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Alameda Unified School District Concedes Defeat on Measure E

In a press release issued late yesterday, the Alameda Unified School District conceded defeat on Measure E, with only 35% of registered voters voting in favor of the measure. Less than two-thirds of the 21,966 votes cast were in favor of the measure, sending it to defeat. However, the District plans no school closures for the 2010/11 school year.

Reports from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters show that there were 41,658 voters registered for this election. 14,415, or 35%, of them voted “yes.” Of the 21,966 votes cast, 14,415 (65.62%) votes were “yes” votes and 7,551 were “no” votes. The measure needed approval from two-thirds (66.67%) of those voting to pass.

District School Superintendent Kirsten Vital, in a statement, said, “A two-thirds vote is often times an impossible hurdle to overcome, yet we came very close.”

Ed Hirshberg, the Treasurer for Committee Against Measure E, said in a prepared statement, “Today we have won an important battle for fair taxation, control of government spending and return to a robust economy that can support the social services we the people desire. This is a victory in the fight against predatory taxation.”

Despite the defeat, however, the District said that no school closures are planned for the school year beginning this fall. In their announcement, the District wrote:

The Board of Education will convene a special meeting on June 29, 2010 to provide staff with direction as to the implementation of Plan B in the Master Plan. This will likely mean that school closure and/or reconfiguration planning process will begin in the fall of 2010 with actual closures occurring in the 2011/2012 school year.

As of press time, the District had not responded to a request from Action Alameda News to acknowledge that another, successful attempt by the District to pass a parcel tax over the next several months, or a change for the better in State funding for schools, might mean that no schools in Alameda would need to close.

14 comments to Alameda Unified School District Concedes Defeat on Measure E

  • propubliceducation

    Thank you Action Alameda for being the voice of reason and unbiased reporting on Measure E. When will you know who funded E and how much? SunCal, PTAs, who else?

  • The pre-election campaign filings are online with the Alameda City Clerk’s office. Here is a link to APLUS’s 2nd pre-election filing. The next filing is due at the end of July.

    http://docs.ci.alameda.ca.us/weblink8/0/doc/220051/Page1.aspx

  • propubliceducation

    Thanks! So now that Measure E failed, will they return the $300 to Paden PTA, $1,000 to Lum PTA, $100 to Wood PTA, $745 to Washington PTA? Not so worried about the $999 from Edison.

  • Presumably APLUS has money left over. It would have been difficult to spend the $20,000 that SunCal donated late in the campaign.

  • I find it hard to believe that the teachers’ unions didn’t contribute to this campaign. They may have funneled some contributions through the PTAs. And let’s not forget SunCal, that civic-minded corporation. Vital’s statement is somewhat curious, as she is forbidden by the State Education Code from actively promoting such an initiative. As I recall, her expensive attorney told her it was okay so long as she didn’t directly spend AUSD funds. Hence APlus!

    So, only half of registered voters were convinced by the supposed plight of the schools, and not even two thirds of those, even with the mail-in ballot and senior exemption, voted yes. Will Erwin & Muir, Vital’s political consulting firm, at $300/hr., post this defeat on their web site?

  • concernedparent

    thanks so much for the update! when will the public begin to know which schools are affected by closure and/or consolidation?

  • Hot R

    You are spinning, not reporting.

    One half of the electorate cared enough about the schools to vote but that is approximately the same percentage who vote in every presidential election, and considerably higher than the number of Alamedans who voted in the state wide election earlier in the month. Undoubtedly that will be the approximate number who vote in the upcoming California Senate elections. Of that number just under 66% voted for the measure which lost by less than 300 votes despite the fact it asked for a much higher amount of money for schools than had ever been asked before. Given the fact that only 15% of residents have children in school that is a very high percentage who voted for the parcel tax. That is why it will be put on the ballot again in November.

    You imply that schools will not close and money will somehow appear, but things will actually get worse on the State level, not better – hence the proposed amount of the failed parcel tax and the 10 year time span. A former Clinton economic advisor suggested in the Chronicle today that the recovery will take 11 years, before we reach 6% unemployment again. On June 29 the School Board will announce what schools will be closed in the 2011-12 school year. Meanwhile, the effects have already been felt as 70 laid off teachers will NOT be rehired and class sizes will increase. The Master Plan clearly lays out Plan B, which detail the closures which were always planned for the following year.

    As Hirshberg stated “we the people” meaning the small percentage of anti-taxation and anti-school die-hards, or 7,297 voters out of 41,000 registered Alameda voters in our 80,000 plus city population, won an important battle “to support the social services we desire” meaning fewer schools, fewer teachers and lowering the quality of public education in Alameda so they can save $2 per day. But no principle was upheld. No long term financial gain will be made. No important legislation was passed which will affect coming generations. No new precedent was established which will last longer than November.

