Schools

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.

Schools leaders are set to issue $75 million in bonds for school construction projects and to consider which projects the money will pay for.

Tonight, the Board of Education will consider approving issuance of the first of three series of bonds and also, a list containing $6.3 million in roofing and paving projects schools officials hope to complete this summer. If the board signs off on issuing the bonds, district officials expect to have money in hand by May.

The board will also discuss additional projects at the Island’s elementary, middle and charter schools, with approval scheduled for January 27.

Schools leaders will soon be seeking applicants to fill the school board seat being vacated by Mayor-elect Trish Herrera Spencer.

The board voted 3-0 on Tuesday to begin the process of appointing someone to fill the remaining two years of Spencer’s term. Spencer recused herself from the decision while Nielsen Tam, who returned to the board Tuesday after several months of battling leukemia, was absent for the vote, the final one of the evening.

Schools officials have set up a procedure for commercial property owners to obtain partial refunds on the Measure H parcel tax.

The district has posted an application on its website for commercial property owners seeking refunds for taxes paid in late 2010 and 2011. The deadline for property owners seeking refunds for taxes paid in December 2010 is this coming December 15.

The final deadline for requesting a refund is April 15, 2015.

Alameda’s Board of Education said goodbye to a pair of exiting trustees Tuesday – and got the rundown on the big business the new board will embark on next year.

Alameda's Board of Education okayed a new elementary charter school Tuesday night. The school, which will be opened and operated by managers of the existing Academy of Alameda charter, is set to open kindergarten and first grade classes next fall.

"Tonight's vote is a validation of a lot of hard work motivated by our strong, heartfelt desire to to serve even more students starting at an earlier age in an effort to create a model Kindergarten through 8th grade program," The Academy's director, Matt Huxley, wrote in an e-mail to the middle school charter's families after winning approval on a 3-1 vote.

Leaders of The Academy of Alameda Middle School charter want to open a grade school program in the fall of 2015.