Oakland Unified is one of the cities largest landowners. They own over 500 acres, have 6 sites that are completely unoccupied, 49 acres of totally undeveloped land and hundreds of acres of outdoor space that is used as parking, playgrounds, and gardens. They also have 11-12,000 empty seats in buildings they use, but have suffered from declining enrollment. Meanwhile our City has an immense housing problem.
OUSD holds a precious resource that is sitting under used and a we have public that could really benefit from using it. I am encouraged to see OUSD doing something about this and the introduction of a Board Policy to bridge the gap between OUSD’s unused resources and the needs of students, families and staff.
Tonight, OUSD will finally start to talk answers, and I hope they can get there.
We have Resources, We Need to Better Use Them
OUSD is not resource poor, it is impoverished in its imagination and ability to execute. But imagine if they used some of this land, as other districts have, to actually support the community.
Other districts have used their resources for housing—in So Cal a boarding school for foster students was built on district land, other districts have created housing for vulnerable populations from homeless, to low income, to seniors, to lower paid school staff who couldn’t afford to live in the district. Further San Francisco is looking at partnering with homeless support agencies to do shelters in school building themselves, which has had some challenges, but could be promising.
So rather than sitting on unused land and empty buildings, and paying for their upkeep we should do something. And we need to start now. Please join the State of Black Education in Oakland in pushing for this policy.
You can read the policy here
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