Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

September 3, 2013
Sac City schools open, minus seven elementary campuses

Thousands of Sacramento City Unified students headed to their first day of class this morning - including about 2,300 routed to new campuses following seven elementary school closures.

At Pacific Elementary in south Sacramento, the new school site for hundreds of former Clayton B. Wire Elementary students, children lined up for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and for the start of school at 9 a.m.

Principal Shana Henry greeted the long line of students with a warm smile.

"I think the biggest challenge is finding ways to make sure the children are welcomed and the blending of the community," Henry said.

August 26, 2013
Round of golf could reduce youth violence

Golfers and sponsors are needed to help support a program to reduce youth violence.

Project Safe Alternatives and Violence Education (SAVE) is operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education. Students who are expelled from school because of on-campus violence are required to complete a violence-prevention program.

Since 1998 2,500 students have taken part in Project SAVE.

An annual golf tournament is the main source of funding for this program.
The 11th annual Project SAVE Golf Tournament is scheduled for Sept. 23 at Valley Hi Golf Club in Elk Grove. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. The shotgun start is at 9 a.m.

Entry fees for the event are $150 per person or $600 for a foursome. Tournament hosts, contest sponsors and individual hole sponsors also are being sought.
Door prize donations to benefit the program also are needed.

For more information about the tournament or to learn about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Cheryl Raney at (916) 228-2201 or

August 23, 2013
Twin Rivers administrator resigns, collects nearly $175,000

A top Twin Rivers Unified School District administrator resigned this week and will receive nearly $175,000 on his way out, the district confirmed today.

Rob Ball, associate superintendent of business support services, submitted his "voluntary resignation" to the Twin Rivers Board of Trustees, which accepted it on Thursday, according to a statement. Ball at one point served as the district's interim superintendent.

Ball will receive $174,570.60, the remainder of the salary he would have been paid through the end of the current school year, the district said. Twin Rivers students just started school eight days ago.

Ball, 63, most recently served as associate superintendent of business support services. In May 2012, he ran the district for several months while a search was under way for a new superintendent.

This month, he was in the news as one of three district administrators who have Twin Rivers paying their share of public pension contributions, a practice that state leaders have banned for new government employees hired starting this year.

August 22, 2013
Education fair to draw thousands to CSUS Saturday

Thousands of parents and students are expected to attend a free education fair Saturday at California State University, Sacramento, to get information about California school programs and services as well as options for college attendance.

The event, "Feria de Educación: Es El Momento" ("Education Fair: It is the Time"), starts at 9:30 a.m. with remarks by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, in the University Union ballroom.

The fair will give families an opportunity to learn about important educational programs and services within California's education system, what it takes to attend college and how to pay for it. It will include information about educational community programs and services from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Among those expected to co-host with Dickinson and CSUS are Univision 19 television anchors Jairo Diaz and Viviana Páez. The fair will feature an appearance by CSUS President Alex Gonzalez, as well as college readiness workshops, a reading garden, a free book giveaway, entertainment and more than 70 university and community organization exhibits.

The event concludes at 3 p.m.

August 22, 2013
Bannon Creek kids start school year with new backpacks

Each of the 540 students at Bannon Creek Elementary School in Natomas was handed a new backpack yesterday to help them start the school year.

The backpacks were collected as part of Assemblyman Roger Dickinson's "Give Back(pack) Drive," which has distributed over 1,300 backpacks to Sacramento youth in the last three years.

Dickinson and the Sacramento River Cats' mascot, Dinger, presented the backpacks at a school assembly. They were joined by Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn, Natomas Unified School District Superintendent Chris Evans and school board members Lisa Kaplan and Scott Dosick.

At Bannon Creek Elementary School, 71 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, according to California Department of Education data.

"I am thankful for all of the generous donations we received from Sacramento area businesses and members of the surrounding community," Dickinson said in a prepared statement. "Every child deserves to have the tools necessary to succeed in school."

August 21, 2013
Sacramento County education board fills trustee vacancy

Thomaysa Glover, a Gold River resident, has been named trustee for Area 5 of the Sacramento County Board of Education, filling the seat vacated when trustee Penny Schwinn resigned July 3.

The board named Glover on Tuesday to a provisional appointment. She will remain in the post until the next regularly scheduled board election in June 2014 unless a petition seeking a special election is filed with the county by Sept. 19.

Glover is a former trustee for the San Juan Unified School District. She served as a regional director for the California School Boards Association and is president of the Sacramento chapter of Links, Inc., a not-for-profit volunteer group.

August 19, 2013
Elk Grove Unified takes budget presentation on the road

Elk Grove Unified board members will hold seven simultaneous community meetings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 17 to discuss the district's finances.

Each meeting will include a presentation about the district's budget, as well as time for questions. The meetings are meant to seek community feedback on funding priorities and to introduce the new state funding formula for education, as well as the accompanying accountability requirements, said district officials.

Board president Chet Madison will meet with residents at Valley High School, 6300 Ehrhardt Ave. in Sacramento. Jeanette J. Amavisca will be at Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School, 8691 Power Inn Road in Elk Grove. Priscilla S. Cox will be at Pleasant Grove High School, 9531 Bond Road in Elk Grove. Carmine Forcina will be at Sheldon High School, 8333 Kingsbridge Drive in Sacramento. Steve Ly will be at Carroll Elementary School, 10325 Stathos Drive in Elk Grove. Anthony Perez will be at Florin High School, 7956 Cottonwood Lane in Sacramento and Bobbie Singh-Allen will be at Elliott Ranch Elementary School, 10000 East Taron Drive in Elk Grove.

