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Island poll: How will you vote on the school parcel tax?

Submitted by on 1, March 22, 2010 – 5:00 am43 Comments

This coming June, Alameda voters will decide whether to replace the parcel taxes they now pay with a new one that will cost homeowners $659 a year for the next eight years and commercial property owners 13 cents per square foot of lot.

School district officials and supporters of the tax say it’s needed to fill a multi-million-dollar budget hole left by cuts to state funding, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the district’s budget. But some opponents say the tax is too much for people to pay in these economically depressed times, while others – notably some small business and commercial property owners – say they think the tax needs to be uniformly applied.

I’m interested in what you think. Will you vote for or against the tax? And why? So I’m asking you to take a quick second to register a yes or no in our poll, and another minute if you are so inclined to leave a comment explaining why.

I’ll keep the poll open through Friday, and we’ll talk about the results next week.

Will you vote for or against the replacement school parcel tax in June?

  • For (72%, 107 Votes)
  • Against (28%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 149

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43 Comments »

  • Lori says:

    I’m going to vote for the parcel tax because our schools need the money. The Alameda USD is very lean organization compared to other schools and has done an admirable job of making more from less. However, if we want to continue to provide our children with a quality education (as well as maintain our propery values) we simply need to provide them with more money. The proposed parcel tax is modest and much needed. It is time to realize that we can no longer rely on the state for adequate funding and take matters into our own hands.

  • Espresso911 says:

    I’ll be voting against the new/replacement tax. As I’ve said in other blogs. Alameda’s school district has excess capacity which can either be consolidated or sold off. Once this is done and we still need more money, then I’ll vote yes.

    V/R

  • jb says:

    It’s not perfect, but it sure beats the alternative!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’ll be voting yes. We came here for the schools and need to support them. For those people without kids, voting yes still makes sense. Think property values. Without Alameda’s high quality schools, the island would still be a nice place to live, but people aren’t going to shell out the loads of money they do now to make it home, and property values will drop.

  • Steve says:

    I’m going to hold my nose and vote yes.

    I guess I’m getting pretty grumpy about this full-court press for higher taxes, higher fees, higher tolls, etc. in an economy that is just awful. My gut tells me that the public sector hasn’t even begun to do the necessary belt-tightening that’s been going on in the private sector for the last two to three years. And each time budget cuts are discussed, we hear a dozen reasons why such cuts will bring about the end of the world as we know it. I don’t mean to single out AUSD by any means – this is happening on a national and state level as well. But my patience is wearing thin and I don’t know how many more of these parcel taxes I’ll vote for.

    OK, that rant aside, the schools do need the money. Also, as I figure it (and someone please let me know if I’m wrong) the net increase is $350, if we consider the earlier parcel taxes that will be replaced by this newest one. Finally, I did actually get a property tax reduction this past year, so that cushions the increase somewhat as well.

    As I recall, you need a 2/3 vote in favor of the parcel tax to get it approved. I’m not very optimistic that 2/3 of Alameda will vote yes but I (grudgingly) will.

  • alameda says:

    Where is the “vote” button?

  • Dennis Green says:

    Even with the last two parcel taxes in place, property values in Alameda have declined precipitously, in case you hadn’t noticed!

    No one who has studied the “Master Plan” or how little the parcel tax language relates to that plan, how little accountability there is for quality teaching, no reference at all to how Alameda can help California qualify for President Obama’s “Race to the Top” Program funding, etc., can support this initiative.

    Superintendent Vital, whom I’ve interviewed twice, is tone deaf to the spirit of Alameda, and her expensive “political consultants,” Erwin & Muir, don’t get us either. A vote against the parcel tax will be a vote in favor of quality education in a school district that has been captured by special interests against the will of the majority of voters.

    The only reason 72%, as of this writing, of Island readers support it is because this news blog has the same readership as “Bayport Blog,” newbies who voted for Measure B, in a a tiny minority there!

    I’ll be not only voting against the parcel tax, but working actively with the group being formed to oppose it.

