Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday filed a court brief supporting a Bay Area county’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

Torlakson filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the president’s January executive order that would withhold federal dollars from cities that declare themselves sanctuaries.

The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order fails to clearly define that term, Torlakson wrote in a press release issued Thursday.

 

Source: Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding

Travis Unified on solid financial footing – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified’s 2016-17 second interim budget report Tuesday was good news for a district that, in relatively recent years past, filed a series of negative or qualified budgets — generally regarded as troubling designations — with the county and state.

During a governing board meeting, Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, told trustees that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two, for which she showed, in a slide presentations, budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.

In a 20-minute presentation, Pimentel, as expected, noted minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances.

 

Source: Travis Unified on solid financial footing

Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter schools in California and elsewhere stand to be a major beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year, even though he wants to slash $9.2 billion from many other federal education programs.

Trump called for $1.4 billion in new funding for a “school choice” program that includes an increase of $250 million to subsidize tuition for private schools and $168 million for expanding charter schools. An additional $1 billion is for a program that would allow students to attend a public school of their choice, which could include charter schools. Trump has provided no details for any of these programs.

The extra $168 million for charter schools represents a 50 percent expansion of the Charter Schools Program from its current level of $333 million. The bulk of the funds are shared with states to support new charter schools. Two other grants within the program support the expansion of charter networks and facilities costs. The funds given to states can be spent on purchasing classroom equipment, such as laptops for students and desks, informing parents that schools are opening and training school staff.

Source: Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

Financial Literacy: Addressing Student, Family, and Community Needs | Edutopia

By Carol Troxell

Cleveland Central Catholic High School is an urban school with 645 students. National media once dubbed the Cleveland, Ohio metro area as the epicenter of the foreclosure disaster. In a climate like this, our schools goal is providing students with the tools they need to be financially successful, and the knowledge to make sound financial decisions as adults to prevent generations of repetitive, costly financial mistakes. We feel that success can be achieved by fostering financial literacy in our students teen years.

Breaking the Cycle

Students sign up for our personal finance class because they realize a personal need to be prepared for their future. One of our current students has described how his family has major credit score problems and had a hard time purchasing a house. He recognizes the struggle that they experienced and hopes to make his life easier in the future. He recently told me that he accomplished his first financial goal of saving $150, observing, “It was very hard.” He set this goal at the beginning of the school year and became conscious of where every penny of his money was going. Another student receives a paycheck card instead of an actual check.

via Financial Literacy: Addressing Student, Family, and Community Needs | Edutopia.

Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources – Times Herald

By Dianne de Guzman

Students at Jesse Bethel High School are learning computer coding, all the while helping their high school earn money for more student resources.

Thanks to a company called Codecademy, the students are learning the code required to build websites. A web-based program, Codecademy teaches users computer coding skills, teaching HTML, Javascript and other coding languages. In 2014, the company partnered with DonorsChoose.org, and through a $1,000,000 grant from Google.org, they’re offering schools a chance to earn $100 per student in DonorsChoose rewards.

Each student that completes a 12-hour Javascript coding course by March 17 can earn rewards. Underrepresented groups in computer science, such as girls or African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Natives can earn more funding credits for their class.

via Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources.

Vaca Unified CBO: District in ‘healthy’ fiscal territory – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Gov. Jerry Brown’s so-called “May revise” state budget likely will affect local governments across California, but, in the meantime, Vacaville Unified, according to the school district’s chief business officer, will be able to pay its bills this year and for the next two, through 2017.

Speaking Thursday during a governing board meeting, Jane Shamieh updated trustees on the district’s second interim budget for the 2014-15 year, a routine matter required by state law.

Using a computer-aided slide presentation, she noted some $2.7 million more in expenditures have been tacked onto the budget that trustees adopted last year, raising expenses to $91.3 million, a 3 percent increase.

Shamieh pointed out that expenses will exceed revenues, resulting in “deficit spending,” but an ending balance and “carry over” money of $9.7 million places the district in “healthy” fiscal territory.

via Vaca Unified CBO: District in ‘healthy’ fiscal territory.

Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have key education groups helping him make the case to voters for a bigger and more restrictive state rainy day fund. The most he can count on is that they won’t actively campaign against it.

