Annual reorganization, first interim budget report, LCAP update on VUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will elect new governing board officers, hear and likely approve the school district’s first interim budget, and hear an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan.

Current board president Michael Kitzes will give up the gavel after one year of service and be recognized for his service for the past 12 months.

Besides naming a new president, trustees will elect a vice president, clerk, and, in a routine vote, once again approve Superintendent Jane Shamieh as secretary to the board.

After the board reorganization vote, an annual rite during December, trustees will recess to conduct organizational meetings for Vacaville Library governing board and the Vacaville Public Facilities Financing Corporation.

Jennifer Stahlheber, chief business officer for the 12,600-student district, will lead the discussion of the 2017-18 first interim budget report.

Source: Annual reorganization, first interim budget report, LCAP update on VUSD agenda

A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A symbolic $38,000 check in hand, David McCallum of Vacaville (center), a former Vacaville Unified trustee and member of the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, smiles at governing board president Michael Kitzes as Superintendent Jane Shamieh looks on during Thursday’s trustee meeting. McCallum, in an update about the nonprofit group’s most recent activities, presented the money to boost enrichment activities in district classrooms, from paying for field trips and lab equipment to robotics and music programs. He noted that VPEF, founded in 2003 and has since donated more than $3 million to district schools, received some $270,000 in requests for this year’s round of grants but only had $40,000 to distribute.

Source: A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools

District by the numbers and adult ed growing again – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The majority of Vacaville Unified teachers have less than 10 years on the job, and the school district’s Adult Education program is “growing again.”

That information surfaced during Thursday’s governing board meeting, when several district departmental leaders updated trustees with presentations.

Janet Dietrich, assistant superintendent for human resources, provided a statistical snapshot of teachers and school enrollment numbers, and Manolo Garcia, director of human resources, provided a similar picture about classified, or school-support, employees.

Source: District by the numbers – The Reporter

VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In good times and bad, education dollars are hard to come by. Federal and state funding goes up and down, like a yo-yo. There are always needs to be fulfilled.

Locally, however, enter the Vacaville Public Education Foundation.

Tonight, leaders of the nonprofit group, which, formed in 2003, raises grant money for classroom teachers and programs, will provide and update about their work to the Vacaville Unified governing board, which meets in open session at 6:30 in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.

They also will present the district with a $38,000 check to the district for things such as field trips, lab equipment, robotics, health programs, sports, music, among many others.

Source: VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified

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

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

Overview of state standardized tests and PLAs on VUSD Agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update on state standardized tests and the use of project labor agreements, or PLAs, on Measure A projects are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified board members meet tonight in Vacaville.

Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, and Ryan Galles, director of elementary education, will lead the presentation, an overview, of the 2017 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, including updates and changes for the 2017-18 academic year. The all-computerized tests are given every spring to students in grades three to eight and 11. They are meant to gauge what students know at each grade level under the California State Standards.

Among others things, Birch and Galles will note all the tests included in the CAASSP battery of assessments: Smarter Balanced (for English and mathematics); the California Science Test (for grades five, eight and at least once in high school); and California Alternative Assessments, or Cal Alt (for students with the most severe disabilities).

Source: Vacaville Unified agenda: Overview of state standardized tests and PLAs

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