Your News in Tweet: Board of Education, October 8

Your News in Tweet: Board of Education, October 8

Michele Ellson

Here's what Alameda's Board of Education discussed Tuesday night, and what you had to say about it.


Submitted by Laura DiDonato (not verified) on Sun, Oct 13, 2013

"Spencer asks about former Island High site, which isn't included; Vital says site is "part of a city conversation I can't have publicly"

Michele, is there ANY way for us voters to know what is happening with this piece of public land? Because while addressing questions on the fate of old Island High site at a Planning Commission meeting last January, Andrew Thomas claimed "the school district needs the money".

What happened to Measure D?

Submitted by Laura DiDonato (not verified) on Sun, Oct 13, 2013

As per the old Island High site: on May 28, 2013 the BOE approved a resolution to remove portables and site clean up for "safety and aesthetic purposes."‎

Since then, the Superintendent and the City have been negotiating a real estate transaction during BOE Closed Sessions, with no public dialog allowed.

I would like to know why, and also why the site wouldn't be included within the Facilities Master Plan.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Mon, Oct 14, 2013

Hi Laura:

Thanks for your comments. My sense of the direction the board was headed in Tuesday was that members Spencer and McMahon supported including Island High in the plan and members Tam and Kahn didn't want to make it any bigger or costlier, so whether it's included or not may hinge on what member Sherratt wants to do, and we'll find that out when they make a decision on October 22.

On the issue of negotiating behind closed doors - real estate negotiations - even ones between public agencies - typically aren't discussed in public until they're concluded (they're one of three things public agencies can discuss behind closed doors, a list that includes litigation and personnel matters). That being said, there is some information out there that may help us put two and two together. The district has gone through the process required to surplus the land (though the board has not formally made the decision to surplus it yet). And the city's housing element lists the site as one that's available for housing, zoned for medium density residential and capable of holding up to 21 units of housing:

Submitted by laura DiDonato (not verified) on Tue, Oct 15, 2013

Michele, Thanks for the clarification on public agency topics that can rightfully be negotiated in Closed Sessions. The frustrating part however is that zero public dialog has been allowed by either the City or the Superintendent. It is a piece of land that has served Alameda's public for 120+ years and located w/i the heart of an industrial neighborhood the City recently redesigned to become residential. Evaluating its worth should not add any cost to the Facility Master Plan. Also the site, which is larger than the main library, was rezoned for housing at the same time as the McKay Ave/Neptune Beach property (hastily, w/o a housing EIR as per CEQA) and AFTER the 45 day public comment period had already closed for the North Park Street Area EIR. So since AUSD's CBO and Legal Counsel convened a 7/11 committee in 2010, which included multiple housing advocates but zero teaching staff (as per CA Ed Codes), there has been no place to have a conversation about this piece of public land.