Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Rumble in Rivertown, Round 3: Five of seven Antioch School Board candidates square off at forum

Friday, September 16th, 2016
Five of the seven candidates for Antioch School Board participated in the Friday Morning Breakfast Club's forum on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

Five of the seven candidates for Antioch School Board participated in the Friday Morning Breakfast Club’s forum on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

By Allen Payton

At a forum for Antioch School Board candidates in the November election, hosted by the Friday Morning Breakfast Club on Thursday, September 8, 2016, five of the seven squared off, debating and discussing the issues facing the Antioch Unified School District.

Two candidates, incumbent Diane Gibson-Gray and news site publisher Mike Burkholder said they couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict with back-to-school night, at the same time as the forum. However, both appointed incumbents Fernando Navarro and Alonzo Terry attended the forum. Navarro said he visited one school and with his children’s teachers prior to the forum, and Terry arrived late to the forum in order to fulfill his commitment to visit three schools.

In addition, former school board trustees, Gary Hack and Joy Motts, along with substitute teacher and tutoring business owner Crystal Sawyer-White participated in the forum.

Don Freitas, the leader of the Friday Morning Breakfast Club, an invitation-only group of about 22 residents who meet on Fridays to discuss local issues, hosted the event in the Antioch City Council Chambers and Ann Flynn of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley served as moderator and asked the questions. She also stated that no unauthorized recording of the forum would be allowed, as was the same for the mayor and council forums hosted by the FMBC, last week.

Opening Statements

Seated, speaking and answering questions in random order, the candidates gave their opening statements with Hack speaking, first.

“I want to be on the board, yet again to help educate kids and make them a better person,” he said.

Sawyer-White said “I’m excited to be running for the Antioch School Board. As a parent in the 21st Century, I believe that every parent should have access to the best education possible.”

She then listed her experience and service on various committees, as well as being the owner of a tutoring business.

Motts spoke about being a “lifelong resident of Antioch and a product of Antioch schools.”

“We need school board members who have a detailed knowledge that is focused on our children,” Motts added.

Navarro spoke of his upbringing, as well.

“I’m a first-generation American of Mexican descent,” he said. “I know the problems of inner city youth. I’m fully bilingual and bicultural.”

“I’m a defender of the taxpayer and the bottom line,” Navarro continued.

“My frustration was the experience in the ELL (English Language Learners) program,” he said as one of the reasons that motivated him to apply for the appointment to the board vacancy, last year. He also said he wanted to “see how the sausage is made, if you will. To look under the hood.”

“The opportunity to rectify the school district is closing,” Navarro added.

Candidate’s Experience

Motts shared about her experience on the school board.

“It was a very difficult time,” she said. “We worked very strategically to get through the crisis.”

She spoke of “many reformations,” the “Antioch High restoration, Linked Learning and restorative justice, “despite the deep cuts.”

Hack said he’d “been a small business owner for more than 25 years” and “on the board for four years.”

“When I was on the board, it was the time of the recession,” he stated and spoke of “prudent husbandry of the budget we had.”

“The budget problems won’t disappear,” Hack added.

Navarro responded with “I’m not a politician. I’m not a polished orator.”

He shared that he has been “business owner for 20 years” and learning about “quality service and quality control.”

He mentioned the on-going drop in enrollment and that students were leaving the district.

“Because we are subsidized by the taxpayers, we’ve become a little tone deaf,” Navarro continued. “For God’s sake, let’s not become the DMV.”

Sawyer-White said she was “deeply concerned” about “crime” and “I feel unsafe in some situations.

“I feel I can make a difference,” she said and then mentioned “summer jobs” for students.

“Children have been diagnosed with” learning disabilities, Sawyer-White continued. “They’re not able to meet the Common Core standards.”

Motts used her first rebuttal in response to Navarro.

“The drop in enrollment is anticipated,” she stated. “Those children are now aging out. It appears there’s more of a problem than it is.”

