School board to hear quarterly bond update at Thursday’s meeting – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

As Measure S bond projects continue to move along, attendees of this Thursday’s school board meeting can get a greater understanding of which projects have been completed, which ones are nearing completion and which projects will be taken on next. The discussion will be presented by Bond Director Roxanne Egan.

Measure S was a ballot initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 aimed at providing $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at each of the Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. As of Dec. 31, 11 projects had been completed, technology infrastructure upgrades at all the schools, playground modernizations at the elementary schools, fixing the roofs at Benicia Middle School and Mary Farmar Elementary School, painting the exteriors at Benicia High School and renovating Benicia High’s stadium.

Egan also identified 10 approved bond projects in progress. These include fire alarm replacements at Liberty High School and the District Office as well as Mary Farmar, Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools, a fire alarm upgrade at Matthew Turner Elementary School, a modernization of Benicia Middle School’s campus, miscellaneous infrastructure upgrades, alternative education improvements and repairing the gym floor at Benicia High. Another approved project is improvements to Benicia High’s Performing Arts Building, which Egan said is part of the district’s efforts to apply for a Career Technical Education grant for the building. If the grant is awarded, then the district will be required to match up to a maximum of $3 million in local funding. If the grant is not awarded, then a minimum amount of $400,000 will be allocated for PAB improvements.

Source: School board to hear quarterly bond update at Thursday’s meeting

Vallejo school board receives bond survey results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A polling consultant informed the Vallejo school board on Wednesday that the district is in a unique position after survey results revealed residents support a possible school bond but they don’t trust the district.

At least 61 percent of the 601 interviewed by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) said they would support a Vallejo City Unified School District bond.

However, just 29 percent of the same people surveyed said they have a favorable view of the district while a majority of the participants, 57 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of the VCUSD.

This is the third survey conducted since June 2013 to ascertain the public’s views on a possible school bond.

Prior to Wednesday’s results, the last bond survey held in January 2016 concluded confidence in the district was around 37 percent with about 40 percent of those surveyed viewing the district unfavorably.

Source: Vallejo school board receives bond survey results

Vallejo school board to review polling results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school district’s biennial tradition continues Wednesday as trustees review survey results regarding the community’s interest in supporting a school bond for the upcoming election.

This attempt to get a school bond measure approved by voters may be more difficult.

According to the survey — conducted between Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 last year — the public’s confidence in the district has eroded since 2016, according to results provided by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).

Polled in January 2016, just 37 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Vallejo City Unified School District. That number dropped to 29 percent, with 57 percent stating they did not have a favorable view of the district.

Source: Vallejo school board to review polling results

Measure A transforms Sierra Vista – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Without public fanfare but certainly with excited students and teachers, Sierra Vista leaders on Jan. 8 opened two new seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms, part of continuing Measure A expenditures at the Vacaville school, bringing the teaching of basic biology, genetics, plant and animal life cycles and more into a 21st-century learning environment.

The construction, its completion somewhat delayed, Principal Catherine Bozzini said Tuesday, was funded by Measure A, the $194 million bond passed by Vacaville voters in November 2014, of which at least $9 million has been set aside by Vacaville Unified to pay for upgrades and new buildings at the Bel Air Drive campus, a K-8 school.

Source: Measure A transforms Sierra Vista

New home for math at Vaca High – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It was a mammoth and desired present ready to use after the Christmas holidays.

Vacaville High School students, teachers, support staff and administrators ushered in the new year with a newly built $9 million, 15-classroom mathematics building, part of Vacaville Unified’s continuing districtwide campus upgrades under Measure A.

The two-story structure, which opened Monday when classes resumed, further enhances the West Monte Vista school — one of the district’s oldest at 66 years — coming five months after completion of the campus’ new and similar English building.

Source: New home for math at Vaca High

Measure Q spending plan, contracts, change orders on SCC agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A revision to the Measure Q spending plan, and several large change orders and contracts are on the agenda when Solano Community College leaders gather tonight in Fairfield for their last meeting of the year.

