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Alameda’s Measure H, it looks like it fails by 114(ish) votes

By epearlman
Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 at 8:52 am in Parcel tax, Schools.

It looks like Measure H is going down in defeat by a bit over a 100 votes. There is some hope, by way of Mike McMahon, that if there are enough provisional votes— something like 1,700 (all those absentee votes handed in yesterday are in this category), then it might just bring the numbers up enough to squeak out a win. The direct link to the Alameda County registrar of voters where you can view returns is here.

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  • peter

    Hope it does fail.it will force the school district to adress real issue such as that notorious employee which for years spend his time sleeping in the school van near the glass factory and super k-mart now home depot.cut the fat you will have enough fund to goive the teachers trthe rauise they deserve.by the eway no child left behind{but Adrian}said Bush , well time to trevise the taxres we send to washington and use them in the community,every teacher could afford a hummer…
    Stop the waste plain and simple.

  • joel

    indeed time to get real.what did we do wrong for being taxed on a residence,how about every rental properties.That proposition was unfair and belong where it went.School district has always said everything is fine ….well as long as they could tax us to support their poor management,and we expect our kids to do well with finances when the school district from where they learn the fact cannot run a budget …and no do not blame the Teachers , the fault lay with the management incompetent at best.

  • chris

    peter

    your spelling is the number one reason we needed this to pass. i hope you are trying to be funny- you have failed. our future is being left behind. at less than ten dollars a month, alameda home owners should be ashamed. we brag to others about our small town feel to others, but we can’t come up with this piddley amount.

    shame on all who voted against this. when the kids are doing nothing after school i don’t want to hear your bitching about “our youth”.

    sad day for our “small town”.

  • Martha

    Obviously you don’t have children in high school that feel that without sports there is no reason to go to school. H was not the solution but a wake up call and a way not to take our lack of planning out on the children in school RIGHT NOW.
    Be nice. They deserve better!

  • Susan Davis

    Joel (#2),

    Under state law, school districts can only raise money by taxing parcels. So AUSD couldn’t levy a tax on renters.

    Would like to point out, too, that the governor has proposed cutting public education by billions of dollars this year, which translates into millions of dollars in lost revenue for AUSD.

    I.e., this budget crisis is a result of the governor’s proposed budget, not AUSD’s financial management.

    And finally, because I am really, really tired this morning and really, really frustrated that people still don’t understand the issues, I will say this: Even my children, who are in elementary school, know that gloating is neither kind nor constructive.

  • Mialexa

    Kids who feel there is no reason to go to school without sports? Surely you are joking. Why can’t some retired Alamedans coach sports on a volunteer basis? How about the parents paying for their kids to play? I don’t like sports and I resent being forced to pay for them.

    The enrollment is down in Alameda schools. That means money should be saved, not spent. The school district should lay off a few employees and send the taxpayers rebates, instead of always thinking up ways to keep excess money and spend it on their own saleries.

  • Sandy K

    I am so disappointed that Measure H did not pass. My 3 children attended Alameda public schools. They all did well there. I love Alameda. I taught in Oakland for 26 years. I had to move to Alameda 20 years ago for the schools. I also worked in Alameda for 2 years. I feel very sad for my former collegues who are making less than they did 5 or 10 years ago. I now work in San Jose and probably make $20,000 more than they do if you factor in the health benefits.
    These teachers are working for “peanuts” because they love the kids and the community. But how can you survive on $50,000 a year, with $10,000 going for benefits??

  • http://www.mikemcmahon.info Mike McMahon

    I made a math error in my spreadsheet. The number of needed post election ballots needs to be closer to 3000 not 1750.

  • austin tam

    what can we do, if this doesnt pass, my suggestion is for all of us to go door to door, and ask for donations, $120.00, to save the programs, what do u think, everybody? let me know thanks

  • Barbara M

    Bob,

    If you have kids here in school then I will assume you have a copy of the school calendar. Teachers get “off” from June 18th until August 27th. Somewhere in that time they will probably have to take some sort of week long program to update their teaching certificate that they will pay for. So most will get 9 weeks if they are lucky. If a teacher is changing grades or subjects that is completely out the window as they will have a 1-3 week window of prep at least. Most of the information I could find on average salaries for people with a 4 year degree was over $54K and that didn’t include all the extra school to become a teacher. I can’t imagine a teacher can make $14K in the nine weeks just so they can hit the average. Most jobs also don’t require spending your own money for supplies to do the job.

