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Mt. Diablo superintendent recommends no other school closure

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 11:10 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The agenda for Tuesday’s Mt. Diablo school board meeting, which is likely to include another vote on the school closure issue, has been posted.

But Superintendent Steven Lawrence isn’t recommending closing another school. Instead, he says in his staff report that he believes the district can reach its goal of saving $1.5 million a year by:

• Closing Glenbrook Middle and Holbrook Elementary schools in north Concord as planned (and forfeiting nearly $1.2 million in Glenbrook’s School Improvement Grant funding over the next two years);

• Developing a program at the closed Glenbrook site that would “allow us to reduce the number of special education students served by nonpublic schools;”

• Redrawing boundary lines around crowded schools to “minimize overflow transportation costs;”

• “Investigate ways to meet student needs in our Necessary Small High Schools more efficiently;” and

• Provide “online learning opportunities” to students in the district’s Independent Study\Horizon and Home study programs.

One big question is whether Lawrence can provide the board with hard numbers to back up this recommendation and show the savings he is promising. The other huge caveat is in his introduction to the recommendation:

“Provided the Governor’s Budget proposal is approved and our funding is only reduced by $18.38 per student…”

This means that if Gov. Jerry Brown’s funding proposal is not approved (and voters don’t approve his proposed tax extension), the district would have to make much deeper cuts, which could include more school closures. Obviously, the district won’t know that until after the proposed June election.

Lawrence also notes in his staff report that:

“The purpose of this Board item is to:

1. Answer Board questions asked at the Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Board workshop;

2. Consider whether additional facilities need to be closed. Currently, Silverwood, Westwood, and Willow Creek are being considered;

3. Consider consolidation or closure of Necessary Small High School programs and Diablo Community Day School;

4. Provide an opportunity for staff to make a recommendation to the Board.”

As has been seen in the past, trustees can also bring up their own ideas and will likely discuss the idea brought up by Board President Gary Eberhart to “move” Glenbrook to the Westwood Elementary site, if the board were to close that campus.

At the Feb. 15 meeting, Lawrence suggested consolidating some small necessary high schools on the Olympic High School campus. However, teacher Skip Weinstock told me there is no room on that campus for a new program, unless the Alliance special education and/or Crossroads small necessary high school for pregnant teens and teen moms were moved.

Weinstock suggested the district could instead move small necessary high schools to the Mt. Diablo High School campus, which is in the same area of Concord and has excess capacity.

Trustee Linda Mayo asked Feb. 15 whether Lawrence had considered consolidating small necessary high schools on the Ygnacio Valley High School campus, which also has excess capacity.

Some Glenbrook Middle School parents have expressed concerns about the idea of locating a nonpublic special education program in their neighborhood, since it could include students who are severely emotionally troubled. Hopefully, Lawrence will give more details about the type of program he envisions.

Glenbrook parents and staff also question the estimated savings for closing Glenbrook, if it is instead used to house another program. If the district is going to essentially “keep it open” for another student population, they wonder why it doesn’t just allow Glenbrook to continue to operate there, keeping it’s $1.2 million grant over the next two years. Could a nonpublic school instead be housed on the Holbrook site?

According to the state’s school closure “best practices” advice: “Some of the alternatives as listed below do not involve real cost savings if this is the focus of reasons for school closure: …
reorganize attendance boundaries;
use surplus classrooms for other district functions;
enter into joint-use/joint occupancy agreements;
convert to community day school use;
convert to a small high school;…”

Also, Lawrence hasn’t been specific about how “redrawing boundaries” would affect the families of students in new boundary areas. Currently, overcrowded schools are in low-income areas of Concord and Bay Point.

Now, the district pays to bus “overflow” students to other campuses. If the district redraws the boundaries, some of those students would likely be assigned to schools that are farther away from their homes. But their parents would be responsible for getting them there, since the district wouldn’t have to bus them anymore. This could place additional financial hardship on low-income families.