    Dennis Green

  • Mike says:

    I’m voting YES. Funding education in California is hard with all the budget constraints and cuts, but this is vitally important for OUR schools in OUR town. We know we can do better than the rest of the state and maintain our excellent schools. Property values are indeed driven a lot by the quality of the schools … most new Alamedans buying homes are young families or soon to be families. I was very much attracted by Alameda for the schools as well as the sense of community. Let’s keep our schools excellent!

  • David Hart says:

    Dennis Green:

    Macro factors unrelated to education funding have caused home prices to fall in most of the country and most of the Bay Area. While home values have dropped (most would say somewhat rather than precipitously) in Alameda, the values here have substantially outperformed those in areas with weaker schools, becasue of the relative strengths of the districts. Outperform doesn’t just mean rise faster in good times, it also means fall more slowly in bad times.

    At the same time, values in better funded districts, such as Piedmont, Albany, Palo Alto etc have outperformed Alameda’s, again because of the relative strength of those districts vs. AUSD. Schools absolutely have tremendous impact on home values.

    By the bye, I’m a regular Bayport reader and I was a strong NO on B & will be strong YES for the schools. I know the difference between a good deal & a bad one.

  • BC says:

    Dennis Green:

    Define the term “newbies.” I’ve asked you to do this before. You use it frequently in your divisive little articles. What’s your criterion for being an old-timer? 5 years here? 10 years? Native born? State of mind? Agreeing with you? Is David Howard a newbie and Beverly Johnson an old-timer in your scheme?

    And David Hart is exactly right. Noting that (a) there was a parcel tax and (b) property prices fell in the last few years, and then asserting that this falsifies the proposition that funding schools well is good for property values is simply silly. You’re too smart to make this argument. (But there are some who aren’t smart enough to see the lack of logic. Maybe that’s the point.)

  • Dennis Green says:

    Oh, more of the same old same old! If Alameda schools are so “excellent,” why have four of them failed so badly they’ve been forced to go charter, Chipman Middle School being the latest to fail..? You’ve boughten the propaganda of the teachers unions, which have won the teachers salary increases lately while everyone else in our society are taking cuts. They are making more money than they ever have before, and the AUSD is spending more money this year, even without a new parcel tax, than it ever has before, some $80 million including property taxes, parcel taxes from Measure A&H, and other sources. Look it up on Mike McMahon’s web site.

    I don’t make this stuff up, but all the talk about “Excellence” is a myth propagated by those who will benefit from a new parcel tax whose language doesn’t even reference the Master Plan, let alone the sort of excellence required by President Obama’s “Race to the Top.” Why not?

    DG

    • Dennis,

      Only one school in Alameda, Chipman Middle School, is being considered for closure as a result of the federal testing requirements under No Child Left Behind. None of the district’s other four charters – Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda Science and Technology Institute, Nea Community Learning Center and the Bay Area School of Enterprise – were formed as a result of these rules.

  • Dennis Green says:

    Dear BC: “Newbie” is a state of mind, which I shared for several years when I first moved to the island in 1988. To the fifth generation Alamedans I know and love and respect, I’m still one. So are you. So what? Well, if you bring your off-island prejudices and perceptions here, as I first did when I came out here to work with Ron Cowan, you can get really cross-wise with reality.

    You completely miss my point about property tax values, and so does David Hart, who says that “Macro forces unrelated to education funding have caused housing prices to fall…” etc. If those “Macro forces” can cause housing prices to fall, they can also cause them to rise, “unrelated to education funding.” Or am I being too logical for you?

    There is no evidence whatsoever that “education funding” equals “quality education” and so the whole argument is specious at best. And as a former classroom teacher, I know full well that a fat paycheck doesn’t guarantee excellence in teaching any more than it does in investment banking. I want to see pay tied to performance and job security put on the line of quality outcomes. If you quarrel with that, you don’t really give a hoot about education, or you’re a member of the union.

