Chop from the top; cut the cops!

A handout was released last week at the Peralta Audit and Finance Committee meeting partially detailing Peralta’s 2009-2010 $6.4 million deficit and plans to move forward. Included in the deficit is a $228,520 penalty from the IRS for failure to turn in tax returns on time, as well as a $1 million un-budgeted expense to the Sheriff’s department.

The Sheriff’s dept. went over one million more dollars than the amount agreed upon in their contract with Peralta. What has been the district’s response?

The cuts detailed in this report total $7.9 million. The largest of these is a $2 million cut to part time faculty. Instead of curbing spending on police and managing our funds correctly, the board of Peralta is asking part time faculty to pay for its mistakes. The $1.2 million wasted on cops and the IRS could have been put toward keeping part time faculty at the school.

We are all harmed by this; less teachers means less classes, which means less people in our community getting educated. When the Peralta board ensures our school is occupied by police before ensuring we have classes and teachers, it perpetuates a history of racialized police oppression in Oakland. By Peralta denying us access to education while they make it certain that police are on our campus, working class (and especially black and brown) people are criminalized and the state’s domination over us (police, the court system, and prisons) is further entrenched.

A key question to ask ourselves is: “what sort of a future is being planned, and how do we fit into it?” Is a future being planned where we are educated to decide how we live our lives, or is a future being planned for us where the “choice” we have is between prison and unskilled labor?

We demand an end to police occupation. We demand that the $1 million “unbudgeted expense” is returned and the $2.38 million Peralta spends every year on police is instead used to keep part-time faculty. Finally, we demand Laney’s student center be re-named after Oscar Grant III to demonstrate opposition towards the police oppression that is a plague upon our community.

Cut the cops. Sell their segways!

The A&F handout can be read here.

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