Measure Y is one of four local measures on the Oakland ballot this year. If approved, the Oakland Unified School District would receive a $735 million bond for facilities improvements. In the following video explainer, Oaklandside’s education equity reporter Ashley McBride and Oakland Voices correspondent Tony Daquipa discuss the vital details.

YouTube video

Video filmed and edited by Lauren Richardson

Ashley McBride: Hi, my name is Ashley McBride and I cover education equity at The Oaklandside.

Tony Daquipa: And I’m Tony Daquipa from Oakland Voices. Today we’re going to talk about Measure Y. 

Ashley, what is Measure Y?

AM: Measure Y is one of four measures on the Oakland ballot this year. If it passes, The Oakland Unified School District will receive a $735 million bond to fix up its school campuses.

TD: That’s a lot of money. Do we know what it would be spent on?

AM: We do. Earlier this year, the school board approved a project list — it includes upgrades for certain campuses, and improvements across the district for things like technology, energy efficiency, and classrooms.

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TD: Does OUSD really need all these upgrades?

AM: Well, according to the district, they need even more. In April, OUSD published a 400-page report detailing their facility needs. In total, the plan identified $1.3 billion dollars in upgrades across the district. Because there’s a limit to how much OUSD can ask for in this bond, board members had to whittle that list down to projects that add up to $735 million. 

Tony, you spoke with some Oakland voters—what are people saying about this bond measure?

TD: Well Ashley, that’s a long story. But to make it simple: A lot of voters I spoke to said there’s a real need for facilities improvements, and that Oakland students deserve this bond money. People cited Fremont High as one example of how transformative bond money can be. 

But also, people have concerns about giving this OUSD board more bond money. And Oakland voters have every reason to be skeptical.

AM: You’re talking about the 2019 Grand Jury report that accused the district of mismanaging bond money.

TD: Yeah. However, the Grand Jury report also made some helpful recommendations that the district is acting on. And maybe, more importantly, Oakland voters have an opportunity this year to elect a brand new school board majority.

AM: However the school board election shakes out, Oaklanders will still need to pay attention to how the money gets spent, and hold the board accountable to make sure that they get what they voted for.

TD: If Measure Y passes, that’s true.

AM: Thanks Tony.

Tony Daquipa is a dad, bureaucrat, PTA officer, photographer, urban bicyclist, grumpy old man, and preserver of history.

Ashley McBride writes about education equity for The Oaklandside. Her work covers Oakland’s public district and charter schools. Before joining The Oaklandside in 2020, Ashley was a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and the San Francisco Chronicle as a Hearst Journalism Fellow, and has held positions at the Poynter Institute and the Palm Beach Post. Ashley earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Lauren Janelle Richardson, an East Oakland resident & founder of BypassTV, is a multi-tiered media producer that specializes in capturing stories through video, photography, journalism and audio productions. She also is a legal apprentice.