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OAKLAND – “Do NOT outsource the Civicorps Academy. Work with Civicorps United.” That message will be delivered by members and supporters of Civicorps United to the Civicorps Board of Directors at tonight’s meeting. Civicorps United members will also share an online petition signed by some 214 individuals, including Civicorps students and alumni and labor and community members, demanding they save the Civicorps Academy.

Civicorps United, consisting of 34 certified and classified staff, created their union just two years ago so they could advocate for their students and for themselves. Civicorps United is negotiating its first contract and talks are currently at impasse with Civicorps management. Mangers put Civicorps staff on notice that they would close the academy and outsource the teaching jobs, despite receiving over $1 million in Coronavirus relief from the federal government.

Members believe Civicorps management is using the pandemic as an opportunity to outsource the Academy and bust the union for teachers, counselors, job training supervisors, and other staff after over a year of negotiations for their first contract. Members say outsourcing Civicorps Academy will hurt students the most, especially those in the black and brown communities. “You can’t cut corners on a young person’s education if you’re serious about uplifting them,” said Rodney Dunn, Dean of Students, and a twenty-year employee of Civicorps.

Besides, says bargaining team member and math teacher Michelle Cascio, “there is no financial reason to close the academy. We have a surplus of $1 million in unrestricted reserves and received COVID-19 federal funds to save people’s jobs.”

Civicorps students in a math class

For over 35 years, Civicorps has provided essential opportunities to some of Oakland’s most historically disenfranchised students through a three part program: the Academy, Job Training, and Recycling program. “Each part of the program is vital for the success of our Corpsmembers (students),” said Avery Moore, social studies teacher. A charter school, Civicorps is the only program in the East Bay that combines paid job training with a classroom-based high school diploma education. 

 “We transform lives,” added Moore. “Now more than ever, Corpsmembers need stability and support. Our model is one of a kind, and for many of our students it’s the only one that works. That’s why it’s so devastating that management is proposing to outsource the Academy, resulting in the layoffs of the majority of our union leaders.”

Civicorps Board Members are: 

Chair Nita Kirby – CyberGrants Corporate Client Strategy Director

Vice Chair Steven Hanson – Westwind-30 Consulting

Robbie Yohai – Licensed Real estate Broker and Developer

Aja Cooper – Communications/Events Production Professional

Gary Lyla – Program Manager, Google

Eric Premack – Charter Schools Development Center Executive Director

Amy Slater – Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley

Joel Rogers – Consultant