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Hart board approves teacher contract

Posted: September 16, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Hart district board Wednesday approved a two-year agreement with its teachers union that would slightly increase class sizes and the ratio between students and counselors, along with a controversial boundary shift on the west side.

"It's been a tough time and I'm pleased to say we have reached a tentative agreement," said Rochelle Neal, assistant superintendent of human resources and student services for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The agreement with the Hart District Teachers Association, which represents about 1,000 teachers, raises the maximum class sizes by three students. The average class size is 39 students in high school and 38 in junior highs.

The new contract also makes way for a student-to-counselor ratio that is 1 to 400 rather than 1 to 350.

In another item, a handful of parents came forward to criticize the boundary change that sends Rancho Pico junior and West Ranch high school students living east of Interstate 5 and south of Lyons Avenue to Placerita Junior and Hart high schools.

"I think you guys are making a mistake," said Eric Ek, who has children at Wiley Canyon Elementary, Rancho Pico junior and West Ranch high schools. "I don't see a bunch of high-end homes being built."

Hart district officials say the boundary adjustment is necessary to plan ahead with the expected developments in the Stevenson Ranch community.

"It's very important that we can create capacity at West Ranch to accommodate that growth," said Rob Gapper, chief operating officer.

Boundary changes are also necessary to relieve overcrowding at West Ranch and make better use of under-enrolled facilities, Gapper said.

The new boundaries begin with seventh-graders in the 2010-11 school year.


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