You can find the Alameda Journal article about the new theatre’s gala opening here. And you can also read Journal Editor Connie Rux’s tribute to the restoration. The schedule for this weekend’s opening events, which includes free showings of classic movies, is here.
And it sounds like, despite all the grumblings of the past, many people are enjoying the idea of having a beautiful place to see movies in town. I even chanced to hear one woman say to her a friend as they walked by me on Park Street the other day, “I was against it, but now that it’s here I’m kind of glad.” I think I’ll be taking my kids to the show this weekend.
It’s also nice to see a letter from nine-year-old Ruby Siltanen running in the Journal this week. The Paden Elementary third grader lists her top ten reasons for supporting Measure H (which, as you know I, too, fully support). Ruby writes, “Kids are worth paying $10 a month for four years.” And, too, “A lot of kids in elementary would like to play sports when they get into middle and high school.”
Ian Merrifield, Encinal’s student body president who was active in the school protests in March, has an editorial in support of Measure H . He writes, “There is no Alamedan who can claim that she is independent from the success of AUSD. Quality schools boost property values, reduce crime rates and enrich the local economy…”
Jeffrey Smith, an Encinal High School math teacher, has a “con” piece running in today’s paper, which concludes with a somewhat befuddling series of questions, “Should this extortion be titled Measure H, Proposition H or Preparation H?”
It has come to my attention that many of you don’t know that you can find Alameda Journal articles online here. They usually post live some time the day before the print paper comes out. So, if you’ve written a letter to the editor and want to know if it’s going to run or you want to browse the latest headlines, check there.
Keep Alameda Schools Excellent, the group formed to support Measure H, also has some good info about the “May revise” of the state budget. Which, as best a I can discern (though no one seems to have a handle just yet on what exactly the budget will mean) shifts how the money is going to be cut, but still cuts a significant chuck from schools. Instead of suspending Prop. 98, it cuts the cost of living adjustments. Instead of cutting special education, it reduces monies for rising utility costs. “The revised budget is a shell game,” School Trustee Bill Schaff told the Journal yesterday, “leaving our schools the biggest loser…we still must anticipate a $4 million hit to Alameda schools.”
This Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. in Kofman Auditorium (in Alameda High) there will be a benefit concert to try to keep music in grades one, two and three in our district’s schools. The concert is brought to you by Bay Farm parent Lorri Garrett and a host of other hardworking volunteers in the Save our Music crew. You can buy tickets to the hip-happening event online here and also learn more about the class acts, including on- and off-island talent as well as many of our district’s bright-eyed third graders. If you can’t make the show, there’s also an online auction, with items including tickets to the San Francisco Opera, a $100 gift certificate to Scott’s Shoes and a drum head signed by Metallica.
Tom Pavletic can blame Alameda’s school funding troubles on a bloated administration, but the actual fact remains that public schools up and down California don’t have enough dollars to provide the services they’re expected to. (Here’s a chart comparing administrative costs in Alameda Unified to those of other county districts—Alameda ranks 12th of 16.) Every district is hurting and hurting hard; every district needs outside funding sources, be it parcel tax dollars, grants or donations. Most districts are doing their best to get by with a combination of the three. Rob Siltanen, who blogs at School 94501/94502, linked yesterday to an Los Angeles Times article, California public schools seek private money just to cover basics, which attempts to track some aspects of the state-wide problem.
Education funding is complex. Why does Alameda get less than other districts? Why do local districts have to set their budgets before the state budget is final? If you want to learn more about Alameda schools, come to an informational meeting featuring some of our town’s dedicated citizens, School Board President Bill Schaff, Alameda Education Foundation Executive Director Brooke Briggance, and Jerry Nussbaum, of Kane & Associates.
Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Ruby Bridges Elementary Multipurpose Room
351 Jack London Ave.
New at 11:10 p.m: Below is Oakland Tribune video of today’s protest and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you watch until the end—it’s only two and a half minutes so probably you can hang in there—you get to see the governor say one of the most amusing/perplexing things that’s been coming out of his office lately. He talks about how education in California is currently ‘overfunded.’
Every protest needs friendly, happy kids, no? Below is video of two startlingly cute first graders standing in a trash can during the Alameda Education Foundation’s Step Up and Donate/Public Education is too Valuable to Throw Away awareness campaign last month.
As you may or may not have heard—it’s hard to know, isn’t it? Just who’s heard what?—Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be Continue Reading →
In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon many of Alameda’s main streets were lined with protesters in trash cans drawing attention to some to the features of public education—arts, music, athletics, counselors, clerical staff, ‘children’s futures’—that are, by way of catchy slogan, ‘too valuable to throw away.’ The protest was an upbeat, cheerful affair, drawing lots of yells and honks of support.
Pictured below in trash cans are Edison Elementary students Liam John with Tyler and Julia Kennedy as well as Alameda High teacher, Rob Siltanen. There’s also a shot of trash cans/protesters from the kickoff rally held on the steps outside AUSD’s district offices.
Some of the younger students in trash cans report learning this lesson: if you drop your sign and lean over to get it without someone else anchoring the trash can, you will fall on your head.
[Ed. note: The California Progress Report has a nice piece (with lots of pictures) on yesterday's protest.]