Vacaville schools supe offers detailed look at district – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In her annual report to the governing board, Vacaville Unified Superintendent Jane Shamieh on Thursday offered a detailed, data-filled snapshot of the school district during the 2016-17 academic year, a mixed bag of good and, she appeared to concede, sometimes disappointing news.

Using a computer-aided slide presentation, Shamieh, standing at a lectern in the Educational Services Center, laid out the numbers, from enrollment and student demographics to the annual budget and CASSPP scores to the graduation rate and physical education programs to student intervention and support practices and changes in child nutrition, to name a few segments.

She also offered year-end data about the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, the document that outlines parameters for student achievement, closing the so-called “achievement gap,” and enhancing school climate, among other things. (The LCAP, a key component of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, guides virtually all spending for California’s 1,000 school districts, especially for programs affecting English learners, low-income students and foster youth.)

Source: Vacaville schools supe offers detailed look at district

Sierra Vista MPR and Supes contract on VUSD Agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, are expected to approve a $5.2 million contract for a new multipurpose building at Sierra Vista, hear the superintendent’s year-end report for 2016-17, and approve a resolution recognizing Red Ribbon Week in late October.

Trustees likely will green-light a contract not to exceed $5.2 million with Landmark Modernization Contractors, a Loomis-based firm, to build a new multipurpose room at the K-8 campus on Bel Air Drive, already undergoing significant, multimillion-dollar upgrades under Measure A, the $194 million bond approved by district voters in 2014. Bond money will pay for the school’s new multipurpose room.

Superintendent Jane Shamieh will present a look-back of the 2016-17 school year, a detailed glimpse of the district during that time. It includes data about schools, district staff, enrollment numbers, student demographics, the annual budget, accomplishments, the graduation rate, Career Technical Education programs, student intervention and support practices, physical education improvements, changes in child nutrition, and CAASPP scores, among other things.

Source: VUSD Agenda

VUSD leaders convene attendance workshop today – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who declared September as Attendance Awareness Month in an effort, in part, to stem chronic absenteeism, wants school district leaders, staff and teachers to remind families about the importance of being in class each day.

Vacaville Unified trustees, who this morning will convene a special governing board workshop, are expected to hear the message that, in one way or another, links chronic absenteeism to high dropout rates, poor literacy skills and behavior problems, among other things, and key preventive measures that parents should begin taking as early as kindergarten.

In an annual district report, Kimberly Forrest, assistant superintendent for student services, and Ramiro Barron, interim director of student attendance and welfare, will lead the discussion and offer a data-filled slide presentation, of outcomes and procedures related to student attendance, suspensions and expulsions — and offer solutions — during the gathering in the Educational Services Center.

Source: VUSD leaders convene attendance workshop today

Markham upgrades, new school start times ok’d – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Markham Elementary, built in 1962, will undergo major upgrades starting in summer 2019, and Vacaville Unified elementary and secondary students will face new school start times next year, allowing middle and high schoolers to sleep in a bit longer.

As expected, with little comment, district leaders on Thursday unanimously approved the $35 million modernization project at the Markham Avenue campus and revised school start times for the 2018-19 academic year, major decisions long in coming.

Just before the formal Markham vote, governing board president Michael Kitzes, smiling, said, “This is really going to make a difference for students.”

Markham project, new start times, ok’d by VUSD Board – The Reporter

As expected, the Vacaville Unified School District governing board OK’d the $35 million modernization project funding under Measure A and the new school start times for the 2018-19 academic year.

See online later today or Saturday’s print edition of Reporter for the full story.

Source: Markham project, new start times, ok’d by VUSD Board

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

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

Trustees still want more info about proposed new school-start times – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders still want more information — and answers to some pointed questions — about proposed new school start times that may take effect next year.

During Thursday’s governing board meeting, Mark Frazier, chief academic officer, presented results of “bus route modeling” related to new start times for elementary and secondary students at the outset of the 2018-19 academic year.

Certain to affect every student, family, teacher and school-support employee in the district, the changes, depending on the school — in which elementary students would start class earlier, between 8:10 and 8:35 a.m., and middle and high school students would begin classes between 8:35 and 9 a.m. — have been discussed during several board meetings during the past 12 months.

In a slide presentation, Frazier, as he has done in past presentations, again detailed research about best wake times for young children as opposed to those experienced by preteens and teenagers.

Source: Trustees still want more info about proposed new school-start times

Markham community to hear VUSD plans for $35M in school upgrades – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders tonight will hold a community stakeholder meeting about a recommended proposal to spend $35 million in Measure A dollars to modernize and upgrade Markham Elementary, one of the oldest schools in the district.

The governing board discussed the matter during a facilities planning workshop in late August in the Educational Services Center.

The stakeholder meeting comes, in part, because the clock is ticking on adhering to preferred deadlines — with design and landscaping plans, approvals by the Office of the State Architect, for example — before planned groundbreaking in summer 2019, Dan Banowetz, the director of facilities for the 12,500-student district, told The Reporter on Aug. 28.

“We’ve got to get moving on it,” he said at the time.

The district will provide Spanish translators and the meeting, which district leaders are billing as a chance for Markham community members to make some choices about what they want to see in upgrades and modernization.

Source: Markham community to hear VUSD plans for $35M in school upgrades

Parents assail Browns Valley’s year-round proposal – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Some dozen Browns Valley Elementary parents Thursday let Vacaville Unified leaders know they are adamantly opposed to Principal Jennifer Austin’s plan for year-round classes next year and several said the solution to the Wrentham Drive campus’ overcrowding was simple: Build a new school.

As the public comment segment of the district trustees meeting got underway, President Michael Kitzes told parents the issue had not been aired among governing board members.

“Nothing’s really been talked about up here,” he said from the dais. “Nothing’s been decided.”

Superintendent Jane Shamieh said Austin’s 14-page proposal — with sections devoted to the “problem,” the “solution,” “potential obstacles,” and a proposal process timeline that stretches to March — was exactly that, a proposal, nothing more.

Source: Parents assail Browns Valley’s year-round proposal

Proposed year-round schedule irks some Browns Valley parents – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Some Browns Valley Elementary parents — and perhaps some faculty — are likely to give Vacaville Unified trustees an earful during tonight’s governing board meeting because Principal Jennifer Austin is considering a plan for year-round classes next year.

Shana Gale, president of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, confirmed that some parents are upset about the proposal, due, in part, to concerns about overcrowding at the Wrentham Drive campus. Still, she added, some parents support it.

However, the PTO board, she said, does not consider Austin’s proposal to be “our fight.”

“The parents need to go to the principal and the district” to air their grievances, added Gale during a brief interview Wednesday afternoon.

At least one parent reportedly has started a petition drive on Facebook to oppose the proposal to switch to a year-round schedule.

Source: Proposed year-round schedule irks some Browns Valley parents

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

Vacaville Unified School District leaders to hold facilities planning workshop tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A likely update of Measure A projects and related construction plans for the coming years in Vacaville Unified are on the agenda when district leaders meet for a special governing board workshop tonight in Vacaville.

Trustees will discuss facilities planning for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 years, pending major upgrades to many of the district’s 18 campuses, about half of them 50 years old or older, and several of those more than 60 years old.

To date, most of the major Measure A projects have occurred at Vacaville High, where the school’s parking lot has been expanded and tennis courts relocated and resurfaced.

When classes began last week, students and faculty entered a new $10 million, 15-classroom English building. To the west, a stone’s throw away, construction continues apace for a new 15-classroom math building, which is expected to open in the days immediately after Christmas break.

Source: Vacaville Unified School District leaders to hold facilities planning workshop tonight

Kairos leader extols charter school’s positives – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, an independent charter school aligned with Vacaville Unified, has grown by nearly 100 students since its founding three years ago, has some of the highest standardized test scores in Solano County, and will remain on a firm fiscal footing this year and the next two.

Those are among the facts Jared Austin, co-founder and executive director of the Elm Street campus, offered the Vacaville Unified governing board during his annual update presentation Thursday in the Educational Services Center.

