Subject: Massive additional cuts for Oakland Adult and Career Education 2010-2011
Date: 6/8/10
From: Brigitte Marshall, Director, Oakland Adult and Career Education
Dear Adult Education Colleagues,

The budget presented by the Governor in the May Revise cuts approximately $14m from the Child Development Centers and Early Childhood Education programs in Oakland Unified School District. Late last week, Superintendent Tony Smith met with me to inform me that he feels he has no alternative but to cut an additional $5m from the Adult Education allocation for 10-11 to provide some partial backfilling of lost child care funds for low income working families. This means that for 10-11, out of the total state allocation of approximately $11.4m, OACE will be allocated approximately $1.9m as its base operating budget, with $9.5m being cut. We will supplement this base with WIA Title II and Perkins grant funds, but recognize that our ongoing earning ability for these competitive, discretionary funds will be severely impacted and limited by our reduced capacity and program size.

Having already made $110m in cuts to the overall OUSD budget for 10-11, the Superintendent and Board of Education are confronted with a choice between a program that provides subsidized childcare to some of the neediest families in Oakland who rely on these critical services in order to stay employed and go to school, and a program that provides foundational literacy and workforce development training to some of the neediest, low-skilled, low-income Oakland residents, including ex-offenders, adults with disabilities, aged out foster youth, refugees, and the thousands of job seekers who are a part of the 16% Oakland unemployment rate. At this point, our district leaders have indicated that they must make Early Childhood Education the priority. The decision was not made lightly, and a great deal of respect has been expressed for the work of OACE in the process, which is small consolation, but appreciated none-the-less.

The Superintendent has clearly stated that he has no intention of eliminating the adult education program in Oakland, he wants to see a robust, if massively downsized infrastructure maintained so that OACE is positioned to grow again, subject to funds restoration or the development of a new funding mechanism. He also made very clear that if the child care funds are reinstated when the state budget is passed, he intends to restore funds to Oakland Adult and Career Education; however in the meantime, we have to plan and proceed under the assumption that our base operating budget for 10-11 will be $1.9m, which means completely closing four adult education facilities, (Edward Shands Adult School, Bond Street Annex, Neighborhood Centers Adult School and the Clinton Park Annex); laying off approximately 40 more contract, tenured teachers, 4 more administrators, and all but a very small handful of our classified staff. We are confronting the possibility of ending collaborative partnerships with and withdrawing services from approximately 25 agencies and community based organizations across Oakland, although we will be continuing conversations with all of our current community partners to explore alternative partnership and funding options.

Our instructional program offerings for 10-11 will be limited to multi-level ESL Family Literacy at 20 OUSD school sites, GED and Credit Recovery. We convened an all staff, Open Forum meeting yesterday to share the news with all members of the OACE community. We will be sending out a written communication to students tomorrow. The resolution identifying the OACE positions to be eliminated will be presented at a special meeting of the OUSD Board of Education on Monday, June 14th. It’s a sad day for the Oakland Unified School District, as it is compelled to reduce its financial support for the second oldest adult education program in the state of California, established 139 years ago in 1871.

Brigitte Marshall, Director
Oakland Adult and Career Education
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