Bock: Trustee appointment a ‘sham’ process

bock_aAudie Bock called the Review yesterday evening to report that she is working on a signature drive that would reject the vote by the school board and call for a special public election to elect an interim trustee for HUSD.

She said the process was a sham, that board members did not give any of the other qualified candidates a chance before appointing Jesus Armas to the post. Added that this isn’t anything personal against Armas, but rather a reaction to an unfair process that was “humiliating to all the other candidates.”

Here’s our story.


Mystery of the burning toast

For a short spell late this afternoon, the Hayward landmark building that was dubbed “The Toaster” by a famous architecture critic smoldered as firefighters worked to douse a blaze in the 12th floor penthouse.

While the investigation just started, a neighbor said he thinks the blaze might be related to graffiti that appeared overnight.

And what graffiti! Take a gander at this masterpiece:


It looks like an illiterate giant was using finger paint to play a game of Hangman. Anyone have a clue as to what SKORE HTF IMG means?

In other news, I will be off next week so you might see a longer gap than usual between HayWord posts. Play nice, everybody!


The seating question, revisited X 10

HUSD trustee Luis Reynoso has repeatedly made it a point of contention that the district superintendent has no place sitting with board members at public meetings. He says it obfuscates duties, making it appear to the observing public that the top administrator is on the same decision-making body as the elected board. He’d rather see the superintendent off to the side, and preferably at a seperate dias, a la the city manager at City Council meetings.

So it wasn’t that big of a surprise when he selected the one question he wanted to ask all candidates at Wednesday’s interviews:


 “It’s a simple question, but it means a lot, at least to me. Where do you believe the superintendent should sit during board meetings, and why?”

Turned out to be a pretty good question in terms of gauging who has been observing the board at work. Six of the 10 candidates clearly knew what he was getting at, while a couple were ambiguous  and another two definitely went off-roading with their answer.

No need to name names — no one’s up for a public vote at this time, and, as former schools trustee Gloria Grant-Wilson said, “It takes a lot of courage to stand up there and apply, even if you don’t win, and especially if you don’t win, it takes a lot of courage to keep coming back.”

We’ll have to wait and see if the seating question comes back to the fore in the run-up to the November election.

As for answers, most of the candidates who addressed the issue agreed with Reynoso that to mix the superintendent in with elected officials can be confusing.

Appointed trustee Jesus Armas ventured the following reply while acknowledging his answer might be a black mark in Reynoso’s book:

 “The district has more significant issues in front of it than where the chief sits. The district allows the protocol to be directed by the presiding officer, and I honor that decision.”


Smash and grab… nothing!

stupidHey, who wants to see a van crash through a storefront window in a failed attempt to steal an ATM machine? I mean, who DOESN’T want to see such a thing, really?

It’s not the biggest crime news to strike Hayward, but KTVU has an entertaining video clip of how it went down. It’s worth a watch.

And if you happen to recognize the backwards-baseball-hatted accomplice, police would like to hear from you at 510-293-7000.


And your new HUSD interim trustee is…

JARMAS… Jesus Armas. Here’s the brief for tomorrow’s paper, will have more on this later.




Former City Manager Jesus Armas was appointed to serve as an interim Hayward school board member Wednesday, and said he intends to seek a permanent seat in the November election.

That will pit him against outgoing City Manager Greg Jones and Councilwoman Anna May, who each are leaving their positions to run as a slate for two of the three slots available on the board.

School board members chose Armas from a field of 10 candidates in a 3-1 vote, with Luis Reynoso dissenting.

Reynoso was wary of the appointment because he felt district staff members were “less than transparent” in divulging the fact that Armas’ wife works as a human resources manager in the district, which he said creates potential for a conflict of interest.

In other news, today was the filing deadline for June’s election. All six of the City Council contenders mentioned in this story filed.




HUSD board applicants


 Ten applicants for the temporary schools trustee position were announced at last night’s school school board meeting. They are:

Carolina Abatayo

Jesus Armas

Rick Bartholomew

Regina Brooks-Day

Audie Bock

Lawrence Fitzpatrick

William McGee

Kelly Rocchio

Monica Schultz

Cathy Stegall

An 11th candidate also turned in an application, but because the person was under 18, it was considered ineligible.