“The good news is there’s new development coming into Antioch,” Motts added.

Handling Disciplinary Problems

Hack said he wants to “enhance the education experience” and about the “dichotomy of those who behave and those who don’t behave.”

“I met with the principal at Dallas Ranch” about “restorative justice that deals with kids who have been suspended and deal with them when they return to campus.”

Navarro said “I think we should have zero tolerance for interruptions in the classroom.”

He wants to “reinstill a respect for fellow classmates and teachers” and spoke about “better class management.”

“Students work more individually than in group seating,” Navarro added.

Sawyer-White mentioned “PBIS,” referring to positive behavior implementation strategies, then spoke of her experience at a school where she taught.

“We had a tracking device instead of sending the student home, but out of the classroom.”

She spoke of having the students “meet with the school psychologist, parents, teachers.”

“If you build rapport with students…they can excel academically,” Sawyer-White added.

Motts said “many students come into the classroom in crisis” due to being “hungry or challenges at home.”

She also mentioned PBIS and said “we reach out to every child to get the services and counseling they need.”


The next question was how the candidates could turn around the chronic truancy in the district, which is as high as 40% at Antioch High School.

Sawyer-White responded with her knowledge of what is done in other school districts, how the “classroom is rewarded for high attendance and no tardies” and “if late a number of times it can add up to an absence.”

“There needs to be more of a text message tracking system,” she continued and wanted to “get the parents involved.”

Navarro took a different tack, saying “stop blaming parents and students” and “start accepting blame as a district.”

He cited “boredom and not feeling safe” and when the schools “promote students prematurely.”

Navarro suggested an “all hands on deck” approach and working “with the city council and police department.”

Motts said “I have to agree with Fernando on one point. Our children need to be engaged.” She then mentioned linked learning at the secondary schools.

“Truancy is the responsibility of parents and students,” she continued. “It affects our bottom line. Our ADA” referring to average daily attendance which determines the amount of per pupil funding the district receives from the state.

“The district can’t tolerate it,” Motts added.

Hack said “there are positive programs” and that “what happens in the class needs to be relevant to students.”

“Truancy won’t go away,” he continued, then spoke of “communication with parents, family and the kid taking responsibility” as his solution.

Alonzo Terry, arrived in time to answer the question.

“Mr. Hack is correct,” he stated. “Truancy can come in so many ways. Some time circumstances cause people to be late or not even show up.”

“Together, it’s about communication and tell them how important it (school) is,” Terry added.

Programs for Academic Achievement

When asked which programs are translating into academic achievement, Navarro said “I would pick the Math Intensive. It shows data driven results.”

“The class structure,” he continued. “It goes back to old school mentality.”

“The business of schools is education,” Navarro stated. “I am a believer in all the different career paths.”

Terry said “it’s not one fit for all. I went to visit several math programs.”

He then stated there are “three different ways people learn in English and math. We need to put them all together.”

Hack said “options are good. One system doesn’t work for everyone.”

“Give kids different approaches to be successful,” he continued. “It’s very different than when we were in school. It’s better. Kids are learning stuff and we don’t have to rely on test scores.”

Sawyer-White said “I don’t think one size fits all. A career path is a good beginning for the Antioch school district.”

She then mentioned “robotics, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs in Pittsburg, computer technology and engineering.”

Motts said “with the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) you get to go back each year and review. It’s really about equity. Our children have different needs.”

“We need to make sure the children remain in school, are engaged and perform,” she added.

Biggest Issue

When asked what the biggest issue facing Antioch schools, Terry replied “that question is really hard. What is 9-11 to one person is 4-11 to others. It’s like asking someone would you rather have a bullet or a knife.”

“I don’t know how to answer that question, because they’re all important,” he continued. “They all need to be addressed with the same amount of energy.”

Sawyer-White spoke of “graduation rates at 77%. We can improve that.”

