OUSD Board Votes Against Delaying School Closures

Trustees held a special meeting Friday as protests continue over campus shutdowns

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The Oakland Unified School District board voted against delaying school closures during a virtual special meeting Friday night.

During the special meeting, two school directors voted "yes," while three voted "no" and there was one abstention.

The board voted to close seven schools by the end of next year and merge others because of plunging enrollment, and Friday's special session could reveal more about possible changes to the timeline on those closures.

Throughout the process, students, parents and some educators have been protesting the closures, with some taking drastic measures, including a hunger strike.

When the votes came in, a parent spoke out against the result.

As it stands, five schools are scheduled to close at the end of the next school year in 2023. At the end of the current school year, Community Day School and La Escuelita Elementary are scheduled to close.

The issue sparked weeks of contentious discussions, walkouts and a hunger strike. NBC Bay Area has learned that on Friday, two Oakland educators who are part of a larger group of participants in a hunger strike against the closures are expected to end their 18-day strike and discuss the board's decisions.

“I’m tired physically, I’m hungry and I'm tired,” said Oakland music teacher Andre San-Chez. “It's been quite a journey. I believe that the hunger strike had a very big role. It had everything to do with why they are meeting tonight but also the mobilization that we have seen throughout the community."

The hunger strikers say they are planning a presentation Friday and a change in tactics.

“We are ending our hunger strike tonight at the end of the meeting,” said Omolade.

But also stress that this isn't the end of their fight, just a new phase.

“We have realized that we are more important to our communities if we can stay and continue to be a voice for the voiceless and we are committed to that,” said Omolade.

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