Genesis understands this situation with the following facts:
* Original MOU: The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and AC Transit signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 1997 agreeing that AC Transit would provide home-to-school transportation services to Disctrict Students attending Montera Middle School and Skyline High School (4/2/97 MOU).
* This agreement was in place for 20 years with some discussion between the two agencies with respect to some details of payment but no apparent disagreements.
* The funding, ($2,500,000.00 from a State grant) was provided for through AB2972 and was clearly intended for the Montera/Skyline transit lines (4/2/97 MOU).
* LCFF interpretation: In 2014, OUSD general counsel stated that the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) characterized the AB2972 as “no longer a separately identified State funding resource.” (9/8/14 letter from OUSD).
* OUSD general counsel interpreted home-to-school transportation as an “add on” to the LCFF calculations even though $2,500,000.00 grant had been given for that purpose for 20 years.
* Per a letter from OUSD on 1/9/17 to AC Transit, the transit lines to Montera Middle School and Skyline High School will no longer be paid for by OUSD because of this analysis.
* AC Transit will provide service to Montera and Skyline through the end of the 2016/2017 school year, even though OUSD has mentioned in their letter on 1/9/17 that they would not pay for the services in complete disregard of the 1997 MOU.
* AC transit have begun negotiations (in February 2017 through now) with OUSD.
* AC transit was able to recalculate “efficiencies” to save more than a $1 million in service costs.
* Genesis learned that as of 4/10/17, OUSD and AC Transit find themselves at a stalemate in their negotiations, which will greatly impact the youth and their educational opportunities.
Community groups, like Genesis and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), were engaged on this issue because of our past work in ensuring the youth of our community have transportation access to school and other opportunities. Here is the Genesis platform, given the situation as we understand it: * Students from (especially) the flatlands of Oakland and the neighborhoods with lower socio-economic status would not be able access the two schools without public transit. * We disagree with OUSD’s characterization of home-to-school transportation as an “add on” to the LCFF calculation leading them to the conclusion that they no longer have to use the funds for the Montera/Skyline transit lines. * The lack of public transit to the two schools will essentially, RE-segregate them by inhibiting access by especially those who depend on public transit. * It is our understanding that local control funding formula for the state of California calls on districts to find funding for transportation for general education students.
Our objective is for transit services to be restored to Montera/Skyline schools so that the students throughout Oakland can have access to their education. We are asking public officials to do the work to negotiate a resolution so that at the very least, transit can be in place for the 2017/2018 school year. What needs to happen so we can move forward and create a one year interim plan?
(The Genesis Free Youth Bus Pass Task Force collaborated on this piece. Contact John Claassen for more information)