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Submitted by on 1, June 23, 2010 – 4:06 pm69 Comments

Updated 10:11 p.m. Wednesday, June 23

Alameda’s Measure E school parcel tax appears to have fallen short of the vote count it needed to pass, results released Wednesday afternoon showed.

A county elections official confirmed all the votes had been counted, but she said the results wouldn’t be certified as final until later this week, following a standard manual tally of 1 percent of the votes cast.

Some 65.62 percent of the 22,029 voters who cast ballots in the mail-only election voted in favor of the tax, while 34.38 percent voted against it. The measure needed the approval of two-thirds of voters to pass.

“Today we have won an important battle for fair taxation, control of government spending and return to a robust economy that can support the social services we, the people desire. This is a victory in the fight against predatory taxation,” The Committee Against Measure E’s Ed Hirshberg said.

Hirshberg, who hasn’t disputed the school district’s claim that it needs money in the wake of massive state funding cuts, said that if the Board of Education were to put a flat rate tax on the ballot that is “reasonable and fair,” he wouldn’t oppose it. Hirshberg had originally said he’d support a universal rate of four cents per square foot, though district staffers said that wouldn’t be enough to close the funding gap. Wednesday afternoon, he said he thought a higher rate might be “achievable.”

Meanwhile, he said he plans to appeal an Alameda County Superior Court judge’s rejection of a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Measure H, one of the district’s two existing parcel taxes. Those taxes aren’t slated to sunset until 2012.

APLUS campaign spokesman John Knox White said he’s proud of the campaign proponents of the measure ran, and he pointed out that they earned more “yes” votes than proponents of Measure H, which voters approved in 2008.

“Over 14,000 Alamedans and two-thirds of the people who voted supported our schools. And we’re very appreciative of that,” Knox White said. “I am very thankful to all the volunteers who worked so hard. They should be proud of what they achieved.”

Knox White said the campaign’s leaders have conceded the voted and that they will not request a recount.

At Tuesdya night’s school board meeting and again Wednesday after the votes were all counted, Superintendent Kirsten Vital thanked supporters, who she credited for making the vote as close as it was.

“Despite the fact that the results did not turn out as we had hoped, we should all be extremely proud of what we did achieve. A two-thirds vote is often times an impossible hurdle to overcome, yet we came very close.”

She said the effects of the loss will begin to be felt when students return to school in late August, and that school closures will be considered starting in the fall, with actual closures to be implemented in the 2011-2012 school year.

The school board approved $7.2 million in cuts for next year’s budget, including five fewer school days and bigger class sizes next year. And district staff have said they will need to close schools in 2011-12 to balance their budget.

The tax would have cost homeowners $659 for each of the next eight years and commercial property owners 13 cents per square foot of lot up to $9,500 per parcel. It would have replaced the district’s existing Measure A and Measure H parcel taxes.

The new tax would have raised $14 million a year, double what Measure A and Measure H earn the district. The Board of Education put the tax on the ballot in an effort to avoid an anticipated $7 million budget deficit for the 2010-2011 school year that they said they faced as a result of millions of dollars in state funding cuts.

Some 52.88 percent of Alameda’s 41,658 registered voters cast ballots in the election. Voting closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.


  • Gillico says:

    So now that the vote is tallied, can the citizens of Alameda come together to work to support the AUSD in a way that is not divisive? I think we can all agree that quality schools and the best possible education for Alameda’s students are a common goal for our community. How do we achieve this with the resources we have?

  • Inne Elsson says:

    The Board is misguided, arrogant, and divisive. They need to step down. They have repeatedly told parents who disagree with them to send their kids to private schools. Perhaps the 1% voting differential on Measure E were parents who did just that.

  • Frances says:

    Define “support”. I’ve heard opponents of Measure E use this word, but if you don’t mean “money” then that is an empty meaningless word coming from you. You ask how we achieve a high quality education without paying for it. The answer is we don’t. High quality education costs money in the form of salaries for more teachers so we can have smaller classes, salaries for other specialists and professionals like music teachers, counselors, resource teachers, etc. If you are not willing to give money to the schools then don’t claim that you “support” them.

  • Anna says:

    Well, I hope those against Measure E are satisfied. They save a mere $350 a year-less than what the property value boost would have been, if we actually kept decent schools. Those who don’t care about investing in the future should have reconsidered their views before impairing the younger generations of Alamedans for the rest of their lives.

  • dirk says:

    Would I want to pay the tax?
    I own several non revenue producing parcels/lots in Alameda that would cost me tens of thousands in new expenditures. I’m on a fixed income – I have no children in public schools and I am retired. I also own a house in Alameda (exempted on the house). I just want to know if the parents of school children still think I should buck up and pay the tax. And also, how would you feel if YOUR fixed income and retired parents had to pay the tax?

    To the anxious parents of AUSD students –
    Remember, public school can and only lasts 12 years at the most. I know you are currently in the heat of battle with the social circle you keep today – been there. Just keep in mind that you have a lot of time to make decisions and concessions as to where your cherished children can go to school – this is America.

  • Inne Elsson says:

    Support the kids. Support public education. Get rid of this Board. And one way – if not the best way – of supporting public education is to make sure you have a Board that clearly defines its curriculum. Not one that misconstrues its role, picks a gigantic divisive fight over controversial curriculum, then gets into lawsuits where it spends tax payer money terrorizing dozens of parents with lawyers, and then turns to the parents and asks for a tax increase. There is a way to manage things. And then there is just arrogant bungling. We have a Board of bunglers.

  • Bill Ingalls says:

    I’d like to know if APLUS can continue to exist after Measure E has failed and take voluntary “payments” from people like me? I will gladly write a check for $659 if I can send it to a responsible group that will see to it that it is spent as the funds for Measure E were to be allocated.
    Let’s step up and do something POSITIVE for our Schools!!

  • dirk says:

    Bunglers – well put.
    All will support Alameda Public Education when support is earned.

    A documented gripe:
    The Navy base closed in 1996.
    There has been a public school funding issue due to less students.
    Well guess what – that was 14 YEARS AGO!
    How long does it take for our critical thinking Board to make adjustments?
    There just isn’t and never will be the same student head count ever again….

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you, Gillico, for an optimistic, forward-looking post. Aside from dumping the Board, hoping things will work out within 12 years, or leaving Alameda, I expect to work that much harder to support our schools–financially AND with my time and skills. I can only hope the bitterness and anger (understandable, but not very constructive) will subside.

  • ER says:

    A problem in supporting measure E is that there is much more to a quality education than more funds. If the supporters would address the delivery problems of education, I am sure the election would have ended differently. We all know bad teachers are almost impossible to fire. What is wrong with a minimum level of accomplishment (e.g. the exit exam)? The response about teaching to the exam is disingenuous since the “educators” wrote the exam. I’m not an educator and can not properly address the problems, but all can see the current system, even with the last 2 parcel taxes, is not working. My message to the supporters, is to propose a measure that improves the education system rather than continuing the false assumption that “only” more money means a better education.

  • Inne Elsson says:

    Jennifer – dumping the Board is constructive. It is democratic. That’s what we are supposed to do when a mess like this happens.

  • dave says:


    Why do you own several non-revenue producing properties, particularly when you are on a fixed income? That makes no business or financial sense. Invest in them to make them comercially viable, or — much simpler — sell them and buy some bonds to INCREASE your fixed income.

    I normally charge a fortune for my advice, but that little bit is free. Today only.

  • Ryan says:

    Well it appears Alameda has elected to go the hard way, under funded schools, more stressed out teachers, and crowded class rooms. This seems to be very consistent with our society’s current approach to strategic planning and prioritizing, short term, reactive, and me first. For those who use the fixed income and/or “I have no children” argument, who do you think will be generating the tax revenue (i.e. income/spending, small business, invention, entrepreneurs) to support social security and senior benefits, the children we just short changed! Good luck with that!

  • MC says:

    OMG. There’s actually a guy on here who’s crying because he apparently owns acres and acres of property in the middle of the Bay Area, which has some of the highest property values in the world. Owning all that property is actually MAKING him poor! Now I’ve heard it all….

  • Ryan says:

    Dear ER,

    I might suggest you take a field trip to one our neighboring communities, Piedmont, with one the top rated schools in the state and check into the spending per capita, and then revisit your funding theories. Also would suggest you visit a kindergarden class room and give go at coralling 32 children, which will now be the new class room size.

  • jeanne allen says:

    Since I guess we will see half the schools close in Alameda by Sept. Here is my suggestion. As of mid May there was 9,100 + students in the Alameda schools. I was told by a good source that there is approx. 10 % out of district students that the school district knows about. I know for a fact that there are borrowed addresses. So if this is all true. Allow the out of district students to return to their cities which will give there short changed districts the money that they need. That should put the Alameda students population at around 8,000. If the class sizes are going to increase to 30-32 use the additional classrooms at the remaining elementary schools to teach 6th grade students. Make the one or two remaining middle schools 7 & 8 grade schools. These are tough economic times for many, even here in Alameda. Next time either add a tax for the schools through Alameda Municipal power or introduce a bond. Stay positive and drop all the negative comments

  • Ralph says:

    Actually, Alameda has some nice homes, but it certainly doesn’t have some of the highest property values in the world. There are two homes on my street alone that have been appraised at $400K for a 3 bedroom and another for $350K for a smaller home. These homes have actually “lost” value and continue to do so. This isn’t Burlingame, Hillsborough or Piedmont; never will be.

    MC says:
    1, June 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm
    OMG. There’s actually a guy on here who’s crying because he apparently owns acres and acres of property in the middle of the Bay Area, which has some of the highest property values in the world. Owning all that property is actually MAKING him poor! Now I’ve heard it all….

  • Mike Wilson says:

    There is one reason I didn’t vote for measure E and the reason is the passage of the recent so call anti-bulling curriculum that was voted in by the school board. I’m sure it would of passed if it wasn’t for that.

  • Franklin says:

    School closures aren’t scheduled to begin until 2011-2012 or 2012-2013. So was this yet another attempt at fear mongering/the sky is falling attempt by AUSD?

