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Lum Demolition Begins

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) new year begins with two major pieces of news, one about Lum Elementary School and one about the AUSD budget.

Alameda Post - heavy machinery participating in the demolition of Lum
Photo Scott Piehler.

First, Lum. After several months of careful abatement work, Lum Elementary School is being demolished over the next month or so. Geotechnical experts and structural engineers deemed the site unsafe in 2017 when they discovered that the soil was more highly liquefiable than previously believed, and its slab foundations would not be adequate in a strong earthquake.

Temporary classroom buildings with appropriate foundations will be built on the Lum site to house Wood Middle Students while the Wood campus is being completely rebuilt, and then Otis Elementary School students while the Otis main building is being replaced. When both of those construction projects are complete, AUSD plans to build a multi-sport athletic complex on the Lum site for Alameda High School students, as the Hornets currently lack a track and their football field is in very bad condition.

Staff and contractors at Lum are following all rules and regulations for hazards abatement, monitoring, and notifications, and the waste materials will be sorted, recycled, and disposed of according to local policies.

Alameda Post - heavy machinery participating in the demolition of Lum
Photo Scott Piehler.

Second, the budget. This week, AUSD begins a series of budgetary presentations and explorations in response to several potential changes in fiscal conditions. The presentations are meant to raise awareness of these conditions and be transparent about the decisions that may need to be made over the coming months, as well as the process by which AUSD will make those decisions.

The first presentation will be given at the January 9 Board of Education meeting. It will cover changes in state funding, including a decrease in the projected cost of living increases in 2024-25, which could result in a loss of $5 million to AUSD’s budget, and what would happen if Measure E—the parcel tax renewal measure on the March 5 ballot—doesn’t pass. Either or both of these situations would require AUSD to develop a list of potential budget reductions this spring.

More information will be available after Governor Gavin Newsom presents his proposed 2024-25 budget this week. The district plans to provide more opportunities for public dialogue and updates throughout the spring, as fiscal conditions become more clear. These conversations can be painful, but the district is fully committed to being proactive and transparent about this situation and will provide opportunities for public engagement.

The January 9 presentation agenda is available online.

Susan Davis is the Senior Manager of Community Affairs for the Alameda Unified School District. Reach her at [email protected].

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