School board to hear quarterly bond update at Thursday’s meeting – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

As Measure S bond projects continue to move along, attendees of this Thursday’s school board meeting can get a greater understanding of which projects have been completed, which ones are nearing completion and which projects will be taken on next. The discussion will be presented by Bond Director Roxanne Egan.

Measure S was a ballot initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 aimed at providing $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at each of the Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. As of Dec. 31, 11 projects had been completed, technology infrastructure upgrades at all the schools, playground modernizations at the elementary schools, fixing the roofs at Benicia Middle School and Mary Farmar Elementary School, painting the exteriors at Benicia High School and renovating Benicia High’s stadium.

Egan also identified 10 approved bond projects in progress. These include fire alarm replacements at Liberty High School and the District Office as well as Mary Farmar, Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools, a fire alarm upgrade at Matthew Turner Elementary School, a modernization of Benicia Middle School’s campus, miscellaneous infrastructure upgrades, alternative education improvements and repairing the gym floor at Benicia High. Another approved project is improvements to Benicia High’s Performing Arts Building, which Egan said is part of the district’s efforts to apply for a Career Technical Education grant for the building. If the grant is awarded, then the district will be required to match up to a maximum of $3 million in local funding. If the grant is not awarded, then a minimum amount of $400,000 will be allocated for PAB improvements.

Source: School board to hear quarterly bond update at Thursday’s meeting

Title shift for abandoned right of way gets Fairfield-Suisun district OK – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Accepting title from Suisun City to an abandoned right of way needed for a new building at Fairview Elementary School won approval Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

A survey during design and development for a new administration and kindergarten building at the school on First Street in Fairfield identified the waterline right of way in the area best suited for the new building, a school district staff report said.

Because the waterline associated with the right of way was believed to be abandoned, the district asked the Suisun-Solano Water Authority to investigate, the report said.

Suisun City Council members at their Jan. 16 meeting, acting as the water authority, passed a resolution relinquishing the city’s interest in the waterline easement to the school district and allowing removal of the easement.

Source: Title shift for abandoned right of way gets Fairfield-Suisun district OK

Solano College eyes pact with Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for cultural monitoring – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation will monitor the Rockville campus entry sidewalk project – after trenching work discovered a potential cultural resource – if Solano Community College District trustees meeting Wednesday approve a proposed agreement.

“Because of the potential for undiscovered cultural resources within the project area, monitoring of ground-disturbing construction activities by a tribal cultural monitor is required,” a college district staff report said.

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation can trace its historical ties to land in the project and is considered the most likely descendant tribe, the report said. The contract allows up to 40 hours of monitoring and is an amount not to exceed $5,000.

Source: Solano College eyes pact with Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for cultural monitoring

Fairview Elementary project requires end to century-old Suisun City right of way – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Title from Suisun City to an abandoned right of way needed for a new building at Fairview Elementary School goes before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees Thursday.

A survey during design and development for a new administration and kindergarten building at the school on First Street in Fairfield identified the waterline right of way in the area best suited for the new building, a school district staff report said.

Because the waterline associated with the right of way was believed to be abandoned, the district asked the Suisun-Solano Water Authority to investigate, the report said.

Source: Fairview Elementary project requires end to century-old Suisun City right of way

Vacaville USD to discuss Sierra Vista report – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The biennial report about Sierra Vista K-8 School and two sizable construction contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Principal Cathy Bozzini will deliver her report, given once every two years. Among several things, she will tell the seven-member governing board that the Bel Air Drive school’s mission is “to prepare all students to be respectful leaders by providing service to their community” and “immersed” in a rigorous curriculum in order to be college- and career-ready in a global society.

Trustees are expected to approve a contract for $894,000 with American River Construction Inc., a Placerville firm, for ongoing upgrades, specifically seismic in this case, at Jepson Middle School. Assembly Bill 300 requires school districts to deal with seismic safety standards for K-12 school buildings. The project will be paid for under Measure A, the $194 million bond passed by voters in 2014.

Source: Vacaville Unified School District to discuss Sierra Vista report

Fairfield-Suisun USD breaks ground on new gym, library at Public Safety Academy – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Shovels in hand, white hard hats atop their heads, school and district leaders, elected officials and others tossed small amounts of soil Tuesday to symbolize groundbreaking for the new library and gymnasium at the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy, $19.4 million in building projects that will be ready to open in December.

