April 20, 2012

Forum on Building Strong Families on Saturday 4/21

Putting the Pieces Together to Build Strong Families On Saturday, April 21, 2012, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin will be the featured speaker at a forum entitled "Putting the Pieces Together to Build Strong Families." The free event will focus on the issues facing families and youth in San Leandro.

Topics will include technology and teens, youth wellness issues, job training and mentoring resources, and parenting education.

The free event starts at 8:30am at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. The event is sponsored by the City of San Leandro and the San Leandro and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts. Childcare will be provided at no cost, but call (510) 577-3351 or email childrensforum@sanleandro.org to register in advance.

The schedule for the forum:

TimeTopic
8:30 amRegistration, continental Breakfast, and resource fair.
9 amWelcome by Mayor Stephen Cassidy
9:10 amKeynote Speaker, Former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin
10:10 amBreakout Session I. “Teens and Technology” – Dr. Ammar Saheli, San Lorenzo Unified School District Director of Student Services, and San Leandro police Detective Neil Goodman. “Cracking the Communication Code: Parenting Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships with your Child” – Dale Gregory, MPH.
11:10 amBreakout Session II. “Wellness Issues Facing San Leandro Youth” –Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan “Job Training and Mentoring Resources” – San Leandro Recreation and Human Services Director Carolyn Knudtson.
NoonClosing remarks by Supervisor Wilma Chan.


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October 6, 2011

Conceptual Animation of Proposed Swim Center at San Leandro High School

The animation showing the proposed swim center at San Leandro High School was produced by WLC Architects. The swim center renovations are funded as part of Measure M, a $50.1 million bond approved by voters in November 2010.

According to information posted by WLC Architects, the animation was produced in Google Sketchup, modified and rendered in Autodesk 3ds Max, and composited in Adobe After Effects.

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April 28, 2011

San Leandro Teacher Katy McCarthy Honored by President Obama

Katy McCarthy, a science teacher at San Leandro's Washington Elementary, was honored today with the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

The honor includes a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and "an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration."

McCarthy earned National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2008 and received a commendation from the San Leandro School Board in September 2009.

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December 8, 2010

Morgan Mack-Rose Elected New San Leandro School Board President

The San Leandro School Board unanimously voted Morgan Mack-Rose as the new President at the December 7, 2010, meeting of the San Leandro School Board. Diana Prola and Hermy Almonte were unanimously voted as Vice President and Clerk, respectively. Mack-Rose replaces Mike Katz-Lacabe [Note: He is the author of this blog], while Prola replaces outgoing Vice President Lisa Hague. Almonte was re-elected as Clerk.

New trustees Ron Carey and Lance James and re-elected trustee Katz-Lacabe were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting.

During the meeting, the Board received a presentation on cost savings through energy conservation by Energy Education, a company that works to reduce energy costs by changing people's habits.

The Board also voted to postpone until next year work by the Kindergarten Task Force on extending the length of the Kindergarten day because of increasing class sizes and the implementation of tiered intervention.

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May 14, 2010

Bancroft Principal Hired by Castro Valley

Mary Ann Valles, the Principal of San Leandro's Bancroft Middle School, was hired as Castro Valley High School's Principal by the Castro Valley School Board at its meeting on May 13, 2010. Valles has served as Bancroft's Principal since 2003.

In other news, Vincent Matthews, the former Principal of John Muir Middle School was recently appointed as Superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District.

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May 4, 2010

Eat out for Education Wednesday

Fourteen local restaurants are supporting the San Leandro Education Foundation by donating 10% of sales on the first Wednesday of each month to the foundation. Bon appetit tomorrow night as you support local businesses and the education foundation.

The restaurants are:

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April 22, 2010

Les Miserables at San Leandro High School This Week and Weekend

les_miserables_logo.jpg San Leandro High School's spring musical of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables opened Wednesday, April 21, 2010, and continues with shows each day until Sunday, April 25..

The musical features student and professional musicians as part of a live orchestra. Previous productions have included West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors and Grease.

Performances are scheduled for April 22, 23, and 24 at 7pm, Saturday, April 24 at 1pm, and Sunday, April 25 at 2pm. Tickets are $7 tonight, $10 Friday and Saturday night, and $8 for the Saturday and Sunday matinees.

San Leandro High School is located at 2200 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro. For tickets or more information contact Jeni Engler at jeniengler@sbcglobal.net.

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March 18, 2010

Carnival and Silent Auction Fundraiser for McKinley

On Saturday, March 20, 2010, McKinley Elementary's PTA will hold a carnival and silent auction to benefit arts and science enrichment at McKinley. Live musical entertainment and food vendors will be at the event as well.

Bidding on silent auction items begins at at 11:30am. The rest of the program, including games and music, starts at 12:30pm.

Silent auction items include:

The programs will take place in the multi-purpose room and the playground. McKinley Elementary is located at 2150 E. 14th Street in San Leandro.

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January 13, 2010

Cindy Cathey Unanimously Appointed San Leandro's Interim Superintendent

The San Leandro School Board unanimously appointed Cindy Cathey as Interim Superintendent, effective January 19, 2010, at its meeting on January 12, 2010. Cathey has served as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services since 2005. She succeeds Christine Lim, who served as Superintendent since 2003.

Cathey has previously served as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal of Wilson Elementary at San Leandro Unified School District.

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December 15, 2009

School Board Names Ninth Grade Campus After Fred Korematsu

In a unanimous decision, the San Leandro School Board named the new ninth grade campus after Fred Korematsu at its meeting on December 15, 2009. The decision came after consideration of seven names was reduced to choices between Freshman and Fred Korematsu. The official name will be "San Leandro High School, Fred Korematsu Campus." The decision also came before Kathryn Korematsu and Karen Korematsu, Fred Korematsu's wife and daughter, respectively made it to the meeting and addressed the Board.

The Board also approved the first interim budget and elected new officers. Mike Katz-Lacabe will serve as President, Lisa Hague will serve as Vice President, and Hermy Almonte will serve as Clerk.

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December 9, 2009

Wind and Jazz Ensembles Concert Thursday Night at San Leandro High School

The San Leandro High School Wind and Jazz Ensembles will hold a concert on Thursday December 10, 2009, at the San Leandro High School gym. The concert starts at 7:30pm and tickets are $8 per person.

San Leandro High School is located at 2200 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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December 2, 2009

San Leandro School Board Selects Ninth Grade Campus Finalists

The San Leandro School Board narrowed down the list names for the new ninth grade campus from 29 to 11 at its December 1, 2009 meeting.

The School Board solicited input for the name beginning in October 2009 and closed the nominations on November 18, 2009. More than 70 submissions were received, with the most submissions for Fred Korematsu, Barack Obama, and Nels "Dan" Niemi.

The final name will be selected at the December 15, 2009, meeting of the School Board.

Names selected by the Board are as follows:

  • Cesar Chavez
  • Faith Frazier
  • Freshman
  • Future
  • Al Gore
  • International
  • Luster Knight
  • Fred Korematsu
  • Bill Lockyer
  • Dan Niemi
  • Barack Obama
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October 15, 2009

School Board Seeks Input on Name for New School

9th_grade_campus.jpg

In the fall of 2010, the San Leandro Unified School District will open its new ninth grade campus. School Board Trustees are in the process of talking to community groups to encourage widespread community input.

The ninth grade campus is part of a $109 million school bond passed by voters in 2006. Other projects include an arts education center with classrooms and a 550-seat theater, an expansion of the high school library, a new high school parking lot, and modernization of restrooms, roofs, and heating systems throughout the district.

The guidelines for submissions are that the name must be:

- Individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to the county or community.
- Individuals, living or deceased, who have made contributions of state, national or worldwide significance.
- The geographic area in which the school or building is located.

The guidelines are part of Board Policy 7310 and are similar to guidelines at other school districts.

Submissions must be 150 words or less and the deadline is November 18, 2009. Suggestions can be submitted by email to newcampus@sanleandro.k12.ca.us or by mail to: Board of Education, 9th Grade Campus Naming, 14735 Juniper Street, San Leandro, CA 94579.

The San Leandro School Board will begin deliberations on the selection at its meetings in December 2009.

All of the elementary schools are named after Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, James Monroe, James Madison, and Theodore Roosevelt. The middle schools are named after naturalist John Muir and H.P. Bancroft, a secretary for Breed & Bancroft, a local real estate company and developer. The high school is named after San Leandro and the continuation high school school is named for Abraham Lincoln.

The application is available at http://www.sanleandro.k12.ca.us/pdfs/Measure%20B/9thGradeNaming.pdf

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June 25, 2009

Linda Granger Appointed San Leandro High School Principal

The San Leandro School Board unanimously approved the appointment of Linda Granger as Principal of San Leandro High School at its meeting on June 25, 2009. Granger served as the Associate Principal at San Leandro High School for five years and replaces Amy Furtado, who was hired as the Principal of Logan High School on June 2, 2009.

Granger grew up in San Leandro, attended Roosevelt Elementary, and graduated from San Leandro High School in 1985. She has a BA from Boston College and a Masters from Cal State Hayward.

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June 18, 2009

San Leandro School District Prevails at California Supreme Court

In a ruling issued on June 18, 2009, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the San Leandro Unified School District (SLUSD) in a case involving use of district mailboxes. In its decision, the court wrote, "The SLTA sought a writ of mandate to compel the District to reverse its policy against candidate endorsement literature in school mailboxes. Because we determine the District’s policy is lawful, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal reversing the trial court’s granting of SLTA’s writ petition."

The case arose out of the use of district mailboxes by the San Leandro Teachers Association (SLTA) during the 2004 election campaign. The SLTA distributed newsletters to its members in their district mailboxes that included information about SLTA-endorsed candidates, including requests for volunteers to help those candidates.

In October 2004, the SLUSD informed the SLTA that section 7054 of the Education Code prohibited use of district mailboxes to distribute flyers that contain political endorsements.

Section 7054 of the Education Code states:

7054. (a) No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.

The SLTA filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) in November 2004, which was dismissed in June 2005. Then the case went to the courts, where a trial court decided in favor of the SLTA, but the Court of Appeals decided in favor of the SLUSD.

The SLTA now has the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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June 17, 2009

Adult School Gets New Principal

At its June 16, 2009, meeting, the San Leandro School Board unanimously appointed Bradley Frazier to replace Susanne Wong as the Principal of the San Leandro Adult School. Wong recently retired after serving 10 years as Principal of the Adult School and nine years as Vice Principal. Frazier has served as Vice Principal at the Adult School since September 2006.

The School Board also unanimously appointed Andrew Soliz as Executive Director of Food Nutrition Services. He replaces Aulani Cler, who is retiring. Soliz was the Director of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation and Child Nutrition at West Fresno Elementary School District and is the President-Elect of the California School Nutrition Association.

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June 3, 2009

San Leandro High School Principal Has New Job in Union City

San Leandro High School Principal Amy Furtado was hired on June 2, 2009, to be the new Principal at Logan High School in Union City. Furtado has served as Principal of San Leandro High School since 2004 and was hired as an Assistant Principal in 2001.

More details in The Argus.

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May 29, 2009

San Leandro Student Wins Entrepreneur Competition

San Leandro High School student Alejandra Bonilla took first place in the Merrill Lynch/NFTE Bay Area Regional Youth Business Plan competition held May 28, 2009, at the University of San Francisco. As the winner of the competition, Bonilla will represent Northern California in the NFTE National Competition this fall in New York City.

Students from San Leandro High School took first place in the regional competition in 2008 and second place in 2007.

According to a press release, "The Merrill Lynch/NFTE business plan competition was created to inspire entrepreneurship and business ownership from an early age. It offers young entrepreneurs an opportunity to distinguish themselves as future business leaders, rewards their hard work, and exposes them to business professionals and government officials. NFTE awards the cash prizes to the winners to support the most innovative ideas among Bay Area teens and in invest in their long-term success."

Video of Bonilla's presentation:

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May 7, 2009

California Supreme Court Hears San Leandro Mailbox Case

On May 5, 2009, the California Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that pits the San Leandro Teachers Association (SLTA) against the San Leandro Unified School District.

At issue is the use of School District mailboxes by the SLTA to distribute union newsletters that included endorsements of School Board candidates Stephen Cassidy and John Franke for the November 2004 election. The School District objected to distribution of the newsletters containing the political endorsements, citing section 7054 of the California Education Code, which states, "No school district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate."

The SLTA filed suit and won in Superior Court. The School District appealed and prevailed in the First District Court of Appeals.

A decision is due by August 3, 2009.

The listing on the California Supreme Court calendar reads:

San Leandro Teachers Assn. et al. v. Governing Board of the San Leandro School
District et al., S156961

#07-446 San Leandro Teachers Assn. et al. v. Governing Board of the San Leandro
School District et al., S156961. (A114679; 154 Cal.App.4th 866; Superior Court of Alameda County; RG05235795.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in an action for writ of administrative mandate. This case presents the following issues: (1) Does Education Code section 7054 permit a school district to prohibit the teachers union from using the school‟s mailboxes to distribute a union newsletter to its members, if the newsletter includes endorsements for school board candidates? (2) Does the guarantee of liberty of speech in California Constitution, article I, section 2, assure that an employee organization may distribute its message to its members concerning electoral politics via school mailboxes?

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Suessical the Musical Opens Tonight at Bancroft Middle School

Suessical the Musical Bancroft Musical Theatre's production of Suessical the Musical opens tonight at 7:30pm. Past productions have included Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast.

Tonight's show starts at 7:30pm. Shows on May 8 and May 9 also start at 7:30pm. A 2pm matinee will be held on May 10. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. There is no reserved seating.

Shows are held at Bancroft Middle School, located at 1150 Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro.

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April 27, 2009

San Leandro High School Takes Third in San Francisco Bay Area Regional 'Role Model High School' Competition

The Jefferson Awards/Deloitte Youth Service Initiative (YSI) awarded San Leandro High School third place as Regional Role Model High School among 30 San Francisco Bay Area schools competing in the 2008-2009 school year.

San Leandro High received recognition for its youth tutoring and community fundraising events.

Livermore High School was the winner and Burlingame High School was second.

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April 17, 2009

Little Shop of Horrors Opens Tonight at San Leandro High

Little Shop of Horrors at San Leandro High School

In recent years, students at San Leandro High School have put on a musical each spring. Recent productions have included Grease and West Side Story. This year, the San Leandro High School Theatre is performing Little Shop of Horrors.

