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California Briefing / Oakland

Schools, state fight over funds

March 18, 2009|Seema Mehta

The Oakland Unified School District and state education officials are in a legal tussle over increased funding for the city's 32 charter schools.

The district has been under state control since 2003 because of a fiscal meltdown. State Administrator Vincent Matthews this month ordered the district to give an additional $450,000, or $60 per student, to the charter schools.

The move was made at the behest of California Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell and prompted by a parcel tax approved by voters last year that included additional funding for the district's 107 traditional schools, but not for charters.

"Supt. O'Connell is concerned about the welfare of all the students in the Oakland Unified School District," said spokeswoman Hilary McLean. "There's a historic inequity of funding for charter schools, which are public schools, in that district. This is a very modest one-time allocation to address that inequity."

The district's board decided that the move impinged on its sovereignty and sued O'Connell and Matthews last week.

On Monday, a judge denied the district's efforts to stop the fund transfer while the suit makes its way through the legal system.

-- Seema Mehta

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