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HUSD’s “Gross Inequities”

Sardines
As mentioned in today’s Review, Hayward Unified will hold off closing Markham Elementary for another year, and possibly two other campuses if trustees take action on the matter next month.

Feel free to discuss the decision here, but I’m also curious to hear your thoughts regarding board member Dr. Sarah Gonzales’ comments about the “gross inequities” within the district.

While some campuses house a few hundred students, others are bursting at the seams with about 800 students. One parent compared the overcrowding issues to packing students like a can of sardines.

For those of you who were unable to cough up the hefty admission cost to Wednesday’s spectacle at City Hall or don’t subscribe to Pay Per View (I’m joking), Gonzales expressed concerns about district school sizes.

Hayward Unified’s optimal school sizes at the elementary level is about 650 to 750 students.

“The optimal size of 750 students isn’t so optimal anymore,” she said Wednesday evening, which was followed by a standing ovation by parents and teachers who favor smaller schools.

knoceda

  • Hayward Teacher

    I was at the board meeting on Wednesday and was quite surprised by some the comments made by Dr. Gonzales and Mr. Cook. When the district first proposed the school closures, it was pointed out that smaller schools are optimal. They were told over and over again. Dr. Gonzales said she did some research over the past week that showed smaller schools are more effective. This isn’t new information. The board was presented with this over and over by teachers, parents and the teacher’s union.

    Mr. Cook was surprised at the lack of understanding of the seriousness of the budget crisis. Why, then, did he approve a hefty raise for high school and junior high administrators as well as some district officials? I resent his assumption that we are ignorant of the crisis situation when it’s his actions that clearly illustrate his ignorance. How dare he say that we “don’t get it”. We get it, sir. We’re in it. We can’t make copies, by pencils or purchase supplies. You sit in your big leather chair and give administrative salary increases. Who doesn’t get it?

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Hi Kris:

    I know you were joking but I would like to address your statement that “For those of you who were unable to cough up the hefty admission cost to Wednesday’s spectacle at City Hall or don’t subscribe to Pay Per View (I’m joking), Gonzales expressed concerns about district school sizes.”

    Unfortunately, I missed the meeting on Wed. due to circumstances beyond my control, but my question is, and I’m not joking:

    1-Why are the HUSD board meetings NOT available for down load at the schools “new and “improved” ” site.

    2-Why are the board meetings nor rebroadcast like the city council and planing comm. meetings?

    I find Mr. Cooks comment that we have a lack of understanding somewhat offensive, since even when an individual is interested in becoming educated on the issues, and when an individual is willing to sit at home and watch their deliberations, if you can’t stick to THEIR schedule, you are out of luck and information!
    This is NOT the first time this issue had been brought to the board’s and the Superintendent’s attention, and yet, here we are, still waiting…

    I agree with Hayward teacher: How in the world did the board approve any more pay increases to administrators taking into account the recent strike and the pending budget crisis? I sure hope they have the presence of mind to rescind them.

    Their rationale for the raises is that they are attempting to remain competitive to retain and attract the best administrators and yet:

    What are they doing to retain and attract the best TEACHERS?
    Nothing I can think about and yet…
    It is not the administrators who are in the classroom with our kids.

    In the My Word article today, I was saddened to learn that Mr. Vojt wife, a teacher at HUSD is thinking about leaving education.

    It so happens that Mr. Vojt’s wife was my daughter’s teacher, and I can assure you that everything he says about her is true.

    I only wish EVERY student at HUSD had a teacher as well qualified and dedicated beyond the call of duty as she is. If she does decide to leave HUSD, it will be a great loss to our children’s education, as unfortunately she will not be the only teacher chased away by the district.

    I’m also at a loss to explain why Dr.Gonzales had to go out an “do research” last week regarding the relationship of school size and how effective it is. I do remember the studies being brought up in the past, when Mr. Schimmel started to roll up his sleeves and picked up the axe a while back.

    Think about all the time, effort and money that would have saved, had the board listened to the research and the teachers instead of Mr. Schimmel, and not pursued this policy to begin with.

    How much did the district spent on consultants and studies, related to the closing of schools?

    Fernando

  • Kris Noceda

    Mr. Hernandez,

    From conversations I’ve had with Karen Mangon, HUSD’s public information officer, the district is working on throwing its board meetings on the Web site. When and if this happens, I’m sure it will make life easier for all of us.

    -Kris

  • Fernando Hernandez

    With all due respect, I’ve heard this before.

