By Kimberly K. Fu
In a matter of hours Monday, they’d fired Tasers, deployed their firearms, engaged in a vehicle chase and used batons to encourage compliance.
But more importantly, the Will C. Wood Service and Safety class students learned the whys behind use of force tactics and what it’s like to be a police officer and having to make a split second decision in a potentially deadly situation.
“What do you see? What was he saying? Did you feel like your safety was in jeopardy?” asked Fairfield police officer and firearms instructor Jimmie Williams of two teens following a simulation where a suicidal man unexpectedly turned his gun, which had been pointed at his head, on police.
Source: Vacaville teens learn police use of force tactics
Dixon Unified leaders face a relatively light agenda when they meet tonight in Dixon.
Superintendent Brian Dolan will lead an update about the ongoing process of planning and carrying out of the sixth-grade cohort’s transition to middle school.
He also will lead an update of the progress toward development of a school resource officer position, a suggestion made in July by Police Chief Robert E. Thompson.
At the time, during a trustee meeting, he noted that the rural, 3,500-student district was the only one in Solano without a school resource officer. Thompson told the five-member governing board that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.
Source: Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight
By Todd R. Hansen
Don Ryan was at home in bed when he got the first call about the fire in Napa County.
Within hours of that call, the director of the Solano County Office of Emergency Services had traveled to a parking lot command post in Napa. Not long after that, he made his first call back to Solano County.
“I called them and told them to get our EOC (Emergency Operations Center) going,” Ryan said Monday, nine days after the Atlas Fire ignited about 9:52 p.m. Oct. 8.
Source: County returning to normal with Atlas Fire out in Solano
By Todd R. Hansen
A fire that raged through rural Napa County early Monday forced rural Solano County residents to flee their homes by Monday night.
Mandatory evacuations were put in place about 8 p.m. Monday for residents on Twin Sisters Road. Joyce Lane was under mandatory evacuation 30 minutes later as fires from Napa County closed in on the area.
The fire’s spread into Solano County caused the Fairfield-Suisun School District to announce Monday night that Suisun Valley K-8 School would remain closed Tuesday. The district cited the severity of the fire and its effect on rural roads near the school.
Source: Residents evacuate as Atlas Fire closes in on rural Solano homes
By Daily Republic Staff
Middle and high school students in California public schools will receive education on how to spot the early warning signs of abusive relationships after the governor this week signed a bill authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier.
“Domestic violence invariably leads to tragedy: broken families, long periods of incarceration and far too often, homicide,” Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement released Saturday by his office.
Source: New law designed to educate on signs of abusive relationships
By Louis Freedberg, John Fensterwald & Theresa Harrington
In evaluating school performance, registered voters in California say creating a safe and positive school environment is far more important than higher scores on standardized tests, according to a Berkeley IGS/EdSource poll.
Voters also express considerable concerns about bullying, school fights and other forms of intimidation or violence on school campuses, along with harassment that students experience through social media.
These are among the principal findings of the poll to be released Thursday at EdSource’s 40th anniversary symposium in Oakland.
The poll reveals strong voter support for school districts to devote more funds and resources to address the needs of the state’s most vulnerable students, a central theme of this year’s symposium. In particular, voters feel strongly that schools should do more to support homeless children as well as those whose family members are threatened with deportation as a result of current heightened federal immigration enforcement policies.
Source: New poll: Safe and positive school environment more important than higher test scores | EdSource
By Daily Republic Staff
A special meeting to discuss board goals and the district budget will take place Tuesday by the Travis School District trustees.
Superintendent Pam Conklin and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Sue Brothers will lead the presentation of the existing goals. The board will then discuss any potential changes.
Source: Travis school trustees to discuss goals, budget
By Ryan McCarthy
The city is bringing back its school resource officers after Vallejo’s financial crisis ended the program for about seven years when “the priority became the streets,” a police sergeant said Thursday at a forum on juvenile justice in Solano County.
“I was very proud of that program,” Sgt. Brent Garrick said of school resource officers.
He served as a school resource officer for eight years and said people in the their 30s come up and thank him for his work.
