Archive for the ‘News’ Category

County Supervisors agree to raise salaries on 4-1 vote

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Antioch’s Delta Veterans Group honored

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution recognizing the services of the Delta Veterans Group, a nonprofit organization founded by veteran J.R. Wilson. Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood presented the resolution to Wilson at Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting in Martinez. Since 2012, the Delta Veterans Group has sponsored its annual Stand Down event at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds) in Antioch. At the event veterans can receive full medical treatments, court and legal services, DMV, chaplain services, housing, addiction and mental health counseling, employment and many other community services. Veterans are also provided clothing, meals, sleeping tents, and a safe place to stand down. The next Stand Down event will be held in September at the Contra Costa Event Park. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

At their meeting on Tuesday, Contra Costa County Supervisors approved on a 4-1 vote the ordinance that ties their base salaries to 60 percent of the salaries of superior court judges. Supervisor Candace Andersen cast the dissenting vote. The pay raise goes into effect for the period between July 2, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019; then increases to 63 percent of judges’ salaries for 2020 and finally to 65 percent of judges’ salaries thereafter.

Supervisors will receive the same periodic increases as are as granted by the legislature to the judges as recommended by the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee.

Supervisors waived the reading of the ordinance and fixed their April 16 meeting for adoption of the ordinance. Two weeks ago, supervisors had voted 3-1 with Andersen opposing and Supervisor Diane Burgis absent due to recuperation from heart surgery.

In casting a negative vote again this week, Andersen said, “I still have my reservations. We still earn Bay Area salary, but this isn’t a full-time job. It’s more than a full-time job. I can leave my house at 8 a.m. and not return until 10 p.m.”

Consider Exempting Transportation Impact Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units

Supervisors can be expected to adopt a policy aimed at exempting the imposition of public transit fees on homeowners wanting to build accessory dwelling units to homes as a jab of slowing down the Bay Area’s runaway rising housing costs.

Supervisors on Tuesday instructed county Conservation & Development Department (CDD) officials to draft a policy that would halt the levying of transit impact fees on ADU applications in unincorporated Contra Costa County, a move that could lift a financial burden off the shoulders of homeowners wanting to add living units onto their homes. ADU transit impact fees are imposed taxes for public transit improvement or road construction to mitigate increased public transit patronage and automobile trips stemming from ADU construction.

Based on county data, since 2017, there’ve been 130 ADU’s approved, 42 interior conversions and 88 new footprint additions approved.   County records also show 130 ADU permits were issued via administrative means such as variance or deviation from the standards. Total ADU tax revenues data collected during that two-year period was unavailable.

“Ultimately, however, the reduction and or elimination of traffic impact fees would unavoidably create a funding gap.” warned CDD Director John Kopchik in a memo to supervisors. “That gap cannot be filled using the fee program’s revenue and must be backfilled with other sources.”

So far there has been political posturing locally and out of Sacramento concerning the status of ADU transit fees, but housing affordability advocates have maintained ADU transit fee are part of the reason for the Bay Area’s housing unaffordability crisis.

Leading the charge on the ADU fee exemption conversation at the county level has been board chair John Gioia of Richmond who has been tuned into the ADU and tax exemption discussions at West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee level.

Gioia said by exempting the transit fees it would remove financial barrier on homeowners wanting to add onto their homes. In West County, the additional costs a homeowner pays on average per ADU is $10,000 the supervisor said.

Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville praised the ADU transit fee exemption fee proposal saying” It’s a great way for families to stay together.”

CDD staff is expected to present a draft ordinance on the ADU tax exemption proposal sometime either in June or July.

Mitchoff Gets Heat Over Library Closure

The upcoming closure of the Pleasant Hill Public Library drew protests from upset community residents, some of whom accused Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill of playing into the hands of real estate interests by closing down the library too soon.

Besides the construction of a new library, the county in conjunction with the city of Pleasant Hill are making way for the construction of a housing development on county owned property long vacant nearby the library.

The outdated library will be demolished in late spring or early summer to clear the site for a new library that will eventually feature a café, a used book store and shelf space for 70,000 books. The new library will be completed in 2021 and according to Pleasant Hill residents like Dick Offerman that won’t help middle school students who rely on the library to study.

Mitchoff took issue with Offerman’s statement that the library’s closure would negatively impact middle school students.

“I’ve visited the library when middle school students are there and many of them are playing video games rather than studying,” she said.

Pat Morgan also of Pleasant Hill criticized supervisor Mitchoff for not doing enough in keeping the old library open.

“It’s unacceptable. This demonstrates real estate money interest. Greed. It’s shameful, “she said.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors presented a resolution to District Attorney Diana Beckton (center) and nine persons for their work in defending crime victims’ issues and their rights at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting. The event marks the District Attorney Office’s commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13. This year’s awardees are Juliann Marlang for Special Courage, Sarah Alpert for Making a Difference, United Parcel Service driver Jesse Gregory for Above and Beyond, Sandra Guiterrez-Banales for Victim Advocate, Laura Muro for Support Staff, Senior Inspector Rick Rivera for DA Investigators, Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler for Attorney, Detective Joseph Nunemaker for Law Enforcement and Nancy Kenoyer for Probation Officer. Vigils were held on Thursday, at the Family Justice Center, in Concord and Pittsburg City Hall. On Saturday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. the Survivors Speak National Healing Vigil will be held at the Sojourner Truth Church 2621 Shane Dr., Richmond. This year’s theme – Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future – encourages commemoration, honor, and respect toward the crime victim advocates, allied professionals, and selfless volunteers who have worked for increased rights for crime victims. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Consent Items Approved

Supervisors approved the Sheriff-Coroner’s request to purchase Automated License Plate Reader cameras in the Discovery Bay area for an amount not to exceed $283,000. The ALPR camera capabilities are not only for the detection of stolen vehicles, but also as an investigative tool for persons and property crimes.

They also approved and authorized the Sheriff-Coroner to execute a contract with the State of California, 23rd District Agricultural Association (Contra Costa County Fair Board), including all indemnification of the State of California, to pay the county an amount not to exceed $35,000 to provide law enforcement services at the County Fair for the period of May 15-19, 2019.

Approve the collection loss write-offs in the public housing program in the amount of $106,729.09 for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, which is up nearly double from the $50,381.06 in collection losses for the same quarter in 2018. The Bayo Vista housing development in Rodeo led with the most loss write-offs with $73,470.36 followed by the Vista del Camino housing development in San Pablo with $10,501.

Supervisors also approved new Housing Choice Voucher payment standards for the Housing Authority that goes into effect April 15. Studio to three-bedroom sized unit payments standards have been reduced between $19 to $101 while the four to seven-bedroom sized payment standards are being increased between $121 and $175.

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On split vote Antioch School Board gives Rocketship Delta Prep second notice of violation on technicalities

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Hundreds of Rocketship parents, students and supporters, wearing purple shirts, attend the Antioch School Board meeting at the Lone Tree Elementary auditorium, Wednesday night, April 10, 2019.

“A blatant abuse of power” – Rocketship’s VP of Operations.

New school risking loss of charter is really premature” – Superintendent Anello

By Allen Payton

The Rocketship Delta Prep charter school in Antioch, which opened their brand new, $16 million school last fall, was issued a second notice of violation by the Antioch School Board over what they claim was a failure to fulfill state reporting requirements agreed to in their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Rocketship and the district. During a contentious board meeting, attended by hundreds of Rocketship parents and supporters, the motion passed on a 3-2 vote with Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White and Ellie Householder opposing. Resolution 2018-19-26 to Approve Issuance of Second Notice of Violation

The reporting requirements in the MOU adopted on June 27, 2018, include both financials and student enrollment projections.

Rocketship responded to the first notice of violation with 900 pages of documents.

However, a separate report, labeled the 2nd Interim Report was due March 15 and according to both Rocketship representatives and the district’s attorney, Scott Holbrook, it was received on time.

But, then the Rocketship board voted to revise that report on March 28 and submitted their Revised 2nd Interim Report on April 1st, within two weeks, which is allowed, according to Rocketship representatives.

However the revised report, according to Holbrook, negated the March 15th report, causing the district to be late, thus triggering the opportunity for the new notice of violation.

The details supporting the information in the Interim Report were included in the 900 pages of documents in response to the first notice of violation. But, that’s not acceptable to Holbrook or Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“This is not about the education…it is a violation of law, a violation of timeline. It’s about the contractual obligation in the MOU. It’s nothing personal,” Anello said.

Two board members weren’t having it.

