Ask Joe

Q. So all the money spent to hire “Experts” was really a waste of time. Never mind their reports, never mind the Facility Foundation Reports, never mind the state guidelines for school construction, “I believe in the Grading Contractor.”

A. Your comment that the money was wasted is not true, There are many things they did that we would have had to pay for anyway. My biggest heartburn was that many issues about Hasley Sloan were glossed over and BIG DEALS were made over Romero’s 5 gal diesel fuel bucket. I have spent over 120 hrs on this issue just dbl checking the facts we got from all the consultants. There was wrong information. Which caused me to spend 3 hrs with developers that had nothing in this race. I was told point blank by more than 5 professionals that are not owned by Larry or will benefit from the deal. That the best site given the circumstances and requirements was Romero. Feel free to call me or email me and I will discuss further.

Q. Why do we let the union’s desires take precedence over students? The new software system in the district has a fantastic parent portal that allows parents to see attendance, grades, etc. However, the union has negotiated that teachers are not required to use this system? Aren’t schools always asking for parents to be more involved? It seems counter intuitive.

A. After asking a few questions at the administration level my understanding is; Attendance and progress report/report card grades on Infinite Campus (software program being used) will be available to all parents. Teachers are required to enter daily attendance into Infinite Campus and it becomes immediately available to any parent who has signed up for the Portal. The part that individual teachers have control over is when to post individual class assignment/test grades. Teachers have never been required to use an electronic program to record their class assignments/tests (although most do), so changing this requirement would need to be negotiated. Junior high teachers have voluntarily been using a program called Snap Grades, so Infinite Campus won’t be anything too different for them. Principals will be working hard to get high school teachers (who have not previously published classwork/test grades electronically) on board. I hope this answers the question.

Q. Why are intramural sports being cut from Jr. High. Students LOVE them, it provides an appropriate outlet for students as well as encourage physical activity? Please don’t take yet another thing away from our Jr. High kids.

A. I know is very hard to understand and people are frankly not interested in hearing about budget cuts anymore. BUT they are a reality. We have been cut from a little over 180 million to 166million, our Payroll related expenses are close to 130million that leaves us 30+ million to run and maintain the schools, provide transportation and so on. The money that was used to pay the P.E. teachers for the time they spent on the intramurals was/is part of the budget cuts (it was costing the district over 70 thousand a year on intramurals). The competitions are still possible but the teachers must volunteer to provide the leadership to the students. Some schools have teachers who already have volunteered in spite of the cuts. I don’t know which school you are a part of, but you could contact the Principal to see if he has secured volunteers or not. If not, then ask the site PAC to help.

Q. Joe, Why was the 7/14 board meeting moved on the other side of the valley(Golden Valley H.S.), when I will guess that most of the people planning to attend the meeting will be from the Castaic Community.

A. We knew there would be a large group of people and we didnt want it to be like it was last time. It makes it much easier for support staff to set up and make sure the network is secure at Golden Valley. The rumor is that we did it to make it harder on the Castaic people, Do we really even have to go down that road. Everyone will have a seat and be able to participate.

Q. Joe, Why is it so hard to get information out to parents and school principals about a new after school program for junior high students. Seems we have to pull teeth to get their attention.

A. It depends on what you are referring to. You state that you are trying to get information too parents and school principals, Is the new program a District Program or is it a private program. I need more information to respond. The district wont publicize a program it doesn’t feel is good for our children, school or community. Please email me with more specifics jmessina@hartdistrict.org. I will post the response here.

Q. Joe, having fun yet?

A. Define “FUN”! If you mean, do I enjoy dealing with budget issues, drug problems, and the challenges of getting quick and accurate information from a very large organization, the answer is NO! If you mean am I having fun watching the youn men and women in ROP enjoying and achieving their educational and life career goals, YES! Helping to identify the best site for Castaic, YES! Helping to find real care for our kids that are having drug challenges, YES! YES! YES! It’s all part of the job that I fought to secure and swore to do to the best of my ability. And overall, YES, I am enjoying it!



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