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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.”

Jack Herrington June 08, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I realize that "indoctrination" is an often repeated talking point, but I don't see any of it at the ground level with my child. The teachers have far too many students to give them any individual "indoctrination" and most of the school year is spent teaching to standardized tests leaving little room for any non-standard "indoctrination". But hey, maybe reading, writing and math is "indoctrination".
Tim June 08, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I'm not suggesting that the indoctrination of the children is necessarily occurring at an individual basis. I actually believe it's more imbedded in the overall class discussions. No, probably not in high school math class, but certainly in social studies, economics, and other classes. I speak from my own experiences as someone who graduated from HS and College in recent years (during the G.W. Bush Admin) that it does take place. I can still remember in a HS US government in senior year (many of us were 18) filling out voter registration forms and being told by my teacher to "check the box for 'Democratic Party'". I didn't know any better, so I did. You may not see it with your own kid because either a) it's subtle, b) your own personal politics are left of your kids teacher... but I would bet on choice c) both "a" & "b". Please don't respond telling me I'm offending you. I'm not trying to be insulting. I wasn't trying to be insulting in calling you "Captain Jack Sparrow" either. I twas trying to be humorous. If I wanted to be insulting I would have used different words, much like the ones that spew from your "great statesman" Congressman Pete Stark's mouth (you asked which statesmen use insults, there ya go). But, I'm sure that hasn't stopped you from voting for him. A little hypocritical, wouldn't you say?
Jack Herrington June 08, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Hypocritical of me? Because I voted for Stark? Whoops, I voted for Swalwell. I went to High School in Miami where I was encouraged by the teachers to attend prayer meetings between classes. One of my social studies teachers went on and on about how he had a cabin in Montana for after the coming Biblical holocaust. Was that indoctrination? Given the budget cut days, half days, and classroom sizes it's more incumbent on parents to take an active role in educating their kids. Teachers today are more mentors than teachers nowadays, particularly to the kids who aren't struggling. I know exactly what my kid is learning and reinforce what makes sense and fill in what's missing.
Tim June 08, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Jack, you sound like you went to high school a long, long time ago. Times have changed. My experiences are at least withing the last decade. You want to go back to 1965. Well, i guess you and i have something in common. I voted for Swalwell as well. But Stark is still my proof that you were asking for that there are public officials that aren't respectful. In fact, he's down right rude. That said, I don't consider Stark a "statesman", rather, he's more of a "statist". As for your last statement. That's great that you play an active role in your kid's studies. You should. You're probably a great parent. I will be doing the same when I have kids in school. Unfortunately, there are many under-privileged kids that don't have that luxury and need and deserve a fighting chance. It's incumbent upon all of us to at least give them that. The NHUSD just went about this ass backwards. They should have sat down with the union and got them to agree to concessions FIRST, then ask us for the parcel tax. Then I would have supported it. I also wholeheartedly believe it would have passed had they done this. The fact that they didn't, in my opinion, shows that they're greedy. Hopefully, someone on the Board of Education reads these posts, but I doubt it.
Jack Herrington June 08, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Thanks for the compliment on parenting. But really, 1965? Thanks a lot. I'm not that old by a long shot. Listen, I didn't tell that story to gripe about it. I didn't care then and I don't care about it now. I was inoculated with critical thinking skills by my parents. But when you say that underprivileged kids need a helping hand I agree, but in what way? What exactly would you change in the curriculum? I'm pretty sure telling kids to register as Democrats is not in the curriculum. That was just an bad teacher. As for school board folks reading these comments, why would they? The comments up until recently have been mainly content-free insult-ridden rants of little or no value. The Patch is an opportunity wasted. I believe you have a valid point that the union, and the community should have had more consultation with a free exchange of ideas. But when you look at forums like these it would be tough to imagine wading out into the public sphere to find any constructive exchange of ideas.
Tim June 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I'm not talking about curriculum per say, but providing resources... library media center open after school with staff on hand to provide extra help / tutoring for those needing extra help that may not be getting it at home.... and access to books, supplies, computers, etc. While certainly not all will want to take advantage, and I don't know what could be done to persuade them to, I'm sure there's some kids out there that would appreciate it. I actually think that's more important that class size at the high school level. I don't see the big deal of 30 or even up to 35-1 in a high school classroom. Most of my classes were around 30-1 and never had any problems. Okay, so maybe the board members can't be expected to read the Patch, but I don't recall them publicly asking for input from the community when Measure H was brought up. Sure, they spent the big bucks on a consulting firm to help them get H passed but I never got the impression they really cared what those of us who voted No on B last year voted the way we did. Sure they had their regular school board meeting but why not hold a listening forum specifically to hear from those of us who voted No on B to hear our concerns?
