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Teachers Speak Out Against Possible Benefits Cuts

Albany teachers, historically, have not had to pay for health benefits for their families. A change may be on the bargaining table. Click "Keep me posted" below for updates on school budget issues.

Some 65 Albany teachers crammed into a standing-room only council chambers Tuesday night to plead with the school board not to consider cutting their benefits. 

According to Tuesday night's meeting , contract negotiations are underway between the district and the Albany Teachers Association.

The district's bargaining proposal considers possible changes to health and welfare benefits, retirement benefits and leaves.

The district legally is not allowed to discuss any details of the deal on the bargaining table, but seven Albany teachers, representing many others who held signs and clapped loudly in agreement, shared their concerns about proposed contract changes during the March 21 public comment period of the board meeting. 

Teachers Association President, and Albany High teacher, David De Hart asked the district to delay a "fundamental change" in health, welfare and retirement benefits for teachers until "more facts are on the table."

De Hart pointed to "" and the possibility of "a new bill passing that will bring added revenue to public schools" as reasons why it would be prudent to wait to consider significant contract changes.

Loring Barker, the association's bargaining chair, said teachers' "total compensation package" is what helps the district retain excellent teachers and ensure students get the best experience in the classroom.

"It has helped to make Albany, so far, a district where students are thanks to qualified, experienced teachers." 

teacher Richard Lew, an Albany schools alum himself, said he returned to teach in Albany because "I believe in what Albany schools do and how they do it.... These teachers (have) worked creatively and tirelessly to produce generations of kids who are not only well educated, but good citizens."

He also shared with the board his family's story. His wife, too, teaches at Albany Middle School, and the couple has two young children.

"The future of my family is directly tied to decisions that will be made regarding the ATA contract. As the contract currently reads, we are living on a 2007 salary and receiving full medical benefits."

He said a large chunk of his family's income goes toward childcare and saving for their childrens' college tuition. If money from their paychecks is diverted toward medical coverage, he said, he and his wife "could not afford being teachers in Albany.... Changing the contract in regards to medical benefits is a permanent change in response to temporary financial hard times. These tough times will pass."

English teacher John Bailes said, over the past few years, many districts have grappled with concerns about budget shortfalls, but "deficits didn't materialize." He called proposed contract changes "premature" and asked the district to wait until after the fall election to consider drastic changes. 

Kerry Dunigan, a teacher at , said the Teachers Association is "committed to ... working with the district." She pointed to the district's "healthy reserve" of $6.7 million, or 13 percent, which is much higher than the legally required $1.6 million.

"If, come fall, it comes to significant cuts, we are more than willing to come back to that table and work with you," she told the board.

said, after the meeting, that the district currently provides teachers with full family plan health coverage of any offering from the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Teachers do not pay for the coverage.

According to the second interim budget for 2011-12, benefits for teachers and classified employees, such as maintenance staff and secretaries, were budgeted at nearly $8.6 million. 

That makes up about 24 percent of the district's of almost $34.8 million.

The district spent about $5.3 million on these benefits in 2010-11.

(Stephenson said the actual cost to the district of teacher benefits could be provided, and Albany Patch has requested this information.)

Want an alert when we write about school budget issues in Albany? Click the "Keep me posted" button below. Read more here.

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email albany@patch.com.

Ira Sharenow March 22, 2012 at 02:17 AM
The contract is here. http://www.ausdk12.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=95891&type=d&pREC_ID=253036 I think the fairest comparison is with the Berkeley teachers’ salary scale. http://www.berkeleyfederationofteachers.org/ They are about the same. However, Albany teachers share in annual bonus money as a result of the 2005 parcel tax victory. Also last year the teachers were given stimulus money bonuses. AUSD was one of the few districts in the state to give bonuses rather than save money for a rainy day. I have not looked at the fine print, but it may be that Albany teachers have additional opportunities to pick up extra money, for example if classes are larger. Berkeley teachers pay a significant share of their health insurance. The ed-data site is another site with information. During the economic downturn when many people lost their jobs and pensions and had to make health insurance concessions, Albany teachers continued to get annual 3% pay raises for seniority and have a chance to get two raises of about 6% each for attending workshops. There have been large health insurance cost increases and they have been fully covered by the taxpayers. I believe that their pensions have also retained full value.
Ira Sharenow March 22, 2012 at 02:19 AM
On the AHS SARC, I found the following http://www.ausdk12.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=92420&type=d&pREC_ID=173242 P. 13 (Please remember this does not include the bonus money) Mid-Range salary for AUSD $62,305 For similar sized district $60,172 AHS principal $134,644 Similar sized districts $107,041 AUSD superintendent $210,500 Similar sized districts $148,555 http://www.mercurynews.com/salaries/bay-area/2010 Marla’s 2010 salary base: $208,607 Total compensation: $271,716 I believe that management and the part-time board also enjoy the same health insurance benefits as the teachers. I am also concerned that many new teachers are unable to get hired because the highest paid and most senior teachers decline to make any concessions. I do not believe that merit is a consideration in teacher pay.
Ira Sharenow March 22, 2012 at 02:54 AM
About 40 AUSD teachers make more than $100,000 in total compensation. About 170 AUSD employees had compensation of at least $80,000. I think it is important to look at other expenditures as well. For example the district continues to admit large numbers of students from other districts. This is a burden on the parcel taxpayers. Let’s home the board and the public start to take a closer look at how the board spends money.
ralph March 22, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Hi Doris, Are you the Doris who is the owner / operator of Pugnacious Pet Provisions on Solano?
Doris Meier March 22, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Wow, John, a voice of reason. Yes, it is the local business community as well as homeowners who pay for the teachers and neither is a bottomless pit. Let teachers pay a fair share of their health insurance and other benefits, it's only right. Stop bleeding the rest of us dry. In a time when we spend more than ever (yes, adjusted for inflation) on our public education and we see far less of a return, why do we still chant the same old mantra "more money, more money for education"? It's gotten old and useless. Perhaps we simply cannot afford to provide all these benefits to our public employees? And really, Ross....prisons in Albany?
Ross Stapleton-Gray March 22, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Doris, your comment comes off as ill-informed... at best. At worst, they ring too much of (tax) conservative talking points distributed to the all-too-willing to repeat them. I went to the state numbers for per-pupil education cost (e.g., here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/fd/ec/currentexpense.asp ) and they just don't support your "yes, adjusted for inflation" claim (we've lost ground, given inflation, over the past decade). If you're hearing "More money, more money for education," it's because a long-standing bad condition has been worsening. (And complaining that we're still hearing it is like the ER doc finally getting tired of the moans of the guy bleeding outside the door, never having brought him in for treatment.) Prisons, Doris. Like the schools, taxes in California are pooled above the city level and spent on what it costs us to run a very large, very populated prison system. While there aren't any in Albany, a large portion of the taxes both you and I pay goes to fund them.
Doris Meier March 22, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Maybe, Ross, we have indeed "lost some ground" over the last decade, however, California public schools started deteriorating way before that, despite ever increasing funding. Maybe money is not the answer? And do check Ira's figures...maybe he's not as ignorant as I am? Sounds like fair and adequate compensation to me, perhaps too fair and adequate? Maybe we should indeed look at how the board spends our money, for that it is indeed, our money? Why not larger classes (when I went to school, there were always at least 40 pupils in every class, we thought nothing of it......we also had no sports programs other than PE, no counselors, no library, no pool,and yet I walked away with a great education (though I tend to be somewhat ill informed, at best.... and yes, I also walked to school in the snow barefoot) why not fewer administrators, why not teachers' contributions to their own benefits? Why should these be off the table? When I cannot run my house on my income, I have two choices: get more income (force my neighbors to give me some of theirs?), or cut my expenses. As you know, those of us without the option of increasing anyone's taxes to pay for our lifestyle, only have the latter option. Why should that be different for schools?
