As Hayward’s $25 million education grant winds down, future funding is uncertain

Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall suggested
the future administrative costs for Hayward 
Promise Neighborhood was deliberately omitted.

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL |
The Hayward Promise Neighborhood program, born out of a 5-year, $25 million federal grant to improve education outcomes in Hayward’s impoverished Jackson Triangle neighborhood, is due to run out this month.

But the future of its programs and legacy appear uncertain after several Hayward councilmembers questioned whether the Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN) has provided sufficient data concerning its positive outcomes for students and their families in one of the city most poverty-stricken areas.

Hayward elected officials, added, any continuation of even a few of HPN’s programs appears unlikely due to continuing city budget uncertainty, while some questioned whether the city’s treasury should be tapped to fund a “gap year” for administrative costs while an additional round of grant funding is sought sometime during the last half of 2017.

The areas within Jackson Avenue, Whitman Road and Harder Road make up the Jackson Triangle. More than a dozen local agencies are involved in HPN, but its primary recipient is Cal State East Bay.

One requirement for applying for additional grant funding is the existence of an on-going administrative infrastructure, said Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo. “It’s a little bit of a cart and horse issue. If we stop funding those services we won’t be competitive for the grant, but then there’s a risk that we fund those services and we don’t get the grant,” she said.

The potential cost of funding a gap year for HPN may run between $90,000 and $150,000, said McAdoo. The costs appeared to worry some officials. Councilmember Al Mendall asserted the omission of costs to the city was deliberate.

Councilmember Marvin Peixoto said Monday’s work session presentation implied future funding for at least portions of HPN’s programs is forthcoming. “I’m going to need some more specifics before I totally buy-in to it,” he said. “I don’t get that clear an impression that that’s going to happen.”

No other Hayward official was more skeptical about the future of HPN more than Councilmember Sara Lamnin, who criticized the program’s lack of data collection, although, she pledged an open mind when it comes to any forthcoming proposal. “I want to see the outcomes piece. I see a lot of data about participation. I see a lot of data about awareness and it’s lovely and it’s important,” said Lamnin, “but how many grades challenged?”

Incremental growth is apparent, added, Lamnin, but still deficient. “But in the Jackson Triangle, did we move the needle in terms of the things that matter in the success of our students?” asked Lamnin.

Despite the council’s reticence toward opening the city’s purse strings for some the programs facilitated by HPN, several lauded its attempts for impacting students in the South Hayward neighborhood. Mayor Barbara Halliday said five years isn’t enough time to completely turnaround the Jackson Triangle, but progress is being made.

“I am certain that we have changed the lives of some of the children in this area and if we continue to work together, we can make that number grow and we can be a better community,” said Halliday. However, she added, appropriating money from the general fund next year will be “very difficult.”

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