Hart district board members unanimously approved Joe Messina as their new school board president with a 5-0 vote Wednesday, said outgoing board President Gloria Mercado-Fortine.
Messina talked about some of his goals and challenges facing the Santa Clarita Valley’s 23,000 students junior high and high school district in an exclusive interview with KHTS. (Click here for a link to the interview.)
“Well there’s a couple of things happening,” Messina said. “We have to maintain our student population, and we’ve done a good job of that and keeping it level. It’s not that we don’t want more students, but you lose students to private schools and home-schooling, and we have to stay competitive. We have to offer the programs. We have to have the things that the kids want, that they have to come to the public school environment to take advantage of.”
A big concern for Messina has been the reaction to Proposition 30.
“There are a lot of people, not in the (Hart) district), but in the education world, who are trucking forward thinking, ‘Hey, you know what? We’ve got the money coming in, we’re going to be OK,” Messina said.
“My attitude is, don’t wait until you get the check. Wait ‘til the check clears. I want to make sure we have that money before we start turning back on programs, or giving back furlough days. We need to know that this is real money, and that we have this.”
Mercado-Fortine said she was proud of the way the board was able to work together under her leadership and make significant.
“One of my goals originally was to bring a Castaic high to fruition, and this year, we entered into escrow and it is closer than it ever has been before,” she said.
For Messina, the appointment is his first term as board president during his third year as a member of the Hart district board.
“We continued the rotation with Joe Messina as the president, the clerk is Steve Sturgeon and the assistant clerk is Paul Strickland,” Mercado-Fortine said.