HEA, CTA rally today

As mentioned in today’s story, there will be a protest rally at Birchfield Park this afternoon about pending cuts in the Hayward Unified School District. Organizers say it will be big. Here’s the press release:

East Bay School Cuts Showdown as Hayward Teachers Rally Today Against Music, Smaller Class Size Hits

Marching Band to Join 3:45 p.m. Protest Over $12 Million District Cuts List

HAYWARD — Sparked by the state budget crisis, the Hayward Unified School District’s plans to find $12 million in “savings” for next school year by potentially cutting all elementary instrumental music and class size reduction efforts  — and scrapping high school art and other electives – is prompting a protest rally at Birchfield Park this afternoon. Teachers and members of the award-winning Hayward High School student marching band will attend, and the “Angry Tired Teachers Band” of Hayward High educators will play rock protest songs.

“This district is making the same mistake as the governor and lawmakers in Sacramento by trying to balance the state budget on the backs of students,” said Kathleen Crummey, president of the 1,330-member Hayward Education Association. “Music and arts programs are vital to a well-rounded education, and instrumental music in the lower grades is crucial to strong programs in middle and high schools. The district will have about $11 million in reserves and therefore should not be looking at such severe classroom cuts.”

Among widespread cuts being considered for the next school year, the district is considering ending the 20-student class-size caps in K-3 classrooms and changing the high school block system of scheduling to give students a choice of only taking six classes per year instead of eight, which could eliminate high school music and art programs.

*WHAT: Protest rally by hundreds of teachers and students against music and other cuts now among $12 million in budget “savings” under consideration by the Hayward Unified School District for the 2009-10 school year.

*WHEN: 3:45-5:30 p.m. TODAY, Tuesday, Jan. 13.

*WHERE: Birchfield Park, Santa Clara at Winton streets, across from the main post office in Hayward

Eric Kurhi

  • tubeboy

    No one likes cuts but if the protestors only solution is let use up the reserves and worry about the budget next year than that is irresponsible.

    Even if the plan was to use the reserves to cover for the next 2 to 4 years and hope the economy recover in time that is still too risky. Hayward unified will be back in the red again and than what the state of California takes over like in Oakland few years ago. Who wants that.

    People needs to understand that the money is just not there from the state and hard choices and sacrifices needs to be made by the board. If it is not music classes or class sizes than it will be sports and or english and math classes. Would people rather cut math and english classes or sports instead.

    I don’t see the teachers union and or the admistrators taking a pay cut.

    The only other option is to tax ourselves to save the schools but that has never been popular with the voters. So we must live within our means.

  • Watchdog

    I agree. Teachers union and administrators haven’t taken a pay cut which also resulted in layoffs and voluntary demotions ( paycuts) in classified services. H.U.S.D. has no need for sacred cows and a caste system. All means All as the logo says, and work should not be contracted out because of lack of support staff because of a need for greed and lack of looking at our district globally instead of “my little nest” and gimme, gimme. Get real, stand back and look at what it takes to run and maintain all the sites in the district instead of my little world. Maybe we would see a realistic “Unified” school district.

  • I hope they keep the blocks! It is better than a 6-period day. It gives us more classes a year. Less classes to worry about at a time. and more!

    I’m a Sophomore at Hayward High.

  • monica ruiz

    I’m leaning towards changing the block system.

  • tubeboy

    I really don’t have an opinion with the block or 6-period day. In four years time, the new students would not even know what the old schedule was like. If the district say the 6-period system could save signficant amount of money than I am all for it.

    Maybe Hayward Unified should get the students ready for college by making the students buy their own school books. That can save some money for the district.

    Have the sports team buy their own equipment and pay for their own transportation to the games and the most expensive part, liability insurance. This won’t be popular but again money does not grow on trees.

    Back when I was in high school, I had independet study, basically there was no teacher you learn on your own and take tests over the course of the year. Hayward can elminate several teaching positions by making the students learn on their own. There was office hours each week to ask questions and get clearification on thigns but no formal lectures. Again this was similar to some courses I took at UCLA.

