Back in December of 2007, two College of Alameda students were disciplined and threatened with expulsion for praying.
From the accounts I’ve read, it sounds like one student was praying with an instructor in an office shared by another instructor and refused to stop at the request of instructor whose office it was. Words were then exchanged between the instructor, the praying student, and the student’s friend. From Peter Hegarty’s Alameda Journal account, Steven Wood the attorney for the students said:
It’s not about money at all, it’s about principle…The students want the district to admit that it was wrong, apologize and recognize that they have the right to take part in nondisruptive prayer.
The story has been covered in the religious press: here and here. In a March 31 ruling, a San Francisco judge denied the College of Alameda’s request to dismiss the case and so it will continue to work its way through the court system.
An Alameda County judge has issued a tentative ruling today in Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District, the suit filed last fall against Measure H.
Measure H is the parcel tax that passed last June with the support of more than two-thirds of Alameda voters. The tentative ruling in Borikas is good news for the school district, with the judge tentatively finding that Measure H applies uniformly and therefore does not violate Cal. Government Code section 50079, which requires that school parcel taxes apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the school district. The court will hear argument on the tentative ruling on Tuesday, March 17.
More info about the lawsuits against Measure H here and here.
Local property owner John Beery (who is suing the Alameda Unified School District over Measure H, the school parcel tax passed last June) is in the news with another lawsuit. This one against the City of Alameda over a lease dispute on a west end property. Michele Ellson of The Island has a report.
The Alameda Unified School Board voted just moments ago to approve the district’s plan for accommodating increased enrollment at several East End schools.
The approved plan includes moving Edison Elementary School’s computer lab into its library to make more classroom space, and adding two portables to the Otis Elementary School campus. Otis will likely have 100 kindergarten students next fall, and Edison will likely have 80. Other highlights: a kindergarten class with be added at Bay Farm, and some students in the Franklin attendance zone will likely be diverted to other schools. You can read the whole approved plan here. Blogger Lauren Do has a bit about the plan. So does Michele Ellson of The Island.
While many here in Alameda like to blame fiscal mismanagement, administrator pay, unions, or you name if for the financial challenges facing the Alameda Unified School District, other communities are stepping up and funding their schools as the dollars provided by the State of California continue to fall short of what a community actually requires to provide a meaningful education for a community’s schools. Orinda’s parcel tax passed with 70 percent of the voters saying yes.
I was otherwise occupied, but The Island‘s own Michele Ellson sat through last night’s school board meeting and issued this detailed report. Of the hot topics on the table were a growing population of East End kindergarten students hoping for spots in their neighborhood schools, teacher contracts, and, tabled until April, the curriculum that the district has put together to help students learn to respect and act respectfully toward all students.
I made a bet with a friend that there’d be a state budget passed by Tuesday midnight. Then we pushed the bet, double or nothing, to noon the next day. And then we just sort of stopped with the betting and started waiting and seeing.
Finally, though, a deal has been made. A 12-cents a gallon gas tax is out, an agreement that legislators won’t be paid when there’s no budget is in—as is a proposal to expand the state lottery and borrow against expected revenue. Details here. I had to do a double-take/triple-blink though when I saw that the deal—reached when one more vote in favor was negotiated with Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado—includes placing a constitutional amendment to change how primaries held in California on the ballot. What a world we live in when a annual budget negotiation includes a promise of constitutional rejiggering?
Huffington Post Blogger Byron Williams, in a post titled, “While California Slept,” has this to say about the sorry state of California’s budget and budget process:
For decades, the California electorate has been buying the overvalued fools gold of direct democracy. We actually believed, based on our votes, we could make better-informed decisions via the initiative process than the individuals we sent to represent us in Sacramento.
Californians passed the most draconian term limits initiative in the country. It robbed legislators of institutional memory, placed disincentives for members of the opposite party to crossover and make a deal, and its insidious underlying purpose was to get rid of a single individual–former California Speaker Willie Brown.
The passing of Proposition 13, while still popular, carries that little 2/3-vote requirement to raise revenues, hence the tyranny of the minority. Proposition 98, though perhaps on paper a worthy cause, ties the Legislature’s hands in term of what resources are actually available in the budget.
Mike McMahon’s web site has long been the motherlode for school-district-related documents and information. And now he has launched a blog.
And while all heads have been turned toward the change in leadership at the national level, there are lots of fish to fry re the state budget and school funding in particular. McMahon’s site is sure to be a good resource.
Yesterday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will veto the budget proposal that the Dems passed yesterday. From the Sac. Bee:
California’s budget mess got messier Thursday as Democratic legislators approved a package of tax increases and spending cuts, Republican legislators threatened to sue over the package’s questionable constitutionality and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the issue moot by promising to veto it.
The Contra Costa Times has this:
Just when it looked like Democrats had devised a way out of their suffocating impasse with Republicans over the state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped in Thursday afternoon with this message: Not so fast.
In a dramatic day at the Capitol that alternately had on display exultant Democrats, angry Republicans and a frustrated Schwarzenegger, the governor announced he would veto a Democratic gambit to raise billions in new revenue.
By exploiting a legal loophole over the definition of taxes vs. fees, Democrats had hoped to sidestep the state’s two-thirds majority hurdle for raising taxes. But the part of the package that offended the governor most did not involve the end-run on taxes; instead, Schwarzenegger said the proposal did not go far enough to trim spending and stimulate the economy.
More up to the minute state budget info at Calitics.
Brooke Briggance, executive director of the Alameda Education Foundation (where, as some know, I served on the board for a year, stepping down in September) was, as reported by Michele Ellson over at The Island, laid off Monday. Details here. School board member Mike McMahon has posted AEF’s press release.