Site seeks a cure for broken Hart
“We really live up to our school motto `alive with pride,”‘ Sage Swiatek said. “Even though we have been faced with challenges, we overcome them; no matter what happens, Hart will always be alive with pride.” Michelle Lecrivain, a member of the Hart High Regiment Alumni Association and a longtime advocate for repairs at the school, said the passion exhibited by teachers, students and staffers of this high school is unlike no other she’s ever seen. “It is some intangible thing about belonging to this campus,” Lecrivain said. That passion leads many to take Hart’s dilapidated facilities personally, she said. “It’s like you have a beloved relative and you see that they are being treated badly and there is nothing you can do about it. Even when you are screaming at the top of your lungs … that’s what this feels like.” Lecrivain said it’s hardest for her to see Hart’s students excel so far beyond district standards and feel so ignored. Band’s lights out The Hart High band will be attending nationals this fall, a feat accomplished just four times by high schools in California. But inside their rehearsal room, more than half the fluorescent light bulbs have been out for months. “Could someone just fix the light bulbs so these kids don’t have to use miner’s lights when they are reading their music,” Lecrivain said. Larry Oshodi, Hart High’s assistant principal in charge of facilities, said purchasing supplies for school is not as easy as walking to the nearest store. “There are things that seem so logical to your average citizen but there are restrictions on how we can spend money,” Oshodi said. “You need to know which fund the money is coming from. If it was your private business, you could just go buy something and fix it; in a school, you cannot do that.” Oshodi, who has been assistant principal at Hart for a year, admitted how difficult the ordeal has been. Many work-order requests, that were made by teachers, were not submitted to the district because the administration was expecting planned modernization projects to take care of the problems. “Now that we know that is not the case, all of these things are coming under the radar,” Oshodi said. “If someone could write a $60 million check, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” Addressing needs The Hart district plans at Wednesday’s board meeting to address renovations needed not only at Hart, but at Placerita and Sierra Vista junior highs. “We have looked at the Web site and many of the items that are listed there have already been corrected and others are ongoing,” district spokeswoman Pat Willett said. Willett added that bids have gone out for other projects such as roofing, painting and carpeting. “The Hart district has heard the Hart community’s message that Hart needs work, and I think having large crowds at the board meeting will not serve a purpose. We know what needs to be done and we are working on it.” Still, for most of those invested in this historic high school, “working on it” isn’t enough. “We love Hart High,” foreign-language teacher Kathi Moskel said. “People who work there love it; it is definitely one of the most beautiful campuses in the district. It is just unfortunate that its infrastructure is falling apart.” Moskel is one of dozens of teachers who two months ago stood before the school board to describe some of the deteriorating conditions on the older campus. “These classrooms have not been remodeled since this school was built 60 years ago. We are frustrated,” Moskel said. Moskel’s kids have taken to calling her “Moskellini” in honor of her Italian background. The stream of water that periodically pours through her classrooms has been dubbed “Moskellini Falls.” “The kids can hear the buckets rattle whenever it’s raining,” she said, admitting that attempts to fix the leak have been made by school and district officials but to no avail. “If I could wave a magic wand, they would tear down my entire building and build me a new one.” [email protected] (661) 257-5254 “I went to this year’s open house and students were passing out fliers about all the repairs the school needs,” Swiatek said. “It hit me like a 2-by-4.” Swiatek did some homework and discovered that all the classrooms on the campus, where her two children have attended, had not been remodeled since 1946. Outdated and broken air-conditioning systems, antiquated science labs, a lack of fire alarms and smoke detectors and even a few building-code violations are some of the things Swiatek said she found. “We have amazing academic programs, music programs and sports programs … such amazing things to celebrate, but we need to have a facility that matches what is going on inside the school.” Swiatek’s 16-year-old daughter, Sage, made T-shirts with a broken-heart logo to symbolize her solidarity with teachers and administrators voicing their concerns about the campus. NEWHALL – At the oldest high school in Santa Clarita, “heart” is spelled H-A-R-T. But a new Web site says this “Hart” is broken and that only money, and a lot of construction work, can fix it. Claiming to be tired of patiently waiting for their 60-year-old school to get much-needed remodeling work, alumni of Hart High School, parents, students and staffers have started a Web site to vent their frustrations. Their target is the Hart Union High School District, which says the money for renovations at the flagship campus is limited. Hartbroken.org serves as a communication board for the Hart High community, said Sally Swiatek, a Hart High parent who helped get the site started.