Oakland School Board to Grapple with $30 Million Shortfall, Despite Being Flush with Revenue

(L to R) School Boardmember Jody London, Supt. Antwan Wilson and Board President James Harris at a school board meeting. Photo by Ken Epstein.

(L to R) School Boardmember Jody London, Supt. Antwan Wilson and Board President James Harris at a school board meeting. Photo by Ken Epstein.

In mid-December, the Post reported that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) faced a budget shortfall of between $22 million and $30 million, which the district did not confirm or deny. 


Now in an article this week, the SF Chronicle reports that Superintendent Antwan Wilson is expected to be getting ready to announce the worst, that “Oakland’s school spending (is) exceeding its revenue by $30 million next year.”


Wilson, who is leaving Oakland at the end of next month to head Washington, D.C. schools, told the Chronicle that OUSD can avoid a state takeover, such as the one in 2003 that left Oakland saddled with repaying a $100 million loan to the state and deprived residents of control over local schools for six years.


“This is all in front of us. This is all preventable,” Wilson told the Chronicle.


A number of school activists are asking how the school district could have such a large shortfall, because the budget was stable two-and-a half years ago when Wilson came to Oakland and since then has been flush with revenue from a variety of sources.


On top of its usual state funding, Oakland and other districts have received additional state income – in Oakland’s case, $29 million in 2014-2015, $36.6 million in 2015-2016 and is projected this year to receive $16.7 million – a total of over $82 million.


OUSD receives $12 million a year from the Measure N parcel tax, which passed in 2014, designed to upgrade secondary programs to reduce the drop-out rate and provide students with real world work experience.


Measure G1, passed in November, provides $12.4 million for 12 years to attract and retain teachers and enhance middle school arts and language programs. Sixty-five percent of that money is earmarked for employee salaries.


Responding to the Post’s questions about the budget, the district replied, “Each year the district undergoes a budgeting process, and every year we’ve balanced our budget under Superintendent Wilson.


“This is exactly what we set out to do this year. Having financial discipline can sometimes mean some hard choices. In the end, we want to ensure we are doing what’s right for students and putting them first.”


According to several board members, the district administration has not told the board about the causes of the deficit.


“Staff has not presented to us to this day any real analysis of how we got here. I have had to talk to people who used to work for the district and some who work here now,” said Boardmember Shanthi Gonzales.


Roseann Torres and Shanthi Gonzalez

Roseann Torres and Shanthi Gonzalez


“They are talking about laying out options of how to fix (the shortfall),” she said. “But somebody needs to be held accountable. We need to understand how we got here.”


“I feel like the public deserves an accounting,” she said, adding that both the board and administration should accept responsibility.


District enrollment is 1,000 students less than projected this year – which some observers estimate could account for as much as $10 million of the shortfall.


In addition, Gonzales said, “The board has voted to open new charter schools and in some ways has done the district a disservice. They are not just creating new options – they are also undermining the financial stability of the district,” which depends on student enrollment.


Boardmember Roseann Torres said that the administration is scheduling dates with board members one at a time about the deficit this week and next week.


“We’re going to be briefed by staff, one by one,” she said. “I’m doing my meeting next week.”


Torres said that in addition to the growth of charter schools, the district’s deficit can be traced in part to the large number of highly paid central office administrators.


“I personally think the big cause has to do with bringing in so many extra highly paid people, which was a big mistake. Some of us complained about it. That was never a secret,” she said.

Share Button
Print Friendly


  1. Zahid Hamidi

    Assalamu alaikum warohmatullahi wabarakatu.
    Saya ingin berbagi cerita siapa tau bermanfaat kepada anda bahwa saya ini seorang TKI dari johor bahru (malaysia) dan secara tidak sengaja saya buka internet dan saya melihat komentar bpk hilary joseph yg dari hongkong tentan MBAH WIRANG yg telah membantu dia menjadi sukses dan akhirnya saya juga mencoba menghubungi beliau dan alhamdulillah beliau mau membantu saya untuk memberikan nomer toto 6D dr hasil ritual beliau. dan alhamdulillah itu betul-betul terbukti tembus dan menang RM.457.000 Ringgit selama 3X putaran beliau membantu saya, saya tidak menyanka kalau saya sudah bisa sesukses ini dan ini semua berkat bantuan MBAH WIRANG,saya yang dulunya bukan siapa-siapa bahkan saya juga selalu dihina orang dan alhamdulillah kini sekaran saya sudah punya segalanya,itu semua atas bantuan beliau.Saya sangat berterimakasih banyak kepada MBAH WIRANG atas bantuan nomer togel Nya. Bagi anda yg butuh nomer togel mulai (3D/4D/5D/6D) jangan ragu atau maluh segera hubungi MBAH WIRANG di hendpone (+6282346667564) & (082346667564) insya allah beliau akan membantu anda seperti saya…

  2. Kathrine Haley

    How my marriage was brought back to life by Professor Rojo Spiritual Magical Spell

    I am Kathrine Haley, i just want to share my testimony with the world on how Professor Rojo the powerful spiritualist brought back my husband back to me. Please read my good news carefully and i am sure it will affect your life positively on how my husband returned back home!

    I had been living in great bondage for the past 4 years suffering in the hands of a cheating husband. We were living happily until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her again outside our marriage and before i knew it he stopped caring for his own family, to the extent that he was planning to marry her and divorce me. I cried and reported him to his family members but he never listened to anyone and to cut the story short, i came in search for a real spell caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me and our 2 kids again; on my search i saw people sharing testimony on how their marriage was restored by Professor Rojo and, then i pick his email and told him the problem that i was going through, and he agreed to help me and told me never to worry. After he had finished casting the spell, on the second day, they both had a quarrel and he beat up his girlfriend, break up with her and he returned back home begging me to forgive him that his eyes are clear now that he will never do anything that will hurt his family again and promise to be a caring father and never to cheat on me again. I am so glad that i did not lose him to the girl and all appreciation goes to Professor Rojo for his great work. You are a Great spell caster and to you all that are faced with this similar problem in your matrimonial home, please contact him now on rojospiritualtemple@gmail.com

  3. Barbara

    Thank-you Director Torres for telling it like it is. It would be helpful to know exactly how much the central administration salary total has changed since Spt Wilson came to OUSD.

    I am anticipating that the blame will end up being placed on the backs of teachers and special ed, the easiest targets for OUSD. We keep passing parcel taxes, but still don’t have our finances in order.

  4. Catherine Darwish

    Shit. Again?

Post a comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *