Dixon school board selects John Knight as new middle school namesake – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

When Dixon middle schoolers return at the end of summer, they will not only be stepping onto a new campus but one with a new name.

The Dixon school board voted unanimously Thursday to rename CA Jacobs Middle School after longtime principal and educator John Knight when the school relocates to East A Street.

A committee of staff, students and parents was tasked with choosing a new name, mascot and school colors to signify a new beginning when CA Jacobs moves to the refurbished former Dixon High School campus at the start of the 2020-21 school year. The committee chose burgundy and gray as the new colors and Mavericks as the new mascot.

Source: Dixon school board selects John Knight as new middle school namesake – The Reporter

Dixon school board to consider new names for middle school – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Two potential names for Dixon’s relocated middle school will go before the Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District at Thursday’s meeting.

One of the largest projects to be funded by Measure Q — a $30.4 million initiative passed by Dixon voters in 2016 to fund district construction and renovation projects — is the remodel of the old Dixon High School campus to house the district’s new middle school. The campus has sat mostly vacant since 2007 when Dixon High moved operations to a new campus on College Way, but will be open once again at the start of the 2020-21 year when sixth through eighth-graders will move to the old building at 455 East A St.

However, the new campus will not be just a relocated CA Jacobs Middle School. It will feature a new identity, as well.

Source: Dixon school board to consider new names for middle school – The Reporter

DUSD officials tour Dixon High farm, future middle school campus – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

It is not often that the past, present and future can be equally represented, but that’s what the Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District got Tuesday.

Officials received a glimpse at the construction progress of two of the district’s largest projects — the new farm at Dixon High School and the remodel of the old DHS campus to make way for the new middle school campus — during a special school board meeting.

In a tour attended by board trustees Jewel Fink, Luke Foster and Melissa Maseda; Superintendent Brian Dolan, Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent of educational services; and Tad Smith, chairman of the Measure Q Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, officials got to see how the two large-scale projects are coming along. The tour was led by Jim Bombaci, the senior project manager for School Site Solutions which is constructing both projects.

Source: DUSD officials tour Dixon High farm, future middle school campus – The Reporter

Dixon school board to vote on student achievement plans for 3 schools – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District will vote on the Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSAs) for three of the district’s schools at Thursday’s meeting.

Per California’s Education Code, each Site Council of a school receiving Title 1 Funds is required to develop an SPSA with input from stakeholders and site committees. SPSAs outline schools’ goals to support the academic performance of all students.

According to a staff report by Nick Girimonte, DUSD’s assistant superintendent of educational services, the district is using a new state template to complete SPSAs for the 2019-20 school year. The template would more closely align the site plans with DUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan, which Girimonte wrote would “allow for more effective monitoring of strategies, a more cohesive approach to services for students and a more manageable document for parents and other stakeholders to understand.”

Source: Dixon school board to vote on student achievement plans for 3 schools – The Reporter

Solano election results set– The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Solano’s November elections are in the books, the certified results approved Tuesday by the county’s Board of Supervisors.

In Northern Solano County, there were several close races to be had.

According to the approved results:

  • Michael E. Silva, Michele Shelley Dally and John Jansen won posts on the Vacaville Unified School District board;
  • Caitlin O’Halloran, John A. Gabby and Jewel Fink were the top vote-getters for the Dixon Unified School District board;
  • Riitta De Anda and Janet Jackson Forbes snagged seats on the Travis Unified School District Governing Board; and
  • Jane Day and Wanda Williams won Suisun City Council seats.

Source: Solano election results set, plaque approved honoring former longtime administrator – The Reporter

Unofficial winners of Dixon Council races – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

A Dixon city councilman and planning commissioner were triumphant Wednesday following Tuesday’s city council elections.

With all precincts counted, incumbent Scott Pederson kept his seat in District 1 while Commissioner Jim Ernest gained a new title in District 2.

“I’m doing great,” Pederson said Wednesday. “I’m just very grateful and very pleased that it turned out the way it did. It was a group and team effort.”

Now the work begins, he said, as Dixon’s next four years will be big.

He pointed to a new housing development in the southeast part of the city and development on the northeast side.

Source: Incumbent, planning commissioner unofficial winners of Dixon Council races – The Reporter

DUSD managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified department managers, classified, or school-support, and confidential employees are expected to get a 2 percent raise tonight when trustees meet in Dixon.

