OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Some Oakland Unified School District students, staffers, and parents have spent the last four weeks making it clear that they absolutely do ‘not’ want the schools to close or merge.

They’ve held sickouts, rallies, and two teachers are on hunger strikes. One of them has now been hospitalized.

Moses Omalade has been taken to a local hospital after not eating solid food for eight days. 

Omalade is one of two Westlake Middle School teachers from the school district who are protesting against the Board of Education president’s proposal to close multiple Oakland schools.

“Number one, I am concerned about the personal health of Andre and Moses,” Carroll Fife said. 

Westlake Middle School is on the list of schools to be consolidated or shut down due to a decline in enrollment which impacts state funding.

Westlake is in Oakland City Councilmember Carroll Fife’s district.

“What we are clear on is that the cuts that OUSD has made in the past have not created better results for the district. We know that it’s going to be a burden on families. We know that there was no equity analysis to ensure that the students primarily impacted were not black and brown students,” Fife said. 

“We shouldn’t be penalized. This is a pandemic, There’s a host of reasons why our enrollment is down,” Kampala Taiz-Rancifer said. 

Kampala Taiz-Rancifer is a teacher and a parent in OUSD.

“We are really hearing that a lot of parents are traumatized by this experience and just the short notice of it all and not having any voice in the process and not having any recourse makes them feel absolutely disempowered,” Taiz-Rancifer said. 

The two Westlake teachers participating in the hunger strike are calling on Governor Newsom to step in and clear any financial shortfall at OUSD. 

Carroll Fife and some of her councilmember colleagues are making that same call.

“Absolutely! There was a resolution that was passed to urge the governor to absolve Oakland of that debt,” Fife said. 

KRON4 reached out to the governor’s office for his response. We received no reply.