Lawrence also hasn’t clarified what would happen to families now living in the Glenbrook attendance area whose children are bused to other schools on No Child Left Behind transfers (since Glenbrook is a low-achieving school). Office manager Berta Shatswell said these transfers are supposed to be in effect for all three years of middle school. But, if the school closes, will the district honor its promise to bus those children to other schools for two more years? If so, where would they be picked up? If not, these students could be in for a big surprise.

Some in the community have questioned the district’s decision-making process regarding school closures. Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge attended the Feb. 15 board meeeting and has been following the issue.

You can see his take on the process in his latest column, entitled: “Mt. Diablo trustees making closures as painful as possible.”

Do you agree with Barnidge’s assertion that “Every decision seems to be a reactive, knee-jerk fix to problems as they arise without long-range considerations”?

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Doctor J

    Lawrence’s guestimate of saving $1.5 million is not backed up by detailed analysis and his prior record of claiming savings cannot be trusted. The last time Lawrence said his reorganization of Curriculum & Instruction into the Student Achievment and School Support division would result in “reduced staff” and save “$50,000″ a year in salaries, even though many of the salaries were from categorical and not general fund. Lawrence even used a comparison chart of “Step 5″ salaries but conveniently left off the longevity salary increases. What he failed to disclose to the Board and to the public, was that the administrators he was hiring for SASS were all “long timers” with lots of years of service, and once you add years of service salary, the purported savings disappears. Then additonal staff was hired that wasn’t contemplated on his chart. Today, SASS has more employees than C&I did a year ago, and the “actual” department expenses exceed those of C&I. A convenient shell game, pulling the wool over the eyes of the public. “Transparency” and “public trust” seem to have been forgot once again. So I won’t believe the Supt’s guesstimates until they have been independently verified. The continued lack of a Strategic Plan plagues MDUSD more than locusts in Egypt. Barnidge was kind in his comments.

  • Theresa Harrington

    As I have pointed out, the estimated staff savings are not accurate. Glenbrook office manager Berta Shatswell told me all the staff at Glenbrook has seniority. This means the union staff won’t be laid-off if the school closes. Instead, employees with less seniority at other sites would be laid-off and Glenbrook’s union staff would be transferred somewhere else. If a majority of Glenbrook’s students go to El Dorado MS, that campus would likely need another administrator, which would further reduce cost savings. And if the district keeps Glenbrook open for other uses, the utility savings could also disappear.
    Glenbrook Principal April Bush told me the cost to keep Glenbrook open another year could be covered with one teacher furlough day.

  • Wait a Minute

    Talk about a potential game changer on closing schools.

    I’ll tell you what, if the Federal Office of Civil Rights investigates the MDUSD because of parent(s) complaints (as is reported that at least one Glenbrook parent is requesting) that they are targeting low income areas for school closures, Lawrence, Eberhart and the others will wish they only had to deal with a local Grand Jury inquiry by the time its all over.

    When OCR comes in they REALLY investigate and they have the resources to do so!
    They also tend to stay for years sometimes depending on the severity of the problems.

    This could be the reason for this attempt to stop at only 2 schools.

  • Another Voice

    It appears that the superintendent read board member Cheryl Hansen’s website,www.cherylhansenmdusd.com, and finally came around to her common sense proposals. She has espoused the Willow Creek and necessary small high schools options at both the January 19 and February 7 meetings, as well as not closing schools this year. Now, the superintendent gets on board. Is reason starting to prevail?

  • More questions than answers

    If Mr. Lawrence can substantiate his numbers, the prudent thing to do is to NOT close any additional schools at this time.

    One of the axioms we have heard repeated is that the Board should “do this once and do it right.” However, the key to ongoing funding levels would appear to be the potential statewide vote in June on renewing the expiring taxes.

    If those initiatives fail, the district will have to close more than just one additional school. If they pass and Lawrence’s numbers pan out, they do not have to close more schools; or if they do at least it would give them time to build a long range plan and act based on that.

