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More info on Hayward City Council candidates

UPDATE: Here’s the story.

Our  story on who’s running for Hayward City Council come June should be posting online soon. And as promised at the end of the story, you can find more information on each candidate here, as collected from the City Clerk’s Office, candidate statements, websites and interviews. Candidates in order per Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet, starting after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 16th, 2012
Under: Business, Crime, General, Hayward, Politics, Schools | 61 Comments »

Tax resolution passes, with some reservations

Correction: Oops, the link below isn’t to the final story after all, but this one is.

 Here is the final story on the board’s approval of the parcel tax measure. I had a voice mail from Trustee Luis Reynoso this morning, he wanted people to know that he tried to get a low-income exemption added to the measure but the addendum was not accepted by Trustee Maribel Heredia, who made the motion on the item.

He said at the meeting that when he was a teacher he stockpiled granola bars and snacks because a lot of kids were coming to school unfed because they lived in poverty. He added that includes homeowners, and said to look at the number of foreclosures as evidence.

“So when you tell me it’s only $58, go tell people who lost their homes that it’s only $58,” he said. “Tell them when they can’t feed their kid when they send them to school.”

Also of note: Trustee William McGee said he’s wary of the tax because of the “way the school board conducts business.” He expressed disappointment earlier in the meeting because he has requested a demographics study be taken up by the board, and it has yet to happen. Also said they have yet to address the matter of new schools opening, some of which will be underenrolled.

“I hear the community wanting us to support this, but I’m not hearing the board talking about agenda construction, and the schools opening up,” he said. “I’m not sure staff has direction.”

He wanted to discuss the matter, but Board President Jesus Armas said the matter at hand is the resolution concerning the parcel tax.

“Wow,” McGee said. “This is an issue. I’m asking when are we going to start talking, as a school board, about how to maximize dollars if this gets passed. … I’m looking for an answer and not getting it.”

For the sake of school district comparison, here are stories on what’s going on in Castro ValleySan LorenzoSan Leandro and New Haven.

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Under: Castro Valley, Cherryland, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Schools, Union City | 11 Comments »

The Armas Theorem: A proof to a parcel tax

While the Hayward Unified school board didn’t actually vote on whether to place a $58 parcel tax before voters come June, they indicated at Wednesday night’s public hearing that a majority of trustees support it.

Board President Jesus Armas laid it out in a manner reminiscent of a geometric proof, asking questions to hear givens from Asst. Supt. of Business Services Stanley “Data” Dobbs that led to his conclusion that yes, a parcel tax should be placed before voters.

Did state triggers recently mean another $900,000 hit to the district? Yes.

Has the district seen a loss of funding to the tune of $26 million over the past three years? Yes.

Has the district taken steps that could be considered Draconian to deal with those cuts? Yes.

Is an increase in classroom size one of the ways that the cuts have been reflected? Yes.

Have employees already made concessions? Yes.

“We’ve already grabbed all the low-hanging fruit,” Dobbs said.

“I have no reservations,” Armas said, adding that as leaders, they need to go forward with whatever measures possible within the district because the state has trashed public education funding to the point where it “is not acceptable.”

The tax would collect $58 annually from about 35,000 parcels in Hayward, with an estimated 5,000 opting for the senior exemption, according to Dobbs. That adds up to $2 million a year for the district, or $10 million over the life of the parcel tax.

While that’s not going to cover an ongoing $7.4 million deficit  cited in the staff report for this fiscal year, Supt. Donald Evans called it a “beneficially small yet significant first step to bringing the community together to support local schools.”

Trustee Maribel Heredia agreed with Armas, saying they “can’t wait for the state to do the right thing, we have to take matters in our own hands.”

Trustees William McGee and Lisa Brunner were also supportive, albeit with more reservations. Brunner said the tax must be coupled with an audit of programs so they can make sure the money is being spent wisely and not on things that haven’t been working. She compared it to a house that needs a new roof.

