Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 24, 2017

Get your education

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

So back when families were asking for more information, more data, and more time about the Lum liquefaction in order for the School Board to make the right decision, I suggested that a number be set to establish how many reports would be necessary in order to definitively settle the “fact” that the soil under Lum Elementary School is prone to liquefaction and therefore would be risky — from a legal standpoint — to continue to keep open after the last day of this school year.  Apparently the number of studies needed is greater than three since that is what the District has in hand, what the School Board based its 5 – 0 decision on to relocated students for the 2017 – 2018 school year and that Lum community was very unhappy with last night.

While the School Board made the tough decision and justified their rationale, it was not surprising to see the political opportunists that either love to take advantage of disgruntled angry people (coughtrishspencercough) or ominously warn elected officials that their votes will have consequences in the next election (I think the same person warned the City Council prior to the 2016 vote and yet his candidate of choice wasn’t elected either).   All in all it was not a pleasant and fun decision for the School Board to make and it was good to see that no one made a safe “no” vote resting on the knowledge that the other four would make a decision that would safeguard Lum students and — ultimately — all students by protecting the District from potential liability if the students were to remain having the facts in hand that they had.

Also, hey, badly done.

As a tweeter predicted last night, the charter schools (and I’ll add the private schools) will probably end up being the primary beneficiaries of the truly angry parents who will want to wash their hands of everything AUSD related and attempt to control the process rather than have the District tell them where their school assignment is.



  1. Uh, it would be ironic for Lum folks to come to charter schools b/c the district isn’t so keen on them. We have our own battles with AUSD.

    Comment by Angela — May 24, 2017 @ 6:19 am

  2. The issue never was that “the soil under Lum Elementary School is prone to liquefaction”.
    In fact, AUSD knew that since 1990 :
    Which makes the current District recommendation to close the school now and in a rush ever so odd.

    The real issue however is concerning the alleged risk that Lum school structures could collapse because of the differential settlement of up to 7″.

    Neither the District, nor the various engineering firms (ZFA, RGH and Murphy Burr Curry) have presented ANY evidence that there is a risk to the buildings and neither has any one of them performed a structural analysis of the building to see if the students are at risk.

    In fact, the only reason Lum got closed was by statements of ‘authority’ in letters from that convey an ‘opinion’ by engineers hired by the District itself.
    And in fact the District ignored an opinion by Degenkolb structural engineers that found that closure of the school is premature :

    If you just use common sense, then a 7″ settlement of the soil across a 60 feet (720″) side section of one of the hexagon shaped buildings would create building distortion of only 1%. Over the 14″ roof joists, that would result in only 0.14″ shifting of the roof joists over the (2 inch) ledgers.
    That makes it physically impossible for differential settlement due to liquefaction to cause “partial building collapse” as Murphy Burr Curry asserts.

    And it is not clear at all that students will be safer in other AUSD buildings ; many of which are multi-story, which are more prone to building collapse during a large seismic event.

    All in all, the board made a decisions based on ‘opinion’, not facts, and one would hope that at least from now on they would follow proper procedures (including a proper structural analysis) to determine if there is a problem at all at Lum, and if so, what that problem is and how it can be fixed.

    Comment by Rob Dekker — May 28, 2017 @ 9:47 pm

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