Michael Cabanatuan March 22, 2012 at 09:13 PM
It is a fallacy to think that Albany teachers don't pay for their benefits simply because thy have no premium co-pay. When contracts are negotiated, the district and the union consider pay and benefits as a package. In other words, they pay for their health benefits (or a share of their benefits) by negotiating contracts with lower pay rates or perhaps by giving up other things like bonuses. OT and days off. As someone who has bargained private sector contracts, I can tell you that while pay is always important, these days benefits seem to be more valuable to people. Certainly all of this points to the need for national health insurance .
eseybert March 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Doris, I understand your sentiment that California has a very high tax burden, and as a fellow taxpayer, would also like to see needless expenses justified. However, let’s be smart about where we advocate spending reform: As Ross pointed out, our education system has lost money over the past decade. Meanwhile, spending on California prisons has jumped from 5 to 11 percent of the state’s general fund budget. Albany’s schools comprised of just 11.8 percent of my last property tax bill, while the Alameda countywide tax was 72 percent. If you are really concerned about current tax rates, shouldn’t you begin by looking at which public program’s take the lion’s share of available funding, and where overall spending increases have occurred? In response to Ira’s post, while I appreciate your efforts to use data to justify your claims, I question your starting point. Why are you comparing two programs which, comparative to other programs with which our taxes help to support, are underfunded and losing ground?
Doris Meier March 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Now here's a good one: days off...who has more than teachers? And how is this bargaining different from any other bargaining, any other contract an employer offers an employee? Benefits are always a part of the deal. Trouble here is that many communities, perhaps also Albany, can no longer afford to pay those benefits and it's time for the teachers to chip in. When some private businesses, such as Agilent, a very successful company but not immune to the economic downturn, asked their employees to take a 10% pay cut, the employees complied. They understood that in the end it helped them to keep their jobs. Do teachers understand that? And Eseybert, you must realize that "underfunded" is a relative terms, means nothing absolutely, but it's the catch word when asking for higher taxes. I say tightening our belts, having bigger classes and yes, fewer teachers, and asking those to pay for some of their benefits, should not be off the table when Albany tries to put its fiscal house in order.
Ira Sharenow March 23, 2012 at 02:08 AM
BLS links for the data inclined. United States public schools average teacher salary http://www.ehow.com/about_6526331_average-teacher_s-salary-united-states_.html California paid their teachers the most, with an average salary statewide of $59,825 http://www.payscale.com/research/US/All_K-12_Teachers/Salary CA ranks 8th in 10-year salary increase at 41.6% http://www.teacherportal.com/salary/California-teacher-salary http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010 25-2031 Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_CA.htm AUSD teachers also get outstanding health insurance and pension benefits. I believe that the health insurance benefits extend past retirement. AUSD teachers also receive certain perks such as free swim passes. Also their children can attend AUSD schools even if the teacher leaves the district. Does this same consideration extend to Albany renters who move out of the district? It may be that the district’s commitment to non-district children is greater than its commitment to in-district children. I have not been able to get the details from the district, but I hope that an informed person can clarify that point.
jane o'hare March 23, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Oh for crying out loud, Doris. Seven kids? You put 7 kids through the Albany schools and, w/o doubt, counted every single one of them as a deduction on your tax forms and you have the temerity to make snide comments about teachers, benefits, and taxes? Are you for real? The schools your kids attended, the roads your family drove on, the fire and police services keeping your neighborhood safe - and that is barely scratching the surface - who do you think paid for that?! You really think you paid your fair share in taxes? Not likely you when you were deducting 7 kids. Of course you value your children - you just don't recognize all the hard work and money it took on the part of others to get them where they are.
jane o'hare March 23, 2012 at 06:04 AM