In opening remarks before the groundbreaking ceremony, Superintendent Kris Corey, speaking as the sun set behind her, just yards away from the 2-story library site, acknowledged the project “will affect the neighborhood,” which includes homes along Larkspur Lane, Orchid Street and Atlantic.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District breaks ground on new gym, library at Public Safety Academy

Wildcat Stadium expected to be complete in late-March, early-April – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

Will C. Wood High School’s new stadium is running behind schedule, however, district officials are still optimistic the project will be completed between late March and early April.

With the original completion date of Feb. 1 steadily approaching for the $16 million project funded by Measure A, a meeting was held Friday morning at the Educational Services Center in Vacaville to decide the best possible course of action for Wildcat Stadium.

“We came to the conclusion the project will be completed at the end of March/early April,” wrote Dan Banowetz, director of facilities for the Vacaville Unified School District, in an email to The Reporter. “This is weather depending of course.”

Along with the consistent rainfall to start the year, Banowetz explained how attaining the concrete masonry unit was one of a few items that slowed down the project the last few months.

Source: Wildcat Stadium expected to be complete in late-March, early-April

Measure A transforms Sierra Vista – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Without public fanfare but certainly with excited students and teachers, Sierra Vista leaders on Jan. 8 opened two new seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms, part of continuing Measure A expenditures at the Vacaville school, bringing the teaching of basic biology, genetics, plant and animal life cycles and more into a 21st-century learning environment.

The construction, its completion somewhat delayed, Principal Catherine Bozzini said Tuesday, was funded by Measure A, the $194 million bond passed by Vacaville voters in November 2014, of which at least $9 million has been set aside by Vacaville Unified to pay for upgrades and new buildings at the Bel Air Drive campus, a K-8 school.

Source: Measure A transforms Sierra Vista

Vallejo school gets makeover on MLK Workday – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

More than 100 volunteers cleaned up the grounds, added landscaping and helped paint a colorful, flowing, building-long mural at Highland Elementary School in Vallejo on Monday.

The work was part of the ninth annual MLK Workday project hosted by Rebuilding Together Solano County, with the support of Kaiser Permanente and Home Depot.

It was an extra-special opportunity for Eva Garcia.

“When my son was growing up he was crying,” Garcia retells the story. She also sits on the Rebuilding Together board. “So I asked him what he needed and he said he needed me to draw him a bird. So I drew him a bird, and he cried even more.”

Source: Vallejo school gets makeover on MLK Workday

Benicia High Student jump starts district’s move to solar – Times Herald

By Katy St. Clair

Victor Hugo once said that perseverance is the secret to all triumphs. Certainly former Benicia High School student Aaron Feigelman would concur.

The enterprising young man began spearheading the school district’s ambitious transition to solar power back in 2014 when he was a mere junior. Now this “triumph” in clean, sustainable, low-cost energy is set to power up sometime this year.

Feigelman is now well into college, but he’s closely followed the project that first began in his mind’s eye after an educational trip to Ecuador to learn about hydropower and sustainability.

“Every student who left there developed a sustainable master plan,” he said.

For him, it was solar — an energy source that had always fascinated him. While he saw it going up in parts of Benicia, he didn’t see any of it in schools.

Source: Benicia High School Student jump starts district’s move to solar

Will C. Wood High School’s new field, track is behind schedule – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

The long-awaited construction of Will C. Wood High School’s new synthetic field and track won’t be finished by the anticipated Feb. 1 completion date.

Wednesday, Vacaville Unified School District Director of Facilities Dan Banowetz and Will C. Wood High School boys soccer coach Jorge Ruiz-Chavez confirmed that the $16 million project is behind schedule.

Although Banowetz was unable to provide a specific date regarding the completion of the field and the palatial stadium, he expects to have additional information once he sits down with Alten Construction President Bob Alten early next week.

Source: Will C. Wood High School’s new field, track is behind schedule

New home for math at Vaca High – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It was a mammoth and desired present ready to use after the Christmas holidays.

Vacaville High School students, teachers, support staff and administrators ushered in the new year with a newly built $9 million, 15-classroom mathematics building, part of Vacaville Unified’s continuing districtwide campus upgrades under Measure A.

The two-story structure, which opened Monday when classes resumed, further enhances the West Monte Vista school — one of the district’s oldest at 66 years — coming five months after completion of the campus’ new and similar English building.

