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Mt. Diablo Measure C facilities overview

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, May 24th, 2010 at 7:30 pm in Contra Costa County, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

If the Mt. Diablo school district’s $348 million Measure C passes on June 8, the district expects to complete 817 projects costing $202.1 million (construction only) at 53 sites. The district has posted lists of these projects by school on its website, but it has not posted the overview of costs and project types.
A thick volume titled “2010 Facilities Master Plan Update/Proposed Bond Program Profile: 2010 Facilities Improvement Plan” dated April 2010 includes the complete list of projects and their costs. You can view the document at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.
I am attaching the Summary by Project (or school) below, along with the Summary by Cost Model (or type of project).
In 2009, according to the document, district staff updated a facilities self-assessment and master plan update from 2006, taking into account projects that were completed from the 2002 Measure C bond. Throughout 2009 and into 2010, staff began assessing the need for infrastructure improvements for new technologies, high efficiency buildings, resource conservation and solar technology.
When the board voted March 9 to put the 2010 Measure C on the ballot, staff had not yet finalized a list of projects to present to voters like they did in 2002. Instead, voters were presented with a general list, while maintenance and operations staff visited sites and asked administrators to review a list of phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 priorities (phase 1 being highest priority and phase 3 being lowest).
“All site submissions and revisions have since been incorporated,” the document states.
The plan prioritizes projects according to these criteria:
– Health and safety: including repairs, security, roofing, exterior lighting, window and fire protection systems
– Systems equity: including equipment, facilities and program access at sites in an attempt to equalize expenditures across the district
– Technology: supporting emerging technologies serving educational programs.
– Community enhancement: expenditures that benefit students, staff and community
– General fund relief: facility-related expenses that would provide significant long-term relief to the general fund.
The plan proposes to complete projects over five years, but includes a caveat indicating that could change.
“The actual cost flow requirements of any major facility program are driven by a fixed program/project schedule and the cost of those projects as they are assigned within that schedule,” the plan states. “Because no such schedule has been established we have, for the purpose of illustration only, here assumed that the program would be implemented over a five year active construction term.”
Pete Pedersen, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said he recommends creating an “in-house management team” (with only supplemental third party program/construction management assistance) to help keep costs down. It turns out, Pedersen will likely head up this team after he retires, according to Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s planned reorganization
Pedersen wouldn’t have been able to oversee the projects had he stayed on as assistant superintendent, because the measure prohibits proceeds from being spent on administrator salaries.
Here are Pedersen’s total estimated bond costs:
Conceptual project construction: $202.2 million
Estimating contingency (5 percent): $10 million
Construction change order allowance (10 percent): $21.2 million
Escalation to mid-point of construction (Sept. 2013): $42.5 million
Soft costs (20.5 percent): $56.6 million
Total construction program costs: $332.5 million
In addition, the board wants to use Measure C bond money to pay off $14.4 million in debt from other bonds and lease to purchase agreements. This brings the grand total to $346.9 million.
As you can see in the Summary by Project, expenditures at sites range from $619,221 at the Sunrise special education school for air conditioning and nine other projects to $8.9 million at El Dorado Middle School in Concord for air conditioning, solar panels, new buildings, science labs and 18 other projects.
The Summary by Cost Model shows that the bulk of the money will be spent on solar projects, with more than $68 million designated. The second-highest expenditure planned is for classroom heating and air conditioning upgrades at a cost of nearly $36.3 million.
The district intends to spend $14.6 million to replace portable classrooms and more than $12 million each on technology systems and middle school science labs.
Here are the other items the district plans to spend more than $1 million on:
Roofing systems: $9.8 million
Security systems: $8.1 million
Interior classroom lighting: $7.2 million
Restroom renovations: $5.9 million
Network cabling and upgrades: $4.8 million
Administrative air conditioning and heating: $4.5 million
Floor covering: $2.8 million
Fiber optic backbone: $1.8 million
Windows: $1.6 million
Food service (code improvements): $1.8 million
Specialized classrooms: $1 million
Playground repair: $1 million
Those in favor of the measure say it would help improve technology, maintenance and “provide safe places for supervised after-school activities like athletics and fine arts that help keep kids on the right track and out of trouble.”
But there do not appear to be any large-ticket athletic or arts facilities upgrades planned.
Hellena Postrk, principal of Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill, announced to a packed audience at a band performances last Friday that Measure C would likely enable the campus to get a real stage instead of having to use temporary risers. But the project list posted online doesn’t include a stage.
When I called Postrk today to ask her about this, she said she requested that the district add this as a high priority when she returned the project list. But, somehow, it was overlooked.
Postrk said she is working with Pedersen and Superintendent Steven Lawrence to get the stage on the list. She said the school doesn’t need $20,200 worth of door hardware on the list, so perhaps the stage could replace that item.
The district website also includes the wrong campus site under Sequoia Middle School. Instead of showing the middle school layout, Sequoia Elementary school’s campus is pictured.
Measure opponents say the list was created hastily, after the board dropped the idea of seeking a parcel tax in February and decided on a bond measure March 9 to get it on the June 8 ballot.
But the measure has garnered many endorsements, including dozens of organizations representing thousands of parents such as the Mt. Diablo Council of PTAs (representing 5000+ members), the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation and parent clubs from 26 schools.
Do you agree with the board’s decision to seek a bond measure over a parcel tax? (A parcel tax needs two-thirds of voter support compared to 55 percent for a bond measure.)
Do you agree with the board’s decision to structure the bond with lower annual payments and a larger overall cost spread over 42 years (as opposed to doubling the annual tax rate, but reducing the overall cost by about $1 billion and shortening the payoff time)?

