Vallejo School District to ask for advance of tax funds disbursement – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The Vallejo City Unified School District board on Wednesday will consider borrowing money against expected tax revenues to cover any cash flow problems, as well as adopting a resolution to transition to a different type of election system starting in 2020.

California Education Code provides for the Board of Supervisors and County Treasurer to temporarily transfer property tax funds to school districts that lack sufficient money and credit to meet their expenses. The loan comes from property tax revenue the district expects for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Constitutional Advance allows the district to receive the majority of this revenue prior to the standard December and April transfer time line. If approved by the Solano County Board of Supervisors, the transfer could be available on July 1.

Source: Vallejo School District to ask for advance of tax funds disbursement – Times-Herald

Adrian Vargas introduced as new chief business officer for Vallejo schools – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The Vallejo City Unified School District has a new chief business officer, as Adrian Vargas was introduced to school board members at Wednesday’s meeting.

Vargas was approved by a unanimous vote of the school board even before the public meeting officially started Wednesday.

“He has been working for us in one way, shape or form for about a year,” having come in under Steve Goldstone when he was acting Superintendent, Board President Robert Lawson said.

Vargas thanked the board for the opportunity and said he was “excited to be part of the VCUSD team.”

Source: Adrian Vargas introduced as new chief business officer for Vallejo schools – Times-Herald

Wednesday’s Vallejo school district meeting to deal with issues – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Vallejo City Unified School District board members are expected to decide on a new Chief Business Officer, one less school cop and several campus improvement projects going out to bid, according to Wednesday’s meeting agenda.

District staff is asking the board to approve Adrian Vargas as the new CBO, to replace Hitesh Haria, who accepted a position in another district. Vargas previously served in this position, and “presents us with a seamless transition as we establish a search process to fill the position permanently,” staff said in the agenda. Vargas will be paid $175,000 in 12 approximately equal monthly installments.

Aimed at saving $112,500, board members will also be asked to approve a Third Amendment to the School Resource Officer (SRO) Memorandum of Understanding, reducing the number of SROs from three to two. There was one SRO approved in 2014; that increased to two the following year, and to three in 2017.

Source: Wednesday’s Vallejo school district meeting to deal with new money man, fewer campus cops, other issues – Times-Herald

Will science, engineering fair yield tomorrow’s scientists? – Times-Herald

By Richard Bammer

The numbers of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, have taken a quantum jump.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020 employment in science and engineering will grow by nearly 19 percent, compared to 14 percent for all other occupations.

And, as widely reported in the media, this rapid growth has created a STEM worker shortage in the United States.To address this shortage, the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) has joined widespread educator efforts to boost interest in STEM among students.

Source: Will science, engineering fair yield tomorrow’s scientists? – Times-Herald

Loma Vista Farm’s GoFundMe reaches $20,000 – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

It was one extremely bad February night at Loma Vista Farm that fueled one extraordinary period of financial support.

Following the Feb. 8 attack by two dogs that killed three alpacas and injured other animals at the north Vallejo animal sanctuary, a public awash in nostalgia either visiting the farm as a child or bringing their own children to the facility has come through admirably.

Suddenly, Loma Vista Farm is a cash cow — for now. A March 25 sold-out pasta feed raised 50 percent more than the previous year’s event. This past Monday’s variety show at the Empress Theatre brought in $6,000 more. And a GoFundMe online campaign reached the $20,000 goal on the nose with $775 coming from four donors on Tuesday.

Source: Loma Vista Farm’s GoFundMe reaches $20,000 – Times-Herald

Vanden, Caliber students top Solano Science Fair competitions – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Vanden High sophomore Mayah Gantt was the overall Senior Division winner and Ryan Menefee, a student at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy in Vallejo, was the Junior Division winner at the recent Solano County Science and Engineering Fair.

Gantt was also first in the Earth Science category, while Menefee was first in the Physical Science category. There was a Life Science category as well.

First-place winners are eligible to enter the California State Science and Engineering Fair that takes place April 29-30 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Source: Vanden, Caliber students top Solano Science Fair competitions

Winners Of Solano County Science, Engineering Fair Announced | Benicia, CA Patch

By Maggie Avants

The 2019 Solano County Science and Engineering Fair was held Friday, March 29 in Fairfield. In hosting the annual event, the Solano County Office of Education aims to do its part in addressing a worker shortage in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“It was an excellent opportunity for our middle and high school students to apply science and engineering skills to investigate problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop conclusions,” said Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson. “We are confident this event inspired students to consider a career in science, engineering or a related field.”

