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11 Reasons Why You Should Vote “No” on Measure A

Dear Editor,

Can you please publish my letter.

11 Reasons why you should vote NO on Measure A

Dear Alameda Voters, I am a parent of four children that attend schools in AUSD. I want to urge you to vote no on Measure A. Here are 11 reasons to vote no. I want the level of education to be at its best in Alameda since I will have children attending AUSD for the next 18 years. I feel strongly that if this measure fails we will end up with a better school district in the future.  Here are my reasons:

1.      Governor Brown has said that if the voters approve extending the temporary tax in June he will restore funding to the schools.  If that happens, this parcel tax will not be necessary or, at least, its magnitude will not be necessary.  However, there is no built-in mechanism to reduce or eliminate this 7 year parcel tax if that happens.

2.      Measure H is still in place until July 1, 2012. This measure collects $120 per resident and 15 cents per sq ft on commercial/industrial parcels regardless of the size. Measure A immediately replaces Measure H which puts a lot of the burden of the taxes on the residents, not the large businesses. Measure A will decrease the tax for many of the large businesses in Alameda and the residents will pick up the difference, and more. Parcel taxes under Measure A for the average homeowner will increase 65%. Some will see their taxes go up 300%. “A” lowers the tax cap from $9,500 for big businesses and large landowners to $7,900. A cap is not fair to small businesses.

3.      The district has about $15 million in cash reserves and receivables. The existing tax is still in place until July 1, 2012 and there will be time to approve a parcel tax in the November 2012 General election. If the district reduces expenses unrelated to the direct education of the students and use some of their reserves, they can continue normally without additional state funding.

4.      AUSD has used scare tactics to get votes. They have suggested only cutting in areas that get the parents attention and make them fearful for the quality of education in AUSD. They have hardly addressed cuts and changes that will impact the administration, the way they run the district and how we can improve the education for each student. Ed-Data says that in the 2009-2010 school year AUSD had 20.3 students per teacher with 514 teachers employed by the district. AUSD’s website says they have 1034 teachers, staff and administrators. This means there is one staff or administrator for each teacher in the district, bringing into question the district’s financial priorities. See http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us for more information on the district’s statistics.

5.      The district has placated to the union. In the Measure E election the district had an agreement with the union that reduced the instruction and teacher work days until June 30, 2012 if the measure did not pass. The district also agreed to additional personal days for the teachers. The furlough days only hurt the students. A board member from another district said. “Furlough days are not in the best interest of the students but in the interest of the teachers. If they put the students first they would take a pay cut instead of furlough days.” The teachers received a 3% increase over last year. Last year their annual average salary was $66,819 with a high of $82,042 for 185 days of work. This does not include the benefits and pension plans they receive. Data obtained at http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us

6.      AUSD continues to have their own elections instead of having them with the general elections. The registrar of voters says that the district pays for these special elections. They also said it costs $4 to $7 per voter to hold an election. This means AUSD could be spending $100,000 to $200,000 for the special elections held just for these parcel taxes. The district is having their own election so that they have a small turnout at the poles. This strategy is not fair to the community, as a whole, who will be paying the taxes.

7.      The district has over 42 administrators making over $100,000 a year. They spent over 2.4 million on consultants and attorneys last year. In 2009-2010 AUSD budgeted over $500,000 for books and supplies and did not use this money per the budget. Instead they overspent on attorneys and outside consultants. AUSD is spending more than $16 million on special education. They use mostly outside consultants to educate our special education students instead of implementing their education internally. Special Education Students need the best we can give them, and the easy way is not always the best and most cost effective way to provide for their needs.

8.      AUSD is ignoring the concerns of many of the parents but is still asking for their support. This support should not come at the polls until the parents are given the respectful consideration for the fears they continue have in regards to their child’s education and welfare.

9.      Kirsten Vital, the AUSD Superintendent, makes $198,275 a year and she does not live in Alameda to participate in this tax. Ms. Vital’s employment contract calls for another 3% raise in July of 2011 and she can take 50 days of vacation and sick days per year.  When she went to the CSBA meeting she stayed at one of the most expensive hotels in San Diego and had an expensive dinner on AUSD. She spent $300 to have a consulting firm review her welcome back letter to the teachers. She is not a good example of how to tighten the belt and save money. Change and sacrifice should start at the top, not in the classroom.

10.   The district will be much better off if they cut back and reassess their needs. Like the community, the state, the nation and many Americans, we need to learn how to exist without raising taxes and spending more money. This tax is not fair to the businesses, residents and students in Alameda. The district continues to ask for more money year after year instead of making needed changes.

11.   The district is out of control with their spending, political agendas, scare tactics as well as their lack of concern for the parents’ wishes and the student’s educational needs. We need to send the board members and the administrators a clear message, “Put our students’ needs first, cut in areas outside the classroom and get your house in order. Then we will pass a parcel tax, if needed”.

PLEASE VOTE NO ON MEASURE A

— Gary Fanger, Alameda

11 comments to 11 Reasons Why You Should Vote “No” on Measure A

  • Anonymous

    Your name rang a bell. Are you the Gary Fanger mentioned in this article?
    http://www.sfbg.com/39/51/news_scab_master.html

  • Barb

    More than one administrator/staff for each of the 528 teachers? 42 who make over $100,000 per year? Plus benefits? I was told Measure A is for the children. The money raised will not quite cover the continuation of a too big, top heavy administration. AUSD would do well to look at Piedmont and focus on education instead of pork barrel “administration”.

    Unfortunatley, AUSD has succesfully inculcated its parent/student body to campaign, campaign, campaign. This has been done, to maintain a generous and unsupervised status at the public trough. If we don’t pass this tax, they will simply put another bigger parcel tax on as soon as possible. This is simply the tip of the iceburg. The Hospital District is going to be wanting more too for earthquake retrofits. Unless it has secretly become profitable.

  • Anonymous

    AUSD education is declining badly, relevant to mismanagement and accountability.

    Basic in economic term, when education falling economy declining also. Why some countries have a strong economy and prosperous because they providing quality education in schools and accountable administration and teachers; business and private sectors like investing their money to ….

  • Say what

    WOW! That link was very instructive. Action Alameda better consider the source before printing letters. I recommend this be taken off the website. thanks Anonymous.

  • No, we leave the censoring of opinions to Connie Rux at the Alameda Journal…

  • Michelle

    Another good reason to vote no on Measure A is that groups of teens, whom I believe to be Encinal students, I do not know if they are residents of Alameda or are out of towners who have been encouraged to attend Encinal by the AUSD, are mugging West Alameda residents to the tune of 2 and 3 incidents per week. Repeatedly on 400-500 block of Taylor and the 2200 block of Encinal and on Buena Vista, Webster, Lincoln and Central. Groups of teens are robbing us at 8:30 in the morning and between 4 and 6:00 pm. Before and after school in broad daylight. Lots and lots of incidents which have been given minimal attention in the Alameda Sun police blotter. If you want more info you have to go to Rin Kelly’s more thorough reports in the Island blog. Over here on the West end the youths are punching men in the back of the head and relieving them of their cell phones, backpacks and wallets. Women are getting knocked down and robbed of their purses and groceries (this is what happened to me a month ago and they also swung by and stole my and my neighbor’s mail, a few days later.) Of course, unless the robbery is compounded by the theft of a small cute dog, it will get little sympathy from the Alameda public who think that all Alameda school kids are angels. In any case, the groups of youths will probably end up killing someone they knock down and then the police might have to actually issue a public warning telling us to watch out for what? Groups of teenagers, most of whom I am now already watching like a hawk. I tend to walk in the middle of the street now whenever I spot a group of 2 or more teen boys following me. I refuse to give aid and comfort to my enemies. Vote no on A.

  • Anonymous

    And this relates to Measure A precisely how?

  • michelle

    Are the employees of AUSD enrolling criminals at Encinal high? Until I am clear on this issue, I will not be voting to support the schools. Everyone I talk to tells me that the roving bands of muggers are here at the behest of AUSD who is desperate to pad enrollment and keep Encinal open. I have no way of verifying if this is true, but it pretty much looks as if it is the case and until the schools and the Alameda Police proove otherwise I would rather Encinal close and the schools are consolidated on the east end.

  • Michelle,

    AUSD has some 400 to 500 “inter district transfer” students – i.e. students from outside of Alameda. About 200 of them go to Encinal. The rest are distributed primarily through west-end elementary schools. Many come from Oakland, but they come from other cities too.

    See page D-14 and D-15 in the latest demographic study.

    http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/images/stories/pdfs/master_plan/demographic_study_final_draft.pdf

  • michelle

    Well, I am from Oakland, myself, so that doesn’t mean that all Oakland students are bad, but groups of juveniles are attacking us and I would like to know if they are students who are from Encinal, as I believe they are. A few have been arrested recently although the assaults continue. I would like someone to do a story on where the juveniles who have been arrested are from and if they are residents or students of Alameda. Until then, I will assume they are and hope that Encinal is closed very soon.

  • michelle

    I’ll tell you another thing, if these kids are from Oakland and have been invited here by the AUSD the muggers have even more contempt for Alameda residents. They know they are hardcore dangerous criminals and think that the “nice Alamedans” who invited them into our affluent, liberal and unprotected neighborhoods to attend nice schools are just too naive and stupid to be suffered and have taken it upon themselves to educate us suckers and chumps and prove to us that no good deed goes unpunished. They are literally kids in a candy store. I am also confused as to why many of the parents of Alameda students seem so unconcerned about their childrens’ fellow students being in the armed robbery business. Denial, denial.

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