Measure C improvements by type

Measure C summary by school

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23 Responses to “Mt. Diablo Measure C facilities overview”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Nice article Teresa exposing the hasty and poorly planned bond issue. However, you did not address that the “rebates” for solar energy will NOT be put against the bond costs, but will go to the general fund. The new supt and Board are more like a Laurel and Hardy rerun — funny but tragic. This is what we get for $250,000 a year plus bonus and perks — are you kidding me ? It is pure hide the ball and deception by the Board and Supt. The public should not stand for it. Sure, public education is in difficuty, but the Board has been purely hypocritical in giving raises to the Gang of Five, including the lawyer and the accountant, and yet demanding furloughs and salary cuts and layoffs of teachers and administrators.
    The Board’s decision to cancel all board meetings — how did they do this without a public meeting ? — is pure CENSORSHIP of public comment about the defective Bond.
    To answer your questions — the parcel tax is more economical for taxpayers than the bond. Poor choice by the Board over the objections of the Supt. The structuring of the bond was purely hypocritical and shows the poor judgment of the Board and breach of its trust to the public. This Board cannot make wise financial decisions. It has lost the trust of the public.

  2. MDUSD Mom Says:

    I haven’t decided, but there are 2 reasons why I might vote no on Measure C: (1) paying an extra 1 BILLION dollars in interest; and (2) the school site lists don’t match the lists on the district web site, and there is no priority list. One school principal said their #1 priority is to remodel bathrooms, but bathrooms are not on the district list!

    Your documents show the site that will get the most money (after 2 middle schools) is Loma Vista – $6.9 million. Isn’t that adult ed??? Didn’t the board say that K-12 sites should have priority??? Why are we investing so much at Loma Vista???

    The first Measure C was used to build new classrooms which now sit empty. Superintendent Lawrence was hired because of his experience to create K-8 schools – is that going to happen? MDUSD will be closing schools, but we’re paying millions to upgrade 53 sites??? This seems to be “cart before the horse” again.

    We need a school bond, but a smaller one and with better planning.

    MDUSD has had declining enrollment for years. The district desperately needs a strategic plan which will look forward many years and which includes school site planning, so voters know this money will be invested wisely for the future!

  3. MDUSD Mom Says:

    I meant to say bathrooms for this school are not on the district list – the list for each school that was posted on the district web site. The documents that you posted here show Restroom Renovations, but I don’t know where this correlates to a list of schools that would receive this upgrade?

  4. tharrington Says:

    Northgate High Principal John McMorris told me the top three priorities he submitted to the district were: a swimming pool, bleachers and field lights. None of these appears on the district list. What site are you referring to? Are there other schools that named priorities that do not appear on their lists?

    The complete list of 28 schools to receive restroom improvements is in the Facilities plan at the district office.

    Yes, Loma Vista does appear to be slated for the third highest dollar amount in upgrades, after El Dorado and Valley View middle schools. It is slated for $6.9 million in improvements for 16 projects, including $3.1 million for heating and air conditioning, $2.1 million for solar panels, more than $370,000 for windows and about $294,000 for classroom technology enhancements.

  5. MDUSD Mom Says:

    Maybe Principal McMorris is confused like the rest of us? At last week’s Northgate PFC meeting, he said his top 3 priorities are 1. fixing bathrooms, 2. new classrooms, and 3. turning the auto shop into a 21st Century learning center. The parents at the meeting were questioning the items on the district’s list for Northgate such as ground-mounted solar, since Northgate already has solar on the roof!

    I’m sure Principal McMorris knows the status of the 3 items that you listed. Northgate Pride Foundation has raised funds for the bleachers and lights, and they’re just waiting for the district to finish the EIR. Then NCPF’s next project will be fundraising for a pool. In the meantime the water polo team drives to Moraga to practice.

    Does Loma Vista have any K-12 classrooms?

  6. tharrington Says:

    I just spoke to McMorris and he said he talked to Superintendent Steven Lawrence yesterday and to Pete Pedersen today about the lists.
    “The big things we asked for are the bathrooms and we want to take our auto shop and create a design center,” he said.
    McMorris said he believes a new list has been created and sent to the PFC president.
    “I believe the list online has been changed,” he said.
    However, the online list at does not reflect these changes.
    McMorris said he believes Northgate is slated to get more solar panels because they would help generate more revenues for the district.
    I don’t think Loma Vista has K-12 classrooms, but some high school students and parents take classes there. The campus also offers professional development for special ed assistants.

  7. MDUSD Mom Says:

    Thank you for the follow up, and Principal McMorris taking the time to answer these questions. The point is that voters would like to have this information. Is the information readily accessible? We would like to know whether the funds are being spent in K-12 classrooms? We would like to know what is the PLAN for the future? Then voters can make the best decision. I hope you will continue to cover this story until election day.

  8. tharrington Says:

    As I mentioned, the complete plan is available at the district office. The district didn’t have the list completed in time to include it in the voter pamphlet. There seems to be some question as to whether voters can rely on the online list, since some principals are saying their schools will get things that don’t appear on those lists.

    According to the April plan, Northgate is slated to receive $5.9 million for 11 projects, including $4.3 million for a ground-mounted solar structure, $658,335 for technology classroom enhancements, $440,000 for security and $212,442 for network cabling and upgrades. The district’s online lists don’t include costs.

    Of the nearly $202.2 million in construction planned, about $10.8 million would be spent at non K-12 sites, including “Central Services,” the district office, Loma Vista Center and Willow Creek Center.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Its bait and switch — after some voters have already cast their ballots via mail. Its Laurel and Hardy ! The lists keep changing ! What are the voters supposed to rely upon ? I wonder if changing the lists after the voting has started will invalidate the election ? The tragedy is that the Supt. and the principals are not even on the same page. What a fiasco ! How can the list change without Board approval ? There is no Board meeting until after the election !
    And the third highest upgrades are not for “children” but for adults ! How many more worms are in this can ? Is it any wonder that the voters lack trust in the MDUSD “leadership” ?

