OUSD (Oakland Unified School District) has gone through a lot this decade. They have been in debt and lost many programs that help students. Of course, students are the ones to suffer since they are the ones who go to the schools. In this blog, you will see the many ways the district handles situations and what students have to go through.


To start off, after school lunch has been cut due to budget cuts. Daniel Lempres, a publisher from East Bay Express wrote an article called ‘After-School Supper Is the Latest Casualty of Oakland Unified Budget Cuts’ which discusses what lunch does to families and students. He wrote, “Students who are used to eating a hot meal after school through the Oakland Unified School District’s supper program will have to go hungry this year due to budget cuts imposed by the school board” (Lempres). This is stating that students won’t be able to eat usually like before. Some students in OUSD are low- class which means that their family might struggle with giving food to them later on in the day. The article later states, “Out of necessity, some families even brought younger siblings in to eat, Phung said….. ‘With budget cuts, students suffer first.’ ” (Lempres). This is clearly showing that not only is it affecting the students but it is also affecting their family. Like what was stated earlier, some parents might not be able to provide food so it will mean the children will go hungry more often. To add on, this will mean that their hunger might be the only thing they concentrate on and that will make them not be able to pay attention as much to their academics.During an interview, a woman who grew up in Oakland was asked, do you think budget cuts affect the district. She responded and said, “Yes I do because it could affect student’s health” (Rodriguez). Cutting after school meals points to this statement. Budget cuts really do affect everyone.

Outside of food resources, recently some sports teams have been cut which has affected children from all around Oakland. The reason this happened is because most of the district is in debt and the district felt that after school sports should be cut first. One donation to OUSD came from the Oakland Raiders after this was cut to save the programs. An article called ‘Raiders Make $250,000 Donation To Help Save Oakland Sports Programsfrom CBS SF Bay Area states, “On Tuesday night, the Raiders came to the rescue of Oakland high school sports programs with a $250,000 donation that will make some drastic cuts unnecessary” (CBS). This shows that even CBS and the Raiders think that taking sports teams off was too extreme. Taking away sports teams would make school less fun and entertaining. Some students don’t do much out of school so sports might be the only resource for them to exercise. It is already known that many Americans ( or Californians to be exact ) are more likely to get diabetes due to junk food and poor health habits . It is odd to hear that one of the first items OUSD would take out is sports since they already know the facts about diabetes. If they wanted to make changes they need raise more awareness since some don’t know OUSD is in millions of dollars in debt and this is nothing has changed.


Moving on to the subject of debt, OUSD has been dealing with this for years. An article called ‘Oakland Unified needs to close schools and reform fiscal practices to stay solvent, county civil grand jury concludes’ by Theresa Harrington stated, “We concluded that these management and governing problems are chief reasons why OUSD has been on average between 20 and 30 million dollars in debt for the last 15 years, and may help to explain why one in five Oakland public schools scores in the bottom 5 percent statewide in math and English language arts proficiency” (Harrington). The debt of Oakland is really important because they are millions of dollars in debt. This means that if OUSD does nothing more problems will start and and some schools might even close down. In fact, some schools are actually facing downfall and will close. An article called ‘Oakland Unified Moves Forward on Plan to Close up to 24 Schools’ states, “The Oakland Unified School District’s Board of Education is moving ahead with a ‘Community of Schools Policy’ that will mean closing as many as 24 schools over the next several years, arguing that these closures are the best way to improve the quality and equity of schools across the district” (Oakland Post). The fact that many schools will actually close down because of debt is sad because we could have avoided this by confronting the debt 15 years ago and making better financial choices . However, An interview with an Oakland mother of three feels these closures might help the debt problem. She stated, “Close down the schools that aren’t doing good so money could go to other schools”(Marron). This is a valid point because some schools are guaranteed to close down so it would actually be beneficial for the district. The district has made many poor decisions. Lisa Fernandez, a publisher, wrote an article called “Oakland school district has too many schools, ‘no accountability’ and ‘lack of trust:’ grand jury” explained OUSD’S multi-million dollar deficit. She expressed,“Particularly telling to the jurors was the fact that despite facing a $15-million budget deficit during the middle of the year, the district allowed two new schools to open, the School of Languages and Rudsdale High School. One school serves 53 students. The other serves 125” (Fernandez). This proves that OUSD makes poor choices since they built two new schools that has less than 200 students despite being in debt and having many others schools that are suffering.


In conclusion, some advice for OUSD is to raise more awareness on their problems since many people are unaware of the debt OUSD is struggling with. Something else they can do is not build new schools since last time they did, and it didn’t help their debt. If OUSD does not take action, more programs and activities will be cut off leaving children in need of fun and food.


