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June 29, 2010 > Hayward Unified School District Board report

Hayward Unified School District Board report

Students and staff thank Board for restoring Adult School funding; families plead for child care

By Robin Michel

It was a packed house at the June 23 Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) Board Meeting, with every seat taken. Families and staff at the Helen Turner Children's Center and After School Program turned out in full force to implore the Board to not cut child care programs. Hayward Adult School staff and students and community members also turned out to express thanks for the Board's decision to restore $1.2 million to the Adult School and rescind approximately 12 pink slips. The Board's decision to restore funding was granted in light of the Adult School's effective management of resources as it moves toward the goal of sustainability.

Ana Solomon, Principal of Hayward Adult School, presented the Adult School's Annual Report and Strategic Plan for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.With an emphasis on sustainability, collaboration, and student outcomes, the Adult School has continued to improve performance and test scores, generate new revenues, and provide training and workforce development.

The Board appreciated steps taken by the Hayward Adult School to look at other models and explore new opportunities to collaborate with community partners.

One speaker, teacher Robert Council, noted that the 75-year-old school is in the process of re-branding itself and provides testing and assessment services for corporations, businesses and individuals. Solomon says that Council is working with the school to set up a regional testing center. "Students will be able to earn professional or state certification or receive training to pass these tests."

According to Solomon, Adult School enrollment has been hurt by the perception that the school would close. "We are moving towards sustainability, and we will be offering new avenues of training and have a very strong fall schedule. We will be offering our vocational training program, ESL, GED and pre-GED and some high school courses."

While the restoration of Adult School funding is something to celebrate, hearts were breaking over potential cuts to the Helen Turner Children's Center Child Care and After School Programs.

At least a dozen parents spoke - many accompanied by their children - on what the program has meant to their children's academic progress and their family's economic stability. Many spoke in halting English or used a translator; but everyone spoke with great passion and emotion. More than one expressed gratitude that their children learned English and entered kindergarten ready to learn. One father described losing his job and how he couldn't receive training to be a machinist if there wasn't a program to provide child care for his three children.

A single mother described the difference in school readiness between one of her children who had preschool and one who did not. "Fortunately, Helen Turner also offers after school programs," she said, adding that through Helen Turner's After School Care, her daughter was able to catch up with her classmates. "As mothers, we want to do so much more for our children, but we also have to work in order to provide food, clothing and shelter."

The Board expressed their deep sadness over having to make the budget reductions to child care. Superintendent Janis Duran called upon the Alameda County Office of Education appointed Fiscal Advisor Sheila Vickers and HUSD Executive Director, Student & Family Support Services, Chien Wu-Fernandez to provide more information on why the Governor's May Revision of Proposed 2010-2011 Budget necessitated this action. Although preschool programs would not be touched, most parents rely on wrap-around services to provide full day child care. (As one parent stated, "I will not be able to keep my child in a two-hour program. I work eight hours."). If adopted, Hayward's Child Development Program would suffer cuts of 87 percent. "HUSD does not have enough in reserves to cover the cost of the program," said Vickers. Without the reductions, the budget would not be approved.

As a symbolic gesture, and to present a unifying voice to Sacramento, the Board (as many boards and cities are doing) passed a resolution to protest the cuts; Resolution 0910-62 to oppose Governor Schwarzenegger's Proposed Budget Cuts to Child Care Services for California's Neediest Families.

The Governor's May Revision of the Proposed 2010-2011 Budget would eliminate full day and after school child care services (CalWORKS) in the State of California. In Hayward Unified School District, these proposed cuts would result in the loss of full day and after school child care services provided by the Helen Turner Children's Center and result in lost employment for low income working parents and child care staff and/or endanger the welfare and safety of children. The reduction of funding for child care services from the State budget puts programs immediately at risk since funding could be eliminated as early as July 2010.

The Board also adopted the 2010-2011 Budget, which-in spite of more than $12 million cuts to its budget this year-contains an $8.2 million deficit. The District will be working through the summer with its bargaining groups to come up with a revised budget by the September 8 deadline.

Action taken in Closed Session included the following appointments for the 2010-2011 school year:
Barbara Berman-Principal, Park Elementary
Chanel King-Principal, Ruus Elementary School
Jeffrey James-Principal, Cesar Chavez Middle School
Evelyn Ocasio-Assistant Principal, Tennyson High School
Jessica Bonduris, Principal, Treeview/Bidwell Elementary Schools
Jill Hoogendyk-Director of Federal and State Programs
Tom Fraser-Principal at Tennyson High School

The Board also approved the following administrative assignments:
Becky Schultz-Assistant Principal, Ruus Elementary School
Gabe Morales-Assistant Principal, Bret Harte Middle School
Karen McKeown-Assistant Principal, Chavez Middle School
Richard Aguirre-Tentative Assignment, Assistant Principal, Mt. Eden High
Ellen Howerton-Coordinator of Parent Centers

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