Opening night is tonight (April 17) with shows April 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Front row reserved seats are available for $25.

Shows start at 8pm (2pm matinees on April 18 and 25) at San Leandro High School, located at 2200 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro, CA.

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December 8, 2008

New School Board Sworn In

Four new School Board members were sworn in at the San Leandro School Board's meeting on Monday, December 8, 2008. Hermy Almonte, Morgan Mack-Rose, and Diana Prola were sworn in by California Assemblymember Mary Hayashi and Carmen Sullivan was sworn in by Alameda County Judge Gail Brewster Bereola.

The short agenda consisted of electing new Board officers and considering putting forth a nomination for a delegate to the California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. First, Vice President Lisa Hague asked which Board members were eligible to become Board president. The School Board has a policy that states, "Prior to serving as Board President, he/she shall have completed the California School Board Association’s (CSBA) Board Presidents’ Workshop."

Only Pauline Cutter and Mike Katz-Lacabe were eligible under the Board policy, but Pauline indicated that she was not interested in serving as Board President, so Katz-Lacabe was elected unanimously.

Cutter nominated Hague for Vice President and Katz-Lacabe nominated Prola. In a four to three vote, Prola was elected Vice-President, with Prola, Almonte, Katz-Lacabe, and Mack-Rose voting for Prola.

Cutter was asked if she was interested and Mack-Rose nominated her. Cutter was elected clerk unanimously.

Prola replaces Ray Davis as the Area 5 School Board Trustee and was unopposed, so her name did not appear on the November ballot. Davis decided to run for the At-Large seat instead of running for re-election against Prola. Prola is the wife of District 6 San Leandro City Councilmember Jim Prola.

Sullivan replaces Linda Perry as the Area 3 School Board Trustee and was also unopposed. Perry left the School Board to run for the District 2 San Leandro City Council seat and lost to Ursula Reed.

Almonte replaces Rick Richards as the Area 1 School Board Trustee after defeating Richards in the November 2008 election.

Mack-Rose replaces Stephen Cassidy as the At-Large Trustee after Cassidy decided not to seek re-election. Mack-Rose defeated Davis and two other candidates in the November 2008 election.

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November 6, 2008

San Leandro School Board Approves Bid for Ninth Grade Campus

At its meeting on November 6, 2008, the San Leandro School Board approved a bid by Jeff Luchetti Construction to build a Ninth Grade campus at the intersection of 138th Avenue and East 14th Street. There were 13 bidders for the project and the lowest bid was $21,258,000. The next lowest bids were $21,457,000 from S.J. Amoroso Construction and $21,807,000 from Gonsalves & Stronck.

The winning bid was $1,442,000 under the initial construction budget of $22.7 million.

The Ninth Grade Campus is one of the projects funded by Measure B, the $109 million bond passed by San Leandro voters in November 2006. The Ninth Grade Campus is intended to alleviate overcrowding at San Leandro High School. Measure B will also fund construction of an arts education center at San Leandro High School, expansion of the high school library, and a new parking lot to make way for the arts education center. Measure B will also fund modernizations at many schools, including replacements of roofs at many schools and new restrooms.

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November 5, 2008

Newcomers Storm to Victory in San Leandro Elections

Hermy Almonte and Morgan Mack-Rose defeated current San Leandro School Board members Rick Richards and Ray Davis by substantial margins on November 4, 2008.

With all 44 precincts reporting, Mack-Rose had 49.87% of the vote (7,887) to Davis' 37.36% (5,908). Candidates Don Grundmann and Mark Tichy each had less than 10% of the vote.

Almonte had an even larger lead over Richards with 58.41% of the vote (9,027) to Richards' 40.42% (6,246).

Davis currently holds the Area 5 School Board seat, but decided to run for the At-Large seat after Diana Prola filed papers to run for the Area 5 seat. Davis became a member of the School Board when he was unopposed in 2004. Current At-Large School Board member Stephen Cassidy endorsed Mack-Rose to replace him after he decided not to run for re-election.

Richards has held the Area 1 School Board seat since 2000. Almonte is the first opponent Richards has faced since he was unopposed in 2000.

In the race for San Leandro City Council District 2, Ursula Reed defeated San Leandro School Board member Linda Perry. With all 48 precincts reporting, Reed had 56.19% of the vote (11,343) while Perry had 43.03% (8,686).

Reed becomes the first African-American to be elected to the San Leandro City Council without first being appointed. Previous African-Americans on the City Council include Surlene Grant, who was appointed in August 1998, and Orval "OB" Badger, who was appointed in July 2001.

Grant currently holds the District 2 City Council seat and supported Reed to replace her.

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October 20, 2008

Work Begins on New High School Parking Lot

Construction begins at new high school parking lot

Although the official groundbreaking won't happen until Thursday, work has already started on transforming an undeveloped field into parking spaces for San Leandro High School. The parking lot is a key part of the new construction funded by Measure B, a $109 million bond passed in November 2006. In order to make room for an arts education center with a 550-seat theater, the current high school parking lot is being moved to an adjacent lot south of the high school. The site of the new parking lot is currently vacant except for towers used to carry high-voltage power lines for Pacific Gas & Electric.

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August 9, 2008

McKinley Gets New Principal and District Gets New Maintenance Supervisor

At the Friday, August 8, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro School Board, Cher Mott was hired as the new principal for McKinley Elementary. She replaces Geri Isaacson, who took a job as Network Executive Officer at Oakland Unified. Mott was previously the Vice-Prinicpal at Brentwood Elementary School (Brentwood Union School District) in Brentwood, CA, Vice-Principal at Riverview Middle School (Mt. Diablo Unified School District) in Bay Point, CA, and Student Services Coordinator at Riverview Middle School.

The Board also hired Dan Albright as the Maintenance & Operations Supervisor, replacing Jill Popjoy.

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July 30, 2008

School Board Extends Superintendent's Contract

The San Leandro School Board voted five to two to extend Superintendent Christine Lim's contract by one year and give her a raise of three percent at its meeting on July 29, 2008. Trustees Stephen Cassidy and Mike Katz-Lacabe voted against the revised contract. Lim was hired with a three-year contract in 2003, which was extended by another three years in 2006. The revised contract extends until June 30, 2010, and brings Lim's salary to $214,649.

The School Board unanimously approved similar extensions and raises for Assistant Superintendents Cindy Cathey and Song Chin-Bendib.

Construction documents for the PG & E parking lot unveiled at the meeting showed a reduction in the number of parking spaces from 302 to 264 with 13 wheelchair-accessible spaces and 23 spaces for compact cars. Enough questions were raised by board members about the number of parking spaces and landscaping that it was referred back to committee.

The School Board also made a number of appointments:

  • Sheila Lawrence as Director of Student Support Services to replace David Lorden
  • Jaliza Eagles as GEAR UP grant coordinator
  • Laura McIntyre Hackel as Curriculum Specialist for visual and performing arts (VAPA), physical education, and Beginning Teacher Support to replace Julianna Sikes, who was hired in December 2006
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July 1, 2008

San Leandro Schools Awarded $3 Million Grant

At the June 30, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro School Board, Emily Kaplan, the School District's grant-writer, announced that the School District was awarded a six-year, $3 million grant. The grant is part of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a competitive grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the GEAR UP website, "This discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school." In 2007, just six GEAR UP grants were awarded, including one to the San Francisco Unified School District. In 2005, a partnership including Cal State East Bay and Oakland Unified School District was awarded a GEAR UP grant.

SLUSD will partner with the University of California's Early Academic Outreach Program and Chabot College to focus on students in 7th grade at Bancroft and John Muir Middle Schools. In order to increase the number of students who are prepared for colleges and universities, the grant will be used for increased student support such as tutoring and enrichment programs, financial counseling, and college awareness and preparedness training and professional development for teachers.

For more information, see the press release below:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Press Release
July 1, 2008
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

San Leandro Unified School District to receive $3 million multi-year GEAR UP funding to support college bound students

[San Leandro, CA July 1, 2008] Superintendent Christine Lim announced last night during a special meeting of the Board of Education that the District received notification that it will be one of twenty school districts nationwide to receive a GEAR UP grant award from the United States Department of Education.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a discretionary grant program designed to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The District will receive $3 million over six years to provide extensive professional development and intensive academic supports to an entire cohort of seventh grade San Leandro students, following these students through high school and graduation.

"We cannot begin to describe our excitement over getting this six year grant," said Superintendent Lim. "We have participated in ongoing reform work related to equity, culturally relevant teaching, and the needs of English Learners, all designed to close the achievement gap for African American and Latino students while improving the achievement of all students. We have seen some success through this work and are certain that with additional support, we will truly be able to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for post secondary educational opportunities."

Lim added that GEAR UP will support AVID activities at both middle schools, and follow the entire seventh grade class through graduation of high school, providing a wide array of services and opportunities to see that they continue their education and learn the skills necessary to succeed. Currently, both John Muir Middle School and San Leandro High School are AVID National Demonstration Schools and 95% of SLHS AVID graduates go onto a four year college.

"Limited resources have prevented us from implementing AVID at both middle schools," said Superintendent Lim, "but now GEAR UP will provide us the resources to see that AVID is district-wide." According to Lim, the college preparation program targets students in the middle who are capable of doing rigorous work but not reaching their full potential. "Many are African American and Latino students, or from low income families, and are the first in their families to attend college," Lim added. "GEAR UP will allow us to provide important outreach to families about the pathways to college, as well as financial aid workshops. Many families who want their children to go to college do not know the steps needed to make it a reality."

GEAR UP funding will also provide supports for after school programs and interventions, professional development for teachers, community partnerships and visits to college campuses. "We continue to see transformations taking place on our campuses, and in the lives of our students and families," added Superintendent Lim. "GEAR UP will provide greater opportunity to a greater number of students."

"It was the district's equity work that secured us this grant," said the district grant writer Emily Kaplan. "This work is garnering us national attention and creating better opportunities for all San Leandro students."

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June 10, 2008

San Leandro Schools Awarded Grants for Lighting and Violence Prevention

According to the SafeState website, the Alameda County Office of Education was awarded a five-year grant for school community violence prevention (SCVP) at John Muir Middle School in San Leandro. The maximum grant award is $500,000 over a five-year period.

According to the SafeState web site, "SCVP grants may be used for any type of school violence reduction, including, but not limited to, bullying prevention, gang violence prevention, improvements in students’ feeling safe at school, and general violence prevention and intervention. An important program feature of the SCVP program is the collaboration between schools, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents, and the community." SafeState is a project of the California Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center.


According to a press release from the Oakland Raiders, San Leandro High School was awarded a $50,000 grant to improve lighting at Burrell Field from the Oakland Raiders, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The grant application was submitted last year to the NFL's Grassroots Program. The grant will be matched with District funds to replace older lighting with more energy efficient lighting. The lighting ballasts will also be lowered, which will reduce their exposure to heat from the lights and lower the center of gravity of the poles, resulting in lower maintenance costs and improved safety.

The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 170 football fields nationwide in the past decade. In the last 10 years, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted over $20 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf.

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April 11, 2008

Drawings of the New Ninth Grade Campus Unveiled

New drawings of the Ninth Grade Campus were unveiled at a recent school board meeting. Construction of the Ninth Grade Campus will be funded by Measure B, the school bond passed by voters in November 2006. The campus will occupy a lot at the intersection of 138th and East 14th Street.

Corner view of the 9th Grade Campus
Corner view of the 9th Grade Campus

Exterior elevations of the 9th Grade Campus
Exterior elevations of the 9th Grade Campus

Perspective view of the 9th Grade Campus
Perspective view of the 9th Grade Campus

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March 27, 2008

San Leandro Schools Receive $8 Million in State Grants

According to a press release issued March 27, 2008, by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, San Leandro High School projects funded under Measure B will receive an additional $8 million in funding from state grants under Proposition 1D. Proposition 1D was passed by California voters in November 2006 at the same time that Measure B was passed by San Leandro voters.

The grants are for new construction or modernization of career technical education facilities. The San Leandro Unified School District (SLUSD) submitted five career and technical education grant applications to the California Department of Education through the Career Technical Education Facilities Program (CTEFP). The $8 million in grants represents the total amount for which SLUSD submitted applications.

The grants are summarized below.

Sector
Score
 
Total Cost of Project 
 
State's Share 
Final CTE Allocation (which impact Proposition 1D bonds)
Building Trades & Construction
150
    
3,000,000
    
1,500,000
$1,500,000
Manufacturing & Product Development
146
    
3,000,000
    
1,500,000
$1,500,000
Marketing, Sales, & Service
144
    
1,107,000
       
553,500
$553,500
Arts, Media, & Entertainment
142.5
    
6,000,000
    
3,000,000
$3,000,000
Transportation
136
    
3,000,000
    
1,500,000
$1,500,000
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February 1, 2008

Community Open House at San Leandro High School

SLHS Open House poster - Feb. 7, 2008San Leandro High School will hold a Community Open House starting at 6pm on February 7, 2008. The open house will feature updates on projects funded by the $109 million Measure B Bond, including the ninth grade campus, arts education center, library expansion, and career technical education improvements in the library. Artwork by students in the Art Department and exhibits will be displayed in the cafeteria.

San Leandro High School is located at 2200 Bancroft Avenue. Click here for a map of the campus.

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December 13, 2007

San Leandro Teacher Achieves National Board Certification

Erika Johnson, a teacher at Jefferson Elementary, recently received National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The accomplishment was highlighted in a December 10, 2007, press release from the California Department of Education.

In order to achieve board certification, a teacher must undertake intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. Certification takes between one and three years to complete. According to National Board for Professional Teaching Standards President and CEO Joseph A. Aguerrebere, "Research demonstrates that National Board Certified Teachers consistently outperform their peers in knowledge of subject matter and ability to create challenging and engaging lessons."

The other board-certified teachers are Karla Ball, a teacher at McKinley Elementary who was certified in 2003 and Ruby Smart, a teacher at San Leandro High School, who was certified in 2006. Ball and Smart were presented with Certificates of Commendation at a June 2007 meeting of the San Leandro School Board.

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December 5, 2007

School Board Consider Designs for Arts Education Center

The San Leandro School Board reviewed three possible designs for the front of a new arts education center at San Leandro High School at its December 4, 2007. The designs were presented by Leo Ray Lynch of WLC Architects based on ideas from a committee of community members, teachers, adminstrators, and students.