“Can’t the two attorneys meet and communicate? I don’t understand why we’re going back and forth. It’s time consuming and there are attorney fees, here,” said Sawyer-White to a loud round of applause.

No District Staff Have Visited The School

“Stephanie, you’re the district staff point person,” Householder stated. “Have you…visited Rocketship?

“The MOU requires a visit once a year and that’s set up for May,” Anello responded.

Rocketship Delta Prep’s new $14 million charter school in Antioch. Photo by Hilbers Inc.

“Doesn’t the MOU go both ways?” Householder asked. “I’m just trying to be honest. It’s April and we’ve issued two NOV’s and nobody in our…you know it seems it should go both ways. It’s this idea about good faith. I see several points where AUSD is not acting in good faith, as well.”

According to the resolution, the March 28 report projects the school will be fiscally insolvent in the 2019-20 school year, with an ending balance of -$645,394.03. That amount is greater than what was projected in the charter petition adopted by the school board in 2017, according to Holbrook.

Deficits were projected for Rocketship’s first three school years, explained Marie Issa Gil, Rocketship’s Regional Director.

“We refuted the allegations of insolvency, said Jerry Simmons, Rocketship’s attorney. We find it interesting that the school district’s independent auditor…did this audit…it demonstrates the school is not fiscally insolvent.”

The report also projects the school has 10 more students than was projected last year, for a total of 396 students according to the March 28th report. However, that’s a decrease of 24 students from the March 15 report.

According to the resolution, “The 2nd Interim Report failed to include any supporting documentation, and/or supplemental or narrative information explaining the projections. The 2nd Interim Report fails to specify any ‘5%’ set aside of reserves for economic uncertainty as required by the MOU, and contradicts the budget submitted with the Petition when the Charter was approved by the Board which projected a surplus.”

The resolution also states, “the March 28 Revised 2nd Interim Report appears to be a complete and total reworking of the March 15 2nd Interim Report with a multitude of revenue, expenditure, and enrollment alterations” and that “the 2nd Interim Report, the Revised 2nd Interim Report also failed to include any supporting documentation, and/or supplemental or narrative information explaining the new projections.

Additionally, the March 28, 2019 Revised 2nd Interim Report includes significant changes to the Charter School’s enrollment assumptions, again with no supporting documentation or narrative information explaining the new projections.”

However, Householder speaking of the details in the 900-page report asked Holbrook “Why is this threaded throughout. It says there’s no supporting documentation. How can we say that?”

The enrollment issue was not mentioned as a concern by the board members.

No Violations, An Abuse of Power

Members of Rocketship’s leadership spoke on the matter before the board deliberated.

“The second notice of violation deals with three issues. But none of them are violations,” said Carolyn Davies Lynch, Vice President of Operations for Rocketship. “We submitted the financial report on March 15, on time. The budget revisions were submitted within two weeks. Our revised report does not equal a late report. To label it a violation is simply not true.”

“Third, the notice states the 5% reserve sits in a line item other than the district staff would like to see. But state law nor education code requires it sit in any line item. This is not a violation,” she reiterated. “The second notice of violation is a blatant abuse of power.”

“We expect district staff will have questions on our submission. That’s how we operate with other districts,” Lynch continued. “I urge the board to reject this latest notice of violation and direct staff to work with Rocketship for the benefit of students in the Antioch community.”

Rocketship representatives, parents and supporters claim their students have improved multiple grade levels since switching to the charter school, last fall. But, the Board President Gary Hack and Trustees Diane Gibson-Gray and Mary Rocha pointed out that the matter before the board had nothing to do with academics, just financial reporting.

Anello Hasn’t Met With Rocketship Leaders

Gil also claims the district staff, specifically Superintendent Stephanie Anello, was sending the notices to the school address instead of Gil’s office and has refused to meet with her to rectify the situation.

Anello responded, “We sent one letter to the school. The rest were sent to the correct people.”

During her remarks, Gil noted that AUSD is the only authorizer that refuses to meet with Rocketship directly.  Every other authorizer Rocketship works with, including the California Department of Education, holds regular meetings with Rocketship to answer their questions, resolve any concerns, and work together in good faith partnership.

Gil later shared that per the MOU, all correspondence should be mailed to Rocketship Public Schools, 850 Twin Dolphins in Redwood City.  In the documents from the District there were at least five different mailings sent to Rocketship Delta Prep at 1700 Cavallo (the school’s address). Just this week, I received another envelope at 1700 Cavallo Drive.  The District has not cared that they are still failing to follow their MOU.

