Report Card

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

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.

January 2, 2013
Group says it won't fight Sac City Unified's trustee appointment

It's starting to look like newly appointed Sacramento City Unified trustee Jay Hansen will not have his seat challenged through a petition calling for a special election.

Prior to Hansen's selection, the district's five bargaining groups and an outside coalition urged the school board to reconsider their decision to appoint someone to resigning board member Ellyn Bell's seat. However, board members said they did not want the district to have to pay up to $274,000 for a special election, particularly in a time of budget cuts.

Annette Deglow of the coalition Citizens to Elect School Boards by Areas said she was ready to challenge any appointment to the board because it did not allow the voters of Area 1 to select who would represent them for the remaining two years of Bell's term. Area 1 includes Land Park, downtown, midtown and Curtis Park.

However, Deglow said Wednesday that she has decided not to initiate the petition.

"There is no way to do it without it being personal," said Deglow, one of the original petitioners of measures that created trustee area elections in Sacramento City Unified.

"The only thing I wanted was for the community to select their candidate," she said. "My time at this point would be better spent fixing the problem, instead of muddying the waters. I oppose the process, but not one candidate over the other."

Deglow said her issue is that she could not challenge the district's decision to appoint a candidate prior to trustees making a selection. That, Deglow said, makes it seem like she opposes Hansen, when, in fact, she opposes the appointment process.

State Education Code allows for 30 days to challenge a trustee appointment. In Sacramento City Unified, a successful petition would need 2,500 signatures by Jan. 19 turned into the Sacramento County Office of Education.

Washington Unified in West Sacramento recently went through a similar process. Petitioners gathered 345 signatures to force a special election after trustees appointed a board member to fill a vacated seat. The special election is scheduled for March 5.

November 16, 2012
Twin Rivers moves forward with new law firm, audit

Twin Rivers Unified School District trustees voted 5-2 to sign a contract with the law firm Fagan, Friedman and Fulfrost during Thursday evening's school board meeting. Trustees Michael Baker, Bob Bastian, John Dexter, Walter Garcia Kawamoto and board president Cortez Quinn each voted in favor of the contract to have the firm take over as the district's general counsel.

Trustees Linda Fowler and Rebecca voted against the contract.

In another split vote, Twin Rivers trustees voted 4-3 to hire Knapp, Peterson & Clarke to perform an audit of billings from the district's previous law firm Timothy M. Cary and Associates. The district will pay $25,000 for KPC to perform a review of 15 percent of legal bills and trustees will make a decision about whether to continue the review after initial findings are submitted.

The audit could cost as much as $145,000 for a full analysis and more than $200,000 for a full forensic audit, according to the school board agenda.

Trustees Bastian, Dexter, Kawamoto Garcia, and Quinn voted in favor of the audit, while Fowler, Baker and Sandoval voted against it.

For the back story on each of these votes, read my story leading up to Thursday's meeting HERE.

November 16, 2012
Split vote extends Sacramento city schools chief's contract

Sacramento City Unified School District trustees voted 4-2 to extend Superintendent Jonathan Raymond's contract until 2015 during Thursday night's school board meeting.

Trustees Donald Terry, Patrick Kennedy, Jeff Cuneo and Darrel Woo voted in favor of Raymond's contract, while board president Diana Rodriguez and Gustavo Arroyo voted no. Board member Ellyne Bell was absent.

Raymond's contract was pulled from the consent agenda for discussion, prior to it being passed. The contract was previously negotiated and approved by trustees in closed session prior to Thursday's board meeting.

Raymond's salary of $245,000 will remain the same, but his retirement annuity will be increased from $11,500 to $15,000 and his monthly expense and travel allowance will increase from $750 to $1,000.

For more on his contract and what trustees had to say prior to the vote, read my previous story HERE.

October 1, 2012
Rocklin superintendent disappointed in retaliation ruling

Rocklin Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Brown said he is disappointed in last week's Public Employment Relations Board decision that found the school district retaliated against four nurses.

Brown said he will recommend that school trustees appeal the ruling here RocklinPERB.pdf, which ordered Rocklin Unified to reinstate the nurses with two years of back pay, plus 7 percent interest.

Brown said the PERB Administrative Law Judge Robin Wesley "took the latitude to assume what our motivation was and then developed an argument to support her conclusion in spite of the evidence that was presented."

Wesley's ruling, which was reported by The Bee on Friday, found the Rocklin district violated the Educational Employment Relations Act by laying off nurses Jennifer Hammond, Genevieve Sherman, Susan Firchau and Jennifer Bradley.

August 31, 2012
Sacramento-area students post gains on STAR tests

By Diana Lambert
and Phillip Reese

Test scores in the Sacramento region continued to climb again this year despite state budget cuts that resulted in larger class sizes, fewer teachers and reduced programs at most schools.

In the Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR test, schools in the Sacramento region showed marked improvement on benchmark English tests and slight improvement on benchmark math tests, according to a Bee review of state data released this morning.

About 60.2 percent of students in the four-county region scored at or above proficient on English tests, up from 57.8 percent in 2011. Statewide 57 percent of students scored at or above proficient.



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.

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lkalb@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1073
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(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

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