State schools chief: $100M in COVID-19 funding available to districts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For California school district leaders worried about the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, help is on the way.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Thursday announced that $100 million will be sent to the more than 1,000 school districts.

The money, included in SB 117, one of two COVID-19 emergency bills passed by the Legislature on March 17, comes as California’s districts — classified as elementary, high school or unified — have suspended classes until early May and may face the possibility of closure until the fall.

Source: Coronavirus: State schools chief: $100M in COVID-19 funding available to districts – The Reporter

House Coronavirus Bill Would Direct Billions to Schools, Fund Remote Learning – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Stimulus legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to cope with impact of the coronavirus pandemic would create a $50 billion fund to stabilize states’ education budgets, including a minimum of roughly $15 billion specifically for K-12 school districts.

In addition, the House’s Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act would loosen rules under the E-Rate program in order to help schools and other organizations provide internet-connected devices and mobile broadband internet access to students. And it would provide $200 million to Project SERV grants, which assist schools that are affected by natural disasters and community violence, as well as additional money for Head Start.

Source: House Coronavirus Bill Would Direct Billions to Schools, Fund Remote Learning – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Suit on Behalf of Five More California School Districts to Hold JUUL Labs, Inc. Accountable – Yahoo Finance

California School Districts with Suits Filed Against JUUL Labs, Inc. (Graphic: Business Wire)

The five lawsuits, filed on behalf of Pacific Grove Unified School District, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, El Dorado Union High School District, Downey Unified School District, and Santa Cruz City Schools were filed in their respective counties, and the Case Numbers are 20CV000991, FCS054513, PC20200144, 20STCV09614, respectively.

These districts join 18 other school districts that have also filed, including Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the nation; San Diego Unified, the second largest district in California; Glendale Unified; Compton Unified; Anaheim Elementary; King City Union; Ceres Unified; Chico Unified; Davis Joint Unified; Poway Unified; Rocklin Unified; Acalanes Union High; Monterey Peninsula Unified; Anaheim Union High; Castro Valley Unified; Campbell Union High; Cajon Valley Union; and North Monterey County Unified School District to take a stand against JUUL’s promotion of dangerous and addictive products.

Source: Baron & Budd and Panish Shea & Boyle File Suit on Behalf of Five More California School Districts to Hold JUUL Labs, Inc. Accountable for Targeting Youth and Creating an E-Cigarette Epidemic that Impedes District-Wide Learning

VCUSD budget update — expected to drop under 10,000 students in two years – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

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.

Source: Vallejo district gets budget update — expected to drop under 10,000 students in two years – Times-Herald

Solano College receives upgrade in credit rating, refinances bonds – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Solano Community College District earlier this month received an upgrade in its credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

The district then refinanced bonds Nov. 13 to save taxpayers almost $21 million, according to a press release.

Moody’s raised its rating on the district’s general obligation bonds from AA3 to AA2, meaning “high quality and very low credit risk.”

Source: Solano College receives upgrade in credit rating, refinances bonds

Trump Emergency Declaration Could Endanger Aid for School Projects on Military Bases – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

More than $500 million in funding for construction projects at schools serving the children of military personnel could be in jeopardy, thanks to President Donald Trump’s move to declare a national emergency and shift some $8 billion allocated to defense construction and other purposes to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.

That’s according to an analysis of military construction projects circulated by the House Appropriations Committee, which is controlled by Democrats. The list of potentially impacted projects includes turning the former Fort Campbell High School in Fort Campbell, Ky., into a new middle school. Construction projects at schools on military bases in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom could also be affected.

For its part, the Trump administration has said it will divert roughly $3.6 billion from military construction to wall construction, but it has not yet identified which projects would be affected.

Source: Trump Emergency Declaration Could Endanger Aid for School Projects on Military Bases – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Betsy DeVos Releases Proposed Guidance on School Spending – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has released proposed guidance to schools about a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act that prohibits schools from cutting state and local money from education and simply filling the hole with federal funding.