    In addition, the district should consider trying to pass a $99 parcel tax once again. For 27 cents a day per parcel it would be worth it.

  • Linda

    Yes, I thought Barnidge’s opinion piece was right on.

    I believe a parcel tax is important but I do not believe this District has done the work necessary to gain the trust, confidence, and support of the community. They have not built the infrastructure for that kind of campaign. A year ago they did not even have a list of school PTA/PFCs contacts which would be essential to a district-wide campaign at 2/3. During the last parcel tax campaign our Board members did very little direct campaigning (except Linda Mayo). That is not how it works in surrounding Districts that have been successful at passing a parcel tax.

    Gary is fond of saying his solar project will bring in far more money than a parcel tax, well that is mis-leading. A $99 parcel tax would bring $7.5mil per year to the district. Yes, parcel tax terms are typically for 5 years but most districts have far less trouble renewing their parcel taxes once they exist. He is comparing 5 years to 30 years (keep in mind his 30 years of projections are speculative because he is guessing at the cost of energy in the future.)

    I think as parents watch schools close and solar projects being built they are going to think twice about handing over anymore tax dollars. A sad fact.

  • Wait a Minute

    Well said Linda.
    I wouldn’t trust this current crop of narcissists with one red cent more due to their well-documented ethical transgressions and questionable decisions.
    And your right, it is a sad fact.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Board President Gary Eberhart is asking the community in his latest blog post if it would support a parcel tax: http://bit.ly/igbyae.
    So far, no one has commented.

  • Terry Kremin

    Just a quick question – more about your 20 Feb article (not up yet). Mr Eberhart plans now to shuffle off all of the Glenbrook students that need the SIG money to various schools, and create a new “school within a school” at El Dorado so they can use that $1.2M for El Dorado students.

    Isn’t El Dorado where Mr. Eberharts children go to school? So take the money away from the students it was intended for and that need the services, throw them around, and get a cool million $ for his own kids’ school.
    Am I the only one that sees an issue there? Conflict of interest?

  • Hell freezing over

    Instead of asking on his blog – he should use the MDUSD recorded phone message system to get a straw poll response. His blog had all of 1 comment for all of 2010, and he’s not allowing anonymous comments currently.

  • jonster

    Nice, April Bush. Promoting an even shorter school year for your students by recommending another furlough to the ones that will probably be occurring? Talk about throwing our children under the proverbial bus. How can you look at your students and teachers on Tuesday and pretend you have their best interests in mind?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Terry, here’s the link to the article you’re talking about: http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_17427237.

    I don’t know if Eberhart’s children attend El Dorado MS. I know his daughter attended Clayton Valley HS and I had heard that his younger daughter attended Mt. Diablo Elementary, which feeds into Diablo View MS, I believe.

    However, the idea of taking “money away from the students it was intended for and that need the services” is the “apparent loophole” to which I was referring. I’m plannning another blog post today looking more closely at this idea.

    In Eberhart’s scenario, though, only El Dorado MS sixth-graders would benefit — along with Glenbrook sixth-graders. Glenbrook’s seventh- and eighth-graders, however, would no longer benefit from the funding (and El Dorado’s seventh- and eighth-graders would not either, since they were not part of the original grant and would not be part of the reconfigured “Glenbrook MS”).

    But, if the board were to “close” El Dorado and reopen it as “Glenbrook,” then the grant could conceivably help the entire El Dorado student population (along with the entire Glenbrook student population).

  • Not Concord

    I heard there’s an easy computer program to redraw school boundary lines, used by many school districts. MDUSD would be better off with a computer than with another committee, or developer agreements, or other biased personalities. Redrawing all the school boundary lines to create articulated feeder patterns is long overdue!

  • Anonymite

    I thought Gary’s children attended Ayres? Maybe they moved?

  • Theresa Harrington

    I spoke to him about his daughter attending CVHS last year, but don’t know which school(s) the others attend.

