School board asked to look into selling district property – Times Herald

By John Glidden

As the Vallejo school district continues to stave off financial insolvency, the Board of Education will meet Wednesday to establish the process of selling off surplus district-owned property.

In June, the five-person board approved a resolution declaring the district needed to identify over $15 million — $7,750,000 during fiscal years 2020-21, and 2021-22 — in savings to prevent a second state takeover.

Trustees will consider a request from district staff to solicit an appraisal for the Rollingwood property. Located along Rollingwood Drive and Benicia Road, the nearly 18 acres of land is home to four unused little league baseball fields.

Source: School board asked to look into selling district property – Times Herald

Silent alarms at schools may soon be required by federal law – Education Dive

By Amelia Harper

The School Violence Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2019 would not only require schools to install silent alarms, but it would also authorize the spending of $2 billion over a 10-year-period to identify security risks at schools and address any shortfalls.

School security has been high on the list of concerns for district leaders and state and federal officials. Most have agreed schools should take a more proactive approach to safety, but many of these measures cannot get off the ground without enough support and funding.

Source: Silent alarms at schools may soon be required by federal law – Education Dive

Vallejo school district to discuss how to use bond money – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Vallejo City Unified School District officials will discuss how to spend the millions of dollars coming in from bond sales, even as they prepare for deep cuts to compensate for continued declining enrollment.

Items dealing with having enough teachers are also on the agenda during Wednesday’s meeting.

One of the items on Wednesday’s meeting agenda would make it possible to sell the district offices if needed. Right now, the district is leasing the site for $1 per year from Lennar Mare Island, which has yet to draw up the required paperwork conveying ownership to the district for the agreed-upon price of $1.

Source: Vallejo school district to discuss how to use bond money – Times-Herald

Ceremony to break ground on Dixon High School farm – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

After more than a decade in the works, the Dixon High School farm will have its groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.

When Dixon High relocated to its College Way campus in 2007, one of the proposed new features was a 30-acre farm for the school’s agriculture program. That dream moved a little closer to reality when the Dixon Unified School District Governing Board unanimously approved an agreement for Vacaville-based Abide Builders as the contractor for the project at its May 16 meeting, according to a Facebook post by board Trustee Caitlin O’Halloran.

The construction will consist of two barns, a greenhouse, 8-foot fence, a washout area for animals and utility installation. Work is expected to begin this summer.

Source: Ceremony to break ground on Dixon High School farm – The Reporter

Groundbreaking held for Markham Elementary remodel – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

An often-repeated mantra on Edwin Markham Elementary School’s blacktop Wednesday morning was that the day represented “a new beginning” for Markham.

The occasion: a groundbreaking ceremony for a campuswide modernization at Markham, slated to begin when school lets out for the summer.

The $35 million project is one of several to be funded through Measure A, a $194 million general obligation bond which was approved by voters in 2014. Among the completed projects financed through Measure A include two new two-story buildings to replace old portables at Vacaville High School, a new stadium at Will C. Wood High School, a modernization of Willis Jepson Middle School’s campus and new science classrooms and multipurpose room at Sierra Vista K-8 School. Other future projects include improvements to Vacaville High’s Zunino Stadium, a new shade structure and career tech classroom at Country High School and a new kitchen, shade structure and science labs at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School.

Source: Groundbreaking held for Markham Elementary remodel – The Reporter

VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark adamant Widenmann site ‘not for sale’ – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Apparently, the current Elsa Widenmann Elementary School in North Vallejo is not for sale.

District Superintendent Adam Clark emphatically confirmed as much during Wednesday night’s Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting.

“It’s not for sale,” he said during his report to the board. “Do you think if I had to, that I would have shut down that program over there? Widenmann does great things.”

Clark was responding to comments made from district watchdog Robert Schussel, who argued that the district should consider Griffin Technology Academies’ offer to lease the school site for $1.5 million. The district is currently facing a $22 million structural deficit.

Source: VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark adamant Widenmann site ‘not for sale’ – Times-Herald

Schools Would Get $100 Billion for Repairs, Rebuilding in Democrats’ Bill –  Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Democrats are once again pitching a big plan to fix up America’s schools. But it follows several false starts in the last few years to address this issue inside the Beltway from both parties.

Under the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, unveiled by House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday in Washington, the federal government would provide $70 billion in direct funding for school repairs and rebuilding, along with $30 billion in tax-credit bonds. The bill would also create “a comprehensive national database on the condition of public school facilities,” according to a fact sheet put out by the Democrats.

The proposal, which was released by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., would also generate 1.9 million jobs, according to the Democrats, who cite an estimate from the left-leaning and labor-friendly Economic Policy Institute.

Source: Schools Would Get $100 Billion for Repairs, Rebuilding in Democrats’ Bill – Politics K-12 – Education Week

New era for Scandia Elementary – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The slant-roofed, six-story multipurpose room, aka the cafeteria and gymnasium — with a fresh cream-and-royal blue colors, with dozens of windows high up to let in natural light, with brand-new basketball backboards and nets — could be the new, shiny practice space of the Golden State Warriors.

Then there are the four new classrooms housing fifth- and sixth-graders: in short, an architectural lesson in good use of space, pods, hubbed around a welcoming, well-lighted common area that relaxes anyone in it.

And the spiffy administrative office, also brand new, has to be the envy of school principals everywhere. Should anyone also mention a newly configured parking lot near the school office, addressing security and safety concerns?

Source: New era for Scandia Elementary – The Reporter

Scandia Elementary School cuts ribbon on schoolwide modernization – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

If you want a truly appreciative audience at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, bring a room full of elementary school-age children.

The new multipurpose room at Scandia Elementary School thundered from the cheers of its students when the ribbon was cut Wednesday morning signifying the end of the school’s extensive modernization.

“I want to thank all of you,” Scandia Principal Mark Pennington told the assembled staff and students. “You endured a lot of problems and we all worked together to get where we are now.”

Source: Scandia Elementary School cuts ribbon on schoolwide modernization

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

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

Vallejo school superintendent proposes school closures – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Two Vallejo City Unified School District schools may close and a third relocate, in a bid to close a multi-million-dollar structural budget deficit the district faces, Superintendent Adam Clark announced.

Clark revealed his plan in a letter to stakeholders — in English and Spanish — on Friday.

“The Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) is committed to ensuring that we fully implement our Local Control and Accountability Plan. The three LCAP goals are:

  • Goal 1: Increase parent and community engagement in improving student outcomes.
  • Goal 2: Create safe, supportive and engaging learning environments for students and staff.

Source: Vallejo school superintendent proposes school closures – Times-Herald

School Consolidation Proposed To Reduce $22 Million Deficit – SFGate

Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark is proposing the consolidation of two schools and the relocation of another to help close a $22 million budget deficit.

In a letter to school district stakeholders Thursday, Clark said he will present his proposed solutions at parent and community meetings at the affected school sites in January.

Twenty years ago, the school district had a population of 20,000 students and 22 schools. School enrollment is now 12,000 yet 22 schools are still operating, Clark said in the letter.

Source: School Consolidation Proposed To Reduce $22 Million Deficit – SFGate

School Bond Measures On November Ballot – SFGate

Two cannabis tax measures, three school bond measures and a sales tax measure are on ballots around Solano County for the Nov. 6 election.

Voters in Suisun City and Benicia will consider a cannabis industry general tax that requires majority approval.

The tax rate under Measure C in Suisun City would be no more than 15 percent of gross receipts and $25 per square foot of space used for commercial cannabis activities.

The estimated $2 million in annual tax revenue will pay for public safety, street maintenance and other city services until voters repeal it.

Source: Cannabis, Street Repair Sales Taxes, School Bond Measures On November Ballot – SFGate

Major design award for SCC’s Biotech/Science building – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A new era for Solano Community College’s acclaimed biotech manufacturing program began 14 months ago with the opening of a gleaming, $34.5 million, 38,000-square-foot cutting-edge structure in Vacaville that helps to prepare graduates for 21st-century jobs.

The Biotechnology and Science Building was clearly a significant boost to the school’s educational mission and perhaps the envy of other colleges.

Now there is another reason for envy:

The building, at the SCC Vacaville Center on North Village Parkway, is the recipient of a National Award of Merit in the educational facilities category.