    DG

  • Susan Davis says:

    Dennis,

    Adjusted for inflation, the 2008-09 average salary for Alameda teachers is actually less — not more — than it was in 2000. In fact, the average teacher salary here is about $5600 less than the county average and about $18,000 less than in some other cities, such as Pleasanton.

    In addition, this spring, the teacher’s union agreed to accept increased class sizes in grades K-3 and 9, which means that about 30 of their members are being laid off. The union also agreed to taking 8 furlough days in each of the next two years, if needed. Furlough days, of course, are unpaid, so this would equate to a pay cut.

    That to me is evidence that the teachers (and their union) are willing to make some very generous and constructive concessions for the sake of the district (and the community at large). To continually portray them as greedy, overpaid, and selfish may make a good soundbite, but it’s not accurate.

  • BC says:

    I’m very logical. That’s why I said you’re wrong to argue that the concidence of falling house prices and passing of parcel taxes falsifies the argument that good schools lead to higher property values. I certainly didn’t say that the converse would verify the argument. Re-read your Karl Popper. Both arguments are silly. You need instead to do some work (or read others’) that studies the effects of school quality on house prices. It’s serious, empirical work, not cute op-ed stuff.

    As for the newbie/old-timer stuff, so what indeed?

  • Idi Ott says:

    Yeah Dennis is right. Why should we support AUSD when, “all the talk about “Excellence” is a myth propagated by those who will benefit from a new parcel tax”?

    Better we should just let them make due with the meager funding that we get from the state. I’m sure if we reduced the amount of services our schools provide, increase class sizes and reduce teacher’s salaries that we’ll achieve Excellence in our schools in no time!

    The only way to achieve excellence in our schools is to make sure that they are properly funded to provide the level of education we all received when we grew up.

  • Brad says:

    I will be voting YES. Our schools are among our most important community resources, and they are at serious risk today. The replacement parcel tax proposal is the product of a thoughtful, collaborative Master Plan process. It asks homeowners to provide $1 more per day than they currently pay under A/H to prevent draconian cuts in the schools. There is an exemption for our senior citizens. Businesses will pay less than they currently pay under A/H. This is a vote to keep quality schools and strong property values, and just as importantly, it’s an act by a caring community to support its children.

  • Susan Davis says:

    Dang! I forgot to say I’ll be voting yes!

    And I’ll be doing so because I truly believe Alameda’s schools are excellent — they have some of the highest scores in the Bay Area; they still offer art, music, PE, and electives; their core academic programs are strong; and every year that I’m in this district (I’m now on year 7) I see, first hand, more and more innovative programs coming on line.

    I’ll be working hard to support the APLUS campaign (www.alamedaschools.org) because I like being involved in efforts aimed at supporting and building our community and I respect the intelligence, ethics, and commitment to public education that I see in the people running the campaign.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    In looking at the ADA for Alameda – $5766, Dublin – $6596, Emery – $7246, Mountain House – $6685, and some other cities in Alameda county, I am wondering what is being done to equalize this on the long term? If we received the same funding as Dublin per student Alameda would get $62,754,344, instead of $54,857,724 If we received the same as for Emery we would get $68,938,444. Are these numbers correct? Would that be enough to pay for the needs the district has for its Master Plan? Why is all the effort going into parcel tax after parcel tax, if the simplest, most equitable and long term solution is for every child to receive the same amount from the State? Does any one care about fixing this the right way? Or does it only have to cover a particular period that the current parents are interested in covering? Aren’t tomorrows children as important as today’s?