About eight officers were in the program that now has two school resource officers – with a third to be added in next several months.
Source: Vallejo school resource officers returning, people told at Solano juvenile justice forum
By Solano County Sheriff’s Office
Several members of the Solano Community College, Community Service Officer (CSO) program were promoted Thursday.
These individuals are students at our local colleges and have been volunteering as student leaders, working hard towards a career in law enforcement.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office currently has three sworn members who are working full-time at the Solano Community College campus. This ia a large multiple-campus district with a workforce of 572 and a student body of more than 10,000.
Source: CSOs earn promotions at Solano College
By Ryan McCarthy
Police officers will teach a public safety course at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools, where $33.5 million in construction is underway – while at Fairmont Charter School parents and their children gathered Thursday for the start of the school year.
Aneyda Zinky said she was telling her daughter Meghan, 10, about going back to school in Mexico City.
“It was a private school, so it was very strict,” Zinky remembered.
Meghan was looking forward to the books, computers, music and P.E. class at Fairmont, the charter school that opened in 2009 at its Marshall Road site.
Source: Police teach public safety in Vacaville School District, which adds new way to grade
By Richard Bammer
Dixon Unified may soon lose an arguably dubious distinction; the only Solano County school district without a school resource officer.
Dixon Police Chief Robert Thompson on Thursday told district trustees that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.
“It’s critically important to fund and staff” the position, he said during a school board meeting in the Dixon City Council chamber.
School resource officers typically are responsible for providing security and crime-prevention services in U.S. schools. They may also have other duties, including mentoring, speaking about youth-related issues, and, he said at one point, making “soft contacts” with students and staff.
Thompson, a former FBI employee, said he was concerned about “the negative consequences of not having” a school resource officer in the rural eastern Solano County district with 3,500 students across eight campuses.
Source: School resource officer a possibility for Dixon Unified
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia Unified School District trustees heard an update on Measure S projects completed to date and potential projects for the future at Thursday’s school board meeting. The presentation was delivered by Roxanne Egan, the Measure S bond director.
Measure S was a ballot initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 to provide $49.6 million in bond funding for projects for the district’s seven schools. The bond funds were initially going to be issued in three series: Series A, B and C. Due to low interest, Series B and C were consolidated into one bond issuance. Series A projects were announced in 2014, and 11 have been completed so far: technology infrastructure upgrades at all the schools, phone system upgrades at all the schools, renovated playgrounds at all the elementary schools, fixing the roofs at Benicia Middle School and Mary Farmar Elementary, fixing the softball field bleachers at Benicia High School, repainting the exterior at Benicia High, installing new camera security systems at all the schools, upgrading the fire alarm system at Benicia Middle, upgrading the IT server and replacing the clocks, bells and PA systems.
Two projects are currently in construction at Benicia High: a renovation of the George Drolette Stadium and fire alarms. The former is expected to be completed over the summer while the latter is estimated to be completed by October, Egan said.
Source: Bond committee will discuss possible future Measure S projects over summer
By Andrew Ujifusa
Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.
Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.
And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.
The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.
Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Nick Sestanovich
The Benicia Unified School District is already in the process of looking for a contractor for the fire alarm upgrade at Benicia High School. The school board will be voting Thursday to award the contract to the lowest bidder.
The fire alarm improvement is another item to be funded through Measure S, the initiative approved by Benicia voters in 2014 to provide $49.6 million in bond funding to enhance facilities at BUSD’s seven schools. Much like the stadium renovation at Benicia High School and the fire alarm upgrade at Benicia Middle School, the project was taken to a public bidding process where contractors had to be pre-qualified in order to be eligible to bid. According to Measure S Bond Director Roxanne Egan, four contractors pre-qualified and three submitted a bid. The lowest was a $1.9 million bid submitted by Bockmon & Woody Electric Co. Inc. out of Stockton. District staff is recommending that the board award the contract to Bockmon & Woody, noting that the district’s electrical engineer has successfully worked on projects with the company and is confident in their ability.
Source: School board to consider awarding fire alarm upgrade to lowest bidder
By Richard Bammer
The 2016-17 second interim budget report and safe school plans are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, and Sara Smith, assistant director of fiscal services, will present the latest budget interim report, and, based on agenda documents provided, it appears some of the information will echo the report presented at the Feb. 14 governing board meeting.
Still, as other area school districts have reported recently, they will note any likely minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances. Perhaps most important, Pimentel will tell the five-member governing board 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. She also will offer budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.
Source: Second interim budget, safe school plans on TUSD agenda
By Daily Republic Staff
Elementary and middle school students are welcome to enter the third annual Solano Safe Routes to School poster contest.
The top prize is a new bicycle, with helmet and lock. The second-place winner gets a $100 gift certificate from a local bike shop. The third-place winner gets a $50 gift certificate from a bike shop.
The contest is open to students from transitional kindergarten to eighth grade. The poster should show proper use of traffic safety laws, such as wearing a bike helmet, crossing the street in a crosswalk, or riding a bike with the flow of traffic.
Source: Safety to School poster contest starts – Daily Republic
By Nick Sestanovich
After a public hearing, the Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District unanimously voted to set the retention for two Measure S projects at 10 percent for being substantially complex at Thursday’s meeting.
The first project in question was a fire alarm upgrade at Benicia High School— not Benicia Middle School as previously reported. Factors that make the project complex include the fact the construction timeline is critical, the system is unique in nature and requires specialized training, and the system is directly related to fire, life and safety at the school.
Source: School board votes to set retention of 2 Measure S projects at 10%
By Richard Bammer
A Sacramento assemblyman has introduced a bill that will further strengthen the state’s Gun-Free School Zone Act.
In a press release issued Monday, Kevin McCarty, a Democrat, said Assembly Bill 424 would close a loophole that allows a school district to authorize an armed civilian with a concealed weapon permit to enter a school campus.
A number of California school districts, including Folsom Cordova Unified, Kingsburg Joint Union, Anderson Union, and Kern school districts have begun to issue these authorizations, increasing the number of guns on K-12 school campuses and the risk of an on-campus shooting, according to wording in the prepared statement.
The proposed bill comes as school shootings appear to be on the rise. Since 2013, more than 200 school shootings have taken place in America — an average of nearly one per week, said Terry Schanz, a spokesperson for McCarty.
Source: Assemblyman introduces bill to close gun-free school zones loophole
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District will be considering the approval of safety plans for the district and its seven schools at a shortened meeting this Thursday, which will start at 6 p.m. so the trustees can attend Benicia High School’s open house that evening.
Recent tragedies at schools across the nation have reinforced the need to update school safety plans, especially since Benicia High experienced a scare of its own last September when the school was placed on precautionary lockdown after a student had made threats online. Each school will be reviewing and updating its Comprehensive Safety Plan which have to be submitted to their respective School Safety Committee by March 1. The plans include procedures to follow in the event of an emergency and strategies to use to create healthy, safe environments for the schools. The plans are approved by each school’s site council and then submitted to the school board for approval. Dr. Leslie Beatson, the assistant superintendent of educational services, will be delivering an overview of the plans for the schools and district.
Benicia High School’s safety plan, for example, designates crisis response plans in the event of fire alarms, earthquakes, precautionary lockdowns, bomb threats, air contamination and severe windstorms or tornados.
Source: Safety plans on slate for Thursday’s school board meeting
By John Glidden
The Vallejo City Unified School District is seeking to replace its internal paging system, a move which is estimated to cost about $200,000 to $250,000.
The VCUSD Board of Education will review the request during its meeting Wednesday night.
“For general announcements and emergency pages, it is recommended that wall-mounted speakers designed specifically for paging purposes be installed and tied into a paging system that is housed locally at the site, but can be monitored and administered centrally, according to a district staff report. “In addition, several schools are utilizing paging systems that are more than 30 years old and cannot be administered centrally.”
District staff is recommending that a control system, along with wiring, and speakers be installed at each school site to allow for paging services and emergency broadcasts.
Source: VCUSD eyes replacing paging system