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Mercado-Fortine In As Hart President

Gloria Mercado-Fortine Elected By The Hart Governing Board

The Hart District Governing Board elected Gloria Mercado-Fortine Board President at its organizational meeting Wednesday evening, after officially installing Mercado-Fortine and Steve Sturgeon to their new four-year terms on the Board. The Board also named Sturgeon Clerk of the Board and Dennis King Assistant Clerk. Patricia Hanrion was saluted for her service as Board President for the past year.


Here’s some more news from the most recent Hart School Board meeting, provided by the District.


Study on Alternative Compensation Approved

The Governing Board has given the go-ahead to the District staff and its teachers’ association to continue to work on the concept of an alternative compensation proposal which would focus on student achievement and offer an incentive to teachers to excel. The concept is catching on around the country, and the Hart District is one of the first school districts in California to take a close look at the idea. Discussions are ongoing on how such a compensation package would work, with additional compensation for supplemental work assignments, professional development and measurable student academic growth. An actual pilot program is probably one to two years away, but the ongoing discussions are another example of the District’s excellent collaborative relationship with its employee unions.


Two New Assistant Principals Named

The Hart District will welcome two new assistant principals in January. Michelle David comes to the Hart District from Rim of the World High School, where she was assistant principal this year and served as summer school principal in 2007. She will be the new assistant principal at West Ranch High School. Cliff Miller, the new assistant principal at Arroyo Seco Junior High, taught physical education at La Mesa Junior High School for 10 years before moving to the Castaic Union School District in 2005 as assistant principal of Castaic Middle School.


Summer School Calendar Released

The District released a calendar for the five-week summer school program which will run from June 16 to July 18, 2008. Classes will meet five days a week except for the July 4 holiday, with two periods daily—7 to 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Summer school sites will be Canyon, Golden Valley, Saugus and West Ranch high schools. The District will offer a program of remedial classes, including the Intensive Literacy Program, Segue and X-treme Math. Enrichment classes will be offered through a partnership with College of the Canyons. Summer school administrative positions have already been posted, and staff selection is expected to begin as early as February.


Hart District Remains “In the Black”

In the First Interim Financial Report as of Oct. 31, the Hart District can certify that it will be able to meet its financial obligations this year and for the next two years. The current report shows a projected unappropriated ending balance of $2.6 million for this year—a figure that does not take into account any future salary increases.


Auditorium Funds Will Be Delayed

The Board agreed to a request by Synergy-Brookfield, LLC, to delay a first payment of $1 million in mitigation fees for one year due to the slow housing market. The funds, and another $1 million which was due next December, were earmarked for performing arts centers at Saugus and Canyon high schools, which are currently on hold while the District searches for additional funding sources. The two projects remain a high priority for the Hart District, but the $2 million from Synergy is only a small part of the funding needed to start construction and the delay in mitigation payments is not expected to delay the two projects.


Students Raise Funds for Kenyan Orphans

Chelsea Hutton, a senior at West Ranch High School, presented her Omega Kids project to the Board in the hope that other school groups also will take up the challenge. Hutton and her committee have founded In The House Productions, a non-profit organization that raises funds to build orphanages in Kenya. The students raised $1500 in three weeks by selling T-shirts they created, and also are supporting a benefit concert for Kenyan orphans.


Chinese Students Prepare to Return Home

Five students from Xi’an, China, made a stop by the Governing Board meeting as they prepare to return home after a semester at Saugus High School. They presented miniature Terra Cotta Warriors to Board members and gave thanks to the host families that have welcomed them during their stay in Santa Clarita. Students from the Mandarin Chinese class at Saugus will be eligible to make a return study trip to Xi’an next summer.


Board Salutes Ann Kerman

The Governing Board expressed its thanks to Ann Kerman, who has served as executive director of the SCV School & Business Alliance since its inception eight years ago. She is leaving at the end of this month to take a position with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.


Revised Policies, Regulations Approved

Board Policies dealing with parent involvement and extracurricular/cocurricular activities were revised to coincide with current District practice. The Board approved the revised policies, but expressed concern that students are sometimes being required to attend summer camps and workshops during the two-week “dead-time” established so families can find a common vacation time. Such activities can be offered to students during those two weeks if alternate times are not available, but students cannot be required to attend in order to participate in the sport or activity during the school year. The District has pledged to do a better job at getting the word out to all teachers and group advisors so that students and their families know that they have a choice over summer activities during the two-week period.

Mercado-Fortine In As Hart President

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