Travis school trustees approve 2 employee contracts – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Travis School District trustees Tuesday approved the 2017-18 contracts with the Travis Unified Teachers Association and California School Employees Association, Travis Chapter 454.

The votes were 4-1 with Trustee Angela Weinzinger dissenting.

Weinzinger said in transcribed comments from district staff that as an elected official, she has been entrusted by taxpayers to make decisions for the district with the fiscal responsibility to those taxpayers and the solvency of the district in mind.

“I am in total agreement that our staff at (the Travis district) are very deserving of the raise and increase in benefits. They are incredible at what they do,” Weinzinger said in the transcribed comments. “But as I look to the future, I am concerned that down the line we will not be faced with even bigger financial issues.

Source: Travis school trustees approve 2 employee contracts

Employee contracts on Travis Unified School District agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Routine approval of new employee contracts and three reports — the California School Dashboard, Federal Impact Aid, and projected enrollment — are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

The five-member governing board is expected to OK a teachers wage-and-benefits pact for the 2017-18 year, retroactive to Jan. 1.

District officials and negotiators for the 285-member Travis Unified Teachers Association huddled periodically for more than eight months before agreeing, last month, to a 3.25 percent wage hike and $100 per month in health benefits, or about 3.75 percent overall salary increase. Additionally, workday hours were established for district psychologists program specialists, and nurses. The agreement will add $1.2 million to the district’s expenses during the contract year, according to agenda documents.

Source: Employee contracts on Travis Unified School District agenda

The Fairfield Host Lions Club Community Service Foundation Student Speaker Winner is from Vanden!

By Community Contributor

The Fairfield HOST Lions Club Community Service Foundation held their local California Lions Club 81st Student Speaker Contest this afternoon, Wednesday February 7th.

After the Student’s gave their presentation and the scores were tallied the Fairfield HOST Lions are pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s contest is ALEXANDRA ADAMS, a Senior at Vanden High School.

The Finalist all gave great presentations and their hard work showed.

The other participants in today’s contest were Jade Vanta and Kalia Dumheller from Fairfield High, Ramil Chettfour and Victoria Lawson from Armijo High and Zachariah Winn from Vacaville Heritage Park.

Source: THE FAIRFIELD HOST LIONS CLUB COMMUNITY SERVICE FOUNDATION HELD THEIR 81ST STUDENT SPEAKER CONTEST TODAY, WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7TH. THE WINNER IS FROM VANDEN HIGH!

Four Vikings sign to play football in college – Daily Republic

By Paul Farmer

Sometime this summer Monmouth, Oregon, will be invaded by Vikings.

Three, in fact.

In a backyard National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Wednesday, Vanden High football players Matt Casner, Luis Vicino and Israel White signed to play for the Western Oregon Wolves, while teammate Armon Bailey committed to play for the Hornets of Sacramento State.

“It’s amazing to see four move on to the next level,” Vikings football coach Sean Murphy said. “They’re all great young men. To watch them grow into the men they’ve become is amazing. It’s just exciting to see what they’ll do in their journey. I’m excited for their future.”

So are the four.

Bailey, the 2017 Solano County Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, said he chose Sacramento State because “I’m more comfortable there. I have a lot of connections, that it’s close to home and I get to play football”

Source: Four Vikings sign to play football in college

Teacher contract goes before Travis school board – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Travis School District board will consider approval of a contract with the Travis Unified Teachers Association when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The 2017-18 contract, if approved, includes a pay hike of 3.25 percent, an additional $100 to the district’s monthly contribution to the employee medical benefit and selected adjustments to work schedules. Stipends also will be awarded to the athletic director, leaders of Vanden Robotics and Golden West Robotics, the district library lead, the teacher in charge for alternative education and secondary department chairs, a district document states.

The financial impact for the entire school year is about $1.19 million, the report states.

Source: Teacher contract goes before Travis school board

Committee seeks nominations for those who serve Solano students with disabilities – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Nominations are being accepted for the 12th annual Community Advisory Committee Recognition Awards, recognition given to people who have gone “above and beyond” in their service of students with disabilities.

Awards are presented to educators, youth and community members. Recipients are from each school district within the Solano County Special Education Local Plan Area: Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Travis and Vacaville, as well as the Solano County Office of Education.

Additionally, a student and representative from a community organization who have demonstrated dedication to supporting people with special needs will be honored.

Source: Committee seeks nominations for those who serve Solano students with disabilities

Students show skills at middle school robotics competition – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Chichi Iheandado, 13, is a coach who helps calm things down and figures out ways to resolve problems among her teammates.

Chichi and her Golden West Middle School teammates are competing for the second year in the VEX Robotics Competition, which the school hosted Saturday.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, is the ultimate science, technology, engineering and mathematics activity for middle school and high school students, ages 11 to 18.

An engineering challenge is presented each year in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, use the VEX Robotics Design System to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and skills challenges, according to RobotEvents.com, which tracks the events.

Source: Students show skills at middle school robotics competition

Teachers, district settle on proposed compensation package – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After more than eight months of talks, Travis Unified teachers and district officials on Friday hammered out a tentative contract agreement that would boost the educators’ wages and benefits by nearly 4 percent, it has been announced.

Michael Souza, president of the 285-member Travis Unified Teachers Association, said the proposed settlement would be presented to union members at a 3:30 p.m. meeting Thursday in the Vanden High Little Theater, 2951 Markeley Lane, in Fairfield. He said a vote likely would come next week.

If approved, the contract, effective Jan. 1, calls for a 3.25 percent wage hike and $100 per month in health benefits, or about 3.75 percent overall, noted Souza, a Vacaville resident and longtime Vanden High English teacher on temporary leave because of his union position.

Source: Teachers, district settle on proposed compensation package

Travis USD school-support employees to “sunshine” contract proposals – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Contract proposals between the district and school-support employees, the teacher work calendar for the 2018-19 school year, and approval, using a variable term waiver, to hire a teacher to teach medical science at Vanden High are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight.

A public hearing will be held to air the contract proposal, part of a so-called “sunshine” process, between the district and members of Chapter 454 of the California Service Employees Association, which represents the district’s classified employees, which includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, some clerical staff, groundskeepers, and the like.

No specific pay raise percentages were mentioned in agenda documents, but the agreement to sunshine is the public notification of what will be discussed during pending negotiations for the 2017-18 school year contract.

Union officials could not be reached for comment at press time, but it is likely they will petition for what Travis teachers are seeking after many months of wage-and-benefit talks: a 5 percent across-the-board salary boost and possibly benefits that may boost their total package by a couple more points.

Travis Unified begins registration for new students – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the 2018-19 academic year, registration for new students living within the Travis Unified attendance boundaries, which includes two Vacaville elementaries, is underway.

Parents must complete a two-part process: 1, complete online enrollment; and 2, submit all required documents (immunizations, proof of residence, birth) to officials at their child’s respective school site.

 

Registration has already been completed at Scandia and Travis elementaries, which are housed on Travis Air Force Base.

Source: Travis Unified begins registration for new students

Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program during past year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Reliable research shows that we remember field trips long into adulthood — journeys to museums, state and national monuments, state capitols, major libraries, seashores, national forests and the like — enriching visits that offer real educational value.

That, in part, is the mission of the Solano Resource Conservation District and its Suisun Marsh Watershed Education Program as it intersects with the missions of county school districts, which, like districts across the nation, are increasingly hard-pressed to fund.

But just ending its 10th year, the RCD program — which uses Rush Ranch, just south of Suisun City, and the massive adjacent marsh as an outdoor classroom — continues to flourish, thanks to its partners: the Solano County Water Agency, the Solano County Department of Resource Management and the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District.

Source: Nearly 1k students took part in RCD’s education program

Vacaville Unified School District employee churn turns busy in December – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified’s employee churn, normally busiest at academic year’s end in June, is active in December, with several principals moving on, The Reporter has learned.

Deanna Brownlee, the principal of Fairmont Charter in Vacaville Unified, has been named as Travis Unified’s new director of special education. Brownlee’s last day of work at the Marshall Road campus is Dec. 21.

“I’m very excited,” Brownlee, who has led Fairmont, a Title 1 school under federal guidelines, for eight years, said Wednesday afternoon.

The longtime educator, who earned a master’s degree in special education, added, “I have desired a position in special education for a very long time. Finally, all the pieces came together. I enjoy working with at-risk and special education students.”

