OAKLAND | On his way out the door for a similar job in Washington D.C., Oakland Superintendent of Schools Antwan Wilson had some sobering news for the city’s chronically-struggling school district: A hemorrhaging budget deficit that could reach $37 million, according to a report Monday.
It’s been more than a decade after the Oakland school district was infamously bailed out by the state with a $100 million loan to settle similar deficits. That debt is still on the books and won’t be cured anytime soon, Wilson told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The underlining reasons for the deficit is different that 14 years ago when accounting errors revealed soaring deficits at the school district. However, Wilson said the current shortfall is manageable, but will require significant budget decisions and cuts to remedy.
“Any time someone says ‘hard decisions,’ you know the hammer is going to be falling,” Oakland Education Association President Trish Gorham told the Chronicle.. “It’s a panic, run-on-the-bank kind of situation.”
The current school board appeared unaware of the extent of the estimated budget shortfall, although district reserves have been often tapped, along with a 14 percent raise approved for teacher over the next three years, wrote the Chronicle.