Vallejo trustees expected to approve budget – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Despite already trimming $8 million from its budget, the Vallejo City Unified School District needs to cut an additional $13.2 million by June 2021 or it faces insolvency.

The district’s Chief Business Officer Hitesh Haria will present a resolution during Wednesday night’s school board meeting declaring the district’s need to slash $6.6 million from the district’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 budgets, respectively.

Haria will return with a list of proposed cuts when he presents the first interim report for the 2018-19 fiscal year budget in December.

While the district states that discovery of revenue enhancements can help to ease the budget situation, that appears unlikely.

The board will be asked to approve the district’s 2018-19 budget which shows the district continues to lose students, while also facing rising retirement costs.

Source: Vallejo trustees expected to approve budget

Vallejo school board gets first look at upcoming budget – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board’s annual tradition of receiving sobering budget numbers continued recently as trustees received news about the district’s need to trim $13 million from future fiscal year budgets.

Trustees held a public hearing during the June 6 board meeting on the proposed 2018-19 budget and following two fiscal years.

While the Vallejo City Unified School District is projecting a $226,754 general fund surplus for the new school year, the small cushion evaporates during fiscal years 2019-20, and 2020-21.

Source: Vallejo school board gets first look at upcoming budget

Vallejo school board to hold hearing on budget – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Fiscal uncertainty continues for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

The Vallejo school board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night on its tentative 2018-19 fiscal year budget and the news isn’t good.

According to the budget’s executive summary, during the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the district is projecting that it will be able to meet its current fiscal obligations.

However, the district may not be able to pay its bills in years 2019-20, and 20-21.

“During 2019-20, the district estimates that the General Fund is projected to deficit spend by $8.2 million resulting in an unrestricted ending General Fund balance of approximately $3.5 million — $1.3 million short of making the state required minimum 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainty,” according to the same summary. “During 2020-21, the district estimates that the General Fund is projected to deficit spend by $11 million resulting in an unrestricted ending General Fund balance of -$7.5 million (about) $12.4 million short of making the state required minimum 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainty and $13.1 million short of making the District Board reserve of 3.5 percent.”

Source: Vallejo school board to hold hearing on budget

Vallejo trustees to review charter school petition – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night regarding a petition to open a new charter school in the district.

Representatives with the Redwood City-based nonprofit, Rocketship Public Schools, are asking to open a charter which serves transitional kindergarten to fourth grade. A 5th grade class would eventually be added, officials with the nonprofit told the Times-Herald in a previous interview.

Officials hope to open for the 2020-21 school year.

Rocketship currently operates 18 schools in three states and Washington, D.C.

“Vallejo families need and deserve schools like Rocketship that close the achievement gap and put students on the path to college and career success,” Marie Issa Gil, Rocketship Bay Area regional director wrote in a previous email to the Times-Herald.

Source: Vallejo trustees to review charter school petition

Vallejo trustees get first look at proposed $194 million bond – Times Herald

By John Glidden

It’s an election year, so the quest by the Vallejo school district to get a school bond passed is in full swing.

Trustees will get their first look Wednesday at the district’s newest proposal: Placement of a $194 million school bond on the November ballot.

Bond proceeds would be used to repair classrooms, update science, computer, and technology labs, and improve security, fire safety and electrical and plumbing systems, according to the draft ballot language.

In addition, bond monies would be allocated to the independent charter school Mare Island Technology Academy for site improvements.

District staff estimates the Vallejo City Unified School District requires about $750 million for school facility needs and improvements.

Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at proposed $194 million bond

Vallejo trustees asked to approve air monitoring units – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Fifteen air monitoring units may be installed around various sites within the Vallejo City Unified School District soon.

The VCUSD Board of Education will be asked Wednesday to approve an agreement with the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley on behalf of the Berkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network (BEACO2N) program for the installation of observation units to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the area.

The district’s administrative building on Mare Island, along with Jesse Bethel and John Finney high schools and Franklin and Solano middle schools, will each receive an air monitor.

Source: Vallejo trustees asked to approve air monitoring units

Vallejo school board to review additional budget cuts – Times Herald

By John Glidden

With a need to cut $8 million from its budget by March, the Vallejo school board will review a second round of proposed cuts during its meeting Wednesday night.

On the agenda is $1.5 million in additional position eliminations from various district offices, including food service, special education, and child development.

