Specific program, personnel cuts on Vallejo’s school board agenda – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The specific $7.2 million in budget cuts recommended by Superintendent Adam Clark last week are expected to be approved at the Vallejo City Unified School District meeting on Wednesday, despite impassioned appeals last week by many of those impacted.

The school district finds itself in financial trouble as a result of declining enrollment, including encroachment of charger schools, high chronic absentee rates, and rising contributions to employee health and benefits. The district is still repaying — at some $3 million per year — a $60 million state bailout loan from the last time it got into trouble.The district must maintain fiscal solvency to avoid being taken over the state again, by making appropriate revisions to the budget to eliminate structural deficits.

Source: Specific program, personnel cuts on Vallejo’s school board agenda – Times-Herald

Proposed Vallejo school board cuts draw tears – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

There were long faces on the dais as well as in the crowded gallery at Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District meeting. There were even tears, as some of the people in positions recommended for budget-balancing cuts took to the podium to plead with officials to reconsider.

It was reiterated that the district faces a $22 million structural deficit, and that if a way is not found to staunch the financial bleeding, the district could wind up under state control again. The reasons this has happened again to the district, which is still repaying a $60 million bailout loan to the state of California, are several-fold.

For one thing, it’s been losing students at a precipitous rate — having gone from some 20,000 just 20 years ago, to less than 12,000 today, and dropping by hundreds each year. Some of that is a result of charter school encroachment, officials said. Also, the district has among the state’s worst chronic absenteeism rates, which costs it money as well.

Source: Proposed Vallejo school board cuts draw tears – Times-Herald

Budget cuts, new grad requirements are part of VCUSD meeting agenda – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The first order of business during the public portion of the Vallejo City Unified School District’s meeting Wednesday will be the swearing in of new board member Christy Gardner. A first reading of the district’s new graduation requirement policy, and a first round of proposed budget cuts, including layoffs, is also planned.

Declining enrollment, high chronic absentee rates, rising health and benefit contributions, and charter school encroachment, has caused a significant budget shortfall. To maintain fiscal solvency and avoid the loss of local control, cuts must be made.

Superintendent Adam Clark has found some $7.2 million in cuts that come mostly through personnel and program revisions/reductions, designed to meet both the fiscal and program objectives.

Source: Budget cuts, new grad requirements are part of Vallejo school district meeting agenda – Times-Herald

Gardner officially sworn in at Vallejo school board meeting – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The empty seat on the Vallejo school board was filled and initial school closures agreed to at the Vallejo City Unified School District’s meeting Wednesday.

Just before voting to change the board’s bylaws to “allow more leeway” in filling empty seats by removing the clause stipulating they must appoint the next highest vote-getter in the previous school board election, trustees did just that. They named Christy Gardner to the seat vacated by Marianne Kearney-Brown’s December resignation. Gardner placed fourth in the November election’s race for three board seats.

Trustee Tony Ubalde said he’d met with Gardner earlier in the week and while he still has some concerns, said he felt better about her appointment. It was noted that the bylaws’ new wording doesn’t prevent the next highest vote-getter from being appointed should such a circumstance arise again.

Source: Gardner officially sworn in at Vallejo school board meeting – Times-Herald

Changing the rules to fill vacated seat on Vallejo school board agenda – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Changing the procedure for filling an empty board seat, the results of union negotiations, school closure recommendations and Measure S fund expenditures are among the issues on the agenda for Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District board meeting.

District staff is recommending the Governing Board use the provisional appointment process to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown.

As it now stands, the board would appoint the fourth highest vote-getter in the last election, which was Christy Gardner. However, also on the agenda is changing Board Bylaw 9223, by removing the line, “When authorized by law to make a provisional appointment to fill a vacancy on the Board, the Board shall appoint the next highest candidate who received votes from the previous election.”

Source: Changing the rules to fill vacated seat on Vallejo school board agenda – Times-Herald

First 2019 Vallejo school board meeting to address seat vacated by Kearney-Brown – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Filling a spot on the Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board unexpectedly vacated by its sitting president in December, is one top item on the agenda for the school district’s first regular board meeting of 2019.

Also, a policy change designed to make it easier for high school seniors to meet graduation criteria and another batch of proposed vendor contracts with the District, are also scheduled to be discussed.

The Jan. 9 meeting will be the first to include newly elected trustees John Fox and Tony Gross, who replace Burky Worel and Ruscal Cayangyang.

Source: First 2019 Vallejo school board meeting to address seat vacated by Kearney-Brown – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board faces hard choices in the new year – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

With the especially contentious 2018 behind them, the leadership of the Vallejo City Unified School District say they’re hopeful 2019 will produce better, less explosive results, though it continues to face an uphill financial landscape.

“There will be a collaborative effort from the board and district leadership to engage with our stakeholders to address the needs of our students,” Superintendent Adam Clark said. “We are excited about the progress we have made so far and look forward to a positive 2019.”

Source: Vallejo school board faces hard choices in the new year – Times-Herald

2018 was a year of transition for the city of Vallejo – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Change was the theme for the city of Vallejo as residents voted out three local elected leaders in November, the community watched as the city positioned itself for future development, and City Hall was awash with new faces.

Community advocate Hakeem Brown was elected to the Vallejo City Council during the Nov. 6 election, coming in first place with 23,288 votes or 28.88 percent, and coming out ahead of the three incumbents seeking re-election to the council.

While councilwomen Katy Miessner and Pippin Dew-Costa each secured a new four-year term on the City Council, Brown’s victory knocked Vallejo Councilman Jess Malgapo from the dais. Malgapo’s departure is probably the biggest shock of the election after he ran a highly successful council campaign in 2013, which saw him place first.

Source: 2018 was a year of transition for the city of Vallejo – Times-Herald

2018 was a volatile year for Vallejo schools – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Many Vallejo City Unified School District observers might be experiencing a sense of relief to see 2018 wind down, with 2019 promising a new attitude on its Board of Trustees, and an influx of funds to improve deteriorating facilities.

The year just ending was a bumpy one for the Vallejo school district, though most of the turbulence was not on campus, but, rather, at the board meetings.

Irreconcilable differences between some board members was evident in 2018, and led to board president Burkey Worel resigning that post in July, to finish out his term as a Trustee.

Source: 2018 was a volatile year for Vallejo schools – Times-Herald

New Vallejo Unified School Board members sworn in – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

If there’s one thing just about everyone who keeps up with the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Trustees agrees on, it’s that the board is in need of a culture adjustment.

With the swearing in of the newly elected trustees on Wednesday, some think that change is already under way.

“It’s a new dawn for our school board with the swearing in of John Fox, Tony Gross and Tony Ubalde,” said Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan on Facebook. “Do what’s right for the students and Vallejo. We see great things happening with the new makeup of our school board!!”

Source: New Vallejo Unified School Board members sworn in – Times-Herald

Vallejo school district, teachers union, re-open negotiations – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

A special meeting of the Vallejo City Unified School District is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to adopt the initial joint re-opener proposals for the Vallejo Education Association.

The meeting will be held in the District’s Governing Board Room, 665 Walnut Avenue, with a public session sometime after 7:30 p.m., according to the meeting agenda.

GiGi Patrick will present the initial joint re-opener proposals for 2018-2019 year from the Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) and the Vallejo Education Association (VEA).

All initial proposals of exclusive representatives and of public school employers, which relate to matters within the scope of representation, are required by law to be presented at the public meeting of the public school employer “and shall thereafter be public record,” according to the agenda.

Source: Vallejo school district, teachers union, re-open negotiations – Times-Herald

Kearney-Brown’s resignation as Vallejo school board president not yet official – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

It appears that Vallejo school board President Marianne Kearney-Brown may have not officially resigned from the school board, after all.

Kearney-Brown confirmed to the Times-Herald on Thursday night that earlier in the day she sent a resignation letter, via email, to Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark and board Vice President Bob Lawson.

However, according to the district’s board bylaw 9222, a written resignation letter from a trustee needs to be sent to the Solano County Superintendent of Schools.

Source: Kearney-Brown’s resignation as Vallejo school board president not yet official – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board president resigns – Times-Herald

By Vallejo Times Herald

Vallejo City Unified School District President Marrianne Kearney-Brown has resigned from the board, she confirmed Thursday evening.

Kearney-Brown said she sent an email letter of resignation to board vice president Robert Lawson and Superintendent Adam Clark. The move comes after a contentious school board meeting on Wednesday where she walked out.

Source: Vallejo school board president resigns – Times-Herald

Vallejo school district to wrestle with budget concerns – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Though still trying to meet a Dec. 15 deadline, Vallejo Unified School District staff will be asking the board to ask Solano County for an extension for turning in its required financial audit materials at Wednesday’s meeting.

