Tag Archives: school

‘Tot lot,’ other projects funded


Last month, the First 5 Yolo organization awarded $40,000 in mini-grants to organizations supporting children 0 to 5 in local communities.

DON SAYLOR, Yolo County Board of Supervisors member (District 2) and chairman of First 5 Yolo (photo from County of Yolo)

“We received 26 requests for more than $111,775 in funding,” said Yolo County Supervisor and First 5 Yolo Chair, Don Saylor in a First 5 Yolo press release.  “Each proposal demonstrated a serious need in our communities.  Since we couldn’t fund everything, we prioritized the proposals based on the greatest positive long-term impact for Yolo county children and families.”

First 5 Yolo awarded funds to12 projects for a total of $40,000.  Each organization received full or partial funding of their request up to $5,000 per project.

The largest amount of money, $17,610, will be used to finance programs meant to  help prepare young children to be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.  Successful proposals include programs by Sutter Davis Pediatrics Reach out and Read Program, Yolo County Library Celebration Dia de los Ninos/Libros, Woodland Library Books for Babies, First Steps Infant Program Carolina Curriculum Training, and the Northern California Children’s Therapy Center Communication/Collaboration Project.

Five organizations were granted a total of $12,740 to improve the social and emotional health for young children, including the Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center for a conference to increase foundational knowledge of child abuse, early child development and interviewing the very young.  In addition, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center was funded for a program on protecting and raising children; the Yolo Family Service Agency’s Partnership for Early Access was funded; EMQ Families First received funds for staff training on the effects of drug exposure on children; and the Yolo Wayfarer Center was funded to increase staff capacity for providing skilled interventions to help reduce the distress children experience when their families are facing homelessness.

 Programs funded to improve the physical health of young children include a preschool hearing screening program by the Hearing Loss Association, Woodland Chapter; and the City of West Sacramento Parks and Community Services for a Tot-lot Playground in Westfield Village.   These programs received a total of $9,650.

For more information about the First 5 Yolo’s mini-grants, contact Julie Gallelo, executive director at 530-669-2475 or go to www.first5yolo.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2012

OPINION: whether to answer ‘just a few questions’

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 21, 2011


The local school board has approved a contract with a political consultant to explore a new school bond or parcel tax in West Sacramento. The measure would seek to raise funds to build a performing arts center at the new high school, and to start a new technical education center for some of the district’s non college-going students.

A new ballot measure would probably also fund other projects around the district – partly out of widespread need for things such as facility repair, and partly out of a political strategy to get as many community members as possible to “buy in” to a new bond measure. Typically, in a new bond measure, there’s a little something for everybody – something for the high school in Southport, and something for parents of a kid in the second grade in Broderick.

  WUSD’s consultant will conduct interviews to try to determine community concerns and also to explore the campaign politics likely to surround a ballot measure for November, 2012.

This news is a reminder about political surveys and interviews in general: things are often not what they seem when someone is interviewing you for the political issue or campaign of the day. And, merely by participating, you may end up accidentally helping a political effort you oppose.

Often, when a survey company calls you, you aren’t told exactly who they’re working for. But even when you are told (as you presumably will be if you’re picked for one of these WUSD school bond interviews), your answers will probably be used in ways you don’t foresee.

A few comments about campaign surveys in general:

Some surveys are known as “push polls” – under the guise of asking for your opinion, the surveyor is asking you carefully crafted questions designed to push you in the direction they want you to go: “Would you support Measure Q if you knew it would cost this city over 4,500 jobs?”

Well, you may have been in favor of Measure Q before you got that phone call. But now, they have you wondering. There may be no factual basis at all to believe that Q would cost anybody a job – but now, you’ve got that job-killing idea stuck in your head.

Political surveys can also be designed to figure out how to get a campaign around your defenses, and the defenses of voters with like minds to yours. By answering questions from a survey commissioned by one of these people, you may help them figure out how to better craft their campaign – and defeat your own point of view.

So be careful when you pick up the phone and agree to answer “just a few questions.”


When a discount liquor store applied for a permit to take over the former Blockbuster Video site at West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, the News-Ledger objected.

West Capitol has a troubled reputation already for crime, drugs and alcohol. There are plenty of other liquor-vendors on the same block. And the site was just too prominent, facing one of the city’s busiest intersections and viewed by just about everybody heading to the nearby city hall, community center and city college campus.

