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The proclamations are in the mail

Submitted by on 1, December 10, 2008 – 8:30 amNo Comment

The school board had a major changing of the guard Tuesday night, with three new trustees joining the board.

And the new board got a gift from the teachers union, whose leader requested it extend the teachers’ contract as-is for the next year so that they focus their efforts on jointly battling Sacramento (which could still make mid-year budget cuts).

Ron Mooney, Trish Spencer and Niel Tam were seated in place of outgoing trustees David Forbes, Janet Gibson and Bill Schaff. Forbes and Gibson were bested in the November 4 election; Schaff did not seek re-election.

Trustee Mike McMahon was named president of the board and Mooney was named vice president. Spencer had nominated Mooney for board president, saying she wanted to make sure everyone had a turn to serve and pointing out that McMahon had already served a stint as president. But Mooney withdrew his name for the post.

Mooney had nominated Jensen for the vice president’s post, but she withdrew her name after Spencer nominated Mooney.

“I will withdraw my name and second, or third, the motion for Ron as vice president,” Jensen said in a barely audible voice.

The outgoing trustees and Superintendent Ardella Dailey, who served at her last official school board meeting last night, were honored for their work by a bevy of notables, including Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, Alameda County schools superintendent Sheila Jordan, Vice Mayor Lena Tam and Council member Doug deHaan and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, who sent proclamations honoring the group for their work.

“You’re a fighter. You struggle for what’s best,” Jordan said in honoring Dailey, the first African-American woman to head Alameda’s school district. “You’ve left a sustaining legacy.”

Prior to the changing of the guard, Alameda Education Association head Patricia Sanders announced that the teacher’s union would be proposing a “status quo agreement” that would maintain the teachers’ current contract for the next year. The teachers’ current contract was set to expire in June.

“AEA agrees that during such tumultuous times, this sacrifice from our members is in the best interest of the students in our district,” Sanders said. “We feel this is a time for all of us to unite and focus on Sacramento.”

Trustee Jensen called Sanders’ proposal a “tremendous offer” and said she hopes the board will approve it.

The board also got another little piece of good news: The district’s English language learners, a student group that makes almost a quarter of the district’s students, are exceeding state targets for English proficiency and math (though Spanish speakers, who are not proceeding as strongly as other non-native English speakers, will be a subject of increased focus).

Don’t ask about the budget, though …

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