Part of the Bay Area News Group

HUSD budget info/input opportunity

By Eric Kurhi
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 11:38 am in Alameda County, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, Layoffs, Other unincorporated areas, Schools.

UPDATE 2/25: Survey has been updated so that it’s no longer confusing.

The Hayward Unified School District set up a special Web page that has a load of information regarding upcoming budget cuts. It has feedback from the community meetings held in recent months, and links to information about budget timeline, who is on the Budget Advisory Committee, statements from top HUSD officials and a feedback form, where you can rank priorities for cuts.

In addition for a chance to weigh in, it gives a good idea about how much can be saved by doing what. The format is a little confusing, however. From the survey:

cuticonRespond to the following questions by ranking each one on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being most important and 5 being least important.

Q4: Reduce or eliminate staff development for teachers (currently 3 days). Saves $400,000.

 

So what this means is, you’d rank it 1 if you consider it “most important.” That doesn’t mean you think staff development for teachers is a most important priority, but rather that you think it’s most important for the district to cut said development.

To see other savings, read on:

Reduce or eliminate funding for athletics: $200,000

Reduce or eliminate mentoring and induction programs for new teachers: $300,000

Cutting maintenance and upkeep to school grounds: $200,000

Cutting number of principals and assistant principals across the board: $1 million

Suspend summer school and after school programs: $1 million

Close or consolidate schools with declining enrollment: Two schools saves $400,000

Cutting school and office budgets for materials and supplies: $100,000

Reduce the work year: Each day, up to four, is $500,000 for a maximum of $2 million

Cut specialists in P.E., music, arts, etc. at elementary level: $2.5 million

Cut district administration and restructure central office: A 10 percent reduction saves $100,000

Increasing class size: $1 million saved per student increase, up to three.

Spend reserves and one-time funds to avoid program and staff cuts for the short term: $500,000

End transfer of employee sick bank days: $50,000

Reduce or eliminate school nurses: Up to $800,000

Increase employee furloughs: $500,000 per day

Support property tax increase: A parcel tax of $100 would yield $3.6 million

Reduce all employee compensation, temporarily, by 1 percent: $1 million

Shorten school year by up to five days: Each day saves $500,000

It all adds up to over $20 million. The district says $18 million needs to be cut.

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  • watchdog

    Hayward unified 3 districts back in the 60′s. This eliminated 3 superintendents and staff from 3 to 1. Why can’t we do this on a county wide basis and cut the fat out of administration saleries and put it back to the classrooms and support staff instead, having represenatives from each district?

  • John Kyle

    Watchdog

    If we are unable to get our act together in this district the it is highly unlikely that we would have much of a voice in a sungle County wide district…..

    The Basic Problem? It is not the teachers but the public which fails itself! I’ve done my share attitusde is pervasive and almost all encopassing!

    Worries about dropout kids etc take second place to serioyus TV watching of mindless programs etc.

    Weekends? Much time spent in the most sacred church of all…. The holy, wild parking lot, pre-game drinking bouts comes first on the list of priorities…

    get it? It is easy to become obsessed with distractions than it is to become personally involved with our future…. namely kids!

    For many, it does not matter whose kids they disdain in that process…. yours, mine or even theirs!

  • Jeff

    Mr. Kyle,

    I am confused, if you say the teacher did not fail us, which I agree with. Then who are you referring to in the school distract that need to be their act together?

    Now my 2 cent:

    I think the school district is doing fine. They are getting exactly what they can out of these kids. This is like the NFL draft that is coming up. Hayward have very few first rounders maybe none from what I can tell. The majority of the kids does not appear to take education seriously as a way to improve themselves. Every morning when I drive down 2nd street and I see the students get off of the 92 bus and go to Hayward High. They just don’t look like the studious bunch. The majority don’t even have a back pack on or carry any school supplies. I guess they did their homeworks and studies in class.

