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.


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

Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Pension costs could run school districts out of business, a superintendent said Thursday at the State of Education in Solano County forum.

Schools may first reach a point where they do less for students because of contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System, said Brian Dolan, superintendent of the Dixon School District.

Source: Pensions pack punch for school district budgets, superintendent says

Bill Gates announces a $1.7 billion investment in US public schools – Daily Republic

By The Washington Post

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced Thursday that his foundation will invest more than $1.7 billion in public education, money that will go to support schools interested in developing and testing new approaches to teaching.

“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace,” said Gates, who delivered the keynote address before about 1,000 school officials at the Council of the Great City Schools conference in Cleveland. “The role of philanthropy here is not to be the primary funder, but rather to fund pilots, to fund new ideas, to let people – it’s always the educators coming up with the ideas – to let them try them out and see what really works super well and get those to scale.”

Source: Bill Gates announces a $1.7 billion investment in US public schools

Education Plus! grants available to public schools – Daily Republic

Solano Community Foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program has funds available for classroom projects, after-school and mentoring programs in all Solano County public schools.

The program supports development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade, and development of math skills for proper course placement at ninth grade, the foundation reported.

Approximately 20,000 students have benefitted from this program and close to $450,000 has been disbursed through more than 800 grants, the foundation reported.

Source: Education Plus! grants available to public schools

Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday filed a court brief supporting a Bay Area county’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

Torlakson filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the president’s January executive order that would withhold federal dollars from cities that declare themselves sanctuaries.

The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order fails to clearly define that term, Torlakson wrote in a press release issued Thursday.


Source: Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding

Travis Unified on solid financial footing – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified’s 2016-17 second interim budget report Tuesday was good news for a district that, in relatively recent years past, filed a series of negative or qualified budgets — generally regarded as troubling designations — with the county and state.

During a governing board meeting, Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, told trustees that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two, for which she showed, in a slide presentations, budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.

In a 20-minute presentation, Pimentel, as expected, noted minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances.


Source: Travis Unified on solid financial footing

Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter schools in California and elsewhere stand to be a major beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year, even though he wants to slash $9.2 billion from many other federal education programs.

Trump called for $1.4 billion in new funding for a “school choice” program that includes an increase of $250 million to subsidize tuition for private schools and $168 million for expanding charter schools. An additional $1 billion is for a program that would allow students to attend a public school of their choice, which could include charter schools. Trump has provided no details for any of these programs.

The extra $168 million for charter schools represents a 50 percent expansion of the Charter Schools Program from its current level of $333 million. The bulk of the funds are shared with states to support new charter schools. Two other grants within the program support the expansion of charter networks and facilities costs. The funds given to states can be spent on purchasing classroom equipment, such as laptops for students and desks, informing parents that schools are opening and training school staff.

Source: Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

Financial Literacy: Addressing Student, Family, and Community Needs | Edutopia

By Carol Troxell

Cleveland Central Catholic High School is an urban school with 645 students. National media once dubbed the Cleveland, Ohio metro area as the epicenter of the foreclosure disaster. In a climate like this, our schools goal is providing students with the tools they need to be financially successful, and the knowledge to make sound financial decisions as adults to prevent generations of repetitive, costly financial mistakes. We feel that success can be achieved by fostering financial literacy in our students teen years.

Breaking the Cycle

Students sign up for our personal finance class because they realize a personal need to be prepared for their future. One of our current students has described how his family has major credit score problems and had a hard time purchasing a house. He recognizes the struggle that they experienced and hopes to make his life easier in the future. He recently told me that he accomplished his first financial goal of saving $150, observing, “It was very hard.” He set this goal at the beginning of the school year and became conscious of where every penny of his money was going. Another student receives a paycheck card instead of an actual check.

via Financial Literacy: Addressing Student, Family, and Community Needs | Edutopia.

Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources – Times Herald

By Dianne de Guzman

Students at Jesse Bethel High School are learning computer coding, all the while helping their high school earn money for more student resources.

Thanks to a company called Codecademy, the students are learning the code required to build websites. A web-based program, Codecademy teaches users computer coding skills, teaching HTML, Javascript and other coding languages. In 2014, the company partnered with, and through a $1,000,000 grant from, they’re offering schools a chance to earn $100 per student in DonorsChoose rewards.

Each student that completes a 12-hour Javascript coding course by March 17 can earn rewards. Underrepresented groups in computer science, such as girls or African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Natives can earn more funding credits for their class.

via Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources.

Vaca Unified CBO: District in ‘healthy’ fiscal territory – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Gov. Jerry Brown’s so-called “May revise” state budget likely will affect local governments across California, but, in the meantime, Vacaville Unified, according to the school district’s chief business officer, will be able to pay its bills this year and for the next two, through 2017.

Speaking Thursday during a governing board meeting, Jane Shamieh updated trustees on the district’s second interim budget for the 2014-15 year, a routine matter required by state law.

Using a computer-aided slide presentation, she noted some $2.7 million more in expenditures have been tacked onto the budget that trustees adopted last year, raising expenses to $91.3 million, a 3 percent increase.

Shamieh pointed out that expenses will exceed revenues, resulting in “deficit spending,” but an ending balance and “carry over” money of $9.7 million places the district in “healthy” fiscal territory.

via Vaca Unified CBO: District in ‘healthy’ fiscal territory.

Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have key education groups helping him make the case to voters for a bigger and more restrictive state rainy day fund. The most he can count on is that they won’t actively campaign against it.

Organizations representing school district financial officers (California Association of School Business Officials) and school superintendents and principals (Association of California School Administrators) voted during the summer to officially oppose Brown’s Budget Stabilization Account, which will appear on next month’s ballot as Proposition 2. And at a meeting in late September, the board of the California School Boards Association voted not to take a position on the proposition. That decision was actually good news for the governor, since at a press conference in May, association President Josephine Lucey vowed to push her board to fight the proposal.


via Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource.

Fairfield-Suisun school board to discuss financial report – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

School district staff will present an unaudited financial report for 2013-14 to the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board Thursday that shows a combined ending general fund balance June 30 of almost $21 million.

The combined balance includes an unrestricted general fund balance of just more than $16 million and a restricted fund balance of about $4.7 million. The figure does not include routine and other expenditures taken out of the unrestricted general fund, such as the teachers association reserves of $1.6 million and retiree benefits, also for about $1.6 million, that lead to the undesignated unrestricted balance June 30 of $9.3 million.

via Fairfield-Suisun school board to discuss financial report Daily Republic.