Before the five-member governing board votes on the matter, there will be two public hearings, one for the tentative agreement with the district’s Service Employees International Union, which represents school-support workers (bus drivers, custodians, groundskeepers, some clerical staff, etc.), the other for management, confidential and any employees not represented by a bargaining unit.

Trustees are expected to approve the raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018, in accord with the wage-and-benefit agreement reached earlier this year with the Dixon Teachers Association, which represents teachers and some other certificated employees, Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business officer, noted Wednesday.

The latest employee agreement, which settles negotiations for the 2017-18 academic year, also includes revised contract language to define the district’s contribution to health benefits to be the midlevel of the high medical plan options offered by the district.

Source: Dixon Unified School District managers, school-support, confidential employees to get 2 percent raise

Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The strategic plan and timelines for the relocation of Maine Prairie High, cafeteria table replacement at Tremont Elementary, and an update on the process and planning and the carrying out of the sixth-grade transition to middle school are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan, recently returned from a short-term medical leave, will lead the discussion about the relocation plan for Maine Prairie, the rural, eastern Solano County school district’s continuation high school. It is currently housed at 305 East C St.

Dolan will review meeting timelines, stretching from tonight to the coming months and beyond; the date when a final decision will be presented to trustees (Nov. 17); stakeholder groups that will figure into the final decision; and potential new sites for the school.

Source: Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda

New $37M budget, district response to immigration on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2018-19 annual budget, with its accompanying LCAP, a review of the school district’s policy and administrative regulation about responses to immigration enforcement, and an update on the naming ceremony for the Dixon Community Performing Arts Center at Dixon High are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business official, will present the budget, which must be submitted to the Solano County Office of Education for approval on or before June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Source: New $37M budget, district response to immigration enforcement on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Dixon USD leaders to consider pay hike for teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Two public hearings about a tentative salary agreement with the Dixon Teachers Association and the possible approval of the contract, and updates on the LCAP and possible relocation of Maine Prairie High are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

A public hearing will precede the approval or possible modification of the contract, with a follow-up public hearing to revision the contract’s initial proposals.

According to agenda documents, the agreement, ratified April 26, calls for a 2 percent ongoing increase to the salary schedule, retroactive to Jan. 1. That decision will affect all active union members as of April 1.

Additionally, the contract calls for increasing elementary teacher preparation time from 360 minutes to 450 minutes for every 10 working days.

Source: Dixon Unified School District leaders to consider pay hike for teachers

Updates of school safety plans on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Updates of school safety plans and two related matters, the approval of principals at Dixon High, and a policy regarding involuntary student transfers are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

By law, California school districts must approve school safety plans to make sure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies while maintaining safe and secure learning environments.

School safety plans must present clear policies that deal with hate crimes, acts of violence, their perpetrators. Additionally, school safety plans must include a discrimination and harassment policy.

Mark Monachello, the district’s information technology services director, will make the presentation.

His remarks will come six weeks after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where a former student, using a military-style assault rifle, shot and killed 14 students and three educators, which later prompted the national student-led march against gun violence last weekend in Washington, D.C., and in more than 850 cities, small and large, across the globe.

Source: Updates of school safety plans on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Dixon Unified School District to discuss using contraband dogs – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2017-18 second interim budget, a Measure Q update, and the use of contraband dogs on district school grounds are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

By law, California school districts must submit two interim budget reports for the current fiscal year, usually by mid-December and mid-March, to let state Department of Education officials know that they can pay their bills.

The chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will tell the five-member governing board that the district can meet its financial obligations during the current academic year.

At the same time, the report essentially will be a snapshot of the rural eastern Solano County district as of Jan. 31.

Source: Dixon Unified School District to discuss using contraband dogs

Health survey, farm on Dixon Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Results from a student health survey, an update to the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, and an update on the funding process for the Dixon High School Farm are among the topics Dixon Unified leaders will hear about and discuss when they meet tonight in Dixon.

Julie Kehoe, executive director for special education and pupil services, will offer a presentation of results from the California Healthy Kids Survey taken last spring.

She will tell the five-member governing board that students in grades seven, nine and 11 annually take the survey that measures the students’ connection to their respective schools as well as their views on drugs and alcohol.

