Hayward adult school in jeopardy of closing

February 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
California's budget crisis means school districts across the state continue to make painful cuts. In Hayward, $18 million needs to be trimmed, but the district is considering getting rid of a program supporters say is critical to the community.

The Hayward Adult School serves about 10,000 students. Some are unemployed and getting retrained.

"We are where you go when you lose your job. We train students in getting their high school diploma and getting their GED," teacher Madeline Kronenberg said.

The adult school is one of many services the school budget advisory committee is considering eliminating. The Hayward School District must cut $18 million from its $180 million general fund.

"This allows them a wide breath of possibilities, it's all it is. And since $18 million is a lot of money, they have to look at all possibilities," interim superintendent Janis Duran said.

The district's finances are now also under the supervision of fiscal advisors. The fiscal advisors were appointed by the county to make sure this district stays afloat and pays the bills. The district was in the same situation in 2004.

It took two and half years to become solvent. Barry Schimmel says this time Sacramento's budget cuts have made the district's financial crisis worse.

"We had $5,800 per student, now we have $5,000 per student," he said.

That's a loss of $800 per student, multiply that by 20,000 and it represents a loss of $16 million.

The Hayward Chamber of Commerce says these cuts are far -eaching; families are not moving in.

"If you aren't getting corporate people to relocate here because they don't want to live here, then it hurts the availability of class A office space, which is where the higher paying jobs are," Brian Schott from the Hayward Chamber of Commerce said.

The school board is also trying to explain why in these tight economic times, the district continues to pay the former superintendent's six-figure salary who left in December.

"I prefer not to comment. I was not here and it's a contractual obligation by the board," Duran said.

Also on Monday, the president of the school board resigned unexpectedly.