Hart Union School District Board Meeting – March 15, 2023

Transparent SCVPublic Meetings, William S. Hart Leave a Comment

To navigate to a specific part of the video, simply click on the timestamp links below. Each timestamp corresponds to a different section of the video, allowing you to jump to the parts that interest you the most easily.

00:00:00 In this section of the board meeting, the board ratifies the expulsion of several students and establishes a full quorum. The board also amends the agenda to exclude two recognitions and approves the amended agenda. Board members then report on upcoming events and a parent’s rights bill in the district, which currently allows parents to review and make copies of curricula and other educational materials used by their child’s school.

00:05:00 In this section of the video, a school board member discusses the access to information and records that parents already have in the school district. Then, another member pays tribute to her mother, who was a remarkable woman born in 1914 who became a pilot, a hair stylist, a Riveter in World War II, a test pilot, and an engineer who helped put a man on the moon. After that, two board members express their opinions on racism and how to move forward as a community, acknowledging the anger and hurt that many people experience.

00:10:00 In this section, two board members of the Hart Union School District express their desire to do better and hold themselves accountable for their actions. The first speaker urges the board to act with courage, care, and have courageous conversations. She emphasizes that the district needs to work on areas that need improvement, such as policies regarding hate, and tighten up practices to address it. Additionally, she proposes having community conversations to build a better understanding of each other. The second speaker discusses his recent experiences, including attending the Honor Band performance, which he describes as outstanding, and receiving messages of support from the community.

00:15:00 In this section, a board member of the Hart Union School District commends recent teacher recruitment efforts and school events, but also acknowledges the need to address the harsh realities of racism, microaggressions, and other injustices present in society and within their district. The student board member emphasizes the importance of accountability and communication to address these issues and shares a quote from Valencia High School’s black student union calling for a safe and inclusive environment for all students. The board member encourages conversations and voices that advocate for those who may feel unheard.

00:20:00 In this section of the board meeting, two speakers address the board before the President of the Hart District Teachers Association (HDTA) makes his statement. Diane Zimmerman urges everyone, regardless of their political views, to read “Standing up to Goliath” by Rebecca Friedrichs, which she claims provides facts and history that explain what is going on today. Glenda, after clarifying that she is under public comment and not here to talk about unions, yields her time to John Minkus, the President of HDTA, who reaffirms the commitment of HDTA to provide the best educational opportunities for all students in the Hart District. Jordan Mraz, the Vice President of CSEA Chapter 349, invites the board members to attend a barbecue event and an upcoming classified recognition event. He talks about the importance of the salary study, which had a good turnout of 298 members this time, unlike the previous one with only 17 responses, and emphasizes the commitment of members to the process.

00:25:00 In this section, the board members discuss various updates, including the formation of an additional committee, the recent negotiations with the district resulting in a 10% pay increase and a four percent one-time payment, and the preparation of a Sunshine proposal for the next negotiation round. The principal of Golden Valley High School presents a report with the help of some outstanding students, who introduce themselves and talk about the various committees and organizations they are part of. They also present the enrollment statistics for the school and highlight the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

00:30:00 In this section, a representative from Golden Valley High School in the Hart Union School District discusses the diverse student population at the school and their efforts to enhance communication and collaboration with families, staff, and the community. They highlight strategies such as translation support and communicating in multiple languages, as well as participating in community events and programs with local elementary school districts, College of the Canyons, and other institutes of higher education. They also touch on their efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through initiatives such as Golden Valley’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, which is dedicated to supporting students and creating a culture of acceptance that values diversity.

00:35:00 In this section, the Hart Union School District discusses the efforts they are making through their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program to provide supportive structures to ensure that the entire campus is represented and heard, making a safe space for student voice that leads to a roadmap for change. The collaboration efforts include creating a diversity celebration calendar that helps DEI prepare for what they will be highlighting, highlighting multiple cultures and communities on campus during the ASB spring week of kindness, and developing monthly PSAs with students and staff to celebrate inclusivity and diversity. The presentation was well-received, with Santa Rivera commending the effort to find ways to get along, especially with the Spanish-speaking families in attendance.