  • lori says:

    i will be voting yes… without the additional monies, schools will be forced to get rid of pretty much everything other than the most basic nuts and bolts of students’ days. the master plan makes clear that cuts will get rid of arts, music, sports, professional development time for teachers, and the list goes on. what’s maybe even worse, class sizes will dramatically increase if the tax doesn’t pass… you will get little argument from anyone, regardless of political bent or philosophy, that one teacher and 29 students (at the K-3 level) is ridiculously bad for students. even with fantastic teachers, schools will face insurmountable obstacles to doing right by kids.

    to Dennis Green… AUSD per se has no jurisdiction or power to do anything “can help California qualify for President Obama’s “Race to the Top” Program funding.” the state has to meet certain criteria to even be eligible to compete for the money… nothing Alameda does one way or another will affect the state’s qualification for the money.

    and one more thing: boughten is not a word (“You’ve boughten the propaganda of the teachers unions, which have won the teachers salary increases lately while everyone else in our society are taking cuts.”)

  • Susan Davis says:

    Hi Barbara,

    There are a lot of people in Alameda who care very deeply about inequities in state funding for education. And numerous efforts have been made to right that situation over the last few years. Unfortunately, rectifying that situation is not the “simplest” solution to the district’s woes, because it is politically and economically very difficult to ask that Alameda get more when it means that other districts will get less — especially given that for the last several years all school districts have been suffering from state cuts.

    Also, AUSD is looking at having to make $7 million in cuts in 2010-2011 if the parcel tax is not passed this June. The 2010-2011 school year starts in just five months; the district needs to have a final budget in just three. I think it’s highly unlikely that we can get the state funding mechanism to change in that short time frame.

    In the meantime, we have 9400 children in this district who deserve a good education — despite what’s happening on the state level.

  • Jill says:

    I’m voting yes because Alameda’s students deserve the things that the additional funding will preserve. Seventy thousand Alamedans can’t change the state’s funding formula, but we can ensure that our town’s children receive high-quality educations by passing the parcel tax. And unlike most of our tax money, which is sent to Washington or Sacramento with very little coming back to Alameda, this money will stay in town. Parcel taxes = local empowerment.

  • Dennis Green says:

    If more money guaranteed better schools, better teaching and better outcomes, Oakland would have schools twice as good as Alameda’s and the housing prices would be double ours, because they spend on average $16,000 per student per school year compared to our average $8,435.

    A little research trumps all these cute slogans you have been taught(en), and typos are as common as word coinage among geezers. Study the Master Plan. Study Obama’s Race to the Top. Because Alameda would do well to model its system after that coming tsunami, whether we can influence the California outcome or not. Don’t just cut teachers’ pay, but institute MERIT pay, fire the incompetents, reward excellence, tie compensation to outcomes. Otherwise, it’s all chimera.

    Dennis Green

  • Dennis Green says:

    And about that “newbie” thing…

    Here is an excerpt from an article I just wrote called, “Locals Always Have the Right of Way”

    So that’s what a “newbie” is — a state of mind of the more recent arrival who has not yet put down roots, who looks disdainfully at the natives and old timers and feels superior. “How can locals have the right of way? I’m not a local, but I’m always right!”

    DG

  • Michele says:

    Keep those positive comments coming Folks, and for Pete’s sake, stop trying to change Dennis Green’s mind and making his day by responding to his rants! I welcome Mr. Green as a volunteer in my classroom any day to provide him with a more positive outlet for all his energy. It’s hard to imagine why there are people chomping at the bit to misinform and convince our community to vote no on the parcel tax. Can you imagine what a force for good they could be if they would redirect their actions in our community and volunteer in our classrooms instead? That would be a blessing.

  • Susan Davis says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I’m not sure where you got that $16,000 figure for Oakland Unified, but according to a presentation given to the OUSD Board of Education last November, the district’s base revenue limit (that’s the amount of state revenue the district gets per student) is $4959.00. And the amount they *spend* per child looks to be between $3000.00 and $5000.00 per year (at least in terms of state revenue).

    Here’s the source for that:

    http://www.mikemcmahon.info/OUSDBudgetPrioritiesNov09.pdf

  • Dennis Green says:

    Oh, Michele, if only you weren’t always so right! I have volunteered many hours in Alameda classrooms over the years, encouraging kids to develop their writing skills so they could make a living with it, as I have. I also spent many hours volunteering at College of Alameda helping disabled students find employment after getting their A.A. degrees, and more hundreds of hours as a volunteer and board member at the Boys & Girls Club, and at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, which puts on art, drawing and poetry classes. I’ve given back to my community, and continue to do so, and will put my record up against anyone’s. How about you Michele? How many hours will you spend in Alameda classrooms as a volunteer this week?