Source: Vacaville Unified School District employee churn turns busy in December

Travis board reshuffles, approves 2017-18 budget report – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified trustee Angela Weinzinger handed her gavel to Riitta De Anda, whom the five-member governing board on Tuesday elected president, the vote coming during the board’s annual organization meeting in Fairfield.

Trustee Jamilah Whiteside was named vice president, and John Dickerson clerk of the board after additional votes taken in the Travis Education Center, where trustees convene once monthly.

Later in the meeting, Chief Business Officer Sonia Lasyone updated the five-member governing board on the district’s financial picture for the current year, one of two annual interim reports required by state law.

Source: Travis board reshuffles, approves 2017-18 budget report

Interim budget report, officer elections on TUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The first interim 2017-18 budget report, nomination and election of new governing board officers, and new or modified course proposals are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

Chief Business Officer Sonia Lasyone will update the five-member governing board on the district’s financial picture for the current year, one of two annual interim reports required by state law.

She will present her numbers as the state’s financial outlook remains generally healthy, with revenue collections exceeding expectations but with Gov. Jerry Brown warning public entities not to commit to ongoing, multiyear agreements.

Source: Interim budget report, officer elections on Travis Unified School District agenda

Buckingham VEX Robotics get in the zone on Saturday – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

In the last competition before the holiday, the Buckingham RoboKnights VEX four teams will compete against other schools for VEX’s “In the Zone.”

The event will take place Saturday at the Vanden High School gym, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Fairfield.

“Each team will use their capable engineering skills to gain a higher score than their opponents by stacking cones on goals, scoring mobile goals in zones, having the highest stacks, and parking robots” VEX coordinator Sean O’Bra said.

Source: Buckingham VEX Robotics get in the zone on Saturday

Vanden Robotics Team prepare to visit China to share STEM Robotics Curriculum – Daily Republic

Sixteen students from Vanden High School in Fairfield, CA, will be traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, and Ningbo this November 18-26, 2017. The students will conduct presentations and demonstrations to Beijing Economic Management High School and Jiaxing Sichuan Vocational College in Jiaxing, with the goal of building up a competitive and sustainable robotics curriculum programs in their respective communities.

These local robotics students will not only put their robot building and programming knowledge to the test but will also employ unique presentation skills, tying together academic language in English with elements of the Mandarin language. The support will not end with their visit, but will continue during the following year, providing support and resources by email and Skype. While in China, the students will also tour the sites of Shanghai, Terracotta Soldiers in Xi’an, and Beijing including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Source: Local High School Robotics Team prepare to visit China to share STEM Robotics Curriculum

Slow contract talks irk Travis teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Tonight’s Travis Unified governing board meeting will not be routine, in part because dozens of unionized teachers will protest the lack of progress in 2017-18 contract talks that have dragged on since spring.

Members of the Fairfield district’s teachers association plan to gather in the parking lot outside the Travis Education Center at 5 p.m., one hour before trustees meet in open session. They also will speak during the public comment segment of the meeting.

With virtually no progress after several bargaining sessions going back more than six months, the union and district remain far apart on issues that will help attract and retain excellent teachers, Michael Souza, president of the 290-member Travis Unified Teachers Association, said Monday.

Source: Slow contract talks irk Travis teachers

Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says – Daily Republic

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

3 Solano Friday Night Live chapters receive grants – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Friday Night Live chapters at Armijo and Vanden high schools, and at the Solano Youth Coalition, have received grants from the state organization.

Chapters will use the funds to create campaigns to educate the public on the “statistics, warning signs and consequences of problem gambling.” They have until May 2018 to complete the gambling prevention curriculum that targets adults ages 18 to 54 and underage gamblers younger than 18.

Source: 3 Solano Friday Night Live chapters receive grants

Long-awaited Facilities Master Plan on TUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, face a relatively light agenda except for item 13.1, a review and potential approval of a long-awaited Facilities Master Plan.

Begun two years ago, the plan sought to re-evaluate facility needs at each of 10 campuses in the 5,500-student Fairfield district, which also includes two Vacaville elementaries, Foxboro and Cambridge. According to agenda documents, district leaders want to create a document that is updated regularly, as needs, priorities and funding options evolve and change.

While district enrollment has largely remained stable for the past 15 years, projections indicate considerable growth at several schools in the coming years, decreases at several others.

Source: Long-awaited Facilities Master Plan on TUSD agenda