Regarding the fiscal issues and not willing to meet, Anellos responded, “if it deals with public money, all of our conversations need to be in public. The remedy is to put it before the board. Produce the documents, then we can sit down and talk about it.”

Anello’s greatest concern is the financial impact on the district from the projected deficit Rocketship is facing.

“As the charter authorizer the district can be responsible for any debt they might incur,” she stated. “If we didn’t document it and let the public know that wouldn’t be responsible.”

Gil said Rocketship is willing to provide a hold-harmless agreement for the district, like they’ve done for other districts where Rocketship schools are located.

Parents and other Rocketship supporters believe the district is being petty and focusing too much on process rather than results.

“Assuming the district will de-charter the school is really premature,” Anello responded. “It looks like we’re being arbitrary, but I believe the public expects us to be fiscally responsible. The least thing I want is for Rocketship to fail.”

Rocketship supporters also have complained the school’s representatives weren’t given the time they needed to explain things at the last two school board meetings.

However, according to Holbrook, the district has 60 days to review the documents provided by Rocketship. Then the school board will hold a public hearing at which the trustees and Rocketship representatives will have the opportunity for questions and answers.

“I think this is a little drastic…pump the brakes a little bit,” Householder said, making one last attempt to convince her colleagues to not pass the resolution. “This is our community. These are our people. I’ve only been here four months and I’m constantly being given these ultimatums… ‘you have to make this decision or the world’s going to fall apart.’ I ask the Superintendent to be transparent. We need to pump the brakes. Our kids are suffering.”

But her arguments fell on deaf ears as Rocha made the motion, Gibson-Gray seconded it and Hack voted with them to adopt the resolution issuing the second Notice of Violation. That triggered another 30-day timeframe for Rocketship to respond and then another 60-day clock at the end of that, in which the district has time to review the response and hold a public hearing on the second notice of violation.

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Double lung transplant recipient from Antioch featured in Giving Me Life art exhibit at Highland Hospital

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Liver recipient, Debra Harkness (left) and double lung recipient, Damita Barbee (center) of Antioch at the opening of the exhibit on Friday, April 4, 2019. Photo by Donor Network West.

April is Donate Life Month

The “Giving Me Life: A Visual Journey of African-American Organ and Tissue Transplant Recipients” art exhibit has officially opened at the Alameda Health System (AHS)-Highland Care Pavilion Lobby. AHS has partnered with Donor Network West, the organ and tissue recovery organization for Northern California and Nevada, to bring “Giving Me Life” to AHS. The exhibit underscores the need for more registered donors within the African-American community through social documentary. April is Donate Life Month and the exhibit will be on display at Highland until April 30.

Antwone Johnson, the brother of organ donor Anthony Johnson, gave a very emotional testimony at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 4.

“I lost my brother about a year ago at Highland Hospital. He died unexpectedly after experiencing seizures that sent him into cardiac arrest. When I was first approached about donating his organs I was not interested, but as I sat in the hospital, I reflected on the fact that he was the kindest person I ever met. He would give you his last dollar without knowing where his next one was coming from. I joke that I hope the cruelest, corrupt person received my brother’s heart because there is no way they can continue to be unkind with a piece of Tony in their body.”

In addition, Johnson shared that he is humbled to be able to save someone else’s life through his decision to donate his brother’s organs.

Currently, African-Americans make up 5% of the 13 million people in Donor Network West’s donation service area, however, they represent 10% of those waiting for organ transplants in the region. The exhibit is a visual testimonial of nine local African-American transplant recipients who have overcome incredible obstacles in their respective journeys toward health and wellness thanks to organ and tissue donation.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Alameda Health System to bring the Giving Me Life exhibit to Highland Hospital in Oakland, which boasts a proud legacy of African-American culture, art and social justice. We deeply respect Alameda Health System’s commitment to promoting healthy equity and access for all patients, 30% of whom are African-American. Our hope is to spark new conversations, and inspire more African-Americans to register as organ donors,” said Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer of Donor Network West.

Damita Barbee, a double-lung transplant recipient from Antioch, and one of the people featured in the Giving Me Life exhibit will be traveling to Italy this year, something she was not able to do five years ago. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, but is now thriving. In her spare time she shares her story with others, hoping to encourage as many people as possible to become registered donors.