  • Conrad

    I was on the Budget Advisory Task Force and the elimination of the Block is not the only option available, believe me. The district has done a very concerted sales job on this issue, but it has been, like most sales jobs, very one sided. Like Donald Rumsfeld, the style has been to bring up anticipated objections and answer them before the other side of the issue speaks. I am not sure WHY, to be honest, that the Block itself has been targeted with such vehemence, but it has.

    When the Block was brought in, teachers were trained in its use. It is the veteran teachers who were trained that have absolutely thrived under this system and it is the teachers of electives and AP classes who have benefitted the most. Perhaps as one of the district personnel most connected with this has told me, some of the newer teachers want the Block so that they get more pay. But, that is not true for all the teachers I have had contact with and they are truly mourning the loss of programs that have taken decades to build into the fine state they are in now.

    I would like to clear one misperception that continually comes up in Board meetings. The statement is made that children do better on AP tests when the course is taught for the whole year. Probably true. But, then it is stated that the courses on the Block are taught for only the semester. Not the case, at least in many courses. Many AP classes alternate days, an example being AP US History alternating days throughout the year with AP Calculus at Mt. Eden.

    Also, remember that one of the visions we have had is to turn our High Schools into magnet schools in the future. Hayward High is seen as a Science Magnet School, Mt. Eden as Fine Arts. Eliminate the Block and, at Mt. Eden in particular, you can kiss that vision goodbye. Once we eliminate the underpinnings of the Fine Arts there, we won’t get them back.

    In a budget of $180 million / year, there are other ways to save that $1 million / year with other cuts, Area Administrators leading the list. I know we are cutting flesh, now, not fat. But, I really feel that cutting the Block is an unwise priority.

    On a personal note, I am the parent of two students who have benefitted highly from the Block. My daughter is a poster child for the “elite” student that is being characterized as who benefits at the expense of the “ordinary, meat and potatoes” learner. She flourished in the Mt. Eden Choir and also achieved a very high GPA. She was able to get into all the universities she applied for and took 21 units of credit to college. If not for the choir – we would have put her at Moreau. I would view that as a loss to HUSD. We need to be careful about being anti-excellence in our system in the false belief that this is how you care for the less gifted student.

    My son was the opposite. Struggled in school and did not see the relevance. He was made for a Trade School path and in fact followed that. To our great pride, he is now a Journeyman Plumber. He benefitted from the Block because he was able to make up for classes that he had blown. I think he might have had some very significant problems graduating had he not had that chance.

    So, yes, I am strongly for the Block! It has proven itself over the years to me as being VERY valuable to education at HUSD.

  • obama_factor

    I used to support the block but…. now….
    I was at the board meeting of 1/14/09 too and after listening to the board and the district I think we can use the money from the block into something else.

    After all, the AP classes will still available and also the music classes for the students. I know the proposed rotating block schedule is not perfect, but is better than bankrupting the district. Don’t forget the schools also have to pay for their 20:1 ratio program in elementary, so where is the money going to come from if they don’t start making those tough cuts. All students in Hayward deserve a good education not just the music students or the AP students.

    If we pay the bills for a schedule which is questionable on the AP performance the teachers and students brag about then we need to look away from its performance like the board was saying. I agree with the board that passionate teachers make a good program regardless of schedules.

    I don’t think the board and the district are trying to cheat anybody on their education. Times are just tough and they need to make tough decisions. This board is much more aggressive than the last board and the board members have been asking tough questions of the district staff. This board already has prevented a school from closing so I think they are doing a good job. I have been able to talk to all the board members and I impressed of how serious they are about improving the schools. Let’s give them a chance.

    PS. I still don’t like the district

  • J. W. Kyle

    There YOU are! A lucid defense of the Block program at HUSD.

    Keep it up Mr. Conrad and would you please consider taking a run at memebership on HUSD’s Board of Trustee’s in the year 2010 ! Two seats are up for grabs and one of them needs you!

  • Conrad


    I think they really led you down the trail. They lied the way that politicians lie, with half-truths. The arts will not be the same. Period.

