Hayward Unified could close 9 schools in next 3 years

J.R. Stone Image
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Hayward Unified could close 9 schools in the next 3 years
The Hayward Unified School District faces the possibility of having to close nine schools over the next three years because declining enrollment is leading to a lack of funding.

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday night there were a lot of upset parents in Hayward. The school district there recently announced a proposed plan that would consolidate 9 schools over the course of the next three years due to a major funding shortfall.

Hundreds of Hayward community members attended a town hall Zoom meeting about that plan that the district says would close and consolidate these 9 schools and an additional 5 according to charted plans shown during the meeting. Parents, teachers, and even students sounded off.

"One of my teachers is going to work at DoorDash and Uber and that is unacceptable," said a boy named Elmer.

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But while jobs are a concern, the superintendent says that no teachers would lose their position, saying that there are major money issues that need to be addressed.

"Yes we have a budget shortfall of $14 million, even if that is addressed we have the $900 million in facility repairs we need to make, we just don't have those resources," says Hayward Unified Superintendent Matt Wayne.

School administrators referenced a graph that shows the gradual decline of students in Hayward Unified since 2005. 5,500 fewer students now attend. Parents and teachers though, not happy about a plan to close neighborhood schools. They say this move will disproportionately affect minority families in many locations.

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Pleasanton parents are upset after some teachers appeared to dissuade their students from returning to in-person learning.

"It's an attack on our community," said one man.

"Being proposed at a time when we're still kind of dealing with all of the social emotional impact of COVID," said one mother.

"How many people can you jam in there, and how many people should you jam in there are two totally different numbers," said another mother.

"Y'all need to stop playing, y'all playing games, y'all need to just stop," said a mom.

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"Between us and the other two schools there are a couple freeways, so what are they going to do? They can't walk! They're going to have to bus. How much does that cost? You can't get bus drivers in this day and age," says Betty Easterday who teaches physical education at Anthony Ochoa Middle School.

School officials say they are evaluating that and the other points made here so that they can vote on a finalized measure by the end of the year.

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