“I am very passionate about finding solutions that will help our patients live healthy lives. There are many people on the transplant waiting list and this exhibit is a great way to raise awareness about the need,” said Luis Fonseca, AHS Chief Operating Officer and Donor Network West board member.

About 50 people attended the event. Participants included Donor Network West Ambassadors, transplant recipients, donor families, AHS staff, community members, and representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s office.

Nearly 1,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Alameda County. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at DonorNetworkWest.org or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West is the federally designated nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organ and tissue recovery organization that serves 13 hospitals and more than 500,000 people in Northern Nevada. Established in 1987, the organization saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. Donor Network West is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registry. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest

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State releases new earthquake maps for Antioch, East County, Concord

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

The California Geological Survey (CGS) has released five official Seismic Hazard Zones maps affecting communities in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties. The maps identify areas with potential for earthquake-induced landslides and liquefaction, and come with certain requirements for landowners and local governments.

There are three maps covering parts of Contra Costa County, including all or portions of the communities of Antioch, Concord, Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg, and Bay Point.

There are two new maps impacting San Mateo County, including all or portions of the communities of Woodside, San Carlos, Belmont, Burlingame, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, Portola Valley, and Pacifica.

Earthquakes of magnitude 5.5 or greater can trigger landslides or liquefaction, a phenomenon in which soil temporarily acts like quicksand and loses its ability to support structures. While shaking does most of the damage in a large earthquake, both liquefaction and landslides caused significant damage during the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The Seismic Hazards Mapping Act mandating the regulatory maps was passed the year after Loma Prieta.

The maps establish Earthquake Zones of Required Investigation. Now that these maps are official after a 6-month public comment period, the local building department must require — before permits are issued — that licensed geologists and engineers investigate sites proposed for development within a zone for evidence of liquefaction or landslide potential. If such evidence is found, design modifications must be made in the planning stage. Examples of these modifications include deep foundations in liquefaction zones or slope stabilization in landslide zones.

Property sellers and real estate agents must inform potential buyers if property they’re selling is in a Seismic Hazard Zone, as is the case when property is in a designated flood zone.

List of Official Maps and Reports released April 4, 2019

  • Antioch North quadrangle, showing Seismic Hazard Zones only – Related: Seismic Hazard Zone Report 125
  • Antioch South quadrangle, showing Seismic Hazard Zones only – Related: Seismic Hazard Zone Report 126
  • Honker Bay quadrangle, showing Seismic Hazard Zones only – Related: Seismic Hazard Zone Report 127
  • Montara Mountain quadrangle, showing Earthquake Fault Zones and Seismic Hazard Zones – Related: Seismic Hazard Zone Report 128
  • Woodside quadrangle, showing Earthquake Fault Zones and Seismic Hazard Zones – Related: Seismic Hazard Zone Report 129

The index maps below show the general areas in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties affected by this release.

The maps are available as GeoPDF files, which can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader; a GeoPDF file consists of multiple layers and gives the user greater flexibility in viewing and displaying the maps. The maps are also available as digital Geographic Information System (GIS) files. GIS files for both AP Earthquake Fault Zones and Seismic Hazard Zones released by CGS are considered Official Maps. To obtain these maps, reports and GIS data, visit the Regulatory Maps and Reports section of the CGS Information Warehouse. To view individual parcels affected by Seismic Hazard Zones and/or Earthquake Fault Zones, visit our Earthquake Hazards Zone Application (“EQ Zapp”).

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Antioch launches major brand campaign, with “Opportunity” theme, new logo, website

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

An example of the creative for the City’s new branding campaign.

By Kwame Reed, Director of Economic Development, City of Antioch, CA

The City of Antioch today unveiled a major advertising campaign to elevate the City’s new brand promise that “Opportunity Lives Here.” The campaign, which was developed by San Francisco-based agency Evviva Brands will run across social, paid, outdoor and transit corridors connecting Antioch with other Bay Area cities.

New Antioch City logo and slogan.

The campaign features the many facets of opportunity Antioch provides, from expansion opportunities available for Bay Area businesses seeking a skilled, diverse talent pool and affordable, transit-accessible commercial real estate to the wide range of lifestyle opportunities Antioch offers.

