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MDUSD Superintendent gives Measure C update

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 11:11 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Mt. Diablo schools Superintendent Steven Lawrence sent out the following news update Aug. 1 (although it is dated July 29). Since it still hasn’t been posted on the district’s website, I’m posting it below.

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
July 29, 2011

Measure C Update

We encourage parents and community members to visit our Measure C website at http:/ /169.199.90.240/MDUSDFacilities/index.html to get the latest information and updates about Measure C projects. Below are answers to questions and updated information regarding Measure C projects.

Some questions we continue to hear is how can we be doing construction projects like solar when we are still reducing positions and people’s hours of employment? Why not just use the money going towards solar to keep our current people fully employed?

The money being spent throughout the district on solar and other facilities projects comes primarily from the 2010 Measure C Bond. By law, and by voter decree these funds can only be spent on construction projects such as solar, HVAC, classroom enhancement, new classrooms, technology, etc.

Our school district has three distinct pots of money: unrestricted general fund, restricted categorical, and facility funds. Our general unrestricted funding is determined by the Revenue Limit we receive from the State multiplied by the number of students we have on a daily basis. Nearly 90 percent of the revenue limit funding supports salary and benefits. The state reductions in Revenue Limit funds over the last four years led to the necessity to reduce staffing. The restricted funds we receive are state and federal funds for a defined purpose, and must be spent according to specific guidelines. We have also had to reduce positions that are funded out of restricted funds due to reductions in federal and state categorical funding.

Another Measure C question we have received is how can the district hire its own people to manage the Measure C projects?

By hiring in-house professionals we expect to be able to put an additional $7 million toward facility enhancements instead of projects management costs. According to the California Attorney’s General opinion in 2004, Prop 39 facilities funds can only pay for district positions that directly plan and manage the facilities enhancements being funded by the bond.

Historically, the district used construction management firms to manage Measure A and a majority of the 2002 Measure C projects. The base contract for the $90 million Measure A program awarded by the Board was $4.8 million or 5.35% of the program value. The base contract for the $250 million 2002 Measure C program was awarded by the Board for the program/construction management of services was $14 million or 5.59% of program value. Both project totals excluded all housing and infrastructure costs which the district elected to absorb separately to avoid mark-up costs.

Looking at the current Measure C facilities project and assuming a project management cost of 5.47 percent results in an $18 million expense, which excludes housing and infrastructure costs.

By comparison, an in-house program/construction management team, would cost the district $7.5 million, or 2.22 percent of the program value. Even if a support budget of $492,500 for operating costs, $185,000 for temporary extra help and a $2.5 million allowance for outside consultants is added, the entire full-term budget for a resident management operation would total only $11 million or 3.27 percent of program value. Moreover, it is significant that, unlike the costs cited for the two earlier programs’ management, this figure is fully inclusive of all project and housing infrastructure costs. Therefore, by hiring in-house professionals we expect to be able to put an additional $7 million toward facility enhancements instead of project management costs.”

[Unfortunately, I'm not able to reproduce the chart included in Lawrence's memo in my blog. Hopefully, the district will post his memo soon on the district site.]

“General Fund Savings created by Measure C

Through the legal use of Measure C funds, an anticipated savings of approximately $8 million annually can be credited to the general fund for five years: 2012-13 through 2016-17. To date the general fund has been relieved of debt services that cost the district $1.4 million annually paid out of the general fund. These debt payments would have continued through 2024. The remaining Tier III deferred maintenance funds of $1.5 million were swept to the general fund. These two initial savings allowed the district to reinstate 24 laid off teaching positions in August 2010. These restored teachers work with students who are struggling to master reading and math skills.

Within the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years budget projections, we were able to budget the savings our solar project will create. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year $3 million dollars in savings to our PG&E bill was deducted as an expense and more than $2 million annual from the California Solar Initiative was added as revenue to be received through the 2016-17 school year. The solar project also allows us to add HVAC to our schools that currently do not have it without increasing our PG&E expenses. We sized the solar arrays to handle the increased electrical load. Lastly, the PG&E annual historic increase of 4 percent no longer must be budgeted.

