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No More Money Maintaining Business as Usual at AUSD

Action Alameda News was provided with a copy of the following letter for publication, which the author sent to neighbors…

Dear Neighbors,

See Measure A per parcel list below for our blocks on Pacific Ave. Expect that most households with seniors living in them, will be opting out (10% of our households).

Some comparisons…

May 2011 Ballots’ School Annual Parcel Taxes (Alameda’s is the only one that is not flat)
Alameda: Range just on my street alone runs between $155 to $6240/parcel, median family income is $95,000/year
Los Gatos: $49/parcel for 6 years, median family income is $117k/year
Sunnyvale: $59/parcel for 7 years, median family income is $133k/year
Cupertino: $125/parcel for 6 years, median family income is $118k/year
Los Altos: $193/parcel for 6 years, median family income is $186k/year

Existing Parcel Tax:
Palo Alto: $589/parcel, 2011-2015 (six year limit), will generate $11.2M/year; median family income is $153k/year

What’s wrong with this picture? Alameda’s median family income is $23K-58K/year lower than any city listed below, yet the existing parcel tax is several times higher than every single one except Palo Alto’s! And if Measure A passes, many parcels will be paying as much or more than anyone in Palo Alto. IMO, we’re focused on the wrong thing here: we need more company headquarters and white collar jobs in Alameda, not higher taxes on a community that can ill afford them.

Our high schools have 3,000 kids, about. Take away the inter district transfer students that come here, and that number drops by around 200. And THAT is a good number for a single high school. We should combine the high schools for several reasons.

1. to save money on number of admin, maintenance, and site costs
2. (more importantly) be able to provide more to more students. The school districts (Berkeley, San Leandro, etc.) that have one larger high school ( up to 3,500 kids in one; and versus trying to support two separate ones), provide far more academic and extracurricular offerings for their students, and an overall significantly improved facility, number of programs, and diversity of programs. This change is needed in Alameda. We need real adaptive change in our AUSD that is forward thinking. Not more money thrown at maintaining business as usual.

How would Measure A affect the housing market? Will it cause rental vacancies in the many multi-unit parcels in our neighborhood from increased rents? What will it do to the real estate residential sales and prices? I do know that the local realtors wanted to come out against Measure A as a group, but are remaining neutral because of a few vociferous realtors who are pro-A. Please reply and let me know if you have any insights on this.

Here’s the list of how much you will pay for your property just for the Measure A part of your total parcel tax:

PARCEL ADDRESS Sq. Ft. TAX 7-YR TOTAL
073040904400 801 Pacific Ave 1,463 $468 $3,277
073040702000 802 Pacific Ave 2,136 $684 $4,785
073040904300 805 Pacific Ave 1,185 $379 $2,654
073040904200 807 Pacific Ave 1,345 $430 $3,013
073040702100 808 Pacific Ave 1,650 $528 $3,696
073040702200 810 Pacific Ave 1,012 $324 $2,267
073040904100 811 Pacific Ave 1,315 $421 $2,946
073040904000 813 Pacific Ave 1,810 $579 $4,054
073040702300 814 Pacific Ave 1,320 $422 $2,957
073040702400 818 Pacific Ave 1,127 $361 $2,524
073040702500 818 Pacific Ave 1,535 $491 $3,438
073040903900 819 Pacific Ave 1,720 $550 $3,853
073040702600 820 Pacific Ave 2,366 $757 $5,300
073040702800 824 Pacific Ave 1,464 $468 $3,279
073040902800 825 Pacific Ave 1,327 $425 $2,972
073040702900 826 Pacific Ave 1,376 $440 $3,082
073040902700 829 Pacific Ave 1,403 $449 $3,143
073040703000 830 Pacific Ave 3,704 $1,185 $8,297
073040902600 833 Pacific Ave 1,032 $330 $2,312
073040703100 836 Pacific Ave 1,814 $580 $4,063
073040902500 837 Pacific Ave 1,024 $328 $2,294
073040703200 840 Pacific Ave 1,355 $434 $3,035
073040902301 841 Pacific Ave 1,183 $379 $2,650
073040700100 844 Pacific Ave 1,893 $606 $4,240
073040902203 845 Pacific Ave 2,188 $700 $4,901