    I recall when I was in high school, I had a female friend that ran with the wrong crowd. One time she came by the house and my father saw her. He did not speak to her but right after she left, he told me not to hang out with her anymore. Another time my German teacher saw us eating lunch together and again later that day in class she said to me that I should hang out with a better crowd. She never graduated from high school.

    Unfortunately, people do judge a book by its cover and the book cover in this case, the Hayward students do not look very good.

    No amount of money is going to bring this school district around. It is the people that makes the district.

    I see a lot of parents encouraging their kids in sports. For example Pop Warner football in San Leandro, my god, the parents are their in droves. I have to fight through them to get to the softball field for my softball game. I wonder if these parents are watching and supporting their kids the same way when they do their homework every night.

    I have a 1.5 year old daughter and in a couple years, we will be moving out of Hayward to a better school district.

  • John Kyle

    Jeff,

    I wrote an article under the “My Word” opportunity provided by the Daily Review. I was critical of HUSD but more importantly I was critical of ‘US” I have not seen a single comment in print, blog or phone which takes a stand for or against what I wrote.

    Remember the Comic strip POGO ? The famous line of the lead character was , “ We have met the enemy and they are US”

    I concluded that 550 word opportunity, which appeared December the 3rd, 2009, with a final short paragraph as follows…

    ‘As an absolute, we need creation of a new sense of community, the present lack of which is a failure of voters as well as school district administration.’

    I criticized the administration because they fail to ’draw in’ the general public to volunteer in such manner as to be an effective public force unto itself. What actually happens is that ‘they’ will ask folks to attend meetings such as the recent ’budget group’ then after listening to those in attendance for a relatively short while, the group is disbanded. Sometimes with a brief thank you!

    If you watched my early appearance at Public comments on February 10, 2010 ( you can see it on the HUSD website), you will see and hear me bring to the attention of the Board that they ‘put distance between themselves and the stakeholders ( The parents, taxpayers, students etc,) by following what they belief to be acceptable ‘by-laws’ of the board.

    Examples: Get to the meetings, really early and grab one of the limited ‘BOOKS’which contains the entire format for the meeting from the pledge of Allegiance…. Through comments from Senior Students ( Who in many instances can barely read their own written comments), then we hear comments from the Trustees, as well as ‘special features’ which is supposed to provide opportunity for children’s appearance and display of talent etc etc, that is followed by comments from the board, the Superintendent and then finally about 45 minutes or an hour, if the meeting actually starts at the publicized time, items from the public; note that they cut the public off after one hour which on a great many evenings requires those who had ‘filled out a card’ to wait until ‘public comments’ re-opens under item J on the agenda….. By which time, in a very few instances, there remains a few folks to come to the microphone…. More often or not they have all given up and gone home!

    There is a technique which the city uses, to benefit all, that when a topic generates great interest, it can be reduced to just three speakers. At HUSD, failure to follow advice on that subject we see an endless parade which in some instances causes redundancy by using a translator.

    Was the creation of item J on the agenda a means to discourage public comments? Have they not noticed that in some instances, those with a ‘cause’ send endless numbers of children to the microphone, ahead of the adults who ‘turned in their cards a bit less timely than the parent or group who brought a whole classroom of youngsters to plead the cause of some teacher or principal who is getting the ax?

    Then, as another example of how to push people away, the relatively important items to be discussed under item G & H of the agenda,…. Use a train load of acronyms, ( without inclusion of a glossary of acronyms) which has the affect of attendees being unable to fully understand what is occurring in those proceedings. (TRY reading Greek when you have no facility in that language!)

    In short the public, meaning interested students, parents, teachers, taxpaying folk who often complain/brag that “I’ve done my share … especially in the area of trying to undertand the proceedings just fail under-standing of the discussions.

    Think I’m kidding…? Go grab one of those issues made available for the public or, review it on the website (www.husd.k12..ca.us)

    The consequence of all that is that, there is ‘distance’ between the public and the board of trustees. To say nothing of the distance between the trustees and the unions.

    In a few weeks,. I’ll be submitting what I believe to be a plan of action which has the purpose of drawing the attention to the need for greater public participation as well as greater involvement of parents.

    You state that you intend to move to another school district when the time draws near for your first to attend school!

    I fully understand your frustration; having spent 30 of my 40 years in the banking industry as a real estate appraiser, I am aware of the affect of a failing district upon real estate values. I can recite an instance when I was auditing the appraisals of others where an uniformed appraiser used ‘comparable sales’ ( in support of the ‘market approach’ to value) where a sale of a home, with swim pool, in the san Jose School District was $25,000 dollars less than another sale, in an adjacent district that lacked the pool. The twohomes were virtually identical but the higher valued home, lacking the swim pool, was in Cupertino school district. The homes were built by the same developer using the same plans, but ‘flipping’ the plan while changing only the trim and paint!….. He had acquired a large orchard through which the boundary separating the two school districts came near dividing that land parcel in half. Oddly or perhaps widely he developed the site with ‘feeder road’ that followed the line of district separation…. His ‘full disclosure’ mentioned the yellow line to alert readers.

    Take it from me, City of HAYWARD AND BUSINESSES THEREIN SUFFER ECONOMICASLY WITH IDENTITY SHARED WITH husd, THROUGH COMMON USE OF THE NAME Hayward.

    There is a solution but it requires drawing in the general public! All have a stake in changing HUSD‘s reputation and I‘ll soon disclose my concept of how to achieve that end..

    Be advised also, that at my present age ( 79 last fall) it would not be prudent for me to take a shot at being elected to the board

  • qodrn

    it seems if the last school board meeting is to be believed that there are only about 370 non-English speaking students in the district, and all in the upper grades. So, non-English speaking students can not account for the low test scores in Hayward schools. Now I do school work because I want to, but when I was a kid, I did school work because if I didn’t it went REALLY bad for me with the teacher at school. And if they got mad enought, and called the parents, even worse. Most of the public school teachers my kids had could care less whether they did the work, as long as they were quiet. There seemed to actually be a culture there that supported not doing school work. Not so at my son’s private school; he cares about doing his work and I don’t have to supply all the discipline to get him to do it. They demand on time, attendance with performance of task, and the students know it when they don’t comply. You’d be amazed how homework now fills up my son’s days. And he is an expect at not doing anything he can get away with or doesn’t have to. He went to a more demanding school, and his grades went up. Yay.

  • Alex

    im one of the few students that took it…

  • lukeblogger

    What about converting retirement plans to defined contribution plans? What about ending unjustified pay raises for teachers who get masters degrees from degree mills?

    How about charging businesses who subsidized by taxpayer because they pay their immigrant labor under market wages (and is why they exploit these folks) and that induces immigration of large ESL families. ESL kids cost more to educate. Tax the people profiting from the exploration of the vulnerable!

  • Fernando Hernandez

    I apologize in advance for this long post, but I just took the survey and would like to make a couple of observations:

    I found it interesting that there were four or five(?) questions regarding cutting employees work days, but only one question reg. cutting salaries at the district administration level.

    In the various questions reg. furlough days or cuts for teachers and other staff they ask about having the staff take up to five days off and they ask the question several times in different ways.

    In the single question reg. the administration being cut they only give us a chance to vote on one small amount and as a percentage rather than as a number of days. I found this distinction odd…

    I served in the budget advisory committee last time they formed one a couple of years ago and the manner in which we were asked to vote back then was so flawed that I was on the verge of simply refusing to vote in protest.

    Back then and towards the end of the process the administrators had many tripods with white boards with lists of “items on the chopping block” so to speak. We were asked to “vote” on what to cut by placing “money slips” which came in various colors corresponding to various denominations. Before we started “voting” we were told that after we voted they would be adding up the amounts by each item to determine what the committee recommended to cut.

    However, midway through the voting process we were told the way the votes were going to be tallied also took into account the NUMBER of “money slips” by the each item.

    For example: If you voted to cut .5 million from an item by placing a single .5 million note by it, that meant you wanted to cut .5 million there. But if you voted to cut on that same item by placing FIVE $1,000,000 slips, that would mean you REALLY wanted cut there.

