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.
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.
During its regular meeting on May 6, Vallejo’s school board tabled a resolution in support of a draft of an ethnic studies curriculum deemed “anti-Jewish” by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
The resolution, titled “Affirming Support of AB 2016 California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Draft,” was included on last week’s agenda after being introduced by the Vallejo City Unified School District’s superintendent, Adam Clark.
It was scuttled in a 5-0 vote.
AB 2016 is a 4-year-old piece of legislation, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, mandating an ethnic studies curriculum be drafted as a guide for California high schools.
A proposed Vallejo school board resolution supporting California’s proposed ethnic studies curriculum was tabled by the trustees during their May 6 meeting.
Several of the trustees expressed that they were uncomfortable supporting the draft document which is expected to go up for review and possible approval by the State Board of Education next year.
“I think that it’s premature in approving something that is currently in draft form,” said trustee Christy Gardner during the meeting. “That is being revised as we speak and until the total, complete document is finished I feel very uncomfortable approving a draft.”
A special citizen advisory committee is recommending the Vallejo City Unified School District board consider renaming Solano Middle School to the Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy.
The school board received information about the new name during its meeting Wednesday afternoon. Trustees appointed the special committee in April after the district moved Widenmann Elementary School to the middle school site for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
“By keeping a portion of both schools in the name, we can continue to acknowledge the history of our region, the different cultures that make up our schools, and the contributions of both individuals to our community,” wrote Victoria Grace, committee spokesperson, in a letter to the school board.
Without comment, the Vallejo City Unified School District approved several Measure S related items during Wednesday’s board meeting.
They approved a contract between the district and Miller Pacific Engineering for geotechnical evaluation for the Corbus Field resurfacing project, according to a staff report to the five-person school board.
The $14,500 contract includes a field drainage assessment, assistance with field design if needed and construction observation and testing, staff said.
The outcry by supporters of Vallejo music icon Merlin Chestnut and alumni of his Solano Middle School music program is simply a misunderstanding, said Dr. Adam Clark, Vallejo City Unified School District superintendent.
A letter to the Times-Herald signed by about 200 people “dismayed to hear about the district’s current proposal to eliminate the music director position and the music program at Solano-Windemann” is inaccurate and based on Chestnut’s belief his 28-year stint guiding the middle school was over, Clark said by phone Thursday.
In an initial proposed budget to slice $6 million from a $15 million deficit, the band director position was listed. After considerable board input, that position remained intact “weeks ago,” Clark said. An updated budget released last Friday lists a band director position and $71,200 be on the budget hit list, but that was for the current position at Hogan and doesn’t impact Chestnut.
As the Vallejo school district heads into a new fiscal year, trustees will get their first look at proposed budget cuts meant to keep the district fiscally solvent.
The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will meet Wednesday to receive information only about the district’s plan to slash at least $5.4 million from the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Fiscal years run from July 1 to the following June 30.
The plan to be presented includes over $6 million in cuts with a bulk of that amount coming from the elimination of 62.81 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions.
Vallejo’s top school official is expected to receive a $20,000 raise and have his employment contract extended by several years during the school board meeting on Wednesday.
If approved by trustees, Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark will start making an annual salary of $250,000 starting on Feb. 1.
When he began with the district in September 2017, Clark made a base salary of $230,000 each year, according to his current employment contract with the district. The new contract is retroactive to July 1, 2019 and runs through June 30, 2022.
A year after Vallejo voters overwhelmingly approved Measure S — a $194 million bond to repair local schools — the school board will be asked to approve a project labor agreement (PLA) with numerous trade organizations and unions.
The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m., Wednesday, inside the Governing Board Room, at 665 Walnut Avenue on Mare Island in Vallejo.
The PLA will apply to construction projects of $1.5 million or more in the school district using Measure S bond monies. PLAs are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements establishing terms and conditions of employment for certain projects.
Pleas from local parents and students last month apparently didn’t sway a special Vallejo school district committee from recommending the closure of Beverly Hills and Lincoln elementary schools.
The Vallejo school board will receive a final report on Wednesday from the District Property Advisory Committee, which is recommending students from both schools be relocated, freeing up the property for sale or re-use as another district facility.
The board is expected to make a final decision on whether to implement the recommendations at a future meeting.
The Vallejo school district has reached a tentative agreement with the non-teaching district employees for a two-percent salary increase and a one-time $500 bonus to each employee covered by the California School Employees Association (CSEA).
The tentative agreement will go before the Vallejo school board for approval on Wednesday.
It’s expected to cost the district $997,442 with a bulk of that cost, $488,756, set aside for the two percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2018. The increase will paid to the employees on Feb. 28, 2020.
Vallejo Unified School District officials anticipate there will be less than 10,000 students attending district schools by the 2021-22 school year, continuing the trend of declining enrollment.
The Vallejo school board on Dec. 11 unanimously approved the first interim report for the district’s budget — which includes anticipated student attendance.
Adrian Vargas, the district’s chief business official, said the district expects to have about 9,892 students in two years — down at least 1,300 students from the current count of 11,259. He noted student loss to ELITE Charter School and the new Griffin Academy High School as two of the primary reasons.
A special advisory committee is recommending that Vallejo Middle School be renamed in honor of longtime educator John Finney — however, not everyone agrees.
Committee members presented their ideas during Wednesday’s Vallejo school board meeting of renaming the former middle school site to the John W. Finney Education Complex. The complex would be home to a professional development center, independent study, the Everest Academy, and the continuation school named in Finney’s honor.
“John W. Finney had a long illustrious career in education as an administrator in this district,” said committee spokesperson Elissa Shanks Stewart.
Eight different Vallejo school district properties – including the home of the oldest public school in the city of Vallejo – are up for possible closure.
A special Vallejo City Unified School District committee will hold a public hearing Dec. 17 to discuss the sale or leasing of the properties as the district continues to face financial challenges.
The list includes active school sites like Lincoln Elementary, Franklin Middle, Beverly Hills Elementary, and Farragut Academy, while the district’s main office building on Mare Island is also up for possible closure.
The former home of John Finney High School on Colusa Street and the shuttered Grant Elementary and Crest Center on Gateway Drive are the other district properties being considered.
Starting in November 2020, Vallejo residents will elect board members on Vallejo City Unified School District by geographic area.
The school board voted 3-2 on Wednesday to adopt a final trustee area map, which creates five different areas with a governing board member elected by the residents living in that particular area.
Both Board President Bob Lawson and Trustee Christy Gardner opposed selection of the map, known as Scenario 2, in favor of a fourth map submitted by Lawson. Both will be up for election in 2020. Lawson was first elected to the school board in 2016 and Gardner was appointed earlier this year to fill the vacancy created when Marianne Kearney-Brown resigned from the board.