  • qodrn

    The problem is the same old one, the schools that these kids are being stuffed into are not designed for those high numbers. I think this was done in an attempt to win support for new school bonds. I dont know whether to laugh or cry at a district that votes raises to admin when major cuts are coming, and they dont have a teachers contract. Not to mention putting a bond on the ballot when their survey told them it wouldn’t pass…Its clearly time to elect new school board members…

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Dear Qodrn:

    I usually cry first, but then I find something to smile about…

    Apparently teachers in the district got a memo today in which they were instructed, among 6 pages of other “recommendations” to take home their refrigerators and microwaves in order to save on electricity.

    I and the teachers I talked to about this agree the use of personal fridges should be kept to a minimum, but microwaves?

    Say you heat up 100 meals in 1 microwave…
    Is that cheaper than if you heat up 100 meals in 10 microwaves?
    They are still one hundred meals, aren’t there?

    And our teachers don’t have to spend half their lunch waiting to heat up their soup!
    Don’t we owe them at least that courtesy?

    If the District is so concerned about the very small amount of electricity used by the clock displays on microwave ovens it ought to be on account of the planet and the billions of appliances blinking silently in the dark through out the world…

    Not because they have to pay $100 to give the teachers time to eat lunch without getting in line to get a hot meal.

    I have to confess I say $100 just off the top of my head, I’ll find the answer…

    But what ever the figure is I’m sure a district that pays such competitive salaries to it’s administrators can afford the money so that it’s employees can use more than a couple of microwave ovens for an entire school !

    Mind you that at my wife’s school, there is NOT A SINGLE district owned microwave oven anyway!!

    Regarding the closing of schools and the gross inequities created by them:

    I could be mistaken but I think the school closing process started before the idea of a bond resurfaced…

    Or maybe we just didn’t know it was in the works again, and the school closings and the crowding are indeed tools to force the issue by creating an untenable situation.

    Mr. Schimmel is quite explicit about the reason they are closing schools: to save money .

    Our current board went along this plan despite studies that showed it would be detrimental to our kids education,

    Dollars and cents before education seems to be the theme with this Board

    I could be mistaken, but if I remember correctly it was in the newspaers a few months ago…

    I believe the only board member not calling it a day is Mr. Frumpkin.

    I have not yet heard of anyone running for the board,

    Even Mr. Saez is only finishing up[ Truehill’s appointment so far as I have heard…

  • J. W. Kyle

    February 29, 2008

    One problem with public schools is the almost complete dependency upon a school district to supply everything a child or teacher needs in the way of support for stationary, pencils etc.

    As a third generation of parochial school education, my four children came to their class with the family purchased books,paper, binders, pencils, pens, ink and an eager face. Last but not least, Mom and Dad were almost constantly on campus providing example to all four!

    A great example of earnestness in desire for education which seems to work well, was the example of St. Joachim’s School on Hesperian opposite Home Depot.

    St. Joachim’s school met all construction standards requiired by the State of Californis but was built by volunteer labor. Unfortunately when complete, only five classrooms were to be occupied and the list of volunteers who had eligible children was so lengthy that the classrooms contained 50 students each. Parents were expecteed to buy a desk too !

    Those jammed packed initial classrooms sure were tough on children whose exhausted parents hovered over the daily written homework assignments as a means of getting their ‘money’s worth.

    It seemed to work when a class was added each year. The original 5th grade class was the first to graduate. Something did go awry…… We count Doctors and lawyers as well as teachers amongst that first class as well as subsequent classes.

    Parents who knocked on the doors in those early years were expected to tithe for support of the church as well as take part in ‘fun festival’ activity, Dinner dances etc. Much criticized for operating a Bingo Game, the prevailing attitude seemed to be…. “we have no ojection to an income from good protestant families………”

    All of the above is spelled out here as a means of suggesting to present day public school parents that they turn off the TV, roll up their sleeves, provide example as well as better supervision of their children aand “quit your” bellyaching about the loss of funding for paper and other classroom supplies.

    Provide your community with good example of concern by being a bit more introspective on meeting the financial needs of public schools.

    Heck, why do you think, after raising my own and entering into retirement, I spent so much time as a volunteer to HUSD ? Well, after co-operating with God in the pro-creation of children, why would I not continue in service to community as a means of being able to slip past the “pearly gates” by use of the rear door ‘domestic entrance’ ??

  • Karen Mangon

    Mr. Hernandez:

    I wanted to reply to your question from 2/22: “Why are the HUSD board meetings NOT available for download at the schools “new and “improved” ” site?”