“After graduation the job opportunity is bleak,” she stated, then suggested Antioch schools be “linked with community college for classes.”

Motts said “providing a quality education is job one. It encompasses a whole bunch of things.”

Hack didn’t like the question, then rephrased it.

“It’s a negative connotation,” he said.

“What is the biggest priority?” Hack asked. “It’s personnel. Everything flows from that.”

He then mentioned the “new members on the board” and the district having “a rookie superintendent.”

“We lost over 100 teachers, this year,” Hack continued, then spoke of “paying regular wages.”

He said it’s about “dealing with the best humans we can put in place.”

Navarro said it’s “the demographics” and that “77% of our students are not proficient in English.”

He then mentioned the “truancy issue at our high schools” and that “33% are barely making it.”

“We’re graduating kids but they’re undercooked,” Navarro continued. “The colleges have to pick up the slack.”

“We need to rethink our fad tactics,” he added.

Common Core

When asked about Common Core, Navarro read a statement from legal counsel that it was a state requirement and the policy of the district, then crumbled up the page the statement was on and tossed it to his side.

“Top down ties hands. The hands of our district and parents,” he stated. “It cattle prods our students.”

“We can do better,” Navarro continued. “We can go beyond the mandate.”

Sawyer-White first said “I feel it is a challenge” but then said “I think it prepares the student in the proper way in math and English.”

“If parents were more involved at home, working with their student, with the teacher, they can succeed,” she stated. “It prepares us better for college prep.”

Terry said “Common Core is good for some people, not for everyone” but, if it’s “not working you have to find another avenue.”

Motts said “the data is still out a bit on it.”

“But teaching to the test was failing our students,” she added. “It’s raising the bar which will lead to higher achievement for our students. I fully support it.”

Hack said “things need to change to the modern world.”

“I also think it’s a dynamic and different approach,” he stated. “It’s in its infancy. It’s a living and ongoing process.”

“Education is always changing,” Hack continued. “I’m in favor of it, now.”

Navarro used one of his rebuttals to respond, saying he wanted to “point out over time, truth comes out” and that Common Core is a “bill of goods that was sold to us.”

“They pulled it out of a hat,” he continued. “We’re seeing a gap between high schools and colleges which I think was intentional.”

Hack used one of his rebuttals, as well and said there are “three parts of any program, staff and teachers, the board trains and supplies, monitors and adjusts it,” and that “students and parents need to do their part.”

“Being stagnant in education does not solve the issue,” he added.

Budget Deficit

When asked about the $2 million deficit spending in the current budget, Motts responded “that’s inaccurate. Adjustments have been made.

“I’ve been through deficit situations,” she continued. “It’s about efficiency. Retiring teachers can cut costs.”

“We’re 47th in the nation in per pupil spending,” Motts added, referring to state spending.

Motts is correct. The figure in the question is incorrect. The 2016-17 budget approved by the district in June includes deficit spending of $1.2 million. But, it projects a deficit of $2.1 million next year and $2.4 million in Fiscal Year 2018-19.

Terry said “we have to cut from the top and work our way down, because I think we’re top heavy.”

“Right now, we are in a hole and it’s not going to be easy and some people are going to be hurt,” he added, then referred to the decline in enrollment. “We’re losing numbers.”

Navarro said “we need to start with a ‘come to Jesus’ moment.”

“The funds come from the taxpayers,” he stated and proposed a budget “review, line item by item.”

“I’d like to see a larger vendor pool,” Navarro continued. “We’re paying through the nose top dollar.”

“We’re getting about a quarter of a million dollars and we still have teachers paying for pencils and tissues?” he asked.

Hack said “every year, in June, we have those discussions.”

“You may not be rich, but you’re solvent,” he stated. “Maybe not with a capital ‘S’.”

He then spoke of the “dichotomy of how much do we keep in reserves. I think it’s very viable.”

Sawyer-White said “Again, I’m new to this,” then suggested “maybe have a long-term forecast” and what was done to save money at the school where her son attends.

