Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

A recent letter from a community member who wondered about enrollment at Encinal High School (EHS) ("Is there an EHS population explosion?" Sept. 11).

That writer claimed the school’s principal had said the school received "500 more freshmen this year than were projected to join the school" and then asked if "EHS and the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) can explain where all these extra children came from."

We would like to set the record straight in this matter. The EHS principal has never claimed to have 500 more freshmen than projected. Based on demographic trends and surveys of the district’s middle schools, AUSD and EHS staff projected a total population of 1037 for the school this year. As of September 12, the school had 1,043 students. The freshman class was projected to be 250 this year; as of Sept. 12, it was 288.

That said, EHS did experience some over-enrollment in some classes. The school’s staff is working one-on-one with students affected by these over enrollments to adjust their schedules as needed. We apologize for any disappointment this situation has caused, but we are happy to report that the entire school currently has only six more students than expected. And we are delighted that, based on the 38 additional freshmen the school received, the school’s enrollment is now growing.

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D., AUSD Interim Superintendent

Editor:

I can’t believe you published the ridiculous letter by Robert Robillard ("Is there an EHS population explosion?" Sept. 11).

There are about 50 additional freshmen at EHS, not the 500 he postulates.

Also the tone of his missive is so accusatory of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD). Does he think AUSD provides visas for
people moving to Alameda in the area of EHS?

Come on, some fact checking or at least reasonableness testing would be useful!

Editor’s note: It is not the Alameda Sun’s policy to edit or fact- check a writer’s opinion. In the case of an "open letter" the Alameda Sun was sent a copy of a letter, which in most cases had already been received by a public official. In those instances, the Sun records the fact that the letter was sent, regardless of its content. Occasionally, reprinting these letters results in an statement from the official setting the record straight.

Michael Hyman

Editor:

I am a veteran of the Vietnam War who served my country honorably in the Marine Corps for four years. As a result of my service I have a 100 percent disability rating due to Agent Orange and tainted blood exposure, two diseases that have life-threatening consequences.

I have lived in Alameda for 43 years and have paid and supported bond measures for 20 of those years. I now have a daughter who attended Lincoln Middle School for three years (this was done at the district’s request) and she was slated to attend Alameda High. I live two blocks from the line the district uses to determine what high school your child will attend and since my daughter had filled her electives to Alameda, all we were waiting for was her schedule.

We spent a month and a half trying to straighten this out and doing so under a medical exception request. I was not given a session with student services, namely Kelly Lara until three days before school started and even brought a letter from my doctor at the Veteran Affairs clinic stating what treatments I would be undertaking and how they would be impacting my family once I begin in October. By that afternoon she called me to say she would not able to accommodate my family and me.

So I appealed to her boss, Sean McPhetridge, our superintendent, and he basically supported Lara. I asked for all their details on paper and got one from Lara, but McPhetridge refused to give me his denial in writing. I had to go in front of the AUSD board three times and had to ask him in person to honor my request before I got a call that he would, but have as yet have it in my hands.

I want residents of this city to be aware that just because you live and pay property taxes here, does not mean that whatever extenuating circumstances you and your family are experiencing are not a priority with this board. In my case, kids who are coming to school here from out of this district are getting better responses than the people who live here. I was surprised and appalled that only one person out of that whole board had the compassion to reach out to my family and me.

Thank you, Trish Spencer, for going out of your way to help and lessen the shock of what I would call a dysfunctional board that the people of Alameda need to start paying
attention to.

George Archibeque

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