  • Barbara M

    I used to own the restaurant next to A1 market and I fully well know how long he works, what does that have to do with this? I also know they drive a brand new mercedes which I highly doubt they bought on a $40K salary…

  • Warren Hauck

    Any assessment on how many San Leandro and Oakland kids attend Alameda schools??

    I would propose charging $500-$1000 per student for all children who attend out of district schools.

    Aside from children from other cities going to school in Alameda, there is also the issue of redistricted kids.
    Every morning the lineup on the BFI bridge is seemingly a half-mile long, snaking its way finally to “elite” Amelia Earhart school. ALL of these children are out of district. Make em pay !!

  • Barbara M

    I used to own Jay’s and we sold and made lots of food!!!

  • Barbara M

    By the way you can say you are sorry any time you are ready….

  • Barbara M

    Warren,

    Lot’s of kids are diverted to Earhart from the main island when their school is full. There was at least one family last year at Franklin that didn’t get in and they went to Earhart. I am sure the PTA asks them for money just like all the families that live around there.

  • Eve

    Moderator’s note: Comments that resort to foul language will be deleted.

  • Warren Hauck

    “Lots of kids diverted to Earhart.”

    Are you saying that the only kids that attend Earhart are:

    1) Kids on BFI who are districted to Earhart
    2) Kids from other schools (Franklin) that are full

    This is what you are telling me correct??

    And the other question that I have is:

    Do Alameda public school knowingly enroll children from other cities such as San Leandro and Oakland. If so, how many?

  • Barbara M

    Warren,

    I am not up on the exact numbers at all but if you go to Mike McMahon’s website he has them there.

    It is by no means the majority I doubt it is even 10% come from other schools.

    About the kids from other cities. There is a law that allows kids to attend schools in the town in which the parent works. Mike should have it on there or you can call the KASE # 769-9961 and Ron will call you. I can tell you that as far as big numbers they aren’t, but I will definitely help you get the answer.

  • http://www.laurendo.com Lauren Do

    Regarding the kids enrolled in Earhart, the most recent Demographic report done by the school district has a neat map showing where the registered addresses of kids who attended each school are. Earhart is on page 75 (of the document) 84 of the reader.

    If the parent of a child works in Alameda and requests their child enrollment in Alameda schools and the district in which the kid would go to school agrees, by law, AUSD cannot refuse to accept the kid.

    I also don’t believe that you can have a utility bill sent to a mailbox place, it has to be a residence. Short of administrators or school staff actually visiting the residence of a student to verify that they actually live there, I’m not sure how Bob T. would expect AUSD to enforce that considering the time and expense that would take away from classroom activities.

  • Barbara M

    There is a woman that works in student services that is in charge of zoning. She has been known to spend a bunch of her own time sitting in front of homes waiting for the appropriate person to come out to verify where the student lives. If you want to know how far some people will go to lie, there was acually a parent who gave up their parental rights so their kid could go to the school of their choice.

    On the kids that come here from out of town due to parent requests. The law states they can come here but AUSD does get to select the school not the parent.

    They are very strict about having the proof of address stuff with a street name. You have to be pretty determined to work the system. I live next door to school and even though I had a kid in the school already, I had to bring so much stuff when I enrolled my daughter for kindergarten it was crazy.

  • Joseph Coolidge

    Lauren,
    I think we can both agree that the greatest thing to happen to our school board was the election of Mike McMahon. He has been the ultimate professional, working towards transparency with his web site, and always the voice of reason. His website is a true jewel for understanding the complexities of the problems facing AUSD.

    Having said that, the Demographic report you linked to is an essential and valuable tool for determining how to consolidate the schools.

    It is not very useful for discussing the location of students that should NOT be in our schools. Obviously if we had the true status of these students, we would have to kick them out.

    I don’t think too many people dispute that we have kids out of district that are attending school legally here. Likewise, the fact that some kids attending Earheart don’t live on BFI isn’t a big eye opener either. If they are on the books legally, (I didn’t see that there were enough to clog traffic), then they are attending legally. How many are attending illegally, using forged utility bills etc? More than you think.

    How do we help AUSD? I would gladly volunteer, as well as many other parents on BFI to do residency checks and authorization checks to get these scofflaws out of the schools. Why?