The city planning commission evidently had some of the same concerns, giving the liquor store a thumbs-down.

Instead, a Chase bank branch has just opened at the location, boasting a spiffy and attractive new façade. Now, Chase is one of those American mega-banks whose mortgage lending practices helped create the economy we’re in today.

That begs the question: would that streetcorner’s image have been better off with the liquor store?

  To comment on this editorial, please visit the identical article at our sister website, www.WestSac.com.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011



Sometimes, the News-Ledger gets letters.

This week, readers sounded off on the need for a new school bond (in part to build a new performing arts center at River City High School) and on whether it’s a good idea — or a partisan political maneuver — to require people to show government ID in order to vote.

Check out the opinions below.


Build the RCHS theater

(Re: ‘WUSD looking at possible new school bond or parcel tax measure,’ News-Ledger, Dec. 7)

Now is the time to build the theater for River City High School and the career trade facility for West Sacramento. Whereas the cost of construction in the mid-2000s was high because the economy was booming, now the economy is anemic, contractors are hungry for work, and bids will be very competitive.

  In addition, the costs for the bond will be lower than they were even just four years ago due to lower interest rates, and by the time the theater is actually under construction in 2013, the economy will start to grow and when completed we should actually be in good economic times, which will help with the bond repayments.

When I was on the school board we built the new RCHS and at that time we knew the theater would have to be built at a later time because of the cost. We also knew that a new bond issue would have to be passed in order to build it. The theater site is already planned. The design has already been drawn and does not need much additional work. The students are eager for the theater as is the community.

Now is the time to build.

I would suggest a June 2012 vote and I would encourage the community to support the expansion.

West Sacramento

Suppressing the vote

The party of “I Got Mine But I Want More”, otherwise known as “The Republican Party,” is embarking on a nationwide effort to suppress Democratic voting by passing laws in Republican-controlled areas that impose new and burdensome requirements on voters and voting.  These new laws now require poor people, who usually vote Democratic, to have photo ID’s.

Millions of poor people do not own a car, therefore no driver’s license, no way to get to DMV, no money to spend on anthing but food, etc.  You get the idea.  Republicans have no ideas that work for the vast majority of Americans, so they have to cheat again (remember Bush v Gore) to get back in power.  This present group of leaders in the party of “I Got Mine But I Want More” have shown themselves to be a disgraceful example of how democratic leaders should act, so we need to be very wary when it comes to our civil rights.  These guys have proven to be quite unscrupulous, taking orders from the likes of P.R. pukes like Carl Rove and his ilk.

The suppression of civil rights now being perpetrated on some of our Latino citizens (gang injunction) is an example of what can happen if we are not wary.  I wonder if these folks being locked in their homes still get to vote.  I sure hope so, so they can help us run these Republicans out of town for a while. Our whole American way of life is hanging in the balance in this next election in 2012.  It is important that everybody gets to vote.

Maybe District Attorney Jeff Reisig will enlighten us on this topic.  So far Mr. Reisig has chosen not to answer any of my questions asked of him, including emails to his office.

West Sacramento

  To comment on these issues, visit the same article at our sister website, www.WestSac.com.

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to freetrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

WUSD looks at new school bond


‘Finishing’ RCHS, building career trade school campus are both being considered’

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s school district may ask local voters to approve new school bonds or parcel taxes a year from now. The money could be used to help finish the new River City High School campus, and build a career and technical education center elsewhere in West Sacramento.

“We do have some interest in taking a look at completing the high school, including a performing arts center,” Superintendent Dayton Gilleland told the News-Ledger yesterday. “Also a career technical education center. And we have roofs that need work throughout the district.”

  Gilleland said it was too early to talk about the dollar amounts Washington Unified School District might request from local voters. The school board will make some decisions on its shopping list and any bond or parcel tax request after the results of a new consultant’s study come in.

On Thursday, the board is scheduled to consider a contract (valued at around $20-30,000) with a consulting group called Solem & Associates. WUSD officials propose to hire the company to interview several hundred demographically-chosen voters and try to gauge their reaction to different proposals and “test a range of bond amounts that include the annual cost to a typical homeowner,” as the company’s initial proposal states.

The survey would ask voters about which potential projects on the district’s shopping list are important to them, and which campaign arguments (on both sides of a possible bond or tax campaign) might be most persuasive.

