Block knocked, CSR eliminated at HUSD

We’re still collecting information after last night’s Hayward Unified School District budget meeting, which saw class-size reduction programs eliminated to save $2.7 million, and the high school block schedule axed to save $1 million. Here’s our early report on the meeting, expect more details in tomorrow’s paper. Crowd grew very contentious after the vote on the block — “For shame! For shame!” hollered one teacher. Many parents, students and teachers thought the block was saved after the Jan. 28 meeting, only to find it back before the board on Wednesday.

Eric Kurhi

  • Everyone I know at Hayward High was not happy about this change to periods. KEEP THE BLOCK!

  • Eric Kurhi

    Word is that students are walking out of classes at Hayward High in protest today. Is that true, Alex?

  • Yes it’s true.

  • qodrn

    What a mess! And these cuts are just a tip of worse to come. I suggest the school board go to a modified block which is what I grew up with which allowed longer classes for some subjects by starting them early or late in the day than regular schedule.
    As far as larger classes, in those days most teachers had class assistants in larger classes. The point of the smaller classes allowed a fully credentialed teacher to work with each student. No more assistants needed. I grew up in Catholic schools with about 45 kids in a class, and all of them came out reading and able to do math. But the school didn’t have to take any and all students, and had NUNS as teachers who gave the ultimate in service all the time. Now, as we cut out bus trips, looks like we go back to early and latebirds for reading. Fun. Clearly the district should not have lowered class levels beyond what the federal government will provide. Does this vote mean we lose all government support for this program as well? It seems we could at least keep the federal funds and have smaller classes at some level, such as K and 3rd grade. Wait until they close schools and banish arts and sports again. At least the district dumped the area supervisors, which were never needed, and certainly didn’t raise student grade levels. I hopoe someone studied how dropping this program will keep students from running to other districts that have such programs.

  • teachermama

    Qodrn is right. What a mess. The board ignored the community at the Feb. 11 meeting, but we need to continue making a visible and audible presence. I read yesterday that the stimulus provides 100 BILLION for education, much of it designated to avoid teacher layoffs. That sounds like Block and CSR to me! They should at least be able to modify the cuts to include 2 grades of CSR (state of CA says save 1 and 2). I am already considering moving my kid (and his ADA) elsewhere, and if the board doesn’t move on this, or if they try to cut PE and the arts, it will be a no brainer. Believe me, I wouldn’t be the only one.

    I love the passion and activism at the HS. Maybe we elem parents should organize a sick-out . . . Hmmm. ..

  • el_profe

    The School Board does not have the best interest of the students and the community in mind…They are only interested in maintaining their power, which they justify on the basis of losing “local control” to a state administrator. Additionally,they came to the meeting with their minds made up about CSR–an program I know believe, they don’t think is necessary. This is evident by a statement by a district spokesperson on Channel 7 on Thursday who cited a study (RAND corp.) that says the benefits of CSR are inconclusive in showing improvements in student achievement. What is inconclusive is not CSR, but the study itself. Nevertheless, the district now wishes to max out the k-3 classrooms to save 2.7 million, even though the state at the moment is negotiating a budget that would not require the elimination of CSR, but would seek flexibility on the penalties. 22 or 23 kids is not as bad as 32, but the board either lack imagination, or are simply convinced it is not worthwhile. We can blame Barry Schimmel for this. Where were the alternative proposals? Where is their leadeship? They simply fold thier arms and say too bad. It is a shame, but its not over. A long and protracted struggle is coming.

  • tubeboy

    I am sorry but I am getting tired or listening to all the complaining. I don’t hear anyone suggesting a better solution to save money, just whining over don’t cut the block system and don’t increase class size.

    I don’t see anyone donating millions of dollars out of their own pockets?

    So if you want to keep the block system and don’t want class size increases in the elementary schools you should suggest other options. Let’s consider cutting sport, music and fine arts from the high schools. Maybe the teacher’s union needs to consider taking a cut in their salary that they fought for a couple years ago. There are no good options just bad ones to choose from.

