Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 22, 2013

Some offices are bigger than others

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

Just wanted to write a quickie post about last week’s School Board meeting,  the video is now reliably on the internet a few days after the meeting, so if you don’t catch them in person, they can be viewed here.

As I mentioned last week, the calendar for the 2013-2014 school year has been approved and the timing is great considering how long we had to wait last year to get the calendar.  Good going everyone getting that taken care of.

During the public comments a lot of teachers came up to essentially ask the School Board to urge them to better compensate the teachers because health care costs have been rising, which takes a larger cut out of teacher’s paychecks and the folks that came up to speak mentioned that morale is at an all-time low among the rank and file.   While the folks who said that were highly sympathetic, less sympathetic were the folks who hyperbolically announced that when he asked other teachers to come and speak they said that they were too afraid to because of fear of retaliation.  He the indicated that the situation was similar to students in Oakland that are intimidated by gang members.


Overreaching much?   Because the inability to go to school feeling safe and that you might be harassed by violent criminals and perhaps killed by the same criminals is the same as speaking in front of an elected public body.   Got it.

Blah blah blah, Edison Elementary talked about their school and all the emergency protocols that they have in place, sounds like despite the lack of “basic safety measures” — whatever that means — they are pretty prepared in case an actual emergency happens.   Oh, they also have a huge PTA budget.

There was talk about getting the community engaged in discussing the state of AUSD Facilities, including what to do with the Historic Alameda High School.   There was some back and forth about which comes first: the hiring of experts to tell you what you can do with your assets or the community saying what they want to do with the assets, but in the end it appears that the fear of the lack of trust of anything having to do with the AUSD administration won out and they decided to go with the, let’s ask the community what they want first and if it’s not feasible then we really won’t know anyway because no one here is an expert on architecture and stuff.

Oh, did I mention that Trish Spencer didn’t want to have ANY discussion on the facilities issues until a new contract between the teachers union and the school district is ratified?   Yeah…because I guess multi-tasking is beyond the scope of the School Board.

So, do you see what is coming down the pipeline though folks with the discussion of the facilities?   That’s right!  Parcel tax!   But this one will be on those parcel taxes that only need 55% of voters to approve it because it’s for physical improvements as long as the election is in odd numbered years, hey, like this one…

Anyway depending on what the community decides it wants done with the Historic Alameda High School a parcel tax may be the only way to fund those improvements.   Plus, apparently lots of sites in Alameda need a whole lot of work.

Finally, the administrative offices have completed their move to the Challenger site, as I mentioned there are tours available, because I know you all want to check out these fancy digs.  If you would like  tour call: 337-7000 and the Maintenance and Facilities Department will schedule one for you.

Of course, nothing happens in this town without a bit of drama.  So this leads into a hot bit of interrogation by Trish Spencer who announces that the Superintendent’s office is so much larger than at the old site and goes on to talk about the conference room and how it used to be connected to the Superintendent’s office at the last site but now it’s not (or vice versa)  and that it’s all so much bigger than it used to be.  The Superintendent responds back that actually the space is smaller.   Trish Spencer is unconvinced and wants a square footage calculation of both offices to compare.   In case you’re wondering, I’ve asked for the numbers because I know you’re all dying to know now.



  1. A minor correction. At the end of the community engagement and the development of a facilities plan, there will be options on how to rebuild/replace AUSD facilities. Given the amount will be in the tens of millions of dollars, the District will issue bonds. These bonds will be financed through a property tax assessment based on the value of the property. So technically it is not a parcel tax. Currently, Alameda land owners are paying for bonds issued in the early 2000s that expire sometime after 2030.

    The earliest as a decision to place a measure on the ballot would be the summer of 2014 for a November, 2014 election.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 22, 2013 @ 7:02 am

  2. Thanks for the correction Mike!

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 22, 2013 @ 7:08 am

  3. I’m unclear on why the facilities process is either/or. The district should hire a consultant to determine what needs to be done, but while that analysis is being compiled, the district should hold a public workshop on what the community wants its school system to look like.

    Of course much of this was done for the master plan, and Measure A was passed with a promise of maintaining neighborhood schools, so there doesn’t have to be too much process, but letting the community give input early in the process will only lead to better recommendations down the road.

    One would hope that the district has learned from some of its past mistakes and will involve folks early in a meaningful way.

    Comment by jkw — January 22, 2013 @ 7:34 am

  4. “…Trish Spencer didn’t want to have ANY discussion on the facilities issues until a new contract between the teachers union and the school district is ratified? Yeah…because I guess multi-tasking is beyond the scope of the School Board.”

    Trustee Spencer has similarly argued for delays in discussing and handling issues in the past–delays that resulted in additional cost to the taxpayers and greater divisions in the community. Sometimes I wonder if she really wants to help AUSD progress and assist in school governance or if all she wants to do is subvert rational decision making….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 22, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

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