On the June 7th Presidential Primary, Oaklanders will finally get to decide if they're feeling the Bern or if they're ready for Hillary. But for many Oakland students, including our most disadvantaged, the election down the ballot is more important.
Every Oakland voter will get a say in one of the Alameda County Board of Education races. We have been vocal about the importance of the OUSD Board of Education, but county boards matter as well.
The Alameda County Board of Education works with Alameda County Superintendent Karen Monroe to manage the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) and its $40 million budget. Much of that budget goes to serving students who would not otherwise receive adequate service from school districts.
In Oakland, the ACOE runs three community schools: one for students undergoing treatment for substance abuse, one for pregnant or parenting teens, and a third for students exiting juvenile detention.
Additionally, the Alameda County Board of Education hears charter school appeals if a petition is denied at the local level. Through this process, the county currently authorizes seven charter schools located in Oakland.
As authorizers, the board is directly responsible for the education of the more than 2,200 students who attend these schools, nearly 5% of all Oakland public school students.
In addition to the county office's direct education work, the Alameda County Board of Education reviews and signs off on every districts' budget and Local Control and Accountability Plan (or LCAP). At its best, this can be an important oversight measure to ensure that districts spend targeted Local Control Funding Formula money on the students for whom the money was intended.
The county office also handles Williams complaints, which can be filed against schools where students are without textbooks, facility conditions are dangerous, or where teachers are inappropriately assigned to their subjects. These measures enacted by the county all help ensure that school districts are working in the best interest of kids.
This June, make the presidential primary vote the last one you fill out on your ballot. Start with the Alameda County Board of Education: it's a critical race for Oakland kids.