academic
Stratham decided to accept the recommendations from her staff
despite several hours of pleas from students, parents and teachers
to keep the school open.
The schools that will be closed are East Oakland Community High
School, Sherman Elementary School, Merritt Middle College High
School and Kizmet Academy Middle School.
The school district also will take steps to improve the performance
of 10 other schools that have been identified as having enrollment
and academic issues.
School district spokesman Alex Katz said poor academic performance
is a particular problem at East Oakland Community High School,
where two-thirds of juniors aren't on track to graduate, only
1 percent of students are at their grade level on math tests and
test scores have dropped 72 points in the last year.
He said the district wants to make sure that the school's students
can get into schools and programs so they can graduate next year.
Katz said low enrollment is the main issue at Sherman Elementary.
He said Kizmet, which is located on the campus of McClymonds
High School, has both enrollment and academic issues.
Katz said the problem with Merritt Middle College is that it
will lose its space on the community college campus because of
Teachers, parents and students at East Oakland Community High
School marched 8 miles from the school's campus in the south Oakland
hills to school district headquarters downtown to protest the
Betty Olson Jones, the president of the Oakland Education Association,
which represents the district's teachers, said, "There's
a lot of anguish and frustration" about the district's plans
to close the schools.
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