    As is your right, you and your 7,000 friends have got until November to delight in the defeat of Measure E. However, there was quite a bit of talk about “reform” of the schools and “alternative ways” to raise money. Let’s see how many of the 7,000 naysayers volunteer for their local PTAs or show up at school fundraisers to contribute, offer to mentor children, sponsor a scholarship for a needy student, or start a hedgefund to help education in this town and walk the walk.

  • ‘concernedparent’, your question is IF or HOW, not WHEN schools will be affected. The rhetoric put forth by the proponents of Measure E was thick and heavy handed and full of inflammatory statements without many substantive facts to back it up.

    The real question is will the citizens of Alameda come together now that the votes have been counted and work towards the best interests of the AUSD and Alameda’s students with what resources are available to them?

  • concernedparent

    Gillico: You’re absolutely spot on with that clarification, and on all fronts.

  • In their press release yesterday, AUSD said that no schools will close for the upcoming 2010/11 school year. That gives them time to try to pass another parcel tax, and/or for State funding conditions to improve for the better: “The Board of Education will convene a special meeting on June 29, 2010 to provide staff with direction as to the implementation of Plan B in the Master Plan. This will likely mean that school closure and/or reconfiguration planning process will begin in the fall of 2010 with actual closures occurring in the 2011/2012 school year.”

    It is widely rumored that Measure E advocates are already planning for another parcel tax attempt. Ronald Mooney has over $11,000 in a PAC that was leftover from Measure H in 2008, and presumably APLUS has a significant amount of money left over as well, thanks to their contribution from SunCal.

    Hot R – in the same breath, you say that no money will appear to keep schools open, and then go on to say “That is why it will be put on the ballot again in November.” So which is it? Are schools going to close? Or is AUSD crafting a plan to make another parcel tax attempt to keep them open?

    You also need to check your math. The way a 2/3rds vote works, Measure E would have needed another 600 “yes” votes or so to pass. Each additional vote increases the denominator in the equation, not just the numerator.

    And kindly refrain from characterizing anyone who voted against Measure E as “anti-school die-hards” – that’s your own spin, and plenty of people have expressed legitimate concerns about Measure E that don’t boil down to trite simplistics such as “anti-school.”

    As for other sources of money? If the CTA would agree to reform, perhaps there would be federal Race for the Top money.

  • HotR is sounding more like the die-hard sore loser every minute, perhaps even a President of a teachers’ union. Maybe the 7,000 of us who voted “No” should just show up on his front lawn, shaking our fists in his face…democracy in action!

    His arguments are even less convincing in the wake of his defeat. The kids are making that “L” sign in his direction. Loser! Geez, and I said I wouldn’t gloat.

    If there is another school beggarly initiative anytime soon, tin cups in hand, most voters will be so disgusted by such tactica hey will just turn their faces away and not vote at all, in total indifference, or,except for parents, teachers and other vested intererest, (see APlus campaign finance statements), will vote again, a resounding “No!”

  • Barb

    Any inferences to be made from the turnout should factor in that the district paid for ballots to be delivered to each voter’s home, which included prepaid self addressed envelopes for ballots to be returned by mail. Even so, about half of the voters responded.

    Instead of listening to the business community’s valid concern of the inherent unfairness in the Measure, proponents chose to villify the opposition. Which homeowners would have agreed to pay $9500 while others paid $659? Probably none. They would have recognized the unfairness of the amount immediately. But since businesses exist to make money, AUSD assumed that all could and would bear the costs no matter how unequal or the finances of each business. Or that voters would force that unfairness into law.

    All the whining and harshness coming from very bitter pro E Supporters reflects a relative unsophisticated grasp of the political proces itself. For each contest there is one set of winners, and one set of losers. Measures should be as fair as possible to everyone, not just picked in an amount necessary to keep AUSD fully staffed.

    Attacking ones opponents during the campaign, comes home to roost if that side loses. I agree that “AUSD and the parents lost a lot more than an election. They lost the appearance of really caring for what is best for all Alamedans, not just themselves.”

  • nomoretaxes

    Victory is sweet!

  • nomoretaxes

    Money would have solved the problem by now if money was the answer. It is not. The smart voters of Alameda are well aware of this; the previous parcel taxes have not solved the school district’s problems. Yes, we are all aware that the State has cut funding to all school districts & may continue to do so. Floating parcel taxes every time the State cuts funding is not the answer when there are plenty of other places to cut expenses in school districts starting with teacher, administrators & clerical staff’s salaries, benefits & pension plans

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