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June 28, 2011 > New Haven Unified School District Board report

New Haven Unified School District Board report

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education on June 21 approved a conditional budget that includes a shorter school year, larger class sizes and reduced funding for after-school activities - and that's a "best-case" scenario. The school year will be even shorter, class sizes even larger and after-school funding even smaller - and schools will be without librarians - if the California legislature and Governor Brown fail to agree soon on a state budget.

The 2011-12 District budget that was approved is conditional on the passage and signing of a state budget, but the governor last week vetoed the budget approved by the legislature, and there is no indication that an agreement will be reached any time soon. That leaves New Haven and every other district in California in a state of uncertainty for the 2011-12 school year.

Under the conditional budget, the instructional year would be reduced by five days, to 175, and employees would take one additional furlough day, meaning a total of six days when they would not work or be paid. In addition, class sizes would increase to 25:1 in kindergarten and 30:1 in third grade (first- and second-grade classes would remain at 25:1). The District would fund some - but not all - of the stipends paid to coaches and advisers for after-school activities and would retain media specialists who staff school libraries, and each of the District's seven elementary schools would have a part-time assistant principal.

In the absence of a state budget, however, the District will be forced to proceed with the budget approved by the Board at the second interim in March. Employees will be asked to take three additional furlough days, and all K-3 classes will be staffed at 30:1. Stipends for coaches and advisers would be largely contingent on fund-raising efforts, and there would be no media specialists. Plans to bring back assistant principals part-time at the elementary schools would be scrapped, and both middle schools would lose one of their two assistant principals.

In either scenario, both of the high schools will lose one administrator, and four counseling positions and a classified management position will be eliminated. Middle school transportation will be eliminated (high school transportation was eliminated two years ago and elementary transportation was eliminated this year), the print shop will be closed, and there will be reductions in maintenance and technology.

The Board:
Approved bell schedules for 2011-12:
James Logan High students will begin school at 8:15 a.m. (25 minutes earlier than in the past) and will be dismissed at 3:20 p.m. (10 minutes earlier), except on Wednesdays, when the school day will be from 8:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Alvarado and Cesar Chavez middle school students will start at 8:30 a.m. (10 minutes later than in the past) and be dismissed at 2:45 p.m. (10 minutes later). Elementary schools will continue to start at 8 a.m. and dismiss at 2:05 p.m. The schedule at Conley-Caraballo High will be from 8:07 a.m. to 12:36 p.m., except on Wednesdays, 8:07 a.m. to 11:46 a.m.

Received a Strategic Plan update from the Division of Teaching and Learning focusing on the work of Instructional Leadership Teams at each school and District-wide; improvement in student performance that can be traced at least in part to initiatives such as Balanced Literacy, Writers Workshop and Secondary Literacy; and dramatically lower retention, expulsion and suspension rates.

Anjanette Pelletier was introduced as the new Director of Special Services.

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