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What’s HUSD’s former superintendent up to?

By Eric Kurhi
Monday, June 21st, 2010 at 1:41 pm in Hayward, Schools.

As mentioned in the comment string, Dale Vigil is in the running for a job as superintendent of the San Diego school district. From the story:

If San Diego Unified is turbulent, Hayward Unified is even more so.

Dale Vigil led the midsized district south of Oakland when it weathered a bitter teachers strike over the size of teacher raises. It lasted more than a week, and Vigil was lambasted by teachers for taking a vacation in the middle of it.

Vigil talks about “distributive leadership,” the idea that everyone should share in decisions. He was quick to distinguish it from mere delegating. But to Hayward Unified employees like Jeff Bellaire, who leads a union of school office employees, Vigil delegated too much and wasn’t involved in the district.

Test scores bobbled under Vigil’s watch. Budget problems have persisted after he left, spurring talk of a state takeover. Hayward residents are split on whether or not Vigil was to blame.

“God could come down and wasn’t going to get improvement,” said Brian Schott, interim president and CEO of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. “It was an unfair challenge to work with.”

Vigil agreed to leave Hayward schools last December under a buyout agreement with the school board — the second in his career after the Santa Rosa schools did the same a decade ago. He said simply that school boards change and often want “their own superintendent.”

As an educator, he is strongly focused on English learners and passionate about engaging parents in schools. He put that same emphasis on parent and community involvement in Hayward.

“You want their fingers on your chest … demanding the best education for their children,” Vigil said at a Thursday forum. “When you invite them in, give them a meaningful role, they will participate.”

Ed Mullins, a Hayward business operator who met him in a group that brings together community leaders with educators, said Vigil was open and easy to reach. He was widely credited with nudging voters to approve new money for school buildings, a rarity for Hayward.

Vigil is also familiar with San Diego, where he worked as an area superintendent a dozen years ago, and calls it un paraiso — a paradise. He earned praise here for being a collaborative leader.

Monroe Clark Middle School Principal Tom Liberto was a vice principal under his supervision and called him “a role model for me, the kind of leader I wanted to be.”

Vigil left Hayward after an announcement in December that he was retiring.

Since then, one of his key staffers, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Barry Schimmel, did not have his contract re-upped by the board. I talked to Schimmel about it and he said that while that can be par for the course when there’s a change at the top, he has a feeling that his doom-and-gloom budget reports may not have been particularly enamoring.

From our Jan. 7 story:

Hayward, which also had a fiscal crisis in 2003, is on shaky ground for the current school year: a $2.8 million deficit that will climb to $12.7 million for 2010-11 if nothing is done.

Barry Schimmel, Hayward’s assistant superintendent of business services, recommended that the district submit a “negative” fiscal progress report, which would mean the return of a county-appointed fiscal adviser with veto power over spending. Trustees instead looked to other funds to patch the problem.

“It’s one thing if the county comes back and says we are negative, ” trustee Sarah Gonzales said. “But we’ve been doing the best we can with what we got.”

These days, things are looking much worse. In case you missed this story that was published the day I left for vacation, the district does not expect to submit a balanced budget to the county by deadline.

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  • qodrn

    Obviously, the next school board meeting should be loads of fun. I am guessing the district is no where near cutting the six million it needs to. They might as well get on with it; if the state comes in, they will do that and more. Truthfully, the district didn’t even make it through last year, they had to borrow funds from other sources to do it. So everyone better get used to more cuts.

  • John W. Kyle

    My memory of Vigil is not supporetive of the man’s endeavors.

    Recall his famous plan to reconfigure the service area boundaries for HUSD Schools?

    Well, at Lmngwood school the boundary was drawn immediately at the southern most fence of the school. All in the ‘Winton Grove’Subdiision, between W. Winton, the School, Hesperian and I-880 were to be re-assigned to Eden Gardens School near Chabot College. For studens in Winton Gtove, there would be a need to use buses since one….. there is about a mile distance, which is inflicted with a need to CRoss major Streets ( W. Winton, Hesperian, Depot Rd and two narroe streets at Eden Gardens where the parking problem is hellacious due to spill over parking from Chabot College and the Adjacent Ochos Middle school. Then, for some unknown reason, the Townhouse land development on leased land, between the Kennedy Park and the Golf course, was not mentioned as being included in Longwood sevixce area… which, if there are children there, would impose a need for bus use also. Thus….STRIKE One!

    Strike 2: Vigil held a series of meetings to explain the new servcie area design. The meetings were scheduled, two or three a week’ in their turn, at the three high schools. Swallow this…. the meetings were scheduleed for 4:00 Pm…. when mom amd dad were either at work or caught in traffic in their failed attempt to attend one of the explanatory meetings.

    Strike three occurred when he schedulewd still another meeting at Hayward High School. It was to start at 7:00 pm.

    AT ABOUT 7:10 PM THE PRINCIPAKL ANNOUNCED THAT DR. vIGIL HAD PHONED AND WAS ON HIS WAY. ANOTHER CALL 10 MINUTES LATER……. FINALLY, AT 7:35 PM HIS LORDSHIP ENTERD THE MEETING AREA.

    wHILE WE WERE WAITING IT WAS AMUSING TO OBSERVE THE EXTREMELY FAINT PROJECTION OF WHAT APPEAREED TO BE A MAP OF THE NEW SERVICE BOUNDARIES….. VERY POOR TECHNICAL DISPLAY ESPECIALLY SINCE ‘PAPER COPIES’ WERE UNAVAILABLE.

    vIGIL STARTED EXPLAING HOW HIS CAREER HAD BEEN GOING…. DID YOU KNOW THAT HAYWARD WAS HIS 9TH JOB AS A SUPERINTENDEDNT AND THAT THE EXPERIENCE OCCURRED IN FOUR SEPARATE STATES OF THE UNION?
    hE ADMITTED THAT HE HAD BEEN FIRED ONCE.

    FRANKLY, MY OPINION OF THE MAN WAS THAT HE WAS A ‘JOB HOPPER’ I would not have hired him!

    I HAD SEVERAL MEETINGS WITH THE MAN AND TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADVISE SALE OF THE DARWIN SCHOOL Property which sits adjacent the HARD park at the corner of Tennyson and Hesperian Blvd. That 14 + acre park,located diagonally opposite the Kaiser Hospital Complex made the Darwin site extreemely valuable for a superior Three story Condominium project which would have made it possible, by attracting the professional enployees of Kaiser, to eliminate long commutes to their place of employment.

    If you are a Kaiser memeber you must be aware of the incredible numbers of staff who speak English as a second language…. assunme that their marital spouses would see potential emmployment at HUSD where the language problem needs a hell of a lot of help.

    I had lossely, but very conservatively estimated that the Condo complex would support land value at $5,000,000 which would have seen lease income to HUSd at about $300,000 per yeAR. nOT A BAD ADDITION TO THE BUDGET. THERE OR ARE OTHER FACETS OF THAT ARRANGEMENT WHICH, IF OPERATED AS A RENTAL UNIT FOR TEN YEARS AND THEN SOLD, WITH LAND INCLUDED IN THE SALE, WITHOUT A LEASE CONTINUATION, THAT PERHAPS AS MUCH SD $10 OR 11 mILLION MIGHT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT INTO THE COFFERS.

    sO, WITH TYPICAL ALACRITY, THE RESPIONSE FROM vIGIL WAS…. “I’LL GET BACK TO YOU…!”

    sO, WHAT HAVE WE NOW? a cHARTER SCHOOL IS GOING TO Pay us $40,000 per year for ten years!…. and use the lion’s share of the land while HUSD earns nothing on that parcel!

    fired 2 x in his first 9 periods of Supt. employment as a ‘professional’ job hopper, the man has been ‘fired’ on 22% of his hires…… WiSH GOOD LUCK TO vIGIL….’EL VASELINO’

    ( SLICK FOR SHORT ?) IS A DISASTER ABOUT TO FALL UPON SOME POOR KIDS SOUTH OF HERE?

