SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘School Consolidation’ Category

Closing schools = turnaround?

In September, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration are set to announce the “winner” states that will receive Race to the Top funding, an ongoing competitive grants program that hands out money to states that can prove they’re sufficiently committed to education reform.

To recap, Race to the Top funding is incumbent on four “turnaround” models — all of which we’re seeing in the political machinations taking place in our own school district. They are:

  • Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50% of the staff, and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time and budgeting) to fully implement a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
  • Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
  • School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the district that are higher achieving.
  • Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.

In the Washington Post today, writer Valerie Strauss shares a letter from parent activist, Rita Solnet:

Secretary Duncan, you have an opportunity to be the hero this country needs. You have the ability to stop these initiatives and regroup. Gain input from all levels of ’stakeholders’ in the process, gain endorsement of a new plan–a plan in which all levels of stakeholders take pride in developing and launching. Congresswoman Judy Chu’s plan is a great first start. The DOE’s proposed four (4) turnaround models [for the worst schools in each state] will not work. Scrap them, start over. Closing public schools should not be an option.


Written by scusdobserver

July 19, 2010 at 7:38 am

SCUSD 10-14 plan — putting children first

Read the SCUSD document here:—2014-Putting-Children-First

Remaining dates for community input:

July 6    Tuesday    6:00 p.m.    Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School
July 7    Wednesday    6:00 p.m.    John F. Kennedy High School
July 8    Thursday    6:00 p.m.    Luther Burbank High School
July 13    Tuesday    6:00 p.m.    Serna Center

Link to send an e-mail to your board member. Choose by area.

Written by scusdobserver

June 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

Again…with the "revenue stream"

In today’s Bee, SCUSD Interim Superintendent Susan Miller makes an interesting comment about finding leases for its currently closed facilities (and those to be closed).

“When you have tenants in there it adds to the safety and security of the environment,” Miller said. “It’s least likely to be vandalized, and financially, we want to find a revenue stream.”

The emotional and financial impact of closing a school reaches far beyond the revenue stream. Kicking kids out, finding non-existent renters in a dismal economy, repairing vandalism, all the bureaucratic twisting and turning…wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to just keep the darn schools open and demand the SCUSD board balance the books without this scorched earth policy?

Written by scusdobserver

June 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Most of That Has Died Down

In today’s Bee, a story by Melody Gutierrez reports that SCUSD students who are having their school closed next fall get a choice about where to attend next year. A special open enrollment period for those students (which began on Monday) ends today.

Toward the end of the article, Associate Superintendent Mary Hardin-Young is quoted.

District trustees voted April 16 to close the four schools because of budget cuts, which prompted anger among parents and concern from school site staff.

Hardin Young said most of that has died down.

Written by scusdobserver

May 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Jerry Houseman’s Tirade

Over at the SacRag, author Cool DMZ, makes an excellent catch about Jerry Houseman’s tirade at the last school board meeting. In case you missed it, (Item 10.4 part 2 near the end of the video segment) the outburst was nothing short of surreal, complete with browbeating and finger-wagging, about how Californians are tax-averse and unwilling to pay for public education.

In other words, Houseman berated audience members, with all the sanctimony he could muster, that we’ve brought this school-closing problem on ourselves.

Cool DMZ nails it when he writes:

The prospect of an elected official — charged with spending millions of taxpayer money — browbeating his constituents to cease their resistance to higher taxes while they have the gall to take advantage of a public service like education, is pretty frightening.

Why wasn’t Roy Grimes’ gavel hitting the table repeatedly on Houseman’s conniption? Grimes has no problem silencing the public when a timed, public comment minute is up. Houseman was completely out of line last Thursday and he needs calling on the carpet. Consider it done now, twice. Thanks SacRag.

Written by scusdobserver

April 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Other Cuts

In addition to the school closures approved Thursday night, the SCUSD Board cut $4 million by increasing class sizes for kindergarten to third grade from 20 to 24 students per teacher. This action eliminates 137 teaching positions.

Also increasing are ninth-grade classes from 20 to 25 students per teacher, resulting in the loss of 7 teaching positions, saving the district $480,000.

The board also voted to eliminate 13 management and 16 classified positions in administration and central services, saving the district another $1.9 million.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

Written by scusdobserver

April 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm

They would not listen, they’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will…

Regarding last night’s agenda and school closures, specifically, here’s how it went down: the decision to close Mark Hopkins Elementary will be put off for one year.

All of the other elementary schools slated for shut down; Thomas Jefferson, Alice Birney, Lisbon and the one high school, G.E.N.E.S.I.S., will close their doors to SCUSD students in mid-June, 2009.

Here are the votes:

Alice Birney closure: Bell (no), Grimes (no), Rodriguez (yes), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

G.E.N.E.S.I.S. closure: Bell (yes), Grimes (yes), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Lisbon closure: Bell (no), Grimes (no), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Jefferson closure: Bell (yes), Grimes (yes), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Written by scusdobserver

April 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm