OAKLAND, Calif. - Hundreds of Oakland Unified teachers were out on the picket lines on Friday, protesting the closure and consolidation of 11 schools over the next five years.
Although the strike is just for one day, the district asked parents to keep their students home because they won't be able to cover all the staff absences. The district is calling this strike an "illegal labor action."
It's unclear if the strike will do anything; the board voted to close the schools earlier this year.
Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown says they have community support, blaming the district on declining enrollment and "being underfunded for so many years."
"Closing schools hurts students, and it hurts neighborhoods... Especially in Black and brown communities," Princess Moss, vice president of the National Education Association said Friday.
"The teachers here are very supportive," said Grandma Dot, whose grandchildren attend Carl B. Munck Elementary, a school on the closure list. "It's important this school remains open, as well as the other schools."
At Parker Elementary, another school set to close, Hillary Chen said: "This school is my neighborhood school."
Parker Elementary lost more than 100 students in the past five years, according to OUSD data, serving about 260 students this year.
Oakland Unified says the closures are necessary to deal with a steep budget deficit.
In a statement to KTVU, the district's chief academic officer says: "In our district, we have been facing declining enrollment for decades... Sustaining many small schools stretches our resources thinly across too many schools, instead of allowing us to invest more deeply in fewer schools."
OUSD says any student absences today will be excused.
After striking at the individual schools, teachers will take part in a rally at Oakland City Hall in the afternoon.