The campaign will drive traffic to a new, opportunity-focused campaign site at www.AntiochIsOpportunity.com, where visitors can learn more about business opportunities, lifestyle opportunities, the advantages of Antioch’s reverse commute, and Antioch’s welcoming and vibrant community.

The goal of the campaign is to provide Bay Area residents with a more accurate, up-to-date view of the City of Antioch. From its beginnings as a landing on the San Joaquin River in 1848, Antioch has been a city of opportunity longer than California has been a state. And with increasing numbers of businesses and residents fleeing the high costs and development restrictions elsewhere in the Bay Area, Antioch may be the last Bay Area city offering opportunity for all.

“I’m thrilled to launch this campaign. With our new BART station, the massively improved Highway 4, our AMTRAK service and being the midpoint location between San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Central Valley, I look forward to welcoming businesses and visitors to the land of opportunity that is Antioch,” says Mayor Sean Wright.

“Antioch has always been the home of opportunity. We’ve always been a place for builders, for doers, for people who just want a chance to show what’s possible. This campaign speaks to them, because it’s for them,” says Economic Development Director Kwame Reed.  “Antioch is the center of a mega-region that stretches from the Sacramento Valley to the Silicon Valley and from the Central Valley to the Greater Bay Area, Opportunity Lives Here,” Reed said.

“This campaign has been a joy to create,” says David Kippen, CEO of Evviva Brands. “From our first days working in Antioch, we’ve been amazed by the variety and the diversity of opportunities the City has to offer. Antioch has been the Bay Area’s best kept secret. As of today, the secret’s out.”

You can learn more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website at www.AntiochIsOpportunity.com or by calling Kwame Reed at the number listed above.

Following are more examples of the campaign’s creative:

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Rocketship facing possible charter revocation over paperwork

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Rocketship Delta Prep’s new $14 million charter school on Cavallo Road in Antioch. Photo by Hilbers Inc.

By Allen Payton

After obtaining their charter in 2016, building a new $14 million school and opening to almost 400 mainly Antioch students last August, the Rocketship Delta Prep Charter School is now facing revocation of their charter by the Antioch School Board over a technicality.

After school officials missed a deadline for providing a financial audit report, and the Antioch School Board voted 4-1 to approve the Notice of Violation, Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Stephanie Anello sent Marie Issa Gill, Rocketship’s regional director, the 169-pages of documentation on Feb. 28. Antioch USD-Rocketship Notice of Violation

That stated “that this Notice of Violation is issued based on the following grounds for revocation pursuant to Education Code section 47607(c): 1. Committed a material violation of any conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in the charter. 2. Failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in fiscal mismanagement.3. Violated any provision of law.”

Anello further wrote, “On November 14, 2018 the District notified the Charter School of its failure to adhere to and comply with specific obligations in the MOU. (Enclosure No. 3.) The Charter School was slow to respond and to date, has not addressed all of the District’s concerns, as discussed more fully below:

…on November 14, 2018, the District notified the Charter School of its noncompliance with specific obligations in the MOU including but not limited to the Charter School’s failure to timely provide the District the following:

  1. Its Local Control Accountability Plan (“LCAP”) by July 1, 2018;
  2. Notice of all students disenrolling from the program within ten days of their departure;
  3. Information for all Charter School Directors by July 1, 2018;
  4. Notice of the Charter School’s Board meeting agendas and electronic copies of agenda packet materials;
  5. Its student discipline policies by September 1, 2018;
  6. A copy of written notice to parents of their right to access the full continuum of services, including special day class, nonpublic school, or residential care while enrolled at the Charter School as required by state and federal law and each students’ respective Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) by September 1; 2018;
  7. Notice to the District’s Director of Student Support Services of the designated employee responsible for Section 504 compliance by September 1, 2018;
  8. Within 72 hours of a Special Education students’ expulsion, withdrawal, or dis-enrollment from the Charter School, the Charter School shall notify the District’s Director of Special Education;
  9. By September 30, 2018, the Charter School shall provide written report to the District containing information for every Special Education student newly enrolled;
  10. By September 30, 2018, the Charter School shall provide a written report to the District containing information for every Special Education student who exited the Charter School during the immediately prior tri-annual period;
  11. Provide a written quarterly report detailing information regarding entering and exiting special education students;
  12. Before September 15, 2018, the Charter School shall provide a current copy of insurance policies;
  13. Provide credentialing information for certificated staff in response to two District requests on September 18, and October 29, 2018.”