  • Jan says:

    It would be great if some of the people criticizing the school board and offering off-the-wall ideas about how to save the schools would bother to just read some of the previous coverage of this issue on this website, and maybe even look at the district’s demographics study and master plan. Then you wouldn’t have to rely on hearsay. There’s nothing mysterious about the problems facing AUSD. The facts are easily available for anyone wanting to take a half hour to learn. Give it a try.


    Board member Mike McMahon also maintains a useful website:

  • Terry says:

    I usually don’t post but here goes. I voted against the proposition. I know I know I’m terrible, and don’t care about the children. all the schools will close, and teachers will be out of work. food lines will form, and alamedas children will not learn to spell. This should be interesting. Will many of the schools close? I doubt it, but I guess will see. I believe that somehow, someway, the money will materialize, and the end of the world wil not occur. I do believe this, if we keep paying more and more taxes, school reform will never take place.

  • RL says:

    While I agree the entire American school system is archaic in structure and delivery, these changes that are necessary to effectively educate our children will take time. New models are coming. Teachers are being trained better and higher standards are arising. However, in the day to day running of schools that, at least in our community, addresses such diversity, teachers and administrators need the resources that will help them to help the students now. Don’t be fooled…this takes money.

    Many may argue that leadership issues should be changed without adding money, but this just won’t work. It takes money to raise standards: higher pay for better teachers. Alas, some teachers who should be and perhaps can’t be fired for whatever reason are another problem. But if you can’t fire them, then you can certainly train them more…which again takes money. Higher class sizes makes a teachers job more difficult. The teacher ends up spending the bulk of the time addressing the needs of a few students and is not able to individualize instruction that would help build up the rest of the class.

    Teachers need resources…they need less students, not more…they need more time for curricular planning and training. I spoke with a mother just today who said her child, who is an ESL student, is failing, but that extra support was not available until the child was in a higher grade?!!!?? This is what I mean when I say resources and support.

    You may have guessed that I am a teacher. I teach preschool, but am very familiar with the elementary school system and have looked at the AUSD Master Plan. If you think that we spend enough on education as it is, you are mistaken. Students are being asked to do more with less time. Students need to come into Kindergarten now ready for academic work. This is why programs such as Head Start and preschool programs for low-income families are so vital. With more of these, more children would be prepared for elementary school…which also takes money.

    Bottom line…California schools are failing because we are failing to provide the financial resources that will allow them to rise up to higher standards. New models are coming…but this takes time and money. All Measure E was asking for was to give AUSD a chance at surviving the state budget cuts and to continue to strive for those better standards. I feel that AUSD is strong, but without support, we may see it fail just yet.

    By the way, this discussion is great…keep it up!

  • Kate Lawlor says:

    I agree with the suggestion to keep APLUS alive as a vehicle for those of us who voted FOR Measure E (the majority of Alameda citizens!)to contribute what we would have paid as a new parcel tax, but instead make it as a voluntary philanthropic contribution. At our numbers, we’d generate an amount close to the target goal.
    I’m in! Is this possible?

  • Jon Spangler says:

    “Franklin says ‘School closures aren’t scheduled to begin until 2011-2012 or 2012-2013. So was this yet another attempt at fear mongering/the sky is falling attempt by AUSD?'”

    Nope. The Board of Education has called a special meeting for July 29 to begin the school closure process, which takes about a year of planning, public hearings, and will really upset thousands of Alamedans, young and old. Plan B in the AUSD Master Plan spells it all out:


    By the time that the school closures actually occur in 2011-2012 the program cuts, increases in class size, and other necessary steps will have already affected Alameda’s students and families. If another parcel tax effort is organized at that point to repair the damage and restore the cuts, it will probably cost us all even more money per taxpayer to do so. And repairing the damage caused by $17 million in cuts over three years will take even longer than that. Humpty-Dumpty is never as quick or easy to repair as he is to break.

  • Trying To Be A Grown Up says:

    There is quite a bit of misunderstanding reflected in some of the comments here and under the other story.

    Measure E was designed to and would have reduced the tax burden on business parcels by a considerable about, about 25% for most. It would have immediately replaced Measure H and Measure A, the two existing school parcel taxes. By winning (with 34% of the vote), business opponents of Measure E have just stopped a tax cut for business.

    After months and months of community meetings and input, this year AUSD’s Board adopted a five year strategic plan (“AUSD Master Plan”) specifically addressing many of the issues and concerns raised here. It is posted on the AUSD website.

    For more than a year AUSD has engaged in unprecedented budget transparency. There have been many detailed explanations and presentations of the budget and all the numbers are posted on-line on the AUSD website. The number of state and federal mandates and strings on school district budgets makes the budget very complicated. The idea some have raised here that one should just look at the gross budget numbers and divide the total ignores the complex reality that for school districts, huge chunks of that budget are locked up in those state and federal mandates and strings. Special education is one example among many.