The drawings are still subject to change and the final design will be approved by the San Leandro School Board at its December 13, 2007, meeting.

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - G6
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option G6

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - H
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option H

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - I
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option I

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November 19, 2007

One Way to Help Local Schools

DonorsChoose.org logoDuring the holidays and throughout the year, you can help local schools by donating to specific projects at DonorsChoose.org. Started by a group of New York teachers in 2000, DonorsChoose.org connects "classrooms in need with individuals who want to help." Projects in San Leandro include Circle Time, What's an English Learner to Do?, and Wanted: Mayan Myths and Lakota Legends at Jefferson Elementary School and Whiteboards to Brighten Young Minds at Wilson Elementary School.

There are six projects in San Lorenzo and DonorsChoose.org supports public schools all over the United States.

With the California Legislative Analyst predicting a $10 billion budget shortfall in the next two years, this is one way that teachers can obtain funding for projects that are important to their students.

Donations can be made at DonorsChoose.org using a credit card or check.

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October 26, 2007

Drawing of Arts Education Center at San Leandro High School

Nearly a month after the first drawings of the ninth grade campus were presented and less than a year after passage of a $109 million bond, drawings of the proposed arts education center were shown at the October 16, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro School Board.

Note that the drawings are subject to change. The full presentation to the School Board, which inlcludes changes to the design over time, is available here. The full presentation also includes drawings of the library expansion and career technology center.

Drawing of Arts Education Center at San Leandro High School

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October 12, 2007

San Leandro's Teacher of the Year Honored at Annual Event

Chuck Leming, a math teacher at John Muir Middle School, was honored as San Leandro's Teacher of the Year at an annual event held on October 11, 2007, at CSU East Bay. Leming was one of 17 teachers honored at Alameda County Office of Education's 18th Annual Teacher of the Year Ceremony.

Leming, the AVID Coordinator at John Muir Middle School, was also honored at the June 19, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro School Board. Leming has been teaching since 1984.

Not every kid gets that education is important to him or her today in anticipation of a lifetime of learning and achieving. If I can foster a love of learning by packaging it with loving to be in my classroom one hour a day, with letting them be a part of my life and my being part of their lives, I have truly fulfilled my role as a teacher. --Chuck Leming

All honorees received a cash award of $380, a commemorative crystal bowl engraved with their name, $70 of school supplies from Office Depot, a $25 gift certificate to Lakeshore Learning Materials and a family membership to the East Bay Regional Park District.

Linda Lamoureux of Livermore High School and Juliana Eileen Jones of Montera Middle School in Oakland were selected as the Alameda County Teachers of the Year and will compete to be selected as California Teacher of the Year.

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October 10, 2007

Free Festival at Washington Elementary on Saturday October 13, 2007

Kids Save the Planet FlyerThe Kids Save the Planet/Los Niños Salvan el Planeta festival will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2007, at Washington Elementary School. The bilingual festival will include fun and educational festival for families of all ages. Community education booths will include live animals from Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Crab Cove, and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and reusable grocery bags will be given away. Entertainment will include latin dance music, Hawaiian singing and dancing, traditional Aztec dancers and more. Complete all four education stations and register to win a kids Raleigh bike valued at more than $250. For kids five and younger, there will be a tot-lot. There will also be a special visit from California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett. The festival highlights Washington Elementary's recent adoption of a Green School Initiative.

The festival is free and will take place from 11am until 3pm. Washington Elementary is located at 250 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro. For directions and more information, visit www.KidsSaveThePlanet.org or call Morgan at 510.589.8056.


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September 13, 2007

Drawings of the Ninth Grade Campus

Less than a year after passage of a $109 million bond, drawings of the proposed ninth grade campus were presented at the September 5, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro School Board. The design phase of the ninth grade campus was accelerated in order for the school district to have the greatest chance of obtaining nearly $11.5 million in grants available from the state.

The drawings are subject to change, but the Design Review Committee unanimously selected this design, so any changes are likely to be relatively minor. The full presentation to the School Board is available here.

SLUSD Master plan ninth grade campus

SLUSD Bancroft view of ninth grade campus

SLUSD Courtyard view of ninth grade campus

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June 28, 2007

Beer Festival & Washoes Tournament Fundraiser for Roosevelt Elementary

On Saturday, July 14, 2007, Drake's Brewing Company will hold its second annual Beer Festival and Washoes (horseshoes) Tournament. The event will benefit the teachers of San Leandro's Roosevelt Elementary School. Musical groups The No Cover Band, The Shuffle King, and The Doormats are scheduled to perform. A similar event in 2006 benefited San Leandro's Jefferson Elementary School.

Attendees can join professional judges in rating the same hop Bravo IPA from twenty micro-breweries:

  • The Beach Chalet
  • Blue Frog Grog
  • Devil's Canyon
  • Triple Rock Brewery
  • Valley Brewing Co.
  • Marin Brewing Co.
  • 21st Amendment Brewery
  • Sacramento Brewing Co
  • Sonoma Chicken Coop
  • Half Moon Bay Brewing Co
  • Magnolia Pub and Brewery
  • Russian River Brewing Co
  • E.J. Phair Brewing Co
  • Seabright Brewing Co
  • Rubicon Brewing Co
  • Bison Brewing
  • Firehouse Grill
  • Thirsty Bear

The event will take place from noon until 6pm at Drake's Brewery located at 1933 Davis St., Suite 177, in San Leandro. For a $35 donation, you get unlimited tastings, a souvenir sample glass, T-shirt, beer, and music. For more information, call 510-562-0866 or email drinkdrakes@drinkdrakes.com.

According to its web site, Drake's Brewery was "founded in 1989 as one of the Bay Area's first microbreweries, Drake's Brewing Company is a small, family-owned business dedicated to the art and science of craft brewing." Drake's is one of numerous companies owned by the Rogers Family, which also owns San Francisco Bay Coffee, The Organic Coffee Co., Fairwinds Coffee, Audobon Coffee, Cafe Jerusalem, and East India Tea Co.

Click here for Daily Review coverage.

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June 27, 2007

Bancroft Teacher Jim Sorensen Sets Masters Track Records

Jim Sorensen competing at Occidental in May 2007Local teacher Jim Sorensen won the men's masters exhibition mile at the 2007 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships held from June 20 to 24, 2007, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sorensen finished the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 13.21 seconds. The masters record for the mile is held by David Moorcroft, who ran the mile in 4 minutes, 2.53 seconds in 1993.

On June 3, 2007, Sorensen set the world masters record in the 1,500 meter race with a time of 3 minutes, 44.06 seconds at the Jim Bush Invitational/USATF West Regional Track & Field Championship at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Sorensen's was just 0.18 seconds slower than the time he set when he finished second while attempting to qualify for the 1996 Olympics at age 29. The previous masters record for 1,500 meters was 3 minutes, 44.89 seconds set by Luis Jose Gonsalvez in 1999.

Two days after Sorensen turned 40, he set the American masters record for 800 meters with a time of 1 minute 51.57 seconds at the Occidental Invitational on May 12, 2007. The previous record of 1 minute 52.42 seconds was held by Olympian Johnny Gray.

Update: At the American Milers Club meet at Indiana University in Bloomington, on Saturday, June 30, 2007, Sorensen set the world masters record for 800 meters with a time of 1 minute, 50.34 seconds, besting the previous world record set in 2000 by Ireland's Colm Rothery by 0.35 seconds.

Sorensen teaches physical education at Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro, California.

Text of interview from Masters Track Blog in May 2007

Click here for a summary of Sorensen's running career.

Video of a mile race at Stanford.

Video of interview with Sorensen.

Video from 1986 800 meter at Cerritos College

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June 5, 2007

San Leandro Teachers Association Awards Scholarships

On Friday, June 1, 2007, the San Leandro Teachers Association (SLTA) awarded more than $6,000 in scholarship to 25 students. The annual scholarship tea took place at the Marina Community Center where teachers, parents, and family gathered to recognize the accomplishments of local students. Each student was able to invite teachers that inspired them during their school years to share the stage as each student's college plans, activities, and GPA were shared with the audience. Students planned to attend Harvard University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and other schools and were planning careers from medicine to aeronautical engineering.

The scholarship recipients are:

  • Beatrice Tesorero
  • Sharon Cheung
  • Jennifer Lau
  • Chris Quintanilla
  • Paulina Maldonado
  • Kya Webb
  • Angie Tu
  • Megan Potsmesil
  • Alex Lucchesi
  • Chelsea Barackman
  • Michelle Lee
  • Hoi Sing Mok
  • Damiya Jones
  • Enarosa Villareal
  • Daniel Olsen
  • Amelia Forney
  • Tiffany Kuang
  • Betsy Cheng
  • Lacey Morris
  • Justin Mason
  • Chrissie Ng
  • Eden Buenavista
  • Wilson Yu
  • Walter Mendoza
  • Nicole Labayog
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March 19, 2007

Kindergarten Registration for 2007-2008 in San Leandro

If you're in the San Leandro Unified School District, registration for Kindergarten begins soon. On Monday, March 19, 2007, there is a Kindergarten Parent / Child Reception and Orientation at the SLUSD District Office from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Participants will be able meet your child's principal, the Superintendent and the District Team, and learn what to expect. Child care, refreshments and translation (Espanol) will be provided.

Registration for Kindergarten begins as follows:

  • Garfield - March 21, 3 to 5pm
  • McKinley - March 28, 1 to 3pm
  • Roosevelt - April 3, 1 to 4pm
  • Madison - April 18, 3:30 to 6pm
  • Washington - April 19, 9 to 12pm
  • Wilson - April 25, 2 to 4pm
  • Monroe - May 2, 2 to 4pm
  • Jefferson - May 9, 2 to 4pm

Note that these times are the start of registration. You can register your child after these dates and times.

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February 5, 2007

SLUSD Board of Education Announces Measure B Citizens Oversight Committee Appointments

From a February 2, 2007, press release from SLUSD:

[San Leandro, CA] The San Leandro Unified School Board of Education, at a Special Board Meeting on February 1, 2007, appointed 10 seats on the Measure B Citizens Oversight Committee. The purpose of the Citizens Oversight Committee is to “actively review and report on the proper expenditure of taxpayers’ money for school construction” on the Measure B Bond projects. Measure B is the $109 million school facilities bond approved by voters in the November 7, 2006, election.

“We had very strong candidates apply,” said the SLUSD Superintendent Christine Lim, “and the District and Board feel very fortunate to have so many talented and qualified individuals apply.”

By law, a citizens oversight committee must have no less than seven members, five required to hold very specific roles:

  • 1 person who is a student who is involved in student government;
  • 1 person who is active in a business organization;
  • 1 person who is active in a foundation which supports the District
  • 1 person who is active in a senior citizens organization; and
  • 1 person who is active in a bona fide taxpayers organization.

The Board of Education increased the size of the committee in order to provide greater accountability to the community. Applications were paper screened by District staff and then given to the Board of Education Facilities Committee to review, who then interviewed potential candidates over a two day period before making its recommendations to the Board. Interest in the student position was so high, that the Board agreed that the position would be co-shared by San Leandro High School students Abir Salamy and Briana Toney. Both are juniors and active in student leadership at the high school.

The other newly appointed committee members are:

Mary Beth Barloga—History Museum and Art Gallery Education Director, City of San Leandro; member, California Retired Teachers’ Association.

Robert Brannan—General Manager, Lloyd A. Wise/Marina MediaVision; board member, Boys & Girls Club of San Leandro; Recreation and Parks Commissioner, City of San Leandro; President, San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

Deborah Cox—President, Estudillo Homeowners’ Association; member, PACE; Board Vice President, California Conservatory Theater; Steering Committee, San Leandro Leadership; Roosevelt School Site Council; served as the co-chair on the Measure B Campaign.

Charles Gilcrest—Consultant, Gilcrest Management; Board member, Halcyon-Foothill Homeowners Association; Executive Board, Business Association of South San Leandro; Board member, San Leandro Chamber of Commerce; and chair, Joint Project Area Redevelopment Advisory Committee.

Juan Gonzalez III—Principal, KPMG, LLP’s Investigative Practice; member, Bancroft Middle School PTA.

Tom Guarino—Government Relations Manager, Pacific Gas & Electric; serving on behalf of the Alameda County Taxpayers Association.

Gerald Shovlin—Teacher, Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland; serves on Bancroft Middle school Site Council, GATE Advisory Committee, and the Superintencent’s Parent Leaders Council.

James Moher—Attorney, Bullivant Houser Bailey PC; member of the Broadmoor Homeowners Association; active support of Building Futures with Women & Children.

Andrew Kopp—Attorney; active in Big Brother; has served as a voting precinct inspector; acted as a Judge Pro Tem for the Alameda County Superior Court.

In addition to having such talent on the new Oversight Committee, the District recently received news of a continuing A+ Standard and Poor’s rating, which further demonstrates how committed the District is to its fiscal health.

“An A+ Standards & Poor’s rating is the equivalent of a high 700’s credit rating score for an individual,” said Superintendent Chris Lim. “This means lower interest rates and lower taxes for the citizens of San Leandro.”

“The school district is working diligently to ensure all Measure B funds are spent wisely,” said Rick Richards, Board President.

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January 2, 2007

Video of Jill Synnott, San Leandro Unified School District's Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007

Here's a short video of Jill Synnott, San Leandro Unified School District's Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007 from the Alameda County Office of Education.

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December 6, 2006

New Trustees Sworn in; Richards is new Board President

The December 5, 2006, meeting of the San Leandro School Board started late as the reception for outgoing Trustee Louis Heystek ran a little bit late. Heystek was feted by his fellow Board Members, San Leandro Mayor-Elect Tony Santos, and Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.

After newly elected and re-elected Board Members Mike Katz-Lacabe, Lisa Hague and Pauline Cutter were sworn in by Alice Lai-Bitker, California State Assemblywoman and Assistant Majority Whip Mary Hayashi said a few words and that she looked forward to working with the new Board.

Student Martin Pena was presented with a Certificate of Commendation for being selected Student of the Month in the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program. Principal Amy Furtado accepted a Certification of Commendation for Juan Lara-Diaz, who was also named Student of the Month.

