Jim Mordecai 
Member since Oct 6, 2011


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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland School Board Surprised by Proposed Deal to Sell City-Owned Land to Charter School

Plan fact is that existing institutions have not adjusted to California's charter school law. What the California charter law did without much notice is strip the local school district of its power to control were schools are located.

Charter law created two competing publicly financed education systems with privately managed charter schools having entitlement to locate any where no matter the impact on existing public schools.

Where a school locates, whether public or charter in a City should be determined in a transparent public process such as a hearing by a joint committee of the Oakland City government and the OUSD BEFORE the charter school operator starts buying property to locate their school.

And, the decision to close public or privately managed charter schools should also not be made before the joint committee of OUSD and Oakland City Government Committee have determined if the opening of a new school--public or privately manged charter school--should be opened.

The decision to close public school or privately managed charter schools should include results of a public hearing of the matter before a joint OUSD and Oakland City Government Committee.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/18/2018 at 4:29 PM

Re: “Oakland's Exclusive Deal to Sell City-Owned Land to Charter School Draws Opposition

The charter school issue draws a line between publicly managed taxpayer paid schools and privately managed taxpayer schools that politicians want to pretend does not exist and they therefore do not have to take a position that will lose them votes.

Mostly it has been OUSD School Board that most of its members have tried to dodge taken a public position on the issue. Issue of the use of public land has not gotten the City Council members caught in taking a stance on the issue of public v. privately managed publicly financed schools.

What the Oakland City Council does not have is a joint committee of the Oakland School Board and the City Council focused on zoning were public and privately managed publicly financed schools should be located in the City of Oakland.

Whether or not Oakland needs additional public school or privately managed charter school should be decided based on the needs of all of the citizens of the City and not just the need of Aspire charter school and its supporters. There should be rational plan for meeting the long range educational needs of the City involving both the Oakland School Board, the City Council and the public inclusive of both sides of the public/private management of publicly financed schools.

But, there is no OUSD/City Council long range planning by a joint committee to provide a context for this decision. Whether to allow a developer buy City property to build Aspire charter school facility is being made without proper long range planning.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/14/2018 at 12:42 PM

Re: “Oakland's Exclusive Deal to Sell City-Owned Land to Charter School Draws Opposition

Use of public land is a political issue to be fought out in public. There is not just one public interest but a multiple of public interests. One interest is affordable housing that at this time is a priority. Another is interest in defending public schools from the takeover by privately managed charter schools.

Regarding the controversy of public v. privately managed charter schools most politicians do not want to be identified as defender of public schools or advocate for growing charter schools. But, this political vote clearly supports one side or the other no matter what the politicians say.

If a politician is truly neutral on the issue of growing privately managed charters they will abstain on this vote.

Meanwhile, a recent study shows that privately managed charter schools had cost the Oakland Public Schools $57 million dollars in lost revenue last school year.

Defeating effort to grow charter schools won't stop the harm charters do to the budget of Oakland's local public schools that must contend with the highest percentage of charters in the State of California, but it won't make the situation worse.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/14/2018 at 12:19 PM

Re: “Oakland's Exclusive Deal to Sell City-Owned Land to Charter School Draws Opposition

Charter law destroyed the authority of local school boards to decide where a district's schools would be located. Charters are free to determine where they locate.

Given this reality, a joint committee of a school district should under the authority of a city to zone land use make the decision as where a newly authorized charter school can locate.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/10/2018 at 5:03 PM

Re: “Oakland Schools Grapple with Another Financial Crisis

Vernon Hal the Chief Business Officer's job description makes him responsible for keeping the District fiscally solvent. He didn't. So why is his job as the Chief Financial Officer not vacant?

There is a consultant filling in for the Interim Chief Financial Officer that just left.

And, the District webpage lists Office of Accountability Officer as vacant.

