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Newark Unified School District seeking an interim high school principal

Big thanks to a caller who pointed out that the Newark Unified School District has posted a job listing for an Interim principal position at Newark Memorial High School. The district had been seeking a principal since June when then-principal Connie Spinnato left her post after just one year. The district held a special board meeting last week — to presumably present a candidate for the position — but nothing of significance took place. The next day, the aforementioned job listing was posted.

Both Superintendent Kevin Harrigan and Human Resources Director Tim Erwin are on vacation this week, so we’ll have to wait until Monday at the earliest to find out why the district is now searching for an interim principal. Officials have said in the past that starting a job search in June for such an important position is not ideal. In other words, they would have preferred to solicit applications earlier in the school year because most people have their plans for the next year pretty well mapped out by June.

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Newark officially seeking utility tax

Looks like voters will have more to decide this November than just its city’s leaders. The Newark City Council approved a resolution Thursday to place a Utility Tax on the ballot, a 3.9 percent tax that is projected to raise $2.6 million annually. The tax, which would be applied to electricity, gas, cable, etc., would be implemented for 20 years, but the council can remove it at any time, City Manager John Becker said. I’ll have more on this later in a full-length story, including some points opponents of the tax brought up during the meeting.

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Newark movie theater could be next to close

When Shiraz Jivani decided to show Hollywood films at the NAZ 8, he was operating on the assumption that the Cinedome 7 Newark was not long for this world.

Why would he think that? Click here.

It’s a plan for a new development on Mowry in Newark. If you go to pages five and six, you see that the Cinedome is proposed to become a gym.

I called Cinemark, which owns the theater, but they didn’t call back.

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Newark Unified’s response to “Swine” flu

We’ll have a story  in tomorrow’s paper about how local school districts are reacting to the Swine flu, but here is a bit of info for those who live in Newark. Superintendent Kevin Harrigan sent notes to district employee and parents this week addressing the issue. 

In a nut shell, the note to employees states that school activities will continue as normal unless a confirmed case comes from the area. If that happens, then the district will work with county health officials to determine if school closures are needed. (View note to staff HERE) (.doc)

The note to parents also addresses the issue, but urges parents to to keep their children at home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms. (View note to parents HERE) (.pdf)  (Spanish/Espanol version is HERE) (.pdf)

Newark Unified is also going to use it’s Web site to distribute information.

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NewPark Mall gets an arcade

Looks like within the last two weeks NewPark Mall has welcomed a new client — “Tilt” arcade. It’s a rather small location, but it’s toward the south end of the mall on the bottom floor, close to the former Mervyns.

A friend of mine who grew up in Fremont said there used to be an arcade at the mall — he seems to remember it also being called “Tilt” — but I’m not sure if this is the same. There used to be a “Tilt” at Vallco Mall (now known as Cupertino Square) in Cuptertino, but it was much bigger.

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Scanner: Ice Cream Vendors Arguing Over Territory In Newark

Typically, stuff we hear on the scanner is treated by us as nothing more than a news tip. In other words, we won’t print what we hear on the scanner unless it can be verified by police. But sometimes there are items we hear over the radio that are just too amusing not to mention somewhere.

Such was the case about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in Newark where two ice cream vendors apparently got into a shouting match — not sure exactly where – about who has the territorial rights to peddle Push Pops in a certain neighborhood. It’s unclear if we’re talking about guys actually pushing carts and clanging handlebar bells, or sellers with the trucks and annoying music. Regardless, if this thing resulted in fisticuffs, it would have been a great story to write. As it is now, it’s nothing more than blog fodder. Enjoy.

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(No) tax break for Stark?

A number of news organizations have reported that Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, had received a tax break for his Maryland home the past two years, but it turns out he may be ineligible.

To qualify, a person must live in Maryland at least six months of the year, own a Maryland driver’s license, be registered to vote there and file Maryland state taxes.

Although Stark lives in Maryland most of the year, he has a California license and votes in California. The congressman, a senior member of the House’s tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has told reporters that he was not aware that he might not be eligible for the tax break.

To read the full story, click here. Stark is quoted in the story as saying he guesses he’ll find out this weekend how his constituents feel about this. He’s scheduled to hold three town hall meetings in Alameda County on Saturday. Here’s the schedule:

* 9-10 a.m.: Council Chamber at City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd., Newark

* 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Adult School auditorium, 820 Bockman Road, San Lorenzo

* Noon to 1 p.m.: Earhart Elementary School multipurpose room, 400 Packet Landing Road, Alameda.

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131 pink slips handed out at Newark schools

I spoke to Tim Erwin, director of human resources at Newark Unified, this morning and it appears that 131 teachers and administrators received layoff warning notices today. This number is noticeably higher than the 90 slips that had been anticipated. Erwin said the number is higher only because some candidates for layoffs share the same higher date, and additional information needs to be collected to determine who would be laid off if such measures become necessary. In one extreme case, there were 25 people with the same teaching credential and hire date, he said. In cases such as these, a tie-breaker system will be applied to determine whose jobs are more vulnerable if layoffs are required.

The school board will not begin making cuts until early April. At that time the district may begin rescinding notices. “We’re not going to make people wait,” he said.

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Fremont Idol

Washington High School teacher Matt Ballin performed a song he wrote about the negative impacts of budget cuts at tonight’s school board meeting. The song, “California Children,” was made into a video. Click here to check it out. For the lyrics (as submitted by the California Teachers Association), click here.

On a related note, this Friday — dubbed “Pink Friday” because some 20,000 California teachers will receive pink slips – educators and parents will “Stand Up for Schools” with local rallies.

In Fremont, community members will meet between 3 and 3:30 p.m. at La Pinata (39136 Paseo Padre Parkway) and march down the street to Assemblyman Alberto Torrico’s office (39510 Paseo Padre Parkway).

I understand a similar rally will take place on the corner of Mowry Avenue and Cedar Boulevard in Newark.

The Fremont and New Haven school districts don’t plan to issue teacher layoff notices, but the Newark district will be handing out pink slips.