Report Card

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

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
clocke@sacbee.com

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

General_Davie_001_SM.jpg

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.

July 17, 2013
County education board opts to fill vacancy with appointee

The Sacramento County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to fill the seat vacated by Penny Schwinn with an appointee instead of opting for an expensive special election.

Such a contest would have cost $750,000, according to Sacramento County elections officials.The appointee will hold the seat until the next regular election in June. Whoever wins the election will fill Schwinn's term until it ends in 2016.

Schwinn, a charter school advocate, recently stepped down from the board when she took administrative job with the Sacramento City Unified School District. School district employees cannot serve on the county board.

Board members will interview candidates and make the appointment at its Aug. 20 meeting, according to Sacramento County Office of Education officials.

July 16, 2013
San Juan considers acting leader before school year begins

San Juan Unified School District trustees will hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider naming an acting superintendent while their current leader is on paid leave.

The district has placed Superintendent Glynn Thompson on leave while it investigates employee complaints that he created a hostile work environment for some female administrators. Nine former and current San Juan employees filed complaints with the Fair Employment and Housing Commission.

Trent Allen, district spokesman, said in an email today that he anticipates the board will name an acting superintendent "to ensure a smooth start to the rapidly approaching school year should the ongoing investigation not conclude prior to that time."

The first day of classes for the district is less than a month away - Aug. 15.

July 15, 2013
Diocese: Holy Spirit principal under investigation has resigned

Holy Spirit School Principal Fran Wise, who was placed on suspension while she was investigated over allegations she threatened another person, has resigned her post, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento reported.

Diocesan spokesman Kevin Eckery said Wise's resignation came June 12. The investigation, in turn, was abandoned.

"When she decided to resign, there was no need to further pursue" the investigation, Eckery wrote late last week in an email.

Wise was placed on suspension May 28. Eckery has said details are unavailable because the issue is a personnel matter.

July 11, 2013
Sacramento school plaintiffs allege faulty data behind closures

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A witness in the lawsuit seeking to block Sacramento City Unified from closing seven elementary schools testified today that the district overstated capacity of some campuses when it decided which ones to close.

The testimony came during a hearing in which affected families asked U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to block the closures until their case is resolved or they reach agreement with the district.

Much of the morning session was devoted to how much plaintiffs' witness Jesus Hernandez would be allowed to say about his written analysis that district closures in poor and minority neighborhoods constituted a case of intentional discrimination.

The suit, brought by plaintiffs' attorney Mark Merin, complains that the district chose schools in minority neighborhoods in lieu of a committee's recommendations to close some campuses in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Mueller said Hernandez could answer questions about enrollment at the affected school sites but not address school financing and other areas in which he has limited expertise.

Plaintiffs believe the issue of overstated school capacity is important because the district, in a bid to save money, announced it would close campuses that made the least use of their capacity.

July 3, 2013
Twin Rivers Unified school board names new president

Rebecca Sandoval was elected president of the Twin Rivers Unified school board at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

The district changes its officers each June.

Sandoval recently led an effort to try to remove Cortez Quinn from his seat as president after he was fined $14,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for accepting personal loans from a school employee that weren't reported on financial disclosure forms. The board voted to let Quinn finish his term.

Bob Bastian will serve as vice president and Michael Baker will continue his role as clerk.

July 3, 2013
Sacramento County board of education trustee resigns to take district job

Penny Schwinn, winner of a hotly contested race for a seat on the Sacramento County Office of Education board, has stepped down after one year.

The charter school operator has accepted the position of assistant superintendent of performance management for Sacramento City Unified.

Schwinn said she had not intended to resign from the school board when she accepted the new job, but recently learned that state law prohibits school employees - except for those at charter schools - from sitting on the county board. Her resignation was effective Wednesday.

July 3, 2013
Federal judge sets hearing on Sacramento City school closures

A federal judge in Sacramento today granted a July 11 hearing on a lawsuit that parents and students filed to block closure of seven elementary schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

The suit filed last month contends that the district chose to close campuses in low-income, high-minority areas in south Sacramento because they are "without political influence or organization."

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller said she will allow limited testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness.

July 2, 2013
Rancho Cordova eyesore demolished to make way for campus

RB Motel 6.JPG

The Los Rios Community College District gained an education site and the city of Rancho Cordova lost an eyesore today as the dilapidated First Value Inn was dismantled, piece by piece, with an excavator.

Area residents, including some who brought lawn chairs to watch the show, were tickled to see the motel go.

"They have had so many fires from the transients, it's good to have it brought down," said Dennis Smith, a lifelong resident of Rancho Cordova.



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.

TELL US WHAT’S GOING ON AT YOUR SCHOOL
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(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee

dlambert@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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October 2013

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