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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Loss Of School Crossing Guards: A Failure To Prioritize Student Safety

In April, I wrote a letter to the San Leandro Times stating that our schools and city were facing an unprecedented budget crisis and they should work together to address their fiscal challenges. I asked that the city not make any budget cuts that would hurt our schools. In particular, I called for the mayor and city council to reject the city manager’s proposal to terminate all school crossing guards.

As we know, the mayor and city council proceeded to end the program. Why would the mayor and city council risk the safety of children and their parents? Why is there not a true partnership between our city and schools?

City officials claim the cuts were necessary because the city has a large deficit. That is essentially what San Leandro City Manager Steve Hollister stated to CBS 5 local news when questioned on the elimination of the program. Likewise, the San Leandro Times reported that Mayor Tony Santos says that there simply is no room in the budget for the crossing guard program…

2009 API Scores for San Leandro Schools

Based on the release of the 2009 STAR test results by the state, last month I predicted that the San Leandro Unified School District would fail to meet the proficiency standards set by the state under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) statute. As a result, the school district would be placed in the Program Improvement program.

Unfortunately, this has occurred. Yesterday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell released California's 2008-09 Accountability Progress Report (APR), which provides results from the state accountability system as well as under NCLB. Among the new school districts in California placed within Program Improvement is San Leandro. No district wishes to be labeled a Program Improvement district as the program consists of a series of escalating sanctions for each year the district remains within the program.

San Leandro will not be leaving the program, absent a repeal or substantial revision of NCLB. In time, almost every schoo…

City Council Workshop on Major Building Projects Including Use of Measure WW Funds

Next Monday night, September 14th at 7 p.m., the City Council is hosting a work session on capitol improvement projects. The location is the Helen Lawrence South Offices Conference Room near the police department office.

Among the topics will be a review of the recommendations by the ad hoc Measure WW committee comprised of council members Joyce Starosciak, Michael Gregory and Diana Souza. They recommended that, of the $3.7 million San Leandro will receive under Measure WW, $2.4 million be used to help build a competitive pool at San Leandro 's Family Aquatic Center on Zelma Street in Washington Manor. The committee also recommeded that another $988,000 should go for picnic area renovations at Marina Park at the San Leandro Marina, and the remaining $250,000 be used for improving park pathways throughout San Leandro

Measure WW was a bond passed last November. Each city in Alameda County gets a slice of the money which can go for parks and recreational facilities. All San Leandr…

San Leandro's Unsustainable City Budget

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the San Leandro City Council Finance Committee. The committee consists of Mayor Santos and Councilmembers Prola and Gregory. Gregory was absent.

In short, if significant action is not taken, the city will burn through all of its reserves, including eventually reserves for natural disasters and other emergencies. By 2015, San Leandro could join the City of Vallejo in declaring bankruptcy.

Summary of Finance Committee Presentation

Perry Carter, the Interim Finance Director, gave an update on the budget. In analyzing a budget, you need to examine at least three years of data - the previous, current and next fiscal years. Carter first reported on the "preliminary actual" numbers for the fiscal year which just ended on June 30, 2009.

Illustrating how quickly the city finances collapsed last year, the original city budget for fiscal year 2008-09 assumed $76.2 million (hereafter simply "M") in revenues and $81.6 M in expenditures. T…

2009 San Leandro High School Exit Exam Test Results Released

The California High School Exit Exam is first given to students in 10th grade and covers two subjects: English language arts and math. The test is based on the California state standards, which define what students should be learning each year.

Students must pass the CAHSEE to graduate from high school. The goal is for all students to pass the test. The results below are for 10th grade students at San Leandro High Schoola nd nearby schools taking the test the first time.

The state average for English Language Arts was 79% in 2009, and it was 80% for Math.

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San Leandro High School:

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
78% (2009)
75% (2008)
78% (2007)
71% (2006)

Math
76% (2009)
79% (2008)
79% (2007)
78% (2006)

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Arroyo High School

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
84% (2009)
83% (2008)
83% (2007)
84% (2006)

Math
86% (2009)
79% (2008)
82% (2007)
83% (2006)

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San Lorenzo High School

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
73% (2009)
69% (20…

Hayashi's Bill Passes - A Defeat for Consumer Rights

Unfortunate news - the auto insurance industry was able to pick up a few more votes from Democrats in the State Senate to join with the Republicans and pass Hayashi's bill. Below is a message today from the Consumer Attorneys of California.
We go up against the insurance industry’s lobby every day. In the face of the industry’s seemingly limitless money and influence, we hold our own and then some most of the time. Despite our best efforts, the Senate on Friday narrowly approved legislation by East Bay Democrat Mary Hayashi that takes the side of the auto insurance industry against the consumer.

Hayashi’s bill would gut a consumer protection measure by Rep. Jackie Speier that was signed into law only a few years ago when Speier was in the state senate. Opposed by virtually every consumer group, including Consumer Attorneys of California, Hayashi’s AB 1200 would water down a prohibition barring insurers from “steering” consumers to the insurance company’s preferred auto body shops —…