For the first time in more than a decade, Oakland Unified is opening a new public school in a bid to keep families from fleeing the district to attend charters they see as innovative or private schools they view as superior.
At the same time, Oakland didn’t need a new school. Officials acknowledge the district already has too many schools — about twice as many as districts with similar enrollment. And operating so many schools has contributed to the district’s fiscal crisis, with administrators warning earlier this year of a $30 million budget shortfall.
But by opening the school, which is located a few blocks east of the Oakland Coliseum, the district is fighting to keep students by offering a program that parents want. In the last decade, families in the city have increasingly spurned the district, opting for private schools, charter schools or schools in nearby cities.