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Sunday, April 19, 2015

School Board Member Fight to Save Anna Yates Elementary School

School Board Member Says 
Save Emeryville's Elementary School

Emery School Board Member Christian Patz is engaging in a public campaign to allow Emeryville's contested elementary school, Anna Yates, to remain open and to continue to serve Emeryville's children, a contrary position to a decision made by the Board in November 2012 to close the school and move the children over to the Emeryville Center of 'Community' Life (ECCL) site on San Pablo Avenue scheduled for fall 2016.  
Mr Patz, a new Board member, indicated the ECCL site is too small for a Kindergarten through 12th grade school and the District needs to concentrate on increasing enrollment to alleviate budget shortfalls, an impossibility at the ECCL site.  Additionally Board member Patz says Emery is suffering from a lack of a middle school, a critical ingredient for effective education according to experts in pedagogical study.  Board member Patz says by keeping Anna Yates open, ECCL could deliver what he calls a "middle school focus", something parents have been clamoring for and help retain these students that the District now loses en masse.
Emery School Board
Christian Patz
Believes Emeryville's
elementary school is
worth saving.
Mr Patz's criticism of the San Pablo Avenue K-12 site being too small has found an ally in Sacramento.  The State of California has determined the ECCL site is too small for a K-12 program but there is enough space for a high school and a middle school he says.

The District for its part has said it will close Anna Yates but they have not revealed what they ultimately will do with that site; at one point they refused to discount bulldozing the school and putting up a parking lot.
At least one Charter School is interested in seizing the school, an eventuality Emery would be powerless to stop if there were no elementary school function at the site.  Charter schools are notorious for taking public money and only admitting the best and the brightest leaving the public schools with a more problematic demographic and bereft of money.  Charter schools are also less accountable to the public than traditional public schools.

Board Member Patz is sending out the following letter to Emeryville residents:

Dear Neighbor, 
On April 22, 2015 the Emery School Board board is discussing the future of Emery Schools.  I am asking the School Board to give direction to Superintendent Rubio on the roll out for the Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) building project.  I am asking the Board  to focus on building a vibrant and rich middle school program. 
 Emery’s biggest need is to retain and grow middle school enrollment. In order to do this, I believe it necessary to keep the elementary students at Anna Yates Elementary School.
Since the closure of the Ralph Hawley school site, the middle school has been an adjunct first to Emery High and then Anna Yates.  If we let them move in a building of their own, the proposed K-8 building, they will no longer be the plus one of the district.
Emery USD has an opportunity to create a true community school district.  To do this, we will need places for kids to learn, play, and be accepted.  The space created by not moving the elementary students to the ECCL will allow for more classes to increase enrollment for the district.  Both campuses will be able to dedicate places for school enrichment programs in collaboration with the city and the recreation department.  
Please join me on Wednesday April 22nd at 6:00 pm at Ralph Hawley Middle School, 1275 61st Street. Let the board know if you agree or disagree with the direction I am suggesting.  
Hope to see you there,
Christian Patz, Ed.D.
Emery USD trustee


  1. like jac asher, christian patz is a well needed breath of fresh air. whether you have children or not in the emery school district, please attend this meeting. these are your tax dollars being spent recklessly especially after anna yates' $9 million renovation just before the passage of measure j.

  2. This is why we elected him. Go Christian!

  3. Should have been there 15 years ago when the plans were presented and the decisions were made. Now here comes Mr. Patz, who obviously has no grasp of the history of EUSD and why it is a two school district, to make major changes in the middle of the project.

    Go ahead, turn it into an even bigger boondoggle, I would expect nothing less from the short sighted citizens and policy makers of Emeryville.

    1. The plans were presented more than 10 years ago? Who presented the plans? And to whom were the plans presented to? Where were the decisions made?

      As you struggle to answer these questions, you'll realize the pickle the Emery School District is in. Because they cannot answer them the way you have....because illegal activity would be the tacit admission if they were to so answer these questions using your 10 year plus timeline. No, they have to work from a much, much shorter timeline but that shorter timeline is documented fully....and still the questions remain. The people of Emeryville have never gotten an answer about these questions because they reveal a dark and disturbing truth about this school district and its lack of transparency.

    2. Thank you for your comments. I, too worry that changing stream this late in the game is not the best plan. Brian has a clear opinion on keeping Yates open, while I want to make sure we serve all students to the best that we can. While I do think keeping AYE open is the best option, I am asking parents and residents to speak on Wednesday. I invite you to speak at the board meeting, as well. I ask this because I do agree with Brian, it has not been made clear in the past.

  4. What did or didn't happen 10+ years ago is irrelevant. What matters is doing the best possible thing for the kids in EUSD. If that means one K-12 site, then we should do that, but if there are better reasons to serve more kids at more than one site, then we should do that. I'm impressed that the District might finally have an honest and open conversation about this, rather than force-feed a vision on the public.

  5. Wow board member john didn't even have the respect to pretend that he was going to listen. Before public comments he warned everyone in his own way that he was just putting up with the item. The community comment were heart felt and very will put. Actual involved members of the community john and his top down style of overly entitled white male leadership showed very little respect for. The board halfheartedly tried to pretend that they might consider change until Rubio decided to fudge the exact words for measure J. Board member Don might of drank the Kool Aid at some point too.