Committee to Consider High School Consolidation and Alternative Scenarios
The idea of merging Alameda High School and Encinal High School schools has been raised several times in previous decades. It came up most recently in the spring of 2018, when the Board of Education engaged the community in a review of the district's budget priorities. The goal of the budget reprioritization process was to find ways to save money, so as to increase employee salaries.
During those discussions, community members, athletic directors, and teachers asked for a new review of the idea of consolidating high schools for two reasons. First, they wanted to see if combining schools could provide cost savings that could go towards improving AUSD employee salaries. This would help employees. It would also help retain and attract excellent teachers, which, in turn, is good for students. Second, the requesters wanted to see if a consolidation might allow AUSD to provide a more comprehensive education to AUSD high school students (because one large school may be able to provide more course offerings more equitably to more students).
In May 2018, the Board directed staff to create a committee to study the issue and provide a report on what a combined high school could look like. After a three-week application period, the Board approved 15 members to the committee and asked that staff re-open the applications to students in August, so as to have more students on the committee. On August 28, the Board approved the appointment of four more students, plus a representative of CSEA 860, to the committee.
In its study of the viability and desirability of a potential merger, the committee received and reviewed information from architects, demographers, transit and city planners, and staff from AUSD's Teaching and Learning Department, Business Services, and Student Services Department. After hearing from these and other experts, the committee prepared a report on what a consolidation would look like, as well as three alternative scenarios for providing more equitable course offerings to AUSD high school students. That report was presented to the Board in February of 2019.
Board of Education Decision
Ultimately, the Board of Education decided against consolidating the schools and asked that the district staff further consider the alternative scenarios developed.