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Board begins looking at school closure plans

Submitted by on 1, September 13, 2010 – 4:50 am3 Comments

Alameda’s Board of Education on Tuesday will begin work on a plan to close schools over the next two years in order to save money. The proposals under preliminary consideration on Tuesday also include bigger classes in kindergarten through third grade and reconfigured grade levels for the district’s schools.

Staff proposals for the 2011-2012 school year include closing both of the district’s middle schools and spreading students out across the district’s other schools, and the district could also consider shuttering Washington and Paden elementary schools. The district’s elementary schools could add sixth grade, and its high schools could be reconfigured with students from a variety of different grade levels. Options include putting grades 7-12 in each of the district’s two high schools or splitting the schools so one houses students in grades 6-8 and the other, grades 9-12.

The half-dozen proposals also consider raising class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to 32 students per teacher.

Proposals for 2012-13 would include closing Edison, Otis, Bay Farm, Franklin and Lum schools, plus Washington and Paden if they haven’t been closed already. The district could then maintain elementary school services at Ruby Bridges, Amelia Earhart and Henry Haight schools and at the buildings that once housed Wood and Lincoln middle schools.

Separately, the board will consider options for the Alameda Science and Technology Institute high school and Island High School that include increasing enrollment at ASTI and spreading out the grade levels at Woodstock Child Development Center and the College of Alameda and restricting Island’s enrollment to Alameda residents and housing it at Woodstock.

This year, the district has 4,279 elementary school students, 1,431 middle schoolers and 3,126 high school students, district numbers to be presented Tuesday show.

The district would save $1.1 million if it closed a high school, $600,000 for closing a middle school and around $300,000 for closing an elementary school. Increasing class sizes would save the district $1.1 million.

Still, district staff said that closures still won’t be enough to cover the $4 million to $5 million they expect to cut next year and $7 million to $8 million they anticipate they will need to cut in 2012-13, and they said further cuts would be needed. Over two years, the closure and consolidation scenarios would save an estimated $3.6 million to $4.2 million.

The district has scheduled two meetings to talk to the public about the proposed school closures. The meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. September 30 at Lincoln Middle School and 6:30 p.m. October 21 at Ruby Bridges Elementary School.

The school board is slated to get final closure recommendations at its November 23 meeting, and is expected to make a decision on closures and consolidations on December 14.

Separately, the district will be working to put another parcel tax on the ballot, in part to head off the closures and consolidations district leaders are now planning for. Public hearings on a fresh parcel tax are scheduled for 6 p.m. September 21 at Kofman Auditorium and 6 p.m. October 14 at Earhart Elementary. The board is slated to get a final recommendation on a tax for a March ballot on November 9 and make a decision about whether to go forward and with what on November 23.

Measure E, a tax that would have replaced the district’s two existing parcel taxes and doubled the amount the district collects, failed in June by fewer than 300 votes. The district’s existing Measures A and H taxes, which garner $7 million a year, lapse in 2012.

The district’s presentation on closures and consolidations is below.


  • nancy vicknair says:

    ‘The half-dozen proposals also consider raising class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to 32 students per teacher.’


    Reminder to self: move out of Alameda.

    This town was going forward, but due to political whackos who have their own agenda, it is now taking a turn back. The folks that did not want to help the schools are older and do not have kids currently in Alameda’s school system. How many ways can the word “dumb” be spelled?? I miss my education hungry New England.

  • JEROME says:

    So AUSD has 3126 HS students. Take away out-of-town students (including those using phony addresses of non-guardian relatives) and there are ~350 less. Considering you would still have ASTI and Island, as well as ACLC, that leaves around 2500 HS students for a single HS in town. Not an impossible task, if you have 10-12 at AHS and all of 7-9 at one middle school, Encinal.

    Combine this ‘single HS/MS’ scenario with (IMHO) a do-able parcel tax of, say, $450 per single dwelling, $200 per duplex unit, and $100 for any other residential multi-unit dwelling, and you can hopefully save most of the neighborhood elementary schools, which for my money are the lifeblood of AUSD. They’re what bring the solid families to settle in Alameda.

    But if they go forward with almost any of these scenarios there will likely be conversions to charter schools. I don’t believe the Edison, Franklin, or Bay Farm areas allow their schools to disappear.

  • hobnob says:

    The fact that Measure E exempted anyone is the failure of the measure. Alot of homes are owned by seniors and people that have lived there well over 20 years which with Prop 13, allows them to pay very little property tax to the city.

    Along with exempting Seniors and others from the measure, of course the measure was going to fail. Also, none of the out of town children’s parents were going to pay, highly unfair.

    They need to make this a parcel tax which nobody gets to opt out of.

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