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'We won't have a voice' | Parents unite over possible state takeover of Sacramento schools

With a $35 million budget hole, parents are gathering together to fight a possible state takeover of Sacramento City Unified School District.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A packed room of parents at Monday night at Phoebe Hearst Elementary in Sacramento showed that there was power in numbers. However, the number those parents face is in the form of $35 million dollars.

The parents all have kids in the Sacramento City Unified School District, which is facing a possible state takeover if as it continues to find ways to make cuts to the budget.

Despite the overwhelming obstacle in their way, the parents are passionate about finding a solution and keeping the SCUSD out of the hands of the state.

"It's embarrassing," said parent Benita Ayala. "You are in the capitol and your district may be in a state takeover." Ayala said the focus needs to be on the students, like her son Christopher, a junior in high school, who is on the Autism spectrum.


One topic on the minds of many parents, including Ayala's, is the continued pressure of a looming teacher strike. The Sacramento City Teachers Association lead a one-day strike in April and plan to hold another May 22.

Ayala said she does not support teacher strikes, saying that now is not the time. 

"It's not beneficial," Ayala explained. "You are putting parents at risk and students at risk especially students that require extra care. My son requires one on one aid. I don't think it's fair."

Ayala said the district as a whole — including staff, teachers, teachers union, parents and students — all have to show unity but right now priorities seem to be elsewhere. 

Still, most parents like Sawait Seyoum, founder of the grassroots effort Parents United to Restore Our Schools, are just trying to figure out how to help the district avoid a state takeover. 

"We don't think a state takeover will serve our schools, and we want to do all we can to avoid that," Seyoum explained. "We want to be at the table, we want to merge our decision makers to work together and find a solution."

The district has until June 30 to balance it's budget. The next board meeting is May 16.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Madison.

WATCH MORE: Sacramento City USD parents worried about 'state takeover' of schools