    In any event, the core budget concept in the Measure E context is that the state has cut funding for AUSD by many millions of dollars over the past few years and the funds from Measure E were going to backfill and offset those cuts. Except for funds we can raise locally through parcel taxes or otherwise, California (not AUSD) controls AUSD’s revenues, just as it does for other school districts. School districts across the state are facing the same horrible choices we face here. Measure E was going to help us keep what we’ve got and avoid the tragedies happening for kids in school districts across the state.

    The recent lawsuit challenging the state’s funding system (Robles-Wong v. CA), a case with AUSD and individual plaintiffs from Alameda as central parties, aims to correct those very problems for students and communities in Alameda and across the state. That is just going to take time.

    AUSD has among the very lowest administrative costs in the County and yet has cut and will continue to cut more. It is a lean organization.

    AUSD employee groups agreed to concessions, layoffs and pay cuts in the forms of furloughs. The furloughs include administrators too, all the way up to the Superintendent, unlike in other districts across the state.

    By defeating Measure E, 34% percent of the voters have now stopped the will of 66% of the voters. It should be interesting to see what comes next.

  • MC says:

    Ralph says:
    1, June 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm
    Actually, Alameda has some nice homes, but it certainly doesn’t have some of the highest property values in the world.

    Dude, read the words on the screen – the words said “Bay Area,” not “Alameda.” They are spelled differently.

    The point is that owning large amounts of land in the middle of the Bay Area (which does indeed have some of the highest property values in the world) amounts to a level of wealth that the vast, vast majority of us will never achieve in our lifetimes. It’s like complaining that you can’t walk very easily because all that cash in your pockets is slowing you down. Give me a freakin’ break!

  • ThankyouAlameda says:

    Kate Lawlor says: “I agree with the suggestion to keep APLUS alive … At our numbers, we’d generate an amount close to the target goal.”

    You can donate schools directly, PTAs and AEF. You don’t need APLUS to donate to our schools. But don’t forget many seniors vote “yes” and then opt-out. That’s how these pass. The 34% that voted “no” are the people that pay.

    Trying To Be A Grown Up says: “There is quite a bit of misunderstanding reflected in some of the comments here and under the other story.”

    Your comments are just more of the “yes” on E campaign rhetoric. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool 2/3rds of the voters all of the time. Alamedans have figured out campaign rhetoric does not equal facts. The Board members that floated this parcel tax were wrong. Even with parents and students trying their hardest to pass it, and donating precious PTA funds to finance the campaign (can you believe the Yes on E Campaign had the audacity to beg PTAs to give money to support their ill-fated campaign???!!!), it still failed. By the way what PTAs gave money to this campaign?

  • Michelle says:

    Yes, and if Prop 8 had had to pass with a 2/3 vote we would be a lot better off. A simple majority of 1 or 2% can really mess up people’s lives. Also, if Measure E had passed by a single vote its proponents would now be crowing with victory. Winning by the rules is winning by the rules.

    As for Measure E supposedly saving money for businesses, hogwash! The measure was designed to make money for the schools, not save money for the rest of us.

    Others have said this before me, the 66% of yes voters should send their yearly checks for $659, or more, if they can afford it, to the schools.

    If the pupil enrollment is declining in Alameda, we, the tax payers, should be saving money. We should be receiving rebate checks instead of tax hikes.

  • Jack Hunt says:

    What’s next? Get a different measure on the ballot and “work with each other”. Simple concept but it hasn’t been practice by both sides. Don’t be like the guys in Washington DC or Sacramento.

  • Trying to Be a Grown Up says:

    Yes to working together. That can be hard to do when people dismiss facts as “rhetoric.”

  • RK says:

    Enough is enough with these school tax ballot measures, every year or two It seems like we all have collective amnesia, that it is required that all Alamedans, should cough up more and more money yet again, because its “all for the children”. Wake up and smell the coffee.. After two ballot measures of A and H barely passed, now the two third majority of households in Alameda who don’t have children, have to dig deeper into their savings and hand it over to the overpaid principles and $150 an hour consultants they hired to “persuade” us that it is good for us to depart with our hard earned dollars. My suggestion is the following: Right now, all the 65% of the folks who supported this tax increase, should right a check for the amount they want the rest of us to pay and send it in to AUSD today…!! If you don’t you are a hypocrite. The 65% of 14 million dollar short fall is nearly 8 million, so go ahead and send it in. What? What’s wrong I don’t see any of you doing it? Are you all of sudden spendthrift? Once again, I say that since AUSD accept donations, all of the supporters of Measure E should send in the amount they tried so hard for the rest of us poor folks to pay, and I mean right now… what are you waiting for??

  • Ralph says:

    Michelle I completely agree. Let these people send their money, let the businesses that have supported this measure send their chunk of profits for this. Many say they will gladly pay such an amount, this is their time now.

    Others have said this before me, the 66% of yes voters should send their yearly checks for $659, or more, if they can afford it, to the schools.

  • Ann says:

    Thanks to ALL who supported Measure E. I’m a teacher in Alameda in an elementary school that is slated to close. Without Measure E, I’d have 25/26 students next year, now it will be 30-32. The more students the harder it is to support their needs, especially these days with more ESL students and those with special needs, emotional or otherwise. Will PE, Music and our Media Center teacher also be cut?? I volunteered and made calls regarding Measure E and remember how astounded I was when I found out that the head of the defeat Measure E campaign doesn’t even live in Alameda. One way or another we’ll get through it, but I expect it won’t be pretty for the students, teachers, Alameda’s great schools, or the community. Enjoy your summer!