Trustees are expected to approve the Measure Q revision, taking $305,000 from one account (net interest earned and unallocated) to another (energy), to boost the budget for the Fairfield substations No. 1 and 2.

Lucky Lofton, the school’s executive bonds manager, will make the request, the eighth revision since the measure, a $348 million bond passed by county voters 2012.

Likewise, the seven-member governing board is expected to award a $2.4 million contract to McCuen Construction, a Loomis-based firm, for the renovation of classrooms in the Vacaville Annex at the college’s Vacaville Center on North Village Parkway.

Source: Measure Q spending plan, contracts, change orders on SCC agenda

Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts – The Reporter

A biennial report about Alamo Elementary, accountability “local indicators,” and several large contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Derek Wickliff, principal of Alamo Elementary, will present the report about the South Orchard Avenue campus. He will touch on a variety of topics. They include the school’s music program; recent past events; data from the California Dashboard, the state’s new schools accountability system, with statistics about suspension rates, English learner progress, and results from the 2017 state standardized tests; and attendance.

A district staff member will present information about local indicators from the Dashboard. They include basic services, the carrying-out of academic standards, parent engagement and school climate.

Through this accountability system, each California school district and charter school is required to provide a “narrative,” complete a rating scale, or use survey results to determine progress.

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts

CBO presents Measure A bond sale costs to district leaders – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Updates about district staffing and enrollment numbers, an update about the district’s Adult Education program and the likely approval of the costs to sell $78 million in Measure A bonds are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified trustees meet Thursday in Vacaville.

Presentations about 2017 staffing and enrollment numbers will fall to Janet Dietrich, assistant superintendent for human resources, and Manolo Garcia, director of human resources.

Offering a numerical glimpse of the district’s population, they will tell the seven-member governing board that the total number of staff — teachers, classified (school-support employees), certificated managers and administrators — is 1,270. And the total number of students in elementary, middle and high schools is 12,626, a slight increase from prior years.

Source: CBO presents Measure A bond sale costs to district leaders

SCC agenda considers partnership with Delta Airlines – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An educational partnership with Delta Airlines, a large change order for Autotechnology Project at the Vallejo campus, and a quarterly update on Measure Q expenses are on the agenda when the Solano Community College meet tonight in Fairfield.

Trustees are expected to sign off on an agreement with Delta Airlines for the school’s Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance Technician program at the Vacaville Center on North Village Parkway.

The partnership, according to agenda documents, includes an initial two-year term that will automatically renew for successive one-year periods until either party asks for the agreement to end. The partnership with Delta will give SCC students, after successfully completing the program, the chance to meet with airlines employees and provide the college with scrap aircraft or avionics parts.

Source: SCC agenda considers partnership with Delta Airlines

Vacaville Unified trustees delay vote on PLAs until full board convenes – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After some fraught discussion and public comment, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday tabled a motion, on a close 3-2 vote, to resume talks on Project Labor Agreements for the Markham Elementary School modernization project.

Before the vote, Board President Michael Kitzes, noting the absence of two trustees, John Jansen and Sherie Mahlberg, and opposing opinions about resuming negotiations with labor unions, referred to trustee Whit Whitman’s suggestion to hold off on making a decision until the full, seven-member board convened to discuss the matter, most likely at the Nov. 2 meeting.

Source: Vacaville Unified trustees delay vote on PLAs until full board convenes

DUSD leaders forgo lease-leaseback option for Measure Q projects – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Not willing to spend the time and money to fend off a potential legal challenge, Dixon Unified leaders have decided to forgo using the lease-leaseback process for proposed and much-needed school renovations under Measure Q.

The Reporter recently learned of the district’s decision — made during a closed session gathering last month — from George Guynn, president of the Solano County Taxpayers Association, which in May first challenged the effort to use the lease-leaseback option.

In a press release, Guynn said the decision reaffirmed the governing board’s promise to voters when they approved the $30.4 million bond measure in November to modernize Old Dixon High and Anderson Elementary, among other aging campuses.

