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Oak Grove MS parent sad to lose McCormick

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 11:23 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Terry McCormick voluntarily left her position as principal of Oak Grove MS in Concord so the Mt. Diablo school district could apply for a $4.5 million federal School Improvement Grant.

Terry McCormick voluntarily left her position as principal of Oak Grove MS in Concord so the Mt. Diablo school district could apply for a $4.5 million federal School Improvement Grant.

This letter to the editor appears in today’s CC Times. I am re-posting it below to give blog readers a chance to comment on former Oak Grove Middle School Principal Terry McCormick’s decision to transfer to another campus so the district could apply for a $4.5 million School Improvement Grant.

McCormick is now Principal of Pleasant Hill Middle School. The board unanimously appointed Lisa Oates, who has held several positions in the Antelope Valley Union High School District in Southern California, as the new principal of Oak Grove Middle School in Concord.

“I read with interest Theresa Harrington’s article, ‘Two Mt. Diablo district principals leave schools in face of ‘failing’ stigma,’ in the Times.

I have two kids at Oak Grove Middle School and am quite pleased with the education they have received. Oak Grove has dedicated and talented teachers and administrators. I particularly want to acknowledge Terry McCormick’s leadership in improving the overall climate of learning at Oak Grove.

The statistics provided in your article show that Oak Grove’s API score was up 18 points in one year and met the target growth for that year. All the while at a school serving 83 percent low- income families and with 47 percent of the students classified as “English Learners.”

McCormick is a big reason for this improvement. It’s sad we have to lose a beloved principal to get this grant money. I guess holding the school board accountable or the district superintendent and his staff accountable would be too much to ask?

Because of McCormick, Oak Grove is no longer a failing school but an improving school. I’m afraid the loss of McCormick will be a setback for the school’s progress

Lisa Robinson

Do you agree with the US Dept. of Education’s requirement that a “failing” school must replace its principa to receive a School Improvement Grant?

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143 Responses to “Oak Grove MS parent sad to lose McCormick”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Speaking of wreaking solar havoc, have the Delta View trees been replaced yet ? Any pictures to make sure it was a quality job ?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: If MDUSD can’t make the required corrections to the old grant plans and improvements to the new application, the kids may have to survive without the money:

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Lets remember that MDUSD was already required to rewrite the SIG grant once. Original submission July 2010. Strike one. Second submission on rewrite November 2010. Strike two. August 29 deadline will be Strike 3.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    53 days left. Lawrence, Eberthart, the rest of the Board and District are silent.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    52 days left. Where is Lawrence and Lock ? Hmmm . . . Aloha Oe … SIG grants ? Bring me another Mai Tai.

  6. Number Eight Says:

    Doctor J,
    Count down the number of days, and count up the number of umbrella drinks . . . Instead of “let them eat cake,” it will be “let them drink water”

  7. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 51 days. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego . . . . er I mean Steven Lawrence ?

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Excuse me . . . its only 41 days until August 30.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The first day of school in the Oakland district is Aug. 29. Yet, Oakland’s SIG coordinator says the CDE hasn’t yet provided the district with detailed feedback about what types of corrective actions it needs to take for Cohort 1 or why it denied its Cohort 2 application.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDUSD is looking for an accountant:

  11. Doctor J Says:

    @Theresa, #109, So what has the MD SIG coordinator said about what type of corrective actions it needs to take ? With less than 41 days left, does she have a timeline to have this in place and functional by August 30 ? What did she think of the Soledad District SIG application ?

  12. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 40 days. Theresa’s interviews with CFO Richards and Asst. Supt Lock show there is no coherent plan to have a SIG grant “fix” in place and operational by August 30. Lock having just returned from Hawaii is still in denial. Richards clearly is receiving his marching orders — most likely from Eberhart and Lawrence. MDUSD has hired and spent money for SIG GRant Cohort 1, Year 2 already, and it is not only not in place, but not likely to be approved since time is running faster than Eberhart, Lawrence, Lock or Richards can think and act. They certainly are not giving MDEA a carrot to negotiate. But what do they care ? Their salaries are safe no matter what happens. So why have Lawrence and Eberhart gone totally silent ?