073040901200 901 Pacific Ave 1,435 $459 $3,214
073040901100 905 Pacific Ave 1,352 $433 $3,028
073040901000 909 Pacific Ave 1,545 $494 $3,461
073040900900 911 Pacific Ave 1,309 $419 $2,932
073040900800 915 Pacific Ave 1,466 $469 $3,284
073038600100 926 Pacific Ave 1,485 $475 $3,326
073038501300 927 Pacific Ave 2,749 $880 $6,158
073038600200 930 Pacific Ave 4,359 $1,395 $9,764
073038501200 931 Pacific Ave 1,791 $573 $4,012
073038501100 937 Pacific Ave 1,529 $489 $3,425
073038600300 938 Pacific Ave 1,946 $623 $4,359
073038501000 939 Pacific Ave 1,494 $478 $3,347
073038600400 940 Pacific Ave 1,174 $376 $2,630
073038600500 942 Pacific Ave 1,268 $406 $2,840
073038500900 943 Pacific Ave 2,258 $723 $5,058
073038600600 946 Pacific Ave 1,269 $406 $2,843
073038600700 950 Pacific Ave 840 $269 $1,882
073038500800 951 Pacific Ave 4,312 $1,380 $9,659

073038401300 1007 Pacific Ave 2,088 $668 $4,677
073038702300 1008 Pacific Ave 1,618 $518 $3,624
073038702400 1010 Pacific Ave 2,773 $887 $6,212
073038702500 1012 Pacific Ave 2,014 $644 $4,511
073038401200 1013 Pacific Ave 1,304 $417 $2,921
073038702600 1014 Pacific Ave 2,267 $725 $5,078
073038401100 1015 Pacific Ave 2,702 $865 $6,052
073038702700 1016 Pacific Ave 1,856 $594 $4,157
073038401003 1017 Pacific Ave 1,880 $602 $4,211
073038702800 1020 Pacific Ave 1,318 $422 $2,952
073038401001 1023 Pacific Ave 1,601 $512 $3,586
073038703000 1024 Pacific Ave 1,234 $395 $2,764
073038703100 1028 Pacific Ave 1,482 $474 $3,320
073038400900 1029 Pacific Ave 2,711 $868 $6,073

072037702400 1101 Pacific Ave 1,597 $511 $3,577
072037702300 1103 Pacific Ave 1,127 $361 $2,524
072037600200 1104 Pacific Ave 2,153 $689 $4,823
072037702200 1105 Pacific Ave 1,081 $346 $2,421
072037600300 1108 Pacific Ave 1,208 $387 $2,706
072037702100 1109 Pacific Ave 3,361 $1,076 $7,529
072037600400 1110 Pacific Ave 1,620 $518 $3,629
072037600500 1112 Pacific Ave 1,665 $533 $3,730
072037702000 1115 Pacific Ave 1,084 $347 $2,428
072037701900 1117 Pacific Ave 1,084 $347 $2,428
072037701800 1119 Pacific Ave 1,061 $340 $2,377
072037701700 1121 Pacific Ave 944 $302 $2,115
072037701600 1135 Pacific Ave 904 $289 $2,025
072037701500 1137 Pacific Ave 888 $284 $1,989
072037701400 1139 Pacific Ave 928 $297 $2,079
072037701300 1141 Pacific Ave 896 $287 $2,007

072036601700 1201 Pacific Ave 1,975 $632 $4,424
072036601500 1207 Pacific Ave 2,314 $740 $5,183
072036700200 1210 Pacific Ave 1,177 $377 $2,636
072036601400 1211 Pacific Ave 2,835 $907 $6,350
072036700300 1212 Pacific Ave 2,270 $726 $5,085
072036601300 1213 Pacific Ave 1,890 $605 $4,234
072036601000 1223 Pacific Ave 3,145 $1,006 $7,045

072035200800 1305 Pacific Ave 2,653 $849 $5,943
072035100200 1310 Pacific Ave 2,228 $713 $4,991
072035200600 1311 Pacific Ave 2,454 $785 $5,497
072035100300 1312 Pacific Ave 1,380 $442 $3,091
072035200500 1315 Pacific Ave 1,340 $429 $3,002
072035200400 1317 Pacific Ave 2,547 $815 $5,705
072035200300 1319 Pacific Ave 1,633 $523 $3,658
072035200201 1321 Pacific Ave 1,788 $572 $4,005

073040702700 822 Pacific Ave 1,603 $513 $3,591
073038401002 1019 Pacific Ave ) 2,494 $798 $5,587
073038702900 1022 Pacific Ave 1,783 $571 $3,994
072036601600 1205 Pacific Ave 1,316 $421 $2,948
072036601200 1215 Pacific Ave 2,333 $747 $5,226
072036601100 1219 Pacific Ave 2,361 $756 $5,289
072035100400 1314 Pacific Ave 1,046 $335 $2,343

Kindest regards,

Denise Lai

20 comments to No More Money Maintaining Business as Usual at AUSD

  • Barb

    Kind of hits the nail on the head, we are paying for administration and benefits that ordinary folks won’t receive.

    Enlightening article in the New York Times Magazine on the teachers’s unions and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey:

    “But over the last 10 years or so, most American workers have come to expect less by way of benefits and security from their employers. And with political consensus building toward some kind of public-school reform, teachers’ unions in particular have lost credibility with the public. Forty-­six percent of voters in a poll conducted by Stanford and the Associated Press last September said teachers’ unions deserved either “a great deal” or “a lot” of blame for the problems of public schools.