Jack Herrington June 08, 2012 at 03:49 AM
I'm pretty sure my school has all that. Resources aren't really the problem. Motivation is. When I was a kid I taught myself how to program. Today, kids could learn how to make a six figure salary with nothing but Notepad and a browser. I've given lectures at Elementary schools, Middle schools, maybe one in thirty will listen. It's sad. The kids just want to watch TV and play video games. That's not the teachers fault. Same issue with class sizes, if you are a motivated learner then you are right, class size doesn't matter. But the unmotivated ones, the ones you want to help, need that individual attention. As for the school board, I know these folks, I can ask them to put an agenda item on their next meeting for that. Would you make the effort to attend. You don't have to say you are Tim. Just a concerned citizen or whatever. But would you go? Now I'm not trying to play gotcha or anything but I would be bereft if I didn't point out that access to resources and teachers is exactly what Measure H was attempting to fix.
Zade June 08, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I am an unregistered voter. (Yes, I find both repugnant.) But I agree with this gentleman's message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5rvD_sNX3g&feature=g-user-u
Tim June 08, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I understand that Measure H was about exactly what they said. I don't dispute that. I was just angered that they didn't even consider that maybe the employees, both admins and teachers should have their contracts renegotiated to offer some concessions so these people share just a little of what many in the private sector have. One individual commented above that he is unemployed and unable to find work. He's one of many I can assure you. It's about fairness. Public employees have to understand that can not longer "party like it's 2004". I keep hearing about the "drastic" cuts to the budget but I'm curious, what was the budget for the year 2000 up until the peak of $114 million prior to the cuts? I want to know how much it has increased over the years during good economic times. You're right, insults and angry comments are not helpful. I would be willing to attend a public meeting with other members of the community and the school board. While open to all, I think the focus should be on listening to the concerns of the "no" side. I don't know why they didn't bother to do this after the failure of B. I was more upset that they spent thousands on an outside consultant to help them pass H. They need to work with us and not against us if they want our support. Thank you for passing that on to the school board members.
Tim June 08, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Zade, that is a GREAT video. Very well spoken and concise. The point he makes about public sector unions is right on the money. The two parties are "negotiating" not against each other (as private sector unions) but conspiring together AGAINST the taxpayer. This is why McVeigh and the NHTA "magically" worked out some deal only hours after Measure H's defeat. They had this agreement in the works in case this happened. They were just hoping they'd get more of our money and it wouldn't come down to this. I am glad they did, rather than lay off more teachers, but they needed to do this in the first place before coming after us for another tax.
Jack Herrington June 08, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Can't hurt to ask, right?
Green Is Better June 08, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Voting is such a wonderful right to have. Sad that people take it for granted by not showing up.
Pete June 08, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Couldn't agree more.
JOHN June 09, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Edwin T....another point I would add to your comments is that I believe there is a conflict of interest for anyone who votes for any measure that directly benefits them. It would be the samething as voting for a raise. Who would not vote for a raise, when it is for a raise for themselves? At voting time, those who would benefit directly should not be able to vote for or against the issue. Stay neutral on the issues and let the chips fall.
JOHN June 09, 2012 at 03:58 AM
This one of the points I was making before the vote. You can vote NO, and if the measure fails, you can still contribute, so make your check out for $180. or more every year and I know the NHSD will gladly accept. Where is the problem?
JOHN June 09, 2012 at 05:02 AM
YES VOTERS can make their checks out to the BOOSTERS CLUB. Please get these checks in the mail no later than next week. Thank you!
wdf1 June 09, 2012 at 07:35 AM
California also has the highest ratio of students/teachers.
Jack Herrington June 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM
John, if your point is that people were voting yes because they knew they would not have to pay the text then first, have the courage to say that openly, second, have some facts to prove it. In my case, you are wrong, I own my house, I voted yes, I would have paid the tax. Every other parent I talk to and am friends with was in exactly the same position, save one. Many of my friends moved here and bought houses here because of the quality of the schools. So of course they are going to support whatever tax measures support the schools. They also donate heavily to the schools directly with their time and money, well in excess of the $180 per household presented in this bill. If you have facts that prove otherwise please present them.
