SF Bay View, “‘People’s Takeover’ of child care centers planned by Oakland Parents Together” (July 26, 2010)
‘People’s takeover’ of child care centers planned by Oakland Parents Together
Oakland – More than 120 parents and staff members of the Oakland Unified School District’s Child Development Program (CDC) met at Santa Fe Elementary School and unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed a proposal from Oakland Parents Together (OPT) to organize the seven CDC sites slated for closure for a “People’s Takeover – the opposite of a State Takeover – which will keep these sites operating with volunteers until the state of California reinstates the money cut from the CDC budget.” The seven sites are Manzanita, Santa Fe, Piedmont Avenue, Hintel, Sequoia, Golden Gate and Jefferson CDCs. The proposal continued: “It is unacceptable to the people of Oakland that the state budget be balanced on the backs of our babies.”
According to OPT Executive Director Henry Hitz: “We have to draw the line. If we allow these sites to close, they may never open again even if the money is restored.”
“We are calling on the entire Oakland community to support us with volunteers and money so that we can make this strong statement to the governor and the Legislature,” said Laurice Brown, a parent whose children attend Manzanita CDC, who chaired the meeting. “This is Sacramento’s responsibility.”The governor’s May revised budget drastically cut the district’s funds for child development services, a program designed to help working families, leading the district to close these centers, at least temporarily, until the money is restored to the budget. District officials are supportive of OPT’s proposal.
According to OUSD Communications Director Troy Flint, “OUSD supports this effort in principle and is awed by the enthusiasm and commitment Oakland Parents Together has shown for preserving early childhood education. If the state is unwilling to provide the foundation our children need to succeed, OUSD will work with community partners to fill the gaps and provide essential support for the most vulnerable members of our society. We are in the process of determining the logistics involved with the program and will contribute whatever services are permissible under state laws and regulations.”
The seven sites are slated to close on Friday, July 30. The People’s Takeover will begin on Monday, Aug. 2. Funds and volunteers are urgently needed for this effort. Please call OPT at (510) 452-8680, visit our website at www.parentstogether.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.