It has been questioned whether or not our solar project will meet our production and longevity expectations. As part of our contract with SunPower, a 20 year service and production guarantee was negotiated. This means that for the first 20 years the solar arrays will be maintained by SunPower and they guarantee their productions levels. If arrays do not meet their production levels during any given year, SunPower must provide the district with a cash reimbursement for the lost production. This is why we are confident the solar arrays will save more than $200 million for the district general fund over the 30 year expected life cycle.

Measure C Project Updates

Solar

Construction has begun at the Phase 1 sites as well as Northgate HS, College Park HS, Ygnacio Valley HS and Cambridge Elementary. Structures are already up at Concord HS, Mt. Diablo HS, and Clayton Valley HS. The remaining Phase 1 sites are presently in various stages of survey/layout and or underground boring and and/or trenching. Electricians are now beginning the above ground work at some of the sites including installation of conduit on the structures. The Measure C team works closely with SunPower and their subcontractors to develop and sustain an extremely aggressive production schedule intended to complete as much critical construction prior to the start of school. All Phase 1 and 2 schematic plans have been posted on the Measure C website at http:/ /169.199.90.240/MDUSDFacilities/index.html. Site-specific photographic uploads of construction progress will begin in August.

By August 15, we will post a schedule of community meetings at the six comprehensive high schools and Riverview Middle School to discuss information about the Phase 2 and 3 construction process. Project timelines, and traffic and parking impacts will be shared. Check the Measure C website and watch for the next News Update for the times and dates of the meetings.

HVAC

All schematic drawings for the first phase of the HVAC program have been completed and we are on schedule to begin the HVAC facility up-grade project this spring.

Technology

All site assessments have been completed and detailed project lists have been submitted so we can begin design and installation of an enhanced (1 gigabyte) Optiman service to those district sites not presently enjoying this level of connection.

High School Projects

In order to save tax payer dollars the district applied for Quality School Construction Bonds (QSCB) through the State of California. We received $4 million in approved bonds and were able to bundle them with another $7 million in bond sales. Given the current market conditions the district sold the $11 million in bonds at below a 3 percent interest rate.

The acceleration in the bond sales allowed the district to provide each high school with $1.5 million in funding to complete projects that they deemed priorities. Each site principal worked with staff and parent advisory groups to compile a list of needs which the district then provided estimated costs. Based on the costs, the sites then prioritized their lists and submitted them to the Board for approval at the June 28th Board meeting. Some highlights of the projects are:

· A classroom building with two new chemistry labs and store room at Clayton Valley and Mt. Diablo;

· Stadium water/sewage lines and Project Lead the Way engineering equipment at College Park;

· Stadium lighting and classroom technology up-grades at Ygnacio Valley;

· Stadium bleachers and Project Lead the Way engineering equipment at Northgate; and

· Classroom technology and HVAC up-grades at Concord.

Financial Update

The Board took several actions this past spring to save tax payers money and create a balanced budget while attempting to preserve positions. In March, the Board approved the sale of $11 million in additional bonds including the $4 million in QSCBs. The combined interest for the sales of these bonds was below 3 percent. In May, the Board approved a refinancing of the 2002 Measure C bonds sold in 2002 which lead to a savings of $4.4 million for tax payers.

The budget adopted by the state has triggers in place that may cause mid-year reductions. The budget the Board adopted in June will allow the district to address the current level of proposed mid-year funding reductions without having to eliminate positions in the middle of the year.

According to a July 21st letter from the Contra Costa County Office of Education, unified school districts should budget for flat funding but set aside a minimum of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of $260 and appropriate reductions for lost transportation funding in reserve as a precautionary measure. Our budget meets these recommendations.

Lastly, our transportation department applied for and received a $1.7 million grant to purchase new buses. This will allow the district to purchase 10 new fuel efficient 65 passenger buses without having to expend any district resources. I would like to give special recognition to Jeff McDaniel and Angela Goakey who lead the grant application process.”

——————————————————
[END SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE]

The Measure C website address has been changed to: http://mdusdmeasurec.org/.

The district actually set aside $330 per ADA (average daily attendance) for mid-year cuts. Now that the County Office of Education has reduced its recommendation to $260 per ADA, the district has nearly $2.3 million more than recommended in its contingency fund for midyear cuts.