    The problem with this scheme was this:

    1- We were given faulty information as to how the vote would be counted. By the time we were told that the votes were to be tallied taking into account BOTH amounts and the number of “money slips”, many folks had used up our big bills and all we were left with was to vote with was many small bills for items we did NOT want to cut strongly, but we had no choice at that point in time.

    2- We were given only so many of each of these “money slips” to total the amount the district needed to cut at the time. So, once you used up your small bills, if you wanted to “strongly” vote to reduce a particular item, you could not do so because you would only have big bills left to vote with.

    When I complained to the administrators that what we were being asked to do made no sense, I was told that they knew about it but that “we are new at this.” Considering how much we pay Mr. Schimel, it seems to me he should have spotted the problems with how the system was set up.

    I hope that the way the questions are being asked this time around is not designed to skew the results towards cutting the work year for all employees or the classroom (hence the four or five questions about this, lots of votes this way!) except those in the administration (hence the single question and only the option to cut administration ONE very small percentage, no options there!.)

    Why not give us the choice to vote to cut administration a larger PERCENTAGE and ask about that several times in different ways?

    I surely hope the process being used this time around is not the same as two years ago.

  • John Kyle

    Mr. Hernandez,

    What I find interesting in your comment as well as in the wbsite ‘survey’ is the absence of opportunity to engage in activities where the interested public, not just the parents or staff, would be permitted to collectively engage in activity intended to pull together our community, such as it is, in a series of enjoyable events intended to raise substantial fund for the School’s sports programs etc,

    Shall we collectively spur our Trustees and Top administrators to conduct a ‘town hall meeting’, intended to explore that thought?

  • K Rocchio

    I find it disturbing that we are not given the option to reduce spending at the District level without lumping in schools. For example, cutting material and supply budgets at District is VERY different than cutting material and supply budgets at the school level.

    Also, I would like to see the ramifications mentioned for cutting the work days and shortening the school year. What does this mean for teachers? Will the students have substitutes? Will the school day get longer? Because I think any student will be quick to vote to shorten the school year, but do they realize those hours have to get made up somewhere??

    I’m confused … Does the survey really seem to indicate that a restructure of the District Admin & Central Office will really only save $100,000???

    When they talk about increasing class size … does that mean for every extra student in class the District is saving $1million? Because I’m pretty sure they’re already putting the extra kids in the classes!

    I was at one of the District Budget meetings where a parent asked if we were looking only for ways to cut costs or if we were also considering ways to increase revenue. The answer was vague to say the least, but something along the lines of it being all about cost cutting at this time.

  • John Kyle

    K. Rocchio

    Today or tommorrow, I am finishing up a lengthy tome that I will hand deliver to Admin offices on the third day of March. I fully expect a response prior to the next public meeting. If in the affirmative… much can be done!

    If the logic is successful withinb the minds of Trustees and Supt. we might see a change in direction and attitudes of voters who by and large are blase’

    If successful in having them see the point, we might have some light at the end of the tunnel…. in which case I intend to invite your participation!

    Think positive! Sursum Corda..( lift up your heart)

    All is not lost!

  • Fernando Hernandez

    K. Rocchio: I have not had the chance to go through the many documents posted on the district’s web site but some of the answers might be there.

    I too though it odd how they lumped some items together so that voting in favor of reducing expenses at the district office would also mean cutting in the classroom.
    I’m sure this is not something that just happened by accident.

    I think you are right to take with the proverbial grain of salt the figures given out as potential savings by the different options given to the public and in fact I had noticed the particular item you mentioned as suspicious (District Admin & Central Office will really only save $100,000???). Over the years HUSD has had a history of figures changing and funds being found after the fact…

    Very good questions regarding the implications of the furlough days. I was just assuming that the kids would be out of those days of instruction and that would be it.
    The implications to the teachers and their families of course is the loss of income…

    I also had a question regarding an item related to the transfer of sick days and asked my wife about it but we could not figure out what it was all about. The amount saved was rather small, $50,000 I think. I tried to access the survey’s questions to check on this but I could not because I already had taken the survey. It would be nice if the questions were posted somewhere where we could refer back to them without taking the survey.