“We decided not to get a $25,000 electronic sign,” she said.

“Maybe we don’t need so many consultants,” Sawyer-White stated, regarding the AUSD. “And vendors, I agree with Mr. Fernando.”

Trade & Technology Education

Terry was first to answer, stating “we need to bring back all the trades that we can do with our hands.”

Motts said “not every child is on a pathway to go to college.”

“The good news is they are starting to work with the trades and trying to integrate those into the schools,” she stated. “I would definitely support that.”

Sawyer-White said “I am very supportive of vocational training.”

She then suggested adding “coding classes” and that they “prepare you for developing websites,” and then also proposed “entrepreneurship classes…mechanics, maybe dental training.”

Navarro said “I believe in vocational education” and suggested “aviation engineering” and also mentioned coding.

However, he said “if we don’t get back to basics, it’s all a moot point.”

Hack said “one fallacy in education is that everyone’s going to college. Not true.”

He proposed “coming up with new classes that we don’t have in the district, already.”

Teacher Complaints

When asked what board members should do if teachers complain that they’re not being listened to by administration, Sawyer-White responded “In Sweden, the principal has to teach a class, once a year.”

“They’re not aware of what’s happening in the classroom because they haven’t taught,” she said.

She then suggested “multi-disciplinary teams to meet more often.”

Terry said “I don’t think anyone should be denied form going to whomever, whenever they want.”

“That should be changed,” he continued. “Teachers need to know they will be heard.”

Hack said “as a board member, you have to be open to communication. But we have to work through the proper channels.”

“There’s a danger there for board members to try to deal with individual problems,” he added.

Navarro said “the role of the board” is to “represent voters, taxpayers and the district teachers.”

“But you only have one vote,” he stated. “The role of the board members is to be a conduit. Because the board only has one employee, the superintendent.”

“Feel free to call me or text me,” Navarro continued. “I’m an open book.”

Motts said “teachers are on the front line. I think it’s imperative the board members are out in the schools.”

“Healthy organizations have open communication,” she added.

Parent Involvement

On this subject, Motts spoke about her experience in the PTSA (parent, teacher, student association).

“The good thing about LCAP is it requires parental communication and involvement,” she said. “Teachers need to reach out to parents.”

Hack said “I like to talk to teachers. You find out what’s going on with parents.”

He suggested “going to PTA meetings.”

Sawyer-White said “parental involvement is a challenge. I think the first day of school should be an orientation, so you don’t have an open house a week later.”

“There’s no excuse not to communicate with parents,” she added.

Terry said “I’m the wrong person to ask that question. You can’t make nobody do anything.”

“We all do what we can to get them involved,” he continued. “Especially the parent. Because every parent is not a parent.”

“I have 380 kids I work on a regular basis,” Terry shared. “It’s hard to get parents involved.”

Navarro said “I echo some of what Alonzo said. It’s plant that seed with parents.”

“They are the single most important first responders. We’re just surrogates,” he stated. “I do a lot of outreach to the Hispanic community.”

Corporal Punishment

Responding to a “lightning round question” of should the district “bring back corporal punishment,” they all said “no” with Navarro responding with a joke, “introducing the old board of education? No.”

Closing Statements

Navarro went first with his closing statement saying “Antioch is a crossroads of many dynamics. We have demographics of a small town” and “a new dynamic of an urban center with its challenges.”

“I humbly ask for you vote,” he concluded.

Motts said “the school board is one of the toughest jobs there is” and spoke of “educational excellence.”

“I have that knowledge,” she stated. “Now, more than ever, we need experience and knowledge on the board.”

Sawyer-White said “I am the candidate who will fight on behalf of our children” and that she’s “committed to continue improvements in the classroom.”

Hack said “the educational landscape in Antioch has changed. That’s not a negative statement, nor is it a positive one. It’s simply a fact.”