In addition, the district’s 2011-12 budget includes seven furlough days, which haven’t yet been negotiated with the teachers’ union. It also includes nearly $4.5 million in School Improvement Grants for the district and Bel Air, Rio Vista and Shore Acres elementary schools, which are in jeopardy because the district didn’t follow state and federal requirements to continue receiving the funding.

The district is required to INCREASE instructional time for all students at the three schools receiving the grants. Furlough days would DECREASE instructional time at the schools. The district is hoping to negotiate extended school days with the teachers’ union by the first day of school, which is four weeks away.

According to the district’s School Improvement Grant application, negotiations were planned during the 2010-11 school year. Yet, they were never begun.

Teachers union president Mike Langley told me the district urgently requested to “impact bargain” regarding the grants, after both sides had completed negotiations for the 2010-11 school year and had agreed not to resume negotiations until September. Now, the urgent negotiations are set to begin Monday, Aug. 8.

Are you satisfied with the district’s communications to the public regarding Measure C and the MDUSD budget?
 

 



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  • Theresa Harrington

    Dan: I spoke to Oversight Committee Chairman John Ferrante and he said that no July meeting was held because the committee essentially conducted the business that it would have conducted regarding organizational matters in June. He said that’s the way it’s been done in the past as well and that he didn’t anticipate a July meeting next year either. When I asked if the bylaws should be changed to reflect the committee’s practice, he said that might be a good idea.
    Dr. J: When John Parker asked Pete Pedersen if the agenda “packet” (backup materials and Powerpoint Presentation, if any) could be posted BEFORE the meeting, Pedersen seemed quite surprised by this idea. However, it definitely appears that there will be presentations made at the Aug. 22 meeting. The materials to be presented should be made available to the public before the meeting.

  • Doctor J

    @Dan, Pete Pedersen has forgot the one essential cornerstone of a democracy: “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” Pete is playing hide the ball from the public, at the direction of . . . [fill in the blanks]. What is it that they are hiding ?

  • Dan

    @Dr J.,

    I agree with you. Pedersen has been annointed “Lord of all things Measure C”, and he is now lording it over us. Deciding what we get to know, the timeline for when we get to know it, etc. He seems to forget that it is us taxpayers that are footing the bill.

    It is the biggest perversion of democracy I have ever directly experienced.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Dr. J: That reminds me of when Greg Rolen told the Times it wasn’t in the public’s best interest to release the Measure C campaign poll results. After we published a front page story about his comment, the committee agreed to release the poll results.

  • g

    From 2009 California Education Code – Section 15278-15282: Article 2. Citizens’ Oversight Committee:

    15280. (a) The governing board of the district shall, without expending bond funds, provide the citizens’ oversight committee with any necessary technical assistance and shall provide administrative assistance in furtherance of its purpose and sufficient resources to publicize the conclusions of the citizens’ oversight committee.
    ——

    {THE ABOVE means that the 11.5 month full-pay “Assistant” that Pedersen brings with him to take minutes is (a)being paid illegally out of bond funds. or (b) the committee is not being provided with a free “secretary” to handle the clerical work of the committee.}

    ——

    (b) All committee proceedings shall be open to the public and notice to the public shall be provided in the same manner as the
    proceedings of the governing board. The citizens’ oversight committee shall issue regular reports on the results of its activities.

    A report shall be issued at least once a year.

    {These are called Annual Reports to the Board, Mr Ferrante—You don’t get to just decide they aren’t necessary just because you and Pedersen have established such a nice relationship}

    Minutes of the proceedings of the citizens’ oversight committee and all documents
    received and reports issued shall be a matter of public record and be made available on an Internet website maintained by the governing
    board.
    ——–

    {THE ABOVE pretty much speaks for itself. But in particular: Sufficient Agenda and material to be presented MUST be posted (just as it is at Board or City Council meetings) at least 72 hours in advance. Minutes MUST be posted.} In something less than 3-4 months would be nice.

