Students, Parents Pushing to Keep Hayward School Open Despite District's Plans to Shut it Down

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The Bay Area exodus, fueled by high rent prices and a new reality driven by the coronavirus, has taken a toll on many aspects including local school districts.

In the East Bay, families already leaving in droves is creating a new issue for the Hayward Unified School District as it is contemplating closing several schools.

Student enrollment has taken such a hit, that the district is closing and merging at least 10 schools.

Parents, students and teachers have said they want some input on the matter and are urging the district to hit the brakes on the restructuring plan.

On Wednesday, parents and students were outside Glassbrook Elementary making their voices heard with chants such as "kids over money." This school is one of the many the district is considering closing.

"I love this school more than that I love my house," said 6th grader Angely Rivas.

The district said families are pulling their kids out of the district in record numbers, which is "definitely exacerbated by COVID," said Dionicia Ramos with the Hayward Unified School District.

"In the last two years we've lost 2000 students and so that's all funding that doesn't come back to the district."

Therefore, the district must make tough decisions, including closing school buildings that are more than 60 years old and shuffling students to more modern facilities.

The district isn't planning to layoff teachers, but that doesn't mean teachers aren't pushing back.

"We'd like to have a pause button," said Mercedes Faraj, President of Hayward Education Association, "a lengthy pause button."

Starting next week, the district is hosting virtual townhalls to hear feedback from parents.

Rivas is hoping Glassbrook Elementary sticks around long enough so her brother can experience it for himself.

"I’ll be really sad that my brother will not have a chance to go to this amazing school," she said.

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