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district is seeking a Mechanical Service Technician, but warns of “an undetermined number of furlough days at this time”:
    Local 1 has already agreed to seven furlough days next year. CFO Bryan Richards told me he was in negotiations yesterday. I was surprised, because I didn’t know any unions were in negotiations. When I asked which unit he was bargaining with, he responded: “I’m not sure I’m at liberty to tell you.”
    I don’t think it’s MDEA because Mike Langley told me yesterday that they intend to begin bargaining on Aug. 8.

  14. g Says:

    But we know from wording on the SIG proposal that to this District, just thinking about or planning a negotiation in the future is, in their minds, the same as negotiating.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Langley says August 8 — that leaves only 21 days to reach an agreement, hold an election, and implement it on August 30. How many days notice must the union give its members ? Impossible since the Teachers don’t even return until August 29. If MDUSD lies again on their application, they should be prosecuted.

  16. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Dr. J.,

    People are watching this like hawks. I suspect no matter what happens people will be prosecuted.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    T Minus 39 days. Lawrence is MIA. Where is he ?

  18. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 36 days as of tomorrow morning to save the SIG Grants, Cohort 1, or lose $10 million, and the Dent Center is still trying to figure out how to write the SIG Grant — when all else fails, read the instructions. After all, the Supt CERTIFIED he read ALL of the Federal and State requirments. Good luck ladies and gentlemen, you really don’t think the Supt is going to accept responsibility do you ? Think of some of the other tirades you have already witnessed.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 35 days to save the SIG Grants, Cohort 1, or lose $10 million. No plan. No performance. What is it that the Marine Corps say: PPPPPP.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 34 days until MDUSD loses $10 million in SIG grants. Have parents even been consulted about extending the instructional day by 30 to 60 minutes ?

  21. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 33 days before MDUSD loses $10 million SIG Grants. The silence from Dent and Eberhart is deafening.

  22. g Says:

    I’ll bet Stephanie Roberts is putting in a lot of overtime—-if she’s still there.

  23. Dan Says:

    I just got information from Pedersen that the promised June 16th Powerpoint will be posted on Monday.

    The hold up (I’m paraphrasing here)is that there was a slide regarding staffing that is inaccurate. Now more than a month later they have received corrected data regarding Measure C staffing and they will not release what they are calling “inaccurate” data.

    The way this all happened, I suspect, “inccurate” really means there may have been some things in the slide that could be construed as “illegal” depending on ones point of view.

    Would truly be interesting to compare the original slide with the updated one that comes out on Monday.

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    During the PowerPoint presentation, I was typing furiously to get the information from the slide. Here’s what I copied from the PowerPoint slide that night (I had previously posted this in another blog comment thread):

    Pedersen promised transparency regarding the Measure C management team. He presented a list of team members, which he promised to post with the PowerPoint on the Measure C website immediately after the meeting. He did not pass out any paper copies of it, saying he wanted to conserve paper.

    Here is the list that Pedersen presented. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t include salaries, or show what percentage of each person’s salary is charged to Measure C. He verbally stated the percentages, but I wasn’t able to type as fast as he was speaking, so I didn’t get them all.

    Michael Fox: Supervisor senior trades
    Tim Cody: Asst. Project Program Manager
    Linda Carter: Secretary 11.5 months
    Pete Pedersen: Post-retirement contract – admin.
    Engelberto Balba: Network technician
    Michael Huff: Area manager
    David Hart: Area manager
    John Williams: Assist Buiding and Grounds Manager
    Marcelino Fabie: Project Coordinator
    Ross Johnson: Network Technician II
    Len Isenbarger: Area manager
    Keagan Mize: Autocad
    Richard Jackson: Supervisor Trades (just hired as Assistant Construction Manager II)
    Brad Hunter: Construction manager I
    Mitchell Stark: Assistant Project Program Manger
    Substitutes: Various clerical

    Pedersen said the district had spent $443,000 to date on the team, including “all fractional positions” and seven full-time positions.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    OMG, now Powerpointgate. Hasn’t it become a public record and cannot legally be destroyed by MDUSD since the slide was already presented to the public? So even if it was in error, it still should have to be produced under a public records request, and then could be compared to the “altered slide”.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t see why they’re so wary of releasing it. Previously, Bryan Richards presented a budget PowerPoint and said some information was in error, so he verbally corrected it.
    If there was an error, Pedersen can simply correct it and explain what the error was.
    Also, the 2002 Measure C Oversight Committee received detailed quarterly expenditure reports. So far, no such reports have been presented to the 2010 Measure C Committee.

  27. g Says:

    No quarterly reports, yet they should be getting an annual audit very soon??? Back in Sept, Pedersen presented the Board with his projections of “Inside Staffing Schedule and costs” showing 5/6 people in ’10-’11, and adding 3 more in 2012 and 3 more in 2013:

    But here we are mid 2011 and he already has a staff of 15??? Trust me, there is a Pedersengate and I suspect this also will tie into a Rolengate!

  28. g Says:

    “…and they will not release what they are calling “inaccurate” data”. HaHaHa, that’s just too funny!

  29. Doctor J Says:

    T minus 31 days until loss of $10 million in SIG funds — where is our incommunicado leadership ? Gary’s friends confirm he is reading the blogs and went ballistic over SIGgate. Gary must be tired of Lawrence’s songs and dances of always blaming problems on others — Gary, please read the SIG timeline prepared by staff and signed off by Lawrence to negotiate with MDEA for increased instructional time starting in June 2010 and finishing by June 2011. Never happened, and still hasn’t happened. Furlough days last year killed any additional miniscule instructional time differential. Why didn’t Lawrence advise you of that ? You can’t have furlough days at SIG schools this year and have increased instructional time. The SIG budgets don’t have enough money to pay staffs for 7 furlough days. Come on Gary, its time you come out and show some leadership on how this is going to be fixed instead of being silent, refusing interviews with the press, taking down your blog and failing to keep your promises of transparency. You wanted to be President of the School Board, now act like it.

  30. Mary Farnon Says:

    In reading how Mt. Diablo is so short of funds, it leads me to think how short of common sense they can be. Teachers recently got a “check,(Direct Deposit Advice) complete with stub” for 0.00. As always, teachers have no idea what it’s for, even though a sheet explaining non related things accompanied it. I think there are about 2,500 teachers, which would cost about $1100 in postage. Not to mention the paper these were printed on, labor to print and stuff envelopes, and why???? To give no money or reason. Couldn’t this have been a simple email??? Use your heads MDUSD! People working @ the district need to have been in classrooms WORKING within 5 years, or in a real business doing their jobs with the ability to be fired for not thinking!

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district has finally posted the Powerpoint presentation from the June 16 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee meeting:
    However, the “staffing costs” appear on page 48 as part of the “Financials” instead of at the end, where they were actually presented in response to “Other committee concerns/topics.”
    Also, the slide is different from the one originally presented. It doesn’t include Michael Fox, John Williams or “various clerical” substitutes. Also, it includes salary and benefits information that wasn’t presented to the committee.
    According to the slide, the Measure C team includes 13 people who make $647,534 in salaries plus $264,467 in benefits, for a total of $912,001. It’s unclear if this is an annual salary or if it was supposed to reflect expenditures through June 16.
    At the meeting, Pete Pedersen said the district had spent $443,000 so far on the Measure C team, including seven full-time positions, with the rest charging a portion of time to Measure C.
    He verbally stated the percentages of each employee’s salaries that were paid through Measure C. The slide in the PowerPoint doesn’t specify whether the staff members are being paid their full salaries and benefits through Measure C.

  32. g Says:

    Throwing the Committee’s Agenda into HIS slideshow only proves to me that the 3-4 dominant committee members bow to him, and they don’t truly represent the people. If this is not the case, the committee should be screaming fowl right now at the alterations that have been posted. The only purpose possible: To deceive the taxpayer!

    On the other hand, he posts this dirty Power Point, but “isn’t sure” if it’s OK to post draft minutes??? —-,—-, pants on fire!