  10. tharrington Says:

    I am planning to write a story about the facilities plan. I encourage anyone who would be willing to speak to me “on the record” (not anonymously) to call me at 925-945-4764 regarding your opinion of the plan.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, when you read Ex. B to the 3/9 Resolution, it states the Board “evaluated” the District needs — where is that evaluation ? It states that “teachers, staff and community members” prioritized the needs. Who were they and where is the document ? It also states that bond funds “may be used to pay or reimburse the district for cost of District staff”. That is contrary to Ex. A that says no money for administrative salaries. Another moving target.

  12. Clayton Mom Says:

    We were told at a PFC meeting that the list would be developed with site council and Principal input. I noticed that the list for my school included things already done. I assume that was the original measure C list? Much was done already at our site (Mt. Diablo El) either due to Measure C prior funding OR PFC fundraising i.e. for AC, etc. As a PFC we have not been approached at this time to take part in any further planning that I know of..

  13. tharrington Says:

    I believe the evaluation is the thick “2010 Facilities Master Plan Update/Proposed Bond Program File: 2010 Facilities Improvement Plan” available for review at the district office. But, this document was not completed until April, after Exhibit B was approved by the board on March 9.

    Pete Pedersen told me that he submitted a list of proposed improvements to all site administrators and asked them to either confirm the priorities or suggest changes. He received 32 responses asking for changes. I have asked to see these responses, but he hasn’t yet shown them to me. I submitted a Public Records Act request for this information May 25, along with my request for the survey results.

    I believe the district is making a distinction between “administrators” and district staff. As a part-time consultant, Pedersen will no longer be an administrator and could be as paid as part of the “in-house management team” responsible for overseeing projects.

  14. tharrington Says:

    Mt. Diablo Elementary is slated to receive $4.3 million for 22 projects, including $1.3 million for solar panels, $1 million for classroom heating and air conditioning, $518,410 for a “specialized classroom” and $252,281 for new roofing. Are you saying that the school doesn’t need the air conditioning? Are you satisfied with the process that was used to create the lists?

  15. Clayton Mom Says:

    yes that is what I’m saying. Our pfc paid for air. I think only remaining area are the office and kitchen. 2 areas couldn’t possibly be 1 million could it?

  16. tharrington Says:

    No, the Mt. Diablo Elementary plan breaks out classroom heating and air conditioning separately from the office and kitchen. According to the plan, $1 million is set aside for classrooms, $84,739 is for administration (the office) and $22,750 is for the kitchen. Have you asked your principal about this? I left a message for him, but he did not return my call.

  17. Clayton Mom Says:

    I think as part of the original Measure C some portable classrooms went to permanent structures. I just wonder if some of the list is left over from the original Measure C and either they don’t know, or don’t care, that some of this was taken out of their hands by superb PFC fundraising. But again, it begs the question – if this site is inaccurate to sound good on paper, how many others? Perhaps Mr. Eberhart can answer since I understand his student attends MDE.

  18. tharrington Says:

    Pedersen said he submitted the lists to principals before finalizing them. Your principal should be able to tell you if he approved the list with the air conditioning on it.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Why is MDUSD proposing projects for schools that likely will be closed in consolidation ? Isn’t that a huge waste of money ? The Board has dragged their feet in not wanting to discuss closing schools during an election year, but the financial realiities are shouting for more ways to save money.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, any response yet to the records requests ?

  21. tharrington Says:

    Not yet.

  22. Clayton Mom Says:

    Regarding clayton mde. Answer from principal was no. A million dollars for air brought looks of shock. BUT, do they mean heating too? Or only air? That would be an important question.

  23. tharrington Says:

    Here is the generic description for the $1 million in classroom heating and air conditioning systems: “Gas fired heating/DX cooling in classrooms including all ductwork, gas service, electrical distribution, structural upgrades and controls. Cost includes an allowance of $2.50 psf for unforseen dryrot at roof. ‘Split’ or ‘package’ configuration depending on occupancy.”
    Pedersen said he sent draft priorities lists to all site administrators.

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