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

Revised Vacaville Unified grading system sets off lengthy debate at board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

On a night when Vacaville Unified leaders faced a full agenda — the 2017-18 budget and its accompanying LCAP and other LCAPs — the real showstopper was a report on revised district regulations about grading and ways to assess student achievement, a still-in-the-works system one trustee called “huge” in its impact.

At issue during Thursday’s meeting were revisions to administrative regulation 5121, changes to which have been the subject of board, district staff and classroom teacher discussion and debate for well more than a year.

Source: Revised Vacaville Unified grading system sets off lengthy debate at board meeting

Vacaville Unified school board trustees put final touches on 2017-18 budget – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders late last week put finishing touches on the final 2017-18 school district budget some Local Control Accountability Plans, which will be approved, perhaps with some minor changes, at the governing board’s June 29 meeting.

In California, annual school district budgets and their accompanying LCAPs, 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.

Source: Vacaville Unified school board trustees put final touches on 2017-18 budget

New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.

Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.

But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)

 

Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting

New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

 

Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda

Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

When it meets Thursday, the governing board plans to hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.

Keefer on April 28 sent notice of his renewed intentions to VUSD offices on Nut Tree Road. By law, the district has 60 days from receipt of the petition to make a decision. The last time Keefer engaged in the process with the district, trustees, on a 4-2 vote in a packed meeting room in the Educational Services center, rejected the petition, citing its “unsound educational plan.”

 

Source: Rebuffed once, Sacramento-area charter school leader petitions VUSD again

Annual LCAP begins to take shape in VUSD – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In the coming year, Vacaville Unified’s evolving Local Control Accountability Plan may emphasize lowering the student-teacher ratio, boosting K-1 reading skills, and monitoring the social-emotional needs of the district’s 12,500 students.

In a presentation Thursday, during an LCAP workshop and special governing board meeting, district officials discussed timelines, identified, then developed top priorities and actions for the 2017-18 LCAP, a document that guides virtually all spending under the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula. Both the district’s proposed 2017-18 budget and LCAP must be submitted to the Solano County Office of Education by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Source: Annual LCAP begins to take shape in VUSD

Vacaville school leaders, in a workshop tonight, to hear details, priorities of LCAP – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet tonight in a workshop, will discuss the 2017-18 Local Control Accountability Plan, a document that lists priorities, from student achievement to parental involvement to school climate, and guides much of the school district’s spending.

The district’s chief academic officer, Mark Frazier likely will lead the discussion that will review the current year’s actions and goals — including increasing college and career-readiness efforts, closing the achievement gap, and enhancing school climate — and cite document-approval timelines. Required by state law, school district LCAPs are typically submitted to county and state education officials at the same time the district’s budget is submitted. They can be regarded as something of a snapshot of the district.

Frazier also will touch on the concepts of equality vs. equity and review the district number of “unduplicated students,” that is, English learners, poor and foster youth, which accounts for 42 percent, or 5,250, of some 12,500 students. District schools with the largest percentages of unduplicated students are Markham, Fairmont, Padan and Hemlock elementaries, Country High School and Vaca Pena Middle School.

 

Source: Vacaville school leaders, in a workshop tonight, to hear details, priorities of LCAP

VUSD trustees approve sale of $38M in Measure A bonds, several major contracts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With little discussion, Vacaville Unified leaders unanimously approved the pending sale of $38 million in Measure A bonds and several large contracts.

The no-surprise votes came Thursday during a regular governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center.

The bond sale approval comes after the initial issue of Measure A bonds, for $40 million, that help to launch the first major projects under the $194 million measure passed by voters in 2014. They included upgrades to Vacaville High and Sierra Vista K-8 School, among other projects.

The bonds are paid for through property taxes levied by the county, and the money largely will be used to upgrade the 12,500-student district’s aging school buildings, many of them more than 50 years old, and, of those, several are more than 60 years old. Another major Measure A project, the building of a new $12.8 million stadium at Will C. Wood High, officially gets underway with groundbreaking fanfare set for 3:30 p.m. Monday.

 

Source: VUSD trustees approve sale of $38M in Measure A bonds, several major contracts

Vacaville school district leaders consider revisions to PE and Activity policy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In the coming weeks, if Vacaville Unified leaders eventually approve revisions to a physical education and activity regulation and policy, secondary school student-athletes and others with busy schedules will be able to get required state PE credit with an expanded definition of Independent Study.

In a Thursday slide presentation to the governing board, Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, reviewed the existing regulation and policy, formally designated as AR and BP 6142.7(a), respectively.

District administrators are recommending and expansion of the physical education aspect of Independent Study, to serve the needs of students who want to participate in a competitive sport “independent” of a middle school or high school — or whose school schedules are “impacted” because they participate in other school courses and/or activities.

