The Vallejo City Unified School District is over funded



By John and Maureen Kocourek

The School Board is scheduled to conduct a Budget Study Session on March 18.

If you want evidence that the Vallejo City Unified School District is over funded, that no further bond measures will be needed, and that tax revenue is being wasted, then you need look no further than the classified ads in the local newspapers…

This is one example of how disconnected our VCUSD hierarchy is from the community it is supposed to serve.

When people are outraged about a glossy booklet and the cost associated with it, delivered to every household in the District, the District’s response to the outrage is to spend more of our tax money on a consultant who will,]

“support the District in effectively disseminating and communicating important information…”

The consultant will also…

“…support the District in providing feedback on press releases, newsletters, reports and bbrouchures (sic), and ensure dissemination of positive stories about the District…”

We, the taxpayers and residents can provide this feedback at no charge to the District.  Stop wasting precious tax resources on, “spin” and put the dollars into the classroom.  How about Improving the dismal dropout rate, keeping the students and faculty safe, and educating students?

As taxpayers, we can tell you that when VCUSD pulls stunts like this, we reflect on them when we fill out our ballots and will continue to vote “NO” on school bond measures.


Note: All opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.

'The Vallejo City Unified School District is over funded' have 18 comments

  1. January 22, 2015 @ 7:36 pm worthlessbishop

    I thought that was supposed to be Alana’s job. Yep, just what we need – yet another person (lackey) singing the praises of Ramona. In education code, there is a statute that compares administrators ratio to teachers. My understanding is that the district is very rarely in compliance – that is, they tend to be top heavy. But yeah, let’s keeping hiring more “consultants” and other people who do not directly interact with students.


  2. January 25, 2015 @ 8:05 am Bong Hit

    Thank you John and Maureen, good catch. While were talking about K-12 education in Vallejo and trying hard to hold back tears of sadness…

    Here is an excellent read by Robin Eubanks, a US attorney who has been studying K-12 education policy and the impact of common core in the curriculum. Here in Vallejo we have plenty to worry about in our public K-12 education with failed schools and incompetent administration. Now on the horizon comes yet another threat in the common core movement. It’s important to understand the exact nature of what they call common core. At it’s base it is a set of sophisticated physiological and phycological programming techniques that are used to promote social and political positions through the development of your child’s mind. It’s reminiscent of the re-education camps that so many of the failed states in world history tried to use on a innocent population of people and were later destroyed by those same people when they rose up to defeat the communist perpetrators.

    If you’re interested, give this a quick scan:

    This is a blueprint that describes the underlying principles of the “climate” movement and how programming techniques included in common core will be used to program your child’s mind:

    America is great because we have enjoyed the best public education system in the world where the basic building blocks of knowledge were taught and people were free to form their own conclusions about the world. This is now threatened by people who want to promote a message in education rather than prioritizing the teaching and nurturing of free citizens.


  3. January 25, 2015 @ 11:07 am wharf rat

    Yes Bong Hit , Common core is in fact rotten to the core , good for you for not drinking the Koolaid , our District Administration laps up this crap , result is that a huge percentage of our Students are being brainwashed all while being dumbed down . Put your ‘tin foil hat on’ and check out this link


  4. January 25, 2015 @ 11:44 am wharf rat

    Sounds like ‘artificial dissemination or the propagation of rhetoric’ , how pathetic that an Administration cant even write an adequate RFQ for a spin Doctor . One would think , with a brood full of PHD’S , EDU’S and the bevy of advanced degrees
    that populate the Palace on MI , they could at least produce a quality job description for their very own spinner , when an organization is incapable of producing even the most elementary propaganda perhaps their existence needs
    evaluation ..


  5. January 25, 2015 @ 1:31 pm Anonymous

    When the VCUSD School Board interviewed the candidates this past week, did they pose the question that I posted here about their professional opinion about Common Core in California? They didn’t ask the question? Enough said.


  6. January 25, 2015 @ 8:06 pm Anon

    This is a school district, not an independent nation. Can’t they do a better job with the tax revenues?


