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February 1, 2011 > New Haven Board of Education briefs

New Haven Board of Education briefs

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education, on January 18, directed staff to prepare a recommendation calling for a May 6 special election, a mail-in ballot asking New Haven voters to approve a parcel tax that would raise approximately $3 million annually. The proposed tax of $180 per parcel - the equivalent of only $15 per month - would provide stable local funding to offset some of the cuts that continue to be forced on the District because of the state budget crisis. The recommendation will be brought to the Board on February 1.

A parcel tax, an assessment added to local property tax bills, requires a two-thirds majority vote for passage. For the District to receive the revenue in time to avoid making additional cuts to the 2011 - 12 budget, the initiative must be included on either a May mail-in ballot or a June special election, and there still is some question whether Governor Brown's call for a statewide special election on the latter date will be approved.

Also the Board:
Received a presentation from a committee that was established to recommend a more equitable and accurate process for identifying students for the District's GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. The committee, born out of concerns that groups of students were not being identified equitably, forwarded recommendations for defining giftedness and talent, multiple options for identification processes, and recommendations for training, monitoring and program.

Received the final annual report from the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee on Measure A, a $120 million bond approved by New Haven voters in 2003. Counting state matching funds, interest and other revenues, the District leveraged the bond into $165 million worth of new construction and improvements, including projects at every New Haven school. Committee spokesman Tony Acosta, deputy city manager of Union City, also presented the District with a check for $100,000, part of a grant paid to the city by Comcast, to upgrade television production facilities at James Logan High School.

Recognized and thanked a group of individuals who purchased dictionaries and thesauruses for every third-grade students in the District. For the fifth consecutive year, local real-estate agent Sunil Sethi organized the project, this time with help from the Fremont Elks Lodge, Hillview Crest Elementary School teacher and part-time real-estate agent Steven Fong, and local insurance agent Kristie Turner.

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