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Cuts made at Alameda school board meeting

Last night was a crowded night at the Alameda board of education meeting at Chipman. Community members were out in full force to advocate for the programs that are important to them.
Crowd at board meeting2

The press was there, at least in the beginning, in big numbers.
press at board meeting

By 11:30 p.m., while the board was hashing out the details of what to put on the final list of cuts, not so many people were left. Near midnight at board meeting

I left at about 12:30 a.m., and they still weren’t done yet. According to Franklin PTA President Christine Strena, who made it to the bitter end, the board voted to cut about half the high school sports budget, reduce janitorial services, and cut middle school counselors. The public information officer position got the ax as did music for children in grades one, two and three. The board voted also to eliminate their $300 a month stipend, which several board members already donate back to the district. Board member Mike McMahon has the full list of cuts on his site.

epearlman

  • AD

    Hi Eve,

    I was trying to leave a comment on “about” but no comment space there. ;-(

    What I wanted to say is, lets have a blog here that unites, not divides, for a change. In this spirit, please remove the Alameda Daily Noose link. What’s the purpose of linking to the real ADN, and then to a blog that exists solely to put down ADN? If you don’t think ADN is a serious blog, don’t link to it. Otherwise, you fall right in line with those who have made it a goal to paint certain people certain colors and divide Alameda into warring camps.

    On the topic of this thread, did anyone say last night what the parcel tax will save from all these approved cuts, if anything? Also, what’s plan B, if the tax doesn’t pass? Did this ever come up?

  • http://www.laurendo.com Lauren Do

    Satire or parody is one of the most important forms of expression that we have. The Alameda Daily Noose provides just as much value (some would argue more value) to any conversation about Alameda as the Alameda Daily News.

    Keeping both up under a blogroll doesn’t divide Alameda, it just further reinforces the idea that there are lots of Alamedans out there interested in expressing their ideas and opinions.

    Keep up the great work Eve.

  • paula

    This is a very sad day for Alameda. We have always been considered one of the safest and best places to raise children. The programs for kids that have been offered in our schools have slowly been take away bit by bit. The board does not realize what this will do to our town. Sports especially, are something that has kept so may kids, especialy young boys out of trouble. How are these kids and teenagers going to focus all of their energy now??? I can tell you it wont be in a positive way, and our town will change. The arts programs have already been cut to shreds and now we are taking away just about the only other thing left for them. Obviously our school board has no concept of what kids are about.
    How about making cuts at the top? But lets be realistic, that isnt going to happen.

  • Mark

    Paula,

    I’ll listen about cuts at the top, i.e. administrative cuts, when those who espouse them can do a line item of specific suggestions and come up with amounts to offset cutting sports, etc.. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that of those who suggest this option, somebody should have the knowledge to be specific if they want others to listen.

    While I completely agree with you about the important influence of sports activities, I strongly disagree that the BOE doesn’t know what kids are about. I think really strong opponents to the parcel tax are perhaps the ones who don’t appreciate what kids are about and how essential good schools (with sports programs) are to the integrity of the community over all, including sustaining public safety, property values,etc., even for those without kids.

  • Shonna

    Let me start by saying that I do not oppose the parcel tax. I do think that the BOE approved the cuts as a pressure tactic to get voters to pass the tax. There is no plan B, so the future of our public school system is squarely on the shoulders of our voters, again. As an administrator in the public sector, I am very saddened that there is a serious lack of creative thinking. All of the “eggs” have been placed in one basket in hopes that voters will once again save the day.

    I am all for saving our public school system and will vote Yes in June, so that we can (hopefully) maintain our sports programs, keep reduced class sizes and AP classes. I oppose the same tired “solution” during each and every budget crises that reflects lack of creativity and poor business management. Administrators should be held accountable for maintianing the stabililty of our schools and community, sometimes this requires thinking outside the box.

  • John

    I applaud the students and the parents from Alameda who are doing the right thing and taking a stand against ignorance.

    This is a problem for all school districts in California. Let’s get all school districts organized and let’s put heavy pressure on the executive and legislative branches to stop gutting our schools and our children’s future.

    Enough is enough!!

  • Alana Dill

    Eve, thanks for providing this forum!
    It’s very important not to descend into cynicism, but to take a thoughtful, constructive approach to all the ways in which money is withheld from education – Californians’ #1 priority. NEVER GIVE UP.

    It *is* the voters’ responsibility to fix the problem – otherwise we are run by businesses which serve themselves, not by a democracy that serves the public!

    At the PTA Advocacy Day event I heard hopeful news that PTA is planning to launch a statewide campaign, and we need to be sure that info is disseminated thoroughly and supported. We must especially inspire the 80% of people who let the other 20% do the work. They may not have kids in school, or they may fear paying more taxes. They need to understand that it’s corporations who need their loopholes exposed and removed. And that, without a well-rounded education, much of California’s future workforce will barely be qualified to deliver pizza.

    School districts are offered a finite amount of money – 15% less, adjusted for inflation, than they were receiving in the 1960s. Schools and districts are a business providing an invaluable service, and like a business they need administrators – people who can deal with budgets, parents, children, legal requirements, maintenance and facilities, supplies, mandates (funded or not) and the occasional disaster. Administration has already been cut over and over since the 1970s because voters were offered the bait-and-switch of a lottery whose proceeds are not getting to the schools.

    We must not all fight over a tiny piece of pie. The “middle class” is already paying for a bigger pie, and we must demand that money from our elected officials or throw them out of office. We need a governor and legislators who really give a damn about the future of all students in California – not just the ones with money. Voters must demand school finance reform – creating a stable source, tracking the money so it gets into the classroom and after-school programs, while also ensuring all kids are ready to learn: well-fed, and have adequate health, vision and dental care. Start by organizing statewide. Have Grandma in Santa Rosa and Uncle Bob in Tahoe talk to their church groups about writing letters to Schwarzenegger. Have your fishing buddies call Garamendi and demand reforming Prop 13 so that large corporations pay taxes based on the current assessed value of their property. This has to be across the board – just as, right now, budget cuts are across the board without regard to consequence. In the future EVERYONE will be cheated if California won’t give an educational foundation to skilled professionals, artisans, and tradespeople.

    By the way, prop 13 is supposedly untouchable, the “electric third rail” of California politics. A third rail is not just a dangerous thing – it powers a train. Let’s be the train, not the people who are afraid of power.

    We can work again to pass a parcel tax (I plan to), but there’s no way that will replace the overall $11 million in cuts. Piedmont district pays $1400+ in parcel taxes, and yet they’re cutting budgets too. Parcel taxes may forestall instant death, but this long, slow downward spiral is turning into a steep decline and must be stopped. We voters – and even immigrants who can’t vote yet – must do everything we can to unite in support of quality education for every child in California. If we don’t – if we let Sacramento destroy the right to a well-rounded education – a domino effect could take out public schools in the entire country. We all know the detrimental effects of “separate but equal”. On the other hand, if our effort is successful (and I believe it will be), we’ll have set future generations on the right track toward true life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    -
    Alana Dill, Evelyn’s Mommy

  • AD

    On Alana’s subject of doing something, my high school student said AHS students are getting on a bus to Sacramento on the 13th. That’s the only source I have of this information, can anyone confirm? Who’s going, who are they meeting?