Dr. Dale Vigil

Q: In order to avoid "bankrupting the district," did you consider taking a pay cut and giving back the assistant superintendents' recent 16.84 percent raises? Was that a viable option?

A: I can't ask them to do that. Only they can make that decision. That's already been approved by the board and it's in place.

Q: How do you justify paying subs $300 a day during the strike?

A: We want to make sure we have enough subs to educate our students.

Q: Any comment on phone calls parents received in Spanish stating that teachers were back in the classroom?

A: That was a misunderstanding. I never said that they were going to be back in class. I said we wanted them to be back in class. I think people misinterpreted that.

Q: Will students be held back? Will they need to attend summer school? Will there be summer school? Would they get passed to the next grade anyway due to the No Child Left Behind Act?

A: We haven't even taken the time right now to study that. Someof them are absent, but we'll look at that later.

Q: Is it true that the fact that teachers deferred their Cost of Living Adjustment and raises for several years is one of the main reasons that the district was able to balance their budget, not administrators' expertise?

A: (Dr. Vigil deferred the answer to Dr. Barry Schimmel, assistant superintendent of business services.)

The answer is no.


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Teachers deferred salary compensation for one year, and then worked out in their agreement a way to get it paid back with a formula that included an additional increase in the out years based on the district's ending balance. So the total dollars provided to teachers were about the same and did nothing to balance the budget.

What balanced the budget was the Hayward Unified School District finally beginning to spend less money than they took in. What caused the district to end up in default — the technical term is not default, but in a negative certification — was the district started spending more money than they had income. And the current administration, beginning in 2003, began having a positive ending balance each of the last three years.

This administration has never deficit-spent, and the proof of that is the fact that we have $8 million in one-time money that we are now trying to offer our teachers. If that hadn't happened, there would zero dollars to offer.

Q: Didn't the state's default on its funding obligations trigger the district's financial crisis, and hasn't the state's repayment of deferred allocations also accounted for a substantial part of the improvement of the district's budget?

A: (Schimmel) Not correct. The state repaid a promise the governor had made on revenue limit. And that money was not added to revenue limit. It was put into a new program called the Quality Education (Investment) Act. And that program is competitive. There was not enough money to fund all the schools. There were approximately 1,200 schools in the state that applied. Only 400 will be funded. Out of Hayward's 34 schools, only two to four may get that funding.

So to summarize, the teachers' raises were deferred and then paid back. So those costs have become part of the budget. And it was only cuts to programs and mostly reductions in classified services — custodial, maintenance, secretarial — that helped balance the budget.

And the new dollars that were part of the settlement of Gov. Schwarzenegger haven't even been received by the district because the application process just ended. And those funds won't be received until the 2007-08 school year.

Q: What is the feasibility of making the COLA payments automatically granted each year?

A: (Vigil) Well, if you're a growing district, that is a possibility, but when you are a declining student enrollment district it is a lot more difficult. It is difficult period. And the COLA we get is also something we get to run our school district. It's not only for employee compensation, but it's for the insurance, the light, the gas and all the other expenses that we have. It's really the operations, which is about 6 to 8 percent of our operating cost and how we run our district.

And the districts who are growing, they have so much money. They have more than enough money to take care of that without using COLA. But when you're on the line or declining, it is considerably more difficult.

Q: Why?

A: We don't have the money. The money isn't there. (We were) given $9 million in COLA. How can we give $9 million of it when $6 million of kids isn't here? Why would we give them money that we don't have? We don't have the money to give them.

Q: You seem to have a history of adversarial relationships with teachers and teachers unions in Santa Rosa, Los Angeles and San Diego.

A: I've never had any adversarial relationship with any teachers union whether it was Santa Rosa, Los Angeles or San Diego. I had very good relationships with the union and the memberships with all of those three districts in California. None, no problems whatsoever. On occasion we'd have our differences with individuals, but in terms of the union, no. As a matter of fact, I would think that my relationship — especially in Los Angeles and San Diego, where I was there longer — I had a very good relationship with them. In Santa Rosa I had a good relationship too, but there were no incidents that I can think of that were adversarial in any way.

Q: How long do you plan to stay at HUSD?

A: I have a three-year contract that started in July of 2005 and it ends in June of 2008. Currently that's what my contract is.

Q: Why did you choose to come to HUSD?

A: Because I have heard of the possibility and potential of this district and I wanted to be a part of that potential.

Q: What potential?

A: Of it becoming a continuing-to-improve district. Just continuing to make it the best district in the Bay Area.

Q: What did you intend to mean by the "we're not Pleasanton" comment?

A: Sometimes people make comparisons to districts and I like to make comparisons to like districts. And as school districts, you want to always compare yourself to districts who look like you in terms of who you are. In many respects, there's parts like Pleasanton that are here. We're more of an urban-like setting and Pleasanton isn't that.

And that is not a negative connotation by any means. It's just that we're a far more diverse community, and there's richness in that. I meant it primarily in a sense that they have a budget of a growing district so they have a lot more options in money and resources and we don't. In that sense, we're not like Pleasanton.

Pleasanton is like San Ramon. Those districts are growing, building homes and expanding as a district and as a community. I mean it more in a sense of a district. They have more money to play with. We don't. We're not like that, we're more like some of our neighboring districts. I didn't mean it in a social sense. I meant it in the "some districts are growing and some are not." Pleasanton is growing and we're not growing. And that's really my intent when I said that.

Q: How do you explain the seeming contradiction in saying at the beginning of the strike that "the schools are safe, and standards-based academic learning is going on" and later filing an injunction that says "schools are unsafe, and students are being deprived of an education"?

A: No contradictions at all. When I made those statements, the schools were in fact safe. But then there were incidents that happened that obviously made us change our mind. We started to see some of the verbal and physical abuse that was going on and we analyzed the situation.

