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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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  • Doctor J

    Lawrence’s CYA letter is months late and $20 million short. Theresa, your comments at the end are a goldmine of information and show how misleading Lawrence’s comments really are. Frankly, Lawrence’s disjointed comments are more like a CYA letter trying to avert a disaster ready to happen. Here we are four weeks to the start of school, and he doesn’t address one thing about school starting, the excitement of students coming back, and of getting back to education. As you point out, he skips the SIG disaster where he [Lawrence himself] signed the SIG grants and then didn’t comply with them and the potential to lose $20 million dollars because of his inept leadership. He skips the part where he failed to talk to the union about furlough days for SIG schools. He skips the part where he fails to talk to the unions about increased instruction time for the SIG schools. Even Union President Mike Langley was recently surprised by the district demand for “immediate” bargaining. Likely he hasn’t been told it must be in place by the first day of school. How can he even hold an election when teachers aren’t back in school until the day before ? Mike can get whatever he wants now since Lawrence is trapped by the potential loss of $20 million SIG dollars. I guess we just wait for the hurricane to strike.

  • g

    It most certainly is “disjointed” and I would suggest it may be that way by design. In its parts and pieces it reads very much like many of Rolen’s other works that were signed by Pedersen as if he had written them.

    It is also reminiscent of many of Lawrence’s other attempts to take credit for a job using cut/paste.

    The toe bone’s connected to the knee bone, the elbow’s connected to the jaw bone…;)

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    In my opinion, this letter has a certain overpaid lawyer written all over it.

  • Just J

    This is just more BS from the District and Lawrence. This is just another reason why CV should go Charter.

  • anon

    When there is no update, the blog goes nuts because of lack of information. When there is an update, the blog goes nuts because there is information.

    Thank you to the District for releasing this information. I very much appreciate the information and how it was presented. It’s clear to me that the supt. is trying hard to keep us all informed and I like that.

    I’ve been watching the same people complain and make the same baseless accusations over and over and I keep trying to determine how that helps the students and our community. I don’t see how you can possibly think that something positive will come from all of the negativity. The good news is that the district appears to be moving things forward despite the negative energy that swirls around this blog site.

    I rode by my child’s school today with my child on our bicycles. It looked like some of the administrative team was already inside the office and there was activity all over. The school looks like it’s in great shape and we are so happy that school will be starting soon. There are a lot of great things happening all over the district and we are lucky to live here.

  • g

    anon, you and your child are soooo lucky to have “your school” within bicycle distance. Seven out of ten kids living North of Willow Pass no longer have a school within safe or sensible bicycle distance, and unless they come from way ‘over the hill’, no bus service either!

    So, besides still having a local school, name some other “great things happening ‘all over’ the district”.

  • anon

    G,

    The concern that you have about proximity from home to school has gotten worse for two reasons. #1, the State has slashed the dollars that it provides for schools forcing mdusd to close schools. #2, 40% of the voters decided that they were not willing to vote to approve a $99 parcel tax. Neither of those issues have anything to do with management of the district. The district has been forced to make do with what state politicians have decided to provide and make do without dollars that the local community were unwilling to provide.

    Name a few other good things:

    Excellent academy program at my child’s school.

    Excellent teachers at both of my kids schools, teachers who have motivated and inspired them both to do well and enjoy school.

    A librarian who has helped foster my child’s real desire to read.

    Safe schools where I feel my children are safe when they are not with me.

    Schools that are truly in great shape, especially when compared to other areas of the state.

    I could go on and on. I find it hard to believe that the district has been able to maintain the level of good services and professional people given the cuts that they have had to make. We are truly blessed.

  • g

    Sorry, but My school, my school, my school does not equal “all over the District”. If the Board had put 1/10th the effort and BS into its attempt for an “Education” Parcel Tax, that it put into what it had really been planning for two years (getting Solar funding), we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. Solar “C” got all the glitz and glamour of a Broadway musical, and the Parcel Tax “sort of” attempt wasn’t even an also ran.

