VALLEJO – Vallejo City Unified School District students’ performance was poor or very poor in every metric, well below statewide standards in both English language skills and math, as the district had an absenteeism rate and suspension rate double the statewide average, according to new data released on the California School Dashboard.
It’s the first set of data to be released on the state dashboard since it was suspended for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-person Vallejo school board will review the data, which includes the district’s graduation rate and student academic performance, during the board’s meeting Wednesday.
The dashboard is meant to provide educators and parents “with meaningful information on school and district progress so they can participate in decisions to improve student learning,” according to the dashboard website.
The numbers paint a grim picture for the district’s students who scored “very low” on both English arts and mathematics.
District students were 80.8 points below the English standard, more than 5 times the state average, which was 12 points below the standard. Students fared worse with math as they were 110 points below standard, while the state average was 51.7 points below standard.
Out of the 12 student groups measured by the dashboard, Asian, Filipino and white students scored “low” on how well they met grade-level standards in English and math. The remaining demographics all scored “very low,” including Black students, English learners, foster youth, Hispanic students, homeless students, Pacific Islanders, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.
The data also shows that 58% of students in the district were chronically absent – nearly double the state average – in 2021-22. California reported that statewide, about 30% of the state’s students were chronically absent that year.
The district also performed poorly for suspensions and its graduation rate.
About 6.5% of students were suspended at least once during the school year, more than double the 3.1% state average.
The data showed the highest number of suspensions were found with foster youth as 18% of the 103 students were suspended at least once, while nearly 12% of the 2,837 African American students were suspended.
The district also scored low with its graduation rate, 77.9%, which was nearly 10% lower than the state average. Filipino students had a high graduation rate, while African American, Hispanic, white, and socially economically disadvantaged students had a low graduation rate, as homeless, students with disabilities, and English learners had a “very low” graduation rate.
School board asked to approve millions in raises
The school board is expected to approve giving district employees almost $10 million in raises when it approves four different contracts with district unions.
The board is also expected to approve $1.5 million in salary bumps for managers and employees who routinely handle confidential documents. District Superintendent William Spalding and others in his administration would receive an 11% pay raise, effective from July 1. All managers and confidential staff would receive a one-time $5,000 stipend.
Last June, the school board approved giving Spalding a raise, bumping his annual pay to $274,881. With the new increase, the superintendent’s salary will top $300,000 annually.
In addition, the board is set to approve an agreement with the California School Employees Association (CSEA) regarding workplace safety that would require the district to provide bulletproof vests and body armor at request of site safety personnel.
Site safety personnel would also be provided self-defense training, upon request.
Additional agreements include a $3.1 million tentative agreement between the district and CSEA to provide a one-time $5,000 payment to each member and an 8% pay rate increase.
“Current circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a severe workforce shortage and lack of coverage at the school sites (divisions/departments) across the District,” according to a staff report.
The board will be asked to approve a $4.9 million tentative agreement with the Vallejo Education Association, which includes a 7% raise for all teachers and the application of longevity pay.
The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m., Wednesday inside the Governing Board Room, 665 Walnut Ave. on Mare Island.
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John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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