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Interim principal being sought for Newark Memorial

Last week, someone alerted me to a job posting for Newark Memorial High School in which district officials appeared to be looking for an Interim Principal instead of a permanent principal, which had previously been advertised. 

I placed a call to district Human Resources director Tim Erwin last week, but he was on vacation until today. In a phone message this afternoon, Erwin confirms the district is indeed looking for an interim principal for the 2009-2010 school year. He said the district interviewed a few candidates for a permanent position but didn’t like any of them enough to give them the job. Instead, the district has opted to seek a temporary principal for the 2009-2010 year, and then do a more thorough job search in the Spring with the hopes of naming permanent principal in July 2010.

If you recall, former Newark Memorial High principal Connie Spinnato did not give her notice of resignation until June, just a few weeks before the end of the school year. Ideally, a job search would have begun far before that, officials have said in the past.

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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 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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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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NUSD may need to cut as much as $6 Million

I attended the Newark Unified School District’s budget workshop meeting last night — a session that drew more than 50 people, most of whom were members of the teacher’s and district employee unions — and Chief Business Official Steven Shields told the board of directors that they may need to cut as much as $6 million from the district’s existing and future budgets. The district’s finance team is still interpreting the budget that was passed last week by the governor, so it is unclear exactly how much Newark Unified will need to trim. But Shields projected that it could be as little as $4.5 million and as much as $6 million to be safe.

Shields also spent 90 minutes discussing areas where cuts could be made within the district. This information was almost identical to that which was released during a special session last week. But what was made clear is that the information he was discussing was not a recommendation of what items or programs should be cut, rather options available to the board. Among the hot button items are the class size reduction program, salary reductions and teacher layoffs.

The meeting on Tuesday was informational in nature, so no decisions were made about where to trim the budget. However, decisions are expected to begin to be made at the next board meeting, scheduled to be held March 3. At that time, the district may have an idea if it will need to layoff teachers. If that avenue becomes a possibility for the board, the district will have to notify by March 15 the teachers whose jobs may be changed or cut. Those notices can be rescinded.

Several members of the audience were given a chance to address the board before the workshop. One teacher said that if class sizes significantly increase he may consider quitting his job.

“This isn’t what I signed up for,” he said. “I would consider leaving teaching.”

Additional information about the district’s budget can be found on Newark Unified’s NEW Web site (link). From the home page click the “Budget Crisis” icon near the top. There also are a few avenues in which parents, teachers or community members can voice their concerns or make suggestions about how to solve the impending issues. Those options are available on the Web site.