    Neither of your “issues is reflective of poor District planning and management? Please–both reflect knee jerk-no plan-no common sense! Should the District have chosen to close a couple of schools using data and criteria they paid for as a guide, or sold off excess District properties or combined the Special Schools to see how much could actually be saved before they lopped off one whole neighborhood’s schools? Yes and yes!

  • anon

    G,

    Keep slinging mud at the wall trying to get something to stick. The fact of the matter is that each of the things that I listed as a positive at my kids two schools are happening at most of the district schools. I believe each of the high schools have academy programs that do amazing things in terms of exposing students to career paths and that inspire students to continue their education. Each school has many teachers that work diligently to inspire and educate their students. School safety is a big deal at all schools, and I could go on.

    There are many positive and wonderful things happening all over the district despite all that the state has taken and despite this community’s unwillingness to support the district financially at a percentage necessary to pass a parcel tax. To blame that on the district is irrational at best.

    We are blessed to have such wonderful and caring teachers and schools.

  • Doctor J

    T minus 26 days until the loss of $15 million in SIG grants. Lawrence and the Board are in hibernation about what, if anything, is being done to save the SIG grant money, some of which is already spent.

  • Another Anon

    Anon #7 & 9,

    You believe each of the high schools have academy programs … ? You better check your facts! Northgate has not had any academy program. It sounds amazing where you are but it’s not the same district-wide.

    You should give more credit to what G is saying. The number of children who have to waste time on a mind-numbing commute to school is ridiculous, the school boundaries are a complete irrational mess, and this is caused by district management or lack thereof. Children from Bay Point are bused to MDHS because the district closed Pacifica High School. Children from Holbrook and Glenbrook will go miles farther to school this year, whether or not their families can afford the extra transportation. Children drive “over the hill” to Northgate from wealthy Crystyl Ranch because of a prehistoric developer deal. And don’t forget our special education students, many of whom spend extra hours on the bus every day, stopping for each child along the way, because it’s extra miles to go to Gregory Gardens or other far-flung campuses. Superintendent McHenry asked the board to study the boundaries but was nixed. With school closures last year, Superintendent Lawrence had the chance to re-open Pacifica High School, and to consolidate middle and high schools, and it’s a shame this didn’t happen.

    Your “glass half full” philosophy is tempting, but not where children and their education and our tax dollars are concerned. Try comparing MDUSD to a district with many low-income and ELL students like Newport-Mesa, where they consolidated middle and high school campuses and have been very successful. Instead, the recent MDUSD audit of ELL, which is crucial to children’s education and also API scores since API tests are in English, found the district’s ELL program is a failure. And did you know MDUSD has the highest proportion of low-performing schools in California? Ironically this could be an advantage if those schools received SIG grants, but Glenbrook was closed, and you should follow Doctor J for current updates on that funding.

    You can give the teachers credit for improvements in the district. We need more facts before we can give credit to the administration, or the School Closure Committee, or the Measure C Oversight Committee.

    Wake up!

  • Alison B.

    Anon #5, 7, 9–while I agree that there are wonderful things happening all over the district and in every school, I contend that it is BECAUSE of these teachers, families and kids and IN SPITE of our State and District budget cuts and possible mismanagement of funds. What I can’t understand is your continued satisfaction with the status quo instead of indignation at the ongoing lack of support for our kids and their education on the part of the public organizations expressly put in place to SERVE our children. Our kids have a right to a real education that is on par with every other state. Sadly, California and MDUSD are very far from that. Resting on our laurels doesn’t work anymore . .. maybe you’ll see that when your child is suddenly not competitive in the post-secondary application process.

