On October 19th the Alameda Education Foundation & the Alameda PTA Council co-hosted a candidates forum to learn more about the 5 candidates running for the two open positions on the Alameda Unified School District’s Board of Education.
Video of the full candidate forum is available in two parts:
Part 1 which contains: opening statements & questions 1,2,3 is http://www.livestream.com/alameda/video?clipId=flv_1ceb0cbb-e501-417a-81d2-dd1b3c7c0a6b&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb it is 1hour 48 seconds long.
Part 2 which contains: questions 4,5 and closing statements is http://www.livestream.com/alameda/video?clipId=flv_917fd1ed-2992-40a3-a967-532e4e6c4ee4&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb it is 45 minutes 23 seconds long.
BOE Candidates in Alphabetical order: Mike McMahon, Clay Pollard, James Pruitt, Margie Sherratt, Rand Wrobel (Sheri Palmer withdrew from the election on 10/12/10.)
Each candidate gave their opening statement then each were given a total of 4 minutes to respond to each of the following 5 questions:
1. Please describe what you have done in the recent past and the present to support public education in Alameda (and/or elsewhere). Include any involvement you currently have or have had with local schools sites, PTA units, the Alameda Education Foundation, and/or the District.
2. Let’s talk about what this is all about- educating Alameda’s students.
Alameda has seen ongoing improvement in the CA Department of Education’s Academic Performance Index (API) rankings with more than three-fourths of schools in AUSD exceeding last year’s API scores*. Even with a growth of 11 points in the overall API score for AUSD, Alameda still faces an achievement gap** for Hispanic Pacific Islander & African American Boys.
How do you see the Board of Education working with the Alameda Unified School District, addressing the achievement gap while educating top performing students? What strategies would you recommend for continuing to improve academic quality at all AUSD schools and for all AUSD students? Please be as specific as possible and note the basis for your suggestions.
*2010 API Data can be found on the AUSD website: http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/images/stories/pdfs/pr_082710_testscores.pdf
* Achievement gap data from Ed-Data.org: http://www.ed-data.org/Navigation/fsTwoPanel.asp?bottom=%2Fprofile%2Easp%3Flevel%3D06%26reportNumber%3D16
3. AUSD provided information on chartering the entire School District, including financial information showing that this was not a fiscally viable option for Alameda*. There are currently 5 Charter Schools serving Alameda Families.
Do you support more charter schools and other educational options (i.e. magnet schools) in Alameda? Why or Why not? Please explain the fiscal impact of charters on the rest of Alameda’s public schools. How will more charter schools impact equity in education for Alameda’s students?
* June 2, 2009- Community Workshop #2 What Would a District of Charter Schools Look Like? (presentation, page 12) http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/index.php/district-information/school-closures/master-plan-archive
Alameda’s public charter schools listed in alphabetical order: Academy of Alameda Middle School (AAMS- gr. 6-8), Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC- gr. 6-12),Alameda Science & Technology Institute (ASTI- gr. 9-12) Bay Area School of Enterprise (BASE gr. 9-12) Nea Community Learning Center (NCLC- gr. 6-12)- Correction- ASTI is not a Charter school as noted above.
4. According to the presentation made on October 14, 2010* at the BOE Meeting, AUSD has a projected budget shortfall currently estimated at $4 to $5 million in 2011-12 and an additional $7-8 million in 2012-2013 due to the expiration of Measures H&A. This does not include the potential of additional funding losses based on the ongoing California State budget crisis.
Do you support a new parcel tax to raise desperately needed funds? If yes, what would you like to see as the top funding priorities? If you don’t support a new parcel tax, what is your alternative for addressing the District’s financial problems? .
5. Many communities in California have strong parent and community support through school site PTAs and Education Foundations. Alameda has incredible support through the Alameda PTA Council and the Alameda Education Foundation.
Last year, approximately $3.5 million* in goods, services, & programs were provided for the benefit of students by Alameda PTAs, who’s membership is predominately parents.
The Alameda Education Foundation has been supporting enrichment activities for Alameda’s public schools for over 25 years. AEF currently provides after school programs for over 2,000 students** in Alameda’s schools in programs like Middle School Sports and after school enrichment classes at most elementary schools. AEF also provides direct teacher support through the Teacher Supply Store, the Adopt a Classroom program, classroom bases mini grants as well as scholarships for program participants and graduating Seniors.
How will you work with these organizations to support Alameda schools? Who else do you consider the primary stakeholders in decisions for public education and how do you plan to collaborate with these groups and build consensus?
What specific experience do you have in collaborating with these groups of stakeholders?
*PTA Stats based on 2009 Annual reports submitted to the Alameda PTA Council and presented at the June 8, 2010 school board meeting- 120,000 volunteer hours supporting Alameda Schools this year. Based on the Independent Sector’s valuation of volunteer time, ($23.29/hour) PTA members have provided $2,794,800 in services just in volunteer time. In addition to volunteer efforts, Alameda PTA units budgeted $760,413 in self raised funds to support Alameda schools. This is hard cash used to supplement the annual budgets of most of Alameda public schools.
**AEF Stats are avail on the 2009-2010 End -of- Year Accomplishments Flyer
One of the candidates asked for the opportunity to respond to each of the 31 questions submitted to AEF for this forum. The following questions were submitted to each of the candidates electronically on 10.19 after the forum at Alameda High School. Any responses from the candidates will be posted on this site on 10/22, 10/25 & 10/29 in the hopes of further educating Alameda voters on important education topics.
(No responses as of 5pm October 22, 2010)
Again, our thanks to the community & the candidates for participating in this educational forum.
Bill Sonneman- President, Alameda Education Foundation
Christine Strena- President, Alameda PTA Council