DeVos released the proposed nonregulatory guidance on Friday. Among other things, it clearly states that districts do not need to ensure that there is equal per-pupil spending between Title I schools (those with relatively high shares of low-income students) and non-Title I schools.

After ESSA passed in 2015, the Obama administration proposed regulations that would have required spending at Title I schools to be at least equal to that of the non-Title I schools. But the idea got a torrent of criticism from state and local school officials and others, although civil rights advocates in particular defended the proposal. Those regulations were never finalized before the Trump administration took over.

Source: Betsy DeVos Releases Proposed Guidance on School Spending – Politics K-12 – Education Week

CPR fundraiser benefits Public Safety Academy – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Leadership Today Class of 2018 is hosting a fundraiser for the Public Safety Academy.

Leadership Today is attended by select city employees and community business leaders. Attendees are selected by both the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce and the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

The course focuses on group activities to develop leadership skills.

CPR training is planned from 10 a.m. to noon April 28 at NorthBay Healthcare’s HealthSpring Fitness, 1020 Nut Tree Road in Vacaville and from 6 to 8 p.m. April 30 at Brandman University, 2450 Martin Road in Fairfield.

Source: CPR fundraiser benefits Public Safety Academy

Second draft of BUSD financial report up for review – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Tim Rahill, Benicia Unified School District’s chief business official, will be presenting the second interim financial report at Thursday’s school board meeting. The report shows, among other things, that BUSD is operating at a $1.9 million deficit.

At the Dec. 14 school board meeting, Rahill presented the first interim financial report which was approved by the board later that evening, although Trustee Peter Morgan voted against it and suggested the district take a serious look at the budget. After Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his final budget proposal in January, Rahill said BUSD would need to make $800,000 in continuing adjustments for the budget to become balanced.

The operating deficit of $1.9 million outlined in the second interim financial report is slightly higher than the $1.8 million figure in the first report. Rahill said the 2017-18 deficit includes one-time spending funds of $900,000 and a $1 million operating loss for general ongoing operations. It does not include costs for negotiations with the district employee groups.

Source: Second draft of BUSD financial report up for review

Solano County Office of Education leader to mull over interim budget – Times Herald

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders likely will approve the 2017-18 second interim budget report when they meet tonight in Fairfield.

By law, California school districts must issue two annual budget reports for their current fiscal year, usually by mid-December and mid-March, to let state officials know that they can pay their bills.

In her overview, Becky Lentz, director of internal business services, will tell the seven-member governing board that Gov. Jerry Brown continues to predict a recession “but the timing is unknown.”

Additionally, cuts to federal programs are expected and so are changes to the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 during the Obama administration and intended to constrain healthcare costs. SCOE, which administers community and court schools and some special education programs, among others, is experiencing declining enrollment in its Alternative Education program, Lentz will add.

Source: Solano County Office of Education leader to mull over interim budget

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

First interim financial report up for BUSD review – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District will hear a discussion and then vote on the district’s 2017-18 first interim financial report at Thursday’s school board meeting.The district provides the report using information from the budget adopted by the state in June along with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) as well as other budget assumptions.

The LCFF is a funding system approved by the state in 2013 which establishes grants in place of funding streams. It is how school districts in California, including BUSD, are funded. According to a presentation by Chief Business Official Tim Rahill, the LCFF provides $8262 per BUSD student and includes a base grant as well as a 20 percent increase for English language learning or foster youth students as well as those enrolled in the free/reduced lunch program. According to Rahill, those three groups make up 22 percent of BUSD’s student population.Utilizing information from the state budget, Rahill wrote that the district would be operating at a $1.8 million operating deficit, not including negotiating costs with any of the district employee groups and would provide for the state’s 3 percent Reserve for Economic Uncertainties and the Local Board Policy Reserve, consisting of an additional 4 percent reserve.

Source: First interim financial report up for school board review

Interim budget report, officer elections on TUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The first interim 2017-18 budget report, nomination and election of new governing board officers, and new or modified course proposals are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

Chief Business Officer Sonia Lasyone will update the five-member governing board on the district’s financial picture for the current year, one of two annual interim reports required by state law.