As for you, Ira - you and your vendetta for the public schools...give it a rest and on your next Fox News commercial break, try reading real news. Little secret for you - NPR and NYT are not actually commie rags. As for your stats, you might as well throw them out the window - they mean nothing when you don't have the proper information or inclination to analyze them intelligently. You can't just look at the size of a district and make comparisons w/o taking into account the cost of living in all of the different regions. That's just common sense. And really, 100K including benefits, extra responsibilities be it coaching, leaderships teams, committees, etc. for teachers at the end of their careers with incredible experience -- that's outrageous? Have you picked up a newspaper? Do you have any idea what people in this region w/comparable education, experience and responsibilities make? And don't even try that "part-time" piece of junk argument - let's talk hours. Evenings, weekends, vacations, yes it's true. But that's o.k., Ira, take the easy route. Go back to your Fox News and keep believing that public sector workers are the greedy sons of bitches in this society. Good Grief.
Doris Meier March 23, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Yeah, Jane, I paid for them, and yes, I am for real and you do make me want to cry out loud.....My fair share? Determined by whom? You? I own a house in this community.....taxes, I shop in this community....taxes....more than enough, and now my children are paying those taxes also. Far from sponging, they are now paying for the education of others. But this is not about teachers, though all of you teachers' pets want to make it that, it's about sound fiscal policy, hard times and balancing a budget. If help is needed in those areas why should teachers be exempt? Hard work? Most people work hard, look around you, see the employees at Safeway, Starbucks, any number of businesses in Albany...we all work hard, and most of us for far less than teachers. Let's stop treating them as a sacred group to be protected from the vicissitudes of the economy or other factors. I myself taught for 10 years, I never expected exeptions. Why?
Ira Sharenow March 24, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Some data http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/Pages/Home.aspx All numbers in Thousands Employee Benefits Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $6,899 $12,119 $20,194 2001/02 $3,465 $8,521 $13,965 Growth 99.1% 42.2% 44.6% Certificated Salaries Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $16,741 $44,995 $45,821 2001/02 $12,178 $38,787 $39,330 Growth 37.5% 16.0% 16.5% Classified Salaries Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $3,676 $13,464 $20,386 2001/02 $3,491 $10,014 $18,157 Growth 5.3% 34.5% 12.3%
Jon Meyers March 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM
My mother was a teacher for 30 years, in an upper middle class suburb of New York. She was up and out early every day, stayed after school hours for prep work and to meet with colleagues and parents. She worked at night to prepare instruction, check kids work, prepare report cards, meet IEP requirements, and all kinds of other things. She spent time working on weekends. She had summer breaks, but stayed after school closed for the year to pack things up, was in a bit over the summer, and came in at least 2 weeks before school started to prepare for the new year. She went in to teach when she wasn't feeling well and the weather was horrible. She had a Masters degree in Education, plus more specialized training beyond that. She retired just a few years ago, earning a salary that's about what a junior-level software engineer makes these days. The benefits made up somewhat for that lack in compensation. But the real payoff, what got her up on dark winter mornings with a raging cold and out on icy highways, was that she enjoyed teaching kids, especially those that were struggling with basic reading skills. And you better believe there were recessions and tough times, but teacher benefits were not dramatically cut back. I do not doubt for a second that Albany teachers are every bit as hard-working and dedicated as my Mom. They deserve the same respect and support.
Nancy King March 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
It is so hard to see my noble profession being so disrespected. Doris you have no idea how hard teachers work. I see my son's Kindergarten teacher on her way to work on Sundays on a regular basis. Did you know that about 50% of all teachers leave the profession before they have taught for five years? When kids don't have money for the field trip, who pays? The teacher. When there aren't enough books in the classroom and the students are dying to read the latest Percy Jackson book, who buys it? The teacher. And yes, I am a Berkeley teacher. I had to work two jobs and always a summer job for my first ten years of teaching. I am so sick of people who are self-proclaimed experts who have never stepped in a classroom pontificating on what they think about teachers. You stick to your area of expertise and I'll stick to mine. Albany teachers are tireless and extremely dedicated and they deserve the respect of the community. Please read Death and Life of the Great American School System, by Diane Ravitch.