  • Susan Berg

    Jonster,
    The school year for MDUSD has been 180 days for students and 183 for teachers (185 for new teachers) for many years. The only employees currently taking furlough days are those in the managers’ unit (district and site administrators, including April Bush).

    The teachers’ and classified employees’ unions have been in contract negotiations with the district leadership for more than two years. The topic of furlough days is part of those negotiations. During this time teachers and classified staff in other districts have been agreeing to take furlough days, shortening their work year if not the students’ by one or two days, and taking the resulting cut in pay.

    In commenting about the savings one furlough day could achieve, April is not suggesting that her staff do anything she isn’t already doing herself.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Gary might have more luck getting comments on his MDUSD blog (re: parcel tax etc.) if he gave commenters options besides using commercial web IDs (Google, Facebook etc.) to identify themselves. I understand his desire to eliminate Anonymous postings, and I would be happy to log in with my own name and email, but I’ve worked in technology long enough to know about the web tracking that goes on with those commercial IDs. (Note the proliferation of ID systems. Marketers are clearly expecting a goldmine.) Some people may be comfortable using these sytems, but a lot of us are not. He needs a separate option on his blog for people who don’t use them, or who don’t want to connect their posts to their Google or Facebook IDs and the tracking that goes along with them. (And thank you, Theresa and the CC Times, for not relying on those invasive identification IDs. Please don’t ever make them your exclusive system for identifying blog comments!)

  • Exhausted Parent

    Administrators gave up a few furlough days. Big deal. They make a whole lot more, so a day or two won’t hurt them.

    Certificated employees, also known as teachers, have not had any time cut. In fact, they got back some health benefits that they’d previously voted away, but suffered no decrease in salary.

    Classified employees have had “furlough days” forced on us. Most SEAs lost an hour a day of their work time, the equivalent of 30 days. Secretaries lost a month of time, equivalent to 22 days. Office Managers lost two weeks and half an hour every day, equivalent to 26.5 hours per day.

  • Doctor J

    Trustee Cheryl Hansen is the only Board Member who appears to really understands school closure and Strategic Plans. See cherylhansenmdusd.com

  • Anon

    California teachers’ pension system headed toward insolvency

    As California school districts anticipate possibly the worst budget crisis in a generation, many will try to lighten their burden by enticing older teachers into retirement. But as more and more teachers retire — with a pension averaging 55 percent to 60 percent of salary — they will be straining a system that already can’t meet its obligations.

    The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is sliding down a steep slope toward insolvency. The threat isn’t to teachers who have retired or plan to, but to the people of California. Taxpayers, who already pick up 23 percent of CalSTRS expenses, will be increasingly burdened as the giant pension system fails to meet its obligations.

  • More Questions Than Answers

    The more we look at the data provided in the consultants report (the January 19 Power Point available on the MDUSD wesbsite), the more I have to question how the results were arrived at.

    The committee used a rubric with 8 criteria (only 7 were apparently scored) to rank each school. Here are my issues with criteria used in the rubric:

    1. Facility Condition. This is something not under the direct control of the students, teachers and parents at a school. However, it should be noted that Silverwood was given a “1″, the lowest score possible, for its facility condition. Anyone who has visited the campus can tell you this does not square with what is in plain view. The district website notes that no repairs are needed in the latest facility inspection report.

    It instead refers to planned improvements at the site, the majority of which are Measure C improvements.

    2. Capacity Utilization. Silverwood is at 74% capacity utilization, and received an “8″. Ayers, also at 74%, received a “10″.

    3. Operations and maintenance costs. It would seem they used the staff and maintenance costs per the number of students at the site, since the results indicate lower scores for the smaller schools.

    4. Available capacity within facility or adjacent facility. Apparently, this would run counter to criteria # 2, where you would want to have high capacity utilization to obtain a higher score. It also seems disconcerting that a school community would be penalized in the rubric if a neighboring school is half empty.

