FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 24, 2021
Contact: Angela Montagna
Statement from Aspire Public Schools on OUSD Board of Directors’ denial of the material revision to increase enrollment at Aspire ERES Academy
Oakland, Calif. – This evening, the Oakland Unified School District Board of Directors voted to deny Oakland families access to a high-quality, in-demand public charter school, Aspire ERES Academy, in the Fruitvale. OUSD has chosen to prioritize their anti-charter politics over the pleas from families to allow for increased enrollment so the school could meet community demand and have adequate resources to serve students. The school currently has more than 200 families on the waitlist. The denial of this material revision is the latest maneuver in a decade-long conflict between the district and the school, during which OUSD repeatedly ignored the voices of parents, most of whom are LatinX, who have asked for support for their school. OUSD’s refusal to prioritize Oakland’s students and families through its denial of the material revision will force Aspire to close ERES Academy at the end of the school year.
“Aspire ERES Academy has been like a family to me,” said Reyna Morales, mother to two current ERES fifth-graders and one ERES graduate. “The incredible stress of finding a new school for my daughters when my family, and my community, have been reeling from the effects of the pandemic is almost too much to bear. I am devastated that OUSD has chosen to ignore the voices of the families they are elected to serve.”
In the OUSD staff report that recommended denial of the material revision, OUSD misinterpreted the legal standard under Assembly Bill 1505 in a number of ways, which are laid out in Aspire’s response to the report. The report states that ERES is “unlikely to serve the interests of the entire school community” and that it “would have a substantial negative fiscal impact on the District.” Both claims are unsubstantiated and could set up a legal challenge to the District’s interpretation of AB 1505.
“Families in my district have made their wishes clear and they want high-quality school options in their community,” said Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo, who represents the Fruitvale. “The decision by the OUSD board to deny ERES’ material revision is clearly politically motivated. As a veteran elected official, I have a message for this newly elected school board: you are here to serve children and families, not advance political agendas.”