Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 10, 2012

Bags are packed, ready to go

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Yesterday Doug Biggs tweeted this info:

Which we all knew was inevitable given that the School District doesn’t really have the money for seismic improvements.   So that sparked a very short twitter conversation between me and Doug B. about where the district offices and the Adult School could actually go.   I noted that there aren’t a whole lot of vacant buildings left in AUSD’s portfolio and Doug B. brought up City Hall West’s availability which I think is a great idea, if the City would part with allowing AUSD to move out there for a nominal lease.

But the bigger question is, what happens with the buildings that are being vacated.   I know, I know.  It’s historic.   But let’s put a pin in that for a minute.   If for some reason the buildings weren’t there I wonder if that would be enough space to build additional capacity that would make a high school consolidation possible.

I know there is some rivalry between Alameda and Encinal High Schools, but a larger consolidated high school would allow for resources to be more efficiently divided among all high school students.    There can be a larger variety of electives offered because of the larger population.   And they don’t even need to choose between calling it Alameda or Encinal they can just name it something else.

But whatever happens and wherever the facility offices end up moving, I know people will be keeping their eyes peeled for leather chair and expensive office expenditures, right?  🙂   I just think it’s a shame that there will be this very large piece of property that will be vacant — except for the occasional event at Kofman Auditorium.

In other exciting school related new, it’s #1 daughter’s 100 day of Kindergarten today and she is super excited.  For her 100 day project — for those that do not know, Kindergarteners have to turn in a 100 day project which includes displaying 100 of one item in some form.   She chose to string 100 beads — her idea, not mine — and display it as a necklace on a head and torso that she drew.  I only helped by cutting out some felt to resemble a top because she felt as though her avatar should be dressed.  It’s adorable.



  1. Love the idea of celebrating 100 to teach numerals…

    What about the issue of whether their is a future for adult education in the District? With diminishing resources OUSD cut back adult education. Should AUSD do the same? If given the alternative of cutting early childhood education and adult education, most people would opt to give kids a chance. Given the explosion of online learning opportunities, is adult education an anachronism?

    Where is the money supposed to come from to build a new high school? What about selling both campuses and purchasing COA?

    Comment by Really? — February 10, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  2. Obviously your girl child is, “above average”. Margie Sherrat spoke last night at a “state of the AUSD” meeting the League put on, which was well attended. She did talk a little about the seismic problem, but did not even hint at any possible solution. Of interest to me was the reason given for the fund surplus the District is running and with which the teachers are not happy. Seems that the State funding is pretty chaotic, and the District (according to Margie) is trying to be prudent in case of budget catastrophe, so major damage can be avoided.

    The finance man said, in respect to the funds for the seismic work needed, that there are capital project funds, which can only be spent on that kind of thing, but he did not go into specifics as to cost and how much they had to do the projects. There has been a lot of deferred maintenance already, so I bet that some money will be diverted from those needed projects to the seismic work.
    BTW, the high school consolidation idea has had about 10 rounds in the ring, and has been discarded each time. Seems none of our campuses is large enough to meet the State site requirements. Besides, as one earnest parent told me many years ago: “Do you realize if we did that we would have only one quarterback?” Horrors! LOL

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 10, 2012 @ 6:37 am

  3. >>> trying to be prudent in case of budget catastrophe

    Didn’t the school district just approve roughly 2.5m in brand new programs? (adding 6th grade to Bay Farm, arts program, etc.)

    Comment by Jack B. — February 10, 2012 @ 7:37 am

  4. Wait until the real life situation stares Alameda Hospital in he face, they have about $38-$54 million in seismic upgrades to do in the next few years but don’t have the money either

    Comment by Pat Berton — February 10, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  5. The monies to be used for the magnet/innovative programs will come from a redirection of existing revenues toward these programs, not an increase in expenditures.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — February 10, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  6. Thanks Mike. It’s been hard to follow this without news coverage of school board meetings. But I think that’s about to be remedied.