    “Let’s assume that they’re smart, because I think they are,” he [Governor Christie] went on. “So then, why don’t you do it? Because they believe they are entitled to it. They believe they are special and different and that they shouldn’t have to share the sacrifice. And that’s, I think, what’s ultimately driving public opinion against them.”

    The article ocntinues:

    So. . . .. THE POLITICAL DYNAMIC in New Jersey tells you a lot about what’s driving similar conversations all over the country. Last year alone, 18 states either raised the pension-contribution levels for public employees or reduced benefits for their retirees, according to Susan Urahn, the managing director of the Pew Center for the States. Three states — South Dakota, Colorado and Minnesota — decided to eliminate cost-of-living raises for state workers who have already retired. . . . Illinois raised its retirement age to 67.

    Then there was the 46 year old retired cop who grew who her own tobacco for cigarettes to avoid paying the same taxes other smokers pay. Retired at 46 (probably with life expectancy of 40 more years, except for her bad habits) with full beneifts, medical, pay etc., she doesn’t feel any obligation to pay cigarette taxes. Taxes that are aimed at paying medical costs for smokers and dissuading new smokers. Not only do taxpayers get to pay twice her lifetime earnings in retirement to her, but for medical costs of lung cancer etc. And she feels it is entirely appropriate to avoid paying taxes on her vice.

    Public workers have been ripping the taxpayer off for years. These are just two examples of them against the taxpayer.

    Things to think about as one ponders how to vote on Measure “A”.

  • elliott.gorelick

    Denise,

    Much as I respect you, your letter misconstrues an important element to these parcel taxes. In many of the other cities you have cited, the parcel taxes are additional to existing taxes and the totals exceed the numbers for Los Gatos, their existing parcel tax which will not be preempted by the new parcel tax is 3 times the current one so the total is more like $225 per parcel (still less than Alameda’s). In Los Altos, the existing parcel tax added to the proposed tax is a little less than $800 per parcel (more than Alameda’s). I only checked the first two in your list, but I assume that several others on the list also have existing taxes which, unlike Alameda’s ballot proposal, will continue even if the measure is passed. Measure A replaces existing parcel taxes unlike some of these other measures.

  • elliott.gorelick

    Sunnyvale’s is new and Cupertino’s is in addition to an existing $125 which will be owed. Also, per capita spending in each of these districts is higher than Alameda even if you only use the denominator of students living within district boundaries so it is unclear what kind of parcel tax that these district’s would propose if they had to work within Alameda’s budget constraints. Also, observe that each of these districts pay their teachers more than Alameda.

  • Anonymous

    In general, Alameda home owners are already paying a lot of property taxes because the houses here are more expensive compare to other cities closed by like Oakland, Los Altos and Sunnyvale. Plus has a quiet of few types of measure taxes is a extreme burden for business and property owners in alameda city.

    Other district’s teachers getting more pay maybe accountable not AUSD.

  • DHL

    Thanks Elliott. I did search certain databases and did not find additional parcel taxes, so did not mention them. Also, some districts have city bonds too. But my main point is the ability of our community to pay this new tax; I’m trying to show the median income against this very high, variable, parcel tax. Alameda can ill afford an increase in parcel taxes for the schools, and this is particularly true because we also have the $298/parcel annual tax for the hospital. Each parcel’s annual special tax sum-total is far higher than we imagine. And over the lifetime of the parcel taxes (hospital has no end in sight, and the school is apparently the same, even with each measure’s year-limits!), it’s thousands and thousands of dollars. I have not see any value from the hospital tax for our community and I strongly question any value from this new Measure A. Quite the opposite in fact. Remember last time, the AUSD said they’d be forced to close schools if the parcel tax did not pass. It did not, yet nothing of the sort happened. It was fear tactics.

    Now some people believe that if Measure A is not passed, the City will decline. The very opposite is more likely. Why? The AUSD will not make substantive, needed changes. The economy of our city will further fail from Measure A’s detrimental effects on the housing market (higher rents, increased vacancies) that will coincide with the Fall 2011 wave of foreclosures to bring us decreased home prices and sales (more unoccupied homes in our neighborhoods) and on independent businesses who will be further challenged to survive. We’ll see failed businesses on Webster and Park Avenue as well as a reverse of the wonderful new business resurgence we’ve seen recently. Without independent businesses, we have no unique characteristics to our community. Combine that with a weak housing market, and we’ve got absolutely no magnetism for corporate headquarters or offices, no hope for new white-collar jobs. OTOH: build our economy up with startup’s and corporate offices, and the schools will have what they need: the tax base to support the schools guided by a well-educated and diverse parent community. And a community with an improved home-owner/renter ratio in the housing market.

