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Mt. Diablo trustees to vote on 85 certificated pink slips

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 6:30 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

mdearally

Besides voting on another possible school closure tonight, the Mt. Diablo school board may also vote to approve laying off 85 certificated employees, including two principals, one student services coordinator and 82 teachers.

Before the meeting (right now, in fact), teachers are holding a rally protesting what they call “unfair bargaining practices” that are forcing teachers to take unpaid furlough days and increased class sizes. In a show of unity, teachers and other union district employees planned to wear “Hope Wanted” sandwich-style signs.

Mike Langley, president of the teachers’ union, told me he didn’t receive any notice from the district that the layoffs would be on the agenda (trustees plan a March 8 special meeting to vote on pink slips) or an explanation about how the district came up with its layoff estimates.

With schools closing, teachers are expected to follow the students, he said. Langley said he had heard that Bel Air Elementary may have used some of its School Improvement Grant money to lower class sizes, which the state may now be balking at, after initially approving it.

But, he was unsure how the district arrived at its decision to lay off 25 elementary teachers, five PE prep teachers and 3.4 music teachers, along with 9.4 middle school “core” teachers and about 31 high school teachers.

“Nobody’s told us anything,” Langley said. “They didn’t give us a heads-up.”

Regarding bargaining, Langley said the district appears to be asking for what they want, instead of what they need. Two bargaining units are at impasse and are going into the “fact-finding” stage, Langley said.

“That’s why they wanted to hurry up and bargain with us tomorrow,” Langey said. “We’re not at impasse. We’re not voting on anything now. We are still in negotiations. We’ve offered furlough days.”

The district wants to increase middle and high school lab classes beyond the number of lab stations, “if safe,” Langley said. In some classes, there are only 30 lab stations, but the district wants to increase the class size to 37, he said.

“We’re trying to work with them as to who would determine what is safe,” Langley said. “They want to try to infill as many classes as possible to get them to the contract maximum.”

The district also wants to include contract “reopeners” next year that could allow new discussions about wages, class sizes and other provisions, Langley said.

“We’re worried,” he said. “I think they would do that if the (governor’s tax extension) ballots don’t pan out.”

Do you think the district is bargaining unfairly?

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

  • Realia

    That was a rhetorical question or a joke in bad taste at the end of the article, right?

  • Poseidon

    Theresa,

    Are you going to look into why board member Cheryl Hansen didn’t recuse herself from the vote last night to add funds to the County program that she works for? Agenda item 9.7 (Item 11) Add funds to Purchase Order for CCCOE from budget 0913. Doesn’t Hansen work for the County providing training for administrators? I don’t know how Hansen can sit on the school board and also work for the agency that provides oversight of the school district, but it should definitely be a conflict for her to vote to provide additional money for the County program that she works for. I’d sure like to know what’s up with that. Something stinks.

  • Anon

    Theresa

    Some unanswered questions from remain from last night’s “Save Eberhart’s Rear End” meeting

    1. Now that we are hopefully done with Eberhart’s ridiculous Westwood plan I am assuming all the SIG money will be returned to the State. Is that correct?

    2. There was no discussion of where the Holbrook and Glenbrook students would go. Has there been any final action on attendance boundaries? If not, when will it be done, how will it be done, and by whom? Will parents have input

    3.Lawrence mentioned off hand that he was starting a high school study committee. I don’t recall hearing that high schools were on the block nor did I hear any board member speak about that. Is this his idea or a board directive?

    4. Hansen said she wanted a plan to deal with further school closures but I didn’t hear if that was in the works. Is there? And, if so, when is going to be done?

    5. Is Willow Creek going to be sold?

    6. Linda Mayo seemed to be sorry she voted to close Glenbrook and Holbrook. Could that vote be undone?

    7. Is there a plan to deal with the facilities at Glenbrook and Holbrook. There has been a lot of talk but no action. When will those decisions be made?

    8. The superintendent’s presentations are hard to see and there is so much information. Can they be put on the district website and/or distributed prior to the meeting?

    9. How long can Silverwood dodge the bullet? If there are more school closures, is the district going to use the SCAC report and recommedations? If so, doesn’t that mean that Silverwood is the prime school to be closed?

    10. Were the Necessary Small High Schools consolidated, eliminated, moved, or what? Again, it wasn’t clear from last night that any decision had been made.

    Finally, I don’t know if Westwood and Silverwood really realize how close they came to being shut down. If this vote had been taken last year with Eberhart’s board majority, it would have been over. It proves again that one voice willing to stand up can make a difference.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is the link to Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s PowerPoint presentation, which doesn’t answer all of your questions: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/d4bbf4f1-350f-4a20-a3e6-50bcc4f3aeb0.pdf
    Here’s what I know so far:
    1. The district won’t get the $1.2 million for 2011-12 and 2012-13 and it will have to give back whatever it doesn’t spend this year. I’m still not sure how much they’ve spent or whether they’ll still move forward with the four-week summer school.
    2. Glenbrook students will be split between El Dorado, Valley View and Oak Grove middle schools. Holbrook students will go to Sun Terrace and Wren Avenue elementary schools, according to the PowerPoint.
    3. The board asked Lawrence to explore the idea of building a Bay Point High School during its Jan. 19 study session. The Superintendent’s Council also addressed this issue in its scenario, which proposed consolidating middle and high schools at Mt. Diablo HS, Riverview MS and Ygnacio Valley HS.
    4. The board will begin strategic planning discussions April 26.
    5. No, Willow Creek won’t be sold or closed. (However, the board could consider this in the future.)
    6. No, Mayo cannot “undo” her previous vote.
    7. The board voted to approve Lawrence’s recommendation as stated in the staff report: “Develop a program at Glenbrook that will allow us to reduce the number of special education students served by nonpublic schools.” (No specifics were given, however.)
    8. Trustee Cheryl Hansen complained about receiving the PowerPoint right before the meeting, saying she needed more time to review the information. Some members of the public also complained that it wasn’t made available ahead of time. I have posted the link above.
    9. I believe that future school closures would be considered as part of the strategic planning process. Lawrence said elementary school enrollment isn’t declining as fast as high school enrollment, so he seemed more concerned about addressing high schools.
    10. Based on the PowerPoint, it looks like Lawrence plans to evaluate small necessary high schools “in conjunction with the development of a vision for our high school programs and how to best utilize our current high school campuses to make this vision a reality.” He said there is room on the YVHS campus to house the Crossroads/TLC/Nueva Vista/Summit programs. (Again, no specifics were given about whether this would in fact be done or how much money this would save.)
    Lawrence did not show that the district is saving $1.5 million as a result of the school closures and other measures. In fact, he said administrators would need to be hired at some consolidated schools and suggested the district could pay to bus Glenbrook students to other sites.
    He also didn’t show how boundaries would be redrawn or say how much that would save. And, he didn’t say how much would be saved by providing online courses for independent and home study students.
    The board voted based on staff’s belief that these measures would save $1.5 million.

  • Doctor J

    Lawrence is just guessing on the numbers — where are the facts ? No Powerpoint until just before the meeting ? He had a three day weekend to put it together.