    5. Academic Performance. This should have been given far more weight, up to half the rubric, in my opinion. Also, the scores given to schools in the rubric are questionable. For example, here is a list of schools with their API result and their rubric score:

    Sun Terrace API 780 Rubric score 15
    Holbrook API 777 Rubric score 13
    Silverwood API 828 Rubric score 12
    Highlands 856 Rubric score 17
    Woodside API 869 Rubric score 16

    How does Silverwood get a 12 rubric score when it is 48 API points above Sun Terrace, with a rubric score of 15? How does Highlands get 17 points on its rubric score for an API score 28 points higher than Silverwood’s?

    If the rubric isn’t based on API then what is it based on?

    6. Geographic Equity: This was never coherently explained.

    7. Improved facility conditions for students: We would assume this means that if a school were to be closed, the students end up with a better facility?

    8. Cost of consolidation: This was apparently not scored? At least in the Power Point the results for this item were not broken out.

    Other questions/issues with the School closure advisory committee’s recommendations: How does El Monte Elementary, with the lowest rubric of 41, not end up in any of the final recommended scenarios? How does Fair Oaks Elementary, with low site capacity utilization and low academic performance, not make the final list? How does the committee either not know about or completely ignore Glenbrook’s SIG? How does North Concord get chosen to close both an elementary and middle school when one of the criteria was “geographic equity”?

    The point is the Superintendant is recommending no further school closures. The board should heed this advice. If the district needs to return to the school closure issue, they should do so after they have developed a well thought out strategic plan. There are too many unanswered questions with the current process to make the best decisions.

  • Poseidon

    Dr. J,

    Your inconsistency relative to the school closure process is mind numbing. You praise Cheryl Hansen for her position on school closure, her position is that no schools should be closed, yet you criticize the board for not closing schools soon enough. The truth of the matter is that Cheryl Hansen took the easy way out. She knew that the board would vote to move forward and she chose to grandstand and vote against closing any schools. If this is how she is going to act as a board member, she will be the worst board member ever.

    The district needs real solutions to the problems that they face and Hansen’s solution is to close all small high schools that are serving the most needy populations. That’s just brilliant. Dr. J, do you really think that’s a smart plan?

  • Taxpayer Citizen

    Over the weekend I read about the scheme the school board president, Gary Eberhart, is proposing to change the name of Westwood Elementary to Glenbrook Middle in order to keep the $1.2 million the district would otherwise lose in School Improvement Grants when a board majority voted to close Glenbrook Middle. One would have thought his recent foray into fantasyland when he suggested closing Westwood and moving the total student body to Mt. View and bringing 500 Glenbrook students across town to meld with El Dorado was enough idiocy, but he outdoes himself with a plan to game the California State Department of Education out of a million dollars. As a taxpayer who has supported public schools for many years, this plan is unconscionable and borders on fraud. There is still one Grand Jury investigation going on, a possible OCR complaint,and,now,in an inspired frenzy of sheer stupidity, he comes up with this plot. Now, I read where he is advocating a parcel tax. As long as he is on the board, I would not vote for a parcel tax and I doubt whether many other people would either. Before this district can move on, he needs to move out, now!

  • Doctor J

    @Poseidon, there is no inconsistentcy. Her position is that schools should be closed only based on a Strategic Plan and not in a hasty shoot from the hip manner as is being proposed. Remember well over a year ago when I proposed beginning the school consolidation process and was shot down by Gary, Sherry and Linda as being “too early”. Now its shoot from the hip and look at the disaster it has caused.

  • Wait a Minute

    Yes Taxpayer Citizen, narcissists like Eberhart and Lawrence do tend to live in fantasyland.

    As More Questions then Answers stated 4 posts up, the entire current MDUSD ranking system to evaluate schools for closure is riddled with inconsistencies and non-objective scoring when one examines the facts!

    When taken together with the well documented ethical transgressions of these so-called leaders there is not much public support for these people or their decisions.

    If the State Dpt of Ed has any sense they will not allow the MDUSD to keep the (already spent) Glenbrook SIG money and instead demand repayment thereof if that school is closed. The credibility deficit as well as the fiscal one just keeps getting deeper for the narcissists.