The award, given by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), is of the highest honor, and will be announced during the Design-Build Conference & Expo in November in New Orleans, Jennifer Aries, a spokeswoman for the Fairfield-based college, noted in a press release.

Source: Major design award for SCC’s Biotech/Science building in Vacaville – The Reporter

School board considers grants to help fund $5.5M in shop upgrades at Armijo – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Trustees of the Fairfield-Suisun School District will be asked Thursday to give the green light to seek a pair of grants to help pay for nearly $5.5 million in planned upgrades to the wood shop and welding shop areas at Armijo High School.

The district’s Educational Services Department and Facilities Department have been working together since May to develop a facilities modernization project that will enhance and expand the Building Trades pathway at Armijo.

Staff is seeking permission from the board to submit a grant that will provide half the money needed for a $2.7 million facility project that includes upgrades to the wood shop facility, according to a staff report. Staff is also seeking leave to submit a grant that will provide half the money needed for a $2.7 million facility project that includes upgrades to the school’s welding shop facilities, according to a separate staff report.

Source: School board considers grants to help fund $5.5M in shop upgrades at Armijo

Dixon taxpayers group launches Measure Q Oversight website – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Dixon chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association (SCTA) launched a website recently to provide residents with access to documents regarding Dixon Unified School District’s Measure Q bond funds.

Measure Q is a $30.4 million revenue initiative that was passed by Dixon voters in 2016 to provide funds for construction and renovation projects at DUSD schools. Such projects include reopening the old Dixon High School site as a new middle school, repairs and renovations at Anderson Elementary School, and providing security and safety improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance upgrades at all the district schools.

Following the passage of Measure Q, the school board established a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) made up of independent volunteers in Aug. 2017 to ensure that the Measure Q money would only be spent on its projects. Per Proposition 39, which was approved by California voters in 2000, school districts that pass bond measures are required to have a CBOC that meets at least once a year and provide information to the public about bond revenues.

Source: Dixon taxpayers group launches Measure Q Oversight website – The Reporter

Corbus Field gets new lights, scoreboard in time for fall season – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

With the start of the high school football season just a week away, the clock was ticking down and both Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools could see the light at the end of the tunnel concerning the end of summer practices.

So with many final preparations for the season underway, Vallejo Unified School District came through and made sure that the home field for both schools would actually have a clock ticking down and lights at the end of a tunnel.

Corbus Field, without a working scoreboard for about a year and without lights since a fire occurred nearby last spring, finally got new installments for both on Wednesday, just in time for the start of Bethel’s first home game, which is Aug. 17.

Source: Corbus Field gets new lights, scoreboard in time for fall season

Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The strategic plan and timelines for the relocation of Maine Prairie High, cafeteria table replacement at Tremont Elementary, and an update on the process and planning and the carrying out of the sixth-grade transition to middle school are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan, recently returned from a short-term medical leave, will lead the discussion about the relocation plan for Maine Prairie, the rural, eastern Solano County school district’s continuation high school. It is currently housed at 305 East C St.

Dolan will review meeting timelines, stretching from tonight to the coming months and beyond; the date when a final decision will be presented to trustees (Nov. 17); stakeholder groups that will figure into the final decision; and potential new sites for the school.

Source: Maine Prairie relocation plan, new cafeteria tables on DUSD agenda

Vallejo school board approves bond measure for site repairs – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

There will be a $194 million bond measure on the November ballot, as the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Trustees voted for it 4-1 on Wednesday.

Trustee Ruscal Cayangyang was the only dissenting vote.

It was the second vote at the same meeting for a bond to get the money needed to repair crumbling school facilities. Even this is nowhere near the amount needed to do everything that needs to be done, district officials say.

Cayangyang offered a compromise measure, for a $50 million bond, since the nearly $200,000 one had failed once before but, no trustee would second that motion. Following several comments from other trustees and community members, Cayangyang amended the amount to $100 million and then, $110 million, which got a grudging, provisional second from trustee Tony Ubalde. But the alternative lost in a 4-1 vote, with Cayangyang the only “Yes.”

Source: Vallejo school board approves nearly $200 million bond measure for school site repairs