August 18, 2013
Growth spurs enrollment at new Roseville school

Roseville City Unified will open a new school Monday morning to keep up with growth.

Enrollment at Fiddyment Farm Elementary School in west Roseville has grown by 100 students - to 300 kids - in just two weeks, according to a press release from the school district.

"It looks like houses are being built every day," said Principal Meghan Baichtal in a prepared statement.

District officials say that they haven't seen growth like this in many years.

August 7, 2013
Arsonists damage two Sacramento school playgrounds

By Brittany Torrez

Two Sacramento City Unified School District campuses in the south area are unlikely to open with playground structures when the school year begins next month due to fires caused by arson, officials said today.

The playground structures at Caroline Wenzel Elementary School and John Sloat Elementary School were severely damaged in fires that officials have confirmed were deliberately set, the district said in a release.

The John Sloat Elementary School playground was set ablaze on July 31, while the Caroline Wenzel Elementary School playground was burned a day later.

The Sloat fire occurred just hours after East Sacramento residents celebrated the reopening of the McKinley Park playground that had been torched by arson one year earlier. Volunteers and donors helped rebuild that playground earlier this year, which the city now values at $1.5 million.

The district's insurance deductible of $25,000 for each incident will come out of the general fund budget, and playground structures cost more than $70,000 to replace, the district said.

Anyone with information about the arson fires should call the Sacramento Fire Department Arson Tip Line at (916) 808-8732 or (877) 822-8477.

August 2, 2013
San Juan Unified names new leaders at seven campuses

The San Juan Unified School District announced a series of administrator changes today, naming seven new principals - five hired internally and two from other districts.

The district also announced that Mesa Verde High School Principal Rick Messer will serve as acting assistant superintendent of secondary schools, a job not expected to be made permanent until a district superintendent is in place.

Superintendent Glynn Thompson has been on administrative leave since mid-May as district consultants investigate whether he created a hostile work environment for some administrators. General Davie Jr., a former superintendent for San Juan, was brought on board last month to run the district while Thompson is on leave.

August 2, 2013
Sacramento school trustees close $2.3 million budget gap

Trustees of Sacramento city schools have voted to close a $2.3 million deficit tied to a decline in Medi-Cal reimbursements and an increase in special education students, district spokeswoman Janet Weeks said today.

A Sacramento City Unified School District budget revision presented to trustees Thursday night identified $1.6 million in added costs for special education, most of that tied to newly identified special education students.

In addition, district officials said the state reduced the district's Medi-Cal reimbursements by $700,000.

July 22, 2013
Twin Rivers meeting to look at employee discipline, jobs

Twin Rivers Unified School District officials will discuss the discipline and/or dismissal of multiple employees in a hastily called meeting set for 6 p.m. Tuesday. The district will discuss these actions, as well as labor negotiations, in a closed session.

A public session will begin at 7 p.m. Three new job descriptions for Human Resource administrators are among the agenda items being voted on during that portion of the meeting.

The agenda was posted Monday.

The meeting will be held in the district board room at 5115 Dudley Blvd., Bay A, in McClellan.

July 22, 2013
Federal judge denies bid to block Sacramento campus closures

A federal judge on Monday denied a bid by parents seeking to prevent Sacramento City schools from closing seven elementary campuses, saying blocking the district was not warranted based on the evidence plaintiffs presented in court.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, in her 39-page ruling denying a request for a preliminary injunction, said that the plaintiffs "do not have a fair chance of success on the merits" of their claims.

A dozen students and their parents filed suit last month in federal court, complaining that the Sacramento City Unified School District chose to close campuses in low-income and predominately minority neighborhoods that are "without political influence or organization" and, instead, keep other schools open in predominately white neighborhoods.

School officials have said the closures are necessary to help balance the budget and estimated the district can save millions of dollars over several years by eliminating campuses that are underutilized.

July 18, 2013
Former sheriff's lieutenant officially named Twin Rivers chief

Harvey Woo is officially chief of the Twin Rivers District Police Department.

The hiring of the retired lieutenant with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department was approved 5-1 Tuesday by the school board. District officials had conditionally hired Woo in May to lead the embattled police department.

Efforts to reach Woo on Thursday were unsuccessful. His salary is $116,610.

July 17, 2013
San Juan trustees appoint veteran leader as acting superintendent

By Cathy Locke

General Davie Jr., a former of superintendent of the San Juan Unified School District, has been selected for a return engagement.


The district board, during a special meeting tonight, appointed Davie as the district's acting superintendent, effective immediately, according to a district news release.

Davie was superintendent of the district from 1998 through 2005. After leaving the district, he remained active in the education community, serving as interim superintendent in a number of school districts, consulting on education issues and maintaining an active role in the San Juan Education Foundation, which raises funds to support San Juan Unified schools.

"We are pleased General Davie has agreed to help provide leadership as we prepare for the start of a new school year," board president Larry Masuoka said in a written statement. "General's familiarity with the district and community will help ensure a smooth start to the year and continued focus on our community-developed strategic plan."

The current superintendent, Glynn Thompson, has been on paid administrative leave since May 15, when the board launched an independent investigation into complaints filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The investigation is continuing and Thompson remains on leave.

Davie's contract calls for him to receive $850 per day in compensation for a maximum of 46 days. He will not be provided health and welfare benefits, paid vacation or sick days.

About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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