Ron June 10, 2012 at 02:05 AM
John, you're right, and Jack, it's not tracked so it can't be proven. Why don't you take some exit polls next time. Lets see how many of these YES voters write those checks. I am guessing not very many. That will be your proof that these YES voters were only looking to throw their fellow citizens under the bus to pay a tax that they wouldn't be paying themselves. That's democracy for you!
Pendragon June 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Tim and all, we're already at 35+ in the Logan classrooms. Rosters started at 39-40 in the fall, then lessened with attrition as some kids and parents moved elsewhere. But I haven't had fewer than 35 for several years. Our union traded away class size limits (33-1) about 10 years ago in exchange for continued full medical coverage. We're told to expect 40+ in the fall, so I have to think about reconfiguring my classroom to accommodate the extra kids. Get rid of the six computer stations for more desks? Maybe, but once gone, I'll never get them back -- nor will my future students, ever. I don't live in UC, never have, just work here. Consequently, I kept out of this issue completely, advocating neither side on Measure H -- and certainly not to the students. Both sides make compelling arguments here. All I can add here is the truth -- I don't know about the 9th grade classes (because there's a special program), but the rest of us have well over 35 students now, and it's likely to get worse. Some kids will do okay under these conditions, but none will thrive -- and many will kind of slip back into the crowd and never get involved in learning, passing, or even attending eventually. So maybe NHUSD and the union are lying about teacher cutbacks and class sizes increasing, but it's all been true so far. My classes have been steadily getting bigger every year, and there's no reason to believe that it won't continue. FYI
Tim June 12, 2012 at 04:56 AM
I can appreciate the concern of class size. I think everyone can agree that more than 35 students in a high school classroom is too much. I certainly think so. I think it's commendable that you didn't involve yourself in Measure H, especially not in the classrooms. I don't take issue with you living out of the district. So what? You pay our taxes there, right? This issue is how do we resolve the problem. NHUSD, the unions, the school board, and even the mayor and city council all took the easy wasy out and threw in to go after the taxpayer to solve the problem. This is wrong. If all employees took a wage freeze (forgo step and column raises) it would save $700K annually. You would have had more support for Measure H, and it would have passed. This "shared sacrifice" would have provided about $3.7 million a year in funding. That should solve your class size problem and keep more teachers. Also, it wouldn't hurt to get rid of NHUSD's $175K a year "spokesman" and $150K a year "nutrition specialist". I find the waste insulting when I'm being asked to pay more. I am sorry your class sizes are getting out of control, not just sorry for you, more sorry for the students that are suffering for it. It's definitely not right but what can I do as a taxpayer to get NHUSD to work with those of us that voted no to find a solution that is most fair to all parties? And don't say go to the school board; they don't care what I think.
Jack Herrington June 12, 2012 at 05:05 AM
So there are limits for you when you think that our educational system will be degraded? 35 is too much. Ok. So what are _you_ going to do about it? What actual steps are _you_ going to take? Nothing I guess because; "And don't say go to the school board; they don't care what I think." How convenient. Is this the plan then? To anonymously attack the people who do want to make a difference on an obscure local news site? We got the measure of the effectiveness of that in the comparison of the results of Measures B and H. With and without the patch nearly identical results. You make the same points over and over, fire this guy and that guy, forgo step and column raises. Fine. But how are _you_ going to make that actually _happen_?
Tim June 12, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Jack, I can't make any of it happen. The reason the school board won't care what I think is because they are POLITICIANS, and left wing political hacks at that. You saw the numbers. Why would they want to work with those of us who voted "No" when 62% voted "yes"? They will roll with the majority to get reelected whether its in the best interest of the kids who attend the schools or not. Didn't one even run for Assembly? "Cheema"? I think she had about 14 votes. But, that proves my point about them being politicians. I guess I can't accomplish anything here really. But, just maybe if the NHTA and its members felt they were the ones about to get the shaft, maybe they could petition the school board and ask why it's more important for NHUSD to pay for a "spokesman" to the tune of $175K a year than it is to keep 2-3 extra teachers in the classrooms with that money.
Tim June 12, 2012 at 05:31 AM
And who exactly is "trying to make a difference" publicly? Please give me the name of this person or persons because again, all I saw was all parties; that is NHUSD, its unions, school board, mayor, and city council all taking the easy way out by conspiring to screw the taxpayer. Never once did I hear anyone asking for any concessions from anyone at NHUSD. So, again, who is this person(s) "trying to make a difference?"
Pendragon June 12, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Our new contract freezes step and column increases. Don't know about PR guy and nutrition specialists. That's NHUSD, not us. I just wanted to clarify some apparent misconceptions about current class sizes. 30? 33? Long gone...
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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