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Lawsuit to Prevent Closure of Santa Fe Elementary

Lawsuit to Prevent Closure of Santa Fe Elementary

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Published by Michael Siegel
Verified complaint filed March 29, 2012, alleging that the Oakland School Board's decision to close Santa Fe elementary school violates the rights of parents and students under the California Constitution, Education Code, California Environmental Quality Act, and the common law.
Verified complaint filed March 29, 2012, alleging that the Oakland School Board's decision to close Santa Fe elementary school violates the rights of parents and students under the California Constitution, Education Code, California Environmental Quality Act, and the common law.

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: Michael Siegel on Apr 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/28/2013

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DANSIEGEL,SEN56400ANNEWEILLS,SEN139845MICHAELSIEGEL,SBN269439SIEGEL&YEE49914thStreet,Suite300Oakland,California94612Telephone:(510)839-1200Telefax:(510)444-6698AttorneysforPlaintiffsTHEARSEPECOT,
et
al.
ENDORSED
F1U3.D
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2012
;U:::PKOFTHE
SUPERIORURT
By
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SUPERIORCOURTFORTH~STATEOFCALIFORNIACOUNTYOFALAMEDATHEARSEPECOT;SOPHIAHOWZE;MADELINEJACKSON;
URAL
C.DIXON;
8.J.,
aminorbyandthroughherguardianadlitem,MadelineJackson;S.P.,aminorbyandthroughhisguardian,SophiaHowze;U.D.,aminorbyandthroughhisguardian,UralC.Dixon;K.W.,aminorbyandthroughhisguardian,ThearsePecot;
K.W.,
aminorbyandthroughherguardian,TbearsePecot;and
K.W.,
aminorbyandthroughherguardian,ThearsePecot,Plaintiffs,
v.
ANTHONYSMITH,inhisofficialcapacityasSuperintendentoftheOaklandUnifiedSchoolDistrict;andBOARDOFEDUCATIONoftheOaklandUnifiedSchoolDistrict,Defendants.CaseNo.~
12
6
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VERIFIEDCOMPLAltITFOR
DECLARATORY,INJUNCTIVE,ANDOTHERRELIEF
Pecotv.Smith,
No.
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-
PlaintiffsTHEARSEPECOT,SOPHIAHOWZE,MADELINEJACKSON,URALC.DIXON,S.J.,S.P.,U.D.,K.W.,K.W.,andK.W.(collectively,"Pecot")complainofdefendantsANTHONYSMITH,SuperintendentoftheOaklandUnifiedSchoolDistrict,andBOARDOFEDUCATIONoftheOaklandUnifiedSchoolDistrict(collectively,"theDistrict"),andallege:
PRELIMINARYSTATEMENT
1.
As
theCaliforniaSupremeCourthasdeclared,thisState"hasbroadresponsibilitytoensurebasiceducationalequityundertheCaliforniaConstitution."
Buttv.StateofCalifornia
(1992)4Cal.ath668,681.
"[T]heequalprotectionclauseprecludestheStatefrommaintainingitscommonschoolsysteminamannerthatdeniesthestudentsofonedistrictaneducationbasicallyequivalenttothatprovidedelsewhere."
Id.
InOakland,unfortunately,theDistricthasperpetratedapolicyofschoolclosuresoverthelasteightyearsthathasdisproportionatelyimpactedlowincomeandAfrican-AmericancommunitiesinNorthOakland.Atthepresentmoment,theDistrictisseekingtocloseSantaFeElementarySchool("SantaFe"),potentiallythefifthNorthOaklandelementaryschoolservingpredominantlyAfrican-AmericanstudentstobeclosedsinceJune
2004.
ByorderingtheclosuresofWashingtonElementary,GoldenGateElementary,FosterElementary,LongfellowElementary,andnow,potential1y,SantaFe,theDistricthasdeniedbasiceducationalequityto
North
Oakland-studentsandfamilies.
1
The
five
targetedschools-fourclosed,onefightingforsurvival-haveallbeenlocatedwestofTelegraphAvenue.Fourwereinthe
94608
zipcode;thefifth,WashingtonElementary,wasintheadjacent
94609
zipcode.Theareamightbestbedescribedas"North-WestOakland";however,suchatermhasnopurchaseinOakland,andthecolloquial"NorthOakland"isused.
Pecotv.Smith,
No.
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rOlTlnh-ilntfOl'f)p,.bT'~tnr"
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2.
Specifically,theDistrict'sdecision-tocloseSantaFehasdeniedbasiceducationalequitytostudentswhotakeadvantageoffull-dayspecialeducationservices.TheDistricthastoldfull-dayspecialeducationstudentsthatbecauseoftheproposedschoolclosure,beginningnextschoolyeartheywillbeforcedtotravelfromNorthOaklandto
a
campusonSistAvenueinEastOakland,atatraveltimeofupto
90
minutesineachdirection.Byimposingthisextremeburdenonyoung,NorthOakland-basedspecialneedsstudents,theDistricthasviolatedthestudents'EqualProtectionrightsundertheCaliforniaConstitution..3.Inaddition,theclosingofSantaFe
win
alsodisproportionatelyimpactlowincomeNorthOaklandfamilieswhowalkbetweenhomeandschool.BecausetheDistrictbasclosedallofthepublicschoolsintheaffectedareaofNorth
Oakland,
studentsandtheirfamilieswillbeforcedtowalk
40
minutesandmoretoarriveattheirnextscboollocation.AlthoughtheDistricthasofferedtoholda"lottery"toawardbuspassestosomestudents,itbasfailedtoaccountforthesafetyimplicationsofelementaryschoolstudentstakingpublicbuses.Furthermore,theDistricthasnotofferedtoprovidebuspassestoparentsandguardians.
In
thisway,theDistricthasimposedextremeburdensontheability
of
lowincomeandAfrican-AmericanNorthOaklandstudentstoaccessanequitableeducation,inviolationofEqualProtectionrights.Furthermore,theDistricthasviolatedtherightsofparentsandguardianstocontroltheirchildren'seducation,asguaranteedbytheSupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates.
Meyersv.Nebraska
(1923)262
U.S.
390.
4.TheDistrict'sdecisiontocloseSantaFealsoviolatestherightsofOaklandtaxpayers,whorecentlysawtheDistrictspendover
$700,000
inpublicfundsduringthesummerof
2011
toprovideforanewplaygroundontheSantaFecampus.The.
Pecotv.Smith,
No.
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