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Friday, May 15, 2020


National History Day has gone virtual, and OC students continue to shine
After impressing judges at the state level, 11 history projects created by students from the Irvine Unified School District and an exhibit created by a pair of Capistrano Unified middle schoolers will advance to this year’s National History Day showdown. In all, 20 Orange County students will have their projects judged in the final showcase, including seven from Sierra Vista Middle School, which has become a perennial NHD powerhouse. Sierra Vista is sending four entries to the national competition, which is set to take place virtually June 14-18.

Santa Ana Unified has served more than 1 million student meals since closures
The Santa Ana Unified School District reached a milestone this week by serving its one millionth grab-and-go meal since closing campuses to students. After hitting the seven-digit mark Wednesday at Romero-Cruz Academy, district officials staged a brief celebration with balloons and banners to honor the hardworking staff members who make sure children have access to nutritious daily meals.

Facing billions in cuts, governor says education will be a priority
Just months after projecting a surplus of $5.6 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom walked through his plans to close a $54 billion shortfall on Thursday, as he presented California’s first budget proposal of the COVID-19 era. The national economic upheaval brought on by this year’s coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a precipitous drop in state revenue, and public education constitutes the lion’s share of spending in California. Under Proposition 98 formulas, the guaranteed funding level for public schools and community colleges has declined by 23 percent, falling about $19 billion short of what was anticipated back in January.


Coronavirus: Irvine Valley College joins O.C. schools to hold fall classes online
Irvine Valley College is the latest community college in Orange County to announce its intention to teach students remotely in the fall. North Orange County Community College District Chancellor Cheryl Marshall wrote to her colleagues that distance education will continue for the summer and fall semesters. The chancellor, vice-chancellor or the campus CEO will have to approve any course that needs to be taught on campus, she said. Marshall’s district includes Cypress College, Fullerton College and the North Orange Continuing Education School.


County school board saves Iftin charter school from closure
The San Diego County Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to keep Iftin Charter School open for another five years, despite a report from the county’s own staff listing many reasons to deny the school’s renewal.


Inside the North County Grading Wars
It is perhaps the most unexpected controversy of the pandemic to have played out across school districts: a passionate and frenzied battle demanding letter grades, instead of credit/no credit for online coursework.


Gov. Newsom's revised budget would partially offset huge drop in revenue for K-12 schools, community colleges
With state revenues plummeting from a COVID-19-precipitated economic recession, Gov. Gavin Newsom released a revised California budget proposal Thursday that would lessen the impact of a potential two-year drop of $19 billion in state funding for schools and community colleges. Newsom listed public education first among four budget areas that he said he was prioritizing in the proposed state budget, along with public health, safety and help for people hit hardest by the coronavirus.

Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget revision cuts programs to recruit, train teachers
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s biggest education priority in his proposed state budget — $915 million to recruit and train teachers — was eliminated in his May budget revision released Thursday. The proposed funds are more than the amount spent for teacher development in the five previous years combined, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Preschool and child care plans slashed under California governor’s proposed budget
Unless the federal government comes to California’s aid, the coronavirus has set back most of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s big investments in preschool to levels not seen since before he took office. On Thursday, Newsom announced changes not only to his 2020-21 budget proposals, but also cuts to many of last year’s investments in early education.

Newsom’s proposed budget cuts to higher education force difficult choices ahead
UC, CSU and community colleges face significant declines in state funding, prompting fears of tuition hikes and program cuts.

Oakland eases graduation requirements to address student challenges during crisis
Oakland Unified’s school board Wednesday night voted unanimously to temporarily waive two graduation requirements — a 2.0 GPA in core courses and a senior project — to make it easier for students to earn their diplomas amid the pandemic.


Newsom's Proposed School Budget Cuts Could've Been Worse, But They're Still In 'Great Recession' Territory
In 2009, as the Great Recession decimated California's state budget, Scott Petri became one of the 40,000 public school teachers to lose their jobs. The experience cost Petri dearly. He kept teaching — but as a substitute, for much lower pay. He lost his house to foreclosure. It took four years for Petri to find a permanent teaching job again. "We felt like we'd finally built back up to where we were before," said Petri, now a social studies teacher at Los Angeles Unified's John F. Kennedy High School. "Now, is it going to collapse again?”


With Grim Projections In Revised State Budget, Local School Officials Call For Federal Help
San Diego Unified School District is putting together a plan for reopening its schools this fall that includes putting a nurse on every campus and cutting class sizes in half to ensure social distancing. But the plan won’t leave the drawing board unless the federal government steps in. That’s because Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday announced his revised budget, which cuts $19 billion from the state’s education budget over the next two years. San Diego Unified, the state’s second-largest school district, stands to endure tens of millions in cuts under the governor’s proposal.


Reopening California: Palo Alto students could go to school twice a week next year if new model is approved
Palo Alto Unified School District has a blueprint of what could end up happening in their system. "We're looking at 12-15 students in a classroom right now," says Superintendent Don Austin. He says the district is looking at the possibility next year of having middle and high school students come to school two days a week and work from home the other three days.

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