The consulting company says it recognizes that this is not an ideal economy in which to ask voters to pay more local taxes:

Voters “expect local districts to tighten their belts just as they’ve been doing with their personal finances,” said Solem’s proposal.

Local voters approved bonds to pay for the new high school that opened three years ago. But they saw cost estimates skyrocket, taking that project over $150 million – despite dropping one classroom wing and a planned performing arts center from the project. So how can WUSD now convince local voters to part with more money for the same project?

Gilleland – who became superintendent after the school was built – said that “trust” will help.
“We can’t turn the clock back,” said Gilleland. “We could establish (to the public) how the funds were utilized. I think we’ve established some trust in the school district.”

Building a career technical vocational facility is also important to the school board, and could be funded by new money from voters, he said.

“It could be a ‘magnet’ school that draws kids from the other campuses for part of the day,” Gilleland explained. The facility could help train kids who aren’t headed for a traditional college or university, and who instead are looking for services in fields such as biomedical services, engineering, communications, web design, health services or construction.

The career training campus might go at what’s currently the Bryte Elementary campus, after that kindergarten-through-second-grade school consolidates with Riverbank Elementary’s grade 3-8 campus.
When might voters see a ballot for a new parcel tax or school bond measure?

“We’re looking at the suitability of the November election a year from now,” answered Gilleland.

  Meanwhile, the district is also reevaluating its landholdings, and considering whether to hold, lease or sell WUSD real estate. The evaluation process follows a state-mandated procedure, involving formation of a special committee governed by rules of the education code.

The committee will look at WUSD’s real estate, examine enrollment projections, and make a report to the school board on what, if anything, to do.

“It’s just something we wanted to do on a periodic basis,” said Gilleland. “The layperson – and I count myself as one of those – would assume this is not a promising time to sell any surplus property.”

The so-called “7-11 Committee” meets Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Room 75 in the district office to continue its discussions of WUSD real estate.

The school board itself will convene at 6 p.m. on Thursday at city hall, 1110 West Capitol Avenue. Part of the agenda will deal with the proposed contract with Solem & Associates regarding a school bond and property tax survey.

To COMMENT on this article, please visit the same article at our sister website, www.WestSac.com

  Support local journalism, and see all our articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger.  It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to freetrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

Grant will promote kids walking, biking to school


The City of West Sacramento announced Oct. 20 that it had received a $496,000 federal grant to implement a new “Safe and Healthy Routes to School Project.” The grant was administered by Caltrans.

The project will seek to “establish a culture of walking and biking to school in West Sacramento” and to make infrastructure improvements that may be needed to help students do that. The program will run from 2012-2014.

The project will include “comprehensive education and encouragement programs customized to meet the needs of each of eight West Sacramento” elementary schools, said a press release from Greta Vohlers, Transportation Program Specialist for the city. The schools include grades kindergarten through eight.

“We expect to build bottom-up support for safe routes to school and leave a dedicated group of advocates who can grow and maintain similar programs after the close of this project,” said Vohlers.

At least one “parent champion” will be recruited from each campus, and trained to help encourage walking and biking to school.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

Volleyball finishes tied for fourth

Amanda McGuffey seen in action for the River City High JV team on Oct. 31, 2011, against Cosumnes Oaks

Amanda McGuffey seen in action for the JV Team (photo by DE'ONNA JACK



River City High School’s volleyball team played their Cosumnes Oaks on Oct. 31.    The freshman squad had the night off. The Raider junior varsity lost 2-0, while the Varsity won in 5 by a final of 3-2.

Tiffany Monroy,  seen in action for the River City High School varsity volleyball team on Oct. 31, 2011, against Cosumnes Oaks  (photo by DE’ONNA JACK)

Tiffany Monroy, seen in action for the Varsity Team (photo by DE’ONNA JACK)

The team played its final game of the season on Nov. 2 at Liberty Ranch. The RCHS frosh won 2-0, while the j.v. and varsity teams each lost their match.

The 2011 team tied for fourth place in league standings.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

High score for RCHS senior


NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 2, 2011 —

River City High School’s Alana Csaposs has received a “letter of commendation” from the National Merit Scholarship Program.

According to the school, she is among the 50,000 highest-testing students from over 1.5 million nationwide who took the PSAT last year. That test is a precursor to the SAT test taken by many college-bound seniors.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011