    Comment by Jack B. — February 10, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  7. I still feel the magnet programs are muddled, at least to anybody who was not directly involved. I read the entire proposal and realize there was input from all parties such as teachers, parents but I don’t come away with a clear understanding of any big picture plan. In fact it feels like pandering to various constituencies in the district rather than a comprehensive systemic approach. My gut reaction is that it is fragmented and will muddle enrollment at the various school sites. And even if it is being done with redirected funds, how is a district which is struggling with money able to redirect all this money, especially with programs which are so vauge? It has to put a hit on various efficiencies. I hate to sound like a stick in the mud because I do believe strongly that one size does not fit all, as Margie said last night, and as I’ve said before my own kids prospered at both the previous academy program at Wood and developmental programs at Paden. I am just not confident we are even replicating that level of efficacy and would like a lot more specifics.

    As to surplus, Margie’s explanation was far too general when it comes to how it was amassed and there was no explanation of alignment with projected deficits other than to allude to the state having endless capacity to cut. I left before Q&A but judging by presentation didn’t expect to miss much. Margie also implied that there would be no room to negotiate significant increases for teachers until and unless Gov. Brown’s tax initiative passes in November. I guess it was appropriate ( or not inappropriate) that Vital and other staff were in attendance, AEA was also in evidence. I just wonder how it felt to give the presentation with the Supe in the front row right under Margie’s nose. She was looking toward AEA with tears welling when she spoke to employee compensation, but I couldn’t help projecting the pull she was feeling from her periphery. I’m not talking about Robert Shemwell whose presence was obviously entirely appropriate.

    Kate, did Q&A put a finer point on surplus?

    Comment by M.I. — February 10, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  8. ……..leaving, on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again……..

    Comment by Anthony Bologna, Jr. — February 10, 2012 @ 11:10 am

  9. Did Robert Shemwell, AUSD’s CFO, discuss the Measure C bond repayment plan last night? While it appears the “Move” is step one in asking for additional needed construction money from voters, my immediate concern is the escalating costs associated with Measure C repayment. In 2010, less than a million dollars was collected from ‘ad valorum’ taxes on the property tax bills of Alameda property owners.(approx $60 per 10k assessed property value) Because of the ‘back-loading’ of the bond repayment plan, this $950k will escalate to about $6M while today’s 9th graders are still in high school (2015). It will keep escalating over time to reach approx $9M/yr. Each year the county will collect the needed money through the property tax bills to our city’s property owners.

    While I was told the repayment plan is not a concern of the Measure C Oversight Committee, Mr Shemwell tried to tell me the nearly 10-fold increase in payments property tax payers must cover should not affect their payments, but he could not explain how that could be so. I suspect in ’02 -’03 when David Forbes, then BOE member, was putting the plan together, they back-loaded the repayment plan wanting to keep initial payments low to get voter approval, and perhaps they were hoping Catullus would build 30-40,000 million dollar homes at the Point and else where in the land deals the city was giving them, to help reduce the individual payments. I can’t fathom how tax payers will foot the rising Measure C repayment costs except by borrowing more money for a longer period through additional bonds. How then will AUSD raise still more additional funds for the capital improvements now needed? Is there a way AUSD can realistically live within the means of the community?

    Was any of this addressed last night? Were any of the other accounting problems of Measure C which the most recent audit reported discussed?
    Which budgets were discussed, and what was the basic report?

    David Kirwin,
    Member of Measure C Oversight Committee

    Comment by David Kirwin — February 10, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  10. BTW, there is nothing in the field act that relates to School District offices, or adult schools, maintenance shops etc. The Field act is ONLY relating to the buildings housing K-12 students of Public Schools. (Because by law, children must attend school, and the Field Act is for protecting those students only).

    Likewise with some of the recent decisions on how to spend remaining Measure C monies – AUSD is choosing to spend on un-needed choices that are not required, and falsely citing new laws that do not apply to their choices.

    I have completely lost faith in this school administration and I feel the current BOE just rubber-stamps AUSD administration. Perhaps because of so many ex-AUSD administrators on the BOE. The BOE is supposed to lead the District, not follow it blindly.

    Comment by David Kirwin — February 10, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  11. My understanding is the district was recently notified the field act has now been expanded to include all students regardless of and AUSD is determining whether they will qualify for State funding to help cover the cost of the repairs. We can only hope that the State won’t pull their usual shell game.

    Comment by Anne DeBardeleben — February 10, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  12. It would be great if we could find out what is really behind this action. Googling “Revisions to CA Field Act’ gives no hits. Of course Google is not perfect they just think they are.

    As far as ‘the State of CA Shell Game’. The State is broke. So I guess they want monies from the Fed (which is also broke).

    Comment by frank — February 10, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  13. Lucky for all of you, the event was filmed. I will ask the League President, Jeff Cambra, to post when it will be shown.
    Anne is right about what was said about the Field Act. Another interesting piece of data was that the District receives from the State only about 68% of its “allocation” in any one fiscal year, and has to go to bridge loans to cover the shortfall. There is of course debt service on these loans. All the districts in the state are forced to do this.

    We should all reminded ourselves that our district is a “low weath” district, mostly due to, if I remember correctly, the formulas for allocation of money by the state to the districts, which is governed by Prop 13 and Serrano-Priest. Before these, we had pretty low tax rates as we had huge subventions for our military kids from the The Naval Air Station was closed and Poof!, away went the federal money. Unfortunately, the formula for allocation is based on what your tax rate was before, and ours was low, so we are in a perpetual pickle money-wise. That is a structural part of the problem.

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 10, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  14. Mr. Kirwin, when did you ever have faith in any AUSD school administration?

    Comment by Mother of Four — February 10, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  15. I thought that as a condition of the library moving to HAHS during construction of the new Main, the city was supposed to retrofit that section. I guess it did not happen.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — February 11, 2012 @ 12:49 am

  16. The library did put money into the wing that they used. As I recall, more than $1million, enough to strengthen the building to hold those thousands of books. I don’t know whether it met retrofit requirements. Margie mentioned the adult school and admin. wings, not the interm library or little theater wings.

    I didn’t know, before I went to meeting that Open House was not going to happen. It wasn’t mentioned. Can someone put out the straight scoop, with history, on this? The letter from the union on Patch is so poorly written I can’t make it out. Margie said the teachers got their furlough days back. . . . But there’s no money for Open House? I think most families think it is possibly the best thing the schools do for them.

    Comment by Li_ — February 11, 2012 @ 7:53 am

  17. Li, as I understand it, back a couple of years, the district/teachers, negotiated dropping the Open House in partial recompense for the furlough days. While I don’t think that was very bright, it was agreed to and has not been renegotiated. The teachers got their furlough (unpaid days) back, but the Open House cancellation stayed in the contract. The AUSD put out a rather misleading statement that the Open House was cancelled, sort of suggesting it was the teacher’s union’s move. The teacher’s union came back and cried “foul” because they said they were just observing what was in the contract and this was negotiated and so not just “on them.”

    Some of this appears to me to be rather disingenuous, as the teachers got their furlough days back but nobody thought to consider that the Open House event was a positive opportunity for the teachers/district/parents to interface. I think it was a PR disaster all the way around, and never should have been negotiated in the first place. However, it was, and there it sits until the new negotiations are finished. There is, in my opinion, far too much demonization and adversarial public “chat” going on during these negotiations for the health of the district. The process is turning off a lot of education supporters. I fault both sides for not recognizing the impact of this public negativity.

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 11, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  18. Note to teachers concerning this:

    “While I don’t think that was very bright, it was agreed to and has not been renegotiated.”

    Next negociating session consider this…

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 11, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  19. Church Lady……I’m sticking to what I said about a year ago.

    127.I’m saying Framing MEASURE A as something for the kids is BS. To lie to the citizens that this is for the KIDS is an insult to all.This issue is all about Teachers and Administrators and Staff Making More Money .

