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OUSD District 5 Special Election Explained

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

When is the election?

  • November 7, 2023

Why is the seat vacant?

  • The Oakland Unified School District 5 seat has been open since March, 2023. Director Mike Hutchinson had held the District 5 seat and resigned in March so that he could be sworn into the District 4 seat. He ran for the District 4 seat because redistricting caused his address to shift from District 5 to District 4. Whoever wins in District 5 would serve out the rest of Director Hutchinson’s term, i.e., until the end of 2024.

Why is it important to vote to fill the vacancy in November?

  • Without this seat filled, the OUSD board only has six directors. They need a seventh to break tied votes. The board has already deadlocked over how to handle staff layoffs, charter school co-locations, and closures of special education programs in the district. Indeed, the 6-member board deadlocked over how to fill this vacancy, which is why the County ordered this special election.

  • There are also upcoming important decisions to be made about how to address OUSD’s financial situation since enrollment is declining and attendance rates have not rebounded to their pre-pandemic numbers. Budget adjustments will have to be made.

  • This vacancy leaves thousands of residents of Fruitvale and nearby neighborhoods without a representative on the board.

Why is the vacancy being filled by a special election process instead of by an appointment process?

  • After Director Hutchinson resigned from his District 5 seat in March, the Board had 60 days to decide whether to appoint an interim director or to call an election. When the Board deadlocked on this decision, state law required the Alameda County Superintendent to call a special election for Nov. 7, 2023.

Who will be eligible to vote?

  • Eligible voters reside in District 5 as it was configured prior to the 2022 redistricting. That is because this is a special school board election being held to complete the term of someone who initially ran under pre-districting boundaries.

Who is running for the District 5 seat?

  • Sasha Ritzie-Hernandez

  • Jorge Lerma

Where can I find out about registering to vote, receiving a mailed ballot and other information?


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