  • Pedro Gozinga says:

    Frances says:
    “You ask how we achieve a high quality education without paying for it. The answer is we don’t. High quality education costs money in the form of salaries for more teachers so we can have smaller classes, salaries for other specialists and professionals like music teachers, counselors, resource teachers, etc. If you are not willing to give money to the schools then don’t claim that you “support” them.””

    Well, you’ll have to get by. Start by getting rid of “adult education”. If an adult wants an education, let them pay for it. Then go down the list of programs, line by line and get rid of anything that does not help actual students.

    And how about teachers and administrators take a pay or benefits cut? Say, 10% for starters. If schools have to be shut down,they stand to lose a lot more than that.

    How about they show how much they care and “support” the schools by taking a pay cut. Why am I expected to hand over my money, so the teachers can keep their pay and benefits when these teachers refuse to follow their own advice.

    These are the easy ones. And they’ll potentially save a bunch of money.

  • steve says:

    To Dirk. You are so shortsighted. Better educated students=less crime=higher property values. You obviously benefited from decent schools so that you can have so many properties and a fixed income(YOU SOUND RETIRED)Must be nice to not have a conscience about paying back the community in which you succeeded. I for one hope all those kids that are not going to the overcrowed schools because they won’t be missed, hang out on your wasted non-revenue properties, so they go further down in value.

  • Steve says:

    “If you are not willing to give money to the schools then don’t claim that you “support” them.”

    I voted for Measure E and I’m truly sorry to see it fail. But, contrary to the statement made above, money is not the be-all, end-all for a high quality education. Parental involvement in the schools is at least as important as money and, truth be know, probably more so.

  • steve says:

    One other thing. Boycott those business that posted no on measure E signs. That’ll cost them more than 700 bucks!

  • Frances says:

    Thank you Terry and the others who opposed Measure E and were brave enough to post here and explain the magical thinking that caused them to vote no. “Somehow, someway the money will materialize”? Is that how you manage your own household budget? You say “I know I’m terrible and don’t care about the children” as if that is an exaggeration. You obviously are terribly selfish and don’t actually care about the children of Alameda, and then you justify your selfishness by assuming that the consequences won’t occur or won’t be that bad. If you voted against Measure E then you have no right to say you “support” schools or children, and true supporters of public education are uninterested in your ideas about school reform.

    Also, while it is true as ER says that “there is much more to a quality education than more funds” it is also true that you can’t have a quality education without sufficient funds. And if you are not willing to pay what it costs, then your other ideas are just so much hot air.

  • RK says:

    It looks like my last comment a couple of hours ago was censored. We have ourselves a censorship board a la Soviet Union. I did not say anything offending in that email, but you found it not appropriate for some reason. Shame on YOU!

  • KD says:

    America is supposed to be the Land of Opportunity where anyone and everyone has the chance to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to financial stability/happiness. How does that happen exactly? Good public schools and libraries. So, it doesn’t matter if you don’t currently have a child in the Public School System. You owe it to the greater good of our society to fund public instituties like libraries and schools. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country.”

    So, let us start the discussion of what folks in Alameda can do to support our schools. I’ll gladly send the AUSD a check for the yearly amount of Measure E. But I don’t think that’ll fully cover it, so what else?

  • KD says:

    instituties = institutions :)

  • RK says:

    A few years ago, when our previous governor Gray Davis, warned us about the CA budget deficit and its impact on education, the folks voted him out (almost got burnt at the stakes). But now we find out he was right, and his replacement with the clueless Governator (Reagan protege) is doing all the education cutting but you don’t hear anything complaints from the “majority”. Where are all the lotto money going, etc. etc. As a homeowner in Alameda, I’m asked yet again to foot the bill for our schools, but I’m also paying higher state payrol taxes in the past couple of years, along with higher car registration fees etc. We are also paying the highest sales tax in the country, and you ask what are we getting in return? This unending Prop A,H,E etc.etc. won’t end till we get the state to cough up all our taxes is getting out of control.

    Please don’t forget to recycle the half a million “Protect Your Property Values” signs you posted everywhere, including illegal public places. Sure thing, the supporters of Measure E, are currently thinking of yet another ballot measure, lets call it “F” , since we would make sure it would FAIL.

    Once again, all those families with children with and big houses, and mutliple cars and SUVs, if you can afford those luxuries, then you could definetly able and should be willing to write a check for $700, and send it to AUSD as your donation. Its all for the children.

  • RK says:

    Steve – We would also be boycotting the business that supported measure E (aka Excess). I heard of a few business that put the Yes signs on the window to get the clueless to spend money, but voted against it, when the ballot came in the mail. Ha!