Not a pretty picture.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 11/28/2017 at 11:17 PM

Re: “Parents, Teachers, and Students at Oakland Charter School Accuse Leadership of Mismanagement

This is about whether private management is corrupt as charters are publicly funded privately managed schools. The idea that private is better or less corrupt than public has not been the historic situation with the American Indian Schools. In fact the history of American Indian is associated with corruption.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/24/2017 at 12:04 PM

Re: “After Giving Oakland Schools Measure G1 Money, District Now Taking It Back — Leaving Principals With Yet Another Deficit

Wednesday night the Measure G1 Committee voted 3 to 1 to put back 50% of the Measure G1 money for the next School Year (2017-2018).

I agreed with the one "No" vote because the language of Measure G1 requires the allocation of the Measure G1 money, including the 35% portion after 1% is removed (about $2.7 million) to be allocated after the next school year ends.

But, I understand that after dropping the ball and withdrawing all the Measure G1 $2.7 million funding for next school year that at first was promised District Middle Schools, that providing half the funding for next year makes sense as providing full amount would also mean that there would be zero funding available in the second year.

Since the District has overspent its budget, it can't eat half of $2.7 million or $1.35 million next year.

But, it can, according to the CFO Hal, borrow 85% of the $1.35 million for next year and the same amount will be available the following year. In the third year the District Middle School would be getting the full amount of Measure G1 funding in Middle School grants.

I understand the rationale for borrowing but think that when the Measure G1 funding will be allocated at the "end" of the School Year prematurely allocating the funding by borrowing against the Measure G1 money is not what the Measure language allowed in my opinion.

Another thing about the Measure G1 money is placing it in schools site budgets prior to the Measure G1 Commission approving the grant money is a premature action that seems to have been forgotten in the rush to spend the money even before the tax revenues have been collected.

Also forgotten is that somewhere 15% of the $1.35 million or $202,500 will have to be found. Perhaps the $202,500 (15%) can be charged to the 1% in administrative overhead.

However, there will likely be a borrowing charge for both the 85% and the 15%. Since the County, I believe only lends up to 85% the District will have to eat the 15% or borrow from a different source than the County.

But, again, I think it is important not to short-change the Measure G1 money; taxpayers were told in the Measure G1 ballot language that with the exception of 1% overhead one-third entire amount of Measure G1 would go entirely to Middle School grants.

The method of allocation Measure G1 parcel tax money is complicated based on Middle School enrollment the previously school year grades 6,7, 8.

Yet, another added complication is that seven (7) County charters are demanding an equal share of the Measure G1 parcel tax money because the definition of who is entitled to measure G money in their interpretation of Measure G1 money the County authorized charters are within the "District" and thus entitled to a fair share of the funding for their enrolled Oakland students.

Here is how Measure G1 defines Middle School: "Middle School shall mean any district school or charter school within the District serving grades 6, 7, or 8, regardless of whether the school serves grades in addition to those grades."

The above language was written while the District Counsel Jacqueline Minor was still responsible for overseeing the legal aspect of the District's Measures. The above definition does not clearly stated that Middle School charters meant charters authorized by the Oakland School Board. This means for the next 12 years local property parcel tax money may be diverted from supporting not just District Middle Schools and Oakland School Board authorized charters but County authorized charters too. The seven County charters located in the District may take the District to court for the issue of whether Measure G1 language includes them in its definition of a Middle School. It has not been decided as to whether or not the District will fight the County charters in court and having more education dollars diverted away from education of children.

Because the 74 word summary of Measure G1, 12 year, $120 dollar parcel tax did not mention that Board charters, County charters or any type of charter schools would be getting parcel tax Measure G grant money, many of the over 80% of voters that passed Measure G1 voted thinking all the parcel tax was going for District school site personnel pay raises and Middle School grant money. The way the ballot Measure G1 was written kept the public in the dark as to the role the charters would play in getting parcel tax funding.

Posted by Jim Mordecai on 05/22/2017 at 10:21 PM

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