    The video from the 2/27 school board meeting is now available on the district website: http://www.husd.k12.ca.us. You can find the link on the Calendar, by selecting the date of the board meeting. Also on the page is the Board Summary of the actions taken by the board.

    From now on, we will post the videos of the school board meetings on our website, making it accessible to people who are not able to attend the meetings in person.

    Thanks,
    Karen

  • monica ruiz

    FINALLY.

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Hi Karen:

    Good news indeed!
    And I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who has been waiting for this…

    From the looks of it, I might have to upgrade my software to access to the video, but I will gladly do so if it means I’m not out of the loop any further!

    Now, since we are talking about communications, here is another suggestion:

    I know there are two public meetings coming up, but have found no trace or information of them anywhere on the web site:

    One is a public hearing regarding “state allocation fees”,
    The other is a public hearing regarding the HEA proposal,

    What about an ” administrative calendar” button on the HUSD site, containing nothing but administrative meetings with their agendas,

    If I’m looking for info. on a given meeting, I don’t need to know when the adult school starts, etc.

    It would be easy enough to have an “academic calendar” with info. on when classes start and end, etc,

    and a separate “administrative calendar”, with information regarding meetings like the two I just mentioned earlier in this e-mail,

    Thank you for your work,

    Fernando

  • qodrn

    My sons school has three microvawes for heating lunches brought from home in the cafeteria. These are shared between teachers and students.

    Maybe the district should just home school everyone and have em come in once a week for assignments.

    And I cant believe how far behind Hayward is with computers. Wow…

  • another tired teacher

    I agree with all of the posters. Mr. Kyle, I don’t know if you realize it but actually, the teachers are already paying for most of the supplies that the students use, at least at the elementary level, and at least at the low income schools. Parents are doing the best they can to clothe and feed their kids. Many are new immigrants, and do not know where to buy some of the supplies we need, nor are they able.

    Anyway, I wanted to alert the public to some district “shenanigans” that may be in the works…check out the Budget Task Force Agenda for Tuesday Night’s Meeting at the SIAC Center which can be found online on the district website(kudos for that): It seems they are considering a 5% pay cut for teachers and classified workers (after just giving administrators another raise). Unbelievable is all I can say. PLEASE attend the meeting and tell Dr. Schimmel AKA the self pronounced: “Tin Man” because (in his own words) he “has no heart” that is unacceptable after all the games they have played with teachers.

    http://www.husd.k12.ca.us/images/PDF/Misc/budget%20task%20force%20-%20meeting%20%232.pdf

  • another tired teacher

    It’s under Budget Question #6.

  • J. W. Kyle

    March 8th 2008

    I refuse a detailed reply to ‘another tired teacher’ who continues to hide behind a ‘nom de plume’ except to say…. Only a dummy would continue to play Schimnnel’s game by purchasibg classroom supplies out of personal funds.

    Gather such teachers together, arrive early for the next public meeting of HUSD Trustees, sign a’speaker’s card for ‘public comment period’ turn in that card early to either Sharon Ough or Ms. Deverse so that those individuals are first to speak. Then using the German words for God ( Gott) and heaven ( HIMMILL) RECITE some thing LIKE….

    GOTT IN HIMMELL SCHIMMEL, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ?

    PUBLICLY REFUSE ANY FURTHER EXPENDITURE FROM PERSONAL FUNDS…. AND MEAN IT…… watch what HAPPENS NEXT !

    HAVING TAPED THAT MEETING. PROVIDE A COPY TO DAILY REVIEW’S SCHoOLS REPORTER AND HIS EDITOR, WATCH WhAT HAPPENS NEXT ! You will not see a successful lawsuit brought by parents.

    It’s called tough love ! Witin a few days you have a reasonable right to expect corrective action by the
    ass’t sup’t for business, parents. or any who still think public education is free.

    Eo parents, suggest that they collect aluninum cans, take ‘em to Arron’s. the recycle guy on 98th Ave in Oakland and receive,when last I checked, $ 2.15 per pound in 30 pound quantity. Twelve such transactions earn 10 reams of paper at nost Office supply stores but earn larger rewards at Costco on A Street here in Hayward.

    Next thing yopu know… Schimmel will be in Aluminum can recycle biz.

  • J. W. Kyle

    MArch 9th, 2008

    Sorry about the poor math…. must be the hour chosen to submit the pervious post….. 30 pounds of aluninujm cans at $2.13 per pound brings in a bit more than 10 reams of paper….. do some shopping at Costco too ! Hayward needs the sales tax !

