Judging by the number of emails flying and heated conversations about town, it certainly seems like all of Alameda is abuzz with discussions of just what will be cut from the schools. All these are on the table: elementary school music, high school sports (schools without sports?), middle school counselors, high school administrators, closing swim centers, cutting advanced placement courses, raising elementary class size, reducing janitorial and secretarial support. And while we all, of course, have different priorities about how we’d go about cutting, the bottom line is all these cuts are painful and ALL of them will take place in the next school year or in ’09-’10 if the proposed cuts at the state level are passed and the district doesn’t find alternate sources of revenue.
In addition to voting on the cuts, the school board, which meets tomorrow at Chipman at 6:30 p.m., will vote on the language for a parcel tax, which they hope to place on the ballot in June. The draft language presented at last week’s board meeting was for a $120 per parcel tax, with a per square footage tax for commercial properties. Seniors can opt out, as can those on disability. Like it or not, the onus for funding schools is being shifted from the state to local communities. Even our giant neighbors to the north across the estuary just made their $195 per parcel tax permanent.