    Perhaps they don’t know that a committee acting on behalf of an elected board are, each and all, considered a legal arm of the board and MUST meet the same Brown Act requirements as the elected body. Each meeting of a quarum must be held publicly. Each Subcommittee meeting must be held publicly. Serial Meetings are a violation of the Brown Act. And on and on…

    I could waste space and post the whole thing, but maybe some truly “Independents” on the Committee will look up the entire thing themselves ;)

  • Doctor J

    @Theresa #51, its very interesting that the August agenda does NOT include approval of any prior meeting minutes — the Agenda does NOT list any action to be taken. I am not sure if a June meeting Agenda met the Brown Act requirements or not. What is clear is that Chairperson Ferrante and every member of his committee are responsible for obeying the Brown Act and I don’t know if they did or didn’t. Perhaps they need a refresher course so they can understand the consequences of potentially violating the Brown Act. The best source I have found is http://www.firstamendmentcoalition.org/brown-act/
    Its serious stuff to violate the Brown Act and best to avoid any chance of it. 54959. It won’t be much of a defense to blame it on Pete Pedersen since the Bond Oversight Committee is supposed to be monitoring Pedersen’s activities, and not vice versa. Reminds me of some other names from history that tried to blame their actions on their “boss”: Liddy, Hunt, Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Dean and many others. Lets get the truth out about the Bond proceeds and expenditures: the full truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” The public has a right to know EVERYTHING.

  • g

    Theresa, the questions asked on that and most every Poll are tantamount to asking “Have you stopped beating your wife?” No matter how you answer, they get the result they were after!

  • g

    Dr. J: As far as I can tell, there has never been a posted Agenda prior to this month.

    Under Pedersen and Ferrante’s leadership, they have violated the Brown Act since 2002!

  • Doctor J

    @Theresa #54 That was so funny. Its probably not in his best interests for someone to go down and read his divorce file either ! Its called public records.

  • Dan

    Pedersen is completely stonewalling me, because I refuse to meet him in person. Does anyone know how to get in email contact with Ferrante?

  • g

    As to maybe changing the Committee By Laws that were approved by the Board. One item says that the committee Chair cannot hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

    This is in error carried over from 2002!

    The ED CODE states that a “committee member” cannot be on the committee more than two consecutive 2-yr terms. So, after a max of four years– “out you go” new members must be chosen.

    —–

    15282. (a) The citizens’ oversight committee shall consist of at least seven members to serve for a term of two years without
    compensation and for no more than two consecutive terms.

    With only one exception that I noticed, the 2002 Committee annually rotated two committee members back and forth from Chair, Vice Chair over and over for the full 7+ years, and then let the committee evaporate with funds still unspent or unaccounted for. 2010–Deja Vu all over again?

  • Doctor J

    G, Pedersen or any employee cannot even be on the committee, right ? So how has Pete been running these meetings ? I read in one of the laws you referenced, that all records received by the committee and reviewed are public record. Either this committee didn’t review anything or else there is a mountain of records. I was surprised by the amount of conflict of interest requirements of those serving on the committees. I agree with you — four years and you are out. Ferrante has some big explaining to do. Maybe someone will file a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission and let them sort it out. He probably never filed his financial disclosures either.

  • g

    This link is from 2002. Note that 17 of the initial 19 members list their qualification criteria for being on the committee. I’m not saying they weren’t all qualified. Just saying perhaps they aren’t all very forthcoming.

    Six of those from 2002 are back on the 2010 committee with the same couple dominating again.

  • Doctor J

    I don’t see the link.

  • g
  • John Q

    Theresa #51,
    You are saying that John Ferrante can overrule the By-Laws, by himself without consulting anyone or even mentioning that technicality at the previous meeting. Speaking of the previous meeting, wasn’t there discussion of changing the Public Comment to later on the Agenda, and checking the term limits for members. These could have been topics for the July meeting, and failing that, for the August 22 meeting. And materials should be attached to the Agenda online and accessible to the public 72 hours before the meeting.

    Doctor J #56,
    I must disagree because it is NOT serious stuff to violate the Brown Act. Government Code Section 54959 says everyone on the Committee is guilty of a misdemeanor but they know it will never be prosecuted. The public is supposed to pay our $1.8 billion, shut up, go home and hide our heads in the sand like good little ostriches.

  • Doctor J

    @John Q, perhaps the CC DA will start an investigation of long standing violations of the Brown Act and demand corrective compliance. The By-laws [5.3] also require the filing of Fair Political Practices Form 700 Financial Interests — as far as I know none of the members have disclosed their financial interests by filing this form. Now violation of the FPPC is seriously taken by the FPPC –file a complaint and watch the action happen. Getting back to the Brown Act, doesn’t violation invalidate any action taken ?