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Another tired teacher et all:

    Interesting,

    I also noticed that (if I read the document correctly) administrative salaries are NOT included anywhere in this 5% scenario?

    what ever happened to the district’s motto of All Means All? I guess the administrators are above their own philosophy.

    I will go through the document more carefully to see if it reflects anywhere that administrators are also looking at their own salaries as an item worthy of the chopping block.

    One other interesting bit of info:

    Fremont, who has a great reputation as a quality school district and has not had a strike since 1977 when they had a three week strike, has an administrator to teacher ratio of 11%,

    Hayward, whose reputation I need not mention and who had our little incident last year, has an administrator to teacher ratio of 14%,

    Pleasanton, again 14%, and a much better reputation.

    I can only draw the conclusion, from looking at these figures, that we probably have a bigger administration than we need.

    Also, I will look into the following:

    If Fremont and Plesanton are better districts, I imagine it is because they have better (competitive) compensation packages for their teachers.

    Fernando

  • Fernando Hernandez

    As someone who is volunteering in the budget advisory committee I found it very strange that not one Board member is participating in or attending these meetings,

    After all, they have time to go to concerts and other activities in different schools…

    But they have no time to hear first hand what the concerns of the members in the committee are in this time of crisis?

    Maybe I’m naive, but I fully expected to have a rep. from the Board at these meetings, but maybe they are not all that interested to hear our unadulterated opinions and suggestions.

    Ms. Mangon:

    Being as it is that HUSD is trying to improve it’s web site and communications, here is a suggestion for a new button somewhere in the site.
    The home page would be good, though the page where the Board’s info. is listed would make sense too:

    Set up a “tell the board” button, this way anyone who want to e-mail questions or comments to the entire board can do so in a very expedient manner, rather than spend time sending the same message a number of times.

    Let HUSD become a paragon of facilitated communications with it’s board!

  • another tired teacher

    Fernando,
    I am so glad that you are on that committee. That makes me feel better. Please bring up those points at the meeting. Mr. Schimmel probably won’t let anyone speak who is not already on the “Task Force”. I am not sure when the commitee was formed nor how that info. was put out to parents. By the way, the New Haven School District recently cut many top administrative positions in order to avoid having to cut teachers. The Daily Review did an article on it. It does seem logical that cuts should be made as far away from the classroom as possible. Unfortunately the people making the decisions about cuts it seems are as far away from the classroom as possible physically and mentally in Hayward! I can only hope that there are some sane voices of parents like you Fernando, and some teachers on the Budget Task Force who will make them hear reason. The few times I have heard Schimmel speak about why he cuts the funds he does have been so maddening that I can only pray for him.

    Mr. Kyle, I appreciate your frustration, but I do not feel safe as an HUSD employee to reveal my name here. I know I have said that before. It’s not safe. You would be shocked at how much teachers spend out of their own pocket sir. I do appreciate your suggestion though that we should spend in Hayward, because Hayward needs the sales tax. Good point.

  • J. W. Kyle

    March 9th, 2008

    to: another tired teacher.

    I am not frustrated…. you are, since it is you and others like you who are out of pocket suppliers of classroom supply.

    Not safe? What in blazes has HEA done about that fact ????

    Think safety in numbers when a group presents itself at HUSD meeetings, in an orderly manner, at public comments. Not Vigil nor Schimmel would expose them selves to a lawsuit if thet retaliated in response to an honest approach.

    If you fail to see the point, then why are you a teacher ?

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Mr. Kyle:

    I must side on this point with Tired Teacher and his/her desire to use a nom de plume,

    Lets not forget the incident of Paulette Albert. You might remember her, she was the teacher that wrote a “My Word” article in the newspaper last year. How more honest of an approach is there than to publish your opinions in the local news rag?

    Not too long after her article was published, Mr. Schimmel wrote a private e-mail to the superintendent where he evaluated Mrs. Albert “teaching”.

    The e-mail was sent to all the district’s teachers by mistake and became a pretty big public relations thorn between the district and HEA at the time when negotiations were going on trying to avoid a strike, poisoning what little good will there might have been left between the two organizations.

    Was the timing of this inappropriate communication on the part of Mr. Schimmel a coincidence?

    What exactly are Mr. Schimmel’s qualifications to evaluate a teacher’s performance anyway? He is after all a dollars and cents man, not an educator!

