State Of California Cuts Back “Federal Surplus Personal Property Program” That Allowed California School Districts To Purchase Equipment At Extremely Low Cost

At precisely the time when a faltering economy means cities and schools need to save money, the state of California has decimated one of the very programs that helps local governments cut costs.

For decades, schools districts like the Huntington Beach Union High School District and the Anaheim Union High School District have depended on an obscure program that allows nonprofits, small businesses and local governments to acquire surplus federal equipment at dramatically reduced prices.

Under the Federal Surplus Personal Property Program, you can get a$15,000 forklift for $1,000, an $8,000 Dodge van for $750.

“That’s how we’re sending money to the classroom. We don’t have to buy a $60,000 truck,” said Steve Bradford, fleet manager for the Huntington Beach district. He said his district has acquired staff cars, trucks, vans, electric carts, forklifts, trailers and portable lights through the program.

“It’s been a life saver for us,” said Scott McDonough, garage supervisor for the Anaheim district, who estimates that 35 to 40 percent of the 150 vehicles in his “white” fleet (non-school buses) were obtained through the program.

To cut costs, however, the state recently closed the program’s headquarters in Santa Ana and moved the operation to Sacramento. That might not sound like a big deal, but McDonough and Bradford say it’s been a disaster. They say the program doesn’t work now and they can’t figure out what equipment is available.

http://taxdollars.freedomblogging.com/author/bjoseph/

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Orange County Schools Compete At El Modena High In “Orange County Mathematics Field Day Program”

Hundreds of 4th-, 5th- and 6th-graders showed that it’s cool to be smart as they proved their math skills at the Orange County Mathematics Field Day Program at El Modena High School.

Top math performers from nearly 30 elementary and middle schools in north Orange County teamed up and practiced for months leading to the event, pouring over pre-algebra and geometry problems and learning mental math techniques to prepare for the competition.

Kathy Kim, a fourth-grade teacher and the math coach at Canyon Rim Elementary School in Anaheim Hills said some students, especially girls, shy away from doing well once they reach eighth grade.

Girls scored an average of 542 – 35 points lower than boys – on the SAT math section, according to 2004-2005 California Department of Education data – the most recent statistics available in revealing the gender gap.

“Some kids might be interested in trying out, but they feel like they’ll be labeled,” Kathy said. “What I try to let them know is you can be popular and outgoing and still be good at math.”

Fifth-graders from Anderson Elementary School in Garden Grove put their geometry skills to the test when constructing a boat out of card stock and a sticky label that was to hold pennies inside without sinking.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/grade-school-elementary-2401832-math-fourth

Huntington Beach And Fountain Valley Schools Honored As “California Distinguished Schools”: Dwyer Middle School, Edison High School, Marina High School, Vista View Middle School, Fulton Middle School, And Masuda Middle School

california-distinguished-school1Dwyer Middle School and Edison and Marina high schools in Huntington Beach joined Vista View, Fulton and Masuda middle schools in Fountain Valley for the honor, which recognizes the top public schools in the state.The schools were among 136 middle and 125 high schools around the state to receive this year’s honor, out of nearly 2,400 schools statewide. State Supt. Jack O’Connell called each school’s principal Wednesday to give them the news.

This was Fulton’s first Distinguished School honor, and comes on the heels of big gains in its students’ math scores, Principal Chris Christensen said. The school surpassed 900 points on its recent API exam, giving it one of the top grades in the state.

After taking a dip in 2007, the school made a concerted effort to raise its math scores above even 2006 levels, which may have caught the eye of the nominating committee.

Fulton also has run a Spotlight program over the last two years that Christensen said gives struggling math and English students the chance to get extra tutoring during their regular elective period.

The school also has focused on improving its eighth-grade science program, and has become knowledgeable of data-driven instruction methods that allow the school’s Professional Learning Communities, groups of teachers who work together to improve student achievement, to go back to challenging portions of the curriculum and give students additional assistance.

Edison High chose to focus on its ways of integrating the school’s special education population in its application, as well as the parent partnership the school has developed, Principal D’liese Melendrez said. She has already notified parents of the achievement through the school’s phone system, and was delighted to find that the county Department of Education planted signs and balloons in front of the school last Thursday morning.