Source: New home for math at Vaca High

Board backs $19M in work for Public Safety Academy – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A plan that calls for $19 million in spending for a new library, gym and locker buildings at the Public Safety Academy won support Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

School district staff had recommended approval for the agreement between the district and Landmark Construction in Placer County.

The Public Safety Academy opened in 2012 and has a higher attendance rate than other schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, few suspensions and “is doing very well,” according to a self-study for its accreditation.

Source: Board backs $19M in work for Public Safety Academy

Construction firm “on time, on budget” with new Wood High stadium – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Wearing a white hard hat, Randall Barbour, project manager for Alten Construction, looked out at a giant concrete pumping truck and boom at the still-underway work on the Wood High stadium project, and said, “We’re on time and on budget.”

As he spoke early Friday afternoon, workers positioned giant tubes from which the concrete flowed into forms that will become a wall for a ramp for the disabled who attend football games, soccer matches and track and field events at the stadium complex, the majority of which is set for completion on Feb. 1.

Source: Construction firm “on time, on budget” with new Wood High stadium

Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As they will in Vacaville, Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will reorganize the governing board and elect new officers, hear the 2017-18 first interim budget report, and solicit ideas about program offerings and “facilities challenges” at Maine Prairie High, the district’s continuation school.

Guy Garcia, president of the five-member governing board, will give up his gavel. Trustees will elect a new president, vice president and clerk.

As chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will update the board on the 2017-18 first interim budget, one of two annual summaries of the 3,500-student district’s financial status.

Revenues are expected to be $33.1 million, expenditures $33.9 million, resulting in $800,000 in red ink. The estimated ending fund balance is nearly $2 million.

Mercado’s numbers come are California school districts face increasing employee pension costs in several future years and as teacher unions clamor for member pay hikes.

Source: Dixon school leaders will reorganize board, hear budget report

Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts – The Reporter

A biennial report about Alamo Elementary, accountability “local indicators,” and several large contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Derek Wickliff, principal of Alamo Elementary, will present the report about the South Orchard Avenue campus. He will touch on a variety of topics. They include the school’s music program; recent past events; data from the California Dashboard, the state’s new schools accountability system, with statistics about suspension rates, English learner progress, and results from the 2017 state standardized tests; and attendance.

A district staff member will present information about local indicators from the Dashboard. They include basic services, the carrying-out of academic standards, parent engagement and school climate.

Through this accountability system, each California school district and charter school is required to provide a “narrative,” complete a rating scale, or use survey results to determine progress.

Source: Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts

BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.

In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.

Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.

Source: BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation

Trustees OK property tax cut on parcels in FSUSD – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Cutting property taxes on more than 8,700 parcels – with savings officials say total about $10 million – won approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees, one of whom said she expected the action would make a taxpayer’s advocate smile.

Property tax assessments for landowners in Community Facilities District No 5, established during the 1989-90 school year, have paid for construction at B. Gale Wilson School, Crystal Middle School, Green Valley Middle School, Rolling Hills Elementary School and other projects, a school district staff report said.

The tax rate in the district was cut to 25 cents per square foot – $600 a year for a 2,400-square-foot home – in 2009. The overall debt has since been refinanced to lower the overall debt, most recently in 2015, according to a staff report.

Source: Trustees OK property tax cut on parcels in Fairfield-Suisun School District

Fairfield-Suisun School District board looks to cut property taxes – Daily Republic

By Glen Faison

Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees are poised Thursday to slash property taxes on more than 8,700 parcels and possibly retire millions in school facilities debt as much as three years early.

Plans for debt within Community Facilities District No. 5, established during the 1989-90 school year, are up for consideration. The bounds of the district have since grown to include 8,703 parcels.

Property tax assessments for those who own property in the district have paid for construction or partial construction at B. Gale Wilson School, Crystal Middle School, Green Valley Middle School and Rolling Hills Elementary School, among other lesser projects, according to a staff report.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District board looks to cut property taxes

Solano College aeronautics expansion 5 years out – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

The $15 million expansion of the Solano Community College aeronautics program is still at least five years away, but existing course curriculum is putting students in the middle of an industry boon.

Lucky Lofton, the executive bond manager for the college, said the Measure Q expansion project for property located between the Nut Tree Airport and the Nut Tree shopping center is in an early design phase.

“Right now, we are still in the planning process. We have developed a schematic design for a new facility, but the project is scheduled to be dealt with further out in time,” Lofton said. “It is a number of years away.”

Source: Solano College aeronautics expansion 5 years out