Rocketship’s attorney and staff were not allowed to speak at the meeting for more than the five minutes allotted to other public speakers, nor were they given the opportunity to respond to the concerns in the notice or brought up by board trustees.

Gil said the notices were sent to the school instead of to her office in Redwood City, as is required of the district in the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). But, she admits the required documents were not provided in a timely manner and once she received the communication from Anello, she responded immediately.

“We…are fully compliant with our MOU,” Gil said at the Feb. 27 Antioch school board meeting.

Nevertheless, the school board voted 4-1, with Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White dissenting, to approve the “issuance of a Notice Of Violation” that stated “the District’s Administration has lost all confidence in the Charter School’s leadership team.”

Under state law charter schools have time to cure and correct any violation of their MOU’s with the district that oversees them. Rocketship had until April 1st to respond to the notice.

“We are in compliance with all 13 points,” Gil reiterated to the Herald. “The main thing is our students are improving in their education, with some of our upper grade students, who came in reading at Kindergarten levels who are now, in less than six months, reading at their own grade level.”

Check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch Police force adds lateral officer from Stockton

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

Chief Tammany Brooks with new Antioch Police Officer Brandon Bushby. Photo by APD

By Antioch Police Department

On Monday, we welcomed lateral officer Brandon Bushby. Brandon grew up in Albany and graduated from Albany High School. While in high school, he played both football and baseball.

In 2009, Brandon joined the El Cerrito Police Department as a Police Explorer before being hired as a police cadet in 2012.

In 2013, Brandon put himself through the Napa Valley College Police Academy while working for El Cerrito PD. After graduating the academy in 2014, Brandon was hired as a police officer for the City of Stockton. For the last four years, he has worked patrol and was a field training officer.

In his free time, Brandon enjoys working out, hiking, shooting, and spending time with family and friends. Brandon is very eager to serve the City of Antioch and is honored to join the Antioch Police family.

A fun fact about Brandon is that he collects police patches and has nearly a thousand of them.

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CHP investigates another Highway 4 shooting, in Martinez Saturday night, no injuries

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Descriptions of shooter and driver provided by victims

By Brandon Correia, Public Information Officer, CHP-Contra Costa

Late last night on Saturday, March 30 just before midnight at 11:57pm, CHP was advised of a possible freeway shooting that occurred on HWY-4 W/B between Franklin Canyon and McEwen Road, just outside of Martinez.

Upon CHP arrival, the victim vehicle, a silver Nissan Maxima, was parked on the right shoulder with two apparent bullet holes in the windshield. The two victims in the Nissan, an adult male driver and an adult female passenger, we’re thankfully not injured and awaiting CHP‘s arrival and were cooperative throughout the entire investigation. The suspect vehicle fled the area.
We have learned through the victims the following; They were traveling on HWY-4 W/B when possibly a newer model white Toyota Corolla (or a similar style vehicle) quickly approached the back of the Nissan, began tailgating them, and then moved to pass on the left side, as the Nissan began to slow.

The victim driver related the passenger of the suspect Toyota began yelling and screaming at them. The male victim then slowed and parked the Nissan on the right shoulder in an attempt to allow the suspect to pass but the suspect vehicle also stopped on the right shoulder & parked in front of the Nissan. Then the male victim related bullets were fired at them from the passenger side window of the suspect Toyota, striking the Nissan windshield. Luckily the male and female victim both ducked below the dash and we’re not injured. Then the suspect vehicle fled the area.
The suspect passenger is described as a white male adult between 35-40 years old, bald, w/ tattoos on his face and right arm. The driver is described as possibly a mixed ethnicity adult male between 30-35 years old, with short black hair.

This incident is still under investigation and we do not have any further details or information to release.
We cannot predict when criminals are going to commit these crimes but what we can do, is a thorough investigation in which you can possibly assist us. We’d like to advise the public of these TIPS if you witness or have information regarding any freeway shooting;
1 – Know which freeway you’re on with your direction of travel, and nearest offramp
2 – Try to get a make, model and color of the suspect vehicle, and a full license plate if possible
3 – Try to get a description of the suspect or suspects, male or female, approximate age, ethnicity, clothing description, identifying marks or tattoos, etc.

If you have any information regarding this incident on HWY-4 from last night, please contact Contra Costa CHP at 925-646-4980. Or you can also call our 24-hr Tip Line at 707-917-4491.

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