Source: Winners Of Solano County Science, Engineering Fair Announced | Benicia, CA Patch

Vallejo’s Loma Vista Farm sees lots of love – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

When three alpacas were killed in early February at Loma Vista Farm, it was difficult for the volunteer board members, Loma Vista Elementary School students and the animals.

An April Fool’s Day Event, “Mirth & Music,” will bring laughter and song to the audience at Vallejo’s Empress Theatre while raising money for the nonprofit educational farm that was launched in 1974.

Two loose dogs got under the fence at the 5-acre facility and killed three 6-year-old alpacas – Racer, Skyfall and Pacheco. Each had their own personality, said Judi Wing, who oversees the animals at Loma Vista.

Source: Vallejo’s Loma Vista Farm sees lots of love

Fairgrounds become ag classroom for Solano third-graders – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Francis Pedeglorio, 9, liked the cows. His Annie Pennycook classmate, Avery Pagtakhan, 8, preferred the pigs.

“They’re cute and nice,” Pagtakhan said about the pigs.

The Vallejo boys were among the 3,284 third-graders – representing 138 classrooms from 47 schools – who attended the 17th annual Youth Ag Day on Tuesday at the Solano County Fairgrounds. There were 39 presenters.

For some of the children, it was the first time they had seen farm animals up close, and that fact was not lost on Allen Clayborn of Vallejo, who was one of the chaperones for his nephew’s Highland Elementary class.

Source: Fairgrounds become ag classroom for Solano third-graders

Hitesh Haria leaving Vallejo school district – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Just 14 months after filling the position, the Vallejo school district is again in search of a new chief business officer.

Hitesh Haria confirmed this week he has taken a job with the Pittsburg Unified School District in Contra Costa County. Haria will serve as the Pittsburg’s associate superintendent of business services starting next month.

“In these days in California public school finances, CBO’s are highly sought after,” Haria wrote in an email to the Times-Herald about his decision to leave for Pittsburg. “Every district is searching for good quality people and it’s a very competitive field.”

Source: Hitesh Haria leaving Vallejo school district – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board pleads for funds in Sacramento – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The entire Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Trustees headed to Sacramento Tuesday to plead for better funding, board vice president John Fox said Wednesday.

It may have been Prop. 13 or a combination of other factors, but somehow in the past 30 years, California’s school system went from one of the nation’s top to among its lowest in terms of funding. Consequently, it also is among the lowest performing, Trustee Tony Ubalde said.

“(Tuesday), the California School Board Association offered an opportunity for school boards to meet with legislators,” Fox said. “We went to try to get more funds, what with all the cuts we’re facing.”

Source: Vallejo school board pleads for funds in Sacramento – Times-Herald

Vallejo, Fairfield youths Solano’s top spellers – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

It took nearly four hours Tuesday to crown Solano County’s top wordsmiths.

In the end, Ahimsa Stathis, a fifth grader from Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy in Vallejo and Makaiden Velando, a fourth grader from Cordelia Hills Elementary School in Fairfield, took the top spots in the Solano County 2019 Spelling Bee.

Words like “gourmet” and “maudlin” and “rodomontade” were thrown around, and spellers from around the county rose to the challenge. They asked clarifying questions and spelled words that would stump many an adult, all without breaking a sweat.

Source: Vallejo, Fairfield youths Solano’s top spellers – The Reporter

Solano County’s 2019 Spelling Bee Champions Announced | Suisun City, CA Patch

By Maggie Avants

Top student spellers from 48 Solano County elementary and middle schools competed this week for the title of Solano County Champion Speller. The annual spelling bee composed of fourth- through sixth-graders was held Tuesday, March 5 at the Nelson Community Center in Suisun City.

After a grueling three-and-a-half-hour competition during which more than three-dozen students were tasked with spelling words ranging from “daisy” to “rodomontade” and “panegyric,” the top two spellers emerged.

Source: Solano County’s 2019 Spelling Bee Champions Announced | Suisun City, CA Patch

Vallejo academy earns state Distinguished School honor – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Mare Island Technology Academy in Vallejo has been selected as a California Distinguished School.

