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Charter renewed amid school board shift

The charter of Benito Juarez Elementary was renewed by default last Wednesday because of a strange scenario in which incoming board members were unable to vote and one longstanding school board member stepped away from the dais, leaving the decision without enough votes to legally stand. California charter schools must have their charter reapproved every five years, and Benito Juarez’s renewal was in question because its parent organization, Amethod Public Schools, recently came close to having its charter for John…

Report shows half of Richmond’s charter schools have substandard financial accountability and lack parent engagement

Seven charter schools in Richmond were among 43 charter schools in the state found to have faulty records for funds generated by high needs students, says a report by nonprofit law firm Public Advocates. The report published this year by the advocacy organization known for working with low income communities to bring strategic policy reform found that the charter schools were not abiding by state guidelines. The Local Control Accountability Plan and Local Control Funding Formula are state guidelines adopted…

School board approves trustee-area map

The final map will divide the district into five separate voting areas, each of which will elect one board member in future elections. This area-based system will replace the current at-large elections where school board winners are determined by a district-wide popular vote.

How charter school, real estate and healthcare money helped Wicks outspend Beckles by 4 to 1

The race for California’s 15th Assembly district is one of the most expensive in the state. More than $3.75 million has been spent to support the candidacies of Buffy Wicks and Jovanka Beckles, with spending for Wicks exceeding Beckles by a margin of 4 to 1, a Richmond Confidential analysis of the latest campaign finance reports shows. The reports reveal that nearly 40 percent of Wicks’ support is coming from outside of California. Corporate executives and business interests are heavily…

Student ratios improve for district health professionals, but numbers are still overwhelming

When counselor Teresa Pamintuan arrived in the West Contra Costa County Unified School District more than a decade ago, hundreds of students would be trying to get in to see her every day. She would try to squeeze in dozens of seniors a day for 20-minute one-on-one meetings to help map out their career and college goals. She often skipped lunch. But as the district’s lead counselor in the past year, she has helped reform the overwhelming caseload for school…

Richmond’s homeless community hangs on as Prop 2 promises limited new funding

At the corner of 22nd Street and Carlson Boulevard in Richmond sits a homeless encampment where the unofficial mayor, Oretha “Porkchop” Stevens, is calming down her next-door neighbor Tone. His phone is missing and Porkchop works to reassure him.  “You’re not crazy, you know where you put your stuff! Don’t play with your own mind,” she says with authority, perched on the bed inside her tent from where she presides all day over her dozen neighbors’ lives. She and her…

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