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February 24, 2010 > New Haven School Board education briefs

New Haven School Board education briefs

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education received a list of potential program reductions to balance the 2010-11 budget and provide the state-mandated starting point for balancing the 2011-12 and 2012-13 budgets.

The list includes $4.5 million in augmentations and reductions for 2010-11, including modification of the class size reduction (CSR) program in kindergarten through third grade (where the student-to-teacher ratio would rise from 20:1 to 25:1) and the elimination of CSR in ninth grade (where the ratio would increase to 30:1).

The list also includes the elimination of home-to-school transportation for kindergarten through eighth-grade students (high school transportation was eliminated last year) as well as the elimination of stipends and release periods for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, which would impact athletics, music, forensics and other programs.

The proposed reductions are a result of decreased funding for public education, as outlined in Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget, and reflect the State of California's ongoing financial crisis. Many of the reductions are steps that districts up and down the state were forced to make last year, Interim Chief Business Officer Jim O'Connor told the Board. He also noted that the 2010-11 budget would be even worse were he not able to make a one-time transfer of $2.1 million in mitigation fees to the general fund.

Under current projections, $5.3 million in additional reductions will be necessary in 2011-12, Mr. O'Connor told the Board. The District would be forced to expand K-3 class sizes to 30:1, close an elementary school and lay off assistant principals at the four elementary schools so staffed, one of the two assistant principals at each of the two middle schools, and two high school administrators. The District also would be forced to impose a three-day furlough on all employees and sell the Educational Services Center, among other measures.

By law, California school districts must demonstrate how they plan to balance the budget for the upcoming year and for the following two years; otherwise, a fiscal consultant can be assigned and usurp local control.

The proposed budget does not account for the approximately $230,000 needed to re-open Barnard-White Middle School. After voting Feb. 2 to re-open the school, the Board accepted a staff recommendation Feb. 9 to limit the size of the school to 180 students in 2010-11, to maximize the potential for a smooth opening and minimize the financial impact.

Board President Gwen Estes announced at the end of the meeting that an item would be placed on the March 2 agenda that would give the Board the option to reconsider the Barnard-White decision at its March 16 meeting.

Also, the Board:

Received an update on the video surveillance system that went into operation in December, to enhance student safety and provide for increased security at James Logan High School.

Appointed Members Michelle Matthews and Kevin Harper to serve on Union City's Ad-Hoc Community Task Force to provide recommendations for a family and youth resource center in Decoto.

Voted for Ms. Estes and Janice Friesen of Castro Valley Unified in the election for sub regional representatives to the California School Boards Association Delegate

Approved the first reading of a revised policy that would provide for a student representative to the Board from Conley-Caraballo High School, in addition to the representative from Logan High.

Agendas of regular Board of Education meetings and minutes of past meetings are available on the District website:

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