Oakland teachers threaten to strike after board rejects plan to postpone school closures

Tara Campbell Image
Sunday, February 20, 2022
OUSD teachers threaten to strike in battle against school closures
Oakland Unified parents, students, and teachers pushed back Saturday protesting the school board's decision to stick with its planned school closures.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Unified parents, students and teachers pushed back Saturday afternoon protesting the school board's decision Friday to stick with its planned school closures.

"The fight is not over," said Moses Omolade, one of two educators hunger striking for nearly 20 days. "A lot of elders stepped in and and said we're going to need you for the long-haul," said Omolade, facing a crowd of dozens of supporters.

"I do want to let folks know San-chez is still on a hunger strike y'all," said Omolade. "San-chez is a fierce spirit and they aren't going to stop until they feel like there is some movement."

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Corrin Haskell's been teaching for 25 years and said students are getting caught in the closure chaos.

"The kids at school kind gets mixed up it all this the teacher's energy kind of gets shifted and it's really starting to become frustrating."

The board voting down a proposal in an emergency meeting Friday to delay its plan, which includes closing or merging nearly a dozen schools over the next two years, with some slated for shutdown at the end of this school year.

"We have families who have multiple children multiple jobs and so closing our middle schools means their basically going to have rearrange their entire lives," added Jaz Fortes, a teacher and parent.

RELATED: Oakland unified students vow to go on hunger strike, board rejects plan to delay school closures

Oakland Unified staff, students and parents are vowing to begin a hunger strike on Saturday and continue the protest of school closures.

OUSD responding to the board's decision with the following statement:

"On Friday night, Feb. 18, the OUSD Board of Education upheld their previous decision from the meeting on Feb. 8. The district is focused on ensuring all impacted students have as smooth and easy a transition as possible."

Still, the the pressure continues and the next step could be a teacher strike. Mayra Alvarado is a member of the OEA executive board. When asked if a strike is imminent, she responded:

"I think we're willing to take whatever actions we need to take in order to protect our predominantly black and brown schools that are facing closure," adding the plan is to meet this week to discuss a potential vote.