    Dr J hits it on the head when he points out that crisis-driven and reactive decision-making by incompetent people is leading to very flawed decisions with real consequences.

    Short of new leadership and a pro-active strategic plan the good people of the MDUSD will only have to suffer more and more of this stupidity.

    Its basically to the point of simply throwing away good money after bad.

  • Theresa Harrington

    More Questions than answers: The academic performance rating also took into consideration how much growth occurred in the past year. However, you do make a good point. Silverwood grew 23 points from 805 to 828, compared to Sun Terrace, which grew 21 points from 759 to 780. The committee hasn’t explained how Sun Terrace got a higher rating. And as you point out, the committee hasn’t explained how closing two schools in the same neighborhood constitutes “geographic equity.”
    FYI, the board will also vote on two other important items tonight: layoffs for 85 certificated staff (including two principals and one student services coordinator — likely from closed schools): http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=3610&mtgId=298;
    and issuing $11 million more in Measure C bonds: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=3640&mtgId=298.

  • Long-time Board Watcher

    Poseidon,
    I am confused by your statement that Cheryl Hansen “took the easy way out” and “chose to grandstand” in voting against closing Holbrook and Glenbrook because she knew the majority would vote for the closure. Should she have sided with the majority no matter her opinion of the action before the Board?

    During budget reductions under the former district leadership Gary Eberhart cast the lone “no” vote regarding proposed cuts (e.g., elementary instrumental music) on several occasions. He stated that staff should come up with other options than the one the Board was being asked to approve. Teachers and parents would stay after the meetings to thank him personally for not siding with the majority.

    So is a Board member who votes in the minority following his/her conscience or grandstanding? Guess it depends on which side of the vote the person making that judgment supports.

  • GMS OM

    Cuts…actually O.M. took a one month salary cut (to 11 months) and 1/2 hr a day cut (now work 7 1/2 hrs a day). My frustration…at Board meetings you get up…you make public comment but many comments are actually questions or ideas that are never addressed. I’m confused…doesn’t the trustees work for us???? Most of them…not all need to take a lesson in Backwards Planning…School Closure has been a circus. They knew Glenbrook was very low income when they first began…duh…it is a Title 1 school!! Not only are they forfeiting SIG funds…but also Title 1 funds…wow…I think they need an accountant on the Board? They are relinquishing about 2 mil of GMS money alone to save maybe $150,000…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that closing Glenbrook will forfeit alot of State and Federal funds that many students benefited from…I guess that isn’t a high priority for the Board??? What is their priority anyway??? VERY FRUSTRATED AND SAD FOR STUDENTS AND THE GLENBROOK COMMUNITY…IT IS SO UNFAIR!!!

  • Wait a Minute

    Gotta love their math huh!

    In the end, flawed decisions from flawed people will likely cost the taxpayers far more money then it will ever save.
    I can only imagine the litigation and complaince costs to the MDUSD if the OCR investigates/substantiates any targeting of successful schools primarily serving low-income populations.
    This is a very real possibility considering how flawed and how much the data appears to have been twisted to justify closing Glenbrook.
    Besides the negative financial effects will be the more important loss of public support for the MDUSD. Good luck backfilling any of the lost State funds with further local support like parcel taxes or bonds.

    I predict that well-run Charter schools will come in and siphon off a steadily growing number of students and home schooling will also increase and these will further weaken the district’s finances.

  • Doctor J

    Lawrence & MDUSD got taken to school today by a panel of successful Supt’s at the Asilomar Conference, including the Long Beach Supt — Lawrence’s alleged idol. According to my friend attending the conference, the expert panel outlined the steps a successful district needs to take to “turn around” — NONE of which MDUSD is doing. Ask any of the MDUSD attendees for their notes — hope they took detailed notes. I wonder which 5 Star they are having dinner tonight — remember that when they say they can’t pay for pencils and paper.