  • Theresa Harrington

    As I noted above, the district’s Measure C website address has changed. The superintendent’s memo includes the old web address.
    Several Bond Oversight Committee members asked Pete Pedersen to change the web address, saying some computers block access to numbered web addresses.
    The new address is very easy to remember: http://mdusdmeasurec.org.
    The only problem is that it doesn’t assign distinct addresses for individual pages on the website, so it’s impossible to link to a specific item, such as the PowerPoint from the June 16 meeting.

  • Doctor J

    T minus 25 days until the loss of $15 million in SIG grants. Negotiations with MDEA for increased instructional time and no furlough days at the SIG schools don’t start until next Monday. I wonder how the rest of the teachers at non SIG schools are going to feel about having to take more furlough days since the SIG schools can’t afford to lose instructional time.

  • Doctor J

    Here are the SIG applications revised 12/2010. See your tax dollars at work. Pay particular attention to page 80 “timeline” June 2010-June 2011 to meet with bargaining units about teacher hours, evaluation and transfer process. Never happened. At the SIG schools, do you recognize any of the changes that were supposed to happen in 2010/11 ???? http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/documents/sig10mtdiablo.pdf#search=mdusd&view=FitH&pagemode=none

  • Wait a Minute

    Its time to point something out people.

    This “Anon” who began posting all over the CC Times blog to defend the MDUSD leadership and try and shift blame to anyone else started doing this at the same time as Sue Brothers was hired and is none other then SUE BROTHERS herself!!!

    Her posts have been shown to a couple of dozen of her former colleagues from West Sac/Roseville and all agree its Sue’s writing. By the way, comments about Sue ranged from vile, manipulative, incompetent egotistical control freak to many that are unprintable.

    So why is she doing this? Because of the 3 reasons she went to MDUSD: #1, West Sac became (to quote Sue herself) “no longer a comfortable place” for her and her M.O. #2, her benefactor Steve Lawrence hired her to try and quash the CVHS Charter. #3, she has also been hired to fight the info war here on the CC Times to try and protect her savior Lawrence.

    Some other interesting information has also come up.

    Sue extensively lied in her interviews with Theresa Harrington. She claimed she was only making $125,000 at West Sac when she was at the top of the pay scale there at $145,000 plus benefits. She claimed she spent lots of time in classrooms and sites (when she rarely left the administrative offices until the new Super Dr. Gilleland made her get out last year and start regularly visiting sites/classrooms).

    In fact, Sue spent the better part of her 5 years in smallish West Sac building up a personal empire. In her Dpt of Ed Services she had 2 “Directors” at $110,000 each (one of whom was infamous in that district for having been caught having sex at a school site with one of the custodians and whom Sue tried to replace one of West Sac’s best principals with when her Directors position was cut!). Sue also had at least one other administrator and several “Teachers on Special Assignment” as well as 2 secretaries. So her Dpt had well over 1 million dollars in salaries/benefits in a 1 HS town until the budget cuts of last year. In fact, Sue was famous for manipulating hiring in West Sac. She decided who would be hired ahead of time and represented panel interviews were conducted only to go through the motions.

    Her record in these matters is less then stellar. A Super of HR who was forced to leave his former district for having conducted a blatant affair with a colleague and having unlawfully fired a teacher was hired by Sue to be a reliable and unethical hatchet man who proceeded to drive up litigation costs to exceed the rest of the districts in that county combined! She also replaced the well respected and successful Continuation HS principal with an incompetent personal friend of hers that took that school from safe to dangeous and ended up expelling like 20 kids in an over-correction.

    Meanwhile Sue claims she is this zen-like coach to all the principals in matters like discipline. Well that explains why West Sac’s River City HS had a student riot in late 2009 that was so bad that the Principal suffered severe head injuries and missed months of work. To make matters worse both Sue And Stevie Lawrence lied to the board and called the riot just a food fight and this lie ended up in the Sacramento Bee!
    This incident is a main reason that Stevie fled to the MDUSD and now Sue has followed him as she has her whole administrative career.

    Sue also said that West Sac has a good relationship with charters. It has only had this since Lawrence left.Sue and Stevie opposed every Independant charter trying to come into West Sac and they both constantly raved about how bad charters were so Anon/Sues post #11 represents Sue’s true feelings about charters, hated competition that puts pressure on a district to reform bad management.

    And by the way Sue, the reason the MDUSD can’t pass a parcel tax like most of the surrounding districts are able to is because of the flat-out incompetence and bad leadership that is now fairly widely known within the community.

  • anon

    Wait a minute,

    I wrote the comments under the name anon because I am happy about the experiences that we have had as a family with the schools that our kids have attended and with the district as a whole. I can promise you, I am not Sue Brothers.

    Given that the main statement in your post is false, it certainly calls into question all of your supporting statements.

    So which one of the 7 agitators are you? Linda?

    You are doing nothing to help the students of this district with your maligning and slanderous comments. That is an undeniable truth.

    Fortunately, most families like the schools that their children attend.

  • Just J

    At #17. Speak for yourself. I have had conversations with people from West Sac that say all the same things that Wait A minute says. Maybe Theresa can look into this for everyone.

    I am not happy with the District and the status quo that has been going on for years. It is time to clean house and people need to step up to the plate and “Do The Right Thing” Have Courage to put our children first.

  • LindaL

    I can assure you that I am not “Wait a Minute.” Theresa you are welcome to confirm that since you are well aware of my email address.
    My issues are, and always have been, Measure C, Solar, and Strategic Planning. In addition, I see the leadership void as the central catalyst for many, if not all, of the problems in this district.
    I do not begrudge people like Wait a Minute who take a stand. I do not slander nor do I malign. I am interested in discussing these issues and I am very interested in seeing change occur in MDUSD. I would like to remind you that most families are not happy with the district, that is conclusive information from MDUSD polling. In Novemeber 2009 81% of parents did not trust the financial management of this district and over 70% did not believe their children were getting a quality education. I am happy that you are happy but I want better for my children and my community.

  • Theresa Harrington

    At Linda’s request, I will confirm that posts from “Wait a Minute” come from a different e-mail address than Linda L’s posts.
    FYI, here is the link to the February 2010 Measure C campaign committee survey, which shows that 74 percent of respondents felt local schools were going in the “wrong direction” in 2010, up from 70 percent in 2009: http://www.protectourlocalschools.org/
    It also shows that 36 percent of respondents had a “strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable” impression of the MDUSD in 2010, down from 38 percent in 2009.

  • g

    I appreciate being able to post anonymously. Most of us do this for very valid reasons. When you talk to g, or Dr. J or Linda or Wait a minute or Board Watcher etc, you sort of get to know the person and their cause. All blog discussions would benefit greatly if there were no “anon” “Anon” etc. Privacy can stay intact just fine with a good one-of-a-kind Pseudonym. Why don’t you “anon” folks try it so we can all get to know “you” better.

  • g

    Trying to do some research, and can’t find it. Did MDUSD finalize the purchase of the 11 acre Alves Ranch property it was negotiating back in 2005 for a Pittsburg middle school? Did they pay $11 million? How many kids get bused over the hill to (Glenbrook) or new middle schools here while that property sits empty? What does that cost?

  • Theresa Harrington

    g: This topic came up during the school closure discussions. The board authorized the superintendent to explore the possibility of building a new high school in Bay Point. I believe Pete Pedersen planned to hire a consultant to look into these issues and report back to the board. Not sure what the timeline on that is, though.

  • Doctor J

    You know Pete’s attitude: its cheaper to do it “in house” with unlicensed contractors and can do it two or three times. BTW, have the Delta View trees been replaced yet that were promised a month ago ?

