Three San Leandro High School students are continuing a hunger strike they announced Tuesday night to protest the School Board's unanimous decision that could eliminate music, sports and other programs.
"I am nervous, but willing to keep going until the board notices how much money they really hold," said San Leandro High senior Kayla Ely, one of the hunger strikers and a Patch blogger.
The two other hunger strikers are Veronica Mandujano and Anai Rosales, also seniors at San Leandro High and, like Ely, members of the school's Social Justice Academy, according to a Hayward Daily Review article.
Before Tuesday's board meeting, Ely had urging the district to dip into its reserves rather than issue layoff notices to an additional 53 school employees whose departures could shut down all athletic activities, enrichment programs like music, library assistance, counseling and other services.
The size of the school district's reserve is a central issue.
The San Leandro Teacher's Association argues that the district has a 14.5 percent reserve.
School Board President Morgan Mack-Rose said only three percent of that is discretionary, with the other 11 percent is already earmarked for near-term school expenses like textbook purchases.
Issuing the layoff notices is also a tactic by the board to get teachers to continue a set of concessions that could lessen or eliminate the need for the cuts -- but at the expense of maintaining what amounts to pay cuts for instructors who have not had a raise in years.
Another factor that could lessen the need for layoffs is what Sacramento does. In May the Governor is supposed to issue a revised budget projection, and if revenues increase, there would be less need for cuts.
So the three pieces in the board's budget puzzle are: how much to extract from reserves, how much to seek in teacher concessions and how much to expect from the state.
Amidst this the hunger-striking students have upped the emotional ante. As Mandujano told the board Tuesday night, she hoped the fast would show that "like our schools, my body can’t survive with just the bare minimum."
Last October, Mandujano, Ely and other Social Justice Academy members led one of the earliest Bay Area protests to .
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