“You can add three roofs before you get rid of the old one, but sooner or later you’ll have to get rid of it,” she said.

Trustee Luis Reynoso said the district is wasteful and that the $2 million that would be reaped annually is about the same as what is “squandered.” He pointed to the hire of Asst. Supt. Francesca Sanchez in the fall as money that wasn’t budgeted but spent without due process, and said the district’s project bidding process is faulty. He also said that homeowners are in trouble, with many foreclosures and vacancies, and that it is also a period of underemployment.  He concluded that the tax “might be necessary, it might not be but the way it was put together was very fast and sloppy.” He said they should go to the community first, “find out their needs, not just look at bullet points on a poll.”

About a half dozen teachers and the head of the HEA spoke in favor of the tax. Opposition included John Kyle, who vowed to fight it and said trustees need to go after the parents of truant students.

The tax would need two-thirds approval. Draft text of what would appear on the ballot:

To protect critical education programs, with funds that cannot be taken by the State, including:

  • math, reading, writing and hands-on science classes/lab;
  • enhancing library services, technology and college preparation programs;
  • providing programs for all students to meet State academic standards; and
  • attracting and retaining qualified teachers;

shall Hayward Unified School District be authorized to levy $58 per parcel annually, for five years, with an exemption for senior citizens, mandatory citizens’ oversight and all money used for classrooms in the Hayward schools?

Story to come, vote is expected at the next meeting in March. The New Haven district decided this week to go ahead with a much larger parcel tax. Castro Valley trustees said earlier this year that they would not.

 

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Under: Fairview, General, Hayward, Schools | 52 Comments »

Hayward chamber to honor persons of the year

From the Hayward Chamber of Commerce:

Hayward will honor recipients of the Educator, Firefighter, Police Officer and Business Person of the Year Award at the 68th Annual Hayward Chamber of Commerce Awards Celebration Gala on Jan. 28, 2012.

“This is one of Hayward’s great traditions, and a reflection of the esteem that this city has for those that make community service their priority,” said Kim Huggett, president and CEO of the chamber. “The fact that this event sells out every year says a lot about Hayward.”

Those to be honored are:

Julie McKillop, Business Person of the Year

Julie McKillop, owner and executive chef of Neumanali Restaurant and principal of McKillop Accountancy, will receive the Business Person of the Year Award. A lifelong Hayward resident and graduate of Cal State East Bay, she and husband Tim began a major redevelopment project in 2000 that became the upscale wine-centric Victorian-style restaurant Neumanali. Both her restaurant and accountancy business are located downtown, across from city hall. Her long record of public service includes serving on the boards of directors of Spectrum Community Services, the Hayward Historical Society, St. Rose Hospital and the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the Hayward Planning Commission, the city’s Small Business Revolving Loan Committee, and she worked with the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment.

Hector Garcia, Educator of the Year

Hector Garcia has been an educational leader for 16 years, most recently as principal of Harder Elementary School. At Harder, he has worked with universities, public health and safety agencies in Hayward and Alameda County to leverage support, tutoring and professional development resources to transform Harder into a model school.  He initiated an arts program in Hayward in 1998 for elementary and middle school students called Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, which serves students and families throughout the East Bay. He served as director of curriculum and instruction at Alameda County Office of Education for five years, focusing on the needs of underachieving student populations and organized parent education forums throughout the county, utilizing parents as facilitators, leaders and advocates.

Captain Joe Stilwell, Firefighter of the Year

Hayward Fire Capt. Joe Stilwell discovered his love for the fire service as a young man when he joined the volunteer fire department in Chico. He became a paramedic, then a firefighter and joined the Hayward Fire Department in 2005. Early in his career with HFD, he noticed that the department’s ventilation saws were stalling during operations due to tar build-up. On his own time, he fabricated a metal guard to protect the motor, a feature now used throughout the fire service. He also developed new hose rollers for HFD equipment, saving the city considerable cost in maintenance and equipment. Embracing the HFD commitment to community service, he has worked on the annual Toys for Kids Program and the charity golf tournament. He has responsibility for the HFD’s popular 1923 Seagrave fire engine that is exhibited at community functions and which is representative of Hayward’s appreciation for its fire service and city history.