 

Source: Vacaville school district leaders consider revisions to PE and Activity policy

Vacaville Unified business official to trustees: Keep adequate reserves – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In his second report of the year about Vacaville Unified’s budget picture, Deo Persaud, the district’s chief business official, showed a slide headlined “The Common Message.”

Under the rubric, which applied to the current budget and the next two outlying fiscal years, he listed three points during his presentation Thursday to district leaders: 1) “Maintaining adequate reserves” of 8 percent; 2) Limiting commitments to future (and ongoing) expenses; 3) “Establishing contingencies,” or plans, that allow current spending decisions to be changed, if required.

The slide essentially summed up Persaud’s major emphasis during his 20-minute second interim report presentation, which began with his saying the district will submit a “positive certification” to the Solano County Office of Education on or before June 30, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current year and the next two.

 

Source: Vacaville Unified business official to trustees: Keep adequate reserves

Vacaville Unified agenda: 16-17 budget report, mental health supports, $38M bond sale – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The second interim 2016-17 budget report, an update about district mental health supports, and the sale of $38 million in Measure A bonds are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Deo Persaud, the chief business officer, will note major changes since the first interim report in December; updates on revenues and expenses and the ending fund balance; multiyear projections (with assumptions); and next steps.

The district will file a positive certification, based on current projections, meaning it will be able to pay its bills for the current year and next year, he will tell the seven-member governing board.

In a slide presentation, he will note $113.4 million in expenses (a slight change from a previous report), with an ending balance of nearly $18 million (also a slight change), with 8 percent in prudent reserves of more than $9 million.

Source: Vacaville Unified agenda: 16-17 budget report, mental health supports, $38M bond sale

School start times still under review – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

When will Vacaville Unified settle on new school start times for the 2017-18 academic year and beyond?

Not until its next meeting, March 16, at the earliest — and possibly not until April.

One thing is certain: When finally approved, the change will affect all of the district’s 12,500 students, their families, and well more than 1,100 employees.

After several airings of the recommended new start times, trustees, during a Thursday governing board meeting, seemed frustrated, based on their questions and remarks, with a sometimes-confusing, option-filled slide presentation by Mark Frazier, the chief academic officer.

Source: School start times still under review

Vacaville school district leaders hear ACE parents, continue talks about charter change – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A proposed major change to ACE charter school’s status prompted several parents Thursday to question Vacaville Unified’s administrative process that, in all likelihood, will eventually result in the Hemlock Street campus, mired in red ink, to continue as an “alternative program.”

Yet at the end of a public comment period, trustees, meeting in the Educational Services Center, assured parents that they will support the program in the changed format.

In a February memo to the governing board, Superintendent Jane Shamieh noted that “progressively increasing” staff salaries and benefits are projected to create $72,000 in deficit spending for current academic year — and an estimated $100,000 next year — at the dependent charter school, which has an enrollment of 128 students.

Source: Vacaville school district leaders hear ACE parents, continue talks about charter change

Vacaville Unified leaders approve more than $5.4M in Measure A contracts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money in Vacaville.

Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday approved more than $5.4 million in Measure A contracts to upgrade the district’s aging schools — many of them built more than 50 years ago — and to begin work on the long-awaited Will C. Wood High stadium project.

Meeting in the Educational Services Center, the governing board, as expected, OK’d a nearly $4.2 million contract with Lister Construction of Vacaville for building a pad, site work, and a staff parking lot at Vacaville High, which will see in the coming months two new classroom buildings rise on the West Monte Vista Avenue campus.

Work on the first new classroom building is already underway, Dan Banowetz, the district’s director of facilities, noted Friday.

“We’re kind of getting ready to work on both buildings at the same time,” he said. “So, once the summer rolls around, we’ll be getting rid of 15 portables (classrooms) and making room for the new building (on the southwest corner of the campus).”

 

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders approve more than $5.4M in Measure A contracts

Vacaville school district agenda: Buckingham High report, large Measure A contracts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The Buckingham Charter High School biannual report and several large Measure A contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight.

Buckingham Principal Mike Boles will lead the presentation about the Bella Vista Road campus, covering topics that will range from the mission statement and enrollment to state standardized test results and college readiness to parent survey results and goals.

In a computer-aided slide presentation, Boles will note increasing enrollments over the years, from 442 in 2014-15 to a projected enrollment of 550 this academic year.

Of state standardized test results, specifically the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, he will report that last year 78 percent of Buckingham students met or exceeded state standards in English, compared to 48 percent statewide; and 46 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in math compared to 36 percent statewide.

Source: Vacaville school district agenda: Buckingham High report, large Measure A contracts