    DG

  • Dennis Green says:

    Michele Ellson,

    I didn’t think that was you, but rather a teacher and a member of the union, who wouldn’t know a real rant if it bit her! As for classroom volunteering, my challenge stands. After all the hours and days for which she’s paid decent money, even with Cost of Living losses and union won raises, does she spend any time volunteering to the various needy community groups in Alameda? I was partner and creative director for Lazzari & Green, working many 20-hour days producing TV commercials, and still spending at least a dozen hours every week as a volunteer. That’s how you get to know a community, and become a part of its leadership, not by doing the minimum.

    As for the $16,000/student in Oaktown, I took their total budget, which includes Spec Ed and other sources besides state money, as Alameda’s budget does too, and divided by the number of students in the Oakland schools. But I learned math in a class of 32 students, so maybe didn’t get long division right!

    Dennis

  • Mark Irons says:

    Dennis Green , it’s not up to Alameda to help California make it’s pitch for Race to the Top money. Arnold tried and unbelievably California was denied on the first pass. But I think we’ve contributed quite a bit by keeping our head above water with the continued decline in funding.

    Race to the Top is punitive, just like NCLB. I heard a radio discussion of the merit pay concept which works at a Nummi Plant, but not in jobs like teaching because children aren’t widgets. You claim, based on incorrect numbers, that more money can’t fix education but where is your substantiation for efficacy of merit pay? The weakest link in the merit pay idea and the assessment of teachers and schools is the overly simplistic system of test scores. Teachers as a class of professional would very much like to be better compensated but if money motivated them they wouldn’t have chosen the profession to begin with. I know anecdotally where hard working competent teachers have had slumps in the scores of their students from year to year. Yet we have people like Michele Rhee and Arne Duncan who have no actually training in education lording over teachers. (Rhee taught 3rd grade for three years through Teach for America and Duncan has never headed a classroom, neither has received degrees in teaching).

    Also Dennis, I’d really like an accurate account of all the hours you’ve spent volunteering in our schools. You have such a marvelous imagination I hardly know what to think of your claim.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Hi Susan:

    You say, “There are a lot of people in Alameda who care very deeply about inequities in state funding for education. And numerous efforts have been made to right that situation over the last few years.”

    I haven’t heard anyone say anything about the inequities in state funding or read about what they have done in the press. All we hear is Parcel Tax A Parcel Tax H, and now this new one, for the last 8 years. Not one peep from parents about forcing those same elected officials that they vote in to office year after year, to equalize funding. We are told how hard it would be [to do the right thing and equalize funding] and how we need the money now so lets hurry up and pass another parcel tax. Its the easy way out. Easy for those who have enough of a vested interest in the outcome as they have children in school and two family incomes such that it doesn’t make a difference to their very survival.

    When we choose to make our lives in a place, we accept the the cost in effect at that time. It is a set figure when we decide, ok this is it. We rely on the law in effect that our taxes will not balloon up the way they once did. We do the best we can. Then we age, we lose our ability to work full time, we lose our health, our loved ones, our families move on, our health care costs rise, our utilities rise, our home values decrease by 30%, if we have refinanced to get a new roof, that mortgage rate interest increases. And along comes someone who says AUSD needs this money more than you do to survive because they don’t want their child to go to a class room that has too many children in it the 3rd grade. [the third grade lasts about 7 months?]

    These people are in the prime earning years of their lives. They are in their child bearing years, and probably have two earners or if they are well off enough, the other parent doesn’t even need to work for pay. Sure they can afford it. Now. Then they become bitter when all we do is say, “Hey, I paid my way, my childrens’ way, and I think I have paid enough. Fix the school district and funding sources first. They are broken! My budget is fixed. My social security is fixed when I am able to draw on it, my disability is fixed. My health care premiums are going up 40%, and I have to pay for a hospital that I can’t use, and will have to pay to earthquake proof that same hospital in a year or two.”

