Superintendent Mark McKinney opened up a channel with parents on Tuesday, although not many used it this first time out.

"I appreciate you being here; this is a first," McKinney said, addressing a mostly empty cafeteria/gymnasium at Mission Crest Elementary School Tuesday evening. "I know there's a lot more chairs than people here tonight, and that's a start."

The chief executive of the Victor Valley's largest employer spoke for a little less than an hour at Tuesday's "town hall" meeting, fielding questions from an audience of less than two dozen, more than half of them Hesperia Unified School District employees.

The evening was intended as an open forum for parents to ask their questions and bring up their concerns directly with the head of the 21,000-student district.

He was asked about who would be the principal of Hesperia High School in the year before Oak Hills High School opened, now that Principal Larry Porras has been named the principal for Oak Hills. The search for a new Hesperia High principal would be conducted the first week of June, he said.

The Hesperia Unified School District's Web site was the subject of some complaints, both for its lack of e-mail addresses for all district employees, and for not containing a copy of the district's curriculum.

"Our Web site," located at hesperia.org, "And I'll take the blame, is certainly something we can beef up," McKinney said.

One parent suggested the district could save the elementary school music program -- will be cut to the bone next school year due to the state's record budget deficit -- if parents of participating students donated at least some funds.

"The idea is a great idea," McKinney said, "But there's probably some legal questions."

He intended to follow up on the possibility, however, he said.

He also encouraged parents who want to be more involved in the schools to call the front office of each school, or to contact the Parent Coordinating Council.

"My goal is to do a couple of these a year, east side, west side," McKinney said, wrapping up. "It'll build up steam."

The superintendent plans to hold his next town hall meeting once the 2008-2009 school year has begun.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.