|Measure A Expectations Don’t Meet the Reality|
Published: Friday, 01 June 2012 05:20
When Alameda voters approved a parcel tax to support the Alameda Hospital, did we know we were providing funding for the hospital administrator to ratchet a pay and benefits package up to $400,000 a year, and that the hospital would be waving the red deficit flag today?
Now we are pausing before a Measure C ballot to increase sales tax from 8.75 to 9.25 percent, which a math teacher will tell you is a 5.7 percent increase, and wondering if we will see new swimming pools or a new record high salary for the city manager?
As AUSD and the AEA move farther and farther away from an amicable solution, one must ask the question, "Is this what we visualized when we voted for the parcel tax to hire and retain excellent teachers and preserve Advanced Placement programs?"
Were we envisioning the Board of Education giving a four-year $1 million contract with full medical to the superintendent so they "wouldn't lose her?"
Were we expecting the board to give the superintendent a $15,000 bonus that was carefully not predicated on student achievement?
Were we hoping that a new AUSD lawyer and inner circle cabinet officers would also get raises?
Were we expecting the District to sign a lease for $300,000 a year to move into fancy new offices instead of into existing space in empty school buildings?
That summer school programs designed to help students catch up with their peers would evaporate? That vocational education — which prepares students for the real world, not burdensome college loans — would be severely curtailed?
That the district would purchase an annuity to buy out the contracts of 72 of our most experienced teachers to reduce salaries losing hundreds of years of educational experience just to replace them with cheaper inexperienced teachers?
That the out-of-town superintendent and her lawyer would choose to wage a strike provoking war on Alameda teachers by refusing to settle grievances, punitively throwing 24 experienced teachers into the teacher assistance program to try to force them to retire and publicizing all the grievances with names possibly not redacted?
That despite having a $17.5 million reserve (largest in the Bay Area), the district would refuse to even offer the teachers the 4 1/2 percent pay loss from the furlough days they generously contributed to the district last year before Measure A "saved" it?
That inexperienced and vindictive principals throughout the district would now attack their experienced staff at the direction of the superintendent through a series of inaccurate hyperbolic evaluations, failing to adhere to the terms of the contract, introduction of inappropriate hearsay evidence, and subterfuge, rather than support them?
That charismatic school leaders would be supplanted by minions? That our elected watchdog representatives, the Board of Education, would do nothing while chaos reigns and morale plummets?
That Alameda would be facing its first teachers' strike ever? Because, when I manned the phone banks, calling on the Alameda community to support Measure A, I didn't see any of this in the offing. What about the rest of you?
Jeffrey R. Smith is a retired U.S. Naval aviator and Lieutenant Commander. He teaches math at Encinal High School.