Ira Sharenow March 24, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I think the issue is that over the past four years many Californians have lost their jobs and are unemployed or are significantly underemployed, have lost their health insurance, have lost much of their future pensions, and have otherwise suffered financial setbacks. At the same time, Albany teachers continued to get annual pay raises and significant increases in their health insurance benefits, much more so than teachers in other districts such as Berkeley or West Contra Costa. Up to this point, taxpayers have supported those increases and have even given teachers stimulus money bonuses and now free swimming pool passes, but financially strapped taxpayers can no longer afford to pay for all of these increases in salary and benefits. Where do teachers think the money for their increased benefits should come from? What cuts in programs do they want to make? What about those new teachers who get laid off or never get a position because the contracts so heavily favor the most experienced with regard to performance?
Ira Sharenow March 24, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Second attempt. Employee Benefits Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $6,899 $12,119 $20,194 2001/02 $3,465 $8,521 $13,965 Growth 99.1% 42.2% 44.6% Certificated Salaries Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $16,741 $44,995 $45,821 2001/02 $12,178 $38,787 $39,330 Growth 37.5% 16.0% 16.5% Classified Salaries Albany Alameda Berkeley 2009/10 $3,676 $13,464 $20,386 2001/02 $3,491 $10,014 $18,157 Growth 5.3% 34.5% 12.3% All numbers in Thousands Also in the previous post, the last line should read: “What about those new teachers who get laid off or never get a position because the contracts so heavily favor the most experienced withOUT regard to performance?”
Dover March 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
"I am so sick of people who are self-proclaimed experts who have never stepped in a classroom pontificating on what they think about teachers. You stick to your area of expertise and I'll stick to mine." Gee, Nancy, I can't imagine why you would ever feel disrespected when you obviously have such a pleasant and accommodating attitude towards the very people who pay your salary and provide you with your job security, aka their children.
Jon Meyers March 24, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Ira, with all due respect the amounts of money you're talking about are comparatively small increases in benefits for folks who work quite hard, and have been asked year after year to do more and more for students with fewer and fewer resources at their disposal. If you want to try to make an argument about staff retention policies in the teaching profession, you're going to have to try to do that on a national level and then apply the same logic at the college and university level as well. Trying to make that one a local issue comes across as myopic at best. It is also curious that you seem to spend enormous amounts of time and energy on school district expenditure issues, yet you categorically neglect to address the woeful state of school funding in California, and the root causes thereof. I suggest you'd have more credibility if you mentioned your approach to tackling the broader issues here, otherwise you come across as simply having some sort of vendetta against the staff and administration of the Albany schools.
Jon Meyers March 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Actually, Dover, I've re-read Nancy's statement several times now and in fact she seems to be quite reasonably frustrated with folks who resent adequate compensation for people who work tirelessly to teach their children. And, in fact, several posters here do not really seem to understand what goes in to being a teacher, nor do they comprehend the fact that teachers aren't compensated all that much compared to other jobs requiring the level of education and additional training.
Ira Sharenow March 24, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Jon, thanks for your advice. I have posted my ideas multiple times. But I will review them here. I support the repeal of Prop 13. I support a fairer AUSD parcel tax that taxes renters less and wealthy homeowners more. I believe that everyone who owns a home in Albany should pay parcel taxes. I have repeatedly expressed my opposition to the program of admitting non-resident students. I would only admit for staff. I would not give non-resident children a stronger commitment than Albany children. In my view if Albany teachers made the same type of concessions that Berkeley teachers made, there might be more money to hire entry level teachers. I am concerned about their well-being. I am also concerned that classified staff is being treated very harshly. I believe that UC Berkeley teachers also had to make concessions. In other words I wish to take a balanced approach. While some who support high compensation for Albany teachers seem to view those who see things differently as on some sort of personal vendetta, the reality is with a very limited amount of money we do not want a disproportionate share to go to the most senior teachers at the expense of all other groups.
Ira Sharenow March 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM
As someone who taught for many years and was a member of the American Federation of Teachers, I believe that teachers should be treated fairly. The bottom line is that teachers in California are amongst the very highest paid and Albany teachers receive extraordinary benefits. In a down economy, the money simply is not there to give teachers raises year after. I wish those who want more for the most senior teachers will state which programs and staff will get less so that the highest paid can get an increasingly disproportionate share of the pie. It would be nice to hear from the Berkeley teachers who are participating in this discussion about the health insurance concessions they made and why they did so. Hopefully at school board election time someone will run on a higher parcel taxes so that teachers can get paid more platform, so that there will be an objective measure of how popular that concept is in Albany.