Certificates of Commendation were presented by San Leandro Adult School Principal Susanne Wong to custodians Darryl Shields, Monroe/Muir; Alberto Lara, Garfield/Muir; Valentin Reyes, Head Custodian, Monroe; Don Biladeau, Glazier; Greg Dyer, Maintenance and Operations Supervisor; and Billy Campbell, Lead Custodian for their quick after-hours work to get the Adult School ready for its official opening in October.

Certificates of Commendation were also presented to John Muir Middle School Principal
Belen Magers, who was not present, and AVID Coordinator Charles Leming, and San Leandro High School Principal Amy Furtado and AVID coordinator Karl Debro, because John Muir Middle School and San Leandro High School were recently selected as AVID Demonstration Sites.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on suspensions and expulsions, and school site safety plans. Before school started this year, uniform disciplinary procedures were implemented at the middle schools. Lorden noted that suspensions have decreased at John Muir and Bancroft Middle Schools, but have increased at San Leandro High School, compared to the same time last year.

Because of a 30% increase in health insurance, the School District looked for an alternative insurance plan and the Board unanimously approved enrolled in CalPERS Health Plan Program.

The Board also unanimously approved installation of artificial turf for the Bancroft playing field and a Director position to oversee projects funded by Measure B, the $109 million bond approved in November 2006.

The last agenda items of the night were the selection of Board President, Vice President, and Clerk. Rick RIchards was selected as Board President by a vote of 4-3, Stephen Cassidy was selected as Vice President by a vote of 5-2 and Linda Perry was selected as Clerk by a vote of 4-3.

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November 15, 2006

School Board Meeting Notes for November 7, 2006

San Leandro School Board president Pauline Cutter reported that no action was taken during its closed session on November 7, 2006. After approval of the agenda and a report from student representative Tiffany Corpuz, Dean Koenig reported that the date for the Cherry Festival is June 2, 2007, and it will be a one-day event. He also reported that there will be a dedication at the new Aquatic Center in Washington Manor at 10am on December 2, 2006.

Mary Camezon, a School Assistance and Intervention Team (SAIT) consultant who has worked with Washington Elementary School for the past two years, reported on progress made during that time. According to Camezon, teachers learned to react and adapt quickly to data indicating where additional work was needed. The Academic Performance Index (API) score at Washington has grown by 59 points in the past two years, enough to exit the SAIT program. Camezon said that the next steps are to continue to focus and be a "data-driven" school and support teachers with coaching and training. She congratulated the teachers and said that Principal Elvia Teixeira's leadership made these improvements possible. Superintendent Christine Lim noted that the staff of Washington Elementary had nominated Teixeira for Administrator of the Year.

During public comments, Pam Richards noted that John Muir Middle School was having a '50s Dance Fundraiser on November 17, 2006, and invited everyone to attend.

Gerald Shovlin reported that he attended a California Associated for the Gifted Parent Institute with 40 other parents in late October. Shovlin requested that a meeting of the GATE Committee be convened and that gifted education not be neglected.

Head Custodian Billy Campbell congratulated his staff for their performance in getting the new adult school ready in time for the dedication on October 26.

For her Superintendent's Report, Lim noted that there was a staff day on October 23 and that a free and reduced breakfast program opened at Roosevelt Elementary. A Day of Remembrance for victims of domestic violence was held at San Leandro High School on October 27 on the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of SLHS student Nayanci Gonzalez. San Leandro Unified School District Teacher of the Year Jill Synnott was honored at an event at Chabot College on October 25, 2006, that featured an inspirational video of Synnott in action. Lim also noted that the California School Board Association conference would be held in San Francisco from November 30 to December 2.

Trustee Stephen Cassidy asked if the video of Synnott could be shown at a future school board meeting.

The report from the Facility Committee noted that the proposal for security cameras at the high school was ongoing and that the Bancroft playing field is undergoing a cost analysis as to what surface should be installed. A project management request for qualifications is being prepared in anticipation of the passage of Measure B, the school facilities bond.

Trustee Rick Richards reported that the Eden Area ROP met on November 2, 2006, and two San Leandro students were honored as students of the month in marketing and welding.

The School Board cancelled the meeting normally scheduled for November 21, 2006, so the next meeting of the School Board is December 5, 2006.

Editor's Note: I left the meeting early, so these notes are incomplete.

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November 14, 2006

50s Dance Party Fundraiser at John Muir Middle School

A '50s Dance Party Fundraiser will be held at John Muir Middle School on Friday, November 17, 2006, from 7pm to 11pm in the John Muir gym. If you buy tickets in advance, they are $10 per person and $15 per couple or $5 per person and $7.50 per couple for San Leandro High School students. Tickets at the door are $15 per adult and $7.50 per student.

Money raised will be used for:

  • Performing Arts

  • College scholarship for JMMS alumni graduating from SLHS

  • Assembly chairs

  • School mural

John Muir Middle School is located at 1444 Williams Street in San Leandro.

Click here to download a flyer.

To pay for advance tickets, send a check to Elizabeth Cardoso at 14735 Juniper Street, San Leandro CA 94579 or call (510) 667-3520.

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October 26, 2006

Jill Synnott, SLUSD Teacher of the Year Honored at Annual Event

Jill Synnott, San Leandro Unified School District Teacher of the Year for 2005-2006, was honored at an annual ceremony held on October 25, 2006, at the Chabot College Performing Arts Theater. Synnott was one of 15 teachers in Alameda County honored by their school district and each received an award of $200 and a $25 gift card to Gray Wolf Books in San Leandro.

Synnott has taught English at San Leandro High School for six years and was recognized as San Leandro Unified School District Teacher of the Year at the June 6, 2006, meeting of the School Board.

Brian Ladd of Amador Valley High and Charles Reynes of the Castro Valley school district were selected as the Alameda County Teachers of the Year and now are eligible to be selected as California Teacher of the Year.

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October 24, 2006

Daily Review Endorses Measure B

In an op-ed published on October 20, 2006, the Daily Review endorsed Measure B, the $109 million school facilities bond that appears on the November ballot.

From the op-ed:

It's true that money can't solve every problem, but it's the only answer to this one. Most San Leandro school buildings are between 50 and 90 years old and they simply must be upgraded or replaced. Meanwhile, state law forbids lottery funds from being used for school construction.
It doesn't make sense to punish future students for the perceived past sins of the district.
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October 7, 2006

Reception for Mike Katz

Tony Santos, Surlene Grant, Stephen Cassidy, Louis Heystek, Linda Perry, Peggy Combs, Brian Copeland, Gordon Galvan, Tim Holmes, Mitch Huitema, Charles Lowder, Morgan Mack-Rose, Michael Pretto, Jim Prola, Diana Prola,
Roxanne Ansolabehere
Head Librarian, San Leandro High School
and 2002-03 San Leandro Unified School District Teacher of the Year
and
Sabrina Ramirez
Teacher, McKinley Elementary School and
President, San Leandro Teachers Association

Invite you to a reception for Mike Katz, candidate for the San Leandro School Board, District 4.

Thursday, October 12th
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Ave. (at Dutton)

Mike Katz has a personal stake in the success of our local schools. He and his wife Margarita are the parents to two young girls that will soon be entering public school. Mike Katz has already shown his dedication to the children of San Leandro by volunteering on the Measure A and B campaigns.

Mike Katz possesses a strong background in science and technology that will be a real asset to our school district.

Committee to Elect Mike Katz • 46 Estabrook Street • San Leandro, CA 94577-5908
www.electmikekatz.com • mike@electmikekatz.com
FPPC No. 1289674

Contributions to Mike Katz’s campaign are welcome but not required.

The first $100 raised will be donated to the Yes on Measure B campaign.

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September 9, 2006

Test Results and Residency Verification Data Presented at Sep. 6, 2006, School Board Meeting

At the start of its September 6, 2006, meeting, the San Leandro School Board announced that it had hired Bradley Frazier as the Adult School Vice Principal during closed session.

All members of the School Board were present and two members of the public were present.

During a public hearing on the sufficiency of instructional materials for 2006-2007, there were no public comments.

The student report by an SLHS student resulted in feedback that the SLHS students want to know why the new fence has been installed. According to the student, there are rumors floating around as to why the fence was installed.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on the residency verification program at the high school, middle school, kindergarten, and all students new to the district. Three documents that prove residency are required and home visits are conducted if the documents are not available. So far, 140 home visits have been conducted, resulting in 36 students not being enrolled. Of those 36, 10 home visits did not verify the student's residency, 22 home visits verified the student's residency but there was none of the required documentation, and four home visits where falsified information was discovered.

At the start of its September 6, 2006, meeting, the San Leandro School Board announced that it had hired Bradley Frazier as the Adult School Vice Principal during closed session.

All members of the School Board were present and two members of the public were present.

During a public hearing on the sufficiency of instructional materials for 2006-2007, there were no public comments.

The student report by an SLHS student resulted in feedback that the SLHS students want to know why the new fence has been installed. According to the student, there are rumors floating around as to why the fence was installed.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on the residency verification program at the high school, middle school, kindergarten, and all students new to the district. Three documents that prove residency are required and home visits are conducted if the documents are not available. So far, 140 home visits have been conducted, resulting in 36 students not being enrolled. Of those 36, 10 home visits did not verify the student's residency, 22 home visits verified the student's residency but there was none of the required documentation, and four home visits where falsified information was discovered.

Trustee Ray Davis asked how the residency verification program dealt with the issue of electronic bill payment, in which required documentation may not be available. Lorden responded that companies usually have a way to produce the required documentation but agreed that this was an issue in some cases.

Trustee Louis Heystek asked who was conducting the home visits and Lorden responded that they were being conducted by an SLHS campus supervisor, a substitute teacher, a secretary and other. Lorden acknowledged that this left him short-staffed at times. Heystek also expressed concern about ongoing residency verification and Lorden stated that there were some students whose families were in crisis, which meant that required documentation couldn't be produced, but the students were legitimately enrolled.

Trustee Lisa Hague suggested that addresses and names found to fail residency verification be kept on some sort of list so that that future residency verification would pay close attention when they were seen again.

Trustee Stephen Cassidy asked about the numbers involved in verifying residency and Lorden said that approximately 50 students weren't verified at Bancroft on the first day, but that number dropped to 15 by the second day. Cassidy also asked how hard it would be to fake the information and Lorden acknowledged it could be done. Superintendent Christine Lim pointed out that the district already has a policy of red-flagging any mail sent to parents that is returned.

The second presentation was a set of PowerPoint slides by Wendy Ponder, Assistant Director of Categorical Programs, Judith Cameron, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Daniel Chaja, Assistant Director of Research and Program Evaluation, highlighting state and federal testing results. The information included California Standards Test (CST) results in English Language Arts, Math and Science; state Academic Performance Index (API) results; and federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results; and Program Improvement status for several schools. The information presented showed that San Leandro school and the district as a whole have shown improvement in test scores over the past three to four years, but that improvement has been at a slower rate than other school systems in Alameda County.

Trustee Linda Perry noted that the mobility rate for students in the district has always been high and that San Leandro schools have greater diversity than most other districts in Alameda County. When asked by Heystek about the data collection, Chaja said that they were using a new database and that they didn't have to go through file folders of paper any more.

Cassidy observed that San Leandro had the lowest aggregate API growth in Alameda County compared to similar districts and that we were "struggling at the middle school and high school levels" while doing better at the elementary level. Cassidy noted that Latinos were the only group with lower test scores at the middle and high schools, which has a large impact, because Latinos comprise 40% of the district's students. He also observed that SLHS had some of the lowest API scores for Latinos as a group compared to other Alameda County high schools.

Cameron agreed with Cassidy's assessment and Cassidy went on to note a recent study that suggested that there needs to be more focus on student expectations and confidence than on teacher expectations.

During public testimony, a man pursuing a discrimination complaint against the school district received clarification for the next step of his appeal after he returned from Ghana.

Head Custodian Billy Campbell spoke about a recent two-day training seminar for all custodians and said he was impressed by the camaraderie and the outstanding job done by the custodians and Waxie Sanitary representative Armando Soto. He also said that there would be an article appearing the San Leandro Times and that he was very proud of how the floor looked at Bancroft Gym.

Cassidy pulled one item off of the consent calendar concerning Heystek's request for a resolution certifying that his absence from the August 24, 2006, School Board meeting was due to hardship. Cassidy noted that a vacation should not be considered a hardship. Heystek responded that the meeting was called on such short notice that there is no way he could change his plans. Board President Pauline Cutter noted that the policy committee should take this up, as has been suggested at a previous board meeting.

The consent calendar, with the exception of Heystek's hardship resolution, was approved unanimously. The hardship resolution was approved six to one, with Cassidy voting against its approval.

The board also unanimously approved the job description and position to support the After School Education Safety Grant and the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant. Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey said that she worked with the Davis Street Family Resource Center, Building Futures with Women and Children, and the Alameda County Office of Education in order to secure the $100,000 grant.

During comments from the Board, Cassidy once again cited the Science Magazine article and also discussed the attempt by the Los Angeles mayor to take over control of the Los Angeles school system.

Hague, Heystek, and Trustee Rick Richards commended the staff while Perry noted that she attended the teacher orientation and observed that the information packet was excellent. Perry also noted that the next meeting with parents at Jefferson was scheduled for 6pm September 13, 2006, at the Jefferson library.

Davis stated that the district should recognize the $2,000 contribution of the metal workers to the metal shop and also reminded the superintendent to notify the City Council and Mayor of the date for the adult school opening.

Cutter said it was good that Lorden had the students' interests at heart and that a letter to Soto's employer or some sort of recognition should be given to him.

The meeting was then adjourned.

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Phone Bank for Measure B: McKinley Nights

If your kids go (or will go) to McKinley Elementary (or even if they don't) be sure to come to the Phone Bank for Measure B (the School Bond measure) and help us pass the bond! McKinley Phone Bank nights are Monday September 25th, Wednesday October 11th and Wednesday November 1st, from 6 PM to 8 PM. Phone banking is at 14895 East 14th Street at Hesperian, Suite #270.

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A website and a blog

Measure B, the school bond measure, which would raise $109M to build a new 9th grade academy, a performing arts center and provide much needed repairs and upgrading for all San Leandro schools, has a website now. You can find it at:

http://www.aboutmeasureb.com/

It's still incomplete, but the basics about the measure are there. Keep checking the website for more information.

Also, Mike Katz now has a campaign blog that you can visit at http://www.electmikekatz.com/campaign. His website of course, is at http://www.electmikekatz.com/. Mike is running for School Board; visit his site to find out more about his campaign.

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September 7, 2006

McKinley PTO Meeting shows great things to come

Last night was the first meeting of McKinley's elementary PTO for the year. In recent years the PTO had suffered for a lack of participation but it seems parents are showing more enthusiasm and commitment to the school. About 30 parents crowded the small library room where the meeting was held. They included people from all ethnic backgrounds and the whole socio-economic spectrum, including several non-English speakers. There was much enthusiasm for participating in the fundraisers planned for the year, and new fundraisers that were proposed.

Fundraisers for this year will include a Bookfair, a BBQ Night, a "Gift Tree" and a greeting card fundraiser. A Halloween Party and a Night Under the Stars/Pizza Night with an Astronomer are among the activities planned.

The McKinley PTO also voted to endorse Measure B, the School Bond measure that will build a 9th grade academy, a performing's art center and provide much needed repairs for all the schools in San Leandro.

The next PTO meeting will be on Oct. 4th.

Go McKinley!

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August 24, 2006

California High School Exit Exam Results Look Good for San Leandro's Sophomores

California High School Exit Exam Results for San Leandro showed that more sophomores passed the test on their first try last year.

According to the Daily Review:

"We want them to pass the first time around, that's for sure," said San Leandro High School Principal Amy Furtado.

This year, many more black and Latino 10th-graders at San Leandro and San Lorenzo high schools did just that. At San Leandro High School, 71 percent of black 10th-graders passed math, up from 54 percent the year before. At San Lorenzo High School, the gains of black sophomores were almost as dramatic: 12 percent more passed the math section (68 percent), and 11 percent more passed the English section (69 percent).

Furtado said she believed improvements in algebra instruction helped spur gains in 10th-grade math passing rates (overall, 78 percent passed the first time, up from 72 percent). Ninth-grade algebra, which is usually relegated to newer teachers, was shared last year by nearly all of the mathteachers at San Leandro High School -- a practice that will continue this year.

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August 17, 2006

SLUSD Hires New Maintenance & Construction Supervisor at August 15 Meeting

The August 15, 2006, meeting of the San Leandro School Board began with an announcement that Gregory Dyer was hired as the Maintenance & Construction Supervisor during closed session.

Trustee Lisa Hague reported correspondence from Kathy Goodall, Maria Pena, Heidi Finberg, and Deborah Cox.

Superintendent Christine Lim reported that the middle school principals met regarding the district's resident verification program. Lim also noted that it was the first day of registration for freshman students. On August 28, 2006, there will be a BBQ at the high school for the entire school staff and Lim invited the school board.

Trustee Rick Richards reported that the Edea Area Regional Occupational Program met on August 11, 2006, and said that transportation would be provided to and from the high school. Board President Pauline Cutter asked about the cost and Richards reported that the cost was the same as it was for special ed.

Trustee Ray Davis reported that the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce Community Partners Committee did not meet this month.

With the approval of all but four of the consent calendar items, the San Leandro School Board unanimously approved the contract with Kelly, Northcross & Norbriga to be the school district's financial adviser. The board also approved an increase of .007% from the original contract sum of Calstate Construction's bid for the John Muir Adult School Phase I Site Work Project and an increase of .006 % from the original Design Building Systems' contract for the John Muir Adult School Phase II Site Work Project.

President Cutter requested a change in the minutes from the July 18, 2006, meeting to reflect the board's concensus on the amount of $40 per $100,000 of assessed value for the proposed bond. The board unanimously voted to table this item until the minutes were revised.

Trustee Linda Perry requested changes to three items involving student expulsions, which were unanimously approved by the board.

During the time for board member comments, Trustee Louis Heystek noted that Linda Birky was stepping down from the San Leandro Collaborative.

Trustee Stephen Cassidy noted that the state released results from standardized tests today and expressed hope that Washington Elementary's results will lift it out of the state program. Cassidy reported that scores for every class at Wilson Elementary went up in 2006 - the only school that did so. Cassidy also said that he researched the sale of Pacific High and found that it was sold in May 1989. President Cutter added that Pacific High was originally to be sold to Home Depot.

President Cutter noted that the school bond kickoff was a success, with all members of the Board and some members of the City Council were present at the event on Monday, August 14, 2006.

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August 16, 2006

School bond measure off to flying start

The kickoff for the school bond brought out a host of local elected officials and candidates to Zocalo Coffeehouse on Monday night, August 14, 2006.

All of the School Board Trustees, and City Council members OB Badger, Tony Santos, and Joyce Starosciak, joined Superintendent Christine Lim, and Assistant Superintendents Cindy Cathey and Michael Martinez in getting the bond campaign off to a running start. County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan and County Board of Education Trustee Felix Elizalde were on hand as the county educational representatives.

Among the crowd were those running for office, including Dennis Hayashi, a candidate for Alameda County Superior Court Judge, School Board candidates Pauline Cutter, Mike Katz, and Peter Lismer, City Council candidate Diana Souza, and member-elect to the City Council Michael Gregory.

After nearly an hour,, Leroy Smith, co-chair of the school bond campaign, gave a stirring speech that had the crowd responding with chants of "Now" to his question of "When do we want it [improved schools]?" Co-chair Deborah Cox followed Smith's speech with brief remarks noting what a difference six month makes, praising those who had already volunteered and asking for volunteers for phone banking and precinct walking.

If the enthusiastic crowd is any indication, the bond measure looks set for passage in November.

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August 14, 2006

School Bond Campaign Kickoff Event Tonight

The kickoff for the campaign to fund the school facilities bond will be held tonight, Monday, August 14, 2006, at Zocalo Coffeehouse from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Deborah Cox and Leroy Smith will be leading the campaign.

The school facilities bond will provide $109 million in funding to reduce overcrowding at San Leandro High School by building a Freshman Campus across the street. It will also fund construction of a performing arts center with a 450-seat theater, purchase of the PG&E lot at SLHS, SLHS Library Expansion, purchase of a parking lot at Bancroft and Callan, and landscaping in front of the new arts center. The bond will also fund modernization, including ADA, Fire Life Safety, replacing roofs, installing package heating, replacing restrooms, painting, data networking improvements for three schools, voice over internet protocol installation, lighting modifications and improvements, and industrial arts building improvements.

The board and the district hope to take advantage of matching funds from a state facilities bond scheduled to be on the November ballot. In 1997, the school district was able to obtain $34 million in matching state funds after a $54 million bond measure was approved. Projects from the 1997 bond were completed on budget and six years ahead of schedule.

The school facilities bond will appear on the November 7, 2006, ballot.

Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue, near the intersection of Dutton and Bancroft.

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August 2, 2006

School Bond Increased to $109 Million with a Smaller Tax Rate

The August 1, 2006, meeting of the San Leandro School Board began with the announcement that Robin Michelle had been hired as the Communication Outreach Specialist during closed session and will start on August 14, 2006. She replaces Barbara Reynolds, who had been appointed on December 6, 2005. The position was advertised on Craigslist the District's web site.

All members of the board were present.

After unanimously approving the agenda, Wendy Ponder, Assistant Director of Categorical Programs, ran through a PowerPoint presentation entitled "EL Program Update" about the English Learners Master Plan which will be piloted at Jefferson, Washington, and Wilson schools next year for K-3. The exact scope of the program was unclear, but it appeared that the goal was to have the students literate in Spanish and English by the third grade. One of the slides read, "When 15% or more of the student population at the school site speak a single primary language other than English, all notices, reports, statements, or records sent to the parent or guardian of any such pupil by the school or school district are, in addition to being written in English, written in the primary language(s). [Ed Code 48985]" Accordng to Ms. Ponder, for San Leandro, that language is Spanish. The goal is to eventually extend the program to 4th and 5th grade as well.

After Ms. Ponder's presentation, Trustee Stephen Cassidy asked about documentation of its effectiveness and Ponder responded that she would get some more information to the Board. Trustee Linda Perry noted that Ponder had done a great job and she invited other Board members to attend District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) meetings.

Then it was on to discussion of the bond. Based on feedback from the July 18, 2006 meeting, Ruth Alahydoian of Kelling Northcross & Nobriga reviewed all of the previous information to come up with a revised recommendation for the bond amount. Her recommendations were for an authorization amount of $109 million, a tax rate of $39 per $100,000 of assessed value with assessed value growth of 5% from 2007 to 2020 and 4% after 2020. The bonds would be issued as follows: $27 million on March 1, 2007 at 5.25%, $25 million on August 1, 2009, at 5.50%, $25 million on August 1, 2011 at 5.75%, and $32 million on August 1, 2013 at 6%. All of the bonds would be for 25 years except the $32 million of bonds.

Based on this information, the district came up with allocating the extra $5.5 million as follows: $0.9 million to restore the original estimate of $4.8 million for painting classrooms, $1.5 million to restore the original estimate of $3 million for renovating the industrial arts building, $0.6 million to renovate and modernize the former SLAM area, and a financial safeguard of $2.5 million.

Trustee Ray Davis asked if there was any advantage to extending the first three series of bonds to 30 years and Alahydoian said that there was not. Perry commented that given how well the 1997 bond estimate went, she was comfortable with the tax rat of $39 per $100,000 of assessed value. Cassidy noted that in one year, the tax rate for the 1997 bond was actually $29, well under the original estimate.

During public comments, Dan Walters, previous president of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, said that the "Board [of the Chamber] is supportive of the process" and was unanimous in its support.

Tom Silva of the Rental Housing Owners Association of Southern Alameda County (RHO) told the Board "thank you for all your efforts" but cautioned that there was a lot of work ahead to convince those without children in the school district to vote in favor of the bond. Silva promised that the "RHO will do what it can to make this happen."

Gerald Shovlin thanked the previous speakers for their expressions of support and noted that the effort from the Board seemed much more serious this time than for Measure A.

The Board then voted unanimously to adopt the text to place on the November 7, 2006, bond, formally known as Resolution 06-33, San Leandro Unified School District Facility Improvement Bond.

During public testimony on non-agenda items, Republican candidate for State Senate Lou Filipovich spoke up even though he had not filled out a yellow speaker's card. Board President Pauline Cutter tried to silence him a number of times, but Filipovich's voice won out and he accused the Board of violating procedures by failing to close public hearing on the bond before voting on it. After a few minutes, Filipovich had said his peace and returned to his seat.

I missed approval of the consent calendar, but everything is normally approved, so the following things were probably approved:

  • the personnel report
  • the renewal of the Student Teaching Agreements between the District and Saint Mary’s College.
  • contract award for Bid Package #06-08, Window Replacement at Madison Elementary Repair Phase II, to Coulter Construction.

It was interesting to see that the Republican candidate for State Assembly, Jill Buck, was at the meeting and offered her help to Deborah Cox and Leroy Smith in working for passage of the bond. Katy Murphy, a reporter for the Daily Review, was also present at the meeting and interviewed Cox and Smith, who are co-chairs of Citizens for San Leandro Schools.

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Joint City Council and School Board Meeting

On July 31, 2006, the San Leandro City Council held a joint meeting with the Board of the San Leandro Unified School District.

After welcomes from Mayor Shelia Young and Board President Pauline Cutter, City Engineer Ken Joseph summarized two joint use projects: the Bancroft Middle School Sports Field and the Cherry Grove Park Well. Construction of the new field is expected to occur during the spring and summer of 2007 and construction of the well is expected to be completed in October 2006.

Superintendent Christine Lim summarized the process by which the bond measure received community input, the different projects considered, and the total amount of the bond and the projects it will fund.

After Lim's presentation, Council Member Surlene Grant asked about the size of the proposed arts education center (26,600 square feet) and expressed concern about isolating freshman from the high school campus. She noted that there had been problems with students cutting class to go to the Starbucks at Palma Plaza and said that a three-story building would be imposing on the half-block.

Council Member Starosciak noted that she was on the School Board when the 1997 bond measure was passed and observed that the assessed value [of property in San Leandro] had doubled in the nearly 10 years since then. After noting that she supports "this bond 100%," Starosciak expressed concern about 20 years into the future and cited demographics projecting 120,000 residents in San Leandro in 20 years. She noted that while the freshman campus will relieve overcrowding at the high school, it won't relieve traffic and pollution in the area. She suggested that the Board consider a second high school and suggested the Kaiser site, Kelloggs site, Scott, or even the Marina. Assistant Superintendent Glaster responded that they had consider sites for a second high school but none were big enough or they were contaminated. He also noted that they work with the City on demographics, which showed a relatively stable student population for the next 20 years. If 120,000 residents were reached, developer fees would help fund a new school.

Trustee Stephen Cassidy noted that now is not the time to call for a new high school the day before the Board is set to vote on the bond. He noted that San Leandro has the lowest funding per student in Alameda County and is ont of the lowest in the Bay Area.

During public comments, Morgan Mack-Rose noted that she was the parent of two kids that would graduate from San Leandro High School in 2019. She encouraged the City to work with the School District to help fund the extra $5 million needed to increase the planned arts education center from a 450-seat theater to a 650-seat theater. She also said that she would support the bond on foot and knocking on doors and encouraged all council members to support the bond.

Republican candidate for State Senate Lou Filipovich said that the city is already paying on a bond and then starting saying things that were hard to decipher.

Mike Katz echoed Morgan Mack-Rose's comments and said that it was imperative that the City Council unite to support the bond. He also noted that many older residents speak with great affection about how good San Leandro schools used to be and this bond can be an opportunity to move the schools back in that direction. Katz also urged non-parents to invest schools because better schools will mean increased equity for all homeowners and property owners.

Jeni Engler said that while she was focused on the benefits of an arts education center, she would like to see the City and School District cooperate on maintenance of the theater and the grounds since she has been impressed with the City's maintenance abilities.

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July 28, 2006

Joint School Board/City Council Meeting on Monday

The Board of the San Leandro Unified School District and the City Council of San Leandro will conduct a joint meeting on Monday, July 31, 2006, in the Dave Karp room of the San Leandro Library. The meeting will begin at 7pm, but an informal gathering will begin at 6pm. After introductions by Mayor Shelia Young and School Board President Pauline Cutter, there will be an update on joint use projects and finally a presentation by the school district on the proposed school facilities bond. An old version of the presentation is available from the school district web site. For complete details about the bond amount and projects approved by the School Board on July 18, 2006, click here.

The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue, one block east of E. 14th Street.

Posted by mike at 3:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Mike is Running for School Board

Mike Katz, the author of this blog (San Leandro Bytes) has filed papers to run for San Leandro School Board, District 4. Mike's platform is based on greater community and parental outreach and involvement, transparency and accountability at the board and district level and passing the bond so we can relieve overcrowding at the High School and repair our schools. For more information check out www.electmikekatz.com.

The present trustee for district 4 is getting out of school board politics, and rumor has it that Mike will have at least two opponents in this race. One of them, Gerald Shovlin is a teacher at Bishop O'Dowd High School, a Catholic High School in Oakland. He has children in the San Leandro school district. We don't know who the other person is yet. The filing period closes on August 18th.


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July 20, 2006

School Board Approves Intra-District Transfer Policy

In its meeting on Thursday, July 20, 2006, the San Leandro School Board voted 5-0 to appoint Judith Cameron as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development during a brief closed session. Cameron was previously the principal at Roosevelt Elementary. Board President Pauline Cutter was absent and Board Vice-President Stephen Cassidy was late to the meeting and missed the vote.

During the open session, Mike Katz made some suggestions on the Intra-District Transfer request form and the rules regarding intra-district transfers.

Trustee Louis Heystek asked for the consent calendar item concerning intra-district transfers to be pulled. The only other consent item, approval of the extension of the Community Outreach Specialist position from Dec. 2006 to June 2007, was approved 6-0.

In response to a question from Trustee Heystek, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey explained that it was unusual to specify specific criteria. Cassidy was concerned about the possibility of arbitrary decisions and asked about the criteria for denial of an ongoing intra-district transfer. Cathey explained that very few ongoing intra-district transfers are denied. In cases where students are tardy six to 10 times, parents would be notified of district concerns before an ongoing transfer was denied. In most cases, there were multiple issues (late or unexcused absences, academic performance, and discipline).

The School Board voted 6-0 to approve the form with a slight modification and the intra-district transfer policy with a change to indicate that IEP stood for individual educational program in AR 5116.2

AR 5116.2 governs intra-district transfers and sets the following as priorities for intra-district transfers:

1. Students residing in the school's attendance area.
2. Students diverted from their resident attendance area (Involuntary transfers).
3. Siblings of students diverted from their resident attendance area.
4. Students requesting transfers based on dangerous or harmful special circumstances, including threats of bodily harm. A finding of dangerous or harmful special circumstance shall be based upon a written statement from a law enforcement official or properly licensed professional, or a court order.
5. Siblings of special education students whose IEP [individual education program] has placed them at a specific school.
6. Siblings of students already in attendance at the school.
7. Students whose parent or legal guardian is assigned to that school as his or her primary place of employment pursuant to California Education Code section 35160.5(b)(3)(D).
8. Student placements requesting transfers from Title I schools identified for program improvement as outlined in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

All other transfers, including academic needs, hardship cases, etc., will be subject to space available at the requested school and assignments will be determined by a lottery.

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July 19, 2006

School Board Decides on $103.5 Million Facilities Bond

After more than four hours of a nearly five-hour meeting on Tuesday, July 18, 2006, the San Leandro School Board decided on an amount of $103.5 million for a facilities bond to be placed on the November 7, 2006, ballot.

The meeting started with Board President Pauline Cutter reporting that no action was taken during closed session.

A school district attorney briefly reported on his consideration of a possible conflict-of-interest for Trustee Linda Perry, who lives near one of the properties under consideration for purchase for the freshman campus. He found that there was no economic conflict-of-interest nor was there any conflict that would prevent her from fully participating in discussions or votes concerning the school bond.

Superintendent Christine Lim started a presentation entitled "Potential 2006 Facility Bond, July 18, 2006" that addressed some questions raised by board members at previous meetings. Consultant Connell Lindh spoke first about the tax rate amount for a bond that he thought would succeed at the polls. He acknowledged that previous polling in 2004 and 2005 had resulted in maximum tax rates of $25 and $30 per $100,000 of assessed value, respectively. However, he stated that efforts in support of Measure A had raised awareness of school needs to the community and groups like the Rental Housing Owners Association and the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce to such a level that he recommended that the tax rate for the facilities bond not exceed $40 per $100,000 of assessed value. According to Lindh, the school district passed a 1997 school bond of $54 million and managed to obtain $34 million in matching state funds. He also stated that projects completed as part of that bond were on budget and completed six years ahead of schedule.

After a discussion on tax rates, Leo Ray-Lynch of WLC Architects said that shop renovations for the original SLAM space would cost $600,000 and the entire industrial arts building would cost $3 million. Increasing the capacity of the freshman campus from 750 to 800 students would cost $1 million and increasing the capacity of the arts education center from 450 to 650 seats would cost $5 million.

Mike Murphy estimated annual savings from modernization of lighting at $72,844, heating and ventilation at $10,800, and telephones (voice over internet protocol/VOIP) at $116,500. Removing the portables would save $100,000 in annual leasing costs.

Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster estimated that matching federal grants from the E-Rate program could total $466,400 for upgrading the data networks at McKinley and Wilson and about $1 million for upgrading to VOIP.

Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey covered additional operating costs of a freshman campus and a 7th and 8th grade opportunity school.

Trustee Ray Davis began the discussion by noting that a previous study had shown that some items polled at more than 70% support and questioned Lindh about whether the $40 tax rate was really the maximum that could be sustained. Lindh replied that polls show overwhelming support for many things until they are considered with the associated cost.

Trustee Lisa Hague asked about the operational cost difference between a 750 and 800-student freshman campus. Cathey said that there was none.

When asked by Trustee Stephen Cassidy about the costs and scope of upgrades to the industrial arts center, Glaster responded that the $600,000 estimate would cover three rooms, including equipment. Glaster also noted that matching funds may also be available.

Trustee Rick Richards asked about projected enrollment and Glaster responded that it would be flat until 2025, according to demographic projections. Glaster also answered a question about classrooms by saying that there would be 28 classrooms for 750 students and 30 classrooms for 800 students.

The school board meeting was attended by about 42 people, 29 of whom commented on the facilities bond. Everyone who spoke was in favor of the bond, but for different reasons or for different amounts. Andrew Kopp of the San Leandro Community Action Network read a letter asking the board to support a minimum tax rate of $40 per $100,000 of assessed value along with a detailed list of priorities. John Sullivan, who owns rental property in San Leandro, asked the board to stay below the $40 mark and focus on maintaining and upgrading the existing facilities. Professional musician Laurel Rice spoke in favor of the freshman campus, noting that she had home-schooled her daughter because 9th grade at San Leandro High School was too overwhelming. San Leandro Chamber of Commerce CEO Heidi Finberg praised the School Board and administration for their "wonderful outreach effort" that educated the business community on the state of San Leandro schools.

Sabrina Ramirez, president of the San Leandro Teachers Association, said that while the performing arts center was a wonderful idea, it should not take precedence over modernization needs where classrooms are saunas when it's hot outside and meat lockers when it's cold. She said that 50 new teachers will be hired to replace those that left - many because of the working conditions. San Leandro Council Member-elect Michael Gregory promised to work with the school board on joint-use projects. Leroy Smith of Citizens for San Leandro supported a tax rate of $40 and said that it would be great to have the arts education center, but overcrowding at the high school must be addressed first. Charles Gilcrest pointed out that if there is justification to use a more favorable interest rate, the school board might be able to get another $3 to $5 million out of the same tax rate.

After a short break, the school board got to work on making decisions about the total amount of the bond and the projects to be funded by the bond. Deciding on the total amount proved to be rather easy, with overwhelming support for $103.5 million, the amount supported by a tax rate of $40 per $100,000 of assessed value assuming a 5% growth in assessed value annually, and a 5.25% interest rate. Trustee Davis wanted more, but Cassidy cautioned that they were already pushing the envelope at a tax rate of $40 and a higher amount would likely fail. Cutter and Perry both expressed concern that the school board stick to the $40 amount so that voters can be certain about the amount the bond will cost each year. The amount works out to $82.78 for the median San Leandro homeowner.

With a total amount of $103.5 million, each school board member listed their priorities on a spreadsheet consisting of 21 options each for new construction and modernization. The consensus choices became apparent very quickly. The final new construction choices totaling $61 million were:

Freshman Campus (off site with gym , 800 Students) - $38 million
Arts Education Center (AEC) - 450 seat capacity (26,260 sf) - $17 million
PG&E lot at SLHS - $4 million
SLHS Library Expansion (2,200 sf) - $0.9 million
Bancroft Parking lot (purchase only) - $0.4 million
Landscaping - SLHS campus - $0.7 million

Hague, Davis, and Richards originally wanted some of the bond to go for Burrell Field, but had to forgo Burrell in order to bring their total project list under the $103.5 million maximum and to gain school board consensus. Heystek was forced to do the same with expansion of the adult school as was Perry with the Jefferson multipurpose room. The landscaping item was the subject of much discussion with the school board trying to better describe the fact that the landscaping item would address making the front of the San Leandro High School and the arts education center into a place that is inviting and beautiful.

The final modernization choices totaling $42.5 million were:

ADA, Fire Life Safety - $2.1 millions
Replace Roofs - $10.7 million
Heating - Alt 2 - Abandon (E) & Install Package Heating - $9.6 million
Data Systems - LAN - baseline standard (Wilson, Monroe & McKinley) - $1 million
Restrooms - Alt 1 - Remove & Replace All - $5 million
Paint Walls - $3.9 million
Technology - Alt 1 - VOIP - $2.4 million
Lighting Modifications (replace classroom fixtures) - $6.3 million
Industrial Art Bldg (Shop Mod & equip) - $1.5 million

The $3.9 million for painting walls and $1.5 million for the Industrial Art Building was the result of a compromise from the $4.8 million original item for painting walls and $3 million for the Industrial Art Building.

Then it was back to normal school board business with the unanimous approval of consent calendar items, except for the approval of an Intra-District Transfer request form, which was pulled by Cassidy. The draft policy for intra-district transfers, which includes specific criteria for priority transfers and a lottery for non-priority transfers.

In closing remarks, Davis noted an article in the Saturday San Francisco Chronicle stating that students do just as well in public schools as they do in private schools. The article is based on a study entitled "Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling."

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July 12, 2006

School Board Meeting Announced for July 13, 2006

A School Board meeting has been announced for Thursday, July, 13, 2006, at 6pm. The School Board will have further discussions about the planned facilities bond that will appear on the November 7, 2006, ballot. The School Board must approve and submit the measure by August 11, 2006. Since the costs of modernization and projects such as the freshman academy (9th grade academy), high school library expansion, performing arts center, Burrell Field improvements, etc. exceed the funds likely to be generated by the bond, the School Board will vote on what will get funded during its July 18, 2006, meeting.

Here is the agenda for the July 13, 2006, meeting, since it hasn't yet been posted to the School Board's web site:

SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
14735 JUNIPER STREET SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA
Phone: (510) 667-3522 Fax: (510) 678-5303
www.sanleandro.k12.ca.us

SPECIAL MEETING - BOARD OF EDUCATION - AGENDA
July 13, 2006
6 p.m.

The special session will be held in the San Leandro Unified School District Administrative Office located at 14735 Juniper Street, San Leandro, CA.
Please note that this meeting is being recorded.

* * * * * * * *
I. Call to Order

II. Special Session
1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. Announcement of Action Taken in Closed Session
3. Legal Statement Concerning Suggestions and Comments on Agenda/Non-Agenda Items

Members of the audience who wish to address the Board are asked to complete the yellow card available at the entrance and submit it to the Board President. Speakers who have completed the card will be called when the item is reached on the agenda or, for non-agenda items, during the Public Testimony. Cards are to be turned in before the item is reached on the agenda. Please note that this meeting is being recorded.
State law prohibits the Board of Education from taking any action on or discussing items that are not on the posted agenda except to A) briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public in attendance; B) ask questions for clarification; C) provide a reference to a staff member or other resource for factual information in response to the inquiry; or D) ask a staff member to report back on the matter at the next meeting and/or put it on a future agenda. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a))


III. Facilities Workshop

• Additional information regarding facility options
• Preliminary information regarding tax rate

IV. Public Testimony on Non-Agenda Items

V. Board Member Comments

VI. Adjournment

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July 6, 2006

Notes from July 5, 2006, School Board Meeting

After a closed session in which no actions were taken, the San Leandro School Board began its July 5, 2006, meeting with the presentation of an award from the Alameda County Board of Education to the "Yes on Measure A Campaign" committee. Committee chair Deborah Cox was on hand to accept the award.

During public comments, Mike Katz asked the Board to be more proactive in providing information to the community about the mailbox lawsuit between the school district and the San Leandro Teacher's Association.

School Trustee Linda Perry reported that she had asked for legal advice about her participation in discussions of the freshman campus (9th grade academy) since she lives close to one of the properties. After consulting counsel, Perry said that she would not participate in discussions or votes involving the reshman campus.

Dana LeSher of Harris and Associates, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster and Superintendent Christine Lim ran through a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Potential Facility Bond, Research and Information." The presentation covered why the district wants to focus on 9th grade and reviewed the options under consideration, their advantages and disadvantages.

After the presentation, public comments were made by 17 people, most of whom spoke in support of a performing arts center. Roxanne Ansolabehere, the San Leandro High School librarian spoke out in favor of expanding the high school's library, noting that "our students deserve a fully stocked, fully staffed" library. San Leandro High School theater arts teacher Megan McKinley noted that San Leandro placed second this year in the Ohlone College High School Drama Competition as she expressed her support for a performing arts center. Arguments in favor of the performing arts center included the arts' positive effect on academic performance, the potential for joint use of the facility, and wider support among San Leandro residents.

During subsequent comments and questions from the board, Perry again expressed concern about the acquisition of the adjacent PG&E property, which was required in order for the performing arts center to be built. School Trustee Stephen Cassidy noted that a performing arts center together with industrial arts facilities was important because of the many San Leandro residents that worked in the trades. Noting that the school bond would not cover all of the projects that the Board would like to see completed, School Trustee Louis Heystek emphasized that modernization should focus more on restrooms, heating, roofing, fire and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements first and less on floors, painting and ceilings. Cassidy remarked that he would rather "solve one problem [overcrowding at the high school] fully rather than two problems [overcrowding and modernization] halfway."

Cassidy reported that the Communication Committee discussed a mailing list, which would be used to inform the public about upcoming events, but he noted that it would not be ready in the short term. He hoped it would be ready when the upgrade of the district web site was completed by the end of the summer.

Consent items approved unanimously by the Board included extending the contracts of Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Leon Glaster, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, and Michael Martinez, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, to June 30, 2008. Superintendent Christine Lim's contract was also extended, but there was no date listed on the agenda. However, Lim reported that it was extended until 2009.

The board discussed the possibility of another meeting on July 13, 2006, to further discuss the facilities bond, but there were questions about the availability of the consultant that will provide guidance on how much money should be in the bond measure. Cassidy also expressed concern that the community would not have had an opportunity to provide its input if such a meeting were held. The board decided not to hold a meeting on July 13. Trustee Heystek also noted that he will be late to the July 18, 2006, school board meeting because he will be in Davis for the swearing in of his brother to the Davis City Council.

Last week, Superintendent Lim and School Trustees Pauline Cutter, Stephen Cassidy, and Ray Davis met with San Leandro Chamber President-elect Robert Brannan and San Leandro Chamber CEO Heidi Finberg to seek the Chamber's support for the school bond measure. Brannan and Finberg were reported to be enthusiastic, but the San Leandro Chamber's Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the issue on July 27, 2006.

Updated on July 10, 2006, to reflect that Stephen Cassidy and Ray Davis were at the meeting with Lim, Cutter, Brannan, and Finberg. Thanks Stephen.

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July 5, 2006

San Leandro Schools Get Grant to Encourage Kids to Walk and Bike to School

On June 16, 2006, the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program awarded $171,900 to install in-pavement crosswalk lights, curb extensions and curb ramps at four San Leandro schools. The schools are Jefferson, Corvallis, McKinley, and Roosevelt and the work will be perfomed at Bancroft Ave., Corvallis St. at Oberlin Ave., Blossom Way, and Dowling Blvd. The total cost of the projects is $191,000. Measure B Bike and Pedestrian funds will provide the additional $19,100 needed to pay for the projects.

The SR2S program was established by legislation passed in 2000. It provides $20 to $25 million per year for projects that help to encourage children to walk or ride bicycles to school. In the first three years of the program, between 400 and 700 grant applications were received. The projects are divided into the following categories:

  • Sidewalk improvements
  • Traffic calming and speed reduction
  • Pedestrian/bicycle crossing improvements
  • On-street bicycle facilities
  • Off-street bicycle/pedestrian facilities
  • Traffic diversion improvements

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June 20, 2006

School Bond Community Meeting

The San Leandro Unified School District's second Community Forum was held on Monday, June 19, 2006, at the San Leandro High School cafeteria. The purpose of the meeting was to get input from the community for placing a school bond measure on the November 2006 ballot.

The attendance at this meeting was noticeably less than the May 31st meeting, with the crowd estimated between 50 and 60 people. School board trustees Stephen Cassidy, Pauline Cutter, Ray Davis, Linda Perry, and Rick Richards were present, but Lisa Hague and Louis Heystek did not attend.

Superintendent Christine Lim ran through a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the various issues surrounding a bond measure, especially the need to prioritize the man needs and desires of the community and the school district.

The reasons given for pursuing a bond were to address overcrowding, renovate and modernize the schools, to gain potential matching funds from a state bond that will also be on the November ballot and to take advantage of Proposition 39, which allows school bonds to pass with 55% approval in even-year elections.

In order for the bond to be improved, the voters must approve the amount of the bond and the projects that funds from the bond will be used for. The funds from the bond must be used for capital improvements - they cannot be used to pay for salaries - and the funds are issues as needed over the 25-year term of the bond. In addition, regulations stipulate that a citizen's advisory committee must be established to oversee bond expenditures and make reports to the school board. Annual financial and performance audits are also required.

According to one slide, here are the 2005-2006 tax rates for Alameda County School Districts:

District	Tax rate per $100,000 of assessed value
Berkeley USD			$142.60
Albany USD			$131.60
New Haven USD			$116.90
Newark USD			$114.80
Piedmont USD			$88.40
Pleasanton USD			$85.40
Livermore Valley USD		$83.00
Dublin USD			$81.70
Oakland USD			$78.00
Castro Valley USD		$71.80
Alameda USD			$51.70
Fremont USD			$43.30
Sunol Glen USD			$40.80
San Leandro USD			$35.80
San Lorenzo USD			$23.90
Emery USD			$18.90

Based on feedback from the previous forum, the categories under consideration were:

1. District-wide school-site modernization
2. Secondary overcrowding
3. Potential projects w/9th grade academy
4. 7th/8th grade Opportunity School
5. Burrell Field renovation
6. Jefferson multipurpose room
7. Other potential bond projects

School site modernization consisted of new roofing, new ceiling and lights, painting walls, new flooring, new marker boards, restroom modernizations, technology (data and VOIP), health, safety and code, and high-priority heating systems at a total estimated cost of $62 million.

Secondary overcrowding included three options for a 9th grade academy: on campus ($31m), one block away off campus ($32m/$37m) and across the street off campus ($32m). Potential projects with a 9th grade academy included a performing arts center ($17m), auxiliary gym ($5m), library expansion ($900k) and the PG&E easement for a parking lot ($4m).

The 7th/8th grade opportunity school consisted of adding a building at John Muir Middle School for at-risk students at an estimated $3 million. Options for Burrell Field ranged from recondition the cinder track for $200k up to replacing the field lights, restroom building, bleachers, drinking fountains and fence for $4 million.

The Jefferson multipurpose room could could be modernized for $1.6 million or be a newly constructed building for $3.5 million. Other potential bond projects included purchasing the parking lot across from Bancroft Middle School for $350k and expanding the new adult school at the corner of Williams and Leonard Drive for $900k.

After one attendee questioned the $4 million estimated cost for the parking lot and the $900,000 for the library expansion, Roxanne Ansolabehere, the librarian for San Leandro High School, noted that the school library has just seven books per student. She compared this to the 15 books per student average in California and 25 books per student nationally, but saw the expansion as a good start. Assistant Superintendent Glaster stated that the bond funds could not be used to books and instructional materials, but he expected some money from Proposition 98 this year could be used for such things.

After comments and questions from the audience, the attendees split into four working groups to discuss the options in greater detail and prioritize each of the various options. The results will be presented at the next school board meeting on Tuesday, June 20, 2006.

The remainder of the schedule for the bond measure includes finalizing the project list in July and submitting a board-approved bond measure to the county by August 11, 2006.

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May 29, 2006

San Leandro School District Fundaising Event Tuesday May 30

The Keep Music Rockin' Foundation will hold a Kick-Off Fiesta Dinner and Silent Auction fundraiser for the San Leandro school district on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Marina Community Center.

San Leandro School Board trustee Rick Richards and his wife Pam created the foundation earlier this year to raid funds for repairing old musical instruments and buying new musical instruments and supplies.

For a suggested donation of $20, supporters will get to hear music by San Leandro students, feast on Mexican food, and bid on items like three luxury suite tickets to an Oakland Raiders game and a round of golf for four.

The Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Blvd.

For tickets or more information, contact Rick Richards or call (510) 569-9405.

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May 18, 2006

School Board Reviews Options for Facilities Bond

The San Leandro School Board began its May 16, 2006, meeting with all members of the board present.

The first item of business was to present Certificates of Commendation to recipients of the Mid-Alameda County Special Education Local Plan Area (MAC SELPA) "Excellence in Special Education Award" to the following teachers:

Meredith Miller, Speech and Language Teacher, Monroe Elementary
Nuna Mingo, Resource Specialist Teacher, Madison Elementary
Sara Mireles, Resource Specialist Teacher, Roosevelt Elementary
Sarah Wood, Special Day Class Teacher, Madison Elementary

During the public comment period, three people spoke: one a teacher that spoke about racial discrimination he had experienced, a parent complaining about the way she and her child have been treated by school staff, and a parent complaining about the letter sent out by the school on April 28, 2006, concerning possible student absences for the "Day Without an Immigrant" protest on May 1.

The bulk of the meeting's four hours were for the fifth facilities workshop, in which the options for reducing overcrowding at the high school were reviewed with a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Planning for Potential Facility Bond."

The options were presented as follows:

Option 1: Build a ninth-grade academy on the current site of San Leandro High School (SLHS) adjacent to current classrooms and the gym at an estimated cost of $25 million.

Option 1A: Build a ninth-grade academy on the current site of SLHS adjacent to the football field at an estimated cost of $31 million.

Option 2: Build a ninth-grade academy on another site near San Leandro High School. Site options discussed included the current adult school office location, a 2.68-acre property a few blocks from SLHS and on the field of McKinley Elementary. The estimated cost of this option is $36 million.

Option 3: In conjuction with either Option 1A or 2, a 450-seat performing arts center and auxiliary gym would be constructed adjacent to existing classrooms and the gym at an estimated cost of $58 million.

Option 3A: In conjuction with either Option 2, a 450-seat performing arts center and new Industrial Arts facility would be combined, replacing the existing Industrial Arts facility. An auxiliary gym would built adjacent to the existing gym. This option relies on the ability to use the adjacent PG&E property for parking. The estimated cost of this option is $64 million.

Option 3B: In conjunction with Option 1A, it would include the performing arts center and auxiliary gym, but not a new Industrial Arts facility. The estimated cost of this option is $53 million.

Option 3C: In conjunction with Option 1A, it would include a combined performing arts center and Industrial Arts facility and auxiliary gym. The estimated cost of this option is $59 million.

Option 4: Build a new building at John Muir Middle School and use it for an Opportunity Program where students most at risk of failure would received personalized instruction. The estimated cost of this option is $3 million.

Also under consideration are a renovation of Burrell Field and a multi-purpose room at Jefferson Elementary.

Some board members felt that presenting all of these options at upcoming community meetings, including those that were opposed by the board, would not be helpful to the process. Other board members thought that all options should be presented at the upcoming community meetings. In the end, the Board voted to remove the McKinley Elementary site from consideration.

The first community meeting will be held at the San Leandro High School gym on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 6:30pm.

With the exception of two items, all consent items on the agenda were approved unanimously by the Board.

Board members Cassidy and Cutter voted against the approval of the Administrative Panel's recommendation for expulsion for student E51-05-06 in a 5 to 2 vote.

On resolution #06-24, which would certify that Board Member Ray Davis was absent from the April 25, 2006 Board meeting due to hardship, Morgan Mack-Rose spoke against the approval of the resolution noting Davis' absence from previous board meetings. David defended himself, stating that he had a job that sometimes obligated him to miss School Board meetings. In fact, the date of the April 25, 2006, board meeting was scheduled with the Board's knowledge that Davis would be unable to attend, as it was not a regularly-scheduled Board meeting. The Board discussed the possibility of defining what exactly was meant by "hardship" and also whether to note that the meeting was a "special" meeting that was in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings. The Board voted 6 to 1 to approve the resolution with Cassidy dissenting. According to Board policies, Board members receive $240 per month for their service, which is cut by 50% if a Board member misses a meeting.

The decision on approval of the Board's regular meeting schedule was entertaining as Board member Heystek emphasized the need to meet on the first and third Tuesday's of the month and to deviate from the schedule as little as possible. Cassidy requested that the Board reschedule its November 7 meeting, since that would be the day of the election and Board members were likely to be working to support the bond measure. Heystek responded that he felt Cassidy was "jinxing the election." With a few exceptions, the Board approved the revised calendar in a 6 to 1 vote with Cassidy dissenting.

The last item concerned the creation of the San Leandro Community Alliance for Education, an advisory committee that is intended to give more of the community input to the school administration through Superintendent Christine Lim. Board member Perry stressed that the the alliance would be completely advisory and would not be a second school board. She asked Superintendent Lim for more information about how much it would cost in resources and staff time. She was especially concerned by a handout provided by Heidi Finberg that included a draft of an invitation list of more than 40 local organizations and groups, an invitation letter, an application, and an agenda.

Board members Richards stated that something like the alliance was "overdue in our community" and Cassidy recommended that it go forward. Richards, along with Perry and Davis, also expressed a desire to have the purpose and scope of the alliance defined more clearly. Ms. Finberg noted to the Board that her handout was based on a second-hand account of an earlier meeting, she apologized for any confusion, and stated of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce (of which she is CEO), "we want to be partners" with the schools.

In the end, the Board voted unanimously to table discussion of the alliance until the June 20, 2006, School Board meeting, in which Superintendent Lim promised to provide additional information.

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April 11, 2006

Measure A Fails

Measure A, the San Leandro Quality Education Act, failed to pass today. According to results as of 9:55pm, there were 4686 votes (60.83%) in favor of Measure A and 3018 votes (39.17%) against. Since the measure required two-thirds approval, Measure A failed.

According to the Alameda County Registrar, there are 30,442 registered voters in San Leandro. Just 7,704 of them voted in the election. That means that the fate of Measure A was decided by just 25.35% of the registered voters.

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January 30, 2006

Measure A, the parcel tax

Here is the full text of Measure A, which will appear on the ballot on April 11, 2006. Click here for the PDF version.

SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
San Leandro, California 94579

RESOLUTION NO. 06-01
PROPOSING THE SAN LEANDRO QUALITY EDUCATION ACT
A QUALIFIED SPECIAL TAX
AND
ESTABLISHING SPECIFICATIONS OF THE ELECTION ORDER

WHEREAS, the Board of Education of the San Leandro Unified School District (“the Board of Education”) believes that a qualified special tax is necessary to maintain and enhance quality education for the students of San Leandro Unified School District (“the District); and

WHEREAS, Section 4 of Article XIIIA and Section 2 of Article XIIIC of the California Constitution and Sections 50075, 50076, 50077, 50079 and 53722 et seq. of the California Government Code authorize a school district, upon approval of two-thirds of the electorate voting on the measure, to levy a qualified special tax for specified purposes following notice and a public hearing; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Education has conducted a noticed public hearing, as required by law, on the question of whether or not to request the District’s voters to authorize funding to continue the programs identified below;

NOW THEREFORE, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HEREBY RESOLVES, DETERMINES AND ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. That the Board has determined in its best judgment that in order to maintain and enhance quality education in San Leandro, an election is advisable and on that basis hereby orders the Alameda County Registrar Voters to call an election and submit to the voters of the District the question of whether to adopt a qualified special tax to maintain and enhance the quality of San Leandro’s public education that has benefited all students and citizens.

