By Kristin Schumacher
Parents with low- and moderate-incomes often struggle to stay afloat, balancing the soaring cost of child care against the high price of housing and other expenses. California’s subsidized child care and development programs, which are funded by both the state and federal governments, help many families make ends meet and allow them to avoid difficult choices about where to leave their children while at work. Yet, seven years after the end of the Great Recession, these programs as a whole continue to operate at below pre-recession levels, with inflation-adjusted funding well down from 2007-08 levels due to state budget cuts. This means that far fewer families with low and moderate incomes receive subsidized child care today than before the Great Recession began in 2007.
There is tremendous unmet need in California for subsidized child care. In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million children from birth through age 12 were eligible for care, according to a Budget Center analysis of federal survey data. However, only 218,000 children were enrolled in programs that could accommodate families for more than a couple of hours per day and throughout the entire year (see chart). Child care subsidies provide job stability and have been shown to increase parents’ earnings. Subsidies also allow families to afford higher-quality child care where their children can learn and grow. Boosting support for families struggling to afford child care is critical, especially given that the cost of child care and nursery school nationally has outpaced overall inflation since the end of the Great Recession. In California, more than two out of three families with children who are living in poverty include someone who is working. Yet, in 2015 the cost of child care for an infant and school-age child in a licensed center was equal to 99 percent of the annual income for a single mother and two children living at the federal poverty line ($19,096).
Source: Over 1.2 Million California Children Eligible for Subsidized Child Care Did Not Receive Services From State Programs in 2015 – California Budget & Policy Center
By Richard Bammer
No surprise, Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, in its third year, will post a positive certification for its 2016-17 budget, meaning the independent charter school will be able to pay its bills in the coming year.
But at the school’s board of directors meeting Wednesday, it was the $2.2 million beginning fund balance of a $4.6 million budget that stood out among the financial figures presented by Anita Schwab, the school’s chief business officer.
Kairos Executive Director Jared Austin said board members may wonder why the fund balance is so large.
In a telephone interview Thursday, he clarified that the beginning fund balance “is money we’ve saved up” since the school opened its doors in fall 2014 at 129 Elm St., in the old Elm Elementary campus two blocks off Merchant Street.
Source: Kairos on good financial footing, a $4.6M budget, sizable beginning, ending fund balances
By Daily Republic Staff
A dedication of the Rocky Hill Trail is set for 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at the trail entryway on the 700 block of Markham Avenue in Vacaville, near the Lucky Supermarket.
The project was spearheaded by youth activists who wanted to clean up the abandoned railway easement used by many residents as a pathway.
However, the trail as it existed was difficult to navigate, especially during the rainy season, and had become an area used for drinking, drug use and drug dealing, project proponents said.
Source: Dedication set for student-led Rocky Hill Trail
By Ian Thompson
What did Fairview Elementary School third-grader Inara Littlejohn like best about Thursday’s holiday party in her classroom?
“Everything,” the happy child said.
Littlejohn’s point of view was shared by many in at her school when NorthBay Healthcare employees showed up in their holiday best to treat the children to holiday classroom parties.
“It is so exciting for these students,” third-grade teacher Barbara Niehoff said.
The children got pizza to eat, listened to Santa Claus dramatically read them a holiday story and got bags of gifts that included snacks, crayons, markers and even a comforter.
Source: Party time at Fairview gets children into holiday mood
By Louis Freedberg
The U.S. Department of Education has once again rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998.
In a letter sent Tuesday to state education leaders, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr., said that California would have to continue to administer the old tests. She said the pilot tests based on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by California in 2013 would not “measure the full depth and breadth of the state’s academic content in science.”
It is not clear what will happen after Jan. 20 when President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated, and whether his administration will also insist that California administer the old tests.
Source: Federal government insists again that California administer old science tests | EdSource
By John Glidden
A spirited discussion was held during the Dec. 7 Vallejo school board meeting, as a majority of trustees agreed to move the meeting time up an hour to 6 p.m.
Board members expressed a desire to shorten presentations and “streamline” the meetings.
While several members of the public also spoke, wondering about the impact of such a move.
Resident Robert Schussel stated the board doesn’t have “well-run meetings.” He advocated that the board add a third meeting per month. Currently, the board meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday each month.
“Only go to a 6 or 7 p.m. meeting (time), if you can get your act together,” Schussel added.
Source: Vallejo school board changes start time
By Richard Bammer
A longtime educator and the interim human resources officer for Travis Unified has been named interim superintendent for the 5.500-student school district.
Pamela Conklin will replace Kate Wren Gavlak, who will retire Feb. 1.
