Sacramento, CA – Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 412, Sen. Steve Glazer’s California Promise, a landmark bill that will pave a new pathway for more California State University students to graduate in four years.
To bolster CSU’s four-year graduation rate – one of the lowest in the nation at only 19 percent – SB 412 will require CSU campuses to offer enhanced academic advising and priority registration to students who commit to 30 credits per academic year. Low-income students, under-represented minorities, first-generation college students and community college transfers will get priority registration in California Promise programs, which will begin in the fall of 2017.
Senate Bill 412, which Sen. Glazer jointly authored with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, marks an important turning point in California for CSU students, said Sen. Glazer, D-Orinda.
“We all know a college degree is a critical rung on the ladder of economic success,” Glazer said. “It is an especially proud day to know that we will now provide CSU students a better chance to do what most want to do, which is to graduate on time.
“California Promise students will now get what many students do not and that is a human touch,” Glazer added. “More academic advising will mean that California Promise students can chart a path with professional guidance and important follow up. It is unfortunate that there are more human touches in getting a piece of fruit to market than there is in student counseling on how to graduate in four years. We can turn that around with this new law.”
Ensuring that California students have all the tools to get through college in four years is a top priority of the Legislature, de León said.
“I congratulate Senator Glazer on the signing of SB 412,” de León said. “California continues to lead the way in implementing policies that support and incentivize students to graduate in four years. The state Senate will continue working to ensure all California students, regardless of race, income or ethnicity have access to higher education as it is the passport to economic success, not only for the student, but the state.”
Gov. Brown said that the legislation, “coupled with today’s action from the CSU trustees, creates conditions that allow students to timely graduate and avoid the burden of extra tuition.” The CSU Board of Trustees earlier Wednesday approved a new 2025 Graduation Initiative that aims to more than double the number of students graduating in four years to 40 percent.
Glazer added: “I applaud CSU for submitting newly enhanced goals of raising 4-year graduation rates to 40 percent by 2025. The California Promise, along with other innovative student success measures, will instill fresh momentum into improving four-year graduation rates.
“I look forward to being part of legislative oversight efforts to keep this program on track.”Read More
Washington, DC – This past week, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) announced commonsense legislation to protect low income students from being taxed on using their Pell Grants for non-tuition goods and services. He is joined in introducing the Pell Grant Flexibility Act (H.R. 5764) by his Republican colleagues Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Thomas MacArthur (NJ-3), and Peter King (NY-2) as well as 16 leading education organizations including The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) and the National Education Association (NEA).
Federal Pell Grants can be used to cover both tuition and non-tuition expenses. However, when students use these funds for non-tuition expenses their Pell Grant is taxed, while strictly tuition costs are exempt. Each year approximately eight million students receive Pell Grant funding. A majority of these recipients have family incomes under $40,000 per year, and typically borrow higher amounts of student loans to cover the costs associated with higher education.
“When it comes to college affordability, paying tuition is not the only cost that worries students and families. Expenses like textbooks, off-campus housing, transportation, and child care account for roughly 60 to 80 percent of total cost of a higher education. We must allow students to use every Pell dollar toward focusing on their earning their degree,” said Congressman DeSaulnier
“The rising cost of higher education is a crushing burden to many families, but access to Pell grants offer substantial assistance. The ability to use Pell Grants for expenses other than tuition and to have access to those funds on a tax-free basis is vital. NEA applauds Rep. DeSaulnier for introducing the Pell Grant Flexibility Act,” said NEA Director of Government Relations, Mary Kusler.
“Pell Grants should not be treated as taxable income regardless of which qualified education expense they are used to cover. By eliminating the inconsistent tax treatment of Pell Grants, this bill will help to increase fairness, simplify the tax code, and improve coordination between Pell Grants and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC),” said TICAS President, Lauren Asher.
The complete list of organizational support includes: American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU) , Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU), Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National College Access Network (NCAN), National Education Association (NEA), National Urban League, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), The Institute for College Assess and Success (TICAS), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Young Invincibles.
By Allen Payton
In a rare injection of partisan politics into a race for Contra Costa County Supervisor, Diane Burgis candidate for Supervisor in District 3, announced she has the support of elected officials, and even listed those in non-partisan offices, as Democrat or Republican. County Supervisor is a non-partisan office, as are the offices of city council and school board, and candidates don’t run as members of a political party.
However, the press release from Burgis’ campaign reads as follows:
Community leaders, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, joined together today to announce their unified support for Diane Burgis for Contra Costa County Supervisor in District Three.
The broad coalition of endorsers includes Democratic Congressmembers Jerry McNerney and Mark DeSaulnier, current Republican County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, Democratic state leaders Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, Superintendent Tom Torlakson and Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (ret.), Republican Mayor Kevin Romick of Oakley, Town of Discovery Bay Directors Kevin Graves (R) and Chris Steele (D), and Democratic Antioch City Councilmembers Tony Tiscareno and Mary Rocha.
