Is Bigger Better?


The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is going to hold a series of public meetings to help you understand why one high school of 3,000 students is more educationally sound than two high schools of 1,400 and 1,700 students. And why your children will now have a “greater educational opportunity.”

Every school bond passed in Alameda is tagged with the phrase, “for the children.” Alameda is noted for its good schools. Ask any Realtor. He or she will tell you that AUSD’s reputation helps sell property. 

If the plan to have one high school is not for the children, who would benefit from a giant high school? No one, until the land under Encinal High School is sold. Then AUSD would have a ton of money. At this point it might be a good idea to sell Lum and Paden elementary schools as well. What will the money buy? 

Since the district owns Thompson Field, that, too, might be put on the block. Does all of this sound crazy? It is no crazier than believing that 3,000 students will get the same educational opportunities as 1,400 or 1,700 students. 

If you ever drive into the old Naval Air Station and see the empty spaces, you can visualize a sizeable increase in housing, families and children. Where are they going to attend school? Not Encinal if it is gone. Not Paden. Is there a plan for the future?

Something is wrong here in Alameda. Alameda has “a small-town atmosphere.” It doesn’t fit with a 3,000-population high school, with no athletic fields. This doesn’t sound like, “educational opportunity.”

I’m interested in the motivation behind this plan. What is the rationale?

After reading the above to my daughter, her response was, “Nobody cares.” This shocked me, to think that maybe she’s right. A response from you would put me on the right path if I have erred. 


Ashley Jones is a former AUSD teacher.