    Well the schools are noted for excellence state-wide and are at capacity. Kindergarten is fully booked. We have reached a situation where families entitled to send their kids there can not because slots are taken by those that should not be there. Unless the school district is proactive and cracks down on this, I predict unauthorized attendance will be one of the top sources of aggravation for parents on the Island. And needless to say, their parents aren’t paying any parcel tax for their kids to attend AUSD schools.

    There are some people who believe that children that are here illegally as well as those that belong in other districts, should be able to attend our excellent schools on our dime. In a time of plenty, this would not be an issue. Times have changed, and it is an issue that will not go away. These kids are taking money out of my wallet, taking opportunities away from my children and costing the district a lot of money. And that is what Measure H was all about, wasn’t it? Who pays for it?

  • Eve

    From the moderator: comments that resort to obscenity and name calling will be removed. There are are plenty of challenging issues facing schools, and plenty of room or disagreement and discussion, but you must be civil.

  • Laurel

    I try to stay away from blogs and from commenting on them when I do read one, because frankly, there’s not enough time in one day to acknowledge all of the good things that appear on them, nor challenge baloney when it shows up. But, having just read the entries from Bob Thompson, I just have to comment. My husband has been a teacher for nearly FIVE decades. Yes, I said DECADES. He continues to teach full-time in another school district (I’m grateful to say!). He teaches 1 biology class and four advanced placement environmental science classes. He has 170 student on his roll sheet.

    The fact that he has much of his course outlined and that he has taught it many times before, cannot even address what his work load looks like. Because of his subject matter, he reads three newspapers a day, two weekly magazines and at least two books a month that relate to his classrooms. He assigns, then grades homework for all 170 at least three times a week. When he writes an exam, he can most certainly make use of higher technology and use Scantron sheets for answers facilitating easier grading. But, if he writes even TWO essay questions on a test or quiz, that’s 340 essay questions he must read and comment on. Anyone who knows my husband seldom sees him without a stack of student papers in his hand. He grades papers when we go to breakfast, when he waits in the doctor’s office, when he goes to an A’s game. The idea of him getting his work done during his prep period is beyond absurd. He leaves for work at 6 a.m. and gets home around 6 p.m. Even then, he’s lucky if he has time during said prep period to make copies of exams, syllabi, etc.

    Then, let’s talk about the notes, from parents, along with emails and phone calls he has to return. He is contractually obligated to print out grade reports weekly – or whenever a parent asks for it – for any student. Manage 3 or 4 of those per classroom, while answering parent questions and notes during that famous prep period and – OMG, where does the time go?

    For my husband – who started his teaching career using a mimeograph machine and purple ink – there’s the added challenge of keeping up with the technology. Not just everyday usage, but also grades that must be prepared by particular computer programs. Easy, once it’s learned, but let’s figure out when THAT is going to happen.

    At the end of the year, college-bound students leave his class with an experience of having conducted an experiment in the community. This involves obtaining clearance from East Bay MUD; following up with the EPA, who analyzes some of the results; then helping the students write up the results in a college-level format then listening to their presentations during my husband’s lunch period. I don’t know why I even call it a lunch period – all he ever usually does is eat a sandwich while helping a group of kids prepare for the AP exam, or meeting with a counselor about how to help a kid whose dad just committed suicide, or helping a 15 year-old girl cope with how to tell her parents about a note she got from the county health department telling her she has been exposed to HIV, thanks to one of her “sexual” partners (and as it turns out her first and ONLY one).

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the 20 or 30 letters of recommendation he’s asked to write every year for college-bound students. And the money. There’s the cost of all the owl pellets that must be analyzed (some is covered but if we go over an allowed amount – that’s on us); the lead-in-water test kits that he and I spent last weekend searching for and finally finding them in Union City. We pour over used book sales for books because some of the kids don’t have the money to buy a book that is current enough to write a report on.

    From my husband’s salary, $1300 a month goes to his medical, dental and vision plans – and his district even pays some on top of that. We are fortunate enough to be in a district that values its teachers enough to give them regular raises and even the occasional bonus. And after all of those decades of a single teacher’s salary (because I choose to stay at home and raise our daughter), we are still renters.

    Let me be clear about this: I KNOW that my husband has changed lives. He has touched so many people during his career. I know this because they find him and tell him this and I know about all of the things he does behind the scenes that will never be acknowledged. He knew going in that he was signing on for a salary that would never make him wealthy, but he never, ever believed he would be diminished by people who make a much more profitable living doing something much less important who then feel the need to pass judgment on the fact that he gets a summer vacation (usually spent teaching summer school anyway, because we need the money) or a prep period. Prep period … if only.

