WCCUSD has a new leader

WCCUSD selects Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst, Sr. as new superintendent

WCCUSD selects new superintendent, first African American to serve in non-interim role
Dr. Kenneth “Chris” Hurst, Sr. (courtesy of Dr. Hurst)

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) has a new superintendent. At its Wed., April 14 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to name Dr. Kenneth “Chris” Hurst, Sr. as the district’s next superintendent. Dr. Hurst, who will leave his role as superintendent of the Othello School District in Othello, Wash. to lead the WCCUSD, will commence his three-year contract May 17.

In his new role, Dr. Hurst will bear the distinction of the being the WCCUSD’s first permanent African American superintendent. (Per the district, Sylvester Greenwood and Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc both served as interim superintendents for one-year terms). He will be the district’s 10th permanent superintendent.

“I am excited to get to work in West Contra Costa Unified and about working together to provide a world-class educational experience for students that prepares them to be globally competent and allows them to compete and participate in our diverse and global society,” said Dr. Hurst. “I have an unwavering commitment and dedication to supporting a culture of inclusion and equity throughout the district and community, and what excites me is that we have a board and learning community interested in educational equity for all students.”

Dr. Hurst’s selection as WCCUSD superintendent followed a six-month search spurred by current Superintendent Matthew Duffy’s announcement in November that he would not seek a contract extension. During the search, the district hosted more than 50 listening sessions with students, families, staff and local stakeholders, as well as gathered input from 6,000 community members regarding what qualities and qualification they would like to see in the next superintendent. Nearly 30 people throughout the country applied for the role.

During Dr. Hurst’s five-year tenure with the 4,500-student Othello School District, located three hours southeast of Seattle, graduation rates increased by from 71 to 87 percent and absences were reduced by 33 percent. As superintendent of that district, he also implemented the K-12 pathway, Othello’s Social-Emotional Learning Standards, tripled the number of preschool children and increased the percentage of preschool students prepared for kindergarten from 30 percent to more than 98 percent.

The Othello School District that Dr. Hurst oversaw is 91 percent Latinx and 32 percent English Language Learners, with 75 percent participating in free and reduced-price lunch. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he led them through the transition to Distance Learning, and eventually to a hybrid model this year.

Prior to heading up the Othello School District, Dr. Hurst served as the associate superintendent of educational services at Oceanside Unified School District, a 19,000-student district a half hour northwest of San Diego. There, he supervised the Oceanside Promise’s implementation to ensure all Oceanside students graduated college-and-career-ready and established the Oceanside Promise Foundation, a 501(c)(3). Collaborating with ConnectEd California, he implemented Linked Learning to create K-12 pathways to prepare students to succeed in college and their careers. He also collaborated to implement the Future Ready technology initiative, aimed at preparing students for success in college, career and citizenship.

“As the incoming superintendent, I am eager to work within our learning community to confront and address issues of systemic racism, implicit bias and ensuring growth mindset at every level of the organization,” Dr. Hurst said. “I’m equally excited about deepening our understanding of equity and systemic inequities and also moving toward what it should look like, feel like and sound like to have an equitable and culturally responsive education for all students.”

Overall, Dr. Hurst has more than two decades of experience teaching and leading equity in urban, suburban and rural K-12 districts. This includes six years as a principal and assistant principal in Oceanside, as well as the turnaround principal for Jefferson Middle and Oceanside High schools. Notably, Dr. Hurst led double-digit growth in Oceanside High School’s academic performance.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Hurst served as an administrator in the San Diego Unified and Poway Unified School Districts, in addition to serving as a U.S. Marine prior to entering academics. He earned his Doctorate in Education, K-12 Leadership (Magna Cum Laude), at the University of Southern California in 2011, and his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration (Magna Cum Laude) in 2008, and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics in 1997 at California State University, San Marcos. He also holds an Associate of Arts Degree from National University, San Diego.

Dr. Hurst and his wife, Crystal, are the parents of two adult children, a daughter who works as a sixth-grade teacher and a son who is a computer scientist.

“We are thrilled with Dr. Hurst’s background, experience and readiness to hit the ground running here in our district and help us to the next level,” said WCCUSD Board President Mister Phillips. “His acumen in social justice, equity and focus on accelerating student achievement here is impressive. His approach to collaborative leadership and knowledge of teaching strategies, as well as community involvement, are just what we need here in West Contra Costa.”

