Cooper kids put new writing skills to work in Valentine’s Day cards – Times Herald

By Richard Freedman

The capital letters were correct. And the exclamation point was in the right place.

Getting it all perfect isn’t always easy when you’re in kindergarten. Of course, when there’s Valentine’s Day cupcakes within sniffing distance, it’s a welcomed reward.

And the students in Monique Rountree’s class at Cooper Elementary School in Vallejo couldn’t help but be tickled red with Wednesday’s activities.

“I like giving out candy on Valentine’s Day and giving Valentine’s Day cards,” said Casanti Feaster.

And don’t forget those party cupcakes …

“They taste so good,” Feaster said grinning. “I also like to drink Capri Sun that me and my mommy brought from the store and a balloon.”

Valentine’s Day for classmate Aubree Davis “is about loving people and it’s about sharing with people. When people are feeling left out, you can play with them.”

Source: Cooper kids put writing skills to work

Vallejo school board to review additional budget cuts – Times Herald

By John Glidden

With a need to cut $8 million from its budget by March, the Vallejo school board will review a second round of proposed cuts during its meeting Wednesday night.

On the agenda is $1.5 million in additional position eliminations from various district offices, including food service, special education, and child development.

The central kitchen manager, several paraeducators, along with a special education teacher, and three child development teachers are expected to receive layoff notices. Overall, the district is recommending 28 employee positions be slashed. Late last month, trustees approved the elimination of 50 district positions, for a savings of $4.3 million. Those cuts included 30 classroom teachers, several administrators, eight site safety supervisors, and a handful of secretaries.

Source: Vallejo school board to review additional budget cuts

Vallejo trustees slash $4.3 million from budget – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A morose Vallejo school board unanimously approved devastating budget cuts Tuesday night as 50 district positions were eliminated.

The move will save the Vallejo City Unified School District about $4.3 million for its upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

A sizable audience was on hand to learn about the cuts during the special board meeting held at Steffan Manor Elementary School.

“Every position in the district is directed toward supporting the classroom, so none of these reductions, that we are recommending, are easy to make,” VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark said to the board and those in attendance. “They all are useful, they all are needed within our district to support our students. Every last one of them.”

Source: Vallejo trustees slash $4.3 million from budget

Vallejo school board to cut positions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Faced with a need to cut $8 million from the upcoming budget, the Vallejo school board is expected to make the first round of position cuts during a special meeting Tuesday night.

Trustees will be asked to eliminate dozens of positions for a savings of $4.3 million, according to a staff report. The biggest cuts will come from the teaching ranks — 32 positions are set to be eliminated, saving the district $2.6 million.

District staff previously stated the Vallejo City Unified School District usually has teachers who resign or retire after each school year. If may be possible that the district will not need to layoff any teachers.

Declining enrollment, the encroachment of charter schools, rising health and benefits contributions, and high chronic absentee rates have been identified as reasons why the district is facing financial issues.

Source: Vallejo school board to cut positions

Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Possible teacher layoffs dominated the conversation Wednesday night, as the Vallejo school board discussed cutting $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.

“I don’t want to cut anything in the classroom and I’m going to be watching that carefully,” said Trustee Tony Ublade as preliminary reductions being proposed by the district include cutting about 32 teaching positions. This amounts to $2.6 million in savings, district staff said.

Vallejo Education Association President Sheila Gradwohl said the unpredictably of teacher layoffs affects everyone.

“The feeling you get when this happens is one of uncertainty, you’re scared, you don’t know if you can pay bills, it really affects you and if it affects you, it affects your kids, affects the students you teach,” Gradwohl said.

Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts

Vallejo school board receives bond survey results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A polling consultant informed the Vallejo school board on Wednesday that the district is in a unique position after survey results revealed residents support a possible school bond but they don’t trust the district.

At least 61 percent of the 601 interviewed by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) said they would support a Vallejo City Unified School District bond.

However, just 29 percent of the same people surveyed said they have a favorable view of the district while a majority of the participants, 57 percent, said they have an unfavorable view of the VCUSD.

This is the third survey conducted since June 2013 to ascertain the public’s views on a possible school bond.

Prior to Wednesday’s results, the last bond survey held in January 2016 concluded confidence in the district was around 37 percent with about 40 percent of those surveyed viewing the district unfavorably.

Source: Vallejo school board receives bond survey results

Vallejo school board to review budget reductions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board will get its first look on Wednesday at proposed reductions which will slash about $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.

Numerous staffing cuts, including teachers, site safety supervisors, and administrators are part of the reductions.

Taking the biggest administrative hit is the district’s Partnerships & Community Engagement Division. Cuts include elimination of the division’s top two positions.

Alana Shackelford has served as chief partnerships and community engagement officer since being promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.

Last week, the school board approved moving Kathleen Gossett to principal of Johnston Cooper Elementary School. Gossett was tapped to be director of partnership & community engagement after Shackelford’s promotion three years ago.

Source: Vallejo school board to review budget reductions

Vallejo school district looking at eliminating 38 positions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

At least 38 positions are being considered for possible elimination as the Vallejo City Unified School District faces an anticipated $8 million shortfall for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year.

VCUSD’s new Chief Business Officer Hitesh Haria presented the news to the Vallejo school board during its meeting Wednesday night.

Twenty-seven of the positions would come from various school sites, with the balance from the district’s central office, Haria added.