  • dude says:

    Seems a bit unfair to say that if you voted No that you don’t support schools. Aren’t they already paying money to schools in the form of property tax? They just don’t want to support them any more than they currently do. Maybe they can’t afford it. Maybe they are going through the same type of financial crisis the schools are. Would the school pay a struggling family money to keep them from foreclosure? Probably not. I think that those that can afford to and wish to should donate to schools, and they probably will.

  • Franklin says:

    Yes, this is a very smart thing to do (esp in this city) … lest you get a horde of people yelling at you and asking you to get out of town. This is one incident the Measure E supporters will never be able to wish away.

    RK says: June 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Steve – We would also be boycotting the business that supported measure E (aka Excess). I heard of a few business that put the Yes signs on the window to get the clueless to spend money, but voted against it, when the ballot came in the mail. Ha!

  • RK says:

    You are dead wrong to assume that by supporting this tax or any future “school parcel taxes” that we have “save our property values”. Case and point both prop A and H passed, but our home values have declined by at least 20 percent in the past three years. Don’t you keep up with the news. I guess by repeating the same myth and lie a few times, people would think its true. Lots of communities on the West Bay and North Bay, bought into this myth and voted more school taxes, and guess what, their property value also decreased big time. Next time it is strongly recommended that do some research before repeating the same mantra that you see on your front lawns.

  • Harry says:

    Now that the voters have spoken, the AUSD will need to decide what to do in the best interest of the community(kids, parents, homeowner, business owners). In the short term, this might seem like the “end of the world”, but why would AUSD be different from any organization/business. if there is not enough money, people are lay off or plants close. I voted YES, but i also think the result is not so bad. eventually we need to face this reality: there is not enough $$ to go around. if measure E passed, in two or three years, there will be another measure to ask for more money.

    The failure of Measure E is only the tip of the iceberg, the symptom of the illness that is taking over this country of ours in the last 20 years: create lots of programs(welfare, social, disadvantaged), collect lots of tax, and spend, spend, spend. When there is not enough money, maintain lots of programs, borrow, borrow, borrow, and spend spend spend. when is this going to end?

    In our own community, i believe there could be some very achievable solutions, but will take time and money and effort.
    First and foremost: Creation of an endowment fund that will generate income year after year for this school district, without touching the underlying asset. the current Alameda Ed Fund is not adequate in leadership, outreach, and scope . this organization will need new blood and new vision. to see what can be achieved, google: piedmont education fundation

  • dude says:

    I think I see where some of the difference in opinion comes from. If you bought your house 20 years ago, you’re probably paying a fairly small amount for property tax. An extra few bills a year may not be that big of a deal. Let’s say that you bought your house about 5 to 6 years ago, at the height of the housing bubble. You are paying a ton in property tax and the thought of more tax is a hard thing to take.
    Just a thought.

  • Pogue Mahone says:

    Perhaps people will now take a closer look at this district and those whom “rule over it” and the absurd ways in which they choose to run it. I wish someone like East Bay Express or The Guardian would dig and do a feature. A story with the likes of Perata and Garamendi connections, privileged and connected vs. the common and disenfranchised, rampant nepotism and cronyism, a $50,000 un-bid web design job to an unqualified school board relative, questionable consulting fees that total at least $225,000, multiple line items of travel conferences, dues, membership costs, and administrative salaries, 400+ out of town students that help create the illusion that the district can not close schools, the hypocrisy and elitism inherent in the “neighborhood schools” model, and the negligence of 15 wasted years of non action in regards to the underfunding issue. I’m not at all happy that our schools are in the position they are presently, but at all levels; local, state and federal, we and our children have been failed. I have always voted pro education and believe in the promise of public education, but this felt like another band-aid fix coupled with extortion tactics from leadership I no longer believe in.

  • 9er says:

    Pogue, these “neighborhood schools” are why new parents flee San Francisco for Alameda. If Alameda drastically changes the fundamental structure of it’s public schools the community will grow stagnant, property values will plummet and the very core of the Island community will be lost forever. I guess you believe that Alameda would be better off if the entire “elitist” East End cracked off and floated off into the Bay.

  • Franklin says:

    9er, oddly enough even though people are “fleeing” San Francisco for Alameda (as you claim), property values in the city haven’t plummeted (contrary to your doomsday scenario).

    It is precisely this fear mongering by Measure E supporters that was particularly galling during the runup to the elections.

  • Ralph says:

    LOL, I have to laugh at the property value issue. My parents have property near Encinal High. I went to that school three decades ago and it was a dump back when I went to it. I would never expose my child to that place, Chipman as well. The area is even more unsafe now than it ever has been. Property values have declined considerably based on a couple of appraisals I have had done. They have imported students from the city nearby that walk through our neighborhoods smoking pot, cigarettes, using every foul word under the sun including the “N” word. Yeah, a lot of them are learning a lot. Guns go off periodically around 2nd and 3rd streets, heck, someone was just shot in the head over on 2nd the other day. 4th street has had various break ins that we never had before. Take a look at the grocery store at Lincoln and 5th during the day, the police surely know about it. That’s some of your Alameda school products at work. What will raising property taxes do to remedy this particular problem? On the contrary, it will provide more money to invite even more imported trouble makers to Alameda. You take your own money and support these schools.

