Oakland students, parents rally to save Roots International Academy

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OAKLAND (KRON) — A heated and loud protest was underway tonight in Oakland — all centered around the proposal to shutdown an East Bay school.

Faced with a budget shortfall and declining enrollment, the Oakland Unified School District is deciding on closing 24 schools.

One of them is Roots International Academy in East Oakland. If the board votes to shut it down, it would happen at the end of the school year. Parents, students and supporters of the Roots Academy let the school board know tonight how they feel about the proposed closure.

A school board member tried to address the chanting crowd, but got over powered. and walked away.

A large group representing Roots International Academy wanted to take over the school board meeting on Wednesday night.

Supporters found out over winter break about the proposal to shut down the school at the end of the school year and are upset they say the board or the district never consulted them.

Roots students lead the chants — they are anxious to learn where they will go to school next year.

“It is sad to see our school teared apart when that is our family,” said Kenaiya Powell, a 7th grader.

“I can’t even imaging going anywhere else, I don’t want to go anywhere else,” said another 7th grader, Merlei Cherry.

The closure plans, include expanding Coliseum Prep Academy into the space where Roots holds classes and the district says it will work with families to place kids in the the right school.

“This is really about making sure we really have our resources and staff consolidated in a way that it improves student outcomes at all school across the city,” said John Sasaki with Oakland Unified School District.

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