BENICIA — Even as the school board approved the district’s latest budget Thursday, its chief business officer warned that members must closely watch the state’s fiscal health.
“We don’t have that extra reserve to weather the ups and downs of state funding, so we’re going to have to really monitor state funding a lot closer and really hope that this is the start of California getting back to its feet,” Tim Rahill said.
Rahill presented a slide that showed the Benicia Unified School District’s massive reserve of about $9 million in 2008, dwindling to just the mandated state and board reserve of about $3 million by the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Sweeping national reforms in children’s mental health care have yet to materialize in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, but a group of high-profile educators and policy analysts in California is mapping a plan to transform student mental health services in the state.
Tens of thousands of students with emotional disorders, including clinical depression, chronic anxiety and post-traumatic stress, sit in California classrooms each year, posing a widespread challenge to teachers’ and administrators’ efforts to improve academic outcomes.
Less than a week after the state Legislature approved a sweeping school finance reform plan that will funnel additional funds to low-income students and English learners, the state’s finance chief says school districts will have to spend the extra funds in a way “that shows improved outcomes” among their students.
Ana Matosantos, the director of the Department of Finance, was speaking during a telephone briefing with nearly 450 participants from around the state, including journalists, school officials, finance experts and parent advocates.
FAIRFIELD — First an idea, then a concept, a plan and finally reality.
That could be said of the evolution of Measure Q, Solano Community College’s $348 million bond passed by voters in November that has given way to tangible update and expansion plans for the main Fairfield campus and the two centers in Vacaville and Vallejo.
The latest Facilities Master Plan update presented to the college’s governing board lends visualization to the ideas coming from stakeholders as to what they would like to see at the three locations.
FAIRFIELD — Solano Community College made its first hire using Measure Q bond money – an executive bonds manager tasked with overseeing many aspects of the bond program.
Leigh Sata will not only have Measure Q duties but will also oversee the completion of the 2002 Measure G bond program and its remaining projects.
Sata has 20-plus years of experience as an architect, program manager, design manager and construction manager, according to a memo received by the college Thursday. He has also spent a majority of his career in higher education, which includes work as the Measure C program manager at the College of Marin and the in-house director of architecture at the University of San Francisco, in addition to some stints in Bay Area school districts and private schools.
Today is Summer Learning Day, and many of the communities and partners working on Attendance Awareness Month are also providing great summer learning opportunities. Both of these issues are priorities for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which is working in 134 communities across the country to increase the number of low-income children reading well by the end of third grade. And both issues are animated by the same imperative: Low-income children benefit from more time on task. Just as we need to ensure that these students get the benefit of every school day possible, we need to make sure they have more time to keep learning through the summer.
Happy Retirement to Marsha Ludwig, SCOE’s Special Education Director, seated left, and Lois Keenan, SCOE’s Program Manager, seated right.
The Special Education Management Team celebrated Marsha and Lois’s retirement with a special dinner in Suisun at Pane Y Vino restaurant. With the addition of new programs, the team had grown from the original “Magnificent Seven.” Former and current special education administrators attended the celebration and sent them their fond goodbyes and well wishes for the future!
After several years of pay cuts and furlough days, Travis Unified teachers, school support and management employees on Tuesday finally heard some good financial news.
The district governing board, meeting in the Travis Education Center in Fairfield, unanimously approved the dropping of two furlough days and a one-time restoration of one “floating” furlough day, the latter for the 2013-14 school year only.
The changes amount to a 1.5 percent restoration in pay for the district’s 265 teachers and other unionized labor groups. Additionally, with the new agreement, the first day of school has been moved forward one day, to Aug. 22.
River Delta Unified named Don Beno superintendent at its regular board meeting Tuesday night.
Beno was assistant superintendent of human resources for Woodland Joint Unified. He will replace River Delta Superintendent Rick Hennes, who is retiring.
The American Medical Association announced yesterday afternoon that it now considers obesity a disease, a decision with professional ramifications for pediatricians and policy ramifications in a number of areas.
The AMA’s House of Delegates, its legislative and policymaking body, made the decision at its annual meeting in Chicago. At the very least, it’s a symbolic step toward changing what many view as a self-imposed condition. But it also stands to influence research, insurance, treatment, and, of course, politics.
Another markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education, another totally predictable partisan vote.
Last week, the Senate education committee passed an ESEA bill with just Democratic support. This time, it was the House Education panel’s turn to consider a bill to revise the No Child Left Behind Act.
Everyone agrees the law is in desperate need of a makeover, but partisan divisions continue to get in the way. And today’s debate on the bill, which was written by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the committee, was no exception.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has just made the challenge of transitioning to the Common Core standards a less burdensome for about one in five schools in California.
Duncan on Tuesday announced that schools that do the field test for the new Common Core assessment next spring can get a one-year waiver from also giving current state standardized tests required by federal law.
In the course of a public K-12 education, how much money will be invested in the average California student? How much does a basic, public K-12 education actually cost?
Do you know? Can you guess?
I will answer the question in a moment. But first, I want to help you feel as uncomfortable as possible about the fact that you don’t know. Because I bet you don’t, and I think you should. After all, you are a voter and a taxpayer, and also the kind of person who cares about education, right? You may even think (as I do) that we should be willing to spend more, particularly in California.
With the right major, California community college graduates can out-earn workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees – often by a lot.
Salary Surfer, an online consumer guide released by the Community College Chancellor’s Office Wednesday, lets prospective students and everyone else look up the median earnings for graduates of the 179 most popular subjects at community college campuses and check to see which colleges offer those programs.
FAIRFIELD — Truant students and their parents or guardians are invited to speak Thursday with representatives from the school district and the police.
They will meet at 5 p.m. in the Fairfield-Suisun School District’s office at 2490 Hilborn Road in Fairfield.
All those rounded up in a sweep in May were sent a letter inviting them to the talk, said Angie Avlonitis of the district’s Student Services Department. Included in that May 14 sweep of 43 students were two students in possession of marijuana, two in possession of alcohol and one with a no-bail warrant.
FAIRFIELD — Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for an experimental program at Solano Community College that’s approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
The program, which begins this fall, gives people with a bachelor’s an opportunity to return to school for another degree or to retrain for a different career using a federally funded Pell Grant.
Typically, students who hold a bachelor’s don’t qualify for a Pell Grant. This program allows those people who qualify for the grant under Title IV to potentially receive the federal funds to support their education.
By Keri Luiz
Crunch time has arrived at Benicia Unified School District, and Chief Business Official Tim Rahill will ask BUSD trustees Thursday to adopt the 2013-14 budget.
As the state finalizes its own budget, the fiscal picture of BUSD is coming into focus, Rahill wrote in a report to the board. Among the key items in the district’s budget:
• Most of the $33.9 million budget comes from the state of California. About $1.1 million would come from federal service sources, and $2.2 million would come from other local sources; much of the latter would come from special service funding.
FAIRFIELD — The Solano Community College governing board approved a tentative $47 million deficit general fund budget for 2013-14 with a public hearing and adoption of the permanent budget tentatively set for Sept. 4.
In a recap of the previous governing board study session, Yulian Ligioso, the vice president of finance, reviewed the upcoming revenues and expenditures and continued to caution the board to move carefully despite the fact that the state budget sees a stability not recognized in about a decade.
After more than ten years of national education policies like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, the words accountability and assessment have become synonymous at many public schools with high-stakes testing. The two government programs have attached consequences and rewards to standardized test scores, leading many educators to believe they have to teach to the test. But, as the well-known argument goes, teaching prescribed math and reading content doesn’t help students build the skills like creativity, problem-solving and adaptability they need to adapt in the world outside of school.