The five-member governing board made the announcement at 6 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after emerging from closed session during the trustees’ once-monthly meeting in the Travis Education Center in Fairfield.
The district hired Conklin, a graduate of University of California, Davis who earned a master’s degree in educational administration from San Francisco State University, on Sept. 6. Before coming to Travis, which includes two elementary schools in Vacaville, she served as superintendent of Oakley Union School District, an east Contra Costa County K-8 district with 5,000 students. Before that, she worked for 20 years in Novato Unified, a north Marin County district with 8,000 students.
Source: Travis Unified school board taps human resources officer as interim superintendent
By John Glidden
In direct response to a scandal which rocked Wells Fargo recently, the Vallejo school board during its Dec. 7 organizational meeting directed staff to seek another institution as the district’s designated bank.
Staff had recommended that the Vallejo City Unified School District continue to keep its clearing and revolving accounts, along with the student body and scholarship funds with Wells Fargo.
On Sept. 8, the San Francisco-based bank was hit with $185 million in fines for the scandal, in which Wells employees, under pressure to hit sales targets, secretly opened as many as 2 million bogus accounts and funded them with customer money. The fines were imposed in a settlement with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and two other agencies.
Cecile Nunley, the district’s chief business officer, said during the meeting that the bulk of VCUSD’s funds are handled through Solano County.
Source: Vallejo school board looks to dump Wells Fargo
By Richard Bammer
The 2016-17 first interim budget report, information about open enrollment and community outreach, the school’s five-year plan, and the reappointment of board officers are on the agenda when the Kairos board of directors meets tonight in Vacaville.
The school’s chief business officer, Anita Schwab, will present the first interim budget report, telling the seven-member board that expenses are expected to be $4.6 million, nearly $76,000 less that revenues, with a beginning fund balance of $2.2 million and an ending fund balance of $2.6 million.
The ending fund balance reflects a decrease of nearly $140,000, due in part to increased costs of supplies, materials and services (nearly $165,000) and increased costs ($195,000) in tenant improvements, among other factors.
Source: Kairos leaders to hear interim budget, outreach plans, and reappoint directors,
By Daily Republic Staff
Students from Suisun Elementary and Grange and Green Valley middle schools will perform from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Solano Town Center Court, 1350 Travis Blvd.
The concerts are on the lower level near the Disney store.
This is the final of three Sounds of the Seasons concerts featuring students in the Fairfield-Suisun School District.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun City students wrap up Sounds of the Seasons concerts
By Todd R. Hansen
Supervisor John Vasquez noted that the board on Tuesday said goodbye to about 230 years of service to the county, which includes 40 years in education by Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck.
Supervisor Linda Seifert, who also attended her final meeting after eight years on the board, called Speck’s retirement “a significant loss to the county.”
Speck, who is retiring at the end of 2016, was lauded for his commitment to vocational education and for his commitment and compassion for all children.
Source: Supervisors praise Speck for commitment to children
By Daily Republic Staff
Pamela Conklin was picked by the Travis School District governing board Tuesday as its interim superintendent, the school district announced.
Conklin, who has served as the school district’s interim Human Resources administrator since Sept. 6, will take up her new duties Feb. 1. She will fill the position now held by Superintendent Kate Wren Gavlak, who announced in early November her plans to retire early next year.
Source: Travis School District selects interim superintendent
By Evie Blad
Among the findings from the most recent federal Civil Rights Data Collection that got the most attention: 1.6 million students attend public schools that have an on-site law enforcement officer but no school counselor.
That’s a relatively small share of the nation’s students, but civil rights groups—many of which have pushed for a scaling back or removal of police from schools—say it points to poor spending priorities, particularly those that enroll large shares of students of color.
A new White House blog post examines an analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers and takes a closer look at the figure, finding that black and Hispanic students are more likely to be enrolled in schools that spend money on law enforcement but not counselors, who are often crucial to helping students, particularly low-income students, develop social-emotional skills, secure financial aid, and gain access to higher education. Hispanic students are more likely than their black and white peers to be enrolled in schools with neither an officer nor a counselor, and white students are the most likely to attend schools with counselors but not police, the analysis finds.
Source: Schools With Police But No School Counselors: A Closer Look – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District will hear an update on the district’s progress toward goals listed in the 2016-2017 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) at Thursday’s meeting. The discussion will be led by Leslie Beatson, assistant superintendent of educational services, and educational coordinator Jan Rogenski.
The LCAP serves as the district strategic plan and outlines goals of the district. It also works to insure increased services and programs for BUSD’s English learning, economically disadvantaged, foster youth and homeless students. According to Beatson and Rogenski, 4,760 students are enrolled in LCAP programs and the plan has been able to fund $8,045 per student in 2016-17.