“This is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition for MIT Academy. They are a shining example of the great work going on in our schools in Solano County,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement announcing the school’s selection.

There were 208 eligible schools in the state.Officials at the academy could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Source: Vallejo academy earns state Distinguished School honor

Vallejo school district graduation requirements change – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Vallejo City Unified School District officials have taken a long, hard look at the district’s high schools, students and outcomes and come up with some tweaks designed to improve them, while simultaneously saving money for the cash-strapped district. These will kick in in the next school year, Superintendent Adam Clark said.

In a recent letter to district “stakeholders and partners,” Clark spelled out the three main areas the changes focus on: graduation requirements, academies, and start and end times.

Source: Vallejo school district graduation requirements change – Times-Herald

Verder-Aliga can seek another council term in 2020, Vallejo officials say – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

City Hall officials have determined that Councilwoman Rozzana Verder-Aliga is eligible to serve another term on the council, should she decide to seek re-election in 2020.

It was originally thought Verder-Aliga’s only move in 2020, if she wished to remain on the council, was to run for a four-year term as Vallejo mayor. However, Vallejo City Clerk Dawn Abrahamson, along with City Attorney Claudia Quintana have confirmed that isn’t so after reviewing the City Charter.

They said the charter allows Verder-Aliga to seek another four-year term as a council member or run for mayor during next year’s election.

The charter prevents a person from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms as either mayor or as a council member, while also prohibiting elected officials from serving in the offices of council member and mayor for longer than three consecutive four year terms.

Source: Verder-Aliga can seek another council term in 2020, Vallejo officials say – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board makes $7.25 million in cuts – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

There was a noticeable pause and silence from the Vallejo school board Wednesday night after board President Bob Lawson asked if any of the trustees had a motion.

After a few tense seconds, Trustee Tony Gross eventually offered up a motion to approve recommendations from Vallejo City Unified School District administrative staff to cut $7.25 million from next year’s fiscal year budget.

The board’s unanimous vote ended a terse and emotional discussion Wednesday night as the district attempts to erase a $22 million deficit and stave off insolvency.

Source: Vallejo school board makes $7.25 million in cuts – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board dedicates meeting to killed alpacas – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board concluded its three-hour meeting Wednesday night by adjourning in honor of the three alpacas killed during a dog attack at Loma Vista Farm last Friday.

While most of the meeting centered around the board’s need to make $7.25 million in cuts, a bulk of those reductions to district positions, Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark did take time to offer his condolences for the loss.

“I just wanted to share in my condolences for the farm animals that we lost over at Loma Vista Farm,” he said during his report to the trustees. “It was absolutely tragic, I was sick to my stomach when I heard about it Saturday morning, sick to my stomach when I went by there Sunday, and still, sick to my stomach about that unfortunate event that took place.”

Source: Vallejo school board dedicates meeting to killed alpacas – Times-Herald

VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark adamant Widenmann site ‘not for sale’ – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Apparently, the current Elsa Widenmann Elementary School in North Vallejo is not for sale.

District Superintendent Adam Clark emphatically confirmed as much during Wednesday night’s Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting.

“It’s not for sale,” he said during his report to the board. “Do you think if I had to, that I would have shut down that program over there? Widenmann does great things.”

Clark was responding to comments made from district watchdog Robert Schussel, who argued that the district should consider Griffin Technology Academies’ offer to lease the school site for $1.5 million. The district is currently facing a $22 million structural deficit.

Source: VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark adamant Widenmann site ‘not for sale’ – Times-Herald

Specific program, personnel cuts on Vallejo’s school board agenda – Times-Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The specific $7.2 million in budget cuts recommended by Superintendent Adam Clark last week are expected to be approved at the Vallejo City Unified School District meeting on Wednesday, despite impassioned appeals last week by many of those impacted.

The school district finds itself in financial trouble as a result of declining enrollment, including encroachment of charger schools, high chronic absentee rates, and rising contributions to employee health and benefits. The district is still repaying — at some $3 million per year — a $60 million state bailout loan from the last time it got into trouble.The district must maintain fiscal solvency to avoid being taken over the state again, by making appropriate revisions to the budget to eliminate structural deficits.

Source: Specific program, personnel cuts on Vallejo’s school board agenda – Times-Herald