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Letters to the Editor for March 1, 2024

Alameda Post - Letters to the Editor

More community support for Measure E

To the Editor:

It is paramount that Alameda pass the Measure E school parcel tax on March 5. This measure provides 20% of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) budget and impacts the basic needs of our district, needs like attracting and retaining teachers, sustaining academic programs, supporting struggling students, and preparing students for college and/or careers.

I am the executive director of the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF). Since 1982, AEF has supported public schools by providing programming in art, enrichment, and sports and financial support for mental health care services, teacher grants, technology needs, and school supplies. We do a lot. But AEF—or any community organization—cannot possibly come up with the $24 million in annual funding that is needed to prevent devastating cuts to the very foundation of our children’s education. That level of support depends on all of us.

Measure E renews Alameda’s two existing parcel taxes by wrapping them into one measure with a nine-year term. It does not increase what we pay now. Please vote YES on Measure E. We can’t do it without you.



Sincerely,

Vicki Sedlack
Executive Director, Alameda Education Foundation

 

To the Editor:

Having served as the chair of Alameda Unified School District’s parcel tax oversight committee for the past six years, and having studied and written extensively on public education finance in California, I am writing in support of Measure E. The measure provides crucial funding for our schools, specifies the types of programs on which funding can be spent, and requires citizen-led accountability.

Under Measure E, funds may be used only for the following:

  • Sustaining strong academic programs.
  • Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and staff.
  • Keeping struggling students on the right track.
  • Funding small class sizes.
  • Preparing students for 21st-century jobs and careers.
  • Protecting art, music, sports, and performing arts programs.
  • Investing in a network of thriving TK-12 schools.

These are the same categories contained in the existing Measure B1, but they are appropriately less restrictive. This strikes the right balance between specificity and flexibility.

The language provides clear direction to the district and establishes discrete categories against which the oversight committee can assess expenditures. And the committee does, indeed, kick the tires on those expenditures. I have observed members asking pointed questions about district spending decisions and the effectiveness of expenditures in improving student achievement and retaining educators. Committee members have pressed for—and received—additional evidence, justification, and detail illustrating how the funds have been used and how those uses align with voter priorities.

At the same time, Measure E’s language allows the district to adjust its funding in response to changes in conditions such as state funding, curriculum, assessments, and student needs. This measure will be in place for nine years, which is a long time. What may make sense as a line-item expenditure today may not make sense nearly a decade from now.

Measure E generates local funding, provides voter direction on the use of those funds, maintains citizens’ oversight, and allows district leaders and elected school board members to make common-sense decisions, within bounds, about how to use the revenues.

That’s a combination that makes for good governance, strong accountability, and necessary educational support and opportunities for Alameda students.

Carrie Hahnel,
Alameda


Lock your car doors

To the Editor:

I have a warning for everyone: Lock your car doors when you are on the way to Oakland. My daughter and I were at a light on Harrison Street when a car across the street had a man jump out of the car next to her and try to open her back door! It was locked, but very scary. She didn’t move and was on her phone when we passed.

We had a scare at home on the island when I went out to pick up the paper in the morning and saw a pry mark on our door opposite the lock. We were home with two cars in the driveway and someone tried to break in!

Remember when we didn’t have to lock our doors?

Lynne Bajuk,
Alameda


To Be . . . Or Not

Just think of what they could have been!

This comes into my mind

When people talk about an egg

In ways that make me wind

My mind around a life that’s

Not a life, just yet,

Or maybe is, how do we know?

And that’s the point to get.

 

Now I’m a bastard, yes, by birth,

And I know one or two

Who came unwanted to this world,

Whose folks just didn’t do

To our unborn, potential lives

What now is easily done.

I’m grateful that they made that choice,

Each time I see the sun.

 

And no one has the right to tell

A person what to do.

Their body is their very own,

It’s up to them, not you.

 

It’s just that it’s so easy, now,

To end what they’ve begun

That people think that what they do

Is only just for fun.

 

So, I don’t know, and no one does,

What’s in an embryo

Until it’s brought into the light,

And has the chance to grow.

 

You have your choice, so use it well,

Don’t give yourself the strife

Of wondering if it might result

In ending a potential life.

 

And, like I said, I’m awfully glad

My folks both thought it through,

And let me come into this world

So I could be with you.

Arthur Lenhardt,
Alameda


Editorials and Letters to the Editor

All opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and do not reflect those of the Alameda Post, nor does our organization endorse any views the author may present. Our objective as an independent news source is to fully reflect our community's varied opinions without giving preference to a particular viewpoint.

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