Want another example of why the School Board is so dysfunctional?
Okay, at Tuesday’s Board meeting there was an agenda item to approve the members for the Measure A oversight committee. Pretty straightforward right? The School District put our a call for applications weeks and weeks ago — for one hot second I actually thought of applying but then got lazy — now they have a list of 11 folks that they were asking for the School Board to approve. Seems simple enough right? In fact, the application period was extra long this time around too.
So there’s a list sounds like a fairly diverse-ish list considering that this is a really meh sort of Board and unless you are super stoked about oversight and meetings, most people would pass.
It did not get an unanimous vote.
I bet you are as gobsmacked as I was. I mean, I sort of knew, but I was still so surprised nonetheless. And guess who voted against it. If you guessed Trish Spencer you deserve a sticker.
Her rationale? Because not every single school site in Alameda is represented on the Committee.
Here’s a bit of math for you. There are 11 seats on the oversight committee. The Board collectively decided that 11 would be good enough way back when. Personally, 11 is way too big, but whatever.
Trish Spencer voted no on this item because it didn’t represent all of the school sites in Alameda. There are almost 20 school sites in Alameda if you count all the charter schools and magnet schools and what not. 20 > 11. Unless a bunch of people on the committee just happened to have multiple children that they sent to multiple schools, there was no way that you would be able to represent ALL school sites on the committee. No way. Plus having “community members” as opposed to parents as well. It’s just not possible.
At some point someone needs to have a talk to Trish Spencer and point out that her antics are ridiculous. Look there is a way to lodge your feelings on an issue but not look like a naysayer all the time. She could have said, “while I know that, per the policy we adopted we only allowed for 11 people, but I disagree and think that we should have had more members from the start to accurately capture at least one representative from each school, however I will vote yes in order to move this agenda item forward.” See, still reflects her position, but doesn’t vote “no” just to vote “no.”
Here’s another example. Remember this post?
And this slide:
So I didn’t get this slide from any source, it was just in the agenda packet. During this discussion Trish Spencer asks that the District provide information on what the parcel tax funds “for the community” to understand because there are “buckets” of money identified in the parcel tax. She specifically wants numbers to be added to the slide that correspond with the numbered list in the parcel tax language to indicate which bucket the expenditures fall under. So the Superintendent points out that the information is on the slide that they provide. You’ll see it above, it’s the number after the four digit number on the left. After the Superintendent and finance dude point this out, Trish Spencer hems and haws and says that she doesn’t see it on the slide. So even though they had on the slide exactly what she wanted, she doubles down and says we need more information about what those numbers correspond to as well.
Here’s the thing, this is the kind of stuff Board members should really do BEFORE the meeting. If there is something you don’t understand, ask before the meeting otherwise you are taking up meeting time dealing with petty queries that could be handled before the meeting. There is no reason to do this except to try to catch staff with their pants down or manufacture some “gotcha” moment.
Oh in more school related news, with the departure of Gray Harris as the head of the Alameda Education Association there was an election, I think, last week. Kindergarten teacher at Ruby Bridges Elementary Audrey Hyman has been elected as the new head of AEA. I believe that the president of AEA is a full time job so I’m not sure what this means for her current role in the classroom, I’m assuming that we’ll probably be seeing a new teacher in the Ruby Bridges Kindergarten building soon,