Hart school board expected to certify second interim financial report 

The sign in front of the William S. Hart Union High School District administrative office. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
The sign in front of the William S. Hart Union High School District administrative office. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
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The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board is expected at Wednesday’s meeting to positively certify the district’s second interim financial report, according to the agenda. 

That’s one of many topics that is up for discussion on Wednesday, along with a demographics report and a project that would see the Valencia High School auditorium get some significant upgrades. 

The board is meeting as the Hart District Teachers Association is putting increased pressure on the district to improve its contract offer. The HDTA has been operating without a contract since the last one expired in June. 

More than 600 teachers are expected to show up to Wednesday’s meeting to show their displeasure with the status of negotiations, according to John Minkus, president of the HDTA. They are expected to be joined by classified employees within the district, who are represented under California School Employees Association Chapter 349. These employees are also currently operating without a contract. 

Financial report 

After the board approved a fiscal stabilization plan in January that allowed the district to move forward with its budgeting process for future school years, the district is looking to have its second interim financial report certified by the board. 

All school districts across California are required by state law to show that they are able to meet all financial obligations for the rest of the current school year and the next school year in this report. The Hart district previously certified its first interim financial report in December with the caveat that it would create a plan to cut down on expenditures. 

That plan calls for the district to garner about $3 million in revenue and cut roughly $43 million from its spending plan over the next three and a half years, including more than $21 million through layoffs. The board approved those layoffs, of which 61 are certified employees and 29.14 are full-time equivalent classified positions, in February. District staff have said the hope is to fulfill this obligation through retirements and other means of voluntary leave. 

Reductions in force at the administrative level are also set to be made. 

The recommendation provided by district staff is to certify the second interim financial report. 

Demographics report 

The district is set to hear a report on the future of its student population from David Kaitz, vice president of Davis Demographics. 

At previous meetings, district staff has talked about how enrollment has been dropping in recent years, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. The district reported that it had 22,469 students in the 2022-23 school year after having 26,983 in 2014-15. 

Auditorium upgrade 

The board is expected to approve a proposal to have the Valencia High auditorium be renovated. The project would cost approximately $230,000, including reimbursable expenses, and is expected to begin this summer and be completed by January 2025. 

As part of the renovations, the auditorium would receive new theater seating and equipment. 

The proposal was submitted by Fonder-Solari, which would assist with the coordination of the construction of the project. 

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