  • Dan

    I have just requested from the board to be put in contact with Mr. Ferrante. Will let everyone know if they respond. They seem to ignore any requests that they don’t like so I’m not expecting a response.

  • Doctor J

    @Dan, Maybe an email to Theresa with a request for his email or she can contact him to see if he is interested. I am so very surprised that he was the 2002 Measure C Chair and involved ever since then, and no one has his email.

  • Theresa Harrington

    John Ferrante also told me he didn’t believe it was possible to post “draft” minutes online before they’re approved. I pointed out that the board posts draft minutes with its agendas and he said they are usually months behind.
    At the Aug. 9 meeting, I pointed out to Ferrante that the draft minutes posted with the agenda were from the June 14 meeting (which was just two days before the last Bond Oversight Commmittee meeting). He said he hadn’t been able to locate the board’s draft minutes online when he tried.
    Ferrante said he would ask district officials again whether it is possible to post the committee’s draft minutes online.
    John Q: I’m not saying that Ferrante can overrule the bylaws. I’m saying that he seems to think he can.
    Ferrante also said the 2002 committee stopped meeting because no money was being spent, so there was no point in having meetings.
    When I pointed out that the 2008 audit showed nearly $8.9 million remaining, but the ending balance reported by the committee was around $3.3 million, he said the auditor must have made a mistake.
    Here’s the link to the last audit online: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Documents/audit/2008.pdf
    Here’s a link to the committee’s reported ending balance: http://www.mdusd.org/Community/Pages/measurecjune2010.aspx
    It’s surprising that no one on the committee has noticed that there appears to be a $5.6 million discrepancy.

  • John Q

    Theresa,
    The term ipso facto comes to mind. When Committee Chairman John Ferrante says he doesn’t follow the By-laws due to his own interpretation of the rules and without consulting the rest of the Committee then ipso facto he overruled the By-laws.

  • Theresa Harrington

    John Q: I agree that appears to be the case. Whether he had the authority to overrule the bylaws is a separate issue, of course.

  • Doctor J

    Its absolutely astounding to me how Ferrante and the Bond Oversight Committees have apparently violated the Brown Act for nearly a decade; no posted Agendas, taking action without notice, etc. Apparently he hasn’t filed his FPPC Financial disclosures either, nor taken the mandatory FPPC Ethics Course. The irony of this is when you read minutes from 2002-2008, almost every meeting had a Board “representative”, often Linda Mayo, who should have known better and apparently never spoke up. And where has the District lawyer been supposedly giving “legal advice” ? Why do we pay him $170,000 a year if its not to keep the District from violating the law ? The Brown Act should be one of his specialties, but as Theresa pointed out yesterday, apparently not. So now we learn that there is $8.9 million left as of the 2008 audit — WHERE IS THE MONEY ? Why is the last audit in 2008 if there is $8.9 million left in 2008, but in 2010 only $3.3 million ? On Monday morning, DA Mark Petersen (925) 957-2200 ought to start receiving calls about the missing money and the nearly ten years of Brown Act violations. Next call should be to the Fair Political Practices Commission about lack of Financial Disclosures and Ethics courses. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=42 Its time to take action. No one in MDUSD or any government body is above the law. Apparently Buttercupgate was just the tip of the iceberg.

  • g

    It is ludicrous that Mr. Ferrante, having sat on more than one District Commission does not yet understand both the requirements of the Brown Act, and responsibilities of the “timely” posting of: Agenda; the File Attachments required to be included on that Agenda; an Annotated Agenda posted even before minutes are approved: Acceptance and posting of minutes both as written and amended and all the Et cetera!

    —”Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it”—

    If you want to run a show, learn the rules first and then follow them!

