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Hercules City Council to Meet with School Board Jan. 15

City and school officials will meet next week.

Officials from the city of Hercules and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District are scheduled to meet next week to discuss school safety, the possible need for a new school in the city, a construction update and other topics.

The Hercules City Council is set to discuss the agenda for the Jan. 15 meeting at its own meeting on Tuesday.

The Jan. 15 meeting will be the first-ever joint meeting between the school district and city council, and will be held at the Hercules City Council Chambers.

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What should the two groups discuss at the meeting? What issues need to be addressed? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Hercules City Council meeting
7 p.m. Tuesday
City Council Chambers, 111 Civic Drive

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Joint meeting of Hercules City Council and West Contra Costa County Unified School District Board of Education
7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 
City Council Chambers, 111 Civic Drive 

Giorgio C. January 08, 2013 at 02:37 PM
The WCCUSD HR Director is reporting a teacher turnover rate of 47%. This is a stunningly high number. Add to the fact that in 2010-11, 20 district teachers were deemed unfit for rehire. Add the recent turnover of principals. The principal from Lupine Hills has been relocated, the principal from Hercules Middle-High School moved to the district office, and the Ohlone principal moved to Lupine Hills. Which schools have the most turnover is not clear. Hanna Ranch, the average teacher salaries are the highest in the district, so perhaps there is less turnover at this school. The other Hercules schools had average salaries close to the district average. Hercules Middle-High School is $54,600, the district average being $56,300 Hanna Ranch has an average teacher salary of $67,400 with the school winning a prestigious award. It is the other 3 schools that are of concern. Their API scores hint that there is a problem. We can't blame everything on our kids. The district cannot provide a stable population of teacher or administrator. So I would like to hear from Superintendent Harter and President Kronenberg as to what Hercules can do to help their children succeed in this less than optimal environment. We cannot trust that new or less experienced teachers are getting the job done. For this reason, I ask that the district work with Hercules to put the necessary tools in place so that parents in Hercules can play a greater role in teaching their children.
Kim January 08, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Ask the school district to stop sending / dumping high risk kids (with mental or criminal records) to Hercules Middle High School. Have mental health staff in school. Provide the school and teachers tools as how to monitor and handle the students before and in crises, Install security system such as monitors in problem areas. Have extra staff and security patrols in school yard and parking lot at all times.
Kim January 09, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Susan, Do you have information about how those students were transferred to HMHS and they are not Hercules residents besides first come first served? I know some of the students may have been from the group homes in Hercules, but there are some transferred from outside of Hercules with concerned background. Unfortunately, this is the district assignment which should be brought up and questioned in the coming meeting. Regardless where the students come from, Safety issue is one of the main concerns in HMHS.
Joe P January 10, 2013 at 06:32 AM
Kim, I am with you on this. Hercules residents should bring up this concern.
Susan D.Keeffe January 10, 2013 at 08:10 AM
Kim, The Transfer Office has the records of all students who transfer in. The Transfer policy is available from them as well. Safety absolutely IS an issue. But accusing the District of "dumping" and disparaging students who are transfers is not the answer to solving the problem. This District has an open enrollment policy. Parents who want their students to attend a school out of their attendance area have every right to apply to the Transfer office and their application will be dealt with on a space available, first-come basis. Special Needs students whose home school does not have the program identified via the IEP process to meet their needs must, by law, be placed where those programs exist. So there are Special Education students in the Special Education classes in Hercules who do not live in the Hercules Attendance area. Students with problems are still children, not things, and not things to be "dumped" by anyone, anywhere.
Carol January 11, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Susan - high risk students are not always associated with developmentally disabled or special needs based on that disability - DO not mix the two -. Kim is talking about high risk, truant types - I THINK. I agree with Kim and Joe. Hercules kids should have the priority, and I know that some of my friends (my kids are in private school) complain about the same thing.
Susan D.Keeffe January 11, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Carol, Thanks. As special educator with over 32 years experience, and as a special Ed Mom, I'll do my best to remember that.
Carol January 11, 2013 at 05:55 AM