  • Eve

    Laurel: Thank you so much for your comment detailing the work that school teachers do. My mother taught high school math for more than 30 years, and I can attest to the evenings she spent grading papers, fine-tuning lessons to teach complicated concepts, and talking to parents on the phone (no email then!). Not to mention all the letters of recommendation she wrote each spring, and the workshops and conferences she went to every summer. Teaching is very often, as it was for her, a labor of love, but it is a labor, nonetheless. –Eve

  • Warren Hauck

    I’m sure there are scofflaws who lie about residence in order to gain entrance to high ranking schools. This does the child a disservice in that you have a 6 year old who is required by his parents to lie or hide the truth.

    Here is what I was getting at though: is it possible to charge families who want to move into the elite schools? Lets say Edison (and Bayfarm and Earhart) have 300 extra spaces. Families in other districts who are interested in relocating their children to these elite schools would be required to pay $1000 per year (or so). Assuming 300 spaces – thats $300,000 in extra revenue.

    And that $1000 is cheap compare to Catholic school tuition ($6000) that I pay.

  • Joseph Coolidge

    I taught for 3 years and loved it. My schedule resembled your husbands because I volunteered to teach additional electives, worked hard to stay current but really because I loved what I was teaching and doing. I loved the school administration and my students. I did it mainly for myself, because that is who I am. If I were the school janitor, I would have put the same type of hours in, because I am hardwired that way, so is my wife.

    This was not the norm, nor was it required. I loved academia, especially the work schedule. I may have worked hard long hours but it was my choice. I had no taskmaster on my back. I loved the long vacations (plus fall, winter and spring break) and getting every holiday off and coming home every night (no business trips). We had so many 3 day weekends, I sometimes felt I should be paying the school to let me teach there.

    The norm was and is, show up at the last minute, using obsolete lesson plans and leave as early as possible. Minimize extra work, because after all we are not paid enough or appreciated enough. Many had been teaching for 10 years or more and had their subject matter down pat. So prep periods were unnecessary and obviously rarely done.

    Most of my course work, additional readings and correspondence was done online, unlike most of my colleagues. While my girl attended AHS, 2 years ago, many of her teachers were computer illiterate and proud of it. They had e-mail accounts issued by the school just never used them and didn’t hesitate to tell parents not to bother to try to reach them that way. I just love the Teachers Union (head shake).

    We have some great hard working teachers out there and they would succeed in any endeavor and work just as hard in any field or job. Some of you are teachers, married to teachers or have family that are teachers and it makes your blood boil to have someone say that this career is easy with lots of days off.

    I have walked the walk and this career is easy with lots of days off. For a rare few, it is a labor of love. This career does not invite excellence (due to salary and unions) and to cite the exception to the rules are disingenuous. We are talking norms, averages, in general and not the occasional exception.

    The teaching profession in the US does not attract the best and the brightest, the pay and the unions ensure its mediocrity. The role and authority of the teacher has been weakened and diluted by the excessive levels of staff and administration. The freedom of classroom lesson plans and activities has been severely restricted.

    Every field has its top 5% and bottom 5%. Bob’s comments may have offended some, and he put it coarsely, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Let’s not quibble about his tone, or the facts. You can love and respect teachers, while acknowledging a great deal of envy over their work-life balance. And like Bob, you are also entitled to disparage them. I see a lot of disparagement by you in your blog when you disagree with something.

    The work-life balance is so great in education, that unfortunately, especially in the elementary schools, the teachers are almost exclusively women, sacrificing the pay and the glory and maximizing their time at home with the family. So why bother arguing that MOST teachers put in the hours like your husband, when based on my experience, that is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. The only people with a better lifestyle in my opinion are stay at home parents.

  • Laurel

    Oh, Joe, Joe, Joe,

    NOW I know who you are! You’re THAT guy. Your comment about stay-at-home parents says it all.

  • Joseph Coolidge

    Laurel, Laurel, Laurel,

    You just can’t win. First you’re unfortunate enough to run into a former teacher who takes you to school, and now after putting your foot in your mouth, you find out he is a stay-at-home parent as well. Quit while your behind.

  • Laurel

    Did Joe mean “quit while ‘you’re’ behind”?

  • Joseph Coolidge

    No ,he was civilly referring to your behind : )

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