Rowland Unified voters to decide on $158.8 million bond measure

The Rowland Unified School District is hoping voters in November will approve
Measure R, a $158.8 million school bond that would fund a performing arts center
at Rowland High School and replace portable classrooms at Oswalt Academy, a
technology school.

Supporters of the measure have been successful with two previous bonds – one
for $77 million in 2000 and one for $116 million in 2006. This is the third
facilities improvement bond the district has put on the ballot in 12 years.

But experience doesn’t always make the task easier.

“It is a little more difficult this time, you have Prop. 30 and Prop. 38
(statewide tax measures) and ballot fatigue. And it does take a lot more work
with today’s economy,” said school board member Robert Hidalgo. 

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story BOND.

Back to the Future as Nogales High celebrates 50 years in Rowland Unified

Nogales High School
really is going “Back to the Future” as it celebrates its 50th
anniversary this week. The school, which opened in 1962, is undergoing a
massive renovation that will literally transform it into a high school
of the future.

Students and staff have been putting up with work crews who
are gutting old classroom wings to remodel them. Rowland Unified is
spending $8 million to refurbish Nogales High.

The special homecoming week begins with a “Back to the Future – Passport
Through the Decades” social at the school tonight.The evening will feature tours of the campus at 5:30 p.m. Visitors can see
the modernization funded by the last school bond.

A gala will follow from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Mack Pace Gymnasium. Guests
will enjoy music and refreshments while they celebrate five decades of memories
and traditions. There will be a special video and speeches by alumni.

The public is invited to attend the special gala. The cost is $15 at the
door.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story NOBLES.

Ed Royce and Jay Chen battle in Republican-dominated 39th Congressional District

While many poll watchers say Rep. Ed Royce has little to worry about in his
bid for reelection in a newly redrawn 39th Congressional District, his
challenger Jay Chen is mounting a feisty battle against the incumbent.

Royce, the conservative Republican from Fullerton, carried a 36-point lead in
the primary over Chen, a Democrat and Hacienda La Puente Unified School District
Board Member. Royce also enjoys a 7.8 percentage point lead in registered
Republican voters over registered Democrats – 39.9 percent to 32.1 percent.

But the newly drawn district includes several cities Royce has never
represented, including Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut, Diamond Bar
and Chino Hills. The district also includes Buena Park, Fullerton and Placentia,
which Royce has long represented.

Still, the district is considered “safe” for Royce and though the David and
Goliath matchup is producing some fierce battles, most pundits predict Royce
will win the war.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story CHEN.

Los Angeles County sues Hacienda La Puente Unified for $4 million

Los Angeles County has filed a lawsuit against Hacienda La Puente Unified
School District, saying the district owes it $4 million as part of a
jail-education program that went sour.

The lawsuit filed last week alleges that Hacienda La Puente has failed to
hold up its end of a bargain in which the county was paying the district to
educate inmates in county jails. The county is seeking a jury trial.

Hacienda La Puente officials say the district is holding onto the $4 million
because the county has refused to return $5 million worth of equipment the
school district supplied to the jails.

The agreement between the county and the district, which serves about 21,000
students in Hacienda Heights and La Puente, dates to 1973, according to the
suit. For decades, the district provided adult education classes to inmates,
including classes in computers, printing, sewing and cooking.

Read more in J.D. Velasco’s story LAWSUIT.

2012 API Scores: More than half of California schools now meeting academic goals

California’s schools have continued a decade of improvement on test scores,
state officials announced Thursday.

For the first time, more than half of the state’s schools met or surpassed
the target score for academic achievement on the Academic Performance Index
(API), State Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced at a news conference in
Sacramento.

Locally, the majority of San Gabriel Valley school districts saw gains in
academic performance scores and more than half met state targets on the scale
meant to measure student achievement, according to data.

State officials use the scores, and how much they increase or decrease each
year, as an indicator of how schools and districts are performing academically.

Find out how your school is doing at API.

Diamond Bar instructor Sandra Davis named one of 16 teachers of year in Los Angeles County

Sandra Davis teaches peer counseling at Diamond Bar High School. Now her
peers have selected Davis as one of 16 winners in the 2012-13 Los Angeles County
Teachers of the Year competition.

The English instructor was named “best of the best” in California’s largest
honors competition for K-12 educators.

The “Sweet 16″ were presented by Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools
Arturo Delgado. Each instructor received $1,000 from the California Credit
Union, the program’s main sponsor.

“These are dedicated women and men who everyday make the most of a precious
opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of their students,”
Delgado said.

Judged as the top public school teachers, they represent more than 76,000
classroom colleagues countywide.

Davis is a veteran teacher with 25 years of experience. She has taught at
Diamond Bar High for more than a decade.

“For me there can be no greater professional accomplishment than to have made
a meaningful difference in my students’ lives,” Davis said.

The annual event that aims to spotlight excellence in teaching and recognize
highly effective and dedicated K-12 public school teachers.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story DAVIS.

Peer counselors help classmates at Diamond Bar High

Everybody is stressed out these days, with work, family and the economy. So
it’s good to see that Diamond Bar High is actually doing something about it.

It offers stress management training for its peer counselors. Those are the
65 students trained to support their classmates on the Brahmas campus.

“We’re here to support classmates who need someone to talk to about any
problems they’re having,” explained senior Nyla Simjee. “It helps to have
someone your own age to talk to.”

Julie Kim was taking the training because she said a peer counselor had
helped her last year with some family issues.

“It really helped me, so now I want to help other students,” the 18-year-old
said.

The teens were talking about stress management in Sandra Davis’ class. Davis
is an English teacher who serves as the faculty adviser for peer counseling.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PEERS.

UCLA Bruin Band featured at Rowland Regiment field show in Rowland Heights

Thirty marching bands will take the field during the Raider Regiment field
show at Rowland High School on Saturday, Oct. 11, beginning at 11 a.m.

The popular event has marching units from as far away as Utah and Arizona
competing. The evening will end with a rousing performance by the UCLA Bruin
Marching Band.

“This is our 42nd year, making us one of the oldest shows in Southern
California,” said Rowland Band Director Jason Alvo. “But this is the first time
we have a couple bands from out of state performing.”

The two bands are coming from Spanish Fork, Utah, and Goodyear, Ariz.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story REGIMENT.

Cal State University leaders name Timothy P. White as new chancellor

California State University trustees have selected a new chancellor to lead the
nation’s largest public university system during challenging fiscal times.

Timothy P. White, chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, is
expected to assume duties as the new chancellor at the end of December,
replacing outgoing Chancellor Charles B. Reed. The 70-year-old Reed in May
announced his plans to retire after 14 years as leader of the 23-campus system.

White, 63, became the eighth chancellor of UC Riverside in 2008 after serving
as president of the University of Idaho.

In a news conference on Thursday, CSU leaders said White has the skills and
experience to lead the system in a tough time of admissions cuts, tuition hikes
and unprecedented losses in state funding.

Read more in WHITE.