    If you can accept that – and it is a patent crock to think that a passionate teacher can make up for what they will lose – and if it is OK for you to lose it, then I can accept your decision as an honest one. Strongly disagree with it, but can accept your stance.

    But, if the decision is really because you think that the music teachers can compensate for the elimination of essential infrastructure with passion, then I can only bemoan a masterful sales job from this district and a mistake from a loose cannon on the Board.

  • obama_factor

    Conrad: I would hope in some way the numbers are wrong from the budget but I seriously doubt it. I have gone to every budget meeting and the numbers add up. I do agree with the board questioning on the efficiency for all those labor expenses at the district. They are on to something there.

    I think you misunderstood what the board said about passionate teachers. Their message was that regardless of a schedule good teachers are always good teachers. I am just happy that finally we get people that are not afraid about confronting district administration bullies and teacher/parent mob audiences.

    Also, I think the teachers union is inciting the audience by telling them that the district and board are hiding millions and millions of dollars. Further, I just do not agree that this board is freewheeling making thoughtless decisions. I like what they have done so far. Did you see the new seating arrangements, and how passionate they are on changing the district? They have saved one school. The board finally is away from the grasps of the district. They have very tough choices to make, and I do not want to be in their shoes. I think we need to support these people. They only have so much money to work with. They need to decide and determine where to spend it for maximum impact to keep schools open and not just the block for the Mount Eden choir.

    By the way, I did get the part also in the last board meeting that teachers that teach the block are making substantially more money. I am curious how much it really is since the district people were talking in percentages. I will work on those figures after I do the math with the published salaries. If is true then I see why block schedule teachers do not want to lose that money by teaching in periods.

  • monica ruiz

    Different subject: I am so disappointed that Councilman Francisco Zermeno changed his mind on the Downtown Loop. While campaigning he stated that he was opposed to the mini loop and consequently that was one of the main reasons I voted for him. Wow is this politics or what?!

  • Conrad


    I think you are a thoughtful person and trying to do the right thing. I wish I knew WHO you were, because, like John Kyle, I think that facilitates exchanges, but that will need to be as it may. I am Conrad Hake, by the way, and I ran for the School Board this last election. I have considered these issues quite carefully, also.

    My biases I will lay right out on the table. After 3 years as the president of the Mt. Eden Choir boosters group, I won’t even pretend that I am not biased in their favor. I am a very good friend of Ken Rawdon, the choir director. I am also a friend of several of the Fine Arts teachers at Mt. Eden. And, last, I am a friend of Mary Walsh, a math teacher from Hayward High influential in the union.

    Still, all that I want you and others to acknowledge is that the Fine Arts programs will not be the same without the Block Schedule. Much of the talent on display there is not the result of the teacher’s passion or expertise, it is based upon students being able to take more electives and that often means taking 4 years of art or choir rather than 1. That elective may never show an improvement on a test – or it may in a way you are not expecting from the brain studies I have read – but, for some students, it is an excellent path. Also, participating in excellence itself is good for a child. It is good for them to know what it takes to be the best at something.

    So, the whole Magnet School culture that has grown here, largely from the impetus given it by John Davini, will be lost. I’m not saying that educational values cannot be furthered without it. I’m just trying to get people to own up to what actually WILL be lost.

    The other thing is that I wish I knew who I was talking with, so that I could see if we served together on that advisory task force. If not, I would tell you how the “spend a dot” exercises were done, how we prioritized, and the point at which the district took control and simply told us rather than asked for input. I would tell you how I have talked with some Board members behind the scenes frustrated with the district not giving them other options.

    Now, I’m not sure whether Block teachers make more, or if they cost more because of the structure. Those aren’t the same statement. If it is that they cost more, then it truly is a cost of the block structure, but, like I said, earlier, there were other cost saving options.

    If it is because the teachers make more and are holding on because of that, then I would like to have a brutally honest meeting with them about that. All negotiation is a two-sided affair and sometimes, everyone sacrificing a little can save the system having to sacrifice a lot!