The central kitchen manager, several paraeducators, along with a special education teacher, and three child development teachers are expected to receive layoff notices. Overall, the district is recommending 28 employee positions be slashed. Late last month, trustees approved the elimination of 50 district positions, for a savings of $4.3 million. Those cuts included 30 classroom teachers, several administrators, eight site safety supervisors, and a handful of secretaries.

Source: Vallejo school board to review additional budget cuts

Vallejo trustees slash $4.3 million from budget – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A morose Vallejo school board unanimously approved devastating budget cuts Tuesday night as 50 district positions were eliminated.

The move will save the Vallejo City Unified School District about $4.3 million for its upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

A sizable audience was on hand to learn about the cuts during the special board meeting held at Steffan Manor Elementary School.

“Every position in the district is directed toward supporting the classroom, so none of these reductions, that we are recommending, are easy to make,” VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark said to the board and those in attendance. “They all are useful, they all are needed within our district to support our students. Every last one of them.”

Source: Vallejo trustees slash $4.3 million from budget

Vallejo school board to cut positions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Faced with a need to cut $8 million from the upcoming budget, the Vallejo school board is expected to make the first round of position cuts during a special meeting Tuesday night.

Trustees will be asked to eliminate dozens of positions for a savings of $4.3 million, according to a staff report. The biggest cuts will come from the teaching ranks — 32 positions are set to be eliminated, saving the district $2.6 million.

District staff previously stated the Vallejo City Unified School District usually has teachers who resign or retire after each school year. If may be possible that the district will not need to layoff any teachers.

Declining enrollment, the encroachment of charter schools, rising health and benefits contributions, and high chronic absentee rates have been identified as reasons why the district is facing financial issues.

Source: Vallejo school board to cut positions

Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Possible teacher layoffs dominated the conversation Wednesday night, as the Vallejo school board discussed cutting $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.

“I don’t want to cut anything in the classroom and I’m going to be watching that carefully,” said Trustee Tony Ublade as preliminary reductions being proposed by the district include cutting about 32 teaching positions. This amounts to $2.6 million in savings, district staff said.

Vallejo Education Association President Sheila Gradwohl said the unpredictably of teacher layoffs affects everyone.

“The feeling you get when this happens is one of uncertainty, you’re scared, you don’t know if you can pay bills, it really affects you and if it affects you, it affects your kids, affects the students you teach,” Gradwohl said.

Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts

Vallejo school board receives bond survey results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A polling consultant informed the Vallejo school board on Wednesday that the district is in a unique position after survey results revealed residents support a possible school bond but they don’t trust the district.

At least 61 percent of the 601 interviewed by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) said they would support a Vallejo City Unified School District bond.

However, just 29 percent of the same people surveyed said they have a favorable view of the district while a majority of the participants, 57 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of the VCUSD.

This is the third survey conducted since June 2013 to ascertain the public’s views on a possible school bond.

Prior to Wednesday’s results, the last bond survey held in January 2016 concluded confidence in the district was around 37 percent with about 40 percent of those surveyed viewing the district unfavorably.

Source: Vallejo school board receives bond survey results

Vallejo school board to review budget reductions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board will get its first look on Wednesday at proposed reductions which will slash about $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.

Numerous staffing cuts, including teachers, site safety supervisors, and administrators are part of the reductions.

Taking the biggest administrative hit is the district’s Partnerships & Community Engagement Division. Cuts include elimination of the division’s top two positions.

Alana Shackelford has served as chief partnerships and community engagement officer since being promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.

Last week, the school board approved moving Kathleen Gossett to principal of Johnston Cooper Elementary School. Gossett was tapped to be director of partnership & community engagement after Shackelford’s promotion three years ago.

Source: Vallejo school board to review budget reductions

Vallejo school district looking at eliminating 38 positions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

At least 38 positions are being considered for possible elimination as the Vallejo City Unified School District faces an anticipated $8 million shortfall for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year.

VCUSD’s new Chief Business Officer Hitesh Haria presented the news to the Vallejo school board during its meeting Wednesday night.

Twenty-seven of the positions would come from various school sites, with the balance from the district’s central office, Haria added.

A full list of which positions the district is recommending to be cut will come before the school board Jan. 24. The week after that, the board is expected to make official positions cuts, Haria said.

In addition, preliminary cuts are being eyed for student nutrition services, child development and special education, he informed the board.