  • Theresa Harrington

    The minutes from the 2002 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee are somewhat baffling.
    The Sept. and Dec. 2008 minutes state that the Measure C balance was $273 million, according to Mitchell Stark, who worked for Vanir at the time and has been hired as a project manager for the 2010 bond: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Documents/minutes/2008/09-04-08.htm
    In March 2009, Stark reported that $2.9 million remained in the fund: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Documents/minutes/2009/03-05-09.htm
    The June 2009 minutes state that Pete Pedersen reported that $3.2 million remained in the Measure C fund: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Documents/minutes/2009/06-04-09.htm
    The Quarterly Reports are only posted through March 2008: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Pages/quarterly.aspx
    The minutes from the March 2008 meeting don’t specify how much was remaining in the fund: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/AdministrativeServices/MeasureC/Documents/minutes/2008/03-06-08.htm
    Instead, they state that Stark reported “The program is now funded at a level that exceeds projected expenses by $1.1 million. These funds are available as a buffer for any unforeseen costs as the program completes its final year of construction.”
    Although subsequent minutes refer to additional quarterly reports, they are not posted online.

  • Doctor J

    @Theresa #75 And what happened to the legally required audits after 2008 ? The other irony is that many of the minutes note that Asst. Supt. Dick Nichols was present for many of the meetings, and he succeeded McHenry as Supt. So its not like its a secret within the district. But Nichols was also approved Gary going to the solar class.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Ferrante said he didn’t think more audits were necessary because no money was being spent.
    He said the committee relied on the auditor to do what was legally necessary and the committee relied on the district to present accurate financial reports.
    Ferrante said he doesn’t believe it’s the committee’s responsibility to scrutinize the financials line by line.

  • Linda L

    What exactly does Mr. Ferrante believe his role to be? At the June 16 meeting he indicated to me that he is a strict follower of the rules. Mr. Ferrante is that only when it benefits you? No questions allowed from SOME members of the audience but it is okay to remain on the Oversight Committee beyond the term limit, cease meetings before the money is spent, change the bylaws, etc…
    And trust me the list goes on.
    I want to remind the entire committee that this is not a “bake sale” committee. You are responsible for $348 million dollars. At the very least you have a responsibility to have project lists, line item expenditures, project tracking to completion, and project site visits.

    Mr Ferrante do you also believe those things are outside of your purview? Tell us what do you think the committee should be doing, because right now there is no oversight. I don’t blame the committee after what I saw when members asked for better information regarding the auditor.

  • g

    Although only briefly, I have on several occasions touched on many discrepancies in the 2002 C oversight. If you read all minutes in sequence, you find:
    –members were allowed to serve too long by law.
    –Votes were taken at a few of meetings without a quorum.
    –Minutes (taken and presented by Pedersen’s admin.) omit a lot of clarification of comments. (for example: When stating that Balance of $273 million, are they speaking of how much has been “spent” (which is what I think they meant) or how much had not yet been paid out, but was committed?
    –Note the number of times members made questions or recommendations where results or answers were promised, and the subject was never brought up or reported on again.
    –Original membership was not replaced as vacancies came up. They started the first meeting of 2002 with 23 members and ended with 15–of which, based on minutes, apparently only 5-6 ever spoke a single word at a meeting in 7+years. Only 7 are required by law, but if you determine to have 23 or 19 or 10 at the outset, then that number should be kept constant with new applicants.
    –AND did you notice that NO minutes of those seven years were posted until they were all posted at the same time in 2009? Just in time to cover asses for the 2010 election.

  • g

    Theresa, while we’re asking questions—just how many District vehicles are on full time allocation (even if not for personal use) to Pedersen, Inc., and which fund is paying for that. Pedersen and several others who SHOULD be considered outside/independent “contracted” employees seem to have District Vehicles—not to mention District Benefits.

  • Doctor J

    The natural question which investigative agencies will ask: What is being hidden with the last audit in 2008 showing $8.9 million left, and then suddenly legally required annual audits stop, and there are contradictory reports on how much money is left in the bond fund ? Someone with subpoena power must investigate, because Theresa’s attempts to get the public records requests have been stonewalled once again by MDUSD. Chairperson Ferrante apparently admitted to Theresa that the audits for 2009/2010/and 2011 were never done. I wonder who will be on the lists of “interested persons” ? Once again, On Monday morning, DA Mark Petersen (925) 957-2200 ought to start receiving calls about the missing money and the nearly ten years of Brown Act violations. Next call should be to the Fair Political Practices Commission about lack of Financial Disclosures and Ethics courses. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=42 Its time to take action. No one in MDUSD or any government body is above the law. Apparently Buttercupgate was just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Doctor J

    Tomorrow is T minus 14 and we have no announcement of an approved agreement between MDUSD and its unions to save the $15 million in SIG Grants. Based on today’s revelations you have to ask yourself, since the district did not spend the SIG money on increased instructional time as required by the grants, what did it spend it on ? Bubbling ? Paying substitute teachers while teaching teachers how to teach to the STAR test ? Out of town travel, hotels, meals, mileage, etc. ? We need an accounting of the SIG expenditures too.