Susan - I applaud you for your help with education and the fact that you have a special needs child - it is a life long committment that few can understand or deal with and I applaud you for that. I would pay every cent of my taxes to help children with special needs before I would pay for truants or convicts. I want to help those less fortunate and those with limitations that are because of those types of limitations. But I do draw the line at law breakers.
Susan D.Keeffe January 11, 2013 at 06:00 AM
Carol, Thank you, if you could just read what I posted you will see my objection is thinking children, like garbage, can be "dumped". I provided info where folks can look up transfers. I also support parental choice.
Carol January 11, 2013 at 06:10 AM
I get that, and I did read it - and I agree in principle, but I also agree with Kim and Joe that it is not the special needs needs or disadvantaged - it is deeper than that. We do have many children that are annexed in from other areas that I believe should not be here - whether I am right or wrong - that is my opinion. I still think your child deserves every advantage he or she should get and I am absolutely happy to pay for that help in any tax basis necessary.
Susan D.Keeffe January 11, 2013 at 07:40 AM
Carol, That's nice but irrelevant. My comment has nothing whatsoever to do with what anyone deserves. Children are not "dumped" nor are they " annexed" like furniture. Hercules has no need to import children of any age with problems as we have plenty of our home grown ones with issues, there are not large groups of outsiders coming in causing problems- they live here. There are not that many openings for transfers to begin with. . And for those who do manage to be accepted, transportation has to be workedp out. The sooner we deal with our own problems rather than looking elsewhere to blame the better. We should consider a closed campus. There are problems with non students coming onto the campus. Busy parents may want to check more closely on what their children are doing and not be so quick to reward with fancy cars. The donut tracks on Bayfront are not caused by strangers. The groups of kids hanging out in the old deserted waterfront houses walk there from their homes as witnessed by neighbors. The accidents on the Sycamore bridge have been caused by local teens who were speeding, the last one came from Chelsea and it was a miracle he wasn't hurt. The drug activity in the units at the top of Victoria By the Bay keep our police busy. We have truancy problems, drug problems, family problems but they are ours. Check the police logs. The first step to solving our problems are to stop denying they are our problems.
Toni Leance January 11, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I agree with Sue our problems our are own and I think some of it comes from not having anyplace these kids can hang out due to lack of retail. If we had shops and restrauants where kids can hang out and socialize instead of the streets or abandoned buildings maybe we would have less mischief. Justin, one of our youth, has said many times, there isn't anyplace in Hercules that he and his friends can hang out. No casual restrauants, ice cream or yogurt shop, bookstores. We need economic development for all Herculeans including our youth.
Giorgio C. January 17, 2013 at 03:48 AM
This meeting was not well planned, but it was a start in the right direction. There was a strict time limit, so the public forum was cancelled so that the meeting could end at 9pm. Ask Mayor Delgado why we spend so many hours talking about censuring council members, but when it comes to education, time is limited. Some notes: 1. There is a gang element in our schools. Dan Romero is pressing for a district sponsored School Resource Officer. 2. Ohlone school to be completed by 2014, but childcare center possibly ready in 2015. The bids for the childcare care go out in 2014. There was some talk about the possibility of the childcare being offered elsewhere in the City. How will children get to this facility? 3. Projections indicate no need for a new elementary school in the next 10 years. There is some question as to whether or not the Superintendent's projections had truly factored in some of the more recently proposed developments. 4. Hercules Middle High School has abandoned the policy of suspending students for 3 days if they skipped one class. Not sure what prompted this policy or why it has since been rescinded. 5. The WCCUSD is asking the city council to support the debt limit waiver which increases the debt limit to 5% from 2.5% number of unknown origin. Without this waiver, we cannot spend the money that the voters approved. Dr. Harter brought out some bankers and Piper Jaffray suits to allay our fears about the ginormous bond debt.
Giorgio C. January 20, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Should Hercules mothers retreat from the job market? I ask because at the Hercules-WCCUSD meeting, Trustee Charles Ramsey commented that Hercules sure does value its after school childcare program, so an extra effort would be made to ensure it isn't interrupted during the construction at Ohlone Elementary. Is after school childcare for kindergarten not considered a standard school service offering? To him I must ask, what choice do we have? What is everyone else doing? Is it expected that one parent is working and one taking care of the child? Am I missing something? How many years ago did women enter the job market? Wasn't one of the consequences of this the need for after school childcare? Or are many of our parents very wealthy, hiring nannies? Maybe in Fremont, but Hercules? What are Richmond, El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, and El Sobrante doing to meet this need? Yes, Hercules values after school childcare. Who doesn't?

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