Source: Vallejo school district looking at eliminating 38 positions

Vallejo school board to review polling results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school district’s biennial tradition continues Wednesday as trustees review survey results regarding the community’s interest in supporting a school bond for the upcoming election.

This attempt to get a school bond measure approved by voters may be more difficult.

According to the survey — conducted between Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 last year — the public’s confidence in the district has eroded since 2016, according to results provided by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).

Polled in January 2016, just 37 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Vallejo City Unified School District. That number dropped to 29 percent, with 57 percent stating they did not have a favorable view of the district.

Source: Vallejo school board to review polling results

Clark makes changes to VCUSD administrative team – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Newly hired Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark has made several moves to his administrative team.

Clark confirmed to the Times-Herald on Tuesday that most notably he removed the chief partnership & community engagement officer position from his executive cabinet and from the cabinet structure altogether.

Alana Shackelford was promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.

Clark said he removed high school oversight from Shackelford’s list of duties — a move which will free Shackelford up to continue working on the district’s collaboration with the community and local businesses.

Source: Clark makes changes to VCUSD administrative team

Vallejo trustees to appoint more members to committee – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board is expected to name four additional members to the district’s Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday.

Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark is recommending the board appoint Ken Salas, Lynette Henley, Hazel Wilson, and Shawnee Blaylock.

The California School Employee Association and Vallejo Education Association will be represented by Salas and Henley, respectively.

Wilson is a former Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board trustee and will represent the community while Blaylock is a parent/guardian member.

The four will join VCUSD Trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown, the district’s Chief Operations Officer Mitchell Romao, community members Allan Yeap and Ravi Shankar, Kimberly Mitchell-Lewis and Rosalind Hines of the Vallejo School Managers Association.

Source: Vallejo trustees to appoint more members to committee

Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter – The Reporter

By John Glidden

Vallejo school district officials are asking the Solano County Board of Education to deny the ELITE Public Charter School petition because the lead petitioner is “unlikely” to be successful in implementing the program.

That petitioner is former Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop, who submitted the petition to the county last fall.

Bishop was the VCUSD Superintendent from 2011 until last March when she was fired, without cause, by Vallejo school district trustees.

In a scathing 11-page letter sent Dec. 22 to the county board, Vallejo officials argued the petition fails to meet the legal standard for the establishment of a countywide charter, and that the petition does not contain comprehensive descriptions of all the elements required of a petition under Education Code.

Source: Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter

Vallejo school district to make cuts, name budget committee – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark said the district will need to put a serious fiscal plan in place to prevent financial ruin.

Clark spoke to the Times-Herald Monday, almost a week after the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education learned that $12 million in cuts need to be made over the next two years.

“We were disappointed by the results of the first interim report,” Clark said about the budget update given to the board. “Although it isn’t a surprise.”

Like many districts in the state, Clark said VCUSD has a declining student population, plus, the district must deal with rising retirement costs.

Trustees learned Dec. 6 that the district must cut $8 million next school year, plus an additional $4 million during the 2019-20 or have a general fund $14 million in the red.

Source: Vallejo school district to make cuts, name budget committee

‘White paper’ challenges plans for Elite Charter School – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Ambitious enrollment claims by backers of the proposed Elite Charter School come despite declines in the number of students attending Vallejo public schools when Ramona Bishop, lead petitioner for Elite, was superintendent there, opponents of the charter school contend.

A white paper titled “Grounds for Denial of the Elite Public Schools Charter Petition,” written by four people involved in public schools, also states that when Bishop was superintendent of the Vallejo City School District the dropout rates were much higher than any other school district in Solano County.

Marianne Kearney-Brown, among the people who prepared the paper, said she is not opposed in principle to charter schools and would support Elite if she believed it was warranted.

Source: ‘White paper’ challenges plans for Elite Charter School

Senior VCUSD officials support charter – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark confirmed Monday that district employees are free to support “other endeavours” like the ELITE Public Charter School petition.

The Times-Herald posed the question to Clark after two senior Vallejo City Unified School District administrators have publicly shown support for a charter school proposal from Ramona Bishop.

Bishop was the VCUSD Superintendent from 2011 until she was fired, without cause, earlier this year by district trustees.

Edison Kelly, VCUSD’s director of alternative education, is listed as one of ELITE’s founding members, according to the petition. The others are Bishop and Bel Reyes.

Towards the end of the petition, the district’s Chief Partnerships & Community Engagement Officer Alana Shackelford signed her name in support of the charter.

Source: Senior VCUSD officials support charter