High School Merger Gets People Talking
Alamedans see it as good and bad, mostly bad.
High School Merger Chatter
My Alameda High School freshmen and I think this [merging Alameda and Encinal high schools] is a potentially horrible idea [“Staying Separate,” December]. Even after AHS is finished with the remodel, will it really be big enough for more kids? The school is beyond packed right now.
As the mom of toddlers, I can attest to there being a boom of students in about 10 years. There’s a two-year waiting list at most daycares and preschools on the Island. No way we can fit all the high school students on one campus.
Temporarily move to consolidate all high school students at AHS — then demo EHS and rebuild for new EHS … And get rid of those tacky portable classrooms.
Such a great idea for our district finances and our kids! I went to a huge high school, and there were soooo many more opportunities for us than there were at the other smaller schools.
Who thinks the district just wants to sell the land to home developers?
The AHS campus is too small and would require $100 million to accommodate both schools into one. The architect listed the facilities, and I provided a budget for construction to the board designated to make the decision. EHS has the appropriate land and the adjacent land at the Navy base to make it happen easily. It will cost the same $100 million to do it there though. The district office needs to be moved back to the historic site and the newly purchased district office needs to be sold. Or the district office needs to move to Lum.
—Gregg de Haan
Awful idea. I went to a huge high school. They breed cliques and don’t give kids who aren’t superstars a way to shine. Neighborhood schools are the best.
Steven Tavares has written an article that should have been dated from March 2018, not today. The High School Consolidation Committee requested many detailed reports and studies from experts looking at every angle. There have been weeks of meetings and detailed reports and studies posted online from those meetings. None managed to find its way into this uninformed and misleading article. I have been to almost every meeting myself. The reality became more and more clear after each meeting. The consolidation is not practical, too expensive, too disruptive, and won’t save much, if any, money for teacher salaries. Full stop. There might be enough room to squeeze all the kids in now, but there won’t be room for the additional 400 students projected over the next three years.
To accommodate them, a new building would have to be built on the Alameda High site, possibly over the tennis courts, but certainly away from the rest of the campus. The costs of the move itself haven’t been calculated. The cafeteria would have to rebuilt and that hasn’t been budgeted either. The reality is that if Alameda wants to pays its teachers a realistic wage, we will have to pony up for it. Berkeley and Piedmont both have multiple property taxes levied to pay for their schools.
The fact is that there isn’t any money. The state has not made education a priority, and Alameda is in the same boat as many, many other cities — deferred maintenance on its buildings, teachers being put absolutely last, classroom sizes at 25 for kindergarten and 32 for fourth-grade and up. A lack of equity has come up as an actual thing between the high schools, and the committee has come up with some great suggested solutions for that, but it doesn’t address the basic fact that there isn’t any more money for teacher pay. It doesn’t take a lot of creativity to figure out that somehow Alamedans need to approve an increase in taxes to pay for the education Alamedan children ought to be getting, but it will take some bravery.
I would encourage the reporter to do a better job [on] what is happening and that your readers look for themselves at the findings.