  7. January 29, 2015 @ 9:20 am Yardbird

    Classrooms continue to be staffed with long term subs and Special Ed classes are over enrollment with more on the waiting list. Subs receive $125/day whether or not they are credentialed. If the District truly cared about the quality of teaching in the classroom they would offer high pay to the retired teachers who have classroom management skills and subject matter knowledge as does the the higher scoring Fairfield District. No new funds until current funds are used properly!


  8. January 31, 2015 @ 12:52 am Marianne Kearney-Brown

    I am completely baffled by the hysteria about the common core standards.

    Here are the common core math practice standards:
    1.Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
    2.Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    3.Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    4.Model with mathematics
    5.Use appropriate tools strategically.
    6.Attend to precision.
    7.Look for and make use of structure.
    8.Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning (Common Core Standards Initiative, 2012).

    These are direct and to the point. If children can meet these standards, they will graduate from high school, ready for college.


  9. January 31, 2015 @ 7:48 am Bong Hit

    Oh boy Marianne, you need to do a little reading on the standards board that developed the initial framework for common core. There were two curriculum expert PhD educators on the board; one was a literature and reading expert and one was a mathematics expert. At the end of their board process and when the framework was revealed to the general public they both strenuously objected to the final product! The math professor called common core a disaster and dangerous for children. That’s just the very tip of the iceberg. I can tell you from direct experience that the math techniques are a disaster. Once again, what common core tries to do is lower the educational standard in order to achieve the appearance of a closed achievement gap. In reality what it does is place our American children further behind our international competitors.


    • January 31, 2015 @ 3:37 pm Marianne Kearney-Brown

      Again, I am baffled. THose are the standards. I am a math teacher with a dgree in mechanical engineering. I am delighted by the standards because they assume that we want children to think like mathematicians. The standards they are replacing assumed there was educational value in requiring children to memorize arcane procedures, devoid of meaning.

      “Bong hit”, you refer to some nameless PhDs who ” both strenuously objected to the final product! “. You do not tell me why. Then you mention your “direct experience” but do not tell me what that is. And then you conclude that the new standards are dangerous for children.

      Math Practice Standard #3 is “Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others” Do you feel this is dangerous? Tell me how teaching children to “Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them ” is dangerous.

      Give me one specific example of a danger in these standards. The math professors I know at Cal, at Cornell, at Princeton as well as several CSUs welcome these standards. I will even give you their names, if you give me yours. 🙂


      • February 1, 2015 @ 8:52 am Bong Hit

        Marianne, your credentials are outstanding and you seem to have some very impressive friends. Thank you for dedicating your career to helping children learn, there is no more honorable profession than teaching. I’m sure you are aware of the massive push back in this country against common core. Parents and school districts don’t want it. That movement is growing and is bipartisan. Now we could just say that all these people are ignorant and we know what’s best for them and their children. Somehow I don’t think that is a legitimate argument.

        Children need good tools in their intellectual tool box. 7 x 7 = 49, the square root of 4 is 2. Yes, this is memorization but it gives the child and young adult the basic tools to deal with daily tasks. For the kids who wish to go into medicine, science and engineering, they will begin to explore the reasons why the square root of 4 is 2. Here in our humble little corner of the world, Vallejo public high school graduation rate hovers around 50%. If common core is used in our schools we won’t even be providing the kids who drop out the most basic of math tools. They will have participated in exercises that indulge in thinking about math but not gain the solid tools it takes to make change at a MacDonald’s.


        • February 1, 2015 @ 3:18 pm Marianne

          I am aware of some backlash. I am unaware of any substantive basis for this backlash. I hear a lot of “experts say…” and “everyone knows…” and “from what I’ve heard…”, but I have not heard one reasonable argument against these standards. But I am hoping you can help me: who are these experts, parents or districts? What , exactly, do they oppose.

          I agree that 7 x 7 does equal 49 and the square root of 4 is 2. But I disagree that these are best taught as “facts” to be memorized without context. (I will say I met a math professor from UCLA who agrees with you. His point was that if a person could not make sense of meaningless memorization on their own, they had no business studying math or science. But I digress.)

          So I ask you–are you really saying that memorizing a bunch of “math facts” is useful if children have no idea what these “facts” actually mean or how to use them? If “yes”, on what do you base this opinion? (Please do not reference your nameless professors-parents-districts. Give me something real.)


