The William S Hart District has regular board meetings where decisions are made that impact our local students. Below is a short synopsis of the most recent actions taken at the Hart District Board Meeting, as provided by the District.
Board Approves Reduction in Classified Staff
The Hart District Governing Board has approved a resolution eliminating 44 classified staff positions across the district as part of the district’s effort to meet a projected $10.4 million in budget cuts required by Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2008-09 budget. Most of the positions are already vacant, and the district expects no more than eight classified staff—and hopefully none—will actually lose their jobs.
The largest reduction is in instructional assistants, with 30 positions to be eliminated in the Resource program district-wide. Although the timing is due to budget cuts, staff noted that the positions were already in transition due to a restructuring to improve the program. Assistant Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht explained two alternative models to better serve students who need extra help—a Learning Center where students can go to get assistance from a Resource teacher, and a Collaborative model in which a Resource teacher and a regular teacher are paired in the classroom to serve students. Several Hart District schools are already using the new delivery models with increased student success.
Job Classification Study Approved
A consultant has been approved to conduct a job classification study to accurately describe duties for classified staff positions within the district. Accurate job descriptions will help in any future recruitment to fill vacant positions, will help employees understand the duties their job entails, and will assist in evaluation of employee job performance. The original proposal also would have studied compensation, a segment of the study that was deferred due to the current budget crisis. The study is expected to start later this month and, when completed, will leave the district with software modules that the district’s Personnel Department can update as needed in the future. The study was endorsed by the district’s classified employee union and will be funded by the Personnel Commission budget.
Discipline Policies Under Discussion
The Board focused on two key provisions of the district’s student discipline policies in a discussion-only agenda item— drug and alcohol abuse and the definition of “zero tolerance.” The policies are rigid on some points, such as an automatic transfer to another school for drug and alcohol offenses, while giving wide latitude to school administrators for many offenses. The Board agreed that “zero tolerance” means that there will be consequences for student offenses, though not always the most serious penalties prescribed. The Board indicated its approval of flexibility in the policies and stressed its trust in administrators to deal with each incident in the most appropriate way. District administrators were asked to review current policies and suggest ways in which they can be updated and improved. Student Board Member Sean Herron also suggested more aggressive programs to let students know what is and is not permitted on campus.
Leased Portables Approved for Modernization
The Governing Board approved lease of 26 portable buildings to house classes and other school facilities while permanent classrooms are being modernized at Hart High School and Placerita and Sierra Vista junior high schools, despite a large stock of unused portable buildings the district currently has in storage. Modernization Director Paul Rivas pointed out that it would be more costly to repair, move and install the existing buildings than to lease new ones. Because of state regulations, it would also require Division of the State Architects approval to use the district’s own portables, which would delay start of the modernization projects. The district already is attempting to sell its surplus portable buildings through online auction. The Board also authorized soil compaction and testing services and labor compliance services for the modernization projects—all required by state regulations but not covered by state funding.
The Governing Board asked the district’s Facilities staff to prepare a list of unfunded government mandates that make school construction so much more costly than similar projects in the private sector.
Schools Request Support for ‘Green’ Efforts
Student Board Member Sean Herron noted that a number of district schools have increased their recycling efforts in support of the environment. He suggested a district-wide contest next year to support schools’ efforts to be more earth-friendly.
Learning Post, Academy in the Spotlight
Enrollment is increasing at both Learning Post and Academy of the Canyons, Principal Jill Shenberger told the Board during a Strategic Plan spotlight. Learning Post has conducted a pilot project this year, requiring independent study students to attend an on-site English core class. She noted that 100 percent of Learning Post students passed the English/language arts portion of the California High School Exit Exam this year, largely due to increased emphasis on reading and writing in the core class.
At Academy of the Canyons, the district’s Middle College High School, the school’s English and history teachers are working together in teams to address reading, literacy and writing across the curriculum, and a Human Rights Book Club encourages students to read on a voluntary basis and discuss the topics they read about.
Congratulations and welcome to the following staff members:
May 7, 2008 Regular Governing Board Meeting
Certificated Position Site
These staff members are hired for the 08/09 school year
Rosa Bartolovich Counselor La Mesa
Lydia Bauer Special Ed. Teacher Valencia
Diana Clark Science Teacher Sierra Vista
Karen Clark Math Teacher Valencia
Aaron Davis Science Teacher Valencia
Christopher Evans English Teacher Golden Valley
Josh Fogel Special Ed. Teacher West Ranch
Susan Friedman Special Ed. Teacher Arroyo Seco
Kevin Goralsky Mathematics Teacher Valencia
Brenda Green Mathematics Teacher Golden Valley
Rebecca Hayes Spanish Teacher Valencia
Nikki Hencey Special Ed. Teacher Valencia
Mark Peckham Special Ed. Teacher La Mesa
Iyashema Redd Counselor Bowman/Sequoia
Ulrike Spiegl Math Teacher Golden Valley
Ashley Uptgraft Math Teacher Golden Valley
Danielle Werts Science Teacher Golden Valley
Kelly Abbott (change of status) Math Teacher Learning Post
Lori Andrews (change of status) Program Specialist Sequoia
Anne Konrad (change of status) Phys. Ed. Teacher West Ranch
Tracie Priske (change of status) Home Economics Teacher West Ranch
Angela Villa-Knolls (change of status) Counselor Sierra Vista
Susan Wright (change of status) Speech Therapist La Mesa
Best wishes and congratulations to retiring staff members Cindy Klinger (Sierra Vista JHS Counselor), Mamie Wong (Sierra Vista JHS Special Ed. Teacher), Portia Boord (Career Visions Intermediate Account Clerk), Michael Calhoun (Bowman HS Lead Campus Supervisor), Linda Swayze (Hart HS Secretary). A reception honoring all retirees will be held on May 21.