AUSD to Place Bond on November Ballot

The Alamdeda Unified School District (AUSD) plans to put a bond before the voters next November. District superintendent Kirsten Vital stated in a recent letter to the community that money raised by the bond would focus specifically on repairning, modernizing and, in some cases, replacing the district’s aging facilities.

The bond would finance updating, among other things, the district’s heating and air conditioning systems. Improvements need to be made from the ground up, literally. Vital pointed out that in some places pavement, walls and ceilings are in poor condition. She also stated that “many of the portables on our sites need to be replaced.”

Vital states that AUSD facilities suffer from ills caused by aging infrastructure. She said that boilers, pumps and pipes at the schools have reached the end of their useful lives.

“Most of our sites are not energy efficient,” she stated. “Few sites share the same type of lighting, windows, PA systems, or fire alarms, making maintenance costly and inconvenient.”

The first step in putting the bond on the ballot consists of creating a facilities master plan, which Vital describes as “a blueprint of what our school sites will look like for the next several decades.”

The district is already working on that plan. This month and last, teachers and principals met with the architects for this project, Quattrochi Kwok Associates (QKA). They discussed educational specifications, or “ed specs” for all the district’s schools.

“These ‘ed specs’ set the longrange plan for the district’s educational goals, programs and facilities,” Vital stated.

QKA will be visiting each school in the district in January. The archtects will hold morning meetings with committees made up of staff, faculty, parent/guardian and neighborhood representatives. These meetings will help identify the schools’ problems and visions. QKA will hold closed working sessions in the afternoon

The district will host evening community-wide meetings in April and May. These will offer the community the opportunity to comment on the proposed site designs “I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of your participation — as parents, guardians, teachers, staff, neighbors, and community members,” stated Vital.

“We need to hear your voices in order to create a plan for our schools that truly reflects our community’s values and our community’s needs.”

Common Core Dollars: On Dec. 15, Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced that AUSD will share in new state funding to implement the Common Core academic standards.

These standards “will provide educators with the tools to advance instruction and integrate the latest technology into the learning environment,” Bonta stated in a press release.

AUSD will receive $1,880,810. Independent programs that serve Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro students will share $2.2 million.

California is among 45 states that have adopted Common Core. The program requires these states to adopt the same standards for English and mathematics.

This helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts teamed up to design these standards.

According to the state’s department of education website, school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and state special schools with 2012–13 enrollment are all eligible to receive funds to implement the Common Core program.

 

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