Hayward school board considers sending pink slips to all principals, vice principals

A proposal to send out potential layoff notices to all Hayward Unified principals and vice principals will be taken up by the district trustees on Wednesday, March 13, their last scheduled meeting before the state-mandated March 15 deadline.

Trustees talked about the idea for more than two hours this past Wednesday without taking action. But before they went into closed session, they got an earful from angry teachers who said the notices would be demoralizing. Several teachers spoke about how after years of high turnovers of principals, the district seemed to be moving forward and there was starting to be a sense of stability and team-building.

All of the principals and vice principals were evaluated, and the school board earlier approved dismissal notices for five principals and two vice principals. However, the notices discussed this past Wednesday would go to administrators who received good reviews. An email that was sent to administrators said the move would allow the superintendent more flexibility in any restructuring.

Several people said it appeared that the board had taken action of some form in closed session without reporting it, resulting in allegations of lack of transparency. Trustees are not allowed to disclose closed-session discussions.

Trustees only allowed 20 minutes for public comment, and limited each speaker to one minute at Wednesday’s meeting. Board president Will McGee, with the approval of the rest of the trustees, extended the comment period so that everyone who had asked to speak could.

The meeting was packed, with the conference room where trustees were meeting full and others in an overflow room.

Under the state Brown Act, trustees could not respond to comments made.

Sending out pink slips, as it is commonly referred to among educators, to all principals and vice principals in a school district appears to be an unusual move. It is true that Oakland did it a couple of years ago, but that district was having to close schools for financial reasons, and it didn’t have a plan in place by the March 15 deadline.

Those I spoke to at several state agencies and groups said sending out the notices was not something that they tracked, but many agreed informally that it seemed to be out of the ordinary. None would go on the record, because they didn’t have any data, but a spokesperson at one expressed surprise that pink slips would be sent out for reasons other than financial.

Hayward, like all school districts, is preparing its students for state standardized testing that will start soon. The district also has begun contract talks with its teachers union. Many of those who waited outside the more than two hours of closed session expressed concern that sending out the pink slips could disrupt things at an important time for Hayward schools.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.


It’s a Big Mike mystery!

Only Big Mike's big dirty footprints remain.

UPDATE: Story on Big Mike being found in Castro Valley.

Here’s our story on Hayward’s own Muffler Man disappearing from the Mission Boulevard spot where he’s stood for decades. I was first alerted to his absence by a keen-eyed reader last Thursday, and after talking with nearby merchants it sounds like that’s the same day he was chopped up and trucked off. They say it took about four hours to do the deed. For more on Mike and his brethren, this site is always worth revisiting for fascinating lore on Muffler Men and photos of all the variants.

So I’m hoping now that the story is out, someone will contact me and let me know what’s going on with Mike. Will let you all know if they do.

And yes, I am still here.


Hayward spares arts, culture, 211 programs

There were some tough cuts to be made this year, and there will be more down the line, but the City Council opted to save funding for popular arts and culture programs — things like the Sun Gallery, Hayward Arts Council, Hayward Municipal Band, Russell City Blues Festival — in their budget meeting on Tuesday.

We reported earlier this year that those programs were in jeopardy due to threatened redevelopment funding take. Here’s a story on the latest incarnation of that, as passed by legislature. And here’s the pre-budget meeting story that has a little more information about why the city’s financial situation is what it is. Find the city’s budget presentation PowerPoint here. Other materials can be found on the agenda page here.

While the 211 dial up service was spared, other social service programs took a 17 percent hit. That figure came from an earlier estimate of how much the General Fund would have to be cut, but City Manager Fran David said since then, it has become clear that the situation is more dire. But, she added, cutting further into social services at this time would be no more fair than hitting up city employees now for the estimated 25 to 33 percent in concessions that may be required to stay in the black down the line. The city’s target with the unions is 23 percent over the next three years.


Zorba’s deli closing on Friday

Heads up, in case you want to get one of your favorite sandwiches or Greek cuisine over at the popular Zorba’s Mediterranean Deli: You have until 2 p.m. Friday to do so.

zorbasZorba’s hasn’t been doing very well. There’s the economy, of course, and then construction on the interstate near the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge prevents people from coming over from the Peninsula.

“Oh yeah, I’d get customers from all over,” said cofounder Berc Maner. “We’re not just a Hayward place. I’d have people coming over the (San Mateo-Hayward) Bridge every day for lunch.”

Maner wanted to work with the property manager to get a break on their rent, but nothing doing.

We’ll have a story, but I wanted to let anyone know, who might be a fan. While I was down there earlier today, I talked to a couple people who were almost in tears over the impending closure. And if you are not a fan, or haven’t been there — I had my first Zorba’s sandwich today, a pastrami reuben, and boy was it tasty — maybe you can suggest an alternative sandwich shop or Greek deli.

There still will be a Zorba’s in Fremont, and the San Ramon location will be open for another year, Maner said.


HUSD budget info/input opportunity

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: Continue Reading


NUMMI closure fallout hits Hayward company

Today’s paper had this story about what happens when a large plant such as NUMMI closes. Nearly 400 workers will soon be out of work at a Hayward supplier of plastic parts whose sole customer was NUMMI. And, of course, more than 10 times that many people will no longer have jobs at NUMMI itself when the plant closes in April.

And for the big picture, multiply that again by 10. According to today’s story, “some industry watchers believe the auto factory’s closure could imperil 40,000 to 50,000 jobs in California.”