  • Doctor J

    @GMS OM — Every MDUSD teacher and every administrator makes more in gross salary every year than the prior year, because they are all rewarded every year for ‘longevity’ which increases their gross salary by a percentage. The only execption was last year when administrators took their furlough days, which reduced their overall salary by one or two percent. Most significantly, because MDUSD did it “wrong”, they only got like 98% credit for service year which will impact their retirement. This is why teachers are so opposed to furlough days.

  • Theresa Harrington

    A USDOE SIG guidance document released in February states: “Given the rigorous LEA (Local Education Agency) application and SEA (State Education Agency) review process required to receive a SIG grant, it should be exceedingly rare that an LEA receiving funds to implement a turnaround, restart, or transformation model in a school subsequently decides to close the school instead. However, the Department recognizes that under certain rare circumstances that could not have been foreseen at the time the LEA developed its original application, an LEA might decide that closing such a school is the best course of action.”
    The district decided to close schools more than a year ago and was fully aware of that when the board approved Glenbrook’s SIG application in June. In the competitive process, Mt. Diablo was lauded for its well thought-out applications, which beat out other applications deemed to be less worthy of receiving limited grant funding. I wonder how many other districts that received such grants are closing their schools instead.

  • Doctor J

    MDUSD has become the laughing stock of California education — even the subject of cocktail ridicule at the Asilomar Conference on Curriculum. Only applying for SIG funds at 4 of 6 peristently underperforming schools, and then a few months later voting to close one of them after they SPENT the money. Now the expert high achieving Supts effectively disc’d MDUSD by listing the steps needed to be taken by underperforming districts and MDUSD is doing NONE of them. Frankly, the other districts who didn’t get the grants, ought to sue MDUSD for misrepresentation in its applications. Was Lawrence acting on his own or under the direction of the Board ? Sounds like Watergate — well, folks, its Bondgate. Another notch in the belt.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Actually, MDUSD’s loss could benefit other districts (unless MDUSD decides to apply for grants for Oak Grove and/or Meadow Homes Elementary, which would require them to replace the principals).
    According to the USDOE SIG guidance document: If an agency decides it is unable to implement its improvement plan, “…the LEA must notify its SEA immediately that it is unable to implement the model for which it applied and was awarded funds and must cease obligating SIG funds in that school…The SEA should then rescind the relevant portion of the LEA’s SIG grant. Any portion of the LEA’s grant that is rescinded should be carried over and combined with the funds available for the following year’s SIG competition.”
    Since Glenbrook’s application was highly rated, another district might be inclined to copy it to get funding.

  • Doctor J

    Lawrence should get an F for not doing his homework — the SIG grant ceased for Glenbrook when the Board voted to close the school. Has MDUSD already notified the state ? Bondgate is growing by the minute. And we pay this guy $250,000 a year and he can’t even get a Powerpoint out on time — and then it is inaccurate. How embarrassing. If Lawrence were Japanese, he would fall on his sword.

  • Wait a Minute

    Yes it easy to see how Lawrence looked like crap compared to real leaders at the Asilomar Conference.

    Like I said when the MDUSD hired him, Lawrence is NOT a successful leader in any sense of the word.
    I understand the only reason he was hired is his wife is from the area and she is politically connected.

    In any case, he is dishonest and disingenuous and has a nasty mean streak. He’s a “screamer” and is regularly blaming and abusive towards subordinates.

    He has a higher degree (PHD I think) in math so when he’s giving out false numbers at meetings he is almost certainly purposely LYING!!!

    Hopefully a Grand Jury or OCR investigation will get to the bottom of Lawrence and the others’ lies and ethical breaches as the sooner they leave the MDUSD the sooner the real problems at the MDUSD can be dealt with honestly.

  • Wait a Minute

    Cheryl Hansen does really hit it on the head on her website under her “My Perspective” link:

    “MISTAKES MADE IN STRATEGIC PLANNING
    Not having administrative leadership competent, credible, or committed enough to carry out the board’s strategic charges.”