    Mr. Kyle, I agree with you that maybe the district ought to have an open meeting(s) for interested folk to attend so that we can ask the same questions we ponder in this blog. This would provide and an opportunity to ask questions at a time when they can actually give us answers, as opposed to asking questions during the board’s meetings, when all they can do is listen.

    Will you post this “tome” for all to read?
    I am curious to know what you will propose to the board.

  • Cheryl

    Fernando: Here’s the question.

    17. Discontinue the transfer of employee sick bank days. Saves $50,000

    When an employee has a catastrophic illness and use up all their sick leave, other employees can donate a limited number of their own sick days for the ill employee’s use. I assume the savings would come from that ill employee having to take the time off without pay instead. But it would be good to get clarification on this from the district.

    I also thought it odd that they could only find $100,000 worth of savings at the district office. And I awas also wondering why they asked the employee furlough several times in different ways.

  • Justwatching

    Might want to check to see if HUSD Management has been making sure are taking their accrued vacation time. District officials are supposed to make sure folks are using their accrued vacation time responsible every year because if there are more that a certain amount of unused vacation on the books by the end of the fiscal year ending on June 30th then the district must pay the individual off all the accrued days over 30 days. One year this amount was approaching several hundred thousand dollars.

  • John Kyle

    I WILL NOT POST THE TOME! AT LEAST NOT UNTIL I HAVE HAD AN ANSWER FROM tRUSTEES AND sUPT. iF THEY APPROVE… I WILL SHOUT THE FACT FROM THE ROOF TOPS.

    I PURPOSELY KEPT MYSELF OUT OF A LINE ITEM DISCUSSION OVER BUDGET, FOR THE SAME REASON THAT I DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TELL EDUCATORS HOW TO EDUCATE…..

    IF YOU HAD READ THE “MY wORD” OPINION PIECE AUTHORED BY Me AND WHICH APPEARED IN THE rEVIEW ON December 3, 2009. You might gain a clue by reading the last paragraph of that lengthy column. Ask the Review for a back issue dated Dec 3, 2009.

    Be aware3 that five of my grandchildren graduateed from the parochial school in castro valley.
    In one instance we were advised tah when the 8th greade graduating cklass started out ib first grade there were 35 students….. upon graduation 32 or 33 were still with the lass which agaun numbered 35.

    Cathgolicism had little to do with that fact. Thew simple truth is that Hayward has become a xcity of transients and drpouts… which goes directly to a pointing of fingers at parents.

    Parents and parehnting are a huge problem for HUSD.

    ’nuff said for the moment!

  • Jeff

    Mr. Kyle,

    You have finally pin pointed the root cause of HUSD’s problem, parents and parenting. I agree whole heartly.

    The big question is what is the corrective action?

  • John Kyle

    Jeff, thank you for following up on my thought about the central problem at HUSD. You open a door!
    Parental irresojnsibility is a thought in my mind, not a proven fact in the general problems at HUSD.

    Be careful when disseminating that thought! As in all situations that we face in our lives, the general public is not always correct nor defective in it’s judgments upon the totality of the group. Pasting that thought upon the minds of general public can be self defeating. ’Others’ is just too large a number when speaking of the broad community.

    What we do need to do is to speak of the problem in generality but in sufficient frequency as to arouse not just pastoral leaders, but political forces.

    Therefore I suggest creation of a course on parenting at the High School level in HUSD…

    That idea will be challenged, but in response to challenge we ought to permit documentation from Religious assemblies, which offer a course, to the effect that such education has been attended by public school students who need such, so as to graduate.

    There will be an uproar caused by those who fail to accept the idea. Frankly, that fact is of itself educational in the sense that it becomes at least a brief factor in the minds of those parents neglectful in devotion to their child’s full education. Recognize, that some are so neglectful that the uproar would kick their thought processes into more effective action.