PPP Forgiveness Clarified

How to Calculate Your Partial PPP Loan Forgiveness Amount

Originally Published on Alignable by Chelsey Taylor on Apr 9th, 2021

If you received a PPP loan, you probably have questions about forgiveness. And even though they made the process easier, what if you used the funds differently than the guidelines specify? Do you qualify? And how do you calculate PPP loan forgiveness in that case?

To answer these questions, we reached out to the SBA. Here’s what you need to know.

How Loan Forgiveness for PPP Works

pensive man looking at computer calculating ppp loan forgiveness amount
Photo by gpointstudio / Shutterstock

First, a refresher course: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is all about providing funding to keep your employees on staff during Covid. Along with payroll costs, you can use the money on other approved expenses, like rent, mortgage interest, or utility payments.

According to the guidelines, you should use the majority of your funds on payroll and payroll-related expenses. That originally meant that you had to spend at least 75% of the loan on payroll and the rest on approved expenses, but thanks to the Flexibility Act, that shifted to 60-40.

To be eligible for forgiveness in full, you have to:

  • Use at least 60% on payroll expenses
  • Spend the rest on approved expenses
  • Keep your employee amount and their compensation rates the same
  • Spend the funds within your covered period (8 or 24 weeks)

Simple, right?

But what if you didn’t use the full 60% on payroll? Maybe you lost some employees permanently. Or you needed to pay for unexpected repairs. What happens then? Can a PPP loan be partially forgiven?

Let’s take a look.

How to Calculate PPP Loan Forgiveness If You Spent Less Than 60% on Payroll

The borrower will receive partial loan forgiveness, based on the requirement that 60 percent of the forgiveness amount must be attributable to payroll costs.

Here’s the good news: You can still have part of your PPP loan forgiven, even if you didn’t spend the full 60% on payroll. It just involves a little math.

To calculate the amount you qualify for, you need to know two things: the total PPP loan amount and how much of that loan you spent on payroll. You’ll use these to calculate your PPP loan forgiveness, according to guidelines from the SBA. Here’s how.

  1. Figure out how much of your total loan amount you spent on payroll. If it’s less than 60 percent, go to the next step.
  2. Determine what that new amount is 60% of to get your new max forgiveness number.

Because the forgiveness rules determine that 60% of the loan has to be spent on payroll, you’re recalculating your loan amount so whatever you did spend on payroll is 60% of the amount that can be forgiven.

Let’s look at an example:

  • You had a loan of $100,000 and you only spent $54,000 on payroll, so not the full 60%.
  • You need to know the number that $54,000 is 60% of.
  • Do the math: $54,000 is 60% of $90,000.
  • So $90,000 is your new maximum forgiveness amount.
  • You’d have to repay $10,000 of your loan.

Here’s what the revisions to the new interim final rule say:

If you use less than 60% on payroll, “…the borrower will receive partial loan forgiveness, based on the requirement that 60 percent of the forgiveness amount must be attributable to payroll costs.”

Want someone else to do the math? Use the PPP loan forgiveness calculator from Paychex to find out your max forgiveness amount.

Forgiveness Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Now that you know that you do qualify for forgiveness even if you didn’t use 60% on payroll, you can apply. Make sure you verify your maximum loan amount with your lender or accountant before you start the process.

Still hesitating? Here are a few members on how easy the forgiveness process has been:

“I am a tax professional here in Lake Worth, and it is true that PPP loan forgiveness is available and easily completed. And unlike other debt forgiveness, it is not taxable.”—Harold Blotcher EA

“My first PPP Loan was actually just forgiven. So rest assured, as long as you use it according to the rules, it will be forgiven.” —Nicholas Radice of GSB Web Design

“Forgiveness was a piece of cake. We were hit hard by reduction in business by Covid restrictions but we were able to keep people employed with PPP and forgiving the loan was easy.”—Mike Fry of Furniture Repair by Fry’s

More questions? These resources can help:

Plight of East Brother in the Media

The saga of the East Brother Light Station unplugged continues. We have a GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-save-east-brother-light-station.