Organizations representing school district financial officers (California Association of School Business Officials) and school superintendents and principals (Association of California School Administrators) voted during the summer to officially oppose Brown’s Budget Stabilization Account, which will appear on next month’s ballot as Proposition 2. And at a meeting in late September, the board of the California School Boards Association voted not to take a position on the proposition. That decision was actually good news for the governor, since at a press conference in May, association President Josephine Lucey vowed to push her board to fight the proposal.

 

via Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource.

Fairfield-Suisun school board to discuss financial report – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

School district staff will present an unaudited financial report for 2013-14 to the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board Thursday that shows a combined ending general fund balance June 30 of almost $21 million.

The combined balance includes an unrestricted general fund balance of just more than $16 million and a restricted fund balance of about $4.7 million. The figure does not include routine and other expenditures taken out of the unrestricted general fund, such as the teachers association reserves of $1.6 million and retiree benefits, also for about $1.6 million, that lead to the undesignated unrestricted balance June 30 of $9.3 million.

via Fairfield-Suisun school board to discuss financial report Daily Republic.

Schools supe gets green light on fundraising plan – Benicia Herald

By Keri Luiz

Trustees warm to idea of over-arching strategy.

Benicia Unified School District trustees met early and briefly Thursday so they and staff could attend back-to-school events at the city’s four elementary schools.

Foremost on the abbreviated agenda was Superintendent Janice Adams’s request for direction from the board on development of a plan for coordinated fundraising efforts in the district.

Though there was no formal vote, Adams received strong support from the board for moving forward to develop such a plan.

Adams told trustees of a presentation she attended by Paul Lanning of RPR Fundraising, a Los Angeles company that consults with nonprofits on efficient fundraising strategies.

via Schools supe gets green light on fundraising plan.

School board to strategize on fundraising – Benicia Herald

by Keri Luiz

Superintendent, staff call for ‘coordinated’ effort, greater efficiency

The Benicia Unified School District Board of Trustees will meet early Thursday, with a closed session at 5:30 p.m. and open session at 6 p.m. In the open session, trustees will discuss fundraising in the new school year.

Superintendent Janice Adams wrote in a report that she will seek direction from the board for development of a strategic plan for coordinated fundraising efforts.

“In order to support high-quality programs and enhance opportunities for students the district is committed to supporting efforts to enhance revenue for the district,” Adams wrote.

She added that the district is fortunate in its community support from many organizations, including Benicia Education Foundation, parent-teacher groups, booster clubs, service organizations, nonprofit groups and faith-based organizations.

via School board to strategize on fundraising.

Vacaville school board to hear travel expense report – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

A review of Vacaville School District travel expenses will be conducted Thursday as the school board prepares to hear a report that its members asked for during the summer.

Superintendent Ken Jacopetti was directed by the board in August 2013 to review all travel requests by air and out-of-state requests for six months and provide a report of the approved travel at the February meeting.

Staff reports list the activities, or pending activities, of nearly 30 employees from July 1, 2013, until April 27, 2014.

via Vacaville school board to hear travel expense report Daily Republic.

Dan Walters: Lawsuit opens new front in California’s school war – Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

A new front in the years-long political and legal war over the future of California’s immense and immensely expensive public school system opened this week in a Los Angeles courtroom.

The war pits the education establishment, which argues that more money is the best way to improve academic outcomes, against civil rights advocates and reform groups backed by business interests and wealthy individuals, which contend that structural change is needed.

via Dan Walters: Lawsuit opens new front in California’s school war – Dan Walters – The Sacramento Bee.

Speak up now for what you want – The Reporter

Published by The Reporter

Last Thursday night, I went to two very different meetings. One was about Vacaville’s future and hardly anybody was there. The other was about a stadium, and more than100 people attended. At one meeting, our elected representatives got an accurate accounting of community feeling, while at the other — nothing.

The well-attended meeting was a presentation to the Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board about building a stadium at Wood High School. Organizers explained how they walked neighborhoods, organized community meetings, and met with community organizations.

 

via Speak up now for what you want – The Reporter.

School board to elect new officers, receive Wood stadium report – Daily Republic

By Mike Corpos

The Vacaville school board has a busy night planned Thursday for its regular meeting as its members prepare to wrap up the 2013 calendar year.

