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

Superintendent contract, high school farm on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An extension and some revisions to Superintendent Brian Dolan’s contract, an update on sixth-graders transitioning to middle school, and possible Proposition 51 funding for the Dixon High School Farm are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

The five-member governing board is expected to approve an extension to Dolan’s contract, which expires Sept. 30. Additionally, trustees will consider removing current contract language about Dolan also serving as human resources director.

Dolan will lead the update of sixth-graders who will be incorporated at the district’s middle school, C.A. Jacobs, during the 2018-19 academic year. Plans call for several key elements, including planning among affected principals, and discussions among teachers and parents.

Source: Superintendent contract, high school farm on Dixon school district agenda

Revised meal payment policy on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An explanation about a delayed release for the latest state standardized test scores and a revised food services meal payment policy are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent for educational services, will explain the reason for the delay, which the state Department of Education has chalked up to an unspecified “data problem.” The 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Progress, or CAASPP, measures student skills in English and math for students in grades three through eight and 11th grades.

The five-member governing board will consider the new meal payment policy, as presented by Melissa Mercado, the chief business official.

In brief, the policy will require cafeteria workers and district staff to increase their efforts to inform parents or guardians of their student’s delinquent meal account. Once a limit of $50 is reached, the student will no longer be able to charge meals, and, after all efforts to collect the debts are made, district officials may prohibit seniors from participating in senior activities, including graduation, or possibly delay the sending of a student’s report card.

Source: Revised meal payment policy on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Dixon USD trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A debt recovery plan for school lunch accounts, and updates on sixth-graders’ transition to C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School and the possibility of reconfiguring the district’s elementary school model are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s new chief business officer, will lead the discussion on the food services department’s plans to get families to pay off meal debts.

The agenda item comes two weeks after the five-member board first heard of the plan from Superintendent Brian Dolan, which came after headlines about public rage directed at American schools that resort to so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

Source: Dixon Unified School District trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition

DUSD agenda: lunch bills, Oversight Committee, medical billing contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will discuss solutions to the sizable number of unpaid lunch accounts, legal requirements for the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, a formal resolution establishing the committee, and a contract for Medi-Cal billing services.

The five-member governing board will hear a report from Superintendent Brian Dolan about the rural eastern Solano County school district’s food service program that will require future decisions.

Among them are actions to take when a student has an unpaid balance on their food service account; methods to collect such debts; and a general fund contribution to pay for breakfasts at Anderson Elementary and breakfasts and lunches at Maine Prairie High, a continuation school.

Source: DUSD agenda: Unpaid lunch bills, Citizens Oversight Committee, medical billing contract

School resource officer a possibility for Dixon Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified may soon lose an arguably dubious distinction; the only Solano County school district without a school resource officer.

Dixon Police Chief Robert Thompson on Thursday told district trustees that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.

“It’s critically important to fund and staff” the position, he said during a school board meeting in the Dixon City Council chamber.

School resource officers typically are responsible for providing security and crime-prevention services in U.S. schools. They may also have other duties, including mentoring, speaking about youth-related issues, and, he said at one point, making “soft contacts” with students and staff.

Thompson, a former FBI employee, said he was concerned about “the negative consequences of not having” a school resource officer in the rural eastern Solano County district with 3,500 students across eight campuses.

Source: School resource officer a possibility for Dixon Unified

Trustees table to Aug. 3 Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee resolution – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders on Thursday tabled until their next meeting, Aug. 3, a resolution to establish the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, the decision coming after nearly three hours of discussion, by turns rancorous, repetitious and frustrating.

The lengthy discussion on the first new business agenda item came as a surprise to some, given the seemingly routine nature of such matters in other school districts, but committee members, who have already been meeting over the past several weeks, objected to the addition of five pages of bylaws, committee procedures and an excerpt from the California Constitution attached to the three-page resolution.

Source: Trustees table to Aug. 3 Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee resolution

Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Bond Oversight Committee will meet in Wednesday in Dixon.

Members will hear an overview of existing bond projects from John Calise, the rural school district’s director of facilities and operations.

They also will hear from a guest speaker Anton Jungherr on organizational guidance.

Gary Riddle, a committee member, will offer a report and the committee may take action, according to agenda documents.

Calise will present information about the committee’s website content.

Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet

Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to hold organizational meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee will hold its organizational meeting Wednesday at Dixon High School.

The committee, formed in May, will review procedures, policies and guidelines; Brown Act provisions that stipulate the state’s open meetings laws; elect officers (chair, vice chair, secretary, etc.); and set dates for future meetings.

The $30.4 million bond, which will pay for upgrades to the district’s aging schools, passed by more than 55 percent of district voters in November. The money will be used to upgrade the district’s eight campuses, but especially the oldest, such as Old Dixon High, built in 1940, and Anderson Elementary, built in 1949. By law, none of the bond money can be used for administrator or teacher salaries or school operating expenses.

Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to hold organizational meeting

Dixon school leaders to add another member to Measure Q oversight committee – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet tonight in a special meeting, are expected to approve the addition of one new member to the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, Tad Smith, a scientist.

During a regular meeting last week, trustees approved a list of five members to serve on the committee. They are Julie Mustard, an administrative coordinator; Gary Riddle, a retiree; Robert Strong, a computer network specialist; Andrea Kett, a business owner; and Jack Caldwell, a local manager.

When school bond measures pass in California, citizens oversight committees usually are formed to comply with the requirements of the bond and state law. Its members are appointed volunteers, often from various organizations, in accord with state law, Basically, oversight committees, independent of a school district’s governing board, try to make sure the bond money is being spent wisely on construction projects and is accounted for, by providing period updates to trustees.

Source: Dixon school leaders to add another member to Measure Q oversight committee