Don’t vote for more of the same for Oakland School Board

OUSD SPENDS 591% OF THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE ON CENTRAL SUPERVISORY SALARIES

Oakland voters have had a bad habit of electing Oakland Unified School District (“OUSD”) school board members who are endorsed by past board members (or in the case of Gary Yee – re-electing them) who then continue to make the same top-heavy, fiscally irresponsible decisions about the budget and policy that have gotten us into trouble in the past. This year, we must make better choices and elect a new kind of board member who is ready to challenge that top-heavy structure so that we are putting money into classrooms and not into what the Alameda County Grand Jury defined as a “broken administrative culture.”

Way too much money has been spent in Oakland to elect (and re-elect) school board members who continue to overspend centrally and underinvest at school sites and protect the status quo of the “Broken Administrative Culture”. Past members endorsing the next members and billionaires from out of town including Michael Bloomberg, Big Oil heiress Stacy Schusterman, Arthur Rock and former mayor Jerry Brown dumping money into PACs to flood our mailboxes with glossy fliers have resulting in us repeating the mistakes of the past over and over again. A misleadingly named PAC pretending to be Oakland’s teachers has spent nearly $130,000 in the last week alone to push just two candidates, who also happen to be the candidates endorsed by all of these board members responsible for the Broken Administrative Culture.

We cannot afford more of the same, we need to elect candidates NOT endorsed by the former candidates who have done so much harm to our students. These are the revolving door candidates who are on the ballot this year to continue the wasteful policies of the past:

Instead of making the same mistakes, vote with actual Oakland Teachers!

The OUSD School Board plan to thwart democracy in District 6

On May 2, 2022, Oakland was taken by surprise when Oakland Unified School District (“OUSD”) Board Director Shanthi Gonzales suddenly resigned with 8 months left in her term, leaving a legacy of draconian school closures and disdain for parents and teachers. It was clear that certain members of the Board were not as surprised as we were, but it wasn’t immediately clear how coordinated and undemocratic the process was going to be. Now, thanks to an ethics complaint filed by a District 6 voter, the depth of the deception undertaken by this OUSD School Board is becoming clear, as laid out in an article in the Oakland Post yesterday. https://www.postnewsgroup.com/questions-about-contributions-to-kyra-mungias-district-6-school-board-campaign/

Ultimately, the Board conducted a charade of an appointment process, forcing community members who were willing to step into the void left by Director Gonzales’ resignation to go through a lengthy process that was never going to result in any other outcome than the one that ultimately did – the anointing of a successor to Director Gonzales, hand-picked BY Director Gonzales and her allies, to continue her legacy of destruction for the remainder of her term, and if they could manipulate it, the four years after. And so the board appointed Kyra Mungia who works in the Oakland Mayor’s Office of Education through a variety of fellowships paid through the Oakland Education Fund. A tangled mess of privatization entities that will create (and actually have already created) conflicts for Ms Mungia as a board member who also has interest in entities coming before the board. The Oakland Post dug into those privatization connections here: School Board Candidate is Mayor’s Staffer with Privatizer Connections | Post News Group

School Board President Gary Yee admitted in a board meeting on June 14, 2022 when he was defending Director Gonzales against claims that she had abandoned her responsibilities that Director Gonzales had already bought a house outside of Oakland and that “she actually stayed on in her house [in Oakland] for an extra month so we could prepare for this process [of appointing a new school board member].” What exactly was President Yee hinting at? A look at the timeline of the events might help.

  • Approximately April 1st, Shanthi notifies at least President Yee of her intention to resign her position and agrees to stay an additional month to help the board “prepare for the process” of appointing a successor (per President Yee’s comments on June 14).
  • April 21, 2022: Kyra Mungia files her Candidate Intention Form to run in District 6.
  • May 2, 2022: Shanthi Gonzales announces her resignation, effective immediately
  • May 3, 2022: Shanthi Gonzales contributes $1000 to Kyra Mungia’s campaign for School Board in District 6 and files an immediate form 460 reporting the contribution
  • May 11, 2022: Board votes to implement an appointment process for the vacancy
  • June 29, 2022: Board engages in performative selection process that results in the appointment of Kyra Mungia to the District 6 post
  • June 30, 2022: Kyra Mungia sends out a fundraising email using Shanthi Gonzales’ list of constituent email addresses which Ms Mungia acknowledges she was given by former Director Gonzales

So the extra time that Shanthi Gonzales gave the board was to cue up a candidate, seed her campaign, load her up with valuable constituent data and conduct a sham appointment process that resulted in the chosen candidate of Shanthi Gonzales being elevated to an incumbency to give her a leg up in the November election. That is NOT honoring the democratic process. 