  • g

    I don’t think they can officially tell us how negotiations came out until they take it to an open and Noticed Board Meeting for full disclosure and approval—not that that has ever stopped them before…!

  • Doctor J

    @G, sure they can — usually the Union votes first. A week ago Langley told Theresa there was a breakthough on the second day and since then its been silence. Not a good sign in my book. Oh, and while you are asking about vehicles being taken home, you might want to ask about cell phone subsidies to employees. Remember Gov. Brown took most of the state cell phones away.

  • Anon

    I saw this response to the grand jury was posted. Has this been discussed at a oard meeting or posted for the public? The grammar errors aside, does anyone proofread Rolen’s responses or is he a one man show?

    http://docs.docstoc.com/pdf/128122/5d683e80-1662-43fe-abe5-5f31c37ca875.pdf

  • Doctor J

    @Anon#85, As far as I know the Grand Jury report “directed to the Board” [not the District] and its response was never noticed for discussion at any Board meeting, either in public session or private session. I believe under the Brown Act, it should have been noticed for public discussion so the public could comment on it and the Board could vote on the proper response. Since it was never noticed, it would have been illegal for all five board members to have considered it in secret. I find it horribly ironic that Greg Rolen’s poor performance was the subject of one of the issues, and he offered “his own defense” claiming that he took over some responsibilities, but there was no loss of legal work — that’s impossible since any time he spent doing non-legal work could not have been spent on legal work. I also wonder if it is a conflict of interest since as the General Counsel, the Grand Jury previously pointed out that he is the lawyer for the Board, and not for the District, and yet he now has two masters — the Board and the Supt. Doesn’t that give him a conflict of interest as a lawyer ? I think the Good Book says something about no man can serve two masters. :-) I guess the Grand Jury can take up the matter again if it wants but based on today’s postings on the Measure C fiascos, it could probably include it in another investigation.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is a separate post about the grand jury report: http://bit.ly/pd8KeS

  • Doctor J

    Where is the annual evaluation of SASS required by the Board on May 11, 2010 ? Today’s public release of the district STAR test results are essentially “flat”. Here is what Lawrence promised and the Board required:
    The members of this new department will be annually evaluated based on criteria that also include:
    1. Whether or not the schools they support meet or exceed the growth targets identified by the State for school-wide and subgroup API data;
    2. Whether or not the EL students in the schools they support make annual progress on the CELDT. Our goal is that all EL students are redesignated English proficient within six years of entering our schools.
    3. Whether or not all students are making measurable gains on district benchmark assessments that measure students’ progress toward mastery of the State standards;
    4. Whether or not our high schools are increasing the graduation rate, increasing the number of students completing CTE pathways, increasing the percentage of students taking AP classes and achieving a 3 or better on the end of course assessments, increasing the percentage of students taking the SAT/ACT, and increasing the SAT/ACT scores for all subgroups of students on an annual basis.
    5. Annual principal surveys that focus on whether or not principals feel supported in moving their schools forward.

  • g

    And while we are questioning proper or improper use of bonds and Prop55 funds, maybe we should bring up the 2002 bond (2006 Issue) $5.5 million, that was coupled with $5.5+ million in Prop 55 funds to pay $1,000,000.00 per acre to buy 11 acres in the Alves Ranch development in Pittsburg which, as of last record I could find, indicates it is about as close to being unbuildable as anything ever seen. Pittsburg officials describe it as a big “hole”, and said MDUSD is “on their own”.

    MDUSD should have looked at least gone out and looked at the property BEFORE they slapped down $11really big ones on it!

    Then again, Concord and Pittsburg share Seeno, so maybe we can get him shove some of his hill and creek grading on down and fill in our “hole”.

  • g

    Oops, sorry, that last post should have been in Minyen’s column.