Less than 24 hours after Oakland teachers voted for a new contract and ended a seven-day strike, the Oakland School Board narrowly approved nearly $22 million in cuts to next year's budget.
After hearing hours of impassioned pleas from students and other community members to preserve funding, the school board voted 4-3 in favor of the measure. The cuts will eliminate about 90 administrative jobs and nearly 60 support service positions, including restorative justice facilitators and foster youth counselors.
Even as most of their peers returned to class on Monday morning, for the first time in more than a week, hundreds of students packed the meeting in La Escuelita Elementary School's auditorium to voice their opposition to the cuts. Chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Budget cuts have to go!” students demanded that popular programs, like the district's restorative justice conflict resolution initiative, be preserved.
"A lot of students do feel betrayed," said Skyline High 10th-grader Alexander Hinojosa, noting his frustration that the teachers union hadn't pushed back more to ensure cuts weren't made. "We worked really hard to help them protest. A lot of students showed support. And for us not to get what we want, it makes no sense."