Solano County Office of Education leader to mull over interim budget – Times Herald

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders likely will approve the 2017-18 second interim budget report when they meet tonight in Fairfield.

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

In her overview, Becky Lentz, director of internal business services, will tell the seven-member governing board that Gov. Jerry Brown continues to predict a recession “but the timing is unknown.”

Additionally, cuts to federal programs are expected and so are changes to the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 during the Obama administration and intended to constrain healthcare costs. SCOE, which administers community and court schools and some special education programs, among others, is experiencing declining enrollment in its Alternative Education program, Lentz will add.

Source: Solano County Office of Education leader to mull over interim budget

Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting – Times Herald

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders, when they meet tonight in Fairfield, will face a relatively light agenda, followed by a special meeting and a closed hearing.

Nicola Parr, director of student and program support, will update the seven-member board on the SCOE’s Local Control Accountability Plan, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. LCAPs are annual documents that guide virtually all of a school district’s spending, especially for English learners, low-income students and foster youth.

Parr will note the stakeholders “engagement process,” to include the frequency of meetings with parents, students, staff and foster youth advocates.

Additionally, she will note a pending Career Technical Education advisory meeting, to include a guest speaker who will offer an update on the economic climate for the North Bay; input from local businesses about the skills they want in graduates, among other things.

Source: Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting

SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

The governing board made its decision at 10:20 p.m., more than four hours after the meeting began inside the county agency’s Business Center Drive office building, after testimony by the board’s attorney, John Yeh, a partial clearing by a fire marshal of the Business Center Drive room midway through the meeting, remarks in support and opposition by some 60 speakers, more comments and questions from the seven-member board, followed by a roll-call vote that board President Elease Cheek called “a tough, tough decision that will set a precedent.”

Source: SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition

Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Solano County Board of Education trustees turned down Elite Charter School by a 4-3 vote Wednesday after supporters said the school would address an achievement gap for African-American and Latino students but opponents said public schools are dealing with the gap.

“It’s a hard call,” Trustee Peggy Cohen-Thompson said. “It’s a very hard call.”

She along with Trustees Mayrene Bates and Michell Coleman voted for Dana Dean’s motion to deny the Elite Charter School petition.

Bates spoke about attending all-black schools from kindergarten to college and protests about the separation of races.

She said she was concerned when hearing proposals to do more for one group than another.

Source: Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote

SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

During the meeting that lasted more than four hours, which included more than 60 speakers, a small group of educators cheered after the result.

The closed vote, taken in the county agency’s Business Center Drive offices, a contentious Dec. 13 public hearing that saw some 50 speakers in support or opposition to the petition praised, assailed or merely questioned the document forged by Ramona Bishop, the former Vallejo City Unified superintendent who was fired from her post last March.

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Source: SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Elite Charter School’s petition should be denied, the Solano County Office of Education staff recommends in citing potentially devastating budgets cuts for the Vallejo City School District.

The staff also states that programs Elite Charter proposes are already available.

The Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Pena Adobe Room at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

Ramona Bishop, former Vallejo City School District superintendent, is the petitioner for Elite.

Source: Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

Deep divide over charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A plan for independent charter schools in three Solano County cities drew dozens of supporters and opponents Wednesday to a sometimes emotionally-charged Solano County Office of Education trustees meeting in Fairfield.

The governing board made no up-or-down decision, but is expected to do so at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Nearly 50 of some 175 people who packed the Pena Adobe room in SCOE’s offices aired their reasons during a two-hour public hearing that came after Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified, offered a slide presentation that more or less summarized her 510-page petition to open an independent charter school, ELITE Public School, next year in Vallejo, with campuses added in Vacaville and Fairfield in 2019. (A copy of the petition is available for public review at the county office website, www.solanocoe.net.)

Source: Deep divide over charter school petition

SCOE Board hears Elite Charter School proposal praised, panned – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

More than 150 people in a standing-room-only meeting Wednesday heard supporters and opponents of the proposed Elite Charter School – and two Solano County Board of Education members say that the “opportunity gap” for African-American and Latino students must be addressed.

Board member Dana Dean said after 47 people spoke about the charter proposal that she was deeply troubled that every supporter is a person of color and every opponent is white.

That statement brought protests from several charter school opponents disputing Dean’s assessment of speakers.

Source: Solano board hears Elite Charter School proposal praised, panned

Solano County Office of Education board to hear independent charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A public hearing about a new charter school petition to set up schools in three Solano County cities and the election of officers are on the Solano County Office of Education agenda when trustees meet tonight in Fairfield.

Leaders of Elite Public School submitted their petition to the county board on Oct. 27, and, by law, school districts must either approve or deny within 60 days of receiving it but can extend the deadline with a vote.

A copy of the petition is available for public review at the county office website, at www.solanocoe.net.

The drive to establish independent charter schools in Vacaville, Vallejo and Fairfield is spearheaded by the former Superintendent of Vallejo City Unified, Ramona Bishop, who was fired on a 3-2 governing board vote in March after serving six years. Her termination was made without cause.

Source: Solano County Office of Education board to hear independent charter school petition

Local unions oppose charter school petition – Times Herald

By John Glidden

If approved by the Solano County Board of Education, the ELITE Public Charter School will harm local neighborhood schools, forcing them to make difficult budget cuts, the Napa-Solano County Central Labor Council says.

In an un-yet published letter to the editor, Steven Quinlan, a trustee on the labor council, said the group officially opposes the charter school plan brought forth by Ramona Bishop.