Ira Sharenow March 25, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I recommend that AUSD and Patch jointly sponsor a pie baking contest. A week before the administration presents its budget to the board, the public would bake a budget based on money actually available to AUSD. For this to be a productive exercise there would have to be a level of transparency not always associated with AUSD. For example, we still do not know how the Measure E money has been spent and if anything is left over. Board minutes are often not posted for months. Basic facts. CA does not spend enough on K12 education. It also does not spend nearly enough on UC education or on CSU, CC, safety net, parks, and infrastructure (so Albany has far too many potholes). CA teachers are amongst the highest paid in the nation, so the portion of available pies that goes to CA K12 teachers is far above the national average. During the economic meltdown AUSD retained teachers continued to get 3% raises and have 100% of their health insurance covered.
Ira Sharenow March 25, 2012 at 05:13 PM
My view. I consider the current situation unsustainable. I support the repeal of Prop 13 so for example those who own houses with a market value of $500,000 pay taxes appropriate for that valuation. I believe that Albany voters should repeal the tax break for homeowners who are 65. I would make significant changes to the policy of admitting many hundreds of non-parcel taxpaying non-resident children. I would like to see more entry level teachers employed. If teachers want to be viewed as high level professionals, there needs to be a merit system for retention and promotion. Why should exceptionally talented teachers be paid the same as underperformers? The view and tactics of some other discussants. It appears as though some like to talk about what life would be like if Prop 13 was partially overturned. They want more money for teachers but do not say where they would cut. They would cut into the reserve which would be extremely risky and which would cause AUSD’s borrowing rate to skyrocket to something that is much higher than the Measure E borrowing. They accuse those who have alternative visions of being anti-children or anti-teacher. Possible tactic. ATA can get a $2 million increase in parcel taxes on the ballot with the money to go for raises and benefits for credentialed staff and they can run board candidates who are even more pro-teachers union than the current board.
Nancy King March 25, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Berkeley teachers gave up full health benefits long ago. It was a complicated revenue sharing plan that gave us raises during the years when the district had the funding. Since the district has had very little funding because of the downturn in the economy, we haven't had a raise for 3 or 4 years. In order to get the revenue sharing plan, we allowed the district to put a hard cap on benefits. It has been very difficult because health benefits go up every year and we pay more and more. Since there are no more raises to offset the increased costs in health benefits, it has amounted to ongoing pay cuts. We have avoided furlough days so far, but that might be the next step. We don't get insurance coverage after we retire. This year we are facing layoffs. Luckily, we still have class size reduction in K-3, but that may change too. I can certainly see why Albany teachers want to hold on to their benefits. There are many teachers in Berkeley who now regret accepting the hard cap on benefits. I teach in Berkeley, but I live in Albany. I repeat that Albany teachers deserve the respect of this community.
Ira Sharenow March 31, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Some districts are trying to hire the best teachers and not just the most senior. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/31/MN1F1NSJ0C.DTL&tsp=1 Separately, what happened to the comments section on the front page?
Stephanie Travis April 10, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Is no one wondering why in one year benefit costs rose from $5.3 million in 2010-11 to $8.6 million in 2011-12. Is that 62% increase a typo? If not, the School district has a lot of explaining to do. I think the School District owes Albany taxpayers a more open and numerically factual discussion about its budget. The district should not push aside residents by saying they accept non-residents students because the ADA funds help pay for school costs. They should show us the cost/benefit analysis they must have done in order to make that statement and prove to us that Albany property owners are not paying higher taxes in order to accommodate nonresident students. Similarly, the District should explain, in writing, with numbers, what would be the impact on the budget and reserves if the District waited until after the upcoming election to assess employees for the cost of health benefits.
Emilie Raguso September 24, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Albany Patch is preparing a list of questions from readers for school board candidates. We've scheduled, in conjunction with St. Alban's, candidate forums in October. (BOE: Oct. 10; CC: Oct. 17) Details here: http://patch.com/A-ybgT Please comment back ASAP to let us know your questions for school board candidates, or email me at albany@patch.com.

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