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Urban farmers in Richmond are helping in the fight against food insecurity

Farmers prepare the fields for winter in a lot neighboring the industrial metropolis of Richmond, Calif. They harvest the last of the tomatoes and basil and plant broccoli and brussels sprouts. Demand for food has never been higher, but thanks to groups such as Urban Tilth, people in Richmond are continuing to get fresh produce.  As food insecurity racks Richmond’s low-income communities, farmers have become one of the residents’ saving grace. Urban Tilth, a Richmond-based farm dedicated to providing fresh…

Votes are in – Superintendent Duffy stays, for now

The West Contra Costa County Unified School District (WCCUSD) board held a special closed meeting Friday night and voted unanimously not to terminate the contract of Superintendent Matthew Duffy, Board President Tom Panas said. Superintendent Duffy was not present at the November 15 meeting, which had been called to review his employment.  But supporters—including teachers, parents and residents—turned out to urge the board not to fire him. On Wednesday, school board member Mister Phillips issued a statement that he believed…

Cal Prep members advocate for charter renewal

Faculty, students, and parents from Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory Academy (Cal Prep) urged the Board of Education to renew the school’s charter at this week’s meeting of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) at Lovonya DeJean Middle School. Cal Prep is a public charter and early college secondary school in Richmond. During a public forum at Wednesday night’s meeting, Cal Prep supporters testified that the charter renewal would allow Cal Prep to continue with its mission statement…

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…

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…