Angry parent-teacher protesters rally to protest Oakland school closures – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (KPIX) – Opposition is growing against the Oakland Unified School District’s plan to close up to 16 schools for budget reasons. On Saturday, a rally at one of the threatened schools expressed outrage and called for the district to be closed.

Established in 1869, Prescott Elementary in West Oakland is the oldest school in the district. On Saturday, parents and staff members staged a rally on his playground to try to prevent the school from closing after this school year.

“You can hear in my voice what we’re going through!” said an emotional director Enomwoyi Booker.

One by one, parents and staff from the schools involved approached the microphone to address the crowd.

“Let’s keep these kids motivated!” said Timothy Conover, a parent of Prescott. “Let’s keep these children here!” We cannot drive them away. »

“They have just come back from a pandemic. They’ve been dating for a year,” said Tiffany Casillas, mother of two young college students. “If they merge schools and close schools, it will only make it worse for them to get back on track.”

Sixteen schools could close or be consolidated under the proposal. Board Director Mike Hutchinson is the one who revealed the plan to the public. The final closing list wasn’t released until Sunday, and the district plans to vote on it this Tuesday.

“A lot of us have been fighting this for a long time,” he said. “We’ve never seen anything like it, where our own school board directors would release a plan with a 10-day window to close a dozen of our schools.”

The district says it needs to reduce the number of campuses to avoid budget shortfalls in the future. In a statement on Saturday, they said they support people’s right to protest, adding, “We know our students, staff and families all agree that we need a thriving school district, but everything the world doesn’t necessarily agree on the best way to get there.”

The parents are outraged, especially since their only chance to react was a single Zoom meeting on Monday, which was attended by 2,000 people and lasted until 3 a.m.

“The legality is questionable but it’s happening, right?” said Carol Fife, a member of the Oakland City Council. “And clearly the intention was not to include the voice of the community as part of the process. I find this very problematic. »

They hear that voice now, and it included a call, from retired McClymonds High basketball coach Ben Tabscott, for a general strike by students and parents in the district.

“We can shut down this school district and send a message that we’re not going to put up with it anymore, we’re going to fight, we’re going to shut down this district,” he said.

The district’s statement says they still plan to vote on the proposal at a special meeting on Tuesday, February 8.

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