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Meeting recap, and HUSD declares impasse with union

Last night’s community meeting was well attended, I estimated the crowd at a little less than 200. You can get the presentation material here. The Q and A was a mixed bag — some people were there to vent, one to campaign, some asking how they can help, and many with good questions.

One thing that came up a number of times dealt with the feeling that the district is unresponsive to the concerns of parents, or doesn’t adequately let them know what’s going on. Audie Bock was there with a bilingual “Down with Duran” sign, and Jim Drake was there to talk about the lack of fingerprinting of volunteers, as he has done repeatedly at board meetings. According to district staff, his points are misleading — all volunteers are fingerprinted except for when it’s a parent who volunteers in their own child’s classroom, and only when the teacher is present.

District presentation outlined priorities of academic achievement, fiscal solvency and campus safety — it was an abbreviated version of Superintendent Janis Duran’s action plan brought before the board earlier this year. She also said they will be taking a close look at the district’s real estate and its money making potential. And down the line, a parcel tax will be inevitable.

Here’s the superintendent’s recap, with some very important information toward the end. The district has declared an impasse in contract negotiations with the teacher’s union. Union officials say they were given about 15 minutes to look over the proposed contract before the district said they’re at an impasse.

What that means is now the Public Employment Relations Board mediators get involved, first to determine whether they’re truly at an impasse or if they should go back to the table for more talks. If the impasse is valid, they go to the “fact finding” process where they look at what’s going on and make recommendations on a mutual agreement. After that report comes out, the district could impose a contract on the union, as was done in Oakland last April, which in turn led to a teacher strike.

Keep in mind that the district has said they are counting on working with the employee groups to reach a balanced budget and avoid a state takeover.

Duran’s recap:

June 4, 2010 

To Hayward Community,

It was very gratifying and exciting to see the tremendous turnout at the First Community Outreach Meeting last night at Burbank Elementary School .  If you were unable to attend, you will find the Power Point slides I presented here.  We had over 175 persons in attendance.  We had time to respond to 20 questions/comments.  Those that submitted a card with a question will receive a response before the last day of school.   Those persons who submitted a Volunteer card will be contacted as we move through our preparation for the 2010-2011 school year.

One of the topics discussed last night was the state budget crisis and Hayward USD’s particular situation with the fiscal realities of the state of California . 

Districts across the state have been hit by the state budget crisis and reduced funding to schools. Budget cuts are common practice and concessions by unions are making headlines. HUSD needs to reduce it’s budget by $19 million for the 2010-2011 school year. The Board of Education has already taken action on my recommendations for budget reduction equaling $11 million. That still leaves $8 million to be identified for the Board of Education to take action. Additional reductions of $ 5 million will need to be identified for the 2011-12 school year. The 2010-2011 budget will be presented to the Board of Education for their approval on June 23, 2010. Without these reductions, the District will not have a balanced budget. District’s are required to submit their budgets to the County Office of Education. The County Office will not approve a budget that is not balanced.

We have been meeting with our employee groups including Hayward Education Association (HEA) our teachers union. Through the negotiations process, the District has proposed reductions to the current contract (concessions) in order to help bridge the $8 million shortfall for the 2010-2011 school year and the $5 million shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year. At this time we do not have any future dates scheduled for negotiations and have not reached any agreement to help balance the budget. The District has declared that we are at an “impasse” in negotiations. Impasse is the legal process to get support from a mediator to facilitate negotiations to reach agreement. We are hoping that with a mediators help we can reach an agreement that will keep the district fiscally solvent.
These are very difficult times for school districts in the state of California . We must all work together to resolve issues, think outside of the box, and tackle problems head on.

We will be holding  more Community Outreach Meetings during the 2010-2011 school year.  I hope you will be able to attend.  Have a safe and pleasant summer

Eric Kurhi