    We need to cause open discussion on the matter of parenting. High school students ought to become directly involved in ‘open’ discussion of the subject at the Sophomore or Junior year in a course lasting at least a quarter semester. In separate male- female situation if it satisfies the objectors. Parenting is not sex education! Nor does it lead to use of birth control! It deals with the purpose of reproduction!

    If you can advise upon subjects as ‘birth control’ and openly supply condoms, as is suspected to be occurring in a secular (non-religious fashion,) then ‘parenting’ ought be addressed formally. If that is not possible, then God help us for our lack of imagination.

    One of the dumbest remarks ever made by a successful politician, emanated from the mouth ( and actions) of Ronald Reagan during that period of time when he was Governor of California. Be aware of the fact that he was responsible for closing down the State’s long term Hospitals involved with the presence of patients who were, physically, mentally and emotionally distressed to the point that they could not be accommodated in what we describe as general hospitals Agnew State Hospital remained open to those poor souls suffering with the effects of thalidomide a horrible drug administered to women. Infants were born with hopeless deformities but who had active minds.

    Reagan cited the fact, as an excuse for his actions, that the State of California could not carry that burden and that religious organizations ought to pick up and support such hospitals.

    Poor Reagan, he blundered badly on that one! It is well known fact that something near half the population did not identify with any church or claim Religious affiliation…… he maybe wanted the other half to pick up the tab?

    It is not a perfect world but that does not mean we should abandon HOPE !.

  • obama.newage

    The budget meetings are not attended by knowledgeable people from the district. I have gone to 3 of them and out of those, in 2 meetings there was not a board member present. The district employees don’t seem to know the budget very well. God help us all. My grandchildren will not get the public education I received back in the day. It seems we are not being listen to. It’s time that the state should take over this district. Give us school vouchers please so we can decide our budget. Compared to Oakland since I have grand kids there too the community outreach seems better than in Hayward.

  • John Kyle

    Oban.newaage

    I agree, the participation of knowledegable members of the public, i.e. voters residing within the boundaries of the district, is not what it should be. Had you been following my contributions to public speak. you would be aware of the need to hold a tOwn hall meEting!

    I envision a TOwn hall meeting to be open to all voters except those hired by HUSD… pre-condition being that particpants be residents of the district and all employed by HUSD excluded from use of their voices in the needed ‘break out sessions’.

    Obviously if 300 or more turned out not all could be heard if each were limited to three minutes at the microphone.

    The town Hall meeting should be held in an atnmosphere of being sponsored by the School district but although City Council members would be invited,,…. none of the trustees or council members would contribute verbaly or in wtitten fashion, to the ongoings of the evening.

    We would need use of the concept of ‘break out groups’ where 15 or 20 folk would gather to present ideas over a period of two hours maximum. those ideas would be listed on large sheets of paper hung on easels. before close they would vote on the 5 ideas which that group though most viable. then, vote on the party within the group thought best able to present those five best ideas emanating from that group. That would be the subject of the last hour of the meeting.

    Then, Trustees would be asked to form a committee chosen from the ranks of ‘group chosen’ presenters to sift through and sort out the wheat from the chafe.

    My bet is that the result would lead to the creation of permnanent, quasi-independent ‘ad hoc’ groups or ‘commissions’ such as we see employed by the City to aid governance with virtually cost free groups dedicated to accomplishment of tasks suiting their experience.

    You cannot expect 40 hours a week of servioe from five trustees who earn a measely stipend of just $750. per month. There is a wage law which says that is illegal!

    Solution??? Volunteers serving in specific areas at which they are most interested, time hours averaging just three or four per month.

    City has used the device successfully for many years… our ten (10) such groups find over 100 volunteers serving the city at Library Commission, Planning Commission etc…… see the website at HAYWARD-GOV.CA.US

    FACTITIOUSNESS is not a virtue!

    Stop complaining with factitious arguments that lead no where!