    But, my statement is a simple one. I truly believe that, while passionate teachers will still be good teachers, much of what has been built here will be lost. It’s not the end of the world, but it is another example of people of this city not being able to come together to create or save excellence. I am thinking that there is no hope any longer of saving this situation, so I am reconciled to it.

    The B Street area is looking better, though.

  • J. W. Kyle

    Once again Conrad Hake contributes some very lucid thoughts ! I fear that we might lose his valuable presence just as we have lost the presence of others who were offended at the lack of examination of content in whatever it was that they brought to the table.

    HUSD has a long History of turning people away. I could recite examples but which would I choose as the best?

    To cure the problem we all experience with the limited appreciation and attitude of top administration toward ‘volunteers’ and the needed contribution of interest by the community at large I point once agaion to The City of Hayward’s excellent use of volunteers whose efforts have made the City much more efficient and effective in the use of volunteers.

    Using http://WWW.Hayward-ca.gov you find the website home page of the City of Hayward. Click on “commissions” at left side, then follow the thread to observe nine such groups of volunteers who in the collective sense number over 100 souls when all the seats are filled.

    Those folks are assigned a specific interest which most appeals to them and to which they bring the enthusiams of that interest.

    They are unpaid and they address those items which are thought to have an effect of betterment to communiy and which after the commission’s own examination and report to council are then acted upon by Council…. It saves much in the way of staff time as well as costs. Better yet, surcease of uhnfruitful commotion at HUSD meetings would be highly helpful to our City and School District’s collective image.

    I have in recent past, repeatedly suggested such effort as would provide enhancedd volunteerism by citizenry interested in improvement of HUSD as well as the City, I frequently offered some ideas on the subject which at one time the Supt. seemed to have accepted buy put off with remarks that at the moment ‘I have much on my plate …. but I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks’.



    FOR STARTERS: Site resident advisory group charged with finding acceptable personnel which would live in cottages upom the school grounds free of land rent but responsible for installing controlled acrcihetect- urally acceptable modular homes. Ground rent would be exchanged for established, contractually obligated performance of duties leading to control of site activity after school hours and elimination of the costs of graffitti and other forms of vandaloism.

    Next: Sports and promotions group interested in promoting atheleticism at the svhools as well as sponsoring fund raising activities that aid the costs of intra school atheleicism;


    AS A CONSEQUENCE YOU WOULD FIND WIDER INTEREST IN THE AFFAIRS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AS WELL AS INCULCATE THE IDEA THAT TEACHERS AND Administration are merely partners with the community and must listen more closely to the likes of Conrad Hake.

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Hello Conrad, Mr. Kyle and Everyone:

    I have not participated in a while, but do read and follow what is being written…

    I too served in Budget Adv. Comm. and would love to hear Conrad’s comments about the “dot” process. Before we actually started placing dots as instructed I saw that what we were doing made no sense taking in to account how the input was going to be tallied. Is spoke with Ms. Quinn about it and she agreed with me, but said something to the tone of “we are new at this process” or some such thing, which made me question if their salaries were warranted, particularly Mr. Schimmel’s, who being the district’s financial guy, should have seen the flaws in what they were asking us to do….

    I very seriously considered not placing the dots in protest, but decided that having spent close to 20 hours in meetings and research, even a highly flawed system such as the one that was used (or was it the implementation that was flawed?) was better than nothing.

    I am very disappointed with what the administartion is proposing to cut, as it seems like some recommendations from the budget adv. comm. that seemed to have wide support simply never got considered.

    I’m particularly opposed to cutting the block schedule altogether. I have taught art at CSUH and DVC and can fully appreciate that some programs need the block system. I’m also married to a HUSD school teacher and can see that a period schedule is better for some other subjects. I feel the board should strongly consider a mixed schedule.

    I’m currently doing some work with kids at Castro Valley HS doing bronze casting sculptures and I think they have such a system, since some days they have long meetings and some days they have short meetings for the same class. This seems to work pretty well for them.

    I agree that the total deletion of the block as an option for certain programs will result in the loss of the current excellence of such programs, and all the momentum gained in making these schools “magnets” will be flushed down the toilet.