00:40:00 In this section, a student praises the community engagement efforts and the bridge being built between colleges and elementary schools. However, the student expresses concern about the lack of involvement of parents in the communication and collaboration efforts. The student highlights the need to build a platform to help parents be more involved and bridge the gap between parents and the school system. The board members commend the students on their presentation and express their appreciation for their work. They also assure the students of their commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

00:45:00 this section, a student from Golden Valley campus emphasizes the importance of recognizing the student body’s role in progress and healing from the current situation. The board members thank the student for their input and move on to the next portion of the agenda, which is public comments. The board president reminds the speakers to address the board, not the audience, and to show respect and civility during the meeting. The first speaker acknowledges the complexity and diversity of each school’s climate and urges everyone not to generalize. She also points out that adolescents may not fully understand the consequences of their actions and that forgiveness and second chances should be given to students as well.

00:50:00 In this section of the meeting, two individuals speak about their experiences with racism in Santa Clarita and express their opinions on the recent incident involving a high school student using derogatory language. Nicole Wilson, a woman of color, shares her personal experiences of discrimination while growing up in Santa Clarita and urges the school board to take action by expelling the student who used derogatory language and creating a safe space for children of color. Cat Walker calls out one of the school board members, Joe Messina, for promoting racism and hatred through his social media posts and self-published book, and questions how Santa Clarita students can be expected to embody anti-racism and anti-bigotry when a board member himself is promoting such actions.

00:55:00 In this section of the video, various individuals speak out at a Hart Union School District Board Meeting to address issues of racism and prejudice within the school community. One speaker defends Joe Messina, claiming that people are making prejudiced judgments based on third-party information. Another student expresses frustration with the lack of action towards combating systemic racism within the school, and demands that the school board take responsibility and work towards a more inclusive and equitable community. Several individuals also emphasize the importance of basic human decency and the need to stop hating each other and start learning from one another.

01:00:00 In this section of the Hart Union School District Board Meeting, multiple students share their frustrations and demands regarding the prevalent racism in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Valencia BSU Vice President demands that the board take responsibility and work towards an environment where black students feel safe and comfortable both on and off-campus. Antonia, a student from Valencia High School, expresses her desire to be seen for who she is and not to prioritize racism in her life. On the other hand, Cindy mentions that the NAACP should provide proper documentation of Mr. Messina’s alleged racial statement and suggests that allowing only people of color to say the n-word is discriminatory. The board should strive for unity and should lead by example by judging individuals based on their character rather than their skin color.

01:05:00 In this section, a member of the Santa Clarita Atheists and Free Thinkers addressed the school board about the incident of racism involving students posting a video with hateful lyrics on social media. The member questioned how a school board member responsible for students’ well-being and education cannot tell what racism is now or during the undeniably racist period of American history. The member suggested that the school board member should step down from his position. Another speaker demanded transparency from the school board regarding the consequences for the students and action plans to avoid or eliminate future hate speech. Lastly, a speaker on behalf of the NAACP requested equal public reprimand and consequences for the students to address the situation and avoid community division.

01:10:00 In this section, three speakers addressed the controversy surrounding Valencia High School students and London Yellow’s song, highlighting different aspects of the issue. One speaker argued that the focus should be on the larger problem of hate on social media and the discipline policies that address it. Another speaker addressed the issue of racial identity politics and called for a mutual respect and shared values to eliminate discrimination. Lastly, a speaker brought up a past incident where a trustee made racist remarks and criticized the lack of support from the community in addressing it. Overall, the speakers urged for a solution that promotes education, repair, and unity to create a more just and equitable society.

01:15:00 In this section of the video, the Hart Union School District Board Meeting continues with public comments, but the meeting becomes tense with emotional outbursts from the audience. The Board President reminds the audience to keep their emotions in check and to speak to the board, not the audience. Lydia speaks about Women’s History Month and the importance of celebrating diversity. However, when Lydia’s two minutes are up, the Board President warns the audience to calm down, reminding them that she has the right to terminate public comments. Despite this, Rebecca Heineman speaks next, discussing the issue of hate, racism, and divisive rhetoric on the campuses.

01:20:00 In this section, speakers at the Hart Union School District Board Meeting discuss the need for education about hate speech and harmful words, expanded ethnic studies, and the removal of groups from campuses that have national platforms promoting hate towards specific groups. One student shared their experience of facing racist behavior from their teacher in class. Another speaker demanded a public apology and resignation from board member Joe Messina for his comments denying that American slavery was based in racism and his history of bigotry on social media. The need to support and protect Black and African-American students was emphasized, especially in light of recent racist behavior by Valencia High students. However, one speaker accused the president of Santa Clarita Valley NAACP of being outlandishly racist and trolling the internet for dirt on those with different opinions.