    Please be part of the solution not the problem. The school district is short on money and it is not pocket change, therefore drastic measures are required. I feel for the janitors, vice principals and other school employees that will loose their jobs. Is not having the block system and increase in class sizes worth more district jobs? Everyone needs to make a sacrifice, what are you willing to sacrifice.

  • obama_factor

    It’s amazing how many people will come out and give their 2 cents with out even thinking of what is involved to actually keep the Hayward school district alive. I agree with Tubeboy. Please people if all you have is complaints and are not thinking of donating money or want to come up with realistic solutions than zip it. All over California the school districts are facing critical choices to make and they are all bad choices. These school boards must think of educating all students and not just a select few from squeaky wheels. Let’s be real people.

  • teachermama

    El Profe makes a very cogent argument for thoughtful planning and flexibility. Nobody is denying the depth of the budget crisis, but our community is tired of these narrow parameters knee-jerk reactions. The question tubeboy poses is a false one: jobs or educational services. The jobs exist to support students’ educational achievement, period. The board did not explore other solutions out there – HEA put together a list of cuts which did not affect class sizes or the block schedule, but did lower the amount in reserves (Frumkin basically read this at the board meeting). There are too many unanswered questions. How much $ would the district save by increasing class sizes to 26, or increasing class sizes in just one or two grades?

    I have often heard people say that good superintendents are worth their high salaries because they bring additional revenue to their districts. With the Feds doling out money to the states, and our CA lawmakers’ endless dithering with the budget, I expect Dr. Vigil to be up in Sacramento in the coming weeks, pushing for $ to support what Hayward students need (what the community says we need, not what Barry Schimmel says we need). Let’s not forget that Vigil earns $200,000+ – more than any City of Hayward employee, as far as I know.

    So, actually, tubeboy, I don’t think people are whining at all. I think they are pressing the board to make responsable decisions that put student achievement first. After all, “is our children learning,” (to quote dubbya) or not?

  • K Rocchio

    El_Profe couldn’t be more accurate. According to a quote in the Daily Review 2/12 article: Dr. Vigil stated “Every decision is not in the best interest of students, but if we don’t make these decisions, the Board of Education will no longer have the responsibility to lead the district”. Then can I ask who we are making these decisions for? This District is for these students … not your resume, not to have the most money banked … to educate these students to the VERY BEST of your ability. Who are we making these decisions for? Not for any of the students that were at the Board Meeting, not for the struggling student, not for the advanced student … then for who Dr. Vigil? Is our Board so worried about giving up power that they are willing to sacrifice out students and their education to maintain the ability to “lead” this District? The only cut protested by the District was that of the Director of Certificated because if (and when) the State Advisor is in place they will put that position back … so let’s not cut it now! Is that the kind of planning the top of the District is doing?

    Part of the solution … I’ve heard several alternatives brought to the Board through both e-mail and presentations at the meeting. For example, CSR … let’s look at the numbers for class sizes of 24, 25, etc. and see what that does. Block Schedule … can we look at the numbers if we leave one school on Block so that we can offer a variety? There are alternatives being presented, but someone has to be listening for them to be of any value.

    So yes, we all know cuts are coming and they are going to hurt … but let’s make sure we are not so hasty that we forget what the Board is really here for. In the words of Sheila Sims “our business is students”. Please don’t forget that!

  • Watchdog

    I agree that good superintendents bring in additional revenue to their districts, thus saving positions in all catagories of certified, classified and administation, or at least try to balance the system rather than target certain levels. The “superintendent” needs to take command and be at the helm, instead of being the figure head on a foundering ship.

  • qodrn

    Hear that the students at Mt. Eden are walking out to the district office to protest the block cuts. Don’t know if other High Schools are walking too.

    Surprised the grammer schools are not walking too. There goes the Hayward police overtime budget.

  • Hayward High walked out too. My 3rd Block had about 10 students in class.

    I did not walkout today but I think the HUSD should KEEP THE BLOCK!