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Recall Alameda’s school board members??

I understand the anger of parents about the programs in our schools that are currently on the chopping block (it boggles my mind that we are actually, and with straight faces, discussing cutting sports from high schools and music from elementary schools), but the news of a move afoot to recall board members if high school sports are cut makes no sense. YES it is horrible to cut art, music, AP classes, sports. NO the board can’t just snap their fingers and get the money back (it is our governor who has proposed the 10 percent across the board cuts and the suspension of Prop. 98). YES we need to band together to find alternate sources of funding for our schools if we want to maintain their current level of service. A local parcel tax, the terms of which the board will vote on tonight, is one way that we have to relatively immediately (vote could be in June) maintain the status quo for our schools. So instead of an I-me-mine attitude and instead of an Us v. Them attitude let us all band together and pass this parcel tax for the good for our schools, for the good for neighbors and for the good of our community.

epearlman

  • Susan D.

    The whole idea of recalling board members as they try to create a balanced budget for the district makes me so sad I hardly know what to write.

    It’s not the district’s fault it has to cut $4.5 million from the schools. No one could have seen this coming from a governor who had declared that 2008 would be the state’s “Year of Education.”

    I would love to see this community take all its rightful anger and distrss over the budget situation and channel it to fight back–with a parcel tax, with legal action, with private fundraising, and with outreach, networking, and mutual support.

    There are a lot of smart, angry, committed people in our community. Let’s work against Sacramento, not each other.

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  • mike

    Why no cuts at the administrative level? All the cuts are being leveled at the kids and the teachers. The deadwood at the top should be the first cuts made.

  • Alana Dill

    Mike (not sure which Mike here): after so many cuts, there’s little deadwood at the top or anywhere else in this district. With a multimillion dollar budget, common sense says a district has to be run like a business – including execs, middle management, accounting, PR, & clerical. Turnover and training are expensive and, for students, disruptive, so pay should be reasonably competitive with the private sector. If you need more accountability, ask for that, but I suggest you look at the job descriptions of those whose jobs you’d cut. Look at a school district as an organic whole: the students need to be taught first of all, but they need safe facilities. Their teachers work hard and deserves benefits. The district needs to negotiate both with parents on one hand, and with state and federal government on the other. There’s staff training, advocacy, inter-school events and communication, insurance, maintenance, bills, and NCLB. There’s vision, GATE, and disability tests. There are shy 6-year-olds, suicidal teens, bullying 10-year-olds and the occasional armed homicidal nut from on- or off-campus. There’s graffiti and other vandalism, repairs to aging campuses, there’s toilet paper, crayons, microscopes, formaldehyde-laced frogs, curriculum decisions and updates. These supplies must be ordered, approved, received and distributed so students can learn in a safe, clean, stimulating educational environment. If teachers, office staff, and custodians were given complete discretion on what to purchase, you’d be complaining that there was no budget planning or oversight. Outsourcing services such as cleaning and printing leaves schools at the mercy of jacked-up profits, so keeping those things in-house makes sense. “What the market will bear” is a cruel joke. We in CA are paying $3+ for gas and will soon see $4+. There’s no way the fleet has been updated with more efficient utility vehicles, or compensated for higher gas prices (or utilities or insurance). Our schools deserve a viable staff, not budget cuts. I do go on! ;-)

  • Darryl Berk

    Has anybody heard anything regarding closing the schools for a one-day, state-wide march on Sacramento?

  • Alana Dill

    Closing the schools would be a bad idea – we’d lose a pile of funding. Much better to do an after-school, Spring Break, or Summer Vacation march. It’s important that we use our Right to Peaceful Assembly in a lawful manner. We are relatively early in the protest process and need to figure out things like permits. It wouldn’t do to have a big march on Sac with a mob of truant kids; we’re not out to get arrested, but to be heard. If anyone around here has experience organizing street-level, LEGAL and PEACEFUL activism, I’d love advice on how to get this going. I’m no Gandhi, I’m Irish with poor social skills and fear I may resort to fisticuffs if unduly provoked.

  • TManno

    I’d really like to know what the imbalance of is between what Alameda sends to Sacrament in taxes, and what we receive in return for the city and the schools. The city put itself in this dilemma many years ago when the base was still here. Knowing what the cash flow amount is, if I am assuming correctly, would not only clarify the issue for the city and Sacramento, it might shed some light on how to correct the disparity.