“The school board of which I was a member for four years” did “far more than any other previous board had done,” he continued. “Great responsibility, awesome opportunity.”

“Two years later much still needs to be done,” Hack stated.  Then, sounding a bit like Donald Trump, he concluded “We can make this good district great, yet again.”

Terry used his closing remarks to explain his tardiness to the forum

“I was committed to going to three schools for back-to-school night,” he shared. “I apologize for being late, but not for putting students first.”

The next forum of the candidates for school board will be hosted by the Antioch Herald and held Monday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m., also in the Antioch City Council Chambers at City Hall.

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Contra Costa College District to hold State of the District breakfast meetings, next week

Thursday, September 15th, 2016



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Antioch High to host annual Delta Band Review, Saturday, Sept. 24

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016


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Antioch High Class of 1956 holds 60th reunion, honored by city, school

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Antioch High School Class of 1956 60th reunion attendees.

Antioch High School Class of 1956 60th reunion attendees. photo by Teri Bell Johnson

By Sherrill Hecock

On August 9, 2016 at the City Council Chambers, the Antioch High School class of 1956 received a proclamation from Mayor Wade Harper declaring August 27th the “AHS Class of 1956 Day.”

Five members of the class were there to receive the proclamation which was shared with all at their reunion. Those in attendance that evening were Bob Franchetto, Sue Carris Siino, Joan Price Bell, Gayle Gibbs Autentico and Sherill Beckett Hecock and their guests. This class was the second to graduate from the newly built high school at 18th and L Streets.


A banner hung at the Antioch High football game welcomed the reunion attendees.

On August 26th at the 7:00 p.m. football game against Lincoln High school, the class was again honored with special seating, several announcements and a “Class of ‘56…Welcome home” sign prepared by the current high school students. This was arranged courtesy of Principal Louie Rocha. Nineteen class members and their guests were present at the game. (Not all pictured here below).

ahs_class_of_56_reunion-photo-1Their 60th class reunion was held at the Lone Tree Golf and Event Center on August 27th, and attended by 80 classmates including their guests. Masters of Ceremonies were Lanny Bown, who came all the way from North Carolina for the event, and Randy Autentico.

The class was treated to a fabulous “Italian House Buffet” prepared by chefs at the Golf Course. Grace was offered by Sue Carris Siino. Each attendee was greeted by Sue Siino and Gayle Gibbs Autentico at the door and received a packet containing a raffle ticket, name tag with their high school photo courtesy of Teri Bell Johnson, a copy of Mayor Wade Harper’s Proclamation, their class song “No Man is an Island” and a current roster of classmates.

During the evening, Lanny Bown read the bios of Antioch Sports Legends 2011 and 2012 inductees Ray Harrington and Randy Autentico, Gayle Autentico memorialized those who have passed away from a list prepared by Olga Jacques Martinez, and Renee Hunt Holding read the class song lyrics. Olga also prepared memory boards with photos from the past 60 years.

Beautiful flower arrangements were on each table compliments of Paula’s Family Florist. Principal Louie Rocha also arranged for the class to receive a gift basket for their raffle during the evening. It was a month to remember. A year of planning proved to be well worth the effort.


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Antioch School Board hires new Associate Superintendent for Educational Services

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
Dr Adam Clark

Dr. Adam Clark

At their most recent meeting on August 24, 2016, the Antioch School Board voted to hire Dr. Adam Clark as the District’s Associate Superintendent for Educational Services. He began his new position on Thursday, September 1 and replaced Stephanie Anello who was promoted to Superintendent, in June.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Clark to AUSD,” Anello said. “He brings with him experience leading change at the elementary, middle and high school levels and will be an asset to our educational program. Most importantly, he is excited to serve the students and families of the Antioch community.”