The Education Code allows for extensions for completing an audit under the right circumstances, but the district needs to get the request to the county in time for the county to make the request to the State Controller’s Office and the California Department of Education by Dec. 15.

Trustees will also review and consider approving the district’s First Interim Report for 2018-19, as required by Assembly Bills 1200 and 2756. This is a mid-term financial report as of Oct. 31 that reflects the district’s current revenue and expenditure projections through June 30, 2019.

Source: Vallejo school district to wrestle with budget concerns at board meeting – Times-Herald

VCUSD Superintendent performance evaluation special meeting today – Times-Herald

A special meeting of the Vallejo City Unified School District is planned for 10 a.m. today — Monday, Nov. 26 — to do Superintendent Adam Clark’s overdue Performance Evaluation.

This will be done in closed session, with a public session to follow, to report any reportable actions taken during the closed session.

There are also a few vendor contracts the board will be asked to either accept or decline at this meeting, including one between the Vallejo City Unified School District.

Source: VCUSD Superintendent performance evaluation special meeting today – Times-Herald

A changed vote expected on charter high school petition – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Outgoing Vallejo City Unified School District trustee Ruscal Cayangyang wants to change his vote rejecting the Griffin Academy High School, so the board plans to rescind that decision and vote on the matter again, at Wednesday’s meeting.

At last week’s meeting, Griffin Academy’s petition to establish a charter high school associated with Vallejo’s MIT Academy, from which students could simultaneously earn a diploma and an AA degree from Contra Costa Community College, was defeated 3-2, with Cayangyang on the prevailing side.

A comprehensive review of the application found Griffin mostly in compliance with legal requirements, but some issues remained, including lackluster math scores among 11th graders at MIT, decreasing enrollment, and “differences in demographics of student enrollment between other school operated by petitioner and Vallejo City Unified School District.

Source: A changed vote expected on charter high school petition at Wednesday meeting – Times-Herald

Fox, Gross, Ubalde elected to Vallejo school board – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

The people of Vallejo have entrusted one of the five Vallejo school board seats to teacher John Fox.

It wasn’t much of a contest as Fox has received 15,731 votes — establishing a comfortable lead over the seven other candidates vying for three board seats up for grabs, according to unofficial vote totals reported on the Solano County Registrar of Voters’ webpage.

“Thank you citizens of Vallejo for believing in my campaign, my message and in me. Though the election results aren’t final, I am humbled by the show of support,” Fox wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page. “We have a lot of work to do to bring about needed positive change to the Vallejo School Board, that which we were all promised two years ago.”

Source: Fox, Gross, Ubalde elected to Vallejo school board – Times-Herald

Kearney-Brown’s status to be discussed at VCUSD meeting – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Agreements with its unions, approval of the Griffin Academy High School, and a possible changing of the guard on the dais are scheduled for discussion at the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.

The issue of whether Marianne Kearney-Brown, who ascended to the board president position when Burky Worel resigned a few meetings ago, will be able to retain that post, is on the meeting’s agenda. Trustees will also discuss electing a new vice president in case there is a change.

The approval of Griffin Academy, which is connected to the MIT Academy charter school, would have no impact on the current budget but will likely negatively impact revenues beginning in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, due to loss of student average daily attendance.

Source: Kearney-Brown’s status to be discussed at VCUSD meeting – Times-Herald

Local residents ready to go to the polls – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Election day is finally here as local residents decide on City Council races in Benicia and Vallejo, as well as positions on the Vallejo City Unified School District board as well as the Benicia school board.

Vallejo City Council incumbents Pippin Dew, Katy Miessner, along with Jess Malgapo are all seeking re-election to the seven-person City Council.

All three were elected in 2013. On that same ballot, Vallejo residents approved an amendment to the city’s charter moving the council elections from odd to even years.

Source: Local residents ready to go to the polls – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board campaigns rack up $18,938 in cash since Sept. 23 – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Six of the eight Vallejo school board candidates racked up a combined $18,938 in cash between Sept. 23 through Oct. 20, according to financial records submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters Office.

Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education incumbent Tony Ubalde’s re-election campaign picked up the most monetary contributions with $5,550 during that month period.

The campaign received $1,000 donations each from the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce, and Dutra Cerro Graden, a commercial real estate firm.

The firm’s CEO is Landis Graden, former Vallejo planning commissioner and 2016 mayoral candidate.

Source: Vallejo school board campaigns rack up $18,938 in cash since Sept. 23 – Times-Herald