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Comment: A plea

Submitted by on 1, June 2, 2008 – 7:15 amNo Comment

Alamedans are a generous lot. It’s one of the many reasons I’m grateful to live here, and one of the many things that sets this Island apart from many other Bay Area communities. Alamedans are heavily invested in the strength of their community. And in that spirit I am asking you to invest in a major pillar of our community, our schools, by voting yes on Measure H on Tuesday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems determined to slash California’s education funding, to the tune of about $4 million for our district alone. It’s his budget plan, and not wanton spending by our district, that has put us in a place where we are going to be eliminating sports and music programs, smaller class sizes for kids in kindergarten through third grades, advanced placement classes and more. A parcel tax is basically the only option the district has to raise the money it needs to keep this from happening now. That’s why Measure H is on the ballot.

I admit that my opinion on Measure H is biased. I have a son starting kindergarten in the fall, and I want him and his baby sister to have a high-quality education. I am helping to pay for this education with my own property taxes, and I am willing to pay more to support the schools. But I admit, I cannot do it all on my own. So I’m asking for your help.

I realize that this is a tough time to ask for money. We are in the middle of a recession. Gas prices have doubled, home values are crashing, people are maybe not shopping the way they used to. But good schools are worth your money. They are a major draw for young families. Who spend decades in their communities. Contributing their time, energy and money to schools, civic organizations, friends and neighbors, local businesses. And our schools help us create new citizens who will do the same.

With his budget proposals, the governor is telling us that our schools are not a priority. Are we going to let him snatch a quality education away from our kids? I wholeheartedly agree with those who feel this ballot measure is lacking, and that we need to pursue some long-term funding solutions for our schools. But it’s what we’ve got, and what we’ve got to do now. Even a short-term funding lapse could have long-term consequences for our kids.

I believe in this community, and if you’re living here, I know you do, too. If you’ve built a business here, you do too. If you helm a civic organization, you do, too. This is a small community, an Island, and we all need each other’s support to thrive. I’m asking you to support my family this Tuesday. Please go to the polls and vote yes on Measure H.

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