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Council Committee Approves Sale of Public Land to ...

Council Committee Approves Sale of Public Land to Charter School

Activists say the proposed 625-student charter school would drain students from existing nearby schools, such as those at the César Chávez Education Center, located at 2825 International Blvd. in the Fruitvale District. 

The City’s Community and Economic Development (CED) voted unanimously to approve the sale of a publicly owned parcel of land for a K-8 charter school in the Fruitvale District that community activists say would compete with and undermine nearby public schools.

Councilmembers Noel Gallo, Annie Campbell Washington and Lynette Gibson McElhaney voted in favor of the sale, which now goes to the City Council for a public hearing next Tuesday.

The school, Aspire Eres Charter Academy, is currently located at 1936 Courtland Ave., near Fremont High School, serving 217 students. The proposed three-story school would serve 620 students, nearly three times as many as attend the existing school.

The 9,000-square-foot property is located on the northwest side of Derby Avenue between East 15th Street and International Blvd, which city staff intends to sell to a private developer for $450,000.

Parents, children and staff at the charter school told city councilmembers they desperately need a larger and more up-to-date space.

“We’re currently in a very cramped, dated facility,” said, Kimi Kean, superintendent of Aspire Public Schools 11 Bay Area campuses.

The sale of the property was already approved by the city’s Planning Commission on April 18.

According city staff, the property must be sold and rather than leased to the developer because of legal requirements connected to the $30 million in funding that the project is receiving from the state.

Opposing the sale of public land to the charter school, school activist Mike Hutchinson said, “Charter schools are in direct competition with our public schools. For every student who goes to charter schools, that (money) doesn’t go to the public school, schools, it goes to the charter school.”

According to a new report, charter schools cost the Oakland school district $57.3 million in funding every year. The study, called “Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools for Public School Districts,” was commissioned by In the Public Interest, an Oakland-based think tank.

In addition, the charter would be located only two blocks away from two elementary schools housed at the Cesar Chavez Education Center, which the school district and the city spent tens of millions of dollars to build, said Hutchinson.

“This will destroy (those schools),” he said.

Tyler Earl, a legal fellow with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), said that selling the property to a developer to build a charter school was a violation “in total disregard of the city’s responsibility to properly consider this land for affordable housing.”

“(You are) getting rid of this land without considering the state law (that says) you must first consider affordable housing. This must be done – it’s required by law, and it’s required by city ordinance,” he said.


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  1. JShore

    12 May

    Poverty pimps, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, have invested millions in the Aspire charter network and they are not doing so without return. Charter schools make people money, they are not about “the children” or “parent choice!” Charter schools are vehicles for vulture fund investors to take money out of the tax base, you know the one we all pay into that pay for our schools and municipal services, and return that money to their coffers using QZAB interest free bonds, state and federal historic tax credits, Brownfields, and my fav the lucrative New Market Tax Credits that provide a 39% return after only 7 years!

    NMTC has two components: a 39% tax credit on charter schools contributions over a seven-year period plus the ability to collect interest on the money they contribute! WOW! After 7 years a charter vulture fund investor doubles their investment! New Market Tax Credits can be combined with other tax breaks without limit! Now here is the caveat, NMTC can only be used in underserved areas. So the conversation no longer is about “the children” it is about “the poor children” and the money that can be made off of them and the communities they live in!

    A whole new industry has developed to profit from the poverty in our urban communities. In 2016, Oakland Renaissance NMTC, Inc. A California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation was awarded $20,000,000.00 in New Market Tax Credits. What you will find is NMTC (New Market Tax Credit) investors chomping at the bit to grab a share of the $20,000,000 in NMTC’s awarded Oakland. This money could uplift Oakland if used for housing, community and business development, but charter schools are an easier investment vehicle to sell. The $450,000 offered by a developer for this parcel is chump change. He will build the school with QZAB bonds and New Market Tax Credits and lease it back to the Aspire Charter School Network and make even more money! The attrition of this many students will cause the Oakland Public Schools to close, consolidate programs, and warehouse children, creating a portfolio district of “have” and “have not” schools. Don’t let that happen!

    Don’t be hoodwinked!

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