Coordinators are predicting the number to go up to $8,530 in 2020.The presentation will also review progress toward the LCAP’s goals, which are to support the needs of alls students for college and career readiness, modernizing and improving infrastructure to provide opportunities for 21st century learning, and increasing community and parental involvement through awareness and engagement. Additionally, it will provide information on the new accountability rubrics and tools that have been adopted by the State Board of Education.
Source: Accountability plan update on school board agenda
By Times Herald Staff
A special closed session of the Vallejo school board is slated to take place at 4 p.m., Thursday.
The board will discuss possible discipline for a Vallejo City Unified School District employee, and receive information about anticipated litigation.
In addition, the school board will hold a conference with the Vallejo Education Association, and California School Employees Association, the unions which represent district teachers and staff.
The public will have a chance to speak on the items before the closed session, however, the actual session is closed to the general public.
Source: Vallejo school board to hold special closed session meeting
By Kimberly K. Fu
That’s what Tuesday’s Solano County Board of Supervisors gathering could resemble, as officials bid farewell to a host of employees — including Supervisor Linda Seifert — who have served the county well.
But many staffers also will be acknowledged for other reasons.
Among those being honored are:
• Terie Gardner, licensed clinical social worker, retiring from the Department of Health and Social Services, Behavioral Health Division.
• Perry A. Sauro, facilities operations manager, retiring from the Department of General Services.
• Dr. James Sanderson, being inducted as a fellow in the American College of Dentists.
• Deborah Brook, Employee of the Month for January, Department of Veteran Services.
• Jay Speck, superintendent of education, retiring from the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: Recognitions, Nut Tree Airport to come before supervisors
By Richard Bammer
Like governing boards in other California school districts in December, Travis Unified’s tonight will swear in trustees, elected or unopposed, elect new officers of the board, and hear a report about the first interim budget for 2016-17.
At 5 p.m., before the open session begins, Superintendent Kate Wren Gavlak will administer oaths of office to trustees Ivery Hood and Angela Weinzinger, who were unopposed during the fall general election campaign and, thus, automatically re-elected. The five-member governing board will convene in closed session immediately afterward.
At the outset of the open session, at 6, trustees, observing their annual custom and practice, will elect new officers of the board: president, vice president and clerk.
Later in the meeting, Chief Business Officer Jamie Metcalf will update the five-member governing board on the 2016-17 first interim budget numbers.
Source: At TUSD tonight: Oaths of office, new officers, 2016-17 budget report – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
When the Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District meets on Dec. 15, a new face will be seated among the trustees. Social worker Celeste Monnette will be sworn in Thursday to succeed outgoing Trustee Andre Stewart.
Monnette filed paperwork to run in the 2016 election for a two-year term. However, since a minimum of three candidates were eligible to run and only three candidates applied— the other two being incumbents Gary Wing and Stacy Holguin—, the board opted not to hold an election that year. All three will be sworn in at Thursday’s meeting.
A psychiatric social worker who has lived in Benicia for six years, Monnette received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Humboldt and her master’s in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently employed as a psychiatric social worker with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group where she works to provide crisis services for those seeking mental health treatment. She also has worked as a psychotherapist in private practice.
Source: Social worker Celeste Monnette is newest Benicia Unified trustee
By John Glidden
In front of a packed chamber, three board members were sworn into office during the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
The board welcomed back incumbent Ruscal Cayangyang, and newest members Marianne Kearney-Brown, and Bob Lawson.
Cayangyang easily defeated former trustee Hazel Wilson by about 4,700 votes to retain his seat on the board during the recent election.Both were seeking to represent the short-term, two-year board seat, which is open for election again in 2018.
Source: Vallejo school board trustees sworn in
By Richard Bammer
In their annual December rite, Vacaville Unified trustees on Thursday elected new officers for one-year terms, welcomed the newest member to the governing board, Tracee Stacy, and heard the 2016-17 first interim budget report.
Vacaville Supervisor John Vasquez administered the oath of office to Stacy, publisher of Prime Time magazine and a mental health counselor. She immediately took her seat on the dais. Stacy was unopposed during the fall election campaign, running for a seat vacated by Nolan Sullivan, and was automatically elected.
But Stacy was not the only trustee who raised their right hand and recited the oath of office.
Shortly afterward, Superintendent Jane Shamieh administered the oath to four other trustees: John Jansen, Shawn Windham, Sherie Mahlberg and Michael Kitzes. Like Stacy, they were unopposed during the fall election campaign and, thus, were automatically elected.
Source: VUSD leaders sworn in; trustees hear budget report