OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Two Oakland Unified School District teachers who are on the 10th day of a hunger strike, protesting the district's plan to close and merge a number of schools, have released a list of demands to end their protest.
Early Wednesday morning following hours of emotional debate, the district board voted to approve a revised plan to close seven schools, merge two others and cut grades from two more over the next two years. The district says it is facing a $90 million shortfall and without the moves it risks collapse or state intervention.
Since February 1, Westlake Middle School teachers Maurice-Andre San-Chez and Moses Omolade have been on a hunger strike to protest the school closures which critics say disproportionately affect schools serving majority Black students. Supporters said the condition of the men had worsened by Tuesday and Omolade was taken to the emergency room for evaluation.
On Thursday, San-Chez and Omolade issued two priority demands they said would immediately end their hunger strike.
The first was a meeting with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the second was a meeting with Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel and the entire OUSD board.
Among their secondary demands were:
- That Newsom put an immediate stop to any OUSD school closures and cancel a $100 million debt the district is holding that is "preventing the OUSD Board of Education from acting in the best interest of the students, families, and educators ..."
- A change to state law that penalizes schools for student absence due to sickness.
- An audit of the district budget and of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), an outside agency contracted by the district.
- That there would be no Alameda County or State takeover of the school district.
The Oakland Education Association said it was ready to ask its teachers to strike over the closures and that the district has the necessary reserves to keep schools running.
There was no immediate response from the governor's office of the district on the hunger strikers' demands.
for more features.