  33. anon Says:

    Classified also received the $0 pay stub. The district changed email addresses. The directions for the new email log-in was included in the paperwork, which I think is why they sent it out….couldn’t check email without knowing the new email password, etc.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    Well, can’t wait to see if the draft minutes are accurate as to what was said, or doctored to conform to the signficantly changed powerpoint ! Who can the public trust ? Who protects the public from being deceived ?

  35. Anon Says:

    Where is the Oversight Committee? Why aren’t they upset? Why aren’t they calling for an emergency meeting? Don’t they have a fiduciary responsibility to the community? While the Board appoints the members this is not a District Committee, this is a committee commissioned by law to serve the taxpayers and provide oversight over $348 million. They need to take their job seriously, this isn’t a bake sale committee.
    If the committee doesn’t require an accounting of the line item expenditures, project lists, and appropriate audits then they are simply aiding and abetting.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to the committee’s bylaws, meetings are supposed to include “an annual organizational meeting to be held in July.”
    No such meeting was held.
    The bylaws also state that the committee is authorized to “Review the district’s efforts to maximize use of bond proceeds in ways designed to: (1) reduce costs of professional fees or site acquisition…”
    The financials include nearly $13.2 million for “other operating expenses” which weren’t explained and more than $2 million for “bond issuance.” Every time the district issues bonds, its financial advisor, bond underwriters and bond counsel get paid.
    At the June 16 meeting, the committee was told the district issued another $10.7 million in bonds. Pedersen said he had a seven-year cash-flow plan, but he didn’t share it with the committee.
    One committee member said: “You don’t want to be issuing $10 million every few months, otherwise you’re going to be racking up issuance costs.”
    Jay Bedecarre said the 2002 Committee had been given a cash flow report. Pedersen said he was hoping to bring back similar reports at the next quarterly meeting.
    Here’s a link to the last quarterly report posted online for the 2002 Measure C bonds:
    This 81-page report is much more comprehensive than the financial information the 2010 committee has received.
    Page 14 includes a note to “Respond to OPSC financial audit inquiries.” No subsequent quarterly reports were posted, although they were mentioned in the minutes of subsequent meetings.

  37. g Says:

    There is obviously a big difference between what you get for your management dollars with professional management like Vanir and what you are likely to get from an in-house-money-sponge who doesn’t mind stroking the back end of a lie to get what he wants, and pretends to have not learned anything while playing high priced “facilities team boss-man” for 2002’s Measure.

  38. g Says:

    From the 2002 Measure “C” Home Page, touting what a great job they did, the Closing Report states:

    “All Measure C projects have been certified by the Department of the State Architect (DSA) and have been formally accepted and closed-out by the State.” Hmmmmmm? Say What?

    Two years later Pete says: “Over 50 projects were closed without certification, and it’s going to cost at least another $90K to fix that!”

    Thank goodness you kept back that little unaccounted for $3.3million, huh Pete?

    A.J., is it possible that Pete fudged just a wee bit to you and your 2002 Committee? Is that why you didn’t stick around to keep an eye on this “C”? It would be nice to have at least one watch-dog member that didn’t support the Measure! But alas, if you didn’t support the measure, you will not very likely get to be on Pete’s Committee!

    I wonder; what does Chairman Ferrante have to say about it? He is yet again, it seems, riding shotgun for Pete.

  39. Doctor J Says:

    How do taxpayers hold public officials accountable for lying ?

  40. Easy Answers Says:

    Doctor J and G, will you be running for the board when the next vacancies come up? You two seem to have lots of great ideas to fix all the ills of MDUSD.

  41. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have posted the superintendent’s latest Measure C and budget update on my blog, since it’s not yet available on the district’s website:

  42. g Says:

    It probably won’t go up on the District’s site until Pedersen and Rolen get a chance to “edit” it yet again.

  43. Doctor J Says:

    @G, Its dated July 29 but not sent out until last night — I’m sure it was edited since it is so disjointed. Obviously a CYA letter. And probably had to be “approved” by “his partner” the Board President. How coincidental that this letter and Pete Pedersen’s “doctored” PowerPoint came out on the same day ? I just haven’t figured out yet who the driver of the get-away car is. 🙂

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