According to his contract, Clark will be paid $190,056 per year, a $300 per month automobile stipend and other benefits, which are received by and afforded to other certified management staff in the district. It also includes a six month severance package. To see the complete contract, click here: Dr Adam Clark contract

Clark most recently served as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services in the Liberty Union High School District.  Prior to that time, Dr. Clark served as principal for Miramonte High School for five years.  His experience also includes principalships at Adams Middle School and Krey Elementary School in Brentwood, as well as teaching positions with schools in Brentwood and Richmond.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Antioch Unified School District,” he said. “I’ve been in far East County since 1999.”

In his position with Liberty he worked on various services, such as foster kids, homeless youth, and health and safety.

“When this position opened up with the Ed services piece, I was very excited to come on board to help with education, student services as well as special education,” Clark stated.

He also said he was excited to work with Anello.

“She’s very committed to the students in Antioch and the community at large,” Clark offered

He is diving right in, working to get up to speed on the Antioch district.

“Since starting last Thursday, I’ve been visiting with stakeholders and school sites,” he continued. “I’ve been learning about the various programs in the district and will be working to  implement the LCAP in our schools and making sure our community understands the LCAP and getting input from the community to make sure we capture their desires and expectations.”

Clark received a BA in Sociology from San Jose State University, and a masters degree and doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, which he completed in May.  He holds a multiple subject and an administrative credential.

Dr. Clark and his wife Michelle have three children. Their oldest son, Marcus, is 22 and recently graduated from Arizona State University.  Their son Rene, who is 19, attends the University of San Diego, and their daughter Jazmyne is 17 and a high school senior.

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Antioch School Board approves deficit spending as enrollment continues decline

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

By Allen Payton

The Antioch School Board was hit with a two-fold challenge when approving the budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Revenue is down because enrollment continues to decrease in the district. But, at the same time there have been increases in district staff retirement costs.

The presentation, by Interim Chief Business Officer Chris Learned, began with him saying “your enrollment is declining” and ”your deficit spending is continuing to be a problem.” That was followed by Learned stating, “It’s starting to be scary.”

Enrollment in the district has decreased since the 2004-05 school year by 4,285 students, for a total of 24.15%. It decreased by 485 students between Fiscal Years 2014-15 and 2015-16 and projected to decrease another 434 students for this new school year.

Revenue to the district increased, this year, by $6.4 million in Local Control Funding Formula funding and $100,000 from the federal government. However, revenue from the state decreased by $7.2 million and other revenue is down by $1.8 million. That created a net decrease of $2.46 million in annual revenue.

The costs for CALSTRS, which is the state retirement plan for teachers, and for CALPERS, the retirement plan for all other district personnel, increased.

“The cumulative effect is an $11.2 million hit to the district,” Learned said.

The district will experience deficit spending of $1.2 million, this year, $2.1 million next year, and $2.4 million in Fiscal Year 2018-19.

The district is required to have 3% in reserves, which “doesn’t even cover one payroll for the district,” he shared. “We want to keep reserves at 7%, preferably 10%.”

The district currently has $15.3 million in reserves or 8.1% of the total $190 million budget.

Learned said he’s concerned that “one-time money is being used for ongoing expenses.”

Trustee Debra Vinson spoke, first.

“Our desire is to protect the district and remain in the black,” she said. “I’m very impressed with your management team, here” adding because it’s “conservative.”

Trustee Walter Ruehlig asked “is it too early to project if there’s going to be layoffs?”

Learned responded, “It’s too early.”

Trustee Fernando Navarro asked “why are we dipping into the budget for books and supplies?”

“We’re doing a big text book purchase,” Learned said. “Budgeted this year. Purchase next year.”

Navarro later clarified that his question was to ensure that the funds for books and supplies were not being for use any other purpose, “and not balancing the budget on the backs of the students.”

The board members voted unanimously to adopt the budget totaling $190,423,184.15.

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Glazer’s “California Promise” bill to improve four-year graduation rates at CSU campuses

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Bill, which offers priority registration and academic advising to students, passes key legislative hurdle

Sacramento, CA – The Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Sen. Steve Glazer’s groundbreaking legislation to smooth the way for California State University students to graduate in four years.