01:25:00 In this section, two individuals with differing views address the Hart Union School District Board. One individual spoke out against the NAACP and other groups for promoting fear of others into black parents and their children. They believed that working together with everyone needs to be encouraged and that threats and promoting racism do more harm than good. The other individual asked the board how they plan to protect children from racist hate crimes that have been happening for years in the district and criticized board member Joe Messina for his lack of support for the young women who spoke about harm they experienced which is considered a hate crime.

01:30:00 In this section of the video, several individuals addressed the board members and their behaviors. One speaker called for support of students who were offended by the divisive image of hate while protesting the district’s handling of the flag incident. Another speaker criticized Board Member Joe Messina’s comments on social media, which were deemed racist and divisive. A third speaker emphasized the importance of believing BIPOC communities when they share their racial experiences and called for change from the board members and administration. All speakers highlighted the need for the board members to act in the best interest of every student in the district, demand fairness, and hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct.

01:35:00 In this section of the transcript, a member of the community calls for Joe Messina to resign from the board due to his social media posts displaying homophobic, transphobic, and racist attitudes. On the other hand, another member of the community criticizes selective outrage in response to racist and inappropriate lyrics in music, stating that both sides are responsible for this issue. They argue that rap music has created a culture that demoralizes, degrades, and racially divides individuals, and that narratives to defend ourselves are only created after white individuals sing such lyrics. Another member of the community speaks about their Christian values and being raised on MLK’s non-violent policies, calling to coexist under American laws and work towards equal opportunity.

01:40:00 In this section, multiple individuals spoke during the public comments of the Hart Union School District Board Meeting, addressing issues of racism and hate speech in the district. One individual expressed concern about the double standard of allowing hate speech to be written in song lyrics, while girls singing lyrics supporting people of color had received death threats and harassment. Another speaker spoke on the importance of parent involvement and the need for schools to do more to encourage it. Several individuals also spoke about the harmful impact of racism on students and urged the Board to take action to promote a healthier, more unified community.

01:45:00 In this section of the meeting, parents and community members express their concern about racism in schools, sharing personal stories of their children experiencing racist incidents. Some argue that parents need to be more involved and that teachers need to take action when incidents occur. Others suggest that a punitive approach to punishment is not helpful and that the focus should be on education and learning, so that incidents don’t happen again in the future. There is agreement among the speakers that action needs to be taken to address racism in schools, but some are calling for concrete policies and implementation from the school board.

01:50:00 In this section of the video, a community member addresses the board, stating that while the board member in question made a mistake, everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to show compassion towards resolving the issue. Another community member defends a board member’s use of slurs against the Chinese community, claiming that they were written from a historical perspective to inform people that times have changed. The same member urges for understanding of offensive language in today’s world. Finally, a speaker urges those who have spoken to come to a PFLAG meeting and meet some transgender before the meeting descends into chaos and a member leaves upset.

01:55:00 In this section, two speakers share their concerns with the board at the Hart Union School District Board Meeting. The first speaker, who works with high school students, discuss the harassment that young Turning Point USA members faced at Saugus, a campus that had a YAF chapter previously. The same individual who bullied students previously, sits on the PTA board, and continues to harass students, spreading lies and rumors. The speaker called for the district to support these students and their club while addressing the harassment faced by them. The second speaker, Barbara, called for the board to acknowledge racism’s existence in Santa Clarita as it affects four young, intelligent women. The speaker urged the board to initiate an uncomfortable conversation and make a change while emphasizing the need for consequences.

02:00:00 In this section, two speakers address the issue of racism in the Santa Clarita Valley, with one sharing her daughter’s experience of racial slurs at Valencia High School and calling for accountability from school administrators when addressing the issue. The other speaker, Pastor Les Robinson, discusses the need for racial sensitivity training for staff, students, and parents in the Hart Union School District, and suggests holding table talks to educate and encourage respect and peaceful communication among community members. Both speakers highlight the ongoing problem of racism and the need for real, actionable solutions.

02:05:00 In this section of the video, the Hart Union School District Board receives an update on Focus Area number four, Financial and Human Resources. The district is focused on ensuring that every student is “opportunity ready” when they graduate. They have implemented changes to increase fiscal transparency, including creating a budget advisory committee and a new fiscal resource page on their website. The district is also exploring ways to increase revenue while removing barriers to student attendance. They are considering long-term projects such as Workforce Housing, for which they have met with the city of Santa Clarita and plan to visit other California school districts to learn from their experiences.

