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    School district decides to sell pool bond

    May 22nd, 2009

    The Albany Unified School District decided to sell a $10 million bond to construct a new swimming pool at a meeting Tuesday.

    The pool bond was approved by Albany voters in Feb. 2008. The district had postponed its issuance because of the volatility of the financial markets and budget uncertainties. David Glasser, President of Board of Education, said it is a good time to sell the bond right now. Read the rest of this entry »

    Don’t forget to vote

    May 19th, 2009

    Election workers at polling places in Albany and elsewhere say turnout has been very light today in the state’s special election. However, the results of the election will have a big impact on California residents. Read the rest of this entry »

    District compromises with teachers over school time dispute

    May 6th, 2009

    The controversy in the Albany Unified School District over school time took another turn last week. The District decided to freeze a recent Board resolution on the issue after negotiations with the Albany Teachers’ Association.

    “It’s a compromise,” said Board President David Glasser. “We decided that it’s in the best interest of the district after we weighed alternatives. ” Read the rest of this entry »

    School Board seeks ideas on budget tonight

    April 28th, 2009

    By Barbara Grady

    With 42 school programs on the chopping block – everything from music in the elementary schools to athletics at the high school – the Albany Board of Education will meet Tuesday night to discuss how to salvage some of these programs with parcel tax revenues and community fundraising.

    The board of education will meet at 7:30 at the Community Center on Marin Avenue and take stock of its list of earmarked cuts and a small pool of money that comes each year from parcel taxes that Albany voters passed in 1999 and 2005.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Twenty-nine teacher layoffs rescinded

    April 17th, 2009

    By Barbara Grady-Ayer

    All 29 of the regular Albany public school teachers who received pink slips on March 15 learned Wednesday that their layoffs are rescinded and they’ll have jobs next year, thanks to retirements and leave requests among their colleagues.

    However, another 28 temporary teachers have not been so lucky and their layoff notices are likely to stay in force, according to district and union officials. Read the rest of this entry »

    Paul Black elected to Albany school board

    April 16th, 2009

    The Board of Education at Albany Unified School District unanimously elected a new member Tuesday. Paul Black, a resident in Albany for almost three decades and a parent who is active in school services, will take his seat on the Board later this month.

    62-year-old Black was selected among six candidates at a public meeting Tuesday night. After a round of interviews, all of the four current Board members said Black was one of their favorite candidates. They spoke highly of Black’s rich experience in community services and his capability as a thoughtful and collaborative decision-maker. Read the rest of this entry »

    City of Albany seeks ideas from residents to develop climate action plan

    April 12th, 2009

    The City of Albany is seeking ideas from the community to develop a Climate Action Plan that will be formally adopted later this year.

    Albany has made commitments in recent years to take responsible actions to address climate change. In 2007 the City Council set a goal of reducing Albany’s greenhouse gas emission by 5 percent every three years. The Council stated in a resolution that Albany would take a series of measures to make sure its total greenhouse gas emission in the year of 2020 is one fourth less than the levels of 2004. Read the rest of this entry »

    School board holds public interview to select a new member

    April 11th, 2009

    The Board of Education of the Albany Unified School District will interview seven applicants Tuesday and select one to fill a vacancy left by Jamie Calloway, former Board President who resigned for personal reasons last month.

    Seven people from the community have submitted their applications for the board position. All of them are longterm residents of Albany and most of them have actively been involved in school affairs. Read the rest of this entry »

    Free weatherization services available to Albany residents

    April 6th, 2009

    Albany residents may be able to get free weatherization services as a new program funded by the federal stimulus money came into effect recently.

    Thanks to federal funding, Albany households with relatively lower incomes could get services such as door weatherstripping and window repairs for free. Click here to see a flyer with more information, and call 510-981-7770 Weatherization Program Office for details.

    School Board President Jamie Calloway says goodbye to Albany

    March 12th, 2009

    Jamie Calloway says goodbye

    Jamie Calloway, President of the Albany school board, says goodbye to the community as she moves out of town and resigns from the board this week.  Photo and article by Linjun Fan.

    Jamie Calloway seldom expressed her feelings at board meetings in the past two years. But she was getting emotional when she made an announcement last Tuesday. She said she was going to get married and move out of Albany with her new family, thus she could not continue her service on the board.

    “It brings me a lot of sadness to say that, ” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

    Golden Gate Fields owner files Chapter 11, plans sale

    March 7th, 2009

    Golden Gate Fields 090308

    Golden Gate Fields race track, one of the biggest businesses in Albany,  is facing an uncertain future as its owner filed bankruptcy papers last week. Photo by Linjun Fan. Article by Barbara Grady.

    The owner of the Golden Gate Fields race track filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on Thursday and indicated in its court document that it hopes to sell the Albany race track. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany school district lays off several dozen teachers

    March 4th, 2009

     Dozens of teachers and staff of the Albany Unified School District will receive pink slips in the following week, another reminder of the toll the nation’s financial crisis is taking.

