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January 21, 2009 > New Haven Community Forum meeting summary

New Haven Community Forum meeting summary

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Superintendent Kari McVeigh introduced herself, answered questions and received feedback from about 25 people at her first New Haven Community Forum, held on January 13 at the Educational Services Center.

Ms. McVeigh, who joined the District on December 1, told the audience she met with staffs at all District sites in December and now is in the process of meeting with as many individuals as possible during the first 90 days of the New Year. She also is intent on attending School Site Council meetings at all sites in January and February, as well as meeting with community groups and others. Her immediate priority, however, is dealing with the effect that the state financial crisis is having on New Haven, as the District faces the prospect of both mid-year cuts to the current budget and a much tighter budget in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Ms. McVeigh told the audience she is opposed to Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal that the school year be reduced by five days in an effort to save money and that the state's freeze on construction projects is having no effect on either the modernization project at Cesar Chavez Middle School or the Performing Arts Center at James Logan High School.

In a wide-ranging 90-minute discussion, speakers expressed a desire for more cultural sensitivity District-wide, more awareness of the need for reinforcing student self-worth, and a desire to see students who have had past difficulties not have it held against them.

Ms. McVeigh also addressed issues such as:

Diversity and equity. She said she has begun exploring the possibility of creating a Diversity Task Force.

The New Haven Strategic Plan. She said work will continue on the five strategies, pending budget constraints.

Future bond measures. She said see does not see an immediate need for another bond, but that the budget situation has created a definite need for additional revenue streams, possibly even a parcel tax.

Other topics included student and school-site safety, the loss of students to private schools, and the possibility of forming a "Superintendent's Council" to bring together parent and faculty leaders from throughout the District.

The New Haven Community Forum is designed to give parents and the community access to information and an opportunity to contribute ideas.

Summaries of past meetings are available on the District website: www.nhusd.k12.ca.us.

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