Associated Press // The popularity of California’s 280 state parks may be a factor in why California legislators are developing bi-partisan legislation to them. Californians camped at 10,000 sites in state parks over the Memorial Day weekend, yet even a quarter of those parks are expected to close this July. A Senate proposal suggests obtaining funds from private sources while the Assembly proposes people check off donations on their tax returns and purchase special license plates benefiting parks and open space reservation.
SIA Cabinet Report // Eight California superintendents, including representatives from Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento, have developed the non-profit coalition California Office to Reform Education (CORE) as an alternative to improve education and make teachers more accountable. While CORE has received a $4 million donation from former Wall Street investor and San Francisco philanthropist Phil Halperin, the group is expected to enter the Race to the Top grant competition to increase its funding.
Oakland Tribune // While three of Castlemont’s small high schools are expected to merge into one in Oakland, there are many expectations for the new Sustainable Urban Design Academy currently in place at one of the schools. Part of the school's purpose is to help teenage students become more aware of their surroundings and learn about urban planning. In the long run, administrators plan on having students participate in summer internships and think of sustainable urban planning as a career option. While the three high schools have a combined dropout rate of 49 percent, this project, which also includes a community mapping component, hopes to open dialogue about what students observe in their communities.
Bay Area News Group // City and community colleges face the tasks of providing job training and remedial education as well as preparing students for other California universities, and they feel they will be the hardest hit by the proposed California budget cuts. As the November ballot approaches, administrators are concerned that if the Governor’s budget proposal doesn’t pass, they will have to cut enrollment, lay off instructors and cut classes, which some campuses have already done. Enrollment has dropped by 10 percent from 2008 to this year and the threat of mid-year cuts might worsen the situation.
California Watch // Eight California State Universities have spent more than $2 million dollars on renovations for the residences of the presidents of their campuses over the last ten years. With the increased cuts for higher education, the costly renovations have sparked concern about the way in which state money is being spent, since half of the renovation funding came from the state. While some spending was used to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, many are still concerned more money isn’t being spent on students.
San Francisco Chronicle // Newlyweds Carey Telander and Cam Fortin plan on listing their home in front of the Marina to spectators interested in having a front row seat to the America’s Cup boat competition taking place in the Bay Area next year. With an offer of $150 to $175 a night, the couple expects to be able to pay their honeymoon expenses.