The board will hold a special public meeting from 1 to 5 p.m. on March 17 at the district offices to interview the candidates, and they are expected to make an appointment afterward. The temporary trustee will be sworn in on March 24 and serve until the board election in November.


Five Hayward schools on bottom 5% list

UPDATE: Two Hayward high schools were removed from the final list.

The California Department of Education released its list of “Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools” today, meaning those in the bottom 5 percentile, and Hayward was well represented.

Here are the lists, in two sections: Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Hayward Unified was the only district in Alameda County to have high schools on the list, and all three were on it — Hayward High, Mt. Eden High and Tennyson High.

Interim Superintendent Janis Duran said it was “very disheartening” to see them there, considering Mt. Eden and Tennyson have made significant gains in API scores over the past five years.

In order to receive federal funds to help turn listed schools around, districts must adopt one of four intervention models. They range from the very drastic — closing the school, or reopening it under a charter operator — to the not-so-drastic-but-still-significant, which involve changing the principal and either replacing at least 50 percent of the staff or increasing instructional time.

Duran said the latter has already been accomplished at high schools because of the switch from the block schedule system.

That move, approved by trustees last year, was done as a budget cutting measure to save the district $1 million. But it may prove handy, if feds agree that it could count as part of an intervention model.

Duran said they “are still getting clarity for interventions” and have not made any decisions regarding available options.

Longwood and Burbank elementary schools were also on the state’s list. Longwood has already been slated for restructuring because of unacceptable test scores, but Burbank has seen a turnaround. However, the method used in selecting schools for the list averaged scores over the past three years, putting Burbank on the list despite this year’s 25-point growth in API scores. Harder, which is the other school facing restructuring, had better scores than Burbank three years ago but they’ve since switched places.

“I would think that attention would be given to the fact that we have recently improved scores,” Duran said.

Here’s the state Web site with more information about the list and how the schools were identified.


Hayward city manager plans bid for school board

UPDATE 3/9: There is a precedent for this, from 1997.

The gist of it is that the question was asked, “May the city manager or assistant city manager of the City of South San Francisco serve simultaneously on the board of trustees of the South San Francisco Unified School District?” The answer given by then-Attorney General Daniel Lungren was no for the city manager, yes for the assistant city manager.

Greg Jones said he is looking this case over, and may ask the Attorney General’s office to confirm that it still applies.  “It is an old opinion, so there may be a different slant on this in this age,” he said. Jones expects to make an announcement regarding his plans late this week or early next.

UPDATE 3/4: David Mora, West Coast regional manager of the International City Manager Association, said that members cannot hold any kind of political office, according to Tenet 7 of their 12 tenets. Jones is a member of ICMA, but you don’t have to be a member to be a city manager.

City Manager Greg Jones announced Wednesday that he plans to make a bid for a seat on the Hayward Unified School District board. He’s got an inquiry in with the state Attorney General’s Office to see if they would consider it  a conflict of interest, but he doesn’t think it is.

R1JONES“There could be occasions, regarding specific items, where the city is providing a service to the schools, but it seems to me that I could recuse myself from a vote,” he said.

Jones also said that if state officials say he can’t hold both posts, he will have to make a “tough decision” what to drop — his current gig or the bid for the board.

“From my perspective, schools are the most important issue we have in the community,” he said. “We can do all the great work for the city, but if we don’t improve schools we keep losing families, and losing future leaders of the community. People vote with their feet.”


Election 2010! Nomination papers update

Nomination papers aren’t due until March 12 for the Hayward mayoral election, and since the council incumbents aren’t seeking re-election, that race doesn’t have to be officially entered until March 17. But a quick check to see who took out papers found Mike Sweeney as the sole interested party for mayor so far, and the the following for two City Council seats (includes links to Web sites, or soon-to-be Web sites, if available):

Ralph Farias Jr.

Sara Lamnin

Anna May (who has since said she does not intend to run)

Steven Oiwa

Marvin Peixoto

Mark Salinas

Here’s a handy Registrar of Voters site that can keep you filled in on filers. Click on “Candidate Filed Log” to access the .pdf file. Hayward races are on the last page (mayor and “counil”, oops) and are empty at the moment. But take a look at page 26, under the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.

No, Hayward schools trustee Luis Reynoso is not considering a run for Sheila Jordan’s spot. “I was just exploring, but I’m not. There’s no news there,” he said today.