Work cited


Fernandez, Lisa. “Oakland School District Has Too Many Schools, ‘No Accountability’ and ‘Lack of Trust:’ Grand Jury.” KTVU, 27 June 2018, www.ktvu.com/news/oakland-school-district-has-too-many-schools-no-accountability-and-lack-of-trust-grand-jury.

This quote is showing that despite in debt, OUSD built two more schools that only has a small amount of students. This is a credible source because it was recorded on video during court.


Harrington, Theresa. “Oakland Unified Needs to Close Schools and Reform Fiscal Practices to Stay Solvent, County Civil Grand Jury Concludes.” EdSource, 27 June 2018, edsource.org/2018/oakland-unified-needs-to-close-schools-and-reform-fiscal-practices-to-stay-solvent-county-civil-grand-jury-concludes/599734.

Oakland Unified must close schools and reform its fiscal practices in order to stay solvent. Credible since it is from an organization.


Lempres, Daniel. “After-School Supper Is the Latest Casualty of Oakland Unified Budget Cuts.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 11 Dec. 2018, www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2018/08/31/after-school-supper-is-the-latest-casualty-of-oakland-unified-budget-cuts.

Lunches are getting cut, students will suffer and so will their family. This quote is credible because this news source is in the East Bay which is Oakland / Berkeley.


Marron, Alejandra. “Interview about OUSD.” 12 Dec. 2018.

We discussed about OUSD budget cuts and what to do about it. This is a credible source because she has three children who are currently apart of OUSD.


Rodriguez, Nahomy. “Interview about OUSD.” 12 Dec. 2018.

Discussion if budget cuts from OUSD are effectful. This is credible because she was a student at OUSD for her years at school.


“Oakland Unified Moves Forward on Plan to Close up to 24 Schools.” Oakland Post, 30 Nov. 2018, www.oaklandpost.org/2018/11/30/oakland-unified-moves-forward-plan-close-24-schools/.

This quote is showing that budget cuts will affect schools to shut down. This is a credible source because this comes from a news source in Oakland.


“Raiders Make $250,000 Donation To Help Save Oakland Sports Programs.” CBS San Francisco, CBS San Francisco, 28 Aug. 2018, sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/08/28/raiders-make-250000-donation-to-help-save-oakland-sports-programs/.

This is credible source because the news station is in the Bay Area so they get more insight on OUSD.

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Erin Jenne
Erin Jenne
February 13, 2019 2:46 am

Hi Valerie! I think you did a fantastic job of covering the current debt situation in Oakland Unified, something of which I was unaware up until I read your work. You used several good sources to support your stance on the debt crisis in your school district. I think however that you may have jumped the gun a little bit in making a value judgement about the district managing their money; in my understanding, districts receive little federal funding and only some state funding meaning they have to make up the rest, and that can be tough. Maybe the next step in your research could be to look deeper into financial decisions made in the last 15 years by administration to determine whether or not they mismanaged funds. However, I absolutely agree that essential programs including the after-school lunch program and after-school sports should not be cut. I did band in high school and we were constantly worried about our program getting cut for budgetary reasons, so I understand. Additionally, students deserve to be fed especially if that is something their family cannot afford. That being said, what are some ways that Oakland Unified could find funding or raise money to support these programs, because they are so important? I hope this was helpful to you! Feel free to respond to my thoughts on your thoughts.

February 3, 2019 3:38 am

Dear Valerie
I am very thankful for you contributing to the youth voices community with your great blog!
Your writing really stood out to me because you wrote some very convincing arguments that I also agree with. For example, one sentence you wrote that stood out for me is, “This is clearly showing that not only is it affecting the students but it is also affecting their family” I think this is true because if the system isn’t making the students happy then it wouldn’t make their parents happy either. Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time I wrote a letter to OUSD telling them to also improve their lunch system as an assignment in the 5th grade. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I really enjoyed reading this post and I know that the following posts will be just as great.
Thank you, Marleni.

January 16, 2019 7:37 pm

Dear Valerie,
Your blog really summarized all the negative effects on students caused by OUSD. One of my favorite lines was were you stated that food cuts also affects families. It stood out to me because it shows that students aren’t the only ones affected and it makes the problem bigger. You did a great job!!
Sincerely, Kelly

January 16, 2019 4:27 am

Dear Valerie,
Your blog was amazing! You really brought out your own opinions on this topic. I agree with the OUSD raising awareness because some of our parents don’t know about this and if they advertised families taht school lunch is a problem it could have kids having a school day w/o being hungry. Thank you for writing this! Good job.

January 15, 2019 11:08 pm

Dear Valerie, Thank you so much for writing this blog for your classmates to be able to learn from you and all the research that you did!!!! A line that really stood out to me is “This is clearly showing that not only is it affecting the students but it is also affecting their family” it stood out to me because this really shows that you have empathy for others and not just yourself or other students. Your blog taught me about the importance of School lunches. Thank you!! – Marleni

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