Before the election, district leaders promised to comply with the awarding of construction contracts “through competitive bid; prioritize projects; structure bond maturity consistent with project useful life; control soft costs and use non-bond funds for facility maintenance,” he wrote in the prepared statement.

Source: DUSD leaders forgo lease-leaseback option for Measure Q projects

Vallejo school board begins work on possible 2018 bond measure – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board will spend up to $50,000 to prepare the district for a possible run at a school bond in 2018.

A cadre of parents, educators, and community members attended the school board meeting Wednesday night recommending the trustees support the move, which includes working with bond counsel and district financial analysts, and advertising a Request for Qualifications (RFP) for qualified bond polling/information services, and communications/strategy consultants.

In the 4-1 vote, with Trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown opposed, the board further authorized district staff to “develop and initiate a plan of action with regular board updates and authorizations” regarding updating the facilities master plan and an implementation plan. Staff will also determine the type and amount of any possible bond as well.

 

Source: Vallejo school board begins work on possible 2018 bond measure

School board to consider reappointment of 2 Bond Oversight Committee members tonight – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District will be voting to reappoint two members of the Measure S Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) at tonight’s meeting.Per the general obligation bonds of Measure S which was approved by Benicia voters in 2014 to provide funding for facility improvements at Benicia schools, the district is required to have a CBOC with seven members who meet quarterly to go over bond expenditure reports. The seven members consist of one person representing a local business, one person representing a senior citizens’ organization, one person representing a taxpayers’ organization, a parent or guardian of a Benicia Unified student, a parent or guardian of a Benicia Unified student who also serves on a parent-teacher organization or school site council, and two at-large community members.

The term for each member is two years, and the terms of two— at-large member Ron Arrants and taxpayers’ organization representative Pat Lopes— are slated to end on Oct. 1. Per CBOC bylaws, members can not serve more than three consecutive terms and the school board has the ability to appoint members based on the recommendation of the superintendent.Superintendent Dr. Charles Young is recommending that the board reappoint Arrants and Lopes for two-year terms that run through Oct. 1, 2019. Both members had previously been re-appointed in 2015.

Source: School board to consider reappointment of 2 Bond Oversight Committee members tonight

Vacaville USD leaders expected to OK $35 million in Markham upgrades – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, are expected to approve $35 million in Measure A dollars to modernize Markham Elementary, will consider approving revised school start times for the 2018-19 year, and will hear a student suicide prevention update.

The Markham vote will come after a Sept. 12 special governing board meeting at the Markham Avenue campus, where trustees, based on their comments, appeared poised to approve the bond money to modernize and upgrade the school, built in 1962 and one of the district’s oldest.

The roll call vote will come after more than a year of discussion, including an August facilities planning workshop, of how to improve facilities at the aging campus and how much to spend doing it.

Over recent weeks and months, district administrators have urged trustees to make a decision, because time is running out to meet preferred deadlines — for design and landscaping plans, heeding city regulations, and approvals by the Office of the State Architect, for example — before a planned groundbreaking in summer 2019.

Source: Vacaville school district leaders expected to OK $35 million in Markham upgrades

Goldstone to be honored; Vallejo school board to receive info on possible bond – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Almost two decades after he was unceremoniously removed as superintendent, Steve Goldstone will be honored by the Vallejo school board Wednesday night.

The board of trustees is expected to approve a resolution thanking Goldstone for serving as interim superintendent of the Vallejo City Unified School District for the past five months.

Goldstone was hired in April after trustees fired former superintendent Ramona Bishop without cause in March.

“Dr. Goldstone will be truly missed by current school board members, teachers, staff, and the people of Vallejo for his personal contributions as someone who is positive, supportive, respectful, and having a deep sense of integrity in all that he does with students, staff, and the school board,” the resolution states. “His broad and lengthy educational experience and awareness, quite classiness, and quick wit will be missed by many.”

He previously served as VCUSD superintendent from 1995 until 2000, when he was fired by a majority of the then-board.

