Cara Nixon

UPDATE: WCCUSD teachers vote for tentative contract

A potential strike and district-wide shutdown has likely been avoided after West Contra Costa Unified School District and the United Teachers of Richmond reached a tentative three-year contract agreement Friday, the union said in a newsletter Monday. On Friday, 73% of the 1,182 members casting ballots voted to ratify the deal. Since negotiations began a year ago, WCCUSD and UTR have been unable to agree on salary and on contract language regarding Community Schools, a strategy that focuses on partnerships…

‘I feel like you guys don’t care about our school’: Stege students, staff ask WCCUSD to fix 80-year-old building

“Thirty-eight schools have better stuff than us — why do y’all always put us in the bottom?”  “Can you please help the school? Because we really need a good school because I think having a good school helps me learn.” “I feel like you guys don’t care about our school.”  That’s what Stege Elementary School fourth graders wrote in letters to the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board last school year. Other students wrote letters, too, citing a variety…

WCCUSD teachers union prepares for next step after two-week impasse over salaries

More than two weeks after the West Contra Costa Unified School District declared an impasse with United Teachers of Richmond, many educators are feeling scared and uncertain about the future of their jobs.  Since the negotiation process began in February, UTR’s focus has been on ensuring all students have high quality, certificated educators; providing emotionally and physically safe learning environments; and prioritizing shared decision making among students, their families and teachers. But the sides have been unable to agree on…

People of Richmond: What do you love about your city?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: What do you like most about living in Richmond? “I love being right on the water, I love that wherever I go I’m close to the water. I do the Bay Trail a lot, I live on the Bay Trail. I love watching the wildlife change through the seasons and I love…

People of Richmond: What’s your biggest environmental concern?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: What is your greatest environmental concern in Richmond? “My greatest concern is Chevron and air pollution. The air is not good here and causes diseases, and Chevron is the greatest cause. They have to find a solution for that because our lives matter.” (Hector Maguna, mechanic) “The other day we had a game…

Richmond Election 2022: Polls close, results in key races expected early Wednesday

Soggy weather dissuaded many from voting in person on Tuesday but, apparently, the rain did not keep people from casting ballots. “There have been an enormous number of ballots in the drop-off boxes,” Melissa Hickok, with the Contra Costa County elections office, said Tuesday night. About 229,000 people cast votes in Contra Costa County, about 30% of registered voters. In-person voting picked up during lulls in the rain, Hickok said. But drop-off boxes were filling up, even though Californians had…

Teacher shortage threatens to crumble popular dual-language schools that WCCUSD built over years

Fourth grade dual-language immersion teacher Wendy Gonzalez has been fighting for bilingual education since 1998, often feeling that the school district treated it as more of an afterthought. A teacher shortage in the West Contra Costa Unified School District has exacerbated the problem, she said, leaving dual-language immersion in a precarious place.  “If we don’t have support, it’s going to fail,” she said. “It’s going to crumble.” Three elementary schools — Washington, Stewart and Downer — use the dual-language immersion…

People of Richmond: Could you afford to take family leave?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Would receiving 90% of your pay enable you to take eight weeks off to care for a newborn or sick relative? “Yeah. I have a son that is autistic, I do need that kind of stuff. My mom. I do take care of them. It would be nice to have that.” (Sulaiman…

People of Richmond: Is it time to create a safe parking area for people who live in RVs?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Should Richmond create an RV parking area for people who live in vehicles? And if so, where? “Absolutely, there should be designated areas for people that have no choice but to live in their vehicles due to housing crises and the unavailability of places for people to rent, and the high cost…

‘Where’s my teacher?’ Students and parents want to know why WCCUSD hasn’t filled dozens of teacher vacancies

Parents protested and teachers rallied against West Contra Costa Unified School District on Wednesday, expressing frustrations with how the teacher shortage is being handled and communicated to the community. A few dozen parents, kids and teachers gathered at Memorial Park in Richmond, directly across the street from the WCCUSD headquarters, to demand answers after a lack of teachers has forced some schools to combine classes, hire temporary substitutes or move teachers around to compensate for staffing shortages.  Protesters held signs…