State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019–20.
“Governor Newsom hit a home run in his first budget in education and across the board. The budget is thoughtful and balanced and makes good use of public funds, but it is appropriately aggressive in its focus on helping Californians who need it most,” he said.
Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $2.3 billion, investing $1.8 billion in early education, and providing $3.7 billion to help all districts deal with rising pension costs, which are stressing budgets of districts throughout the state. The pension aspect of his budget includes a proposed a one-time $3 billion contribution to CalSTRS and $700 million in each of fiscal year 2019–20 and 2020–21 to reduce the rates districts are charged for their employees’ pensions.
Source: Supt Thurmond Calls Governor’s Budget a Home Run – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Susan Hiland
Potential employees for the Fairfield-Suisun School District lined up outside the main office building early Saturday in hopes of finding a new job.
The Winter Recruitment and Hiring Fair drew about 200 contenders who interviewed and even received job offers on the spot.
“We do about five job fairs a year,” said Cheryl Jones, assistant director of Human Resources and Retention. “With the teacher shortage and competition from other schools, we have also started doing boutique fairs.”
Source: Fairfield-Suisun district eager to fill teacher slots for coming school year
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Cost-cutting measures and naming a new trustee were the main topics discussed at the first Vallejo City Unified School District meeting of the new year with the newly elected and re-elected trustees.
Superintendent Adam Clark explained that the combination of continued debt repayment, declining enrollment and other factors has created a $22 million structural deficit that must be dealt with.
Over the past couple of decades, about half the former student population has been lost to surrounding districts, private schools and charter schools. However, the district continues to maintain the same number of school sites, he said. There are also issues with absenteeism among students and teachers that cost the district money.
Source: Hard choices coming for Vallejo School District – Times-Herald
Lupita Cortez Alcalá was sworn in as Chief Deputy to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond on Wednesday, January 9, at the State Board of Education meeting after the board approved her appointment. She will be the first Latina to serve in the position.
“Lupita is a proven education leader with the experience, dedication, and talent to serve effectively as Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education,” said Thurmond. “She has deep knowledge of education policy and a record filled with achievements.”
Cortez Alcalá has 20 years of experience in education. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission, and a prominent voice in the statewide discussion on college cost and financial aid reform. She also served as Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
Source: Lupita Cortez Alcala Appointed as Chief Deputy – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
Tony Thurmond, educator and public school parent, took his oath of office as California’s twenty-eighth State Superintendent of Public Instruction Monday, saying that it is an honor to lead the state’s 6.2 million students and over 10,000 schools.
He said his own life story underscored the vital need for all students, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or immigration status, to have a first-class education.
“I grew up in poverty and without my parents,” he said. “But I was raised by a cousin, an amazing woman, who made certain that I got a great education. That’s what got me where I am today, and that’s what I want for my two daughters and all students. I pledge to devote all my energy, talent, experience, and all the powers of my office to ensure all students get a great education.”
“But I need help. I’m asking everyone to join me. Help with your local schools. If you can, find a way to be a mentor, a volunteer, or contribute to a fundraiser.”
Source: Tony Thurmond Sworn In as CA State Superintendent – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Todd R. Hansen
Lisette Estrella-Henderson begins her first four-year term as Solano County superintendent of schools next week with an agenda not that different from her first two years as the appointed official.
The veteran educator, who started her career about 32 years ago, said in a phone interview Friday that her office is working to keep students safe – and that goes beyond safe campuses – as well as prepare them for the changing work world.
She also has the task of signing off on all school district budgets, which includes keeping a close eye on the Vallejo City School District, which faces making $22 million in cuts.
Source: Schools chief works to keep students safe, teach work skills
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
What started as small talk between a mother and her daughter’s classmate has provided lunches for Tolenas School students.
Jordan Dade was walking her daughter McKenna Dade to kindergarten when the mom spoke with one of the boys and he told her that he lived in a motel.
“I was floored,” Jordan Dade said.
Could it be the boy’s house was being remodeled, she wondered?
She spoke with McKenna’s teacher and was told that a number of students in the district live in motels.
Source: Tolenas student raises funds to pick up lunch tab
By Kimberly K. Fu
With the dawn of 2019, community leaders in Vacaville and Dixon took time to share their hopes, wishes and prayers for the upcoming year:
Vacaville Mayor Ron Rowlett: “My wish for Vacaville is continued health, happiness and prosperity in the new year. A healthy city that functions to serve the people, a happy city council and city staff working together for a better quality of life for all residents, and a prosperous city supporting us and growing to meet our changing needs. With continued dedication and hard work I know 2019 will be an exciting year for Vacaville.”
Source: Community leaders in Vacaville, Dixon offer their hopes for the new year – The Reporter
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Filling a spot on the Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board unexpectedly vacated by its sitting president in December, is one top item on the agenda for the school district’s first regular board meeting of 2019.
Also, a policy change designed to make it easier for high school seniors to meet graduation criteria and another batch of proposed vendor contracts with the District, are also scheduled to be discussed.
The Jan. 9 meeting will be the first to include newly elected trustees John Fox and Tony Gross, who replace Burky Worel and Ruscal Cayangyang.
Source: First 2019 Vallejo school board meeting to address seat vacated by Kearney-Brown – Times-Herald
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
With the especially contentious 2018 behind them, the leadership of the Vallejo City Unified School District say they’re hopeful 2019 will produce better, less explosive results, though it continues to face an uphill financial landscape.
“There will be a collaborative effort from the board and district leadership to engage with our stakeholders to address the needs of our students,” Superintendent Adam Clark said. “We are excited about the progress we have made so far and look forward to a positive 2019.”
Source: Vallejo school board faces hard choices in the new year – Times-Herald
By John Glidden
Change was the theme for the city of Vallejo as residents voted out three local elected leaders in November, the community watched as the city positioned itself for future development, and City Hall was awash with new faces.
Community advocate Hakeem Brown was elected to the Vallejo City Council during the Nov. 6 election, coming in first place with 23,288 votes or 28.88 percent, and coming out ahead of the three incumbents seeking re-election to the council.
While councilwomen Katy Miessner and Pippin Dew-Costa each secured a new four-year term on the City Council, Brown’s victory knocked Vallejo Councilman Jess Malgapo from the dais. Malgapo’s departure is probably the biggest shock of the election after he ran a highly successful council campaign in 2013, which saw him place first.
Source: 2018 was a year of transition for the city of Vallejo – Times-Herald
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Many Vallejo City Unified School District observers might be experiencing a sense of relief to see 2018 wind down, with 2019 promising a new attitude on its Board of Trustees, and an influx of funds to improve deteriorating facilities.
The year just ending was a bumpy one for the Vallejo school district, though most of the turbulence was not on campus, but, rather, at the board meetings.
Irreconcilable differences between some board members was evident in 2018, and led to board president Burkey Worel resigning that post in July, to finish out his term as a Trustee.
Source: 2018 was a volatile year for Vallejo schools – Times-Herald
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
“God, please bless this family.”
That’s one little boy’s wish after hearing about Pooja Chand and her family of five who have been living in an SUV in Vallejo for about two years.
The boy’s third-grade class at St. Basil’s Elementary School has “adopted” the family, and met some of them in person Tuesday. It’s the second family the school has adopted in the past five years, said Maria Guevara, founder of Vallejo Together which functions as a kind of matchmaker, connecting those in need with those who want to help them.
Source: Homeless students struggle in Vallejo school district – Times-Herald