The City of Oakland is taking on a proposal to sell property located, as the note goes “on Derby Ave at E15th, which is about two blocks from Fruitvale and International and two blocks from the Caesar Chavez campus”, according to Oakland Schools advocate Mike Hutchinson. (And who I interviewed when he ran for Oakland School Unified School District School Board District Five, below.)
Mike, who represents OPEN Oakland Public Education Network, issued this letter asking you to attend the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee Meeting today at 1:30 PM. Here’s what he wrote:
The city council is considering selling a parcel of land for $450,000 to an out of state developer so a new 625 student charter school can be built.
The developer already owns 2 parcels of land and “needs” the adjoining city owned parcel in order to build a 3 story charter school for 625 k-8 students. The parcel is located on Derby Ave at E15th, which is about two blocks from Fruitvale and International and two blocks from the Caesar Chavez campus which contains 2 public schools (Think College Now and International Community School).
Charter schools are not public schools, in fact charter schools are competitors of public schools. For every student that goes to a charter school OUSD (the public schools) loses money. A 625 student charter school would cause a $7 million a year loss to OUSD. The impact would be must acute on the Caesar Chavez campus, one of our signature campuses, where the loss of enrollment could have dire consequences.
The proposed sale will also greatly disrupt the neighborhood for residents, local businesses, and their patrons. With 700 people coming and going from a school built on a dead end street 1 block from International and 2 blocks from Fruitvale it will greatly exasperate the area’s problems with traffic and lack of parking.
The community is not asking for a new school and both OUSD and an Alameda Grand Jury Reports state that Oakland has too many schools. Plus a charter school is not even accessible to the community. Selling this public property not only won’t produce public good, it will actually create public harm to local residents, small businesses, and public schools.
Thankfully this land sale and project can still be stopped. Tuesday (today) at 1:30pm the city council’s Community and Economic Development Committee will discuss this sale. If they approve it it will come before the full city council for a final vote, probably in the next month. We must demand that the city council vote no on this sale of what they’re calling the Derby Parcel.
If you support public education then you should be against this sale.
If you believe that public land should be used for public good then you should be against this sale.
If you believe public land should be used to alleviate the housing crisis then you should be against this sale.
If you don’t believe that out of state developers should be able to dictate how our communities look then you should be against this sale.
If you believe that any decisions about public land sale and development should come only after it’s informed by a robust and authentic community engagement process then you should be against this sale.