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At the Day of Learning, museum visitors reflect on Richmond’s Jewish history

Although she has been living in Richmond for about 20 years, Margaret Lee had not been aware of the mark her fellow members of the Jewish community have left on the city. In fact, attending last week’s “Day of Learning” at the Richmond Museum of History, a gathering commemorating the Holocaust, was the first time she had engaged with the stories of other local Jewish people, she said. The gathering was one of the events held in conjunction with the…

Council hears presentation on School Resource Officers and wastewater

On Tuesday, the Richmond City Council heard presentations on wastewater infrastructure and School Resource Officers—or SROs—among other items. SROs, who are full-time police officers stationed at schools, have come under criticism recently in the West Contra Costa Unified School District due to budget constraints and because parents, teachers and other community members have raised questions about their effect on school climate. Several members of the Richmond Police Department—Chief Allwyn Brown, Sergeant Lynette Parker and Officer Joseph England—explained the role of…

West Contra Costa school board will soon release its trustee-area map after a year of controversy

The journey toward the new voting system in the school district began in 2002, when the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 was enacted, making it easier for minority groups to prove at-large elections dilute their vote. Though most California elections have historically been held at-large, the voting rights act has caused a surge of lawsuits in recent years, either threatened or real, prompting more than 100 school districts and cities to shift to trustee-area elections.

‘We’re school shopping for mediocre:’ Richmond’s students and parents try to navigate a ‘broken’ education system

Seventeen-year-old Phillip Poe starts his days early. He gets up at 5:45 a.m. so that he can catch a ride to BART with a family member. Then he takes a train to catch a bus, arriving at school just before 8 a.m. His days end late, too. He often doesn’t return until 10 p.m., sometimes taking a long bus ride home after evening varsity basketball practice. After finishing homework, he gets to bed by midnight, catching less than six hours…

Richmond teachers struggle to afford housing on “poverty level” salaries

Diane Maddox sold gold jewelry as a side hustle, just to get by during her 33 years of teaching in Richmond. The single mother raised her two daughters in an apartment above a garage. It took the 56-year-old Maddox more than two decades until she could finally afford to purchase a home. She currently teaches transitional kindergarten for English learners at Downer Elementary School. “I’m a single parent in the Bay Area, so then trying to make it on one…

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.

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