All of this extra support has given Ms Mungia a definite head start in the electoral process, but we now know that it has also given her a bit of an ethical problem. A concerned District 6 resident dug into this information and has filed an ethics complaint against Ms Mungia alleging a variety of possible ethical violations, the most obvious of which is her failure to declare in her own 460 filed on August 1st, 2022 the $1000 contribution from Shanthi Gonzales’ campaign funds. In addition to the cash contribution, Ms Mungia also received an “in kind” contribution from Ms Gonzales in the form of the constituent email list that Ms Mungia received from Ms Gonzales. Mailing/email lists are extremely valuable to candidates and Ms Mungia is required to declare that “thing of value” as an “in kind” or non-monetary contribution. FEC | Candidate | Types of contributions None of Ms Mungia’s filed 460s contain any contributions from either Ms Gonzales or Ms Gonzales’ campaign committee, which is a clear violation of state election law and which the Ethics Complainant suggests may have been done in order to hide the very clear coordination between Ms Mungia, Shanthi Gonzales and some sitting OUSD board members. As stated by the complainant in the Ethics complaint “The above chronology appears to be evidence of a pre-meditated coordinated campaign between Ms. Mungia and Ms. Gonzales, and her allies on the School Board, to offer incumbency advantage to their preferred candidate for the upcoming election for the D6 position, and to hide such pre-meditated coordination from public scrutiny.” Ms Mungia now claims that she didn’t “deposit” the check because she (mistakenly) believed it was over the limit, but there is no indication that she returned it to former Director Gonzales’s campaign account (which is now closed) so whether she cashed it or not is immaterial.

The most disturbing aspect of this whole thing is that it has been a carefully planned and surreptitiously executed attempt to manipulate the democratic process. This continues a long pattern in Oakland of not trusting Oakland’s parents and voters to make good choices but instead flooding those races with misleading campaign information supporting candidates hand-picked by board members and funded by billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Stacy Schusterman, former mayor Jerry Brown and others who do not care about what is best for Oakland’s kids, but about privatizing our district. Ms Mungia has already benefited from $63,300 in spending by Jerry Brown and Oklahoma Oil Billionaire Heiress Stacy Schusterman with a misleading Political Action Committee pretending to be our Oakland Teachers.

This must stop now. Ms Mungia should step down from her seat and cease her campaign for school board, but we know that won’t happen. Instead, it is up to the voters to hold Ms Mungia and the Board accountable by voting her OUT of the office she was manipulated into.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Don’t be Fooled by Fake Unions and “paid for” Slates – support the candidates actually endorsed by our teachers and community orgs

Two candidates are working overtime to trick voters by buying their way onto a slate of candidates and “endorsements” created by a staffer in the mayor’s office and that includes one candidate who has publicly called the slate out for misleading voters.

Both Nick Resnick (District 4) and Kyra Mungia (District 6) have paid to be included on the slate mailer put out by “East Bay Voter Guide for More Housing” that falsely implied shared values with Greg Hodge, but also explicitly calls for a “NO” vote on Measure W – “Fair Elections Act” which would limit candidate spending and provide voters with “Democracy Dollars” that they could use to support their candidates. This program has worked successfully in Seattle to increase candidate diversity and voter participation.

In addition to this fake Slate, both Resnick and Mungia are benefitting from a fake Union created to trick voters into believing that Resnick and Mungia are supported by our Oakland Teachers Union, which they are most certainly not. As we wrote earlier in our piece entitled “What does it mean to be a “charter candidate” our teachers are so popular, the charter industry created a PAC entitled “United Teachers of Oakland” entirely funded by charter leader and former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown in order to convince voters that Resnick and Mungia are backed by the union.

Nick Resnick and Kyra Mungia, and the charter backers that support them know that they cannot win if they play by the rules, so they are using misleading slates and pretend unions to defeat the ACTUAL candidates endorsed by our beloved teachers. Don’t be fooled, vote for these candidates #1 and #2 on your ballots.



District 2: https://www.brouhard4ousd.com/ and https://maxorozcod2.com/

District 4: https://www.pecoliaforoakland.com/

District 6: https://www.val4oakland.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/joelvelasquezforOakland/about

What does it mean to be a “charter candidate”?

There is a lot of talk right now in Oakland School Board Electoral Politics about what it means to be a “charter candidate”. Both Nick Resnick and Kyra Mungia proclaim that they are not “charter candidates” because they don’t support adding new charter schools, but despite that, they are supported by Charter School Leaders, Charter School Supporters, Charter School Funders, Charter Supporting PACs and, for Nick Resnick, out of town billionaires who support Charter Schools. And GO Public Schools donors. Not only are they directly funded by Charter School Supporters, they also are being supported by a new Political Action Committee (“PAC”) entirely funded by former Mayor/Governor Jerry Brown who started two high profile charter schools in Oakland and still sits as the Chairman of one of those charter schools (Oakland Military Institute “OMI”).