  10. February 2, 2015 @ 7:53 am Bong Hit

    It’s almost unbelievable to me Marianne that you haven’t heard of any substantive basis for the backlash against common core. It sounds like you’re being honest but just a little research will give you a substantial amount of concerns expressed from every corner of the nation.

    Start here and read about some of the people who are speaking out on this latest test and punish, one size fits all standards regime.

    Parents don’t want common core and teachers don’t want common core so that’s all I need to hear on this question of educational policy. In addition, I agree with their concerns wholeheartedly.

    On the question of “math facts” and their value to a child. Yes, just as a budding piano player must practice the mindless scales, octaves and chords on the piano keyboard in preparation to make music, math facts are a necessary precursor to a modern human being operating effectively in this world. Finding the deeper meaning behind 22/7 can come down the road once the young adults decides she will go on to study Calculus. People need these math facts in their daily lives to do daily tasks.


    • February 2, 2015 @ 9:31 pm Marianne

      OK–I spend all my days dealing with children who know “seven times eight is fifty-six” but do not know what 56/7 is and have no idea whether or not 112 is divisible by 14 . I get an alarming number of kids who can subtract 193 from 2004 and get and answer like 10, 981 and think it could possibly be “the right answer”. I have kids who ask for help with division and when I ask them what “division” means, they say “Well, you make a little house, like this…and you put the big number inside and the little number here….and then I am not sure what you do…”

      It is not as though we have been doing this bang up job of teaching math and all of a sudden there is this conspiracy to ruin all the good work we’ve been doing. MOST KIDS DO NOT LEARN ANY MATH AT ALL!!!

      Math is a language that describes the phyical world. It is not a collection of rules and procedures to be memorized. The kids who do nto understand divisiblity nevr magiacally “get it” when they are in claculus. Thye never make it to calculus.

      So here is something: 5+12=3 9+23=8 130 +6=4. Do you understand what I am doing? I’ll show you one more 3+164= 11. Got it? no? Well, try memorizing them, see if that helps. Then tell me what 7+ 33=. Can you do it?


    • February 2, 2015 @ 9:37 pm Marianne

      Yes, I ahve seen these “concerns”. Again, I am unaware of any substantive opposition to the standards.

      I do oppose the focus on high stakes testing, the goal of which is more on punishment than anything else.


    • February 3, 2015 @ 7:36 am marianne

      If it is any consolation to you, VUSCD is ignoring the common core standards as far as math is concerned. That are continuing to treat math as a collection of facts and procedures to be memorized, which I believe you approve of? . The books in grades 4 to 8 are indistinguishable from the pre-standard books. The homework is the same and the tests are the same. No one has put any energy into aligning instruction to the new state standards.

      Let’s ignore the state tests for the next few years. Vallejo has been almost last in the state for the past few years anyway; no where to go but up. But in the next few years, many schools and districts will be changing their approach towards math instruction. Vallejo has not even attempted to, so vallejo can be the control. In a few years, let’s compare vallejo SAT scores to state’s and the country’s. (The SATs are not connected to any state standards) My prediction is that Vallejo, with its dogged commitment to the status quo, will have dropped even farther behind the rest of the state, country and the world.

      We can continue our discussion then.


      • February 3, 2015 @ 9:21 pm Bong Hit

        Marianne, the details of math instruction you posted here are very helpful. Thank you again for giving the readers of this site a glimpse into the school district. Much appreciated. I agree, let’s examine the record after the next WASC visit and see what progress is reported. Please understand, I don’t approve of very much this district does but I do strongly approve of the teachers who decide to dedicate their careers to teach here. If I were king, teachers would be empowered to teach their classes in the manner they thought best fit their students, the federal dept. of education would be closed and the revenue saved would be used to increase pay.


  11. February 2, 2015 @ 9:36 am Anonymous

    And while we’re on the subject of K-12 education, here’s a couple of articles for you all to inform yourselves ……

    Gov. Jerry Brown Hit With Massive $1 Billion Common Core Bill

    Mobile and Interactive Media Use by Young Children: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown


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