Source: Kairos leader extols charter schools’ positives

Vacaville Unified to receive Kairos update, consider CBO contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update on Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, an independent charter school, and an employment contract for Jennifer Stahlheber, the new chief business officer, are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

Jared Austin, co-founder and executive director of Kairos, which is aligned with Vacaville Unified and in its fourth year of operation, will make the presentation.

According to agenda documents, he will offer data on demographics, including enrollments by race, English learners, foster youth, number of homeless, economic status and special education numbers; state standardized test results; physical fitness test results; attendance rates; number of community service hours; suspension and expulsion rates;

Source: Vacaville Unified to receive Kairos update, consider CBO contract

Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With new LCAPs and annual budgets sent to county offices of education, California school districts tend to face light midsummer agendas in July and August and that will be the case Thursday, when Vacaville Unified leaders meet.

In what likely will be a short meeting, concerned mostly with financial matters, trustees are expected to approve a revised 2017-18 salary schedule for classified, or school-suppport, managers, an unrepresented employee group that ranges from custodial manager and public information officer to director of maintenance and technology coordinator, with monthly pay, depending on which of five steps they fall under, that ranges from (all Step 1, or beginning, salaries, for example) $5,340 and $7,524 to $8,925 and $9,167.

There was no indication in agenda documents about why the salary scheduled was revised.

Source: Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday

Vacaville school board inks $1M contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A charter school petition denial and approval of the 2017-18 budgets were the main stories that emerged last week from a Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, but some other pocketbook matters also crossed the trustees’ dais and were approved.

Trustees OK’d a so-called “piggyback co-op bid” with San Gabriel Valley Food Services to contract with Gold Star Foods, in an amount not to exceed $1 million. The contract applies to the distribution of frozen and refrigerated foods for the 2017-18 academic year, with an option to extend the bid for two more. Vacaville Unified currently gets some of its food through Gold Star, which has a large warehouse in Dixon.

Source: Vacaville school board inks $1M contract with food services firm for frozen, refrigerated foods

Vacaville school district leaders approve LCAP, $116M budget for 17-18 – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Meeting a state-mandated deadline, Vacaville Unified leaders Thursday approved the school district’s 2017-18 budget and the accompanying Local Control Accountability Plan, with some minor changes to the plan as requested by Michael Kitzes, the governing board’s president.

In California, annual school district budgets and LCAPs, the latter a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, must be submitted to respective county offices of education on or before June 30.

Although they detail spending for all student programs, LCAPs typically lay out in detail funding for programs that help English learners, foster youth and low-income students in efforts to close the “achievement gap,” the difference in standardized test scores between whites and ethnic minorities.

The district’s chief academic officer, Mark Frazier presented the changes to the 2017 LCAP, as requested by Kitzes at the June 15 meeting.

 

Source: Vacaville school district leaders approve LCAP, $116M budget for 17-18

VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

To no one’s overwhelming surprise, Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday denied a petition for Pacific Valley Charter School Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

The unanimous 7-0 vote was the second time in four years that trustees rejected the school’s charter petition from the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which, headed by executive director Paul Keefer, operates several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area.

The governing board’s decision — barely meeting a 60-day deadline to take action on the petition — followed a one-hour block of time that included a district staff presentation to recommend denial of the petition, Keefer’s rebuttal and clarifications, pro-petition remarks by Heritage Park teachers and parents, and trustee comments.

 

Source: VUSD leaders deny Pacific Valley Charter petition

VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A possible denial of a charter school petition, several large contracts, from auditing services to crossing guards to food services, and formal approval of two Local Control Accountability Plans and the 2017-18 budget are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

According to agenda documents, the seven-member governing board will vote to deny or approve a petition to establish the Pacific Valley Charter Academy, currently called Heritage Peak Charter School, an independent study learning center housed at 354 Parker St.

There will be a staff presentation, a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of the school’s parent organization, the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, which operates several charter schools, followed by trustee questions and comments.

But the district already appears ready to deny Keefer’s petition, as a formally worded resolution to do so was included as part of the agenda.

 

Source: VUSD leaders expected to nix charter school petition