02:10:00 In this section of the video, Dr. Nielsen and Mr. Meraki discuss the progress that the Hart Union School District has made in hiring classified staff in an efficient and timely manner. They have implemented new technology to streamline the testing and screening process, which has resulted in an increase in the number of candidates tested and applications received. They have also expanded their job posting locations and partnered with local organizations to develop career pathways. In addition, the district has taken steps to attract and retain qualified and diverse staff members, including providing salary increases and bonus funds, as well as resurrecting the SCV teacher recruitment fair. Overall, the district is committed to improving their hiring process and retaining their hard-working staff members.

02:15:00 In this section of the video, the Hart Union School District shares their efforts towards recruiting and retaining teachers, and developing current educational leaders. These efforts include attending recruitment fairs, partnering with organizations for job postings, providing referral bonuses, and offering a scholarship grant for classified staff pursuing a teaching credential. They have also strengthened the onboarding process for new certificated staff members and provided training for administrators on the interview process. Additionally, they have been providing mentorship to principals and working with them on the evaluation process. The district is also exploring implementing an administrator coaching and aspiring administrative program with a neighboring school district.

02:20:00 In this section, the board thanks Dr. Moore and Mr. Coleman for their updates on the strategic plan progress. They appreciate the action plans and progress columns, as it helps them stay accountable and focus on their goals. The board moves on to a discussion on potential savings for taxpayers and the district, with Jesse Landry from California Financial Services presenting on the district’s outstanding bonds and opportunities for prepayment and refunding to reduce interest costs. The board has saved taxpayers millions of dollars in the past, and they hope to continue to do so with these opportunities.

02:25:00 In this section of the Hart Union School District Board Meeting, the Director of Facilities gives a recap of the 2018 lease revenue bonds that were issued due to a funding shortfall in the district’s facilities program. The bonds were backstopped by the general fund and have been repaid with no encumbrance on the general fund. Now that the district has received state funds as a reimbursement for the construction of Castaic high school, it has an opportunity to prepay the bonds and save approximately $12.1 million in interest rate savings. This prepayment won’t be like a refinance but more like paying off the mortgage in one go. The director also notes that the funds can now be spent on projects rather than on interest. The board will take action on April 15th to move funds internally to be able to prepay those bonds.

02:30:00 In this section of the transcript, the Chief Business Official presents to the board two potential opportunities to save money by refunding bonds dependent on interest rates, one of which is a smaller pool that he is less certain about. The Board discusses the process for potentially refunding the bonds, including setting up legal documents and evaluating interest rates. The Board then moves on to approve a resolution in support of adult education programs, recognizing the efforts of all those involved. The Board also acknowledges Golden Oak adult school’s 75th anniversary.

02:35:00 In this section, the board addresses a resolution urging California state legislators to oppose AB 659, which would mandate the HPV vaccine in schools. Two speakers, Betsy Schubert and Suvarna Mystery, expressed their support for the resolution, citing concerns about government overreach and the impact on families in the district. Dr. Moore also highlighted the failed attempts of this bill in the past and requested a personal exemption if implemented. The board ultimately passed the resolution with an added suggestion by Mystery to direct Mr. Coleman to submit the resolution through the legislative portal.

02:40:00 In this section of the Hart Union School District Board Meeting, the board approves a resolution to oppose ab659 and moves on to Ralph’s second interim financial report. Increased costs associated with salary increases, employee contributions to retirement plans, and special education have led to significant expenditure increases. However, strong Workforce Grant funds and donations have led to increases in local revenue. The budget is described as a living document that will continue to change as budget proposals and laws are modified at the state level. The report also recognizes the efforts of the district’s payroll staff in ensuring that salary schedules and retro checks are processed in a timely manner.

02:45:00 In this section, the Hart Union School District Board Meeting presents projections regarding the final budget of the school district for the next five years, starting from the end of this school year. The District staff receives annual salary increases based on the salary schedule, and employer contributions to employee retirement funds have changed. There are other budget considerations outside the district’s control, including increases in property liability insurance premiums, national inflation affecting purchasing abilities, and state budget and legislative initiatives. The Governor’s revised 2023 state budget proposal will be available mid-May, with a public hearing on the budget proposal held on June 14th board meeting. The District’s budget will be adopted on June 28th, followed by unaudited actuals in September reflecting the school year’s actual ending. Despite these projections, the board expressed positivity towards the presentation and advocated for Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials funding to remain intact.

