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Monday, May 14, 2012

Gaspar: Does Kern County have too many school districts?

The latest numbers from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office show we have a total of 173,737 students in grades K-12 this year, which is a slight drop from last year. Some districts continue to see stagnant student growth rates or even a decline. Would it not make sense then to consolidate school districts so they could be more cost-effective? Especially those that have just one or two schools with fewer than 1,000 students? Maybe.

Parcel tax review causes consternation in Tamalpais school district

Even though the vast majority of district taxpayers already have paid their 2011-12 tax bills, several hundred more ó those who may or may not qualify for a seniors' exemption ó may be getting a letter from tax collector Roy Given advising that more tax is owed as the school district sorts out the billing to collect its annual $8.8 million parcel tax levy.

Questions, debts abound as Episcopal school faces closure in Roseville Share Read more here:

Parents are angry and Roseville City School District officials have plans to sue after St. John's School trustees announced the small private school is broke and will close at the end of the month.

Pink slips loom for nearly 500 LAUSD plumbers, other skilled workers

Nearly 500 plumbers, electricians and other skilled craftsmen will get pink slips next month from Los Angeles Unified, a cost-cutting move that officials say will make it harder to maintain the school district's aging facilities.

FAME charter school faces uncertain future

FAME -- one of the largest charter schools in the county, with campuses in Fremont and San Leandro and independent students throughout Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties -- has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was established in 2005. Now, after years of controversy, its future is in doubt.

Barnidge: Students of Excellence show public education still can work

There aren't many reasons to feel good about K-12 public education in California these days. But for a few minutes last week, a glimmer of hope lit up an assembly hall in Concord, where 38 "Students of Excellence" from East Bay high schools were celebrated at the Contra Costa County Office of Education's 2012 ROP awards ceremony.

Bay Area school districts rescinding layoff notices

Bay Area school districts will lay off fewer teachers than expected next year -- but many schools are shrinking by attrition, and they're all maintaining backup plans for possible deep cuts next year.

Voters to decide on bond measure to renovate Antioch High

Voters in the older part of the East Contra Costa city will be asked next month if they're willing to swallow a major property tax increase to help bring Antioch High up to the level of other schools in the region.

Records show difficulty of dismissing teachers

Records of teacher misconduct released by the Ontario-Montclair School District demonstrate the difficulty of dismissing bad teachers.

S.F. teacher layoffs threaten improving schools

Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School's test scores have consistently been the worst in the state year after year. Parents have shunned it. Teachers have fled it. Until now.

California facing higher $16 billion shortfall

California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion - much larger than had been predicted just months ago - and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.

Grim news, reprieves for Sacramento area teachers

Hundreds of pink-slipped teachers in Sacramento County are sighing a breath of relief this week as school districts revoke some of the preliminary layoff notices sent out in March. But many more are polishing up their résumés and looking for new jobs.

Iraqi war immigrants prods state funding waiver for to El Cajon school

An eastern San Diego County high school with a large number of Iraqi war immigrants won a potentially precedent-setting waiver last week from meeting student performance requirements of the Quality Education Investment Act.

Students at charter-run Locke do better than nearby peers

Students at Locke High School are faring better than their peers in nearby traditional schools, but achievement overall remains low at the charter-managed campus near Watts, according to a new study.

Fensterwald: Layoffs by seniority contested

Administrative law judges have ruled that San Francisco Unified and Sacramento City Unified exceeded their authority to protect teachers at high priority, low-performing schools from districtwide layoffs this year.

May Revise likely to offer school more money despite shortfall increase

Despite the stark news over the weekend that the state budget deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, there are strong indications that the governorís revised May budget will actually offer schools more money than proposed in the January because of the influence of the Proposition 98 guarantee.

Schrag: Waivers for waivers? What California wants

You donít have to look far to understand why California, like many other states, wants a waiver from key provisions of NCLB, the ten-year-old federal No Child Left Behind law. If we donít get it, it may start to cost us.

Critics struggle to end 'pay to play' in school bonds

Critics of the practice in which financial firms help pass school bonds that they profit from are continuing to push for reforms, but so far have faced resistance and failure.

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