Home » Measure E, Schools, Special Reports

Measure E: After school special

Submitted by on 1, May 21, 2010 – 4:55 am6 Comments

Alameda has more than its fair share of hot-button political issues. But few are as emotional as the upcoming ballot for Measure E, the replacement school parcel tax. And the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The tax has pitted parents who are seeking to protect their children’s education from massive state budget cuts against a group of commercial property and business owners, some of whom are fighting for survival in the worst of economic times.

Proponents say a parcel tax offers the only opportunity the school district has to close a series of multi-million-dollar budget gaps it will face over the next few years. But opponents say the tax, which will cost businesses more – and in some cases, far more – than homeowners is unfair.

The Island will explore these issues in a series of articles next week. And we’ll close the series with a pair of editorials for and against the tax.

In the meantime, the all-mail ballot will be sent out Tuesday, May 25, it’s due in on June 22. The school district has information on the parcel tax here.

More next week.

6 Comments »

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    It’s not just parents against commercial property owners. It also pits intelligent and well educated parents who have lived through AUSD’s threats of school closures, actual school closures and mismanagement for decades.

    This is a school district that cannot formulate a 5 year budget without going back to the public trough for more money. It brings in 400 out of district students to fill otherwise under-filled schools, and then asks Alameda Taxpayers to pay extra for those same out of district students’ education.

    It hires lawyers, a webmaster and political pundits instead of furloughing administrators. The teachers and administrators can retire at 50 or earlier with great benefits, while the rest of the citizens are at the mercy of the economy, Social Security at 66 (or 70) and 39% percent increases in costs of health premiums. 88% of the households are intimidated by the 12% with children in AUSD into voting to pay $659 for the supporters of Measure E’s childrens’ educations for 8 years.

    Frankly I’ve been there and done that, only to see that AUSD never provides the quality of education that is expected or worked for. Children in Oakland receive a better education in the CORE subjects. Yet for some reason, the parents in Alameda think because it is AUSD their children receive a better education. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The quality of education received is directly proportional to the amount of time that the family including parents, put into it for the children. Doesn’t have that much to do with class size, or any other objective measurement. Parents who are looking for easy validation that they have done the right thing would be better off spending more and moving to Piedmont. And the rancor that AUSD seems to generate annually towards the district is unnecessary. Before the 8 years is up, there is no doubt that AUSD will be back whining and asking for more, claiming “This is for the Children and the future”. The truth is, it is for the current parents’ children only, not ours, and not our future. It is for the retirement and other extravagent benefits that the administrators and teachers union routinely demand and receive by holding the children hostage.

  • Troy Staten says:

    Barbara keeps glossing over the most important point and that is that the state has cut the funding the district faces by huge amounts over the last few years and is going to cut funding more next year. As for waste there is no organization as large as a school district that does not have some problem but the districts funding problem is not caused by “waste”. As for out of the area students (Oakland) they are not the cause of the budget shortfall. If out of the area students come to Alameda schools the schools get money. As for the “fairness” issue, I agree I would much rather see a 13 cents per square foot of parcel size across the board with no cap but some how I don’t think that would be what the commercial property owners have in mind. As for lawsuits the district is being sued by a group that is saying “money for class rooms not lawsuits”

    As for overhead Alameda has some of the lowest overhead of any district in the state, maybe they can trim it more but what ever they trim is not going to equal the millions of dollars the state is going to cut from the districts budget.

    As for the quality of the education kids at AUSD schools receive my daughter was accepted to 2 UC Schools a university in London, and another school in Oregon in all 5 out of the 7 she applied for accepted her. I don’t think our schools will be better if there budgets are cut by a total of 7 million dollars. Barbara mentioned Oakland schools I don’t know of anyone moving to Oakland from Alameda for the quality of the schools.

    I sell real estate almost every weekend and schools are almost always a question and most of the people from Oakland are moving to Alameda because of the schools. Ask yourself if this tax does not pass and the district is forced to close 5 or 6 schools, will traffic be worse or better, will your homes be worth more, less or stay the same. Most of us went to public schools and had all of the advantages of a well funded school system(sum like myself could of applied themselves more:) but we owe our children whether we have our own or not a decent education, if we don’t we will reap what we sow in the future.

    Troy

  • techies says:

    There are some good teachers that are being laid off. There are some good programs that are being cut. Instead of laying off good teachers, let go some bad performing administrators and bad teachers. Reform AUSD if it is not operating efficiently or corrupt. As for measure H, it almost did not pass. Measure E is asking for a lot of $ given that unemployment is still high. Also, the state has a negative budget. A lot of older retired individuals are not crazy about paying more in taxes for about 8 more years. AUSD will probably ask for more added taxes in the future. I’ll be really surprised if this passes.

  • Fed up taxpayer says:

    Average teacher salary in CA- $70,430. per NEA.
    Cut every salary in the school district, from top down, by 10%.
    Problem solved.
    Everyone shares the pain.
    No layoffs.
    AUSD may actually learn to live within a budget,for the first time

  • David Hart says:

    AUSD lives within its budget every year. It has not ever run a deficit.

    That’s why the state cuts are so disastrous, the district will be forced to sharply ramp up class sizes. All the district is attempting to do with E is to mitigate the state cuts, and even then not entirely, some cuts will still occur.

    But get your facts straight: the district always lives within its budget.

  • Average Teacher salary in Alameda is lower than the CA average, despite being in one of the highest Cost of Living areas in the country.

    The issue isn’t one of overpaid teachers. It’s of diminishing funding.

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