Schools

Parents and schools staffers are making a renewed push for better security at Alameda schools following a pair of on-campus incidents over the past few weeks.

The school district is keeping Alameda and Encinal high schools open, instead of building a single, new school to house all of the two schools’ students.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to focus its efforts – and Measure I bond money – on fixing up its existing high schools, rather that embarking on a quest for the money and property that they’d need to find in order to make the dream of new, single high school a reality.

“With the $90 million we have, we are going to get two very nice campuses,” school board trustee Gary Lym said.

Alameda’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to give Superintendent Sean McPhetridge some birthday presents: A new contract and a shorter title.

The board voted unanimously to offer McPhetridge the school district’s top spot on a more permanent basis, removing the word “interim” from his title and okaying a $220,000-a-year contract that goes into effect today. Tuesday was McPhetridge’s 50th birthday.

“I’m humbled, and I’m honored, and I’m thankful and I’m grateful to this city, and to the people who work in these schools,” McPhetridge said. “I hope I continue to pass the audition.”

As many of you have heard, several California counties are experiencing outbreaks of measles. So far, we have had no confirmed cases of measles in the Alameda Unified School District. But I wanted to send a message to encourage all parents and guardians to vaccinate their children against measles and to let our community know what we are doing to keep our students, employees, and other community members safe.

A former college professor and newcomer to Alameda has been chosen as the new member of Alameda's Board of Education.

Philip Hu, an assistant general manager for Public Employees Union Local 1, has lived on the Island for only seven months. But he won the trustee’s post Tuesday night after another finalist, Jane Grimaldi, withdrew from the race.

Hu will replace former school board trustee Trish Spencer, who was elected mayor in November.

Grimaldi’s withdrawal ended a four-hour board meeting marked by numerous tie votes, speeches by trustees backing certain candidates and statements from 10 applicants for the open seat.

On Tuesday night, the school board is set to pick a new member to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s unexpired term. We asked all 10 of the finalists for the board seat how they would handle some of the key issues the board will be addressing over the next few years, and also, what their priorities would be as a board member. Nine of the 10 responded. Here’s what they had to say; responses were posted in the order they were received.

Should Alameda have one comprehensive high school or two? About 50 people – including school board members past, present and prospective – showed up at Will C. Wood Middle School on Thursday night to discuss the pros and cons of each.

The meeting was the first of several set up to allow community and school board members to discuss whether Alameda should consider building a single comprehensive school, a topic architect Mark Quattrochi said hasn’t been seriously broached on the Island since the 1980s. District staff is slated to make a recommendation to school board members on February 24.

It's that time of the year again: Parents of fifth graders all over the Island are applying to middle schools for next fall. To help families navigate their options last year, The Alamedan asked the leaders of all seven of Alameda’s free, public middle schools – a list that includes charter, magnet and traditional schools – to offer some basic information about their programs. This year we're reprising the piece by reader request, with updates noted in the text.

Alameda's school board has selected 10 finalists vying to fill Mayor Trish Spencer's unexpired school board term. Nearly two dozen people applied for the job.

The onetime leader of the College of Alameda, the head of Alameda Little League and no fewer than three onetime school board members are among the nearly two dozen people who have applied to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s term on the school board.

Candidates will be able to make their pitch at a public meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Island High School. At that meeting, the school board will pick finalists for the position.

The board will interview the finalists and select someone to fill the open seat on February 3. Spencer vacated the seat after being elected mayor in November, with two years left in her school board term.