And we talked as an administrative team, "Wait a minute, things have changed."

This isn't what it was when it started for the first four, five days, and it became quite different, and at that point we talked to our attorney that this was happening and we have some concerns about this. It was at that point in time that we said, "What are our options with that?"

It's not a contradiction. It started this way and it shifted. And behaviors shifted, and that's the result of our change in position. of them are absent, but we'll look at that later.

Q: Is it true that the fact that teachers deferred their Cost of Living Adjustment and raises for several years is one of the main reasons that the district was able to balance their budget, not administrators' expertise?

A: (Dr. Vigil deferred the answer to Dr. Barry Schimmel, assistant superintendent of business services.)

The answer is no. Teachers deferred salary compensation for one year, and then worked out in their agreement a way to get it paid back with a formula that included an additional increase in the out years based on the district's ending balance. So the total dollars provided to teachers were about the same and did nothing to balance the budget.

What balanced the budget was the Hayward Unified School District finally beginning to spend less money than they took in. What caused the district to end up in default — the technical term is not default, but in a negative certification — was the district started spending more money than they had income. And the current administration, beginning in 2003, began having a positive ending balance each of the last three years.

This administration has never deficit-spent, and the proof of that is the fact that we have $8 million in one-time money that we are now trying to offer our teachers. If that hadn't happened, there would zero dollars to offer.

Q: Didn't the state's default on its funding obligations trigger the district's financial crisis, and hasn't the state's repayment of deferred allocations also accounted for a substantial part of the improvement of the district's budget?

A: (Schimmel) Not correct. The state repaid a promise the governor had made on revenue limit. And that money was not added to revenue limit. It was put into a new program called the Quality Education (Investment) Act. And that program is competitive. There was not enough money to fund all the schools. There were approximately 1,200 schools in the state that applied. Only 400 will be funded. Out of Hayward's 34 schools, only two to four may get that funding.

So to summarize, the teachers' raises were deferred and then paid back. So those costs have become part of the budget. And it was only cuts to programs and mostly reductions in classified services — custodial, maintenance, secretarial — that helped balance the budget.

And the new dollars that were part of the settlement of Gov. Schwarzenegger haven't even been received by the district because the application process just ended. And those funds won't be received until the 2007-08 school year.

Q: What is the feasibility of making the COLA payments automatically granted each year?

A: (Vigil) Well, if you're a growing district, that is a possibility, but when you are a declining student enrollment district it is a lot more difficult. It is difficult period. And the COLA we get is also something we get to run our school district. It's not only for employee compensation, but it's for the insurance, the light, the gas and all the other expenses that we have. It's really the operations, which is about 6 to 8 percent of our operating cost and how we run our district.

And the districts who are growing, they have so much money. They have more than enough money to take care of that without using COLA. But when you're on the line or declining, it is considerably more difficult.

Q: Why?

A: We don't have the money. The money isn't there. (We were) given $9 million in COLA. How can we give $9 million of it when $6 million of kids isn't here? Why would we give them money that we don't have? We don't have the money to give them.

Q: You seem to have a history of adversarial relationships with teachers and teachers unions in Santa Rosa, Los Angeles and San Diego.

A: I've never had any adversarial relationship with any teachers union whether it was Santa Rosa, Los Angeles or San Diego. I had very good relationships with the union and the memberships with all of those three districts in California. None, no problems whatsoever. On occasion we'd have our differences with individuals, but in terms of the union, no. As a matter of fact, I would think that my relationship — especially in Los Angeles and San Diego, where I was there longer — I had a very good relationship with them. In Santa Rosa I had a good relationship too, but there were no incidents that I can think of that were adversarial in any way.

Q: How long do you plan to stay at HUSD?

A: I have a three-year contract that started in July of 2005 and it ends in June of 2008. Currently that's what my contract is.

Q: Why did you choose to come to HUSD?

A: Because I have heard of the possibility and potential of this district and I wanted to be a part of that potential.

Q: What potential?

A: Of it becoming a continuing-to-improve district. Just continuing to make it the best district in the Bay Area.

Q: What did you intend to mean by the "we're not Pleasanton" comment?

A: Sometimes people make comparisons to districts and I like to make comparisons to like districts. And as school districts, you want to always compare yourself to districts who look like you in terms of who you are. In many respects, there's parts like Pleasanton that are here. We're more of an urban-like setting and Pleasanton isn't that.

And that is not a negative connotation by any means. It's just that we're a far more diverse community, and there's richness in that. I meant it primarily in a sense that they have a budget of a growing district so they have a lot more options in money and resources and we don't. In that sense, we're not like Pleasanton.

Pleasanton is like San Ramon. Those districts are growing, building homes and expanding as a district and as a community. I mean it more in a sense of a district. They have more money to play with. We don't. We're not like that, we're more like some of our neighboring districts. I didn't mean it in a social sense. I meant it in the "some districts are growing and some are not." Pleasanton is growing and we're not growing. And that's really my intent when I said that.

Q: How do you explain the seeming contradiction in saying at the beginning of the strike that "the schools are safe, and standards-based academic learning is going on" and later filing an injunction that says "schools are unsafe, and students are being deprived of an education"?

A: No contradictions at all. When I made those statements, the schools were in fact safe. But then there were incidents that happened that obviously made us change our mind. We started to see some of the verbal and physical abuse that was going on and we analyzed the situation.

And we talked as an administrative team, "Wait a minute, things have changed."

This isn't what it was when it started for the first four, five days, and it became quite different, and at that point we talked to our attorney that this was happening and we have some concerns about this. It was at that point in time that we said, "What are our options with that?"

It's not a contradiction. It started this way and it shifted. And behaviors shifted, and that's the result of our change in position.