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New Haven Releases Statement on Measure H Defeat

Despite the district's second consecutive defeat of a tax measure, officials say they have reached a tentative agreement with teachers.

From the New Haven Unified School District:

UNION CITY (Wednesday, June 6, 2012) – For the second time in just over a year, a substantial majority of New Haven Unified voters supported a parcel tax that would have helped mitigate cuts forced on the school district because of the ongoing state budget crisis, but .

Measure H, which would have raised approximately $3 million to help the District minimize cuts to the school year and increases in class sizes, received 62.3 percent of the vote, falling 939 votes short of passing. A similar effort, Measure B on the May 2011 ballot, lost by 82 votes.

"Once again, a large majority of voters voiced their support for our schools and our students," Superintendent Kari McVeigh said, "but the bar for a local parcel tax is set very high. We needed everyone who supported us to get out and vote, and that obviously didn’t happen."

Voter turnout across the state was low for Tuesday's presidential primary. Only 7,149 voters cast ballots on Measure H, compared to 11,819 in last year's special election to decide Measure B.

"What's a bit frustrating is that if everyone who had voted for Measure B has joined us again for Measure H, we would have won overwhelmingly," Ms. McVeigh noted. "More people voted yes last year than voted either way this time."

Superintendent McVeigh said the District and the New Haven Teachers Association have been in negotiations about how to mitigate a $12 million budget shortfall for the 2012-13 school year. A tentative agreement has been reached, details of which will be announced pending the teachers vote on the proposal next week.

“The teachers association has been a remarkable partner during this very difficult time, collaborative, and with an obvious commitment to keeping our students’ needs at the top of the priority list,” Superintendent McVeigh said. “We’ve had to work with two sets of numbers – one in hopes Measure H would pass, the other if it didn’t – and it’s just very unfortunate that we’re having to deal with that second set of numbers.”

Budget projections adopted by the Board of Education in March include another increase to class sizes for the 2012-13 school year and another reduction of the instructional year. More than 100 precautionary layoff notices were issued this spring.

“Our teachers have been so collaborative during our negotiations, so concerned about our students, that we hope to be able to mitigate some of those cuts, pending their vote and negotiations with our administrators and classified employees,” Superintendent McVeigh said. “It is going to require great personal sacrifice on the part of our employees, though, and I hope the community understands and appreciates that.”

James Logan High School teacher and NHTA President Charmaine Banther thanked “all the advocates for our students (who) set aside their lives for the past few months to work on Measure H for our kids.” She also looked ahead to a statewide tax measure on the November ballot that would ease cuts to public education.

“We’ll need to make the necessary reductions to start the school year,” she added, “and then re-group for the Governor’s tax initiative in November.”

Tim June 12, 2012 at 06:38 AM
If that is true, I would support a parcel tax of $180 a year for 4 years provided that 1) the freeze remains in place for the duration (written into the measure as a protection against it becoming permanent). 2) It be applied to all employees, not just NHTA teachers, and 3) they seriously look at and make changes to what I believe is waste in the administration such as the two examples I gave. It looks to me like the teachers are being reasonable if what you say is true. Now, it's just up to the district officials and school board.
Jack Herrington June 12, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Me, Jack Herrington. When I go to the schools and teach kids about how to be a software engineer and show they that they can make games on their own computer. My wife, who has nearly a full-time volunteer job doing art at the school because they don't have the funds for one. It's all just individuals pitching in and trying to 'make a difference'. To do something positive. Sometimes that does involve grouping up, my wife can't do the art thing along, so she organizes with other moms (and dads). All volunteer. Because they care. You almost made a difference here when we tried to collaborate on that donations page. That option is still out there. Zoneil, the boosters, they still want to do it. I could do it alone, but I wouldn't love the help. You can even remain anonymous for all I care. Who do you think the NHBA is? It's a bunch of your neighbors. You know what they said when I emailed them with your idea for a donations resource pages? They said (effectively) "Sounds great let's do it." It doesn't take much to do positive stuff in the community.
Jack Herrington June 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Having read your previous comments it's clear that you have a passion for rescue dogs. We share that passion, all the dogs I've ever owned have been rescues. You could make a big difference in the community by taking rescue dogs to our schools. The kids would love you and I'm absolutely sure every dog you take would be rescued. It would be a win-win for everyone; kids would learn about owning pets and the dogs would get attention (and rescued). I seem to recall Furry Friends doing something like this, but I can't find anything on their web site. So it could be something that you start. You could work with them, or Tri-City. Either one I know would be overjoyed to have someone willing to help who is smart and motivated, like yourself. We have a lot of kids in this community with cultural backgrounds that do not include dogs. So to them dogs are weird and scary. Having someone teach them about dogs, dog ownership, and how much love a dog can bring to a family would be very valuable to these kids. Particularly at a young age. You are young and energetic, you have enthusiasm for your causes, you clearly love rescue dogs, and you have an interest in helping our students. Put all that together and I think you have a way to bring something amazing to the community.
GENE A LANGLEY July 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
THEY ASKED FOR TOO MUCH. A $60 DOLLAR TAX WOULD HAVE PASSED: PRESENTED AS JUST $5 PER MONTH THE COST OF A PACK OF CIGS. ALSO MANY SENIORS DID NOT VOTE FOR IT BECAUSE THE PROCEDURE FOR EXEMPTION WAS WAY TOO MUCH TROUBLE AND THRU THE SCHOOL DIST. EXEMPT THE SENIOR HOME OWNERS THRU THE TAX ASSESSORS OFFICE AND ONLY ONCE NOT EVERY YEAR . THEY PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE AGE RECORDS ATTACHED TO THEIR FILES. ASK FOR ONLY $60 AND TRY AGAIN. AS A TAX PAYER ALREADY TAX TO DEATH I WILL NEVER VOTE TO PLAY MORE OR ANYTHING. I WORKED IN CIVIL SERVICE AND SAW THE WASTE. GENE
Pete July 16, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Fine. No need to yell at us though.

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