On the agenda is the election of new officers for 2014 as well as a major milestone in the potential construction of a football stadium at Will C. Wood High.

First on the agenda, the board is scheduled to elect a new president, vice president and clerk for 2014. David McCallum now serves as board president, Jerry Eaton as vice president and Sherie Mahlberg as board clerk. Superintendent Ken Jacopetti is also expected to be reappointed as secretary of the board in accordance with board bylaws.

via School board to elect new officers, receive Wood stadium report Daily Republic.

Fairfield-Suisun board meets tonight – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff Posted:

Like other California school districts typically do in December, Fairfield-Suisun Unified will reshuffle its governing board when it meets tonight in open session in Fairfield.

In other matters, the seven trustees likely approve the first interim budget report, as presented by Kelly Morgan, the district’s assistant superintendent of business services, and Laneia Grindle, director of fiscal services.

They project revenues to be nearly $160 million, expenses $168 million, with $8 million in deficit spending.

Trustees are expected to approve a motion to postpone more expansion at Laurel Creek and Suisun Elementary schools until the potential impacts of class-size reduction can be studied in greater detail.

via Fairfield-Suisun board meets tonight – The Reporter.

Budget Deal Could Offer School Districts Relief from Sequestration – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

School districts would get some relief from the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration under an agreement announced Tuesday by a bipartisan pair of House and Senate negotiators.

The plan would roll back most of the so-called sequester cuts for the next two years, leaving the door open for federal lawmakers to boost spending on disadvantaged children and students in special education.

via Budget Deal Could Offer School Districts Relief from Sequestration – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Dan Walters: Brown’s overhaul of California school finances sparks infighting over details – Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

Gov. Jerry Brown’s landmark overhaul of public schools’ finances was aimed at their most vexing issue – chronically low academic achievements among poor or “English-learner” students.

Not only would more money be spent – billions more, in fact, thanks to a tax increase – but state aid would be “weighted” toward districts with large numbers of targeted kids.

via Dan Walters: Brown’s overhaul of California school finances sparks infighting over details – Bee Capitol & California – The Sacramento Bee.

Some sober words for school boards amid predictions of plenty | EdSource Today

By John Fensterwald

For the first time since the Great Recession, school districts are getting more money this year from the state; some – big beneficiaries of the new Local Control Funding Formula – are getting a lot. And that increase is expected to be larger next year, in one-time and ongoing money, if the Legislative Analyst’s predictions for a rebounding economy are on target.

School finance experts John Gray and Joel Montero, however, injected a cautionary note during a presentation Friday at the California School Boards Association’s annual convention in San Diego.

via Some sober words for school boards amid predictions of plenty | EdSource Today.

Financing the Education of High-Need Students : Education Next

By Chester E. Finn, Jr.

America’s approach to the education of children with disabilities is antiquated, costly, and ineffective. “Special education” as we know it is broken—and repainting the surface won’t repair it. It cries out for a radical overhaul. Far too many children emerge from our special-ed system without the skills, knowledge, and competencies that they need for a successful life that fully capitalizes on their abilities. This ineffectual system is also very, very expensive. Yet for a host of reasons—inertia, timidity, political gridlock, fear of litigation, fear of interest groups, ignorance, lack of imagination, and so on—neither our education leaders nor our policy leaders have shown any inclination to modernize it. Instead, they settle for “paint jobs”—waivers and the like.

 

via Financing the Education of High-Need Students : Education Next.

Parents know little about funding law but want to get involved, EdSource survey finds | EdSource Today

By Susan Frey

A new statewide survey by EdSource suggests that parents are eager to get involved in school district spending decisions, but underscores the need for districts to actively engage parents if they are to fulfill their new role under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula.

Across the board, parents are generally satisfied with their children’s schools, but the survey revealed differences between high- and low-income parents. The survey suggests that districts will need to make extra efforts to connect to low-income parents, who reported a higher degree of dissatisfaction with their child’s school than parents with higher incomes. Lower-income parents were also more likely to feel that only a small group of parents are engaged in decision-making opportunities at their child’s school.

via Parents know little about funding law but want to get involved, EdSource survey finds | EdSource Today.