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School board holds special meeting today

Submitted by on 1, March 2, 2010 – 8:00 am6 Comments

Alameda’s Board of Education is holding a special meeting today in the superintendent’s conference room at the district’s offices, 2200 Central Avenue. On the agenda: Approval of a contract with Alameda’s public school teachers, approval of an all-mail ballot in case of parcel tax, and closed-session consideration of a lawsuit, subject unnamed, against the state.

Carla Greathouse, who heads up parcel tax proponents A Plus, asked the school board last week to consider an all mail ballot because she believes more people will vote and that the increased vote count will favor her efforts to pass the tax. The district’s director of educational options, Rob Siltanen, said the cost of the ballot could be $3 to $5 per voter.

The teacher’s contract would save the district about $5 million over three years, primarily by allowing increases in K-3 class sizes of up to 25 students to one teacher next year and 32 students to one teacher the following year and by cutting five instructional days out of the school calendar.

The meeting begins with a closed-door session at 4:30 p.m.

More to come.

6 Comments »

  • R. Beck says:

    I would like to know the result of the polling that was done last month on behalf of the district. Is this not public information? The district will spend $200,000. or more on a tax that more than doubles the property tax for residential and again hitting the business community big time.How many people will actually vote for such an increase? According to AUSD about 92% of all the money received goes to salaries and benefits of the district. Benefits include medical insurance and pensions, that many working people here in Alameda don’t have and will now be asked to pay for. Unlike Measure H in 2008 that passed by a mere 40 votes, the new parcel tax will be a hard sell to already cash strapped voters in Alameda.

    • Hey R.,

      The results of the poll, as reported by Andy Currid to the school board on February 23, were that 70 percent of the people they polled think their neighborhood school is good or excellent, and that 85 percent of people with kids in school felt this way. More than 80 percent of the people they polled said they believe Alameda’s schools need more money, a number that Currid said was higher than an unspecified past poll. I believe the poll was conducted by Keeping Alameda Schools Excellent, the group that worked to pass Measure H (I believe Currid was their volunteer coordinator).

      I will say I didn’t include the poll in my story last week about the school board meeting because the group declined to release information I typically like to have before publishing poll results – number of people polled, when the poll was conducted, margin of error and the questions if I can get them. Not to make a value judgment on the results one way or the other, but that info in general helps me put poll results in context for readers.

    • Hey R.,

      As a follow-on, I just got my hands on the polling info. They had 404 completed surveys, which were conducted from February 6-10, 2010. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. And 83 percent of the people polled said they believe our schools need more money.

  • David Hart says:

    Though the actual numbers have not yet been approved by the board, the proposed parcel tax represents a signficant TAX CUT for businesses.

  • Susan Davis says:

    Adding on to what Dave Hart posted, above, the proposed tax would *decrease* the median local business owners’ parcel tax payments by 25%.

    And the percentage of total revenues raised by commercial property owners (versus residential property owners) would be 16-17%. That’s also a *down* from more than 50% (under Measure H alone) and 34% (under A & H together).

    While the proposed tax does increase taxes for residents, it would be by about $25/month — which seems like a modest amount to pay to keep up the quality of our local schools, our property values, and our community as a whole.

  • NickB says:

    32 kindergarden students to one teacher? yikes!

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