    Speaking with a teacher at Mt. Eden friend of mine that teaches art, he explained to me what he thinks will happen if the block system is taken away and it was pretty bad, and certainly not what you would think if you listen to the answers given by the administrators to Mr. Reynoso when he asked if they would still have art classes under the period system. While the administrators said there would be art classes, they failed to explain that the options for the students would be greatly reduced.

    It is not the same to have a well rounded program where students can study subjects in depth while attending followup classes (ie: intermediate and advanced painting)
    as having a program where you have primarily beginning level classes.

    I totally concur with you about the attitude of the administrators toward volunteers in the district, and I hope some day they listen to you suggestion of the live-in volunteers that you describe.

    I would dare to propose a commission to further and find funding for visual arts. I do a fair amount of work with hs art teachers in Hayward, and working with the district has been such a tortuous and fruitless process, I finally gave up and have opted to find my own funding before doing anything with Hayward teachers. I would say I work with THE TEACHERS of hayward, not the school district.

  • J. W. Kyle


    ‘They’ will not listen until HUSD Trustees akes Control of their responsibilities and directs Supt. etc to follow directions of the Trustees as they, the trustees establish / create the various ‘commissio0ns’ UntilThe HUSed Trustees take control and provide directionb rather than just act as ‘ruhbber stamps’, the concept of commissions. will nebver be brought into the scheme of things.

    Objections by Supt and administrators ought be met in closed session where all come to the understanding that ‘performane reviews’ have a purpose just as do the elections by which we judge the trustees.

    The big problem as I see it is the fact that “Employment Contracts’ are drwan by attorneys working for the employee and hot the parties doing the hiring. That is a condition imposed by those who search for potential hirees when the top slots are open.

    Dr. Vigil himself oubliclt stated that Hayward is his ninth position as a Suopt of Schools which experience has occurtred in 4 states. Why did we submit to terms of a contract which penanlizes the taxpayer when one of these job hopping guys gets fired?

    HAyward has paid much in terminatiopn expense and as far as this resident of hayward since 1961 is able to observe…. nothing much has changed until the Trustees take control in the strict interpretatio9n of the word ‘control’

  • Conrad


    I totally agree with you about the travesty of the “spend a dot”, but at least we were getting bad input into the process at that point rather than no input. Barry Schimmel told me after we were done that the results confirmed what they had thought going in, that the citizens did not want music and sports touched.

    After the realization that we would need to cut more, they didn’t reconvene us that I can remember until they had a final meeting Dec. 16th … attended by very few.

    At that meeting, we were simply informed what cuts they were proposing. There was no input on variation from their plans at all. They were well on the road down the sales path at that point and that is the path they have continued on since. We told them at that time that one of the areas we wanted cut from the start was the Area Administrators, but they had decided to cut one instead of three positions, since that person was retiring. The other two would mean another $350,000 or so. Add in the money that would be spent on bringing lockers back into play. Move the district office to Sunset? Add in other transition expenses. Examine other cuts that need to be considered creatively. Can the teachers themselves help us to know where there could be cost savings? One of the elementary principals was talking with me about surveys she was doing and things she was thinking about to bring savings.

    I’m not saying flat out that we could find everything we need to cut. I’m saying that cutting the block will do everything you laid out very accurately above in terms of program decimation. And I have been talking with Board members who know this is true.

    I just don’t think we really finished the process. And, I think it is because some people did not want the process carried further. They had their agenda and were ready to sell it.

  • Doxie

    One thing is sure. Several of the music programs in the Hayward District have received recognition and awards for their excellence. I think it is very sad and short-sighted to destroy areas of excellence. What is the vision for the district? Is excellence not valued? Do we want everything to be mediocre or worse?

  • J. W. Kyle

    How about a new topic ? The arory is found upon the front page of the Sunday edition of the San Franfcisco Chronicle, above the fold line direectly across the top under the banner. An alert to the public never found attempted in OUR Daily Fishwrap, at least not in the recent past.

    the impact of that article, when it hits the current budget mess at HUSD, will seem as simple as unraveling the Gordian Knot.