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FOLKS THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO KEEP WORKING OR GO WITHOUT IN YOUR INFIRM YEARS TO PAY FOR OUR CHILDREN TO HAVE WHAT WE THINK IS BEST FOR THEM?

    How much does the District spend on a webmaster (give this to Computer Science classes), a $140,000 development director (to develop what?), a full time attorney (and I suspect some support staff) as “General Counsel” as opposed to joining with other school districts and demanding equal funding?

    Instead of becoming bitter and blaming us for not wanting your children to have the best you want us to offer them, take a look at us. We are the ones on the sidewalks that you let your children ride their bikes through on the way to school. We can’t move out of the way. We are old. Don’t blame us if we trip when we are run over and uncaring parents who walk on by without even a glance or I’m sorry, who don’t have the foresight to realize that they will be in our shoes someday. If they are lucky. Then ask them if they want to pay for 3 more parcel taxes for someone else’s children or if they think its time to equalize funding for each child as should be required under the law.

  • Paizley says:

    I will be voting yes to protect quality education for my children and all the children of Alameda. When my family decided to return to the Bay Area we chose Alameda for its schools, the community and the spirit this town has for a positive way of life.

  • Dennis Green says:

    During one of my interviews with Superintendent Vital, in one of her more candid moments, she said that the teachers had come unstrung when they first heard she was going after another, and much larger parcel tax. “Everyone will hate us!” they had complained. And they’re absolutely right.

    DG

  • Susan Davis says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Let me say first that I’m sorry you’re having financial difficulties and it looks like you may have health problems as well. That can’t be easy.

    I can’t respond to all your accusations, because I am not the kind of parent you describe. E.g., yes, my husband and I both work, but we are not particularly well off (we’ve actually been under some financial strain in recent years). Yes, I have children, but I wouldn’t allow them to knock seniors down on the sidewalk — and if they did, I would probably offer to drive the injured party home. And yes, part of the reason I support the parcel tax is because my own kids are in AUSD — but I also really care about the other kids and families in our community. I.e., my position and tone is not “you have to support MY kids!” It’s more “let’s come to together to support the entire community.”

    I’m hoping you realize that under the replacement parcel tax, you’ll be paying one parcel tax — not three. I also hope you realize that as a senior and someone who is on disability, you can be exempted from paying that replacement parcel tax. So while your health care premiums may be rising, your tax bill does not have to.

    Finally, there’s one point on which I disagree with you. You write, “When we choose to make our lives in a place, we accept the the cost in effect at that time.” In some ways that is true, yes. But I also believe that circumstances — meaning politics, economic conditions, demographics, local needs — change. I wish that local school districts didn’t need parcel taxes to stay solvent. I wish my own tax bill had not risen as much as it has since I moved here. But schools aren’t funded the way they were back in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. They are no longer funded adequately, and I believe that as a community, the adequate education of our young should be a priority.

  • dave says:

    Barbara,

    Current taxpayers, such as the two-income families you note above, subsidize you in many ways, from Prop 13 to SS & Medicare. You are also permitted a senior exemption to the school taxes that so deeply concern you.

    Your post above indicates that you don’t feel respected by people who want to properly fund our schools. Take a second look at the tax codes, from the Feds down to AUSD. Current taxpayers are showing you considerable respect.

  • Nobody says:

    I will vote No and send my kids to private schools so I can be sure all the money I pay is used on them.

  • Dennis Green says:

    I’m with Barb. The disabled have had problems winning exemption from parcel taxes in the past, and the “Senior Exemption” is very tricky, a short, unpublicized window with onerous requirements. As for our being “subsidized” on SS, that’s just incorrect. I paid into an investment system, where the funds should have been sequestered, but weren’t, because spendthrift politicians raided the funds for general fund purposes. But I paid my dues, at very low interest rates.