02:50:00 In this section of the transcript, the Hart Union School District Board discusses budgeting and grant funding. They mention that they have not allocated certain funds to any specific expenditure due to uncertainty about potential budget cuts from the governor. The board also discusses Prop 28 Arts and Music funding and how it will be addressed by a group working with district staff. They note that grant funding is separate from unrestricted general fund dollars and will not affect the percent of reserve. The board also talks about a potential budget shortfall at the state level and the governor’s approach to shore up funding for the districts. Finally, they approve the second interim financial report and a positive certification pursuant to Education Code section 42131 before moving onto discussing the grant agreement for a teacher credentialing program.

02:55:00 In this section, the Hart Union School District Board discusses a program that would allow classified employees pursuing their teaching credentials to attend either California State University Northridge or UMass Global while finishing their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. The board approves the grant agreement for the program. The board also discusses a proposal to increase board member compensation by five percent, bringing the monthly compensation to $510.51. Lastly, the board reviews the draft student transportation plan, which ties into strategic initiative 4.2 and a new stream of transportation funding approved by the legislature. The plan must follow guidelines to prioritize services for low-income students, students with disabilities, homeless youth, and unduplicated students.

03:00:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the increase in funding for special education transportation that will help to support at-promise students and expand their support for other students and their families. The director of special programs provides access to free transportation to over 4,000 Foster youth, homeless students, low-income, and English learner students through free Metro tap cards. Transportation support is also provided for special education students based on the severity of their disability. The school district collected feedback through a survey from parent students, staff, and community members with 365 participants, and the highest percentage of participants were from West Ranch, Saugus, Arroyo Seco, Heart, Canyon schools. The survey contained leading questions about transportation services for pupils with disabilities or homeless youth, and the responses showed that 50 respondents supported the services, while 13 wanted to expand it to all students.

03:05:00 In this section, the Hart Union School District discusses their plan for supporting unduplicated students and the process they have completed, which includes public surveys and coordination with different departments to clarify needs and evaluate transportation capacity. They also introduce a pilot program for Golden Valley Transportation to evaluate its effectiveness and plan to report back to the board on that in the future. Additionally, the board approved a transportation plan for the 2023-2024 school year and discussed a resolution to submit a grant request for the Volkswagen environmental mitigation trust to replace buses and vehicles in their fleet. The resolution was approved, allowing the staff to begin the application process.

03:10:00 In this section of the video, the Hart Union School District Board discusses the formation of proposed CFD number 2023-1 to provide funding for school facilities as set forth in a mitigation agreement between the district and property owners. A public hearing is conducted to receive comments in favor or protest of the formation, and no written protests have been received. Staff and legal counsel are available to answer questions, and after the hearing, the board will consider resolutions establishing the CFD and conduct a combined special tax and bond election.

03:15:00 In this section, the board discusses the results of the special tax and bond election for CFD Number 2023-1. The election official declares that two ballots were received, both in favor of the proposition, and that the proposition has passed. The board approves the adoption of Resolution Number LB 22-23-9, and a certification of the election results will be attached to it. During a question, it is noted that the two votes were typical in the context of a CFD formation involving land developers, with the interested parties jointly owning the property for future development.

03:20:00 In this section of the board meeting, the board approves the resolution number lb 22-23-9 and moves on to 10d which is the ordinance of community facilities District number 2023-1 authorizing the levy of a special tax within Community facilities District Number 20 23-1. They present the first reading of the ordinance number lb 22-23-1 and clarify that they did not pass the motion to forgo the reading of the entire ordinance. The board plans to formally adopt the ordinance at the next regular meeting to be held on April 19, 2023. They then move on to the consent calendar with a public speaker expressing concern about a certain book being considered for the 10th-grade curriculum.

03:25:00 In this section, a speaker expresses concern about the difficulty level of a book that has been inserted into the school curriculum and suggests that it should only be offered as an elective for high school students with parental approval. The speaker has researched the book and found it to be geared towards college level students with some difficulty in terms and concepts. The speaker also expresses disappointment that none of the board members stood up for Joe Messina, who has always spoken up for them. The board then moves on to approve the consent calendar, followed by a discussion of items for future consideration, including community conversations on race and reconciliation. Another speaker suggests treating all speakers equally with regard to speaking time and avoiding intimidation during emotionally charged meetings.

03:30:00 In this section, the board discusses the need for training and professional development opportunities to address hate incidents in the community at a district-wide level. They suggest that the board model the way by undergoing training and professional development experiences themselves and looking at board training opportunities to better understand what is happening in the community. They also recognize the need for support from the bottom up and propose future conversations around professional development at a district-wide level for classified teachers, administrators, and support staff. Finally, one individual notes that certain classes are mandated by the state and can’t be eliminated, including world history classes. The meeting is adjourned at 10:46.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *