HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – As the Hayward Unified School District looks to close several schools, citing a budget shortfall, parents and students held a rally Thursday as they are pushing back on the plans.
The K-8 Faith Ringgold School of the Arts and Science is on the list of possible closures.
"Save our schools! Save our schools!" chanted students and teachers Thursday.
"This school feels like a family. I know every single one of the teachers here," 8th grade student Uwe Igiehon told KPIX 5.
Parents at Faith Ringgold said talk of school closures caught them all off guard. "Absolute shock. Out of the blue, absolutely blindsided," said parent Alex Oberg. "Everybody feels stabbed in the back by the superintendent and school board."
Hayward Unified is looking to close more than half a dozen sites, which means students would have to relocate.
Schools on Possible Closure List For 2022-23 school year:
- Bowman Elementary
- Eldridge Elementary School
- Glassbrook Elementary School
- Strobridge Elementary School
- Faith Ringgold School of the Arts and Science
- Helen Turner Children's Center
- Student Information and Assessment Center
- Parent Resources HUB
- Anthony Ochoa Middle School
Additional sites are being considered for closure (.pdf) in 2023 and 2024.
Siobhan Isome, who is on the staff at Faith Ringgold, told KPIX 5, "I don't think any school knew they would be on the list."
"So my question for the district is, what data do they have to support shutting Faith Ringgold down? We were not included in this report but we are included on their list of closures," Isome went on to say.
District officials said Hayward Unified had a steady decline in enrollment even prior to the pandemic and that the schools on the closure list are outdated and need repairs and upgrades.
"We are facing a $14 million deficit for the next school year so that is a real challenge," district spokesperson Dionicia Ramos told KPIX 5.
Many of the students come from immigrant families. Faith Ringgold in particular caters to multicultural students and has smaller class sizes.
"It's really heartbreaking to hear that if the school closes students will have to go elsewhere and build new relationships," Uwe said.
Virtual town halls are schedule this month to get community feedback. Recommendations will be presented to the Hayward Unified School Board on November 17. A vote is expected then.
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