  • Gordon says:

    Despite the so called shortage of funds, i have heard that the head of AUSD just recently got a pay rise (while the rest of us in private business are talking pay cuts of 10 to 20 percent). When she takes a 20 percent cut, then I might consider a yes vote. Until then it will be a NO.

  • CAE says:

    Alameda schools have been producing very average level students for many years now. Even back when they had a full budget. Adding more money will not solve the problem of declining public education quality in CA. However, going to a voucher system probably would. But the teachers union hates this idea. Wonder why????

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    This is 1987-8 revisited, when AUSD took years of hearings to close Franklin and Paden and changed the grade configuration at others due to years of declining budgets. Everyone survived. Children received good educations, home values soared. Budgets increased, and AUSD reopened the schools, became complacent and Voila! History repeated itself. The economy, politics and much of our society function like a pendulum: going from extreme to extreme. Enrollments decline, and then increase. Urban sprawl just allowed district shift that doesn’t happen here due to our island limitations (and benefits). AUSD needs to anticipate with fiscally responsible adjustments. Which do not necessarily include bandaid after bandaid in the form of parcel taxes and increasing out of district enrollment, hiring “General Counsel” and increased spending on other non-CORE expenses. Get back to basics, provide the best quality education with what the district has, and everyone will survive. Alameda is not alone in the budget crises being suffered. Nearly every city and school district is suffering the same. Simply because all the people are suffering the same. Pretty much due to the economy and fiscal crises created by ENRON, the too big to fail Banks, Bear Sterns et al. Alameda is not the center of the universe and this it not the end. We will all live through this, and be here til the big quake comes and shakes our island lose from greater California and sets us adrift to become our own country. Or not.

  • not from here says:

    After reading through these comments, some insightful but an alarming number of folks appear mean spirited with an apparent lack of thoughtfulness and constructiveness. Where is the dialog that promotes progress and intelligent discussion, largely missing. Mostly, I just see bickering and a he said / she said… perhaps this will pass as the distance from such a close vote grows. For now, it is sad to see a town that I used to work in and have friends in so divided. First the bullying issue and now this divide. Your ballot measures and school board decisions are being reduced to a trivial almost shock radio like banter. Sometimes, just sometimes… an issue might require more than 60 seconds of facts followed by 60 minutes of rant.

    My only hope is that the bulk of those that post on this comment board do not represent the community at large. Alameda is/was a cool town, seems to me like you have found enemies amongst yourselves and this will at some point alter the community that I once found so charming. I bet some of you drive around with pursed lips, eyes scanning the inventory of people to see who is out there from the other side.

    Enjoy the ride Alameda, I look forward to coming back when you find yourself.

  • steve says:

    There are numerous reasons that property values fluctuate. The reason values are down in the last three years despite the passing of prop A and H is the economy. The economy will always trump any other factor. My suggestion is that not properly educating our children will only make it worse and will inhibit the growth of property values as the economy improves.

  • steve says:

    The passage of measure E was not our only chance to save schools. We have bloated Police and fire departments. The average fireman in alameda county makes 144,500.00/year. Have you ever read the fire log in the local paper. Absolutely ridiculous. From sending an engine and an amulance to rescue a cat from a tree to turning off the stove because some chili was burning. I know it is politically incorrect to question safety service personel, but, at what cost is this so called safety. Fireman don’t prevent fires and there has only been 2 house fires that did any real damage(no injuries)in the 10 yrs I have lived here. Our illustrious mayor is excited about adding 6 more fire fighters with a grant of 1.7 million dollars from the federal govt. She claims this is a wonderful thing because it will take them off of unemployment. Unemployment benefits and this grant come from the same till! Yet, it is 1900/month(12 months)=228,000 unemployment benefits vs 1.7 mil grant. It’s true that the grant can’t be used for other purposes, but, we need to understand that we are part of the country and should do our share to save the entire country money. If the country goes bankrupt(already is) we will certainly be bankrupt,as well. We have been convinced that more fireman and more police equals greater safety without diminishing returns. It simply is not true. We are not safer because three cops show up to arrest a guy with his bike light out(I personally saw this happen)We are a safe city because we are well educated,good people. Do not give all the credit to the police department. Fireman shouldn’t be aprking their engine in front of safeway to shop on our dime either! There’s money for the schools in the ridiculous police and fire budgets that people fear to question. Just some oversight,please!

  • Rene says:

    As a parent in Alameda and a teacher in San Leandro (24 years in SL), I know what parents fear: closing neighborhood schools and outrageous class size (BTW we’ve been at 35 in SL middle schools forever). I believe our students would do OK back at 30 or so; it is quality of our kids and parental support for education that make Alameda schools great. Teachers matter too, but I believe we’re all working as hard as we can (of course there are exceptions, but I honestly don’t know any).

    I wish the district could find a way to keep schools open. What about if we got rid of all those portables, put 6th grade back in elementary school and allowed class size increases to something reasonable (35 is a zoo)? I believe that active PTA’s could raise money to put PE, art, and music back in the curriculum. I would be willing to pay my share per child (2). I think a lot of us parents would.