    Comment by John — March 1, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    47.If your running a School District with 95% Labor Costs ( STAFF, ADMINISTRATORS,TEACHERS with an average Salary, Benefits and Pension cost of over 100,000.00) is there any wonder how you can run a School District on 5% with so many other costs .

    I wonder what % is going actually to Students if 95% going to Staff Administrators and Teachers with all the other costs.

    Jon Spangler says alot of companies run on 95% Labor costs. I’m sure he will give a list of his top 10 favorites .

    Most companies and even Non profits run 7 – 38% labor costs. Anything over 50% labor costs is considered very shaky at best.

    Still having a hard time grasping that this MEASURE A was FRAMED as Something GREAT for our STUDENTS.

    I guess i’m totally ignorant and can’t grasp the excitement for the kids and Measure A.

    Labor Costs in the AUSD Ran Well under 50% when I went to school . That would mean about 4,000.00 to Each student in AUSD for extra stuff that is now going to STAFF ADMINISTRATORS TEACHERS that should be used on them.

    If I say it enough times this Measure A is Good For the Students still doesn’t make it true.

    I would Gladly Pay Double the Tax if it actually was going to the Kids.

    Comment by john — March 11, 2011 @ 3:06 am

    Comment by John — February 11, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  20. 17
    What makes you think the teachers would rather have teacher/s/district/parents open- house than being compensated for furlough, Kate? The bottom line is always the pocketbook and I don’t blame the teachers. Who needs a bunch of non-teachers second guessing how professionals should do their job?

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 11, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  21. 20. your question seems confused. I’m not under impression teachers would rather have open house than be compensated for furlough, which is what you stated isn’t it? I also didn’t extrapolate that sentiment from 17. . makes no sense. I’m sure teachers are damn happy to be done with furlough, but MOU has more in it than a swap of furlough for open house. In my mind that doesn’t mean teachers couldn’t simply have voluntarily agreed to open house despite contract as PR move to prevent district from doing what they are doing to demonsize teachers/AEA, but the whole contract is so damn confusing I think I have to reserve judgement and wait for smoke to clear before asserting firm opinion, if I’m ever able.

    I tend to agree with Kate in 17, but feel AEA has continually been back pedaling which is not to say some of their actions have not at times been ham fisted and in some minds in bad faith, but their actions generally seem defensive. The emphasis there being that they haven’t initiated most of the bullshit. And by bullshit I’m not talking about presenting coal, which is clearly BS antics in my book. I mean attempting to manipulate the process like this last communication to the public from Ms. Vital’s office which posed as being reasonable by asking parents to sympathize with teachers caught between their union and the negotiating process. It seems entirely inappropriate for a party which is half of what teachers are supposed to be sandwiched between to come out with that sort of spin aimed at bashing the union. Especially while the process is ongoing. Even if you are pissed that teachers because they are supposedly asking for the moon when we haven’t got the money, I would hope reasonable people would recognize this type of manipulation is unfair but also seems standard for district action. AEA is blamed for being out matched in both negotiating leverage and skills, neither of which have baring on the facts. Even though it is on MOU only I hope when fact finding is complete that some light is shed here.

    Comment by M.I. — February 12, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  22. Jack if 48 % of your Students are failing to grasp the Subject and scoring basic and far below basic like they are in Science and 42% in Math and 41% in History. I’m sure alot non-teachers are second guessing how Alameda professionals are doing their job or should do their job.

    Basic: This level represents a limited performance. Students demonstrate a partial and rudimentary understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Far Below / Below Basic: This level represents a serious lack of performance. Students demonstrate little or a flawed

    Comment by John — February 12, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  23. understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Comment by John — February 12, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  24. M.I. I worked for a half hour trying to figure out what your 21 asked or meant but I gave up.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  25. John, given the bullshit kids have their heads filled with from the moment of awareness to the time they are finally shoved out of school along with the constant meddling in the teaching process by all levels of ignorant politicians, I’m, frankly, surprised the lowest common denominator isn’t far lower.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  26. Jack

    so much for letting Students and Parents pick where their students get educated with Public Monies.

    “Mendoza’s bill is obviously designed to stop more charter schools from opening. If that leaves California’s students with fewer educational options – and keeps them trapped in failing schools – so be it.”

    End of the line for charters in California

    February 10,2012

    A bill being considered by the California state Senate would allow school districts to prevent the formation of a charter school if it would have a “negative fiscal impact on the school district,” reports the Orange County Register.

    The bill, which was introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, recently passed the General Assembly by a vote of 41 – 27.

    “ … [T]he bill states that a school district could deny a charter petition if the district is in negative financial status, has received an emergency loan, or would lose enough money … (that) approving a charter would push them over the edge. …,” Mendoza wrote in a press release.

    Considering how California’s public schools have grossly overspent for decades – due primarily to the state’s powerful school employee unions – are there any California school districts that don’t meet those criteria?

    Mendoza’s bill is obviously designed to stop more charter schools from opening. If that leaves California’s students with fewer educational options – and keeps them trapped in failing schools – so be it.

    It won’t be the first time the “education industrial complex” asked kids to take one for the team. The San Diego district is so broke that it cut the school year by five days, in order to save money.

    Shorter school years, fewer academic and extracurricular offerings, fewer charter schools … it appears California students will be asked to “pay any price, bear any burden, and meet any hardship” to keep the adult school employees from going without.

    Comment by John — February 12, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  27. 27
    The one bulb left lit in the public school system is the Charter School bulb and just like incandescents being sent to the trash heap so is the Charter experiment. What’s only fitting is Tony Mendoza is an ex CTA and NEA rep so all Progressives should support this bill.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  28. The good news, John, is there ain’t going be many Progressives left in California soon…but not soon enough for us. Progressives love to screw, it’s the normal results of screwing they can’t live with. Having and raising kids is not an option when you’re out changing the world, consequently the fertility rate of Progressives guarantees they will join the trash heap of history, like the light bulbs, in two generations.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 12, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  29. Add to that list of The Biggest Lies [right after “We’re from the government & we’re here to help”]
    “Vote for the Parcel Tax to maintain excellent schools for our kids!”

    Comment by vigi — February 13, 2012 @ 10:25 am

  30. @29, a Reaganite who is still drinking the kool-aid!

    In the real world:

    Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.
    He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.

    Comment by alameda — February 13, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  31. Getting back to thew packed bags… I kinda wish the Super and her BOE were all leaving on that big jet plane…
    Why do the AUSD administrators need new digs? Their fat salary not enough? Maybe their offices just are not nice enough, or they are not the preferred status symbol for those making over $1/4 M / year? Is this what measure A was for?
    Of course not – it was for the kids. And if M.A is used for something that used to be paid from a non-categorized fund, then those funds are now available for the use at the Superintendent’s discretion, right?
    This reminds me of when I was supporting bringing the lottery to CA in the 80’s – It for the kids, right? A great windfall for the schools, right? -Sure, the schools got the promised money from the lottery, but for every dollar from the lottery, a dollar from CA Edu budget was was able to go to the CA General fund. The lottery did not raise the amount of money the schools received overall.
    Alameda schools are not the quality schools they once were. Higher admin salaries do not help the kids. In fact I think they have had the opposite effect since Dr Nishino. The high salaries have made the most important positions into a money game, not a ‘we care about the kids’ position. Great for the consulting firms and headhunters who make a percentage, bad for the kids, parents and tax payers.

    Comment by David Kirwin — February 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  32. Why not move the Stupers Office to the Old Island High School. I think she should get the one with No Heat…..It certainly was good enough for the Students and teachers…Why not good enough for the Stuphor Intendent.

    Just wear Extra Coat like the Kids had too.

    Comment by John — February 13, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

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