Friday, August 26, 2011

2011-08-26 "Older students defend Vallejo Adult School, wish departing principal well" by Lanz Christian Bañes from "Vallejo Times-Herald" newspaper
The Vallejo Adult School dominated the Vallejo school board meeting Wednesday, with many of its older students asking the board to preserve programming for senior citizens.
"This dog is still barking. ... I'm learning something new and not just watching my arteries harden," said Bruce Reed in a prepared statement about keeping classes for older citizens a viable option at the Adult School.
Senior citizens routinely defend the Vallejo Adult School, which has had its budget reduced by two-thirds in the last two years. The school board approved the Adult School's fee schedule, new graduation requirements and course offerings Wednesday night, but considered no cuts.
Part of the consternation Wednesday seemed to stem from the imminent departure of Principal Kay Hartley, who accepted a position at another adult school.
"We're sorry to hear that Principal Hartley is leaving," student Gordon Triemert told the board.
Hartley said the Vallejo Adult School was one of the few area adult schools that still offer programs for older adults.
"Their concern is an incoming administrator would look at the overall budget and say, 'This is something we don't need to pay for,' " said Hartley.
Superintendent Ramona Bishop praised Hartley for her work over the last few years as the district raided adult school programs.
"Seeing what Kay has done is truly miraculous. You have left this place better than you found it. ... and you're right ... what we're doing is criminal, truly criminal," said Bishop, answering an audience member's concern of the 67 percent reduction in the Vallejo Adult School's budget.
The Adult School has other funds besides those from the general fund propping it up, and the board on Wednesday improved a small increase in the school's fees.
Both board member Adrienne Waterman and Bishop assured Adult School students and teachers that they would find a good fit to replace Hartley. Board member Hazel Wilson, meanwhile, asked that members of the Adult School community be included in the interview panel for a new principal.
Hartley is expected to stay at the school through September.
The board also spent about an hour Wednesday learning more about the legalities of the expulsion process.
The district's expulsions made up 40 percent of all Solano County's expulsions during the 2009-2010 school year. Most were African American students.
"You as a board have the final ... authority to expel," said Dora Dome, an Oakland-based lawyer who gave the presentation.
Board President Raymond Victor Mommsen expressed concern about students lacking appropriate legal counsel during the hearings. Waterman said she wanted to know more about the district's intervention plans to head off expulsions.
The board also reviewed the district's site safety supervisors' new uniforms, now black with orange "site safety" stitched on the back for easier identification. The supervisors spent five days in training in early August preparing for the school year.
"Our main vision is student safety, nothing else. ... We will be visible. We will be on the sites. If anyone needs us, just look for 'site safety,' " district operations manager George Tisby said.

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