Oakland Unified is facing another enormous budget shortfall. District level budget cuts are being shouldered by teachers and families, with each school being asked to cut on average $120 per student. What this means for many schools is an IMMEDIATE LOSS of after-school programs, support staff, access to technology, field trips, and many of the enrichment activities that make their schooling experience enjoyable and equitable. At schools in Oakland's wealthier neighborhoods, these cuts will be offset by parent donations and annual fundraisers that bring in an average of $300,000 per year. At flatland schools, populated predominantly by students of color, these cuts will be felt by teachers and children, and they will be felt deeply.
I asked myself what I can do, aside from gripe on Facebook and threaten to run for school board (vote for me in 2018), and I decided to do for one school what parents and community would do at a wealthier school: I'm asking you for your money.
International Community School (ICS) is a K-5 dual immersion science-focused school born out of the Oakland Small Schools Movement of 2001. It was the first new school building in Oakland in over 60 years. ICS was designed by teachers, students, families, and community partners. I was one of the founding teachers, which is only one reason ICS remains close to my heart.
ICS is truly a community school, serving a neighborhood of recent immigrants, longtime residents /families of color, English Learners from dozens of linguistic backgrounds, and hardworking families whose incomes fall well below federal poverty levels. Despite a lack of financial capital, ICS parents are some of the most dedicated and giving parents I've ever known.
I am asking each of you to make a donation that is significant to you.
If you can afford to offset the cost of budget cuts for one student ($120), please consider donating $120. If you can afford to offset the cost of cuts to an entire classroom (~ $3,600), please consider donating $3,600. If you can afford to donate $5, that $5 will be as greatly appreciated as a donation of $5,000. Your belief in and contribution to equity in public education is what counts, and any donation that is significant to you will be received with my deepest appreciation.
If your company will match your donation, please ask them to.
I recognize that this is not a long-term solution. It's not a fair solution -- a fair solution would be OUSD cutting from the top and protecting teachers and children from the impact of those cuts. A fair solution would be parents from all parts of Oakland fundraising for ALL KIDS regardless of which neighborhood those kids live in. But for now, this is something we can do to protect one school from losing valuable resources midyear.
Please spread thisgofundme campaign across your networks.
Any amount collected above $34,000 (the cost per student x 300 students + fees associated with gofundme) will be shared with another Oakland Public School.