This all comes on the heels of endorsements from District Attorney Mark Peterson and County Sheriff David Livingston, both Republicans, as well as the county’s deputy sheriffs and firefighters.
“Diane Burgis is a leader in our community who possesses the intelligence, integrity and compassion necessary to bridge gaps and represent the views of all East County residents,” said County Supervisor Mary Piepho, a Republican. “She’s approachable and knowledgeable, and supports investment in our transportation system, and our police and firefighters who work hard to make our communities safe.”
Diane currently serves as an East Bay Regional Parks District director and is the executive director of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed. Previously, she served as an Oakley City councilmember and spent over ten years as a small business owner. She highlights four priorities for her candidacy: improving public safety, attracting economic development, ensuring fiscal accountability and preserving the delta for future generations.
“Diane has a strong history of fighting to protect our water, our delta and the environment,” said Congressman Jerry McNerney, a Democrat. “Her leadership as head of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and as a board member for the East Bay Regional Parks District exemplifies the steady, bipartisan leadership our region needs.”
Burgis, the only Democrat on the ballot, has also earned the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Contra Costa County, Contra Costa Young Democrats and East Contra Costa Democrats for Action. But that doesn’t mean she will only represent Democrats.
“I examine each issue closely, hear all sides and then come to the decision that works best for East County,” said Diane Burgis, candidate for Supervisor in District Three. “One size doesn’t fit all. Our district deserves a representative who has proven that they can work together with every member of the community. I’m honored to have earned the trust and confidence of our current Republican County Supervisor, Mary Piepho, as well as a long list of local Democrats, Republicans and Independents who put community before party.”
Voters can learn more about her and her platform at www.dianeburgis.com.
When asked about making local office partisan, Burgis did not respond.Read More
By Tim Grayson, Councilman, City of Concord
This year, it seems Californians cannot turn on the news without hearing about another scandal at the University of California.
In August it was the shameful resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi at UC Davis after she spent $175,000 on “consultants” to eliminate bad press and troubling videos of an incident when campus police pepper sprayed student protesters.
Then her counterpart at UC Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks also resigned after it was discovered that he spent $700,000 of taxpayer dollars on a fence around his official residence.
Months ago, state auditors reported that many qualified students from California were denied entry, while University admissions favored out-of-state students because they pay higher tuition.
Enough is enough. Who is standing up for the taxpayers who are paying for the University system year after year?
Californians are sick and tired of hearing about the excess and greed demonstrated by University of California officials. We are tired of hearing stories about our neighbor’s daughter, the honors student and champion athlete who was denied admission to the Berkeley campus.
We are tired of hearing more about the troubling admissions policies that favor out-of-state students who pay top dollar over exceptional California resident students paying in-state tuition. And we are tired of reports of waste and impropriety from University officials. It has to stop.
The University system has changed over the years.
Many of my neighbors and friends recall a time in our state when the University system made California the great land of opportunity it is today. Hard work at one of our best UC institutions provided access to a job at one of the best companies in the world or acceptance into a competitive medical school. Qualified California students were admitted when they demonstrated their ability to compete and this resulted in prosperity for generations of families across the state who benefited from our exceptional institutions.
Today, things have changed. UC leaders have become greedy. From reports of salaries over $400,000 for executives to blatant preferences for out-of-state or foreign students paying higher tuition rates, the focus on making money has to stop.
Our state leadership needs to help the University reset its compass and focus on goals that will continue to serve generations of Californians to come.
The resignations of two UC Chancellors should begin a fresh start, a time when our state refocused our priorities and set forth a higher standard of conduct for University officials.
State leaders need to set strict policies that ensure University officials are held accountable to admissions standards that honor their obligation to California taxpayers.
In the Assembly, I will stand up for legislation to ensure qualified California students have an opportunity to succeed in one of our top institutions and I will work set policies in place to ensure the University is fully accountable to the public so that taxpayer dollars are spent to benefit students, not University administrators.
Grayson has been a Concord resident since 2001 and was elected to serve on the Concord City Council in November 2010. He served as Redevelopment Agency Chair in 2011 and Vice Mayor in 2013. Grayson was Mayor of Concord from 2013 – 2015.Read More
Maria McClain, a math teacher Deer Valley High School in Antioch, and 2015-16 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year, was honored, recently by President Obama with one of the annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). It is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Up to 108 teachers are recognized each year. Since 1983, more than 4,400 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.
Presidential Awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States, a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
“I am extremely honored to receive the Presidential Award as recognition of the commitment of mathematics teachers in providing rigorous and relevant curriculum that guarantees equity and access for all students. This award provides me the opportunity and responsibility to continue to advocate for changes in expectations and practices that will increase student engagement and achievement. Receiving this award ensures that my voice will be heard as I continue this work on behalf of all students.”
