Part of the education process is learning from past mistakes. Students understand this; sometimes it takes adults a little longer. There has been a lot already written about . However, since we are talking about education, I thought I would give it a grade. I'm giving it an A+. Grade inflation you say? Maybe, but I think not.
1. Expresses Ideas clearly: Grade: A+ Public education budgets are in , period. There is no getting around the massive decline in the state budget that is unlikely to improve in the near future.
Most people know by now that Alameda has been in the forefront of litigation to try change the way education is funded in California. Unfortunately, that legal challenge will not resolve itself soon enough to help students now in elementary school. Yes, it is unfair that the State of California cannot do more, but this situation requires our community to step up until the state recovers enough to do its fair share.
Our community has , but the last parcel tax, Measure E, was perceived to be unfair. Now, through the efforts of many people, including the district's superintendent and business leaders, we have a new parcel tax that is more transparent and considerate of all parties. No, it is not perfect, but it takes into consideration most of the issues that held the last parcel tax back.
2 Math Concepts: Grade A+ Ideally, it would have been better to have asked for $20 million to cover current year cuts ($7 million) as well as future reductions ($12.6 million) because of the scheduled expiration of the prior two parcel taxes next year plus additional cuts in funding. By the way, these cuts are in addition to the severe cuts that were made every year that I served on the school board, from 2005 to 2008.
Instead, Measure A has tried to balance the needs of the school district with those of the taxpayers who will shoulder the burden of the tax. Additional taxes are painful and a burden under any circumstance. The potential $12 million from Measure A allows AUSD to maintain most of its academic programs, reduce the impact of current state budget shortfalls (though it doesn’t guarantee against further state budget shortfalls), and keep the community schools that make Alameda the attractive option for many families looking for a home.
This parcel tax does NOT remove the burden of making some additional cuts and it will require some additional hard choices in the future. The school district understands that still more sacrifices have to be made to reduce the financial burden on community members.
3. Social Development: Grade: A+ Alameda has always been about community. A strong public school system is part of the fabric of our community. Many of our teachers and AUSD staff live in Alameda. Alumni of our schools populate the Island. The fact that I came to Alameda in 1980 makes me a neophyte. The business community and the school district remain closely intertwined. We often talk about the “greater good” but this is one of the times that it is necessary to sacrifice for the “greater good."
All right, maybe I was a little generous with my grading—but not by much. This “student,” our Measure A, deserves to graduate with honors. I hope you join me in voting yes on Measure A