Senate Bill 412, establishing the “California Promise,” proposes to boost CSU’s 4-year graduation rate which, at 18.6 percent, is 25 percent lower than the national average for comparable public universities. Some CSU campuses’ four-year graduation rates hover at or below 10 percent.

Glazer’s bill was jointly-authored with Senate President Pro Tem, Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. It now awaits further action in the Senate.

“This legislation will allow CSU students to break through the logjam that has left too many students with graduation roadblocks and high debt,” said Glazer, D-Orinda, a former CSU Trustee.

Senator de Leon said: “Since 2015, the Senate has fought for access, affordability and completion for California students in higher education. SB 412 is an important piece of this agenda. I am proud to joint-author this bill, which will help California students, particularly those from low-income families, complete college in four years.”

Under the California Promise program, CSU students would be offered priority registration and academic advising as long as they commit to completing 30 semester units each year and meet any other guidelines set by individual campuses.

Low-income, underrepresented or first-generation college students who fulfill the requirements would be guaranteed admission into California Promise programs. Qualified community college transfer students would also be guaranteed slots in the California Promise.

CSU Trustees would be required to develop and implement a California Promise program at a minimum of eight CSU campuses and at 15 CSU campuses for qualifying transfer students beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. More campuses would be added in future years.

CSU students and their families pay up to $26,000 per year in tuition, books and living expenses for every extra year in college, according to the Campaign for College Opportunity.

“We know that our CSU leadership is committed to student success,” Glazer said. “The California Promise will add to the effort, giving students the tools and setting a pathway for better results.

“This program’s success will save students and their families hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” Glazer added. “It will free up seats for new students, save the state money and get better qualified students into the workforce sooner. It is projected that we will be one million degrees short in meeting industry demand in the next ten years. This program will help us meet that need.”

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Local news website publisher, Mike Burkholder, announces campaign for Antioch School Board

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
Mike Burkholder

Mike Burkholder

Mike Burkholder, publisher of the local news website, announced his candidacy Tuesday for a seat on the Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees in the November 8th election.

He released the following statement:

I am running for Antioch Unified School Board because I am a concerned parent and taxpayer. My wife and I are excited that we will have two children in the District this year; but I recognize that the school district faces multiple challenges and needs leaders, not politicians to get it going in the right direction. Improving the community starts and ends with improving the schools.

One of my top priories is student and teacher safety. Not only should I have peace of mind while my children are at school, but the entire community should have that same peace of mind. We must find better ways to address high-risk youth while working to encourage them to go down the right path.

Equally important is improving the way the District communicates with the public. Given my background as publisher of, I know public outreach is an area that will be addressed immediately and improved through improving outreach opportunities. Parents deserve to know what is going on in our schools regardless if it’s good, bad or ugly.

Finally, teachers and staff who are doing great work should be rewarded for their efforts, we must work on creative ways to improve district morale and incentivize staff to ensure we can retain and attract quality teachers.

As an East County leader, and a parent, I would like the opportunity to make a difference on the Antioch Unified School District Board and would appreciate your support.

The Antioch Unified School District includes all of Antioch and portions of both Oakley and Pittsburg.

This is Burkholder’s second run for public office, having run unsuccessfully for the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board in Oakley in 2012.

So far, he is one of seven candidates who have pulled the required filing papers to run, including incumbent Diane Gibson-Gray, appointed incumbents Fernando Navarro and Alonzo Terry, former school board member Joy Motts and two others, James Beck and Crystal Sawyer White. Only Burkholder, Gibson-Gray and Terry have filed their papers, as of Monday. Candidates have until this Friday, August 12, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. to file with the County Elections Office in Martinez. If one of the incumbents does not file, the filing period is extended five calendar days to Wednesday, August 17th.

For more information about Burkholder’s campaign visit where his slogan is “A Voice For All” or email him at

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