A full list of which positions the district is recommending to be cut will come before the school board Jan. 24. The week after that, the board is expected to make official positions cuts, Haria said.

In addition, preliminary cuts are being eyed for student nutrition services, child development and special education, he informed the board.

Source: Vallejo school district looking at eliminating 38 positions

Vallejo school board to review polling results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school district’s biennial tradition continues Wednesday as trustees review survey results regarding the community’s interest in supporting a school bond for the upcoming election.

This attempt to get a school bond measure approved by voters may be more difficult.

According to the survey — conducted between Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 last year — the public’s confidence in the district has eroded since 2016, according to results provided by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).

Polled in January 2016, just 37 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Vallejo City Unified School District. That number dropped to 29 percent, with 57 percent stating they did not have a favorable view of the district.

Source: Vallejo school board to review polling results

Clark makes changes to VCUSD administrative team – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Newly hired Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark has made several moves to his administrative team.

Clark confirmed to the Times-Herald on Tuesday that most notably he removed the chief partnership & community engagement officer position from his executive cabinet and from the cabinet structure altogether.

Alana Shackelford was promoted to the position in the summer of 2015 by former Superintendent Ramona Bishop.

Clark said he removed high school oversight from Shackelford’s list of duties — a move which will free Shackelford up to continue working on the district’s collaboration with the community and local businesses.

Source: Clark makes changes to VCUSD administrative team

Vallejo trustees to appoint more members to committee – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board is expected to name four additional members to the district’s Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday.

Vallejo school district Superintendent Adam Clark is recommending the board appoint Ken Salas, Lynette Henley, Hazel Wilson, and Shawnee Blaylock.

The California School Employee Association and Vallejo Education Association will be represented by Salas and Henley, respectively.

Wilson is a former Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board trustee and will represent the community while Blaylock is a parent/guardian member.

The four will join VCUSD Trustee Marianne Kearney-Brown, the district’s Chief Operations Officer Mitchell Romao, community members Allan Yeap and Ravi Shankar, Kimberly Mitchell-Lewis and Rosalind Hines of the Vallejo School Managers Association.

Source: Vallejo trustees to appoint more members to committee

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

Vallejo school district freezes hiring, spending – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school district has instituted a spending and hiring freeze as it faces a need to slash $12 million from the budget over the coming two years.

Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark made the official announcement on Wednesday via a letter to school and district office administrators.

“We need to make some important decisions about our basic infrastructure so that the programs and services we offer don’t continue to cost more than we can afford,” said Clark in the two-page letter he shared with the Times-Herald. “We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

Clark said all vacant classified positions will continue to be unfilled “unless candidates are currently in the process of being hired as we are still filling teacher vacancies.”

He also confirmed the district will honor all its current contracts, while “non-essential spending within the General Fund will be curtailed and any new contractual arrangements or cost impacting spending or event planning will be approved or denied by executive cabinet.”

Source: Vallejo school district freezes hiring, spending

SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

The governing board made its decision at 10:20 p.m., more than four hours after the meeting began inside the county agency’s Business Center Drive office building, after testimony by the board’s attorney, John Yeh, a partial clearing by a fire marshal of the Business Center Drive room midway through the meeting, remarks in support and opposition by some 60 speakers, more comments and questions from the seven-member board, followed by a roll-call vote that board President Elease Cheek called “a tough, tough decision that will set a precedent.”

Source: SCOE trustees nix ELITE charter petition

Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Solano County Board of Education trustees turned down Elite Charter School by a 4-3 vote Wednesday after supporters said the school would address an achievement gap for African-American and Latino students but opponents said public schools are dealing with the gap.

“It’s a hard call,” Trustee Peggy Cohen-Thompson said. “It’s a very hard call.”

She along with Trustees Mayrene Bates and Michell Coleman voted for Dana Dean’s motion to deny the Elite Charter School petition.

Bates spoke about attending all-black schools from kindergarten to college and protests about the separation of races.

She said she was concerned when hearing proposals to do more for one group than another.

Source: Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote

SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

During the meeting that lasted more than four hours, which included more than 60 speakers, a small group of educators cheered after the result.

The closed vote, taken in the county agency’s Business Center Drive offices, a contentious Dec. 13 public hearing that saw some 50 speakers in support or opposition to the petition praised, assailed or merely questioned the document forged by Ramona Bishop, the former Vallejo City Unified superintendent who was fired from her post last March.

h in

Source: SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Elite Charter School’s petition should be denied, the Solano County Office of Education staff recommends in citing potentially devastating budgets cuts for the Vallejo City School District.

The staff also states that programs Elite Charter proposes are already available.

The Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Pena Adobe Room at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

Ramona Bishop, former Vallejo City School District superintendent, is the petitioner for Elite.

Source: Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial

Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

The Napa-Solano Central Labor Council opposes the Elite Charter School petition that Solano County Board of Education members take up Wednesday.

Executive Director Jon Riley said Monday that the labor council voted unanimously to oppose this “privately run regulated charter for many reasons” – including laws that do not ensure adequate transparency and financial oversight of tax-funded charter schools in California.

“Do we really want or need privatization of our education system?” Riley asked. “And do we want the decision to do so taken away from the individual school districts and their elected boards, who all have different needs, further eroding the say the voters have in how their taxes are spent?”

Source: Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter