With more Californians relying on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic for distance learning and remote work, state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, today announced the introduction of his new legislation to streamline the installation of high-speed broadband service, ensuring better access, especially for low-income people.
“California can take immediate steps to close the digital divide by passing this proposal,” Sen. Dodd said. “For too long, telecommunication projects have been delayed by confusing regulations, entrenched in excessive bureaucracy. These processes have had a severe impact on bringing high-speed internet to many communities across California.”
Dodd’s legislation comes as employers and schools across our state have shifted to virtual participation, highlighting disparities of access faced by low-income families and people of color. Nearly 42% of California families said unreliable internet access was a challenge for them during distance learning, according to a recent poll by EdSource and FM3 Research.
School and college boards governed over the end of one school year and the beginning of another in a very, very different world.
The Covid-19 pandemic added the term distance learning to the common educational lexicon.
And some of those boards got a new makeup of members in November.
Judi Honeychurch, for the second election cycle, faced no opposition and therefore did not appear on the ballot for her Trustee Area 3 seat on the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Bethany Smith similarly returns as the Trustee Area 1 representative.
Based on the latest election results posted Wednesday by the Solano County Registrar of Voters, many area school boards will feature new trustees.
With all 15 precincts reporting in Travis, which oversees two elementary schools in Vacaville, Foxboro and Cambridge, the apparent winner of the trustee Area 1 is Meghan M. Thompson, a district parent, who received 6,059 votes, or 68 percent of 8,968 votes cast. Challenger Renell L. Travis, a U.S. airman stationed at Travis Air Force Base, received 2,909 votes, or 32 percent, of the total.
Bonnie Hamilton and incumbent Amy Sharp were in a tight race for the Area 2 seat on the Solano County Board of Education, Hamilton with 49.86% of the vote to Sharp’s 49.75% with 28 votes separating the two candidates from the more than 25,000 ballots counted and all 94 precincts reporting.
The 800-member Vacaville Teachers Association on Thursday announced its endorsements for four seats on the Vacaville Unified governing board, two for the Solano County Office of Education board and a City Council candidate who currently serves as a district trustee.
By occupation, the seven candidates range from an incumbent and an administrator at Travis Federal Credit Union to an attorney and a physician, among others.
In a press release, union president Todd Blanset, an English teacher at Will C. Wood High, said the ratification vote was held Tuesday, with final selections coming after “a long and exhaustive process.”
Judi Honeychurch did not face a challenger in her last election and will have no need to campaign this fall, either.
Judi Honeychurch“I look forward to the challenges of the future and working with the superintendent and the teachers and staff,” said Honeychurch, who will enter her third term on the Fairfield-Suisun School District board of trustees.
She is the only incumbent who does not have a challenger.
Clifford Gordon, owner of Gordon’s Music & Sound in downtown Fairfield, pulled and filed candidacy papers Thursday for the Trustee Area 1 seat held by Bethany Smith. Trustee Area 2 incumbent Joan Gaut will run against Leslie Unverferth, and Area 6 incumbent John Silva faces Ana Petero.
The four incumbents and two challengers for seats on the Fairfield-Suisun School District board of trustees have filed candidacy papers, the county Elections Office reported Monday evening.
This is the last week to file for anyone interested in running for a position on 10 school or two college district boards.
Fairfield-Suisun school incumbents Joan Gaut, in Trustee Area 2, and John Silva, in Trustee Area 6, each faces a challenger. Leslie Unverferth, a real estate agent, looks to unseat Gaut, while Ana Petero, a teacher, wants to replace Silva.
Incumbents Bethany Smith, in Trustee Area 1, and Judi Honeychurch, in Trustee Area 3, are thus far unchallenged.
All five incumbents up for re-election on the Solano County Board of Education have taken out their declaration of candidacy papers, while 12 incumbents on school district boards and three incumbents on the Solano Community College District board have, at the very least, taken out papers as well.
However, there are also 11 school board vacancies in five districts, including all four seats up for election with the Vacaville School District, as well as the lone Solano County seat up for election on the Los Rios Community College District board.
Recently, Travis Credit Union launched and implemented a $1 million philanthropic initiative, which will disbursed to local organizations working to provide COVID-19 related relief to non-profits primarily focused on services in the areas of education, youth/family, food banks, and small business support.
The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) was named as a recipient of this initiative, along with nearly 100 other non-profits in the counties of Contra Costa, Napa, Solano, Merced, and Yolo.
In determining the donation amount allocated for each agency, Travis Credit Union considered the organization’s total size, scope of service, statement of immediate needs, as well as all facets of support being offered to local individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. Receiving $30,000 from the initiative, CCCOE has begun identifying how best to support their students and educators during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Vallejo resident Peggy Cohen-Thompson was chosen as the 2020 Woman of the Year by Solano County’s state senator.
Cohen-Thompson was recognized for her service as president of the Solano County Board of Education, as well as being a longtime advocate of African-American businesses and a civic leader in Vallejo, according to a press release from Sen. Bill Dodd’s office.
The Solano County Office of Education issued a statement Wednesday saying it is too early to determine when schools might reopen.
The statement was a response to an opinion suggested Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, positing that schools statewide might not reopen for the remainder of the school year.
