HUSD mtg: Supt. search, Special Ed, High School safety

Last night’s special, untelevised meeting was a busy one. Final revisions were being made to the district’s pamphlet that will be used in the search for a new superintendent.

husdsuptsearchflierThe draft can be seen at right — it will blow up if you click on it, but sorry about the fuzziness. My phone cam doesn’t make the best document scanner. Pamphlet is being changed a bit, Trustee Heredia was supposed to meet with the consultant this morning for the final tweaks. One thing that was brought up was the mission statement, prominently displayed at the top. Trustee Armas said he’d never seen it before, and pointed out that no one currently seated had anything to do with drafting that statement, so it will be dropped from the final version.

Key things that were brought up during the Special Education report were that HUSD is lacking psychologists when compared with other districts — it could use five more positions — while administrative staff is on par. Staff said the program has not had a comprehensive fiscal audit in six years.

Recommendations for the special education dept that came out of the meeting included:

— Utilize specialized consultants to conduct fiscal and programatic evaluations. Trustee Reynoso wants that to include examining the possibility of severing Special Education from HUSD, creating an autonomous body. “Special Ed to me needs to have specially trained staff to manage. It’s beyone us to give direction,” he said. “Unless all people (in special ed) are knowledgable, it’s a complete waste of money to give it to people who know nothing about special ed. Let experts do the job.”

— Develop an advisory forum that includes administrators, teachers and parents.

— Reduce encroachment to HUSD’s General Fund. The staff suggestion was to the tune of $100,000, but Armas said he didn’t think “you are stretching your thinking that much.” He said that with total funding of $30 million, $100K amounts to one-third of 1 percent. Staff said it’s hard to pin down a concrete number because of unpredictable factors involved. “I appreciate the variables out of your control,” Armas said. “But really, one third of 1 Percent? We can be a little more ambitious.” So that recommendation included that they should look for more trims.

— Look for funding to add back psychologist positions.

I’m working on a story regarding the high school safety presentation, will link to it when it runs. I arrived late to the meeting, but was told a number of parents and students spoke during public comment to say they felt media coverage of recent fights  at Hayward High was overblown. Here’s the Channel 5 story that got most of the attention, and while I saw Channel 4 prowling around that week and heard they had a story, I didn’t see it and couldn’t find it online. Here’s Daily Review coverage.

Eric Kurhi