If we have to go to off grid solar, the estimated cost is about $200,000. Replacing the submarine power cable is estimated at two to three times that much. We are also soliciting recommendations for:

  • Solar contractors
  • Submarine cable suppliers
  • Submarine cable installer


General Plan Update, February 24th Webinar – PowerPoint Presentation

Council of Business & Industries Members and Community Leaders –

I was pleased to see over 50 of you join us for yesterday’s General Plan Update webinar that the COI co-hosted with the Industrial Association of Contra Costa County (IACCC) and WSPA.  Attached is the PowerPoint presentation that Will Nelson walked us through during the meeting.

Download the presentation here

IACCC, COI, WSPA 2-24-21

We will continue to participate in the General Plan Update process, and work with the IACCC, WSPA and East Bay Leadership Council to ensure ensure that the business/industrial sector’s voice is heard.  We will keep you updated as the Plan moves towards completion and approval by the Board of Supervisors, which is expected to be at the end of 2022.

Katrinka Ruk
Executive Director
Council of Business & Industries

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Letter from Katrinka Ruk, Executive Director

Letter from Katrinka Ruk, Executive Director:

2020 proved to be an overall challenging year filled with loss of many of our friends and peers.  Our Office Manager and my good friend Anne Graff passed away in May.  Just before his retirement began, we lost the City of Richmond Port Director, Jim Matzorkis who’s support of our port businesses was great and instrumental in bringing in new port businesses.  Before the year end, we were notified of the loss of PGE Government Relations guru Tom Guarino.  It goes without saying that these individuals’ contributions and friendships will be missed.  May their families find solace in knowing the impact that they had on so many individuals. 

The COVID19 impact goes without saying – we saw the economic impact on our local and regional businesses and with our own organization.  The COI had to cancel all in person meetings including our annual Shoreline and Bay Yacht Tour.  We hope that 2021 we can again look forward to this event.  With the additional PPP loans coming out we hope that this will allow local businesses to remain open.  

This year also brought a change to the City of Richmond’s election process as we moved to district elections, the outcome of which was the election of incumbent councilmember Melvin Willis, former councilmember and Mayor Gayle Mclaughlin and new comer Claudia Jimenez.  We are looking forward to building a relationship with the old and new members of the council.   

A great deal of time last year was focused on bringing city staff and businesses together to discuss a change to the business license tax which moved from one based on number of employees to gross receipts.  The input from the businesses enlightened the council to the financial burden this tax will have on the medium sized businesses already impacted by the COVID19 pandemic.  We will continue to meet with city staff and work on a more equitable tax for the business community which will provide needed funding for city services. More to come on this. 

AB617 Air Monitoring Committee under the auspices of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District completed establishing the air monitoring sites in Richmond and San Pablo.  COI member businesses and community leaders participated on the committee for over one year.  The next step is to establish a committee to focus on air emissions reductions. We will keep you all posted on that.  

Finally, of note was the revamp of the Council of Business and Industries’ website – PLEASE NOTE, OUR WEBSITE HAS CHANGED TO: 


We added a “members information” access where we will be posting information, letters, and updates for your easy access. 

Stay well. Wear your masks.  Follow the protocols. 

How can we make our communities stronger and healthier?

En Español

Envision Contra Costa 2040 is a plan for a safe, healthy, equitable, and sustainable future for all communities in the county. Communities of color, indigenous people, low-income families, and immigrants should not face disproportionate environmental and health impacts. We’ve listened to community members at dozens of meetings to draft policies and actions to drive change.

We want to hear from you!

Please join us for an in-depth conversation about key environmental justice issues in Contra Costa County through a three-part Environmental Justice Community Meeting series in February:

  • Meeting #1: Sustainable Economy, Homes, and Jobs on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting #2: Community Engagement, Transportation, and Infrastructure on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Meeting #3: Food, Health Services, Recreation, Air Quality, and Hazardous Materials on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, from 6 pm – 8 pm

These meetings will be interactive and conducted using Zoom, an online video/audio conferencing platform. Meeting participants can join by computer, tablet, or phone. Please click here to register for the events and to receive information about how to join us.

Continue the conversation!

  • We’ve developed a survey about the draft policies and actions. Please share your feedback in this survey.
  • You can also send us a video to share what environmental justice means in your life and in your community. You can choose to talk about the issue generally or highlight specific issues in your area.

For more information and to share your ideas online, visit www.envisioncontracosta2040.org, or
e-mail Will.Nelson@dcd.cccounty.us.
We hope to see you there!

The Envision Contra Costa 2040 Team