Faye Thomas, Police Officer of the Year

Officer Faye Thomas began her law enforcement career at 16, when she began volunteering at the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and, in 1999, was hired there as an administrative assistant. She later became a dispatcher and in 2009 became an officer with the Hayward Police Department. Over her two years in the HPD, she has consistently been a leader among her peers in arrests, citations and DUI suppression. In July 2010 she initiated a project  that led to an investigation of human exploitation and trafficking that involved nine Bay Area municipalities and three countries. Largely as a result of her work, 15 suspects were taken into custody and three victims rescued from human trafficking. Officer Thomas put herself through a Drug Abuse Recognition Course and Narcotic Investigators School and has taught coursework in drug trends and investigation to more than 100 HPD officers. She also is in demand as a speaker on child abduction issues and is a participant in Susan Komen Cancer Society fund-raisers. Her next goal is to obtain a law degree and earn a doctorate in international relations.

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Under: Business, Crime, Hayward, Health, Schools | 1 Comment »

Story on new HUSD superintendent

Quick heads up for those who don’t get the paper – here’s today’s story from a meeting I had with new Superintendent Donald Evans. He’s still settling in, but what would you have asked him? What are your gravest concerns? He says he wants to hear from everyone, so send him an email but also post it here for the sake of discussion.

Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2011
Under: Hayward, Schools | 164 Comments »

Today’s story on HUSD supt. appointment

If you are lucky enough to have picked up a newspaper today, consider it a collector’s edition, similar to that stamp with the biplane flying upside down. Ok, so maybe it’s not so rare and certainly will never be valuable, but the page 3 stories unfortunately end at the jump because of a production error. So here’s the story about the board being divided on the matter of soon-to-be-Supt. Donald Evans’ contract.

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011
Under: General, Hayward, Schools | 5 Comments »

Compton Unified admin selected to lead Hayward schools

UPDATE: Here’s the story.

In a unanimous vote, Hayward Unified trustees voted Tuesday to appoint Donald Evans as the new superintendent of schools, subject to contract negotiations. Evans’ previous post was as associate superintendent of middle schools for the Compton Unified School District.

Story in the works for tomorrow, but here’s the announcement

Evans earlier this year with Compton students in a free throw-contest for scholarship money.

from board President Lisa Brunner:

This evening , Tuesday, October 4th, a motion was made by Board Member, Ms Maribel Heredia, to “appoint Dr Donald E Evans as Superintendent of HUSD pending contract negotiations”. The motion was seconded by Vice President, William McGee, and was approved unanimously by the HUSD Board, 5-0-0.

After having completed an extensive search for the candidate that best fits the challenges facingHaywardUnifiedSchool District, we are very pleased to announce Dr Donald E Evans as our choice for Superintendent. We the Members of the Board respect and admire Dr Evans’ professional skills, focus and energy, and dedication to education. We have faith in his ability to articulate and carry out the goals set by the Board to make HUSD a school District everyone can be proud of. We look forward to a long and successful future in preparing all of our students for the 21st Century.

 

Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Under: Hayward, Schools | 45 Comments »

Third round of interviews for HUSD superintendent

UPDATE 10/3: While they are not releasing names because of privacy concerns, Hayward trustees are making a trip to Compton tomorrow to interview people in regards to one of two final candidates for the superintendent post. The other candidate is employed by a Northern California district, said Board President Lisa Brunner. She said they’re “two very different candidates, with different strengths.”

Hayward Unified announced a pair of special, closed-session meetings on Saturday and Monday to interview superintendent candidates. Board President Lisa Brunner said they have five people lined up, but of course names are confidential at this point. Here’s the previous info on how that supt. search has been going.

Posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Under: General, Hayward, Schools | 21 Comments »

API links. Hayward story in the works

UPDATE, 9/6: Here’s the story that came out yesterday

We had an overview story about the API scores coming out, with emphasis on No Child Left Behind. Oakland education reporter Katy Murphy also blogged about it, asking readers what they think of NCLB and whether it should be revamped.

There was a full chart on all schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in today’s paper. You can find a link to the results in the above story, or find the state’s API report for Hayward here.

I spoke with the principal at Longwood for a while yesterday, will be talking with district regarding HUSD results for a Hayward-specific story slated to run over the weekend. Notables: Longwood, Burbank and Harder, which all underwent a transformation, made significant improvements, with Burbank being the biggest gainer at 79 points. Longwood rose by 75, Harder by 50. New to the Program Improvement list this year are Fairview and Strobridge Elementary and Ochoa Middle schools, although all made their API improvement goals, Strobridge and Ochoa for all subgroups. Ochoa, in fact, saw a gain of 46 API points. Compare that to the district as a whole, which rose by 8 (still making target). Faith Ringgold has the highest score in the district, while Leadership Public Schools – Hayward is tops for all schools within the city, including charters.

Dept. of Ed press release is after the jump, with more links to data.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, Schools | 74 Comments »

This week’s HUSD meeting: Tech status, achievement gap

Had a story in today’s paper related to the effort to close the achievement gap for black kids at Hayward schools. There’s a difference in opinion regarding who should spearhead the effort: COR, which has been studying the issue for some time now, or the district, because it’s ultimately the responsibility of HUSD. The COR representative I spoke with would like the district to take a step back until they have further discussions but the district still plans on having the late Sept. summit and will likely consider approving the creation of the task force at its next meeting. COR and board members are in agreement on a main point, however — that it’s crucial for parents to get involved if the program is to be successful.

Other items: New Associate Supt. of Business Services Stanley Dobbs had two presentations. The first was an update on the state budget. A particular concerning aspect is the possibility for the state to trigger further reductions come December should the economy be flagging. That would mean a $6 million hit for the district, which is already deficit spending to the tune of $5 million, Dobbs said.

Dobbs also talked about the state of technology at Hayward schools. He said it was awful, and that he’s “never seen anything like it before.” He said there’s no leadership in the tech office and in terms of equipment, things have been allowed to degrade to the point where substantial investment would be required to bring it up to speed. He said teachers that do have access to new technology aren’t being properly trained how to use it.

“It’s no good to buy a SmartBoard if it’s just going to be used as a dry-erase board with a socket in the back,” he said.

Former Commander Stanley “Data” Dobbs has a very strong background in tech, and said he’d like to see the district become one where kids are acquainted with technology at an early age, so by the time they’re in high school they’re exploring robotics, web design and the like.

Trustees were excited about the ideas, though some wary of past plans to improve technology in schools that weren’t well thought out. Dobbs was asked to come back with more information regarding implementation and financing of the plan. There are grants out there, including a hefty Microsoft reimbursement plan for nearly $1M.

“We all agree we need to update, and it should be done quickly, but we do need to be diligent,” said Board President Lisa Brunner.

Also, additional assistant principals were approved for Hayward High and Mt. Eden High schools to improve campus safety.

Then came the achievement gap item, but I missed the rest of the meeting, which included an item on the district’s fingerprinting policy. Looks like the video is available but I haven’t watched it yet. Anyone else?

Looking ahead, API scores come out next week. Brunner gave me a bit of a sneak peek and there’s some interesting numbers in there. Burbank Elementary as a whole went up a lot of points, but the African-American student subpopulation saw an incredible increase, I’m talking triple-digit. Scores available Aug. 31 on the state Department of Education website.

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011
Under: Hayward, Schools | 37 Comments »