Fiscal Oversight Trustee
Aug. 31, 2021
LUZ CÁZARES APPOINTED AS TRUSTEE TO OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Luz Cázares, who has spent over two decades serving Bay Area and national K-12 school districts as a leader in school finance and business, has been selected to serve as the next trustee to the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Ms. Cázares replaces Chris Learned, who served as the trustee to OUSD from 2017 until retiring this past June 30. Ms. Cázares’ appointment is effective September 1.
“Ms. Cázares steps into the trustee role at a critical time for OUSD,” said Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe, to whom Ms. Cazares will report. “I am grateful for the progress that former Trustee Chris Learned helped forge over the past four years. Now the baton is passed to Ms. Cázares to utilize her deep knowledge of high functioning school district fiscal operations and policies, and even deeper commitment to equitable school systems, all in support of a fiscally healthy OUSD that can provide a high quality education to the children and families of Oakland.”
This is the first trustee appointment for Superintendent Monroe, in collaboration with State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, since 2018 when supervision of the trustee was transferred from the state superintendent to the county superintendent.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the children and families of Oakland as the next trustee,” said Ms. Cázares. “I have dedicated my career to eliminating the racial predictability of success in our school systems. I bring that dedication to this new partnership with OUSD’s Board as they face critical and difficult policy decisions and with OUSD’s senior leadership as they redesign and refine the system needed to meet that goal.”
Ms. Cázares has long been known as an innovative educator and equity advocate with nearly two decades of leadership experience in Bay Area K-12 education. She has served as the founding partner of Lucid Partnerships, a firm that has provided leadership, finance and operations support to K-12 school districts, since 2016. Ms. Cázares, has supported OUSD’s progress toward fiscal health over the past two years, serving as the District’s Interim Chief Financial Officer during the 2019-20 school year and driving forward the Alameda County Office of Education’s (ACOE’s) Intensive Support and Technical Assistance initiative during the 2020-21 school year. In addition, she has served as a chief business leader in the Pleasanton and Alameda Unified School Districts, and as a lecturer on School Finance and Resource Management at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education.
Oakland Unified has been under state receivership since 2003 when the governor approved Senate Bill (SB) 39, which included an emergency appropriation to avert fiscal insolvency. All legal rights, duties and powers of the district’s governing board and superintendent were returned to OUSD on June 28, 2009. Upon return of local governance, a trustee was assigned to monitor and review the district’s operations. In addition to monitoring and reviewing functions, the trustee may stay or rescind an action of the governing board of the district that, in the judgment of the trustee, may affect the financial condition of the school district.
Per Education Code Section 41320.1(a)(3), “the trustee, and necessary staff, shall serve until the school district has adequate fiscal systems and controls in place, the [State] Superintendent has determined that the school district’s future compliance with the fiscal plan approved for the school district pursuant to Section 41320 is probable, and the county superintendent of schools, the Superintendent, and the president of the state board or his or her designee decide to terminate the trustee’s appointment.”