She will present her numbers as the state’s financial outlook remains generally healthy, with revenue collections exceeding expectations but with Gov. Jerry Brown warning public entities not to commit to ongoing, multiyear agreements.

Source: Interim budget report, officer elections on Travis Unified School District agenda

Vallejo school board renews efforts to release RFP – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Almost a year after directing staff to prepare a Request for Proposal for new banking services, the Vallejo school board again asked staff to move forward with an RFP.

The item of banking services came up Wednesday during the board’s organizational meeting. Vallejo City Unified School District staff had requested the board approve Wells Fargo Bank as the designated bank for the district’s clearing account, student body and scholarship funds, and revolving account.

Interim Chief Business Officer Adrian Vargas said he found out about the original RFP while staff prepared the agenda item for the board.

He said the RFP went out last spring but an issue prevented it from coming to fruition. Reached by phone Thursday, board President Burky Worel said a personnel issue was the reason for the delay in following up with the RFP.

Source: Vallejo school board renews efforts to release RFP

4 Solano schools hit home runs with grants – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Four Solano County schools have received grants that range from $2,500 to $5,000 from a group that includes San Francisco Giants gold glove shortstop, Brandon Crawford.

“As a kid, my parents always emphasized the importance of an education – above and beyond participating in sports. As a Bay Area native, it is an honor to be part of a program that increases education and athletic programs for local kids,”

Crawford said in a statement announcing the grants.Crawford, along with Wells Fargo, awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to 31 Bay Area schools.

Source: 4 Solano schools hit home runs with grants

What A Tax Overhaul Could Mean For Students And Schools : NPR Ed

By Anya Kamenetz and Cory Turner

The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation’s schools and colleges.

K-12

Let’s start with K-12. There, Republicans from both sides of Congress generally agree on two big changes.

Saving for private school

Taxpayers can currently save money for college through a 529 plan, where earnings grow tax-free. Many states also offer deductions for contributions. In the proposals, Republicans want to let taxpayers use 529s to pay for K-12 tuition at private and religious schools, too. Families can already do that with a different plan — Coverdell Education Savings Accounts — but these have low contribution limits and aren’t open to high-income Americans. The move to expand the 529 would dramatically increase who could use these plans and the money they could save.

Source: What A Tax Overhaul Could Mean For Students And Schools : NPR Ed : NPR

Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed Republican tax cut on the state’s economy and budget is hanging like a cloud over California, but at this point, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting robust growth in state revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the coming year.

The LAO is predicting that the schools and community colleges will get $3.2 billion more in 2018-19 under Proposition 98, the constitutional formula that determines minimum school funding. That would be an increase of 4.3 percent, bringing the Prop. 98 total to $77.7 billion, according to the LAO report released Wednesday.

K-12 schools get about 89 percent of Prop. 98 funding, with community colleges getting most of the remainder.

Source: Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource

BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.

In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.

Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.

Source: BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation

A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A symbolic $38,000 check in hand, David McCallum of Vacaville (center), a former Vacaville Unified trustee and member of the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, smiles at governing board president Michael Kitzes as Superintendent Jane Shamieh looks on during Thursday’s trustee meeting. McCallum, in an update about the nonprofit group’s most recent activities, presented the money to boost enrichment activities in district classrooms, from paying for field trips and lab equipment to robotics and music programs. He noted that VPEF, founded in 2003 and has since donated more than $3 million to district schools, received some $270,000 in requests for this year’s round of grants but only had $40,000 to distribute.

Source: A helpful $38K for Vacaville schools

VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In good times and bad, education dollars are hard to come by. Federal and state funding goes up and down, like a yo-yo. There are always needs to be fulfilled.

Locally, however, enter the Vacaville Public Education Foundation.

Tonight, leaders of the nonprofit group, which, formed in 2003, raises grant money for classroom teachers and programs, will provide and update about their work to the Vacaville Unified governing board, which meets in open session at 6:30 in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.

They also will present the district with a $38,000 check to the district for things such as field trips, lab equipment, robotics, health programs, sports, music, among many others.

Source: VPEF leaders to give $38K to Vacaville Unified