Source: Health survey, farm on Dixon Unified agenda

Dixon High School novels, sixth-grade transition on agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update regarding the availability of high school novels at Dixon High, a tentative agreement about employee orientations, and an update on the sixth-grade transition to a middle school setting are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

The assistant superintendent of educational services, Nick Girimonte will note that a staff member raised a “concern” about the lack of “core novels” at Dixon High. Girimonte will review past and current “processes” for buying and maintaining the books. The agenda documents did not mention which works of fiction were considered “core.”

Leanee Medina Estrada, human resources director, will introduce the tentative agreement between the district and Local 1021 of the Service Employee International Union, which represents school-support employees, regarding new employee orientation under Assembly Bill 119. Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June, the law requires public employers to grant union members access to new employee orientations. The cost of the agreement, which would require some employee release time to attend the orientations, is estimate to be $1,000. It is unclear if the five-member governing board will approve the agreement.

Source: Dixon High School novels, sixth-grade transition on agenda

Dixon board elects new officers, OKs budget report – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff

In the annual reshuffling of governing board officers, Dixon Unified leaders elected Melissa Maseda, a former preschool teacher, as president, it has been announced.

Attorney Luke Foster was elected vice president; and Caitlin O’Halloran, client engagement and community relations manager, Capital Resource Network, was named clerk of the board.

The five-member governing board is rounded out by John Gabby, a mortgage broker; and Guy Garcia, a farmer, who handed the president’s gavel to Maseda.

In other matters during a trustees meeting earlier this month, Melissa Mercado, the district’s chief business officer, updated the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.

Source: Dixon board elects new officers, OKs budget report

Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As they will in Vacaville, Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will reorganize the governing board and elect new officers, hear the 2017-18 first interim budget report, and solicit ideas about program offerings and “facilities challenges” at Maine Prairie High, the district’s continuation school.

Guy Garcia, president of the five-member governing board, will give up his gavel. Trustees will elect a new president, vice president and clerk.

As chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will update the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.

Revenues are expected to be $33.1 million, expenditures $33.9 million, resulting in $800,000 in red ink. The estimated ending fund balance is nearly $2 million.

Mercado’s numbers come are California school districts face increasing employee pension costs in several future years and as teacher unions clamor for member pay hikes.

Source: Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report

Teacher contract proposal on Dixon Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A collective bargaining proposal for the current year, and updates about the Career Technical Education facilities program and a school resource officer position are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Shawn Tutt, president of the Dixon Teachers Association, will tell the five-member governing board that the union’s collective bargaining proposal “is open,” Superintendent Brian Dolan said in an interview Wednesday.

He was unsure what the teachers are considering in terms of wage and benefit hikes, since the proposal is in its early stages.

Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent for educational services, will update trustees on the CTE facilities program, which includes information about funding for the Dixon High School Farm.

Source: Teacher contract proposal on Dixon Unified agenda

Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight – The Reporter

Dixon Unified leaders face a relatively light agenda when they meet tonight in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan will lead an update about the ongoing process of planning and carrying out of the sixth-grade cohort’s transition to middle school.

He also will lead an update of the progress toward development of a school resource officer position, a suggestion made in July by Police Chief Robert E. Thompson.

At the time, during a trustee meeting, he noted that the rural, 3,500-student district was the only one in Solano without a school resource officer. Thompson told the five-member governing board that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.

Source: Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight

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

On Dixon USD agenda: State test scores, update on elementary reconfiguration – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2017 CAASPP results, approval of a temporary roof cover at Old Dixon High, and an update about input from three parent meetings about the possible reconfiguration of district elementary schools are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet Thursday.

Nick Girimonte, newly named assistant superintendent for educational services, will lead the discussion about the district’s 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Program scores.

This is the third year of the computer-based tests, based on the California State Standards, which gauge whether students in grades three to eight and 11 are able to understand what they read, write clearly, think critically, solve complex math problems, and explain their reasoning as they prepare themselves for college, the military, and a rapidly changing and increasingly technological job market.

Scores fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The state also computes the average scores of all tested students, by grade level, called “mean scale” scores, which reflects the progress of all students rather than only those who changed achievement levels from one year to the next.

Source: On Dixon Unified School District agenda: State test scores, update on elementary reconfiguration