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

Kimme Academy location sparks debate with property owners – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Discussion regarding the new home of the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy for Independent Learning grew heated Tuesday night.

The Vacaville Planning Commission voted 5-0 to grant a conditional use permit to the Vacaville Unified School District so they may move this independent study program into a building at 1949 Peabody Road in the Alamo Peabody Shopping Center. Commission chair Shannon Nadasdy and commissioner Brett Johnson did not attend the meeting.

Toby Roebuck, an owner of a portion of this shopping center, said he was speaking on behalf of himself as well as the Lucky grocery store, in opposition to the project.

“Our concern is the environmental impact of a bunch of students who, number one, why are they now going to independent school?” Roebuck asked.

 

Source: Kimme Academy location sparks debate with property owners

New state revenues to fall short of expenses in 17-18 – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

New state revenues will not match expenses during the 2017-18 academic year, Vacaville Unified’s chief business officer told district leaders during a governing board meeting late last week.

During a budget update in the Educational Services Center, Deo Persaud said the state’s 1.48 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, while welcome news, will not offset expenses that are “likely to exceed” 4 percent in the coming year.

Additionally, like all of California’s 1,000 school districts, Vacaville Unified continues to face, for the next few years, increasing pension costs for teachers and school-support, or classified, employees, he noted.

Sure to add to budget pressures that eventually will prompt calls for fiscal restraint, Persaud said district contributions to CalSTRS, the mammoth state teachers retirement system, will account for 12.6 percent of the budget in the current fiscal year, 14.4 percent in 2017-18, and 16.28 percent in 2018-19.

 

Source: CBO: New state revenues to fall short of expenses in 17-18

VUSD trustees OK Kindness Challenge video contest – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Aesop, the supposed author of a collection of Greek fables, is credited with a famous saying: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

It is a lesson two Solano leaders whose families have been affected by bullying want to impart to county secondary students and have a plan to do so.

During the early portion of Thursday’s Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, Supervisor John Vasquez of Vacaville and Tonya Covington, representing District Attorney Krishna Abrams, presented information about a pending Kindness Challenge video contest, which asks students, through video, to illustrate positive behavior and show others the power that kindness can have on their school and community.

Source: VUSD trustees OK Kindness Challenge video contest

On Vacaville Unified agenda: Kindness Challenge, governor’s budget, LCAP and accountability updates

By Richard Bammer

A Kindness Challenge video contest, Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 state budget proposal, and an update on the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan and the state’s new school accountability system are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified trustees meet tonight in Vacaville.

Vacaville Supervisor John Vasquez and Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams will present information about the Kindness Challenge video contest, which asks students, through video, to illustrate positive behavior and show others the power that kindness can have on their school and community. Later in the evening, the board likely will pass a resolution to support the contest.

The presentation comes after a 2015 report, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States,” and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that nearly 8 percent of public school students in grades 9 to 12 during 2014 were in a physical fight on school property; 20 percent were bullied on school property; nearly 16 percent, the vast majority girls, were electronically bullied; and nearly 6 percent did not go to school because of safety concerns.

 

Source: On Vacaville Unified agenda: Kindness Challenge, governor’s budget, LCAP and accountability updates

Vacaville Unified leaders meet today for a facilities master plan update – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders will meet this morning in a governing board workshop about the school district’s facilities master plan.

The workshop comes as several major Measure A projects have been completed or are just getting underway, including the Vacaville High parking lot expansion, relocation of the school’s tennis courts and the building of a new 15-classroom building on the north side of the West Monte Vista Avenue campus.

Dan Banowetz, the district’s director of facilities, likely will lead the presentation, which may include an update on the athletics stadium project at Wood High.

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders meet today for a facilities master plan update

New school start times, safety course for high schoolers on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Principal Ed Santopadre’s twice-yearly report about Vacaville High, new school start times and necessary transportation changes, a new high school course about public service and safety, and a large Measure A contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified trustees meet tonight in Vacaville.

The longtime leader at the West Monte Vista Avenue campus, Santopadre, in a slide presentation, will review and update the seven-member governing board on myriad aspects of the school, from the mission and Advance Placement test results to standardized test results and graduation/dropout rates to school climate and multimillion-dollar Measure A projects.

More than likely, Chief Academic Officer Mark Frazier will present information about new school start times and necessary transportation changes that will occur in the fall.

Secondary schools, that is, high schools and middle schools, will start no earlier than 8:20 a.m., with elementary school start times beginning no earlier than 8 a.m.

 

Source: New school start times, safety course for high schoolers on Vacaville Unified agenda

Trustees vote to give notice of intent to withdraw from North Bay insurance authority

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders on Monday voted unanimously to give notice to a longtime insurance provider that the school district intends to withdraw from a joint powers authority.

The expected 7-0 vote during a special governing board meeting came after Chief Business Officer Deo Persaud cited reasons, from limits of liability coverage to questions about customer support to a need to save money, for trustees to approve a resolution to withdraw so the district can seek other price quotes for self-insurance and, possibly, group insurance programs. They include worker’s compensation, property, dental and vision, according to the resolution’s wording.

Trustees cast their votes in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to let the North Bay Schools Insurance Authority know that Vacaville Unified intends to voluntarily withdraw, with final written notification required by March 31, and with services and coverage ending July 1.

 

Source: Trustees vote to give notice of intent to withdraw from North Bay insurance authority