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. The Committee was comprised of students, teachers, parent/guardians, community members, and AUSD staff members from across the Island.
The first meeting of the Committee to Consider High School Consolidation and Alternative Scenarios took place in early September 2018. During the subsequent seven (7) meetings, the Committee analyzed information from the District's architects, demographers, principals, athletic directors, and senior staff from both AUSD's Teaching and Learning Department and Student Services Department. After hearing from these and other experts, the committee was tasked with providing analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of consolidating AUSD's two comprehensive high schools.
Over the course of the meetings, the Committee expanded the scope of its discussions to include consideration of other potential scenarios for Alameda's high schools that might address the broader goal of providing a more equitable and robust secondary education experience for the students of AUSD.
The attached DRAFT report provides a summary of the Committee's meetings, as well as analysis of three different scenarios identified over the course of the seven meetings:
- Consolidation of Alameda High School and Encinal High School: Consolidate AUSD's two comprehensive high schools into one high school on the existing Alameda High School campus
- Separate High Schools with Open Enrollment: Expand opportunities for students to cross-enroll and take classes across the two campuses
- Dual Enrollment with Peralta Community College District (PCCD): Provide students with the opportunity to enroll in both high school and college courses simultaneously in partnership with the Peralta Community College District.
Tonight, the Committee is reviewing the DRAFT report and will remark on any substantive changes they would like to see made before presenting the finalized report to the full Board of Education in February.