Officials with the Solano County Office of Education acknowledged the rapidly changing and critical circumstances that prompted Newsom to make the suggestion, but affirmed the decision of opening and closing schools remains the responsibility of local districts and administrators.
Solano County’s education community is mourning the loss of Dixon resident and longtime Solano County Board of Education Trustee Douglas “Doug” J. Ford, who died Thursday, Feb. 14 at the age of 87 following a long battle with cancer.
“Our hearts overflow with sadness at Doug’s passing,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said Wednesday in a news release. “He was very passionate about education, especially career pathways and biotechnology.”
Doug Ford, a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, Solano County Board of Education trustee and Reporter columnist, died in his Dixon home Thursday after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 87.
Ford was born in Georgetown, Ill., in 1931 but moved to Tillamook, Ore., with his family when he was 3. It was there that he developed a lifelong interest in aviation when his father took him to see a Soviet aircraft that had flown over the North Pole from Moscow to Vancouver, Wash., in 1937.
Ford began building model airplanes and earned his private pilot’s license in 1950. He was accepted into the Air Force’s Pilot Training Program in 1951 but was moved over to the navigator training program after failing to pass the vision test. He retired from the Air Force in 1979, having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Four members of the Solano Community College board of trustees were sworn in for new four-year terms late last year, it has been announced.
Returning to the board are Area 2 trustee A. Marie Young, representing a sector of Vallejo; Area 4 trustee Denis Honeychurch, representing Fairfield, parts of Vacaville, and Travis Air Force Base; and Area 6 trustee Dr. Sarah Chapman, also representing parts of Vacaville.
Newly elected Area 1 trustee Karimah Karah also took her oath of office at the Dec.19 meeting. Karah, representing Vallejo west of Interstate 80 and Mare Island, won her race to earn a board seat. She replaces Pam Keith, who had served since 1994 and declined to run for re-election.
Anyone who wishes to represent Trustee Area 4 on the Solano County Board of Education can apply with the Office of Education.
The deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 30.
Trustee Area 4 is comprised of central and western Fairfield and Suisun City.
The vacancy has been created with the pending departure of Mayrene Bates, who resigned her position for personal reasons effective Dec. 29 or upon the appointment of her replacement. The appointee will hold the office until Nov. 3, 2020, when the final two years will be filled by election.
The 2019 Solano County Student Art Faire, open to the public, is set for Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the McCormick Hall at the Solano County Fairgrounds, 900 Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo, according to the Solano County Office of Education.
“Some of the best 4th- through 12th-grade artists will showcase their artwork and the new location will allow for more masterpieces to be on display,” the agency said.
Students must submit their artwork through their schools for consideration for display at the Art Faire exhibit, and schools must register to participate, plus indicate the anticipated number of art pieces, by Dec. 14, officials said.
What a difference nine months apparently make for a charter school petition.
The Solano County Board of Education on Wednesday voted 5 to 2 to overturn the Aug. 1 denial of the ELITE Charter School petition by the Vallejo City Unified School Board.
The action by the seven-member county governing board comes after it denied in January a previous ELITE petition for a countywide charter school and after the Aug. 20 appeal of the VCU decision to the county board by petitioner Ramona Bishop, a former VCU superintendent; and after a Sept. 17 public hearing at SCOE offices in Fairfield.
Bishop’s latest petition was for a single K-12 school, an independent charter, in Vallejo, and, with the vote, will be aligned with — or fall under the jurisdiction of — the county district.
The Solano County Office of Education is participating in “Operation Recognition” which honors U.S. veterans and Japanese-American citizens who were unable to continue high school due to wartime circumstances by awarding them with high school diplomas.
In the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and’ 70s, thousands of young men and women left high school and home to join the U.S. armed forces in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Also during World War II, many Japanese-American citizens were interned in relocation camps across the United States, district officials said.
California Education Code section 51430 authorizes retroactive awarding of high school diplomas to eligible veterans and persons detained in internment camps during World War II — individuals unable to finish high school and receive diplomas.
Solano County Office of Education leaders voted unanimously Wednesday to deny the appeal of a Vallejo charter school petition at a time of increasingly intensive debate over the role of charter schools in the state.
The 7-0 decision, coming nearly five weeks after a public hearing about the appeal, occurred during a regular trustees meeting in the county schools headquarters on Business Center Drive in Fairfield.
In many ways, the vote to deny the appeal from Marie Issa Gil, whose petition to form Rocketship Vallejo Elementary Charter School also was denied June 20 by Vallejo City Unified trustees, came as no surprise.
At the June school board meeting, VCU administrators described Gil’s document as “deficient in many key respects” and offered “an unsound educational program,” the latter phrase almost always resulting in denial of a charter petition by a school district or its appeal to a county board or the state Board of Education in Sacramento.
At its Tuesday meeting, the Progressive Democrats of Benicia interviewed candidates for the Benicia City Council and Solano County Board of Education. Club members cast their votes and announced the results on Wednesday.
Of the three candidates running for City Council, Planning Commission Chair Kari Birdseye and former Councilmember Christina Strawbridge. Ultimately, Birdseye narrowly edged out Strawbridge in the votes and received the club’s endorsement.
“The Progressive Democrats of Benicia are proud to endorse Planning Commission chair Birdseye,” group officials wrote.