    Struggling to stave off the impact of the recession and California’s budget crisis, the Board of Education approved the layoffs Tuesday night.  Thirty-four teaching positions will be cut, effective with the new school year in September. Among them are six positions at the elementary schools, nine at the middle school, and 19 at the high school.

    This is on top of the 34 temporary teaching positions and three staff positions they agreed to cut last week. And more non-teaching staff positions are expected to be trimmed in the weeks ahead. 

    Amid all of the talk across the nation of stimulus money lifting communities out of recession and into recovery, small towns like Albany are grappling daily with the continuing effects of the U.S. economic downturn and California’s financial troubles. While Albany has high hopes that it will get a share of the stimulus money, in the short term the city and its residents are feeling more pinch and pain.

    “We worked very hard not to get here, ” said Superintendent Marla Stephenson at the Tuesday board meeting. But “due to unforseen dire economic circumstances”, the district had to lay off teachers right now. Read the rest of this entry »

    School district considers emergency parcel tax and delaying pool bond

    February 14th, 2009

    A new idea surfaced on how to save Albany schools from the severest cuts that would result after California slashes education spending: ask Albany voters for an emergency, short-term parcel tax.

    When parents and school board members met last week at budget forums to tackle the grim task of choosing what teaching positions and programs to cut, talk kept turning instead to how to raise revenues. The idea of a parcel tax came up in the form of a question scribbled on a piece of paper and slipped in front of Superintendent of Schools Marla Stephenson.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Board votes to increase school time and improve after-school program

    February 6th, 2009

    The controversy around Albany’s staggered reading program was partly settled after a majority of members of the Board of Education voted for changing school schedule and providing better after-school services Tuesday.

    The board voted 3 to 2 to continue the staggered reading program, to further increase school time, and to promise families affordable after-school programs. Read the rest of this entry »

    Schools Superintendent describes budget choices

    February 5th, 2009

    Finding $2.2 million to cut from Albany Unified School District’s budget, which is almost all spent on personnel, might mean laying off 36 teachers, Superintendent Marla Stephenson said Monday.

    It might mean the end of small classes in first, second, third and ninth grades. It could mean the eliminating electives at the high school and middle school and shortening their school days to only six periods a day. It might mean laying off counselors, librarians, clerical staff, janitors and vice principals. It might mean music is sharply curtailed and performing arts eliminated. Or it could mean all of the above.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Sen. Hancock defines $ problem, offers solution

    January 25th, 2009

    A open letter from State Senator Loni Hancock to her 9th district constituents defines the problem plaguing California’s budget-making system, which in turn, is about to devastate our schools and cities. As she points out, it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Dear Constituent:

    We begin the New Year with the real possibility of the financial collapse of our State government in February. As your State Senator, I want to share with you how I see our precarious situation, and what I believe must happen if we are to salvage the promise of California. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany schools will look for ways to cut $2.2 million

    January 21st, 2009


    By Barbara Grady-Ayer

    California’s huge budget deficit, the dithering of state legislators whose inaction allowed the deficit to climb, the Governor’s disrespect for laws about funding education, and the deep national recession have come to roost in Albany.

    These big problems created by adults will soon be placed at the feet of school children trying to learn to read and do algebra.

    The Albany Unified School District needs to cut its budget by 15 percent or about $2.2 million dollars this school year, Albany Superintendent of Schools Marla Stephenson told the board of education Tuesday night. Read the rest of this entry »

    Albany schools may face cuts this school year

    January 18th, 2009

    The Albany board of education plans to discuss how it might cut school spending in the current academic year when it meets Tuesday night.

    Among agenda items listed for the Board of Education’s January 20th meeting is “approve 2008-09 mid-year cuts.” This agenda item is listed for “review and discussion,” signaling that no votes or final decisions will be made. Read the rest of this entry »

    Economic development report to city holds some surprises

    January 11th, 2009

     A stretch of Cleveland Avenue, Albany

    A stretch of Cleveland Avenue, Albany.

    More than a third of Albany’s business tax revenue, or 38 percent, comes from retailers on Eastshore Highway, according to an economic assessment report delivered to the City Council this past week.

    Without the retailers on that small stretch of road, particularly the Target Department store, retail sales and sales tax revenues would have slipped 2.7 percent over the past four years. Instead retail sales rose 42 percent, providing a similar boost to sales tax revenues. Read the rest of this entry »

    Marge Atkinson and Joanne Wile elected to Albany’s mayorship

    December 19th, 2008

    Marge Atkinson was elected to be Mayor of Albany Monday. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    Marge Atkinson and Joanne Wile were elected as mayor and vice-mayor of Albany by a 3:2 vote Monday, at a dramatic City Council meeting where the split of the community caused by the waterfront controversy was still evident. Read the rest of this entry »