    If you support, as Susan does, increased funding to AUSD without any accountability, you’re simply reinforcing the City government tendency to spend ALL of your tax dollars wastefully, as if they will never be asked to account for their budgets either. You can give a cash buck to a homeless guy squatting on the sidewalk, or buy him a sandwich. Is one choice wiser and perhaps even more moral?

    I’m simply astonished that so many apparently intelligent people are willing to hand over so much money to Superintendent Vital without any accountability, transparency or even any reference to the Master Plan, let alone “Race to the Top.” Such trusting souls are ripe for patent medicine hucksters! Oh, that’s right. They advertise on TV.

    Dennis Green

  • smart voter says:

    I will be voting NO on the new tax. The AUSD is spending money that could go to the classrooms on webmasters and political consultants.
    Read this story and ask yourself, is this where we want our tax dollars to go?

    http://www.action-alameda-news.com/2010/03/25/ausd-pays-political-consultants-150-per-hour-per-partner/

  • Susan Davis says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I have never said that I support “increased funding to AUSD without any accountability,” so your attribution of that attitude to me is incorrect.

    I do support accountability and am aware that the Master Plan includes instituting new levels of accountability at every school site, including developing a “tiered intervention system for the schools” that consists of:

    1. A comprehensive assessment for evaluating major criteria indicators of student success including API and AYP, attendance, Advanced Placement participation and performance, secondary graduation rates and the academic growth of cohorts of students over two or three year periods.

    2. A baseline analysis of current school performance and placement of schools on a particular tier based on a compilation of student achievement measures including growth and decline on all criteria indicators.

    3. School developed targets for growth and a credible plan that ensures each school reaches its growth targets.

    4. The tiering system rewards schools with greater autonomy in trade for greater accountability. In addition it allows the central office to differentiate and focus on its most challenged schools.

    [Source: AUSD Master Plan 2010-1015, p. 18, http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/images/stories/pdfs/boemtg/boe020910masterplandraft.pdf

  • Page Barnes says:

    I will be voting yes on the parcel tax. By the time of this election, I will no longer be an AUSD parent, but the great schools are what brought me to Alameda in the first place. After living here for 10 years, I believe that the schools and the community that has developed around those schools are the greatest factors contributing to what makes Alameda such a wonderful place to live. If we want our quality of life and our property values to be preserved, we have to pass the parcel tax. Otherwise, we will be destroying what makes Alameda great. I also wanted to mention how pleased I have been with the reasonable, respectful and well-informed comments on this blog by people who are using their real names. I’ve enjoyed reading these comments (even the ones with which I disagree). Thanks to Michele for providing this forum.

  • H. Ewert says:

    There are or were great schools here, really? Where?? The private schools maybe.
    So, if you have a broken faucet–throw money at it–does not fix it. The schools need fixing–not money thrown at them.

  • I think by almost every available measurement of “great schools,” AUSD’s schools do well. High test scores, High graduation rate, Students accepted at the best colleges and universities, Alameda High school has ranked as a top High School in the Country.

    “Perfect schools” maybe not, but then again, I doubt any district is perfect.

    IMHO, our community has great schools that offer opportunities for everyone. And they are continuing to work hard to get them closer to perfect.

    Cutting $7 million from their budget (almost 10%) next year and $17 million in three years will not make them better. No body is suggesting throwing money at them, many are suggesting providing them with adequate money to maintain what we have, while still making big cuts immediately.

  • What happened says:

    If there is a 30 to one class size then there are bout 400 teachers and if you figure 1 adminstrator for every two teachers that is another 200 plus 300 suport staff about 900 employees and then if you divide 12 million by 900 that is about a 12 thousand a year pay raise . The Sacramento Bee in reporting teacher salaries in Ca shows Alameda with an average salary of 82 thousand with the highest 95 thousand so you figure if they need more money

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