Alameda’s PTAs and the Alameda Education Foundation are co-hosting a forum of candidates running for the Alameda Unified School Board at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, in the Alameda High School Cafeteria (not in the Little Theater).
Four candidates have confirmed their participation — Mike McMahon, James Pruitt, Margie Sherrat and Rand Wrobel. (Sheri Palmer withdrew from the election on October 12.) There are two open seats on the board to be filled.
According to the AEF, the format for the event will be as follows:
6:30 p.m.: Opening remarks from Christine Strena, president, PTA Council (PTAC); and introduction by Bill Sonneman, president, Alameda Education Foundation (AEF).
6:35 p.m.: Opening statements from the candidates (one minute each).
6:40 – 8:15 p.m.: Candidates respond to five questions from the public; these have already been submitted and reviewed by the AEF and PTAC.
8:20 p.m.: Closing statements of 2 minutes each.
For those who cannot attend the discussion, PTAC says the candidates forum will be video-taped and then posted on the AEF website.
Also, while some candidates for the Alameda City Council and mayor’s office are pledging to support the schools (always a good thing), it is the school board that has the greatest impact on the Island’s educational system.
A careful follower of Alameda Unified School District affairs these past couple of years, this week’s “Life on the Island” (the column I write for the print edition of the Alameda Journal), makes my choices for school board quite plain. If you want to see the candidates in action yourself, you can watch this school board debate, hosted by Alameda’s PTA Council and the Alameda Education Foundation. You can can also watch the incumbents in action in some recent school board meetings. The City of Alameda Democratic Club endorsements are here (they endorsed both incumbents, Janet Gibson and David Forbes, as well as challenger Ron Mooney). Here’s links to all the candidates Web pages. You can go see the candidates tomorrow night at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Details: Wednesday, October, 15, 7:00 p.m., Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Road.
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.
The press was there, at least in the beginning, in big numbers.
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.
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.