    It ia an instruction on how to save money by appealing to the Alameda County Asssessor’s office for a reduction in assessed values applicable to real estate property in the area blanketed by the recent passage of thr Measure I HUSD school bond which is just the first of four planned votes necessary to the success of the masterful masterplan.

    At present there are a City estimated count of forclosed homes standig vacant totaling in count, a number excess of 1,100 as repoted to City Council work session assembly on Jan 10, 2009

    City is reducing it’s budget anticipation on the basis of the idea that the values of foreclosed homes is so far below what had been the previous assessment level,
    it can not do less than consider the affevt upon budget.

    Read today’s Chronicle story, it is a guideline on how to use Proposition 13 as a tool to reduce your home’s assessed values even if your home remains free of forclosure threat. Imagine that a person bought a home in 2003 for %500 K and that ‘comparables in subsequent years sold at $600 to $750,000 level but the forecloures saw new values on comparables down to $300 to $400 K range.

    Now start thinking of the affect of an appeal to the County assessor based on the rules of Prop 13……



    THEN ASK YOURSELF if the above is MULTIPLIED BY JUST 1,000 HOMES IT COMES TO $4,500,000. in shoretfasll applicable to bond redemption at the end of the 25 year period.




  • J. W. Kyle

    Sorry… see today’s Jan 25 2009, issue of the Chroniclle!

  • Fernando Hernandez


    I have not read the article you mention yet but I can see what the problem is going to be.

    My wife and I applied for such a reassessment many months ago and the agency in charge of this is swamped with such requests. When I called to inquire about the status of our request, I was informed that it would take a while to go through all the requests they have on the table, but was reassured that if the request was granted if would be retroactive to the time when the request was filed.

    Does this mean that the city and school district will have to repay any money they collect retroactively as well as these requests get granted over time? That will wreck havoc with our budgets for a while!

    Having supported the school bond reluctantly for fear of drawing the short end of the stick (I don’t live up in the hills, where the first bond will be implemented!) I can see I probably did get the short end of the stick,

    Funny how that works!

  • J. W. Kyle

    What you see and understand is good…. but the situation is much like one sees as snowballs roll doen hill…. the problem gets larger before it hits bottom.

    When you win an appea at the assessor’s office, you are not prevented from retrieving information the next year,.. for still another reduction as the economy grows worse. Be assured, it will get worse!

    The School district trustees have been alerted by me to the problem. =What action has been taken by them is anyone’s guess. They have not replied to my strong suggestion that the five architects, subject to influence by ‘citizen’s committee’ selected for each site to be re-constructed and which group is composed of 1100 citizens from that school’s service area will possibly eventuate to the scence much like young boy’s applying yellow stain the snow contests…. who shoots farthest and is able to write their name in script etc.

    The costs of the new construction program can easily be out of control…… if modular construction is used was done at the new Stonebrae (and approved by tjhe Sytate of California) is used, then there is a chance to complete the first element of the Masterplan within the constraints of the budget.

    I do not buy the argument that the reduced costs of construction and reduced labor costs will fully offset the cash shortfall……. Labor Unions will insist on their contracts….. and another problem, as an example, revolves around diminishing supply of concrete agregate within a reasonable distance of the Bay Area.

    Then too, we have no idea how far down the ‘assessed roll’ will be….. add the idea that that next vote will see increase in assement rate and you have resitence by the voter whether they are employed or on the breadline.

    You as a citizen ought join the line at public comments to advise Trustees to start thinking…. I’ve had no response from them despite my attempts to alert them for some period of time.

    As a survivor of childhood during the depression,and whose young mother had three mouths to feed…. I am personally frightened that streett action may result as it did in San Francisco’s riot of 1934. It was a dreadfukl experience which scarred the pysche of many!

  • Conrad

    Wow, John. Keep digging and we will try to keep the word alive and delivered to the right places.

    Your logic seems unassailable. I would like to hear someone in authority address the issue.