Source: Goldstone to be honored; Vallejo school board to receive info on possible bond

Budget on SCC agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A public hearing and the adoption of the 2017-18 budget, a change order and completion date for the new Biotechnology and Science Building project at the Vacaville Center, and an appointment to the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee are on the agenda tonight when the Solano Community College District governing board meets in Vallejo.

The seven-member board is expected to approve the $153.3 million in expenses, well in excess of $110 million in revenues, according to agenda documents. The general fund, at $65.2 million, accounts for most of the budget, followed by capital outlay, at $49.4 million, debt service of $25.3 million, child development at $823,000, and trust expenditures of $11.6 million.

Trustees are expected to approve the budget.

The change order stipulates the completion date for the new $26.3 million Biotechnology and Science Building project at the Vacaville Center, on North Village Parkway, will be Oct. 18, instead of Sept. 17, to allow for completion of some final work.

Source: Budget on SCC agenda

Renovated Benicia High School stadium officially open – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

It is finally here. After more than three years of planning, discussing and numerous construction delays, Benicia High School’s stadium is open for play, following a grand opening ceremony Thursday.

In 2014, Benicia residents voted to approve Measure S, a ballot initiative aimed at providing $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. One of the largest projects to be funded by the initiative was the renovation of Benicia High’s George Drolette Stadium, which was constructed around 1966. The renovation of the stadium, which consists of a football and soccer field as well as a track, was expected to be completed in Oct. 2016 but due to various delays— including one of the Bay Area’s rainiest winter seasons in years— the construction kept getting pushed back. Now the field is ready for play, and the school celebrated with a ribbon cutting Thursday.

The stadium boasts a number of new features including aluminum bleachers that can seat up to 3,300 people, an 8-lane all-weather track, upgraded lighting, a new concession stand relocated to the front of the stadium, a “memory brick” circle emblazoned with the names of past and present Benicia High Schoolers, and a new entryway with signage welcoming Panthers. The only element remaining from the previous stadium was the scoreboard.

Source: Renovated Benicia High School stadium officially open

A look at 2 Solano school bonds proves informative – Daily Republic

By John Takeuchi

Important things come and go. It’s wise to review them, to learn for the future.

Let’s take a look at two very expensive local school bonds: Fairfield-Suisun School District’s Measure C ($100 million) and Solano Community College District’s Measure G ($150 million), approved by voters in 2002.

Both measures used state Proposition 39 (passed in 2000), that allowed school construction bonds to be approved with 55 percent Yes votes. Among its rules, bond revenues could only be spent on constructing and rehabilitating school facilities. In addition, the ballot text was required to show the specific projects to be funded; that lets you estimate whether the amount of the bond is legitimate. Later legislation added an “independent citizens’ oversight committee” to assure the public that bond funds were being spent properly.

Source: A look at 2 Solano school bonds proves informative

Solano College to fete auto tech program milestone in Vallejo – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano Community College Automotive Technology Program has moved into a new 30,000-square-foot facility at the college’s Vallejo Center with the start of the current academic year and celebrates a grand opening this week.

The project is funded by voter-approved Measure Q. The project doubles the size of the automotive technology facility and allows student enrollment to grow.

Source: The Week Ahead: Solano College to fete auto tech program milestone in Vallejo

VUSD leaders poised to OK $35M in Markham upgrades – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After a community outreach meeting Tuesday, Vacaville Unified leaders appear poised to approve $35 million in Measure A dollars to modernize and upgrade Markham Elementary, one of the oldest schools in the district.

Their decision, expected during the Sept. 21 trustees meeting, will come after more than a year of discussion, including an August facilities planning workshop, of how to improve facilities at the aging Markham Avenue campus and how much to spend doing it.

District administrators scheduled the meeting because time is running out to adhere to preferred deadlines — for design and landscaping plans, heeding city regulations, and approvals by the Office of the State Architect, for example — before planned groundbreaking in summer 2019.

Source: VUSD leaders poised to OK $35M in Markham upgrades