Bishop was the Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent from 2011 until earlier this year. She was fired without cause by a majority of the VCUSD Board of Education on March 15.

Bishop is seeking to open a charter school network throughout Solano County, with a campus opening in Vallejo next year and campuses slated for Fairfield and Vacaville a year after that.

Source: Local unions oppose charter school petition

County school board to review charter school petition – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The county’s board of education will have its first look Wednesday night at a charter school petition brought forward by a former Vallejo school district superintendent.

Ramona Bishop, who served as superintendent for the Vallejo City Unified School District from 2011 until March of this year, is leading the charge for a charter school network throughout Solano County.

Called ELITE Public Charter School, Bishop is hoping to open a campus in Vallejo for the 2018-19 school year, followed by the establishment of campuses in Fairfield and Vacaville for the 2019-20 school year.

Reached by phone recently, Bishop expressed confidence the county school board will find the petition in good order. She further stated the charter school team is filled with qualified educators who can provide a solid education to students.

Source: County school board to review charter school petition

Charter schools proposal spurs Fairfield-Suisun teachers union opposition – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

The teachers association for the Fairfield-Suisun School District opposes a petition by a former Vallejo City School District superintendent to open charter schools in Fairfield, Vacaville and Vallejo.

The board for the Solano County Office of Education is expected to take up Ramona Bishop’s proposal for the Elite Academy on Dec. 13.

Nancy Dunn, president of Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, said all students in the district can succeed without a charter school.

Source: Charter schools proposal spurs Fairfield-Suisun teachers union opposition

Residents evacuate as Atlas Fire closes in on rural Solano homes – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

A fire that raged through rural Napa County early Monday forced rural Solano County residents to flee their homes by Monday night.

Mandatory evacuations were put in place about 8 p.m. Monday for residents on Twin Sisters Road. Joyce Lane was under mandatory evacuation 30 minutes later as fires from Napa County closed in on the area.

The fire’s spread into Solano County caused the Fairfield-Suisun School District to announce Monday night that Suisun Valley K-8 School would remain closed Tuesday. The district cited the severity of the fire and its effect on rural roads near the school.

Source: Residents evacuate as Atlas Fire closes in on rural Solano homes

Denied in Vacaville USD, charter leader petitions SCOE – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Leaders of Heritage Peak Charter School in downtown Vacaville, their petition denied less than two months ago by Vacaville Unified trustees, are now seeking to align the independent study learning center with the Solano County Office of Education.

Paul Keefer, who heads the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, the operator of several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area, presented a petition for newly named Pacific Valley Charter during a public hearing Wednesday night at county education offices in Fairfield.

The SCOE governing board will either approve or deny Keefer’s petition at a Sept. 13 meeting at the county agency’s 5100 Business Center Drive offices.

Source: Denied in Vacaville Unified School District, charter leader petitions county ed board

Solano County Office of Education receives homeless grant – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

A state grant will support training to school district staffs about how to better identify and meet the needs of homeless students in Solano County.

The county Office of Education announced Thursday it had received the $37,638 grant from the state Department of Education.

“Supporting homeless students is a priority for all educators in our school districts, and, through this grant, the Solano County Office of Education will be able to continue supporting schools in their efforts to identify all homeless youth and provide them with the services they need,” Superintendent Estrella-Henderson commented.

Source: Solano County Office of Education receives homeless grant

Senator, supervisor honored for service – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Well wishes took center stage at Tuesday’s meeting of the Solano County Board of Supervisors as outgoing leaders Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, and Supervisor Linda Seifert, were honored for their service.

Wolk terms out in December and Seifert’s last day is Jan. 2.

Both women were recognized by community members and leaders at all levels of government.

“She’s been such an ally of ours and a collaborator. We are forever grateful,” said board chair Erin Hannigan of Wolk.

Source: Senator, supervisor honored for service

County ed board candidate boasts considerable resume – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

When Betty Silva, a retired public school librarian, says, “I’ve always devoted my life to education,” there is an extensive resume to confirm her statement.

For more than three decades, including 27 years at Fairfield High, the 70-year-old Fairfield resident served as a librarian. In the early 1990s, she was president of the California School Library Association and state treasurer for that group for many years. Silva was, at one time, co-president of the California Retired Teachers Association and today still serves as a board member, representing Area No. 1, a vast region from San Francisco north along the coast to the Oregon border. Once active in Fairfield-Suisun Unified labor issues, she was head negotiator for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association for 13 years.

Silva presents her considerable experience in public education, in part, as a reason voters should consider her favorably for the Trustee Area No. 2 post on the Solano County Board of Education.

 

Source: County ed board candidate boasts considerable resume

Vacaville children’s advocate cites ‘personal reasons’ for county ed board candidacy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Amy Sharp of Vacaville raises a family, volunteers in area schools, offers art instruction to children, some of them disabled, raises money for nonprofit groups, helps to organize community events, and keeps an eye trained on at least two local government agencies.

But “personal reasons,” said the self-described children’s advocate, prompted her to seek the Trustee Area No. 2 seat on the Solano County Board of Education.

Election Day is Nov. 8, and Sharp, 41 and the mother of two, will face off against Betty Silva, a school library media teacher and educator, for the county education post that represents north Vacaville and west Fairfield.

“The reason I’m running is, that my two nieces were in the county special ed program,” the longtime Vacaville resident recalled Friday, adding that her nieces died from Batten disease, a rare, fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system that usually begins in childhood and its first symptom is usually progressive vision loss. “Special education is quite a maze to navigate. I’ve worked with families to make sure their children get the classes and services they need.”