    The Board or the Superintendent never addressed the issue in public that I can recall.

    I remember asking if some kind of action was taken to reprimand Mr. Schimmel.

    I was told by the administration that the issue had been handled “internally”, what ever that means.

    After all, Mrs. Albert”s humiliation was quite a public affair, in front of literally all her coworkers in the district!

    In my opinion, the district is lucky that Mrs. Albert was gracious enough to accept a rather implausible explanation and a half hearted apology, and opted not to sue the district and Mr. Schimmel for slander.

  • J. W. Kyle

    March 10th, 2008

    Mr. Hernandez is free to side with whomever he desires.

    It matters not to me except that those folks using nom de plumes made some wild accusations last spring during the teacher’s strike.

    What I suggested in my earlier missive on the subject of teacher’s providing classroom supply, at their own expense, remains identified in my mind as a dumb thing to do……

    Now trustees, if indeed they have taken up the topic,
    reveal the shallow depth of their mind set if they permit the condition to continue.

    Again I say, fear not, the current batch of trustees will probably not fight any political battle to gain re-election.

    So, once again, organize a group of teachers who are tired of the personal out of pocket expense, SUGGEST THAT THEY GATHER AT HUSD MEETING SITE EARLY, SIGN UP FOR “PUBLIC COMMENTS” AND MAKE ALL LISTENING OR WATCHING THAT THIS UNFAIR PRACTICE HAS TO CEASE…..

    25 OR 30 TEACHERS WILL NOT BE FIRED NOR RETALIATED AGAINST FOR HAVING UNDERTAKEWN THE EFFORT……. IF ADMINISTRATION ATTEMPTS IT, RECORD THE FACTS ACCURATELY AND COME BACK AGAIN TO CHIDE THE TRUSTEES FOR HAVING EXTENDED THE CONTRACTS AT SUCH HIGH LEVELS.

    There is no excuse for using a ‘nom de plume’ that I would accept! Continued use of pen names is an admission of defeat…. worse, it backfires as it did last spring….. or havn’t you noticed the limited particiapation on this blog bit by ANG ?

    Have you noticed the student representative from Hayward HS whose public comments are off the wall…. he 6took eleven minutes to edeliver the last messagre which includewsd refewrence to his birthday ovccurinhg within the week prior to the meeting……. As an adult, tax paying memeber of the district, you get only 3 minutes…….. why does anyone living in the district accept tgat bit of nonsense ?

    I recall receving the e-mail stuff involving Mrs. Albert. I agree, Mr. Schimmel deserved a kick in the fanny……. but since his boss is ptresently enjoying, by his own public admission, his ninth job as a Superintendent, experienced in four States…
    we apparently hired a job hopper….. wonder what happened at the single ioncident where admits he was fired ?

    Incidentally, I will not vote for the bond issue until trustees recognize the hazardous site condition at Treeview School. The do not include that item in the first plan of Bond money disbursal….. the Hayward fault has been re-examined subsequent to last year;s quake (5.4) at Mt. Hamilton and it is now dettermined that the Hayward and Calavearas faults are part of the same hazardous system…. see Review artcles of Dec 14, 2007 and January 21, 2008.

    If it is true that the hazard has a 45 t0 75 % chance of occuring within 30 years….. then loss of the bet will ruin HUSD as well as City of Hayward. If it injures just one child, how will HUSD ever live down the deliberate ignorance of tthe situation.

    Editor’s note: Just to let you know, we are here…in the background…we do read your comments and are aware of what goes on on the blog. “Nom de plumes” are not against the rules, by the way. It’s a matter of personal opinion, obviously, but bloggers are allowed to post under their chosen handles, as long as they are not duplicitous or obscene. As for the high schooler giving public comments, it is his right to give public comments, regardless of whether they are “off the wall” or not. I receive many phone calls throughout the day that are “off the wall,” but the person is entitled to call me and give his opinion. It’s a little something called the First Amendment. -KS

  • Kim Santos

    In response to your comment in the “Yogurt Place” posting, if you reread your comment about the high school student, you weren’t only pointing out that he spoke for 11 minutes…you were pointing out the content of his comments, which you feel were inane. The board should be upholding the same rules for everyone on length of comment…but it is within the student’s right to get up and say what he wants to say.

  • justwatching

    At the 3/12 Board meeting at the Items from the Community. Mr Bud Ekert mentioned that one of the HUSD Board Members resides in Pleasanton. If this is true which Board Member.