Section 2. Said qualified special tax shall be in the amounts and for the purposes set forth in the attached Exhibit A for Six (6) years beginning as of July 1, 2006, assessed against each parcel of taxable land located wholly or partly in the District. A parcel shall be defined as any unit of land located wholly or partly in the District that now receives a separate tax bill from the County of Alameda. All property that would otherwise be exempt from property taxes will also be exempt from the imposition of said qualified special tax. Parcels owned and occupied by eligible persons 65 years of age or older who apply to the District pursuant to an administrative review process shall be exempt from the qualified special tax.

Section 3. That the date of the election shall be April 11, 2006.

Section 4. That the purpose of the election shall be for the voters in the District to vote on a ballot measure, a full copy of which is attached hereto and marked Exhibit A and incorporated by reference herein. As required by California Elections Code section 13247, the abbreviated form of the measure to appear on the ballot is attached hereto as Exhibit B.

Section 5. That the Board has the authority for ordering the election.

Section 6. That the authority for the specifications of this election order is contained in Section 5322 of the California Education Code.

Section 7. That this Resolution shall stand as the order to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters to call an election within the boundaries of the District on April 11, 2006.

Section 8. That the Secretary of the Board is hereby directed immediately to send a certified copy of this Resolution to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools so that said Superintendent receives it no later than January 10, 2006.

Section 9. That the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools is hereby requested to deliver this Resolution, which constitutes the order of election, and a formal notice of the election to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters no later than January 10, 2006. That the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools is hereby requested to perform the duties under Education Code Section 5302, to call the election, prepare recommendations, statements, or arguments for the election as required, and to receive petitions, as necessary.

Section 10. That the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools is hereby requested to prepare a Formal Notice of School Parcel Tax Election (“the Notice”) containing the information specified in Section 5361 of the Education Code, in substantially the form attached hereto as Exhibit C and to publish and/or post the Notice as required by law.

Section 11. That pursuant to Section 5303 of the Education Code, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters is hereby requested to take all steps incident to the preparation for and the holding of the election in accordance with law and these specifications. The Board requests that the Registrar of Voters deliver a copy of all published notices to the Secretary of this Board pursuant to Section 12113 of the Elections Code.

Section 12. That the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County is authorized to canvass the returns of the election pursuant to Section 10411 of the Elections Code.

Section 13. That in accordance with Education Code section 5342 and Elections Code section 10402.5, it is hereby requested that the special election to be held hereunder be consolidated by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, for all purposes, with any and all other elections also called to be held on April 11, 2006, insofar as said elections are to be held in the same territory or in territory that is in part the same as the territory of the District.

Section 14. That the Board of Education shall provide in each year, pursuant to Government Code section 7902.1 or any successor provision of law, for any increase in the District’s appropriations limit as shall be necessary to ensure that proceeds of the Special Tax may be spent for the authorized purposes.

Section 15. That subject to two-thirds approval of the voters, the qualified special tax shall become effective as of July 1, 2006 and be collected by the Alameda County Tax Collector at the same time as and along with, and shall be subject to the same penalties as general ad valorem taxes collected by said tax collector. The tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid.

Section 16. That the members of the Board, the Superintendent of the District, and officers of the District are hereby authorized and directed, individually and collectively, to do any and all things and to execute, deliver, and perform any and all agreements and documents that they deem necessary or advisable in order to effectuate the purposes of this Resolution, including, without limitation, to prepare and submit for inclusion in the voter information pamphlet an argument in favor of passage of the ballot measure. All actions heretofore taken by the officers and agents of the District that are in conformity with the purposes and intent of this Resolution are hereby ratified, confirmed, and approved in all respects.

Section 17. That the members of the Board, the Superintendent of the District, and officers of the District are hereby requested and directed, individually and collectively, to provide accountability measures pursuant to Government Code Section 50075.1 that include, but are not limited to, all of the following: (a) A statement indicating the specific purposes of the qualified special tax, (b) a requirement that the proceeds be applied only to the specific purposes identified pursuant to subsection (a), (c) the creation of an account into which the proceeds shall be deposited, and (d) an annual report pursuant to Section 50075.3. of the Government Code, as provided in Section 20 hereof.

Section 18. That pursuant to Section 50075.3 of the Government Code, the Board directs that the chief fiscal officer of the District file a report with the Board no later than January 1, 2008, and at least once a year thereafter. The annual report shall contain both of the following: (a) The amount of funds collected and expended, and (b) the status of any project required or authorized to be funded by said funds.

Section 19. That the District’s Superintendent and designee are hereby authorized and directed to make any changes to the text of the measure described in this Resolution, or to the abbreviated form of the measure, or to the text of this Resolution, as may be convenient or necessary to comply with the intent of this Resolution, the requirements of elections officials, and requirements of law.

ADOPTED, SIGNED, and APPROVED this 4th day of January, 2006.
AYES:
NOES:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT


By:_____________________________
Board President

ATTEST:

By: _____________________________
Christine Lim
Secretary of the Board of Education
San Leandro Unified School District

STATE OF CALIFORNIA )
) ss.
ALAMEDA COUNTY )

I, Christine Lim, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of Resolution No. 06-01, which was duly adopted by the Board of Education of the San Leandro Unified School District at meeting thereof held on the 4th day of January, 2006, and that it was so adopted by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTAIN:

ABSENT:

By: _____________________________
Christine Lim
Superintendent of Schools
San Leandro Unified School District

EXHIBIT A
(to Resolution 06-01 )
FULL TEXT OF SPECIAL TAX MEASURE

THE SAN LEANDRO QUALITY EDUCATION ACT

This proposition may be known and referred to as the San Leandro Quality Education Act.

INTRODUCTION

To provide quality educational programs for San Leandro students, improve school safety, attract and retain quality teachers and staff, restore custodians and update technology, shall the San Leandro Unified School District be authorized to establish the San Leandro Quality Education Act, a special tax of one-and-two-tenths cents ($0.012) per square foot per parcel for six years, beginning July 1, 2006, offering an exemption to citizens 65 years and older, with expenditures monitored by an independent oversight committee?
This Measure provides the additional funding required to restore, maintain and enhance a quality San Leandro educational program.

PURPOSES
Upon approval of two thirds of those voting on this Measure, the District will be authorized to levy a qualified special tax, known to as and referred to as the San Leandro Quality Education Act, for the following purposes:

A. School Academic and Enrichment Programs: Up to twenty percent (20%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of providing each District school site School Academic and Enrichment Programs in areas such as music, the arts, athletics, sciences, career technical, alternative/intervention, tutoring and student activities.

B. Improve School Safety at all District Schools: Up to nine-and-one-half percent (9.5%) of the available revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of improving school safety at all District schools.

C. Attract and Retain Highly Qualified Teachers and Staff: Up to thirty-three percent (33%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers and staff by (i) providing more competitive salaries; (ii) preventing the elimination of certificated and classified staff positions; (iii) supporting the continuation of student support services; and (iv) supporting the maintenance of existing educational programs.

D. Restore Custodians: Up to nine-and-one-half percent (9.5%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of increasing staffing of custodians.

E. Increase Music and Art Enrichment Programs at Every School: Up to four-and-seven-tenths percent (4.7%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of implementing the 5-year Visual and Performing Arts Plan (drama, music, arts, dance).

F. Enhance Career Technical Education: Up to four-and-seven-tenths percent (4.7%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of providing staffing, program coordination, equipment expansion and upgrades, and start-up computers for career technical education (e.g. an engineering academy).

G. Help At-Risk Middle School Students: Up to four-and-eight-tenths percent (4.8%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of providing a class for at-risk students at the middle school level.

H. Provide Technical Support: Up to eight-and-two-tenths percent (8.2%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of providing computer technical support to each District school and department.

I. Implement Measure: Up to five-and-six-tenths percent (5.6%) of the available annual revenues of this Measure shall be dedicated annually to the purpose of providing necessary clerical and office support in order to implement this Measure.

The Board of Education will fund all of the programs listed above, unless the Board of Education determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in state or federal funding make doing so infeasible or inadvisable. In any event, the Board of Education will not fund any program or reduction other than those listed above from the proceeds of the special taxes.

The San Leandro Quality Education Act would be in effect for a period of Six (6) years, beginning July 1, 2006, at the rates shown below, on each assessor’s parcel located wholly or partly within the school district.

PROCEDURES

Each year as part of the annual budget adoption process, the Board of Education will determine the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide a superior educational program including the specialized services and programs enumerated above and deduct therefrom the projected revenue to be gathered from sources other than this special tax. The difference, if any, shall be the maximum amount of funds to be derived from the tax authorized by this measure for such year. If the necessary funds are such that the maximum rates set forth below are not needed, then the Board of Education shall reduce these rates proportionately so that only the necessary amount of funds is raised.
Prior to the levying of the special tax in any given year, the Board will conduct a public hearing on the matter. Notice of the time, date, and place of hearing shall be published pursuant to Government Code Section 6061 at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the District, at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing. Following said hearing each year, the Board shall adopt a resolution establishing the amount of tax to be raised for that year and the rate per parcel, not to exceed the rates and amounts enumerated below. Any tax levied shall become a lien upon the properties against which taxes are assessed and collectible as herein provided.

RATES

The special tax shall be levied on all parcels of property in the San Leandro Unified School District, except where such parcels are otherwise exempt from taxation. The tax levied shall be at the rate of one-and-two-tenths cents ($0.012) per square foot per parcel per year, on all residential, commercial, industrial and institutional parcels, whether such parcels are improved or unimproved.

An exemption shall be granted for any parcel owned and occupied by one or more persons 65 years of age or older who occupy the parcel as a principal residence, following a one-time application for exemption.

ACCOUNTABILITY AND COMPLIANCE MEASURES

In accordance with the requirements of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3, the following accountability measures, among others, shall apply to the special taxes levied in accordance with this Measure:

(a) Proceeds of this San Leandro Quality Education Act shall be deposited into a resource fund which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds in the District and shall be applied only as set forth in this Measure.

(b) An Annual Report, including the revenues generated by this San Leandro Quality Education Act, the expenditures of these monies, and the status of any projects funded by these monies, shall be produced by the Assistant Superintendent – Business of the District for the Board of Education no later than January 1 of the year following the fiscal year during which the monies were expended. In addition, the regular interim reporting of the Measure’s fund balances given to the Board of Education shall also be transmitted directly to the Quality Education Oversight Committee (below).

(c) To ensure additional accountability, the Quality Education Oversight Committee, an independent volunteer community committee, shall oversee all expenditures funded by the measure to ensure that said funds are spent in accordance with the purposes approved by the voters. This committee shall monitor the expenditures of these funds by the District and shall report annually to the community at a public board meeting on how these funds have been spent.

The committee shall be composed of members nominated as follows:

(1) One parent/legal guardian member nominated by each of the District’s School Site Councils.

(2) One parent/legal guardian member nominated by the District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC).

(3) One employee member nominated by each of the District’s employee unions/associations.

(4) Two members residing within the San Leandro Unified School District boundaries nominated by the City of San Leandro.

(5) Two members nominated by the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

(6) One member nominated by the Rental Housing Owners Association of Southern Alameda County.

(7) One senior citizen member residing within the San Leandro Unified School District boundaries nominated by the City of San Leandro Senior Commission.

(8) One San Leandro High School (SLHS) student member nominated by the SLHS principal.

(9) One Lincoln High School student member nominated by the Lincoln High School principal.

(10) One member nominated by the District’s Superintendent of Schools.
All nominations shall be confirmed by the Board of Education.

(d) Each year, in connection with the annual audit of the District’s finances, an independent auditor retained by the District shall determine whether funds generated by this Measure have been allocated and expended in compliance with the conditions of the Measure, generally accepted accounting principles, and the Standards and Procedures for Audits of California K-12 Local Educational Agencies.

(e) The above provisions shall be in addition to civil remedies available at law for assuring compliance with the terms of this Measure.

PROTECTION OF FUNDING

Current law forbids any decrease in State or Federal funding to the District because of the District’s adoption of a parcel tax. However, if any such funds are reduced because of the adoption of this parcel tax, then the amount of the special taxes will be reduced annually as necessary in order to restore such State or Federal funding.

EXHIBIT B

SPECIAL TAX MEASURE
For
SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
(Abbreviated Form) *

“To provide quality educational programs for San Leandro students, improve school safety, attract and retain quality teachers and staff, restore custodians and update technology, shall the San Leandro Unified School District be authorized to establish the San Leandro Quality Education Act, a special tax of one-and-two-tenths cents ($0.012) per square foot per parcel for six years, beginning July 1, 2006, offering an exemption to citizens 65 years and older, with expenditures monitored by an independent oversight committee?”

Tax- Yes Tax - No

*Limited to 75 words pursuant to California Elections Code Section 13247

EXHIBIT C

FORMAL NOTICE OF SCHOOL PARCEL TAX ELECTION

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to the qualified electors of the San Leandro Unified School District of Alameda County, California, that in accordance with the provisions of the Education Code of the State of California, an election will be held on April 11, 2006, at which election the following measure shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the District and voted upon:

“To provide quality educational programs for San Leandro students, improve school safety, attract and retain quality teachers and staff, restore custodians and update technology, shall the San Leandro Unified School District be authorized to establish the San Leandro Quality Education Act, a special tax of one-and-two-tenths cents ($0.012) per square foot per parcel for six years, beginning July 1, 2006, offering an exemption to citizens 65 years and older, with expenditures monitored by an independent oversight committee?”

Tax - Yes Tax - No

All of the purposes enumerated in the foregoing measure shall be united and voted upon as one single measure, with precincts, places of holding the elections and officers appointed to conduct the elections shall be the same as those provided in the local consolidated election, under the notice of election adopted January 4, 2006.

The County Superintendent of Schools of Alameda County, by this Notice of Election,
has called the election pursuant to a Resolution of the Board of Education of the San Leandro Unified School District, adopted January 4, 2006, in accordance with the provisions of Education Code Sections 5325 and 5361.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ____ day of ___________, 2006.


________________________
Sheila Jordan
County Superintendent of Schools
Alameda County, California

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