Maria McClain has been teaching mathematics for the past 28 years, the last 20 of which have been at Deer Valley High School, where she currently teaches Mastering Algebra I, Precalculus, Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB, and AP Statistics.
Maria believes in creating a classroom environment which supports and challenges students through the use of instructional strategies designed to promote exploration, critical thinking, and discourse. In her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she supports the transition to the Common Core by facilitating professional development and collaboration opportunities for teachers. She is dedicated to providing access for all students and has worked extensively to eliminate barriers that prevent students from enrolling and achieving in higher level coursework.
Maria has served as a District Mentor Teacher for the past 16 years and is the Lead Teacher of a California Academic Partnership Program grant designed to implement the Common Core and create a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education. Her awards include Antioch Unified School District and Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year for 2015-16, and California Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist for 2016. She is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adulthood mathematics.
Maria earned a B.A. in mathematics from California State University, Sacramento. She is certified to teach preK–12 and adult mathematics.
For more information about PAEMST, visit https://paemst.org/.Read More
Contra Costa County’s two 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year (TOY) will be announced at the annual TOY Dinner Celebration, held this Thursday evening, September 22. Two of the four finalists will go on to represent Contra Costa County in the California State Teacher of the Year Program. The county TOY program is presented by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).
More than 400 attendees will be on hand for the dinner, which will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hilton Concord Hotel. The assembly will include the 21 celebrated TOYs, plus numerous educators (K-college), business executives (sponsors), local government, and local political representatives. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by the Hillview Junior High (Pittsburg) Jazz Band, directed by Diane Klaczynski. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata will serve as master of ceremonies. Each of the three finalists, who will be introduced by a former student, will give an inspiring five-minute speech. (The same speech as they gave at the TOY Speech Presentation in late August.) The evening will conclude in excitement and anticipation, with the announcement of the two 2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.
After being named Teacher of the Year by their respective Contra Costa County school districts, then passing a rigorous application screening, followed by a panel classroom observation and interview, and concluding with a speech presentation, two of these four finalists will be selected to represent Contra Costa County as its 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year:
This year’s two Contra Costa County TOYs will join the long list of other finalists, dating back to the 1972-1973 school year. Along with the four finalists, this year’s other 17 TOY candidates will also be honored at this event (for complete list below).
Shauna Hawes teaches computer applications/technology to grades 6-8 at Valley View Middle School, in Pleasant Hill. The 18-year teacher has been with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during her entire teaching career. Prior to her current position, Hawes taught 6th grade core (English, history, and reading) at Valley View. Before coming to Valley View, she taught 5th grade (all subjects) at Hidden Valley Elementary, in Martinez, from 1998-2007.
Gina Minder-Maldonado has recently begun her 26th year of teaching. For the past 18 years, Minder-Maldonado has taught at Oakley Elementary School, in Oakley. Currently teaching 2nd grade, Minder-Maldonado’s former teaching experience includes preschool through 5th, as well as adult education.
Summer Rodriguez has commenced her 17th year as an educator for Liberty High School, in Brentwood. Rodriguez has taught all levels of high school English, AP English language and composition, and AP English literature and composition. In addition to her education duties, she has served as director of the school’s student activities through its Student Leadership Program.
Joyce Rooks began her career in teaching after serving as a senior programmer analyst/senior systems analyst for Mervyns, as well as an independent computer-training consultant. This year, Rooks has begunher 14th year teaching for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she has served as an instructor for Dougherty Valley High, California High, and Coyote Creek Elementary. She has been teaching first and second grades for the past five years at Creekside Elementary, in Danville.
2016-2017 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:
Jamie Cackler Bennetts, Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary
Cynthia Boyko, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High
Rachael Byron, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Dougherty Valley High
Erin Dinday, Martinez Unified School District, Alhambra High
Krystal Figaroa, Pittsburg Unified School District, Stoneman Elementary
Daniel Yoshio Haley, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, El Dorado Middle
Shauna Hawes, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Valley View Middle
Judy Jernigan, Lafayette School District, Lafayette SD Schools
Kristyn Loy, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Stewart Elementary
Judy Mazur, Walnut Creek School District, Buena Vista Elementary
Vicki McGuire, Antioch Unified School District, Sutter Elementary
Aminta Mickles, Contra Costa Community College District, Contra Costa College
Gina Minder-Maldonado, Oakley Union Elementary School District, Oakley Elementary
Dayle Okamitsu, Orinda Union School District, Wagner Ranch Elementary
Lawrence Pang, West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High
Deborah Guillén Rocchild, John Swett Unified School District, John Swett High
Summer Rodriguez, Liberty Union High School District, Liberty High
Joyce Rooks, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Creekside Elementary
Juliet Simens, Brentwood Union School District, Pioneer Elementary
Angela Taylor, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Parole Education Program Oakland Computerized Literacy Learning Center
Sarah Vieira, Byron Union School District, Timber Point Elementary
Note regarding eligible participants:
Sixteen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts, as well as the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program.
Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This year is Contra Costa College’s turn.
Due to the larger number of students and teachers in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates.
Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #cocotoyRead More
Need for civic-minded citizens to help throughout the county in November
Kelly Davis and her fellow Contra Costa volunteers have an early wake-up call on Election Day, but most of them don’t mind the long hours.
Each of them has their own unique reasons for being poll workers. And the Contra Costa County Elections Division is looking for civic-minded men and women to join them on our Election Day Team.
Davis, of Orinda, is motivated to get out of bed on Election Day and stay energized throughout the day to raise money for foster children.
Monnie Segelke of Danville and Maude DiVictor of Richmond both find helping voters fulfilling and they enjoy seeing neighbors and familiar faces at their polling places.
Julie Southern of Antioch, like several volunteers, grew up in families who emphasized civic participation.
“I enjoy being involved in the democratic process, and there’s no better way than being a poll worker because you’re involved in the nitty-gritty,” Southern said. “I can say I’m a part of history.”
The November 2016 election will be an historic one as a new President and state Senator are elected. Voter turnout is anticipated to be the highest it has been in years.
As a result, Contra Costa Elections has more opportunities for volunteers to be poll workers than in years past.
No prior experience is necessary and training is provided. Poll workers receive a stipend for their service, which includes attending a mandatory two-hour training and working 6:00 am to 9:00 pm on Election Day.
Participants receive a special pin denoting their service. Serving as a poll worker does not have any bearing on Social Security or unemployment status, according to State law.
County and State employees are encouraged to apply.
Bilingual citizens are strongly encouraged to volunteer. High School students who are at least 16 and have a grade point average of 2.5 or above may serve as poll workers. Student poll workers will receive a stipend and may fulfill community service requirements.
For more information, visit www.cocovote.us or text “cocoteam” to 28683.
Those who might be interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Elections Division at (925) 335-7800, option 1.Read More
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) announced, last week, that Governor Brown signed her bill, AB 1399, legislation increasing available resources for programs serving victims of domestic violence.
Programs helping victims of domestic violence provide essential, life-saving services to victims and their children. These programs have faced a significant funding shortfall in recent years. AB 1399 will help direct much-needed funding support for these programs through a donation option on California tax returns to the California Domestic Violence Fund. Tax filers can check off a box on their tax returns to contribute their own private funds in excess of their tax liability to organizations supporting victims of domestic violence.
“An increasing need for domestic violence programs throughout California has been met with a decrease in funding for these programs—leaving thousands of children and families without the support they need,” said Assemblywoman Baker. “Government can’t and shouldn’t do it all. AB 1399 efficiently increases the availability of vital resources by providing Californians with the opportunity to contribute to life-saving domestic violence programs.”
On just a single day in 2014, 1,216 requests for services from domestic violence victims went unmet in California, leaving thousands of individuals, children, and families without a safe place to stay or access to vital counseling and resources. Of those unmet needs, approximately 49% of programs report that victims return to their abuser, 37% report that victims become homeless, and 16% report that families end up living in their car.
AB 1399 received unanimous bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate prior to being signed by the Governor.
Baker’s bill is supported by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Center for Domestic Peace, the Alliance for Community Transformations, the Center for Community Solutions, Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments-SAVE, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Junior Leagues of California.
Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.Read More
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has received many requests from the media for comments concerning the scandal involving police officers and sheriff’s deputies from throughout the Bay Area. At the center of these allegations is a young woman who alleges she had had sexual encounters with up to 30 local law enforcement officers, and that some of these encounters occurred when she was 17 years of age.
Recently, we’ve been made aware of additional allegations of possible criminal conduct here in Contra Costa County. We’ve been working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners, and we are reviewing that evidence and those allegations. However, we have not yet completed our own investigation into this matter.
District Attorney Peterson stated “It goes without saying that our office will always investigate any alleged sexual assault or human trafficking crimes that occur within our county, and we’re committed to holding anyone who committed such crimes in Contra Costa County accountable for their actions.”
Saturday morning, September 17, 2016 at about 4:32 a.m., Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a shooting on the first block of Bay Drive in Bay Point.
Upon arrival Deputies found a 20-year-old Bay Point man in a vehicle. He was suffering from gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced deceased on scene by the fire department. The victim is not being identified at this time.
The investigation into this homicide is ongoing.
Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, please email: email@example.com or call 866-846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.