Oakland school board reflects on Measure L defeat
on November 18, 2010
In their first meeting since the November election, Oakland’s school board members reflected somberly on the near-passage of Measure L, the $195 property tax that would have raised $20 million per year for ten years, increasing salaries for school employees.
“I wish people had understood that Measure L was going to support all the people who operate a school, not just teachers,” said board member Alice Spearman during Wednesday night’s meeting. Spearman suggested that more people would have voted yes on the measure if it had been clear that the funds would have also gone to school staff, such as librarians and food service workers.
Measure L, was approved by about 106,000 voters, leaving it less than one percentage point (about 800 votes) away from the two-thirds majority required for it to pass.
“I think it’s a monumental achievement [that so many people voted yes on Measure L] at this time period given this economic situation,” said representative David Kakishiba, thanking the voters who supported the measure. “But in the end there’s no cigar.”
Earlier in the meeting, board members praised the achievements of Lincoln Elementary, which is located near Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood and recently won a 2010 National Blue Ribbon Award. Since 2001, Lincoln has increased by nearly 200 points in the Academic Performance Index, an scale that measures a school’s math and language arts proficiency, and is currently tied with Hillcrest Elementary School for the district’s highest standardized testing scores in math.
The school has a high population of English learners and low-income families, and is one of the larger elementary schools in the district. “It really makes you proud when you’re from Oakland to see one of your schools consistently do so well,” said Spearman.
Other meeting highlights included a board decision to make November Family Literacy month in the district, and the adoption of a recquest to AC Transit to extend the youth fare discount to all students in the district, regardless of their age. The discount, which reduces the adult fare of $80 to $15 for a 31-day pass, currently applies only to students who are 18 years or younger.
Approximately 700 high school students in the district will turn 19 during this school year, said representative Jody London during the meeting. “That [discount] can make the difference between a student making it to school or not,” she said. “This is an important issue for our district.”
Check out all of our Oakland elections coverage on our Campaign 2010 page.
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