    In ALL MY LIFE NOW NEARING 80TH YEAR, i MISSED A VOTE ONLY ONCE. iT WAS AN ‘OFF YEAR’ ElECTION IN cALIFORNIA AND ONE OF THE ITEMS ON THE aBSENTTE BALLOT WHICH FINALLY REACHED ME AT MY TWO YEAR NATIONAL OBLIGATION , overseas IN THE us aRMY, REACHED ME VERY LATE….TWO OR THREE WEEKS AFTER THE ACTUAL ELECTION…… THAT WAS THE ONLY OCCURRENCE WHEN I Failed to vote…. I have never ever voted against a school Bond until the recent Measure was passed here in Hayward.

    As a Real Estate aoppraiser, aactive within the banking system, I had become accutely aware of the Earthuake Hazards affecting the Treeview School
    Treeview was not idebtified as being in the ‘master pLAN’…. ATTEMPTS TO REACH THE “cHAIR’ oF THAT COMMITTEE FAILED…. I PROTESTED FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE THE DANGER TO cHILDREN AT tREEVIEW SCHOOL…AND DID SO BEFORE YTHE bOARD OF Trustees, I voted against the bond issue…. my first and hopef=ully the last occasion where cionscience was promptiong me to do so?

    I was recently granted a ‘peek’ at a soils engineering analysis performed upomn the Treeview site. It is dated in July 2009… a bit pastt the success of the bond issue success.

    My read of that document does nothing to allay my fears if another school s is ever built on that site…… another “i’ll get back to you’.. by Vigil?

  • qodrn

    Vigil drove me crazy. He just was kind of there in body, but not much else. I can’t believe a bunch of head hunters found us this guy. Geez.

    Also, some research has shown that the district is trying to get about 8 million dollars in concessions from the teacher’s contract. They are not looking at anything else. The concessions include eliminating the 0 and 7th periods at high schools, and cutting down the instruction time at the grammer schools.

    Maybe we should just take a giant leap and close school down on Fridays. We have about half a day now on Wednesdays anyway. That is my solution.

    If we are going to give time back, let’s have everyone in the district doing the same thing, including the school board and fearless leaders. Has anyone discussed salary givebacks for the admin or school board?

  • qodrn

    The district is submitting a budget that is what 8 million in the hole. How is this not going to get the state to take us over? Are they hoping for more money from the state? I don’t think so. I also think the whole district needs to contribute to the 8 million, not just the unions. How about starting school after Labor Day like we used to? Starting it early sure hasn’t jumped up our test scores at all.

  • teachermama

    I hope San Diego does more research on Vigil than we did before we hired him. When he started, he promised to bring our test scores up from 3rd from the bottom of Alameda County districts to 3rd from the top. Instead, we wound up at the VERY BOTTOM by the time he got his six-month vacay with pay.

  • HughLenahan

    Vigil out of the running in San Diego.

  • HappyVigilLeft

    It is good he left Hayward. He was revered to as good in his “good” group of people. But what is good? Vigil was not the best person to work under. I met with him personally and he was non-responsive to a situation that totally wrong and incorrect. Too bad that sup’s get shuffled around. They should be ousted and not allowed to be in charge. I am glad that HUSD School Board finally realized he was not a match for the district.

  • haywardteacher

    I’m sorry (not really), but I was in retail for 25 years before I became a teacher and you don’t walk out of the store and go on vacation if it’s on fire. A teacher strike is serious business. Dr. Vigil’s flip attitude about settling the strike cost everyone a lot of money, time, stress and educational opportunities. The insistence that things were proceeding as usual was not laughable, but a pathetic and transparent lie. Dr. Vigil should have been fired immediately for job desertion and incompetence, but it seems that school districts never fire administrators, they just fail to renew their contract so they can avoid lawsuits. One thing that retail and education have in common, is that there is no clear connection between performance and advancement.

  • Jerri

    Deja vu all over again. Schimmel is now here in Oxnard with a new Superintendent who also talks all the time about “distributive leadership” and the district is heading downhill fast.