HAYWARD — Proponents of so-called "block" high school scheduling were again rebuffed at Wednesday's Hayward Unified School District board meeting when an effort to change a vote to eliminate that schedule failed to muster enough support.
Instead, a modified six-period schedule will be used beginning next year.
Trustee Luis Reynoso said he petitioned to rescind the board's February vote on the matter because he had a change of heart after visiting classrooms and seeing an "almost magical" performance by teachers using the block system.
However, only board member Paul Frumkin supported his motion.
Maribel Heredia, who previously supported the block, caught flak from some audience members when she did not join Reynoso and Frumkin.
Heredia said she didn't vote for the motion because the previous schedule wasn't ideal and she wanted to see it changed, but not until a viable alternative is found.
"When I did vote to keep the block originally, I let students and teachers know that I was supporting it for one more year but I didn't like (the schedule)," Heredia said Thursday.
However, she said once the block was eliminated, she "did not want to say 'Let's keep it' and then take it away again."
Heredia cited studies that found the current block system showed increased cases of student failure, particularly in math.
Board President Sarah Gonzales, speaking at the meeting, said the block has been shown to be detrimental to the majority of students, and that it's "not all it is cracked up to be."
Student board member Chris Miller of Hayward High strongly disagreed, saying it's not a failure of the system but of the individual student or teacher who doesn't take advantage of longer periods.
District officials wanted the block eliminated to save $1 million, and now that funds have been allocated elsewhere, it would take about $2.5 million in adjustments to bring it back.
The board also approved a modified six-period schedule for next year, much to the consternation of teachers and students who called it confusing. Some teachers who had served on a task force to come up with an ideal schedule said they were disappointed that their conclusions were ignored.
Representatives of the Hayward Education Association said the new schedule is invalid, because some provisions need to first be bargained with the union.
The meeting grew heated, with Gonzales threatening to have Reynoso ejected by security at one point when he talked about needing independent counsel regarding a legal challenge to a previous motion. Gonzales said he was speaking out of order in violation of meeting guidelines.
Reynoso's bid to have administrative staff salaries cut by 15 percent was also shot down. A district report showed that the staff makes on average slightly less than counterparts in other Alameda County districts, and the cut would put them below all other districts, with a significant gap before the next lowest.
Reynoso voted along with his colleagues on that issue, while stating his intent to bring it back to the table to rescind that very vote. Trustees who vote with the majority have the option to later bring issues back.
Gonzales said that was a blatant abuse of meeting bylaws.
"I am tired of your vendettas and personal agendas," Gonzales said. "You are the most dishonest person I have worked with in all my life."
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-293-2473.