Move schools after planning process

With the help of expert consultants, the Alameda Unified School District recently began a Facilities Master Planning process that will be completed later this year. The description from the AUSD website reads: "A good Facilities Master Plan presents an opportunity to create a well-considered plan for a school district's future, as opposed to putting a series of short-term, emergency measures in place on an as-needed basis."

Basic common sense dictates that no decisions to move any school should be made before the completion of the master planning process. What is the point of undergoing facilities planning (and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it) if the school superintendent proposes in the middle of the process to move four different schools and more than one thousand children before the Master Plan's completion just a few short months from now?

The Alameda Community Learning Center (again), Island High School, Home Sweet Home preschool and (potentially) Nea are the likely dominoes in this year's rushed game.

All decisions about moving schools and students must be postponed until the master planning process is complete. Moving any program prematurely, without the benefit of the Master Plan recommendations, would be an extraordinary waste of time, talent and treasure on all sides and would put all affected programs (and students) at risk for yet another move in the near-future in order to align with final Master Plan conclusions.

AUSD reports the Master Plan is: "an opportunity to create a well-considered plan ... as opposed to a series of short-term, emergency measures on an as-needed basis."

Alameda's children deserve the school board's commitment to walk the talk and wait until the plan is done before making any more forced moves.

Bara Waters

Don't give ACLC short shrift again

News of yet another suggestion to relocate ACLC brings great disappointment to those of us with friends or family attending this marvelous charter school. As an Alameda native, Encinal alumnus, mother of Alameda and Encinal high school students and grandmother of children attending or who have attended each and every middle school, high school and most elementary schools on the Island, it is with deep dismay that this charter model is yet again subject to such inconsideration and disrespect.

Is it the relatively low attendance of 300 students that allows the consideration of relocating these self-motivated and conscientious young people? Or, is there a stigma connected to attending a nontraditional school environment?

If so, I must inform readers and the PTA membership that this school enjoys a 99 percent college-accepted rating. These are not "problem-associated" kids. They simply prefer to receive their education at a reasonable pace, also without the distractions of the collateral facets of high school life. This is not to say that they are largely anti-social; they simply prefer other outlets in some cases.

What exactly leads anyone to believe that this highly successful program is subject to the whims of those who, for whatever reason, would discard any sense of place or identity for these students? My grandson has a 4.0, my granddaughter (graduating five years ago) had a 5.0 and went on the graduate from UC Berkeley.

When the deciders contemplate a relocation option, let it be with comprehensive study; and let ACLC have the right to a lease or other assurances that will enable them to continue their good work with some sense of appreciation and security and in a safe, convenient location.

Who or what can be important enough to diminish the value of ACLC? Please respond in this venue.

Linda Treml Hallam

Space for preschool must be maintained

A group of 15 parents and staff from Home Sweet Home preschool in west Alameda attended the Jan. 14 AUSD board meeting to request an extension to the preschool's lease at Woodstock Elementary. Home Sweet Home occupies two classrooms and the schoolyard at Woodstock, and AUSD has refused to extend the preschool's lease beyond 2014-15.

Founded in 1998 and inspired by Alameda youth, Home Sweet Home is a remarkable program serving 30 Alameda families, and it has an alumni roster of hundreds of Alameda children. In addition to providing preschool for children ages 2 through 5, Home Sweet Home's Big Friends program offers intensive hands-on internship opportunities for teenagers studying child development.

As AUSD plans the future of the Woodstock site for ACLC or other programs, it must continue to offer space to Home Sweet Home. If AUSD refuses to extend Home Sweet Home's lease, the preschool will either close or, funds permitting, relocate most likely outside Alameda. The closure or relocation of Home Sweet Home would be devastating to the children attending the school and a tremendous loss the entire community.

Jacob Avidon

Starting to seem like Oakland's bad parts

I walk quite a bit on Encinal, Central and Santa Clara avenues toward Park Street.

Lately, I have notice the closer I get to Park, the more litter there is on the streets. There's that, along with the discarded furniture, that is left on the sidewalks.

The other day, Park Street was disgusting with the amount of litter and cigarette butts. As I walked past a closed drinking establishment, the smell of urine was overwhelming.

I was thinking: "What does this remind me of? Litter, discarded furniture, the smell of urine?" Then I remembered -- it reminds me of Oakland.

Tim McKeon