Allow Oakland students here

Editor:

In answer to writer Kevin Barrett’s letter (“On schooling other town’s students,” May 29) there are at least four good reasons for allowing students living in Oakland to attend Alameda public schools.

First, their influx has promoted racial integration in the Alameda schools. Alameda enjoys a unique position in that most, if not all, other school districts have integrated their schools only by moving students who live within the district. 

Second, as long as a student from Oakland does not utilize a fraudulent address, the student’s attendance in the Alameda schools is lawful. We can assume that the students or their families choose Alameda schools for good reasons, including higher test scores, safety and superior all-around sports programs. Their attendance in the Alameda schools boosts Alameda’s average daily attendance (ADA) and thus increases Alameda’s allocation of education funds from the state of California.

Third, in all likelihood, the Oakland attendance at Encinal High School (EHS) is a principal reason why the school remains open. In the last 40 years, eight school districts in the East Bay alone have been forced to close a combined total of nine comprehensive high schools because of declines in enrollment (two of the schools were merged into a single and much larger school). 

The breaking point seems to be 1,000 students, which would be very close to the size of an Encinal student body minus the students from Oakland. Would the existing facilities at Alameda High School (AHS) be able to accommodate 1,000 additional students? Keeping EHS open is a better use of taxpayer dollars. 

Fourth, closing EHS would also harm AHS’s athletics program. The teams could draw from more students and might be more successful in interscholastic competition. However, AHS would have lost its natural rival. Anyone who compares the crowds at Alameda-Encinal games with the crowds at other contests can see which games generate more — by far — proceeds for the two schools.

Would Barrett accept a decision by the city of Oakland to close Doolittle Drive and Ron Cowan Parkway to Alamedans who wish to travel to Cal State East Bay, the airport, the coliseum, the University of California, BART, and San Francisco? If it did, then Alameda would be in a pickle. 

Bay Farm Island residents could vacation on the main island, and main islanders could vacation on Bay Farm Island. You think the Bay Farm Island Bridge is crowded now. Besides, young people and adults both enjoy travelling through the tubes and across the old-time bridges which set Alameda apart from most cities. 

When most Alamedans say, “Go Jets,” they are not saying, “Leave, Jets.” They are saying, “Soar, Jets.” 
 

— John Zugnoni