Hunger Strikers Vow to Stop LAUSD Cuts, Eating

Almost a dozen people have a new solution to stop teacher layoffs and larger class sizes: They are going to stop eating.

The Los Angeles Unified School District faces up to $131 million in new cuts this year and could lay off up to 2,500 instructors. Those cuts have spawned a variety of demonstrations in the last few weeks, including meetings, protests, sit-ins, sick-ins, walkouts and various levels of civil disobedience.

So far, nothing has worked -- hence the hunger strike.

"The objective of these actions is to call attention to School Board Members Garcia, Flores and Vladovic's plan to put nearly a half billion dollars of federal stimulus money into a savings account while raising class sizes and laying off some of the district's best, most exciting, vibrant new teachers. Our demand is for a new LAUSD budget that defends students' classrooms," according to a statement from the nine teachers and two activists.

Although hunger strikers have put Monica Garcia, Yolie Flores and Richard Vladovic in the blame-game crosshairs, California voters haven't been very supportive either. Voters on May 19 soundly defeated Propositions 1A through 1E, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touted as critical tools to prevent the state's budget gap from growing even larger.

The water-only fast began Wednesday evening, and "strikers are willing to continue the fast until all demands are met," according to the group's statement.

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