    Progressive goals cannot be met with traditional solutions given our city’s conditions. Taxing our community further is continuing to put the cart before the horse and fuel the downward spiral.

  • DHL

    Elliott: where are you getting your parcel tax information? I’d like to compile a more accurate picture. Thanks!

  • It’s amazing and gratifying that so many Alameda citizens are doing the research and analysis to penetrate the usual soundbites of SOS and AUDS, the assumptions that yet another parcel tax will help, not hurt, the Island’s real estate market. Raise taxes during a deep recession, and slow the recovery of small businesses even more..? Barb and Denise both see through that bogus logic, and if enough people do, we may just defeat Measure A after all!

    If AUSD management really cared about the kids, and about Alameda, they would identify real economies in scale and cost, instead of only those savings designed to scare voters’ pants off. My concern is that, if Measure A fails, Supe Vital will just be coming at us again in 2012, instead of gracefully handing in her resignation.

  • elliott.gorelick

    I just googled for parcel tax and the city name. Then I went through the links until I found one that reported what the total would be if the parcel tax passed.

  • Anonymous

    DHL: Will you send a letter with corrections to your neighbors?

  • Barb

    Anonymous, why don’t you send one for DHL? She is obviously trying to present a key fact that the ballot refuses to include out of fear: How much each parcel/household will actually be taxed. Why should AUSD want this be hidden from view? Shouldn’t people be advised of the one true result of Measure A? What has AUSD got to hide?

    Truth is too many voters will be swayed by AUSD’s ersatz scare tactics. Then when they receive their new tax assessments, the real threat will hit home(s).

    While you are at it Anonymous, why don’t you do your neighbors a service and mail them the total amount required from the 88% of households to pay for the 12% with children in AUSD, to keep those 500 plus administrators, including a “General Counsel”, Webmaster, etc. slurping up at the public trough?

  • anon

    AUSD has to contribute to the pension funds like all districts

    Former superintendent ardella dailey gets a $106,000/year pension

    Ron Sherrat, husband of ausd trustee margie gets a $100K/year pension

    Margie Sherrat gets a pension too but maybe she falls under the $100K limit reportec by california pension reform

    bill sonneman a former ausd principal gets a $105K/year pension

    so ron and margie not only get to vote in favor of the tax that pays their pensions but they also get a vote on the ausd board to put a pracel tax on the ballot. must be nice.

    From: http://www.californiapensionreform.com/database.asp?vtsearchname=&vtsearchemploy=alameda+city+unified&vtquery=1&vttable=calstrs

    Name

    Monthly

    Annual

    District

    DAILEY, ARDELLA J

    $8,842.37

    $106,108.44

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

    DIERKING, DAVID W

    $8,587.31

    $103,047.72

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

    JANVIER, MICHAEL R

    $8,794.32

    $105,531.84

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

    PORTER, CLARE L

    $9,200.36

    $110,404.32

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

    SHERRATT, DON R

    $8,370.09

    $100,441.08

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

    SONNEMAN, WILLIAM A

    $8,795.25

    $105,543.00

    ALAMEDA CITY UNIFIED

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Barb, there you go again. You have to be about the bitterest person I’ve heard outside a Tea Party rally. Or maybe you’re not outside…

    Do you think the 88% have a responsibility to fund education for the 12%? Are you against A because of particular features? Or are you really against the idea of people who don’t use the schools paying for them? If you do support public education, isn’t the 88%/12% thing irrelevant? Why do you keep raising it?

    It’s sunny outside! Not everything is awful! Try smiling!

  • Betty

    Anonymous, I am tired of a chosen few wasting the money of many and getting paid unrealistic salaries and benefits.
    Don’t you wonder why the AUDS needs almost 100 M dollars to educate 9,000 kids? Really think about it….100M for 9,000 kids!
    Please explain it to me. I think I’ve made up my mind on how I am going to vote, but try to change my mind.

  • anon

    betty, you are absolutely right. we’ve already sent our ‘no’ votes in.

    we need a smaller and strong school district not one with 17 campuses.

    nobody says that ausd has some right to a $100 mil. budget

  • smart voter

    Yeah, we need a strong and better administration,and school district. VOTE NO ON MEASURE A

  • Betty

    Anonymous, I am mailing my no vote tomorrow. I am still waiting to hear why AUSD needs a 100 M budget to educate 9,000 kids.

  • Betty

    Anonymous, just a thought…if the 3 stooges have their way with the new city manager Alameda is screwed anyway and it doesn’t matter how good or bad the school system is. Alameda is going downhill.. Kiss our little paradise goodbye. As for me I am out of here as soon as I can retire.

  • smart voter

    Everybody moving out and teachers have no jobs. Alameda is very mess and sinking downhill. American India takes over would be better off.

  • Nobody’s going to move. The wealthy East-enders will just put their kids in private schools.

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