This PAC has not a single Oakland teacher associated with it, yet it is misnamed “United Teachers of Oakland supporting Resnick and Mungia” in hopes of tricking Oakland voters into thinking that these candidates are supported by Oakland’s beloved teachers, which they most certainly are not.

If your campaign is being pushed by all of these folks, you MUST be the charter candidate…

Don’t be tricked, choose the candidates who are ACTUALLY endorsed by Oakland’s Teachers. Make sure your vote counts by ranking BOTH of your chosen candidates #1 and #2, and not voting for Resnick and Mungia.

#OUSD #nobillionaireboughtboard #vote

Parents United Endorses Chris Jackson for Board of Education in District 7

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Parents United for Public Schools believes that this election of 2016, where four of the seven school board seats are on the ballot, presents a unique opportunity to elect strong, independent leaders who will work with parents, students, teachers and community to strengthen and transform our public schools.

We need community-driven change, strong accountability and a board that understands its role is to create policy and direct its Superintendent to carry it out. We need a board whose budget priority is classrooms and not consultants and central administrators. We need leaders who are willing to invest in proven, community-based reforms that will rebuild strong public schools in every neighborhood and serve every child.

Parents United believes that Chris Jackson is that leader in District 7. Chris is an OUSD parent with a long history of educational activism and leadership who will be a strong voice for parents, students, teachers and community.

Chris Jackson is an Oakland native who has lived in the Bay Area all of his life. As a student at San Francisco State University, Chris fought to give working class and students of color access to affordable college. After graduation, Chris continued his advocacy for youth and education, serving on the San Francisco Youth Commission and was twice elected to the Board for City College of San Francisco where he served as Vice President and the chair of the Budget Committee. In coalition with teachers, students and community, Chris and the Board successfully pushed back against attempts to privatize the college accreditation process.

Chris returned to Oakland to care for his mother, continue his social work to help the formerly incarcerated find homes, training and employment, and raise his children with his wife. When his daughter’s OUSD-run preschool, without parental notice or input, changed the drop-off from 8 to 9:30 (a hardship for many working parents), Chris became concerned that parent voices were not respected in OUSD and, like he has all his life, he decided to become part of the solution by running for School Board.

Chris understands that budgeting is a matter of setting priorities, and he wants to prioritize programs that will benefit our most at-risk students, including smaller class sizes. Chris knows that smaller class sizes matter, yet OUSD spends $35 million LESS (on an adjusted basis) on instruction than comparative Districts, but $13.7 million MORE than average on central administration. Chris is committed to putting those resources back in our classrooms.

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Chris also sees the destabilizing role the District’s current school reform model is playing in many of our public schools. The school improvement process has failed to engage parents in ways that make it truly community-led, and the School Board’s decision to continue to grow the number of charter schools has reduced enrollment and funding in many of our public schools. Chris has pledged to work to make sure school improvement efforts are led by school communities and has also pledged to support the moratorium on new charter schools called for by the Movement for Black Lives, the National NAACP and Journey for Justice.

Chris will work to make the budget process more transparent and the district more inclusive of parents, students, teachers and community. Chris understands that change needs to come from the community, not from highly paid consultants or administrators. Like Parents United, Chris is concerned about the influx of corporate money into our school board races through groups like GO Public Schools and the California Charter Association, and has pledged to refuse campaign contributions from corporate-backed charter interests.

For all of these reasons, Parents United for Public Schools believes that Chris Jackson is the candidate in District 7 who will best serve all of our public school students and we are proud to endorse him for the Oakland School Board.

Because Chris doesn’t have the kinds of corporate-backed support that his opponent does, we will win the election the old-fashioned way, by getting out into the streets and talking to voters. To do that effectively, we need your help.

Join Chris and Parents United on September 24th from 10 am to 2 pm for coffee and donuts followed by knocking on District 7 doors to let voters know why we believe Chris is the best choice for School Board. Sign up for the event on facebook or let us know that you can come by emailing us.

Check out Chris’ website for more information about his campaign and ways to help through donations, community door knocking (Saturdays and Sundays) and phone banking (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings):http://www.chrisjacksonforoakland.org/

You can read Chris’ complete answers to our candidate questionnaire here:https://ousdparentsunited.wordpress.com/elections/

Candidate Questionnaire Responses

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The Candidate Questionnaire was sent to each of the candidates* in all four districts who were given two weeks to complete the Questionnaire and return it to Parents United. Those candidates who did not return the Questionnaire by the deadline were given an additional 3 days to complete it, should they choose to do so. The responses will be posted here as we issue candidate endorsements, and will be given below in their entirety.

District 7

Chris Jackson

James Harris: Did not respond, despite being offered (and thanking us for) several additional days to complete the survey.

 

*We were unable to reach one candidate in District 3, Lucky Narain, despite multiple attempts.