Principal Don Ruisinger said this is Dwyer’s third Distinguished School honor, but the first since he took the school’s helm.

http://hbindependent.com/articles/2009/04/09/top_stories/hbi-distinguished040909.txt

 

 

Orange County Schools Receive Thirty-One “California Distinguished Schools” Designations

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Thirty-one Orange County public middle schools and high schools have been named California Distinguished Schools, the state’s top honor for campuses.

The prize goes to just 10 percent of campuses statewide.

Tustin Public Schools Foundation And Prime Credit Funding In Promotional Partnership With “PrimeStudent” To Donate $100 To Tustin Unified School District Schools For Every Home Loan Funded In Disctrict

primestudentlogo2

 

 

Prime Credit Funding is

committed to supporting local

education.

 

 

  

(Click Here To Find Out More)

(Click Here)

With our PrimeStudent Program, we will donate

$100 to the Tustin Public Schools Foundation for

every home loan we close within the Tustin Unified

School District in 2009.

California State Ballot Measures Needed To Help Solve Budget Crisis And Fund Schools Are Falling Short Of 50% Support In May Special Election

Five state ballot measures aimed at solving California’s budget crisis are falling short of the support needed to pass in the May special election, a sign that voters may force lawmakers into another fierce clash over tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The state’s dismal economy has already partly unraveled the budget deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature reached last month, with a drop in tax collections leaving a new $8-billion shortfall. Rejection of the ballot measures would widen the gap to nearly $14 billion.

The least popular measure, Proposition 1C, is also the one that state leaders are counting on most for immediate fiscal relief: It would let the state borrow $5 billion against future lottery revenues. The cost, to be paid over decades, would be billions in new interest obligations, and less lottery money to meet future spending needs.

The poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Proposition 1C would lose in a rout if the May 19 election were held today, with 37% of likely voters in favor and 50% opposed.

Faring slightly better, but still decisively rejected, would be Proposition 1A. It would cap state spending while extending billions in temporary tax hikes for an extra two years. The survey found 39% of likely voters for the measure and 46% against it.

So far, Proposition 1A is the measure that has drawn the most attention. Conservatives on talk radio, enraged by the extension of the tax hikes, have made its defeat a top priority. Some labor unions are weighing whether to campaign against the spending cap.

The dynamics of the special election are volatile, and public opinion could swing dramatically once campaign advertising begins. The poll found more than 10% of likely voters are undecided on most of the ballot measures. Also, voter turnout is likely to be low, and it is unclear what mix of Californians will wind up casting ballots in the oddly timed election.

Passage of each ballot measure requires at least one vote above 50%. Three measures were winning a plurality of support in the poll, but still falling short of the 50% threshold. The poll has a margin of sampling error of three percentage points among likely voters.

The poll found likely voters lukewarm on twin measures to loosen restrictions on money that Californians have dedicated solely to children’s health and mental health programs under previous initiatives.

Both measures, Propositions 1D and 1E, fall a few points short of 50%, but more voters backed them than opposed them.

Voter sentiment was split on Proposition 1B, which puts money into schools in future years to make up for cuts this year, with 44% in favor and 41% opposed. Lawmakers made it part of the ballot package in part to dissuade the state’s potent teachers unions from joining the opposition campaign.

All in all, “the supporters of the propositions have their work cut out for them,” said pollster Mark Baldassare, president of the policy institute.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-poll26-2009mar26,0,3460616.story

Tustin Public Schools Foundation Announces 2009 “Dinosaur Dash Run For Education” Logo Winner For November 1 Event

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(CLICK ON PHOTO TO DONATE TO TUSTIN PUBLIC SCHOOLS)

Beckman High student Robert Lieu’s design won the Tustin Public Schools Foundation’s logo contest for the 2009 Dinosaur Dash Run for Education.

The foundation received 65 entries from Tustin students. Lieu won the $100 prize, and his teacher, Gigi Manning, will receive $100 for classroom art supplies.

The Dinosaur Dash will be Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Market Place in Tustin at Jamboree Road and Bryan Avenue. Proceeds benefit schools in the Tustin Unified School District.

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/local/tustin/article_2343595.php