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Hart District Governing Board meeting ‘round-up’

Posted: September 17, 2009 8:41 p.m.
Updated: September 18, 2009 8:38 p.m.
District Approves Two-Year Contract for Teachers
The Hart District has reached agreement with the Hart District Teachers Association on a new two-year contract which helps to close the district's budgetary shortfall. The contract raises class size, increases counselor/student ratio, shortens the 2010-11 school year by removing a non-instructional day, and introduces a tiered cost sharing structure for health benefits.

The contract helps bring the district's spending in line with massive cuts in state funding and meets the Governing Board goal of avoiding layoffs. After Board approval, HDTA President Leslie Littman announced that the district's teachers have voted to accept the contract.

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Final Boundary Adjustment Approved
Starting with the seventh grade in 2010, students in the area east of I-5 and south of Lyons Avenue will attend Placerita Junior High/Hart High School instead of the current Rancho Pico/West Ranch. The final segment of a three-part boundary adjustment across the district will help ease overcrowding at some district schools while making better use of some under-enrolled campuses.

Following a series of community input meetings, the proposal dropped a provision that would have applied to current eighth graders, allowing those students to choose which high school they will enter in 2010. A flexible intradistrict transfer policy will allow siblings to remain together and will permit limited transfers to Rancho Pico as long as there is room for additional students.

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Teachers, Counselor Recognized by Board
All 17 of the district's site Teachers of the Year were recognized by the Governing Board, which announced that special education teacher Jennifer Huhn from Golden Valley High School is this year's Hart District Teacher of the Year. All of the teachers and classified employees of the year will be honored at a luncheon and their portraits placed on display in the hall of the district's Administrative Center.

The Board also recognized Bowman High School counselor Suzy Mansfield for winning the McDaniel Foundation Excellence in Counseling and Guidance Award.

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District Reaches Record 818 API Score
The Hart District has earned an 818 score in this year's Academic Performance Index determined by the state. That record-high score exceeds the state goal of 800 for all California districts and the Hart District's own goal of 814. Dave LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment, noted that all of the district junior high schools exceeded the 800 state goal, and every district high school either increased its score or exceeded the 800 mark. La Mesa and Sierra Vista junior high schools and Golden Valley High School were lauded for making the greatest gains among comprehensive schools, and Sequoia Charter School was saluted for a "tremendous" 122-point gain.

Early College High School is the district's first school to break the 900 point barrier, and Academy of the Canyons was close behind with an 879 API. In the federal Annual Yearly Progress rating, all Hart District schools exceeded the guidelines based on overall scores. Some schools missed AYP based on performance of various sub-groups, but LeBarron noted that these subgroups have gained faster than the general school population, helping to narrow the achievement gap between student groups. The district's success was attributed to a focus on academic achievement and instructional leadership.

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Contract Agreement Eases Budget Woes
The two-year contract agreement with Hart District teachers will allow the district to present a balanced budget in 2009-10 and 2010-11, according to public disclosure required at the Governing Board meeting. Chief Financial Officer Sue Guthrie noted that the cost-sharing provision for health benefits alone will save the district $727,000 in the current year and $1.25 million next year.

County budget officials who were present lauded the district staff for working to close the budgetary shortfall and challenged the district to deal with a projected shortfall again in 2011-12. The district's classified staff and management employees already had agreed to cuts in order to balance the district budget.

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Personnel Matters
Congratulations and welcome to the following staff members:
September 16, 2009, Regular Governing Board Meeting

Certificated - Position, Site
Kimberly Cooper - Physical Ed, Sierra Vista
Jaime Foderaro -Special Ed (SC1/RS), Golden Valley
Falon Feix (change of status) - English, Canyon
Sarah Morris (change of status) - English, Hart

Classified - Position, Site
Ligaya Kelly - Inst. Asst. I/Special Ed, Valencia
Richard Paredes - Bilingual Inst. Asst. I, Golden Valley
Mildred Gaines (change of status) - Inst. Asst. I/Special Ed, Valencia
Cynthia Ramirez (change of status) - Bilingual Inst. Asst. I, Hart


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