  • Ralph says:

    Steve, I agree. I think since 911 firefighters have been given untouchable status as it relates to the questioning of their compensation, after all, they are our “heroes”. In the past, every time I went to a firehouse the firemen were playing bored to death watching TV. I know the relative of an Alameda police officer and was informed that the opportunities are some of the best in comparison to other departments, education, perks, all paid by the taxpayers. I won’t go into the upper city payrolls like City Attorney and City Manager but their salaries are ridiculous. This is part of what is bankrupting cities. In the meantime we have city trees damaging our sewer lines and sidewalks which cannot even be repaired promptly, if at all. I am preparing to obtain permits and do the work myself just to prevent further damage. I also think this is one of the poorest mayors Alameda has ever had. What has happened to this city that we have sunk so far monetarily and have such weak leadership.

  • 9er says:

    Franklin, People do not move to San Francisco for the public schools while people do in fact move from SF to parts of Alameda because they can afford to own a home and send their children to quality public schools. I am one of many who have made the move. The majority of home owners in the City send their kids to expensive private schools to avoid the nightmare lottery scenario.

    Check out Zillow or Zip Realty and browse the Alameda neighborhoods with the top rated schools (East End, Harbor Bay, Gold Coast) and contrast them to those with lesser performing schools in our district. There is an obvious connection. A home on the other side of the Edison boundary can cost near 100K less than an equal house across the street.

    Edison Elementary Home:
    3115 Fairview (3 BD, 1 BA, 1,258 SQ FT) listed at $740,000

    Henry Height Home:
    2017 Lincoln (3 BD, 1 BA, 1,443 SQ FT) listed at $379,000

    Compare Piedmont to Crocker Highlands in Oakland. Equally posh, high end neighborhoods but Piedmont (higher property taxes and all) commands a premium because the community has made their schools a huge priority.

  • RK says:

    Thanks Steve for your insight regarding APD, and AFD. It appears that no one questions these two organizations since we are told over and over again, that they are sacrosanct. Like everyone else, I would like better educated kids, and I wish some of our Alameda’s finest take a paycut like everyone else, and some that money could go to the schools. But, that is never going to happen.

  • Pogue Mahone says:

    9er, Perhaps you should reconsider that an environment of affluence breeds more educational opportunity not the other way around.

  • 9er says:

    Pogue, I can agree to that to an extent. Alameda is somewhat unique in that it’s affluent parents are still enrolling their kids in our public schools. If the public schools erode to the point where the affluent and educated parents of the East End/Gold Coast/Etc. start shipping their kids off to private schools (or pick up and move to Lamorinda) it will have a negative effect on the student body makeup and the schools in general.

  • steve says:

    I’m new to blogging. But, this has to stop. I went to Safeway this morning and, once again, 3 firefighters we’re shopping on our dime with a full engine in tow. My wife went 2 hours later and the same 3 firefighers we’re back, same moduas operandi! Doing the math based on salaries and cost of taking the engine out of the firehouse(Check SJ Mercury News for updated public salaries) it cost a minimum of $1200 bucks to feed this shopping spree(not including the cost of food) for 3 dedicated public servants to protect our safety. Someone please help me find another forum that will put some over due oversight on this HUGE problem!

  • Ralph says:

    Steve, they also park their truck regularly at Marina Village in front of Wells Fargo. I have seen this numerous times. I have even seen firemen in Wells Fargo waiting in line to do their banking. They certainly weren’t exactly putting out fires. I know many people that have always had a problem with the salaries and benefits firemen get. Isn’t it time to start addressing this issue?

  • eddy says:

    If Alameda drastically changes the fundamental structure of it’s public schools the community will grow stagnant, property values will plummet and the very core of the Island community will be lost forever.

    Yes- its a shame that some schools will get closed. But as a separate issue unrelated to Measure E, housing prices in Alameda are out of control. They are way too expensive even after somewhat of a correction. My wife and I make a good income. As in 6 figures. But houses are still something like $500,000. In other words too high to buy given that if either of us lost our jobs ( likely in this economy) we would lose the house. Alameda is just like a lot of other Bay Area towns and is turning into a Geriatric ghetto with rich hipsters interspersed.

    You want to know what the underlying problem behind school funding is in the Bay Area and California in general? Prop 13. There is NO reason why an old person living in a house now worth a million dollars should only pay taxes on a house with a taxable value of $30,000. Simply put, Alameda is full of old people paying pennies on the dollar for homes worth sometimes worth millions. In return these taxes are used to fund a local and state government that has like everything else risen in costs over time. What’s worse is that businesses get the same advantage. Thus you have the same thing: older businesses- of which there are many in Alameda- paying a fraction of their fair share in taxes.

    There is no way a government can function long term with such a tax system in place. The problems we face in this state today will continue and gradually grow worse over time as long as Prop 13 is on the books.

  • Michelle says:

    It is not the old person’s fault that their house has gone up to a ridiculously high price of a million dollars. To the old person it is just a home. There is no earthly reason that someone who paid $20,000 for a house should now have to pay taxes on a million. Neither should they be forced to sell the home for a million dollars, even if they could.

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