By John Fensterwald
Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed Republican tax cut on the state’s economy and budget is hanging like a cloud over California, but at this point, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting robust growth in state revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the coming year.
The LAO is predicting that the schools and community colleges will get $3.2 billion more in 2018-19 under Proposition 98, the constitutional formula that determines minimum school funding. That would be an increase of 4.3 percent, bringing the Prop. 98 total to $77.7 billion, according to the LAO report released Wednesday.
K-12 schools get about 89 percent of Prop. 98 funding, with community colleges getting most of the remainder.
Source: Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource
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 The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated.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 Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production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
By Richard Bammer
A symbolic $38,000 check in hand, David McCallum of Vacaville (center), a former Vacaville Unified trustee and member of the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, smiles at governing board president Michael Kitzes as Superintendent Jane Shamieh looks on during Thursday’s trustee meeting. McCallum, in an update about the nonprofit group’s most recent activities, presented the money to boost enrichment activities in district classrooms, from paying for field trips and lab equipment to robotics and music programs. He noted that VPEF, founded in 2003 and has since donated more than $3 million to district schools, received some $270,000 in requests for this year’s round of grants but only had $40,000 to distribute.
Source: A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools
By Richard Bammer
In good times and bad, education dollars are hard to come by. Federal and state funding goes up and down, like a yo-yo. There are always needs to be fulfilled.
Locally, however, enter the Vacaville Public Education Foundation.
Tonight, leaders of the nonprofit group, which, formed in 2003, raises grant money for classroom teachers and programs, will provide and update about their work to the Vacaville Unified governing board, which meets in open session at 6:30 in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.
They also will present the district with a $38,000 check to the district for things such as field trips, lab equipment, robotics, health programs, sports, music, among many others.
Source: VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified
By Ryan McCarthy
Pension costs could run school districts out of business, a superintendent said Thursday at the State of Education in Solano County forum.
Schools may first reach a point where they do less for students because of contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, said Brian Dolan, superintendent of the Dixon School District.
Source: Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says
By The Washington Post
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced Thursday that his foundation will invest more than $1.7 billion in public education, money that will go to support schools interested in developing and testing new approaches to teaching.
“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace,” said Gates, who delivered the keynote address before about 1,000 school officials at the Council of the Great City Schools conference in Cleveland. “The role of philanthropy here is not to be the primary funder, but rather to fund pilots, to fund new ideas, to let people – it’s always the educators coming up with the ideas – to let them try them out and see what really works super well and get those to scale.”
Source: Bill Gates announces a $1.7 billion investment in US public schools
Solano Community Foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program has funds available for classroom projects, after-school and mentoring programs in all Solano County public schools.
The program supports development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade, and development of math skills for proper course placement at ninth grade, the foundation reported.
Approximately 20,000 students have benefitted from this program and close to $450,000 has been disbursed through more than 800 grants, the foundation reported.
Source: Education Plus! grants available to public schools
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
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
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
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.
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.
via Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.