  • g

    So, it looks like we dumped $5 million of 2002 “C” funds, and $5.850 million Prop 55 funds into 11 acres at the height of the bubble, and turned it into a weed field of wasted dreams, not requiring a single cent from developers over there to contribute to building a school to match their housing profits/school needs. Because of that mismanagement, they were unable to complete many of the projects “promised” from the 2002 ballot, that are back on the table for 2010 promises. Bragging about how “every single one of the priority 1 projects were finished on time and under budget, but not mentioning the wasted $11 million or the many items in priority 2,3,4,5 that didn’t get done because of that wasted millions.

    What we really need to do, I guess, is give Pedersen, Inc. a raise! ;(

  • g

    Dr J, I think first Pete will probably have to hire a “consultant” for a few hundred K to tell them what kind of trees they were and how many leaves were lost and just how tall were they, anyway? You Know ;) ?

  • Doctor J

    Sounds like the Grand Jury better start issuing some more Subpoenas to uncover the truth. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to …..

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just learned that the Measure C Oversight Committee will hold a special meeting the evening of Aug. 22, along with bond counsel and financial advisors, to address questions that have been raised by committee members.
    Coincidentally, the state is starting to crack down on lax oversight of bond money: http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/auditors-criticize-state-oversight-school-construction-bonds-11713.
    The state attorney general has told one school district it can’t use bond proceeds to pay the cost of bond issuance: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/202322-ags-warning-letter-on-poways-school-bond-behavior.html
    And the Los Angeles treasurer and tax collector will not support bond measures that propose extending the payoff beyond 25 years — up to 40 years — as MDUSD’s 2010 Measure C would allow: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/202321-la-bond-letter.html

  • Doctor J

    Hmmmm….a lot can happen between now and then.

  • Number Eight

    MDUSD should receive developer fees every year. How much and what bushel is it hiding under? Is it saved to build new schools, at Alves Ranch or a new Bay Point high school? Don’t count on another bond election!

  • Theresa Harrington

    It turns out the board did meet in July after all, for a special closed session July 26 to discuss the superintendent and general counsel’s evaluations: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=331

  • wait a minute

    Anon (aka Sue Brothers)@17.

    You want to pretend your just a soccer-mom bicycling by “your school” yet you keep a detailed list of the “7 agitators” including “Linda”?

    More evidence of Sue as the West Sac people just told me she also kept a “hit list” there. Happy hunting Sue! By the way, you might want to put a couple of zeros after your “agitators” count.

    Dr J, if Steve Lawrence signed off on SIG’s certifying they were true and he knew they were not then that is very much an indictable Federal Offense. I think this information should be sent to the Federal Prosecutors office and a CC County Grand Jury complaint should also be made that he knowingly certified documents he knew to be false that could cost the MDUSD upwards of 20 MILLION DOLLARS!

  • Theresa Harrington

    Number 8: According to this warrant report, Developer Fees are in “Fund 11:” http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/f0c9f675-cd2a-4b05-ae17-1277684492e9.pdf
    It looks like the district spent nearly $300,000 in developer fees in April and May.
    This also shows no money spent from the “Building Fund,” but lists Measure A and two Measure C bond construction funds being spent. The Measure C Oversight Committee hasn’t been given this information, to my knowledge.

  • Doctor J

    @Theresa #31 There was a lack of public notice and thus the minutes should become public. The Dent Center has NOT been available to the public for notice because of the solar construction. Highly unusual that so many evaluations of the Supt and Gen Counsel are made in such a short time when the issues of the SIG grants and bonds are burning up the Board’s time. I suspect there are some serious issues.

  • Easy Answers

    http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/

    I look every Friday to see if there’s any meetings scheduled. The agenda for the Jully 26 meeting was up on July 22.

    You could have checked, Doctor J; you were online that evening, making comments on this blog. http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2011/07/15/lots-of-blame-but-less-accountability-with-states-school-improvement-grants/

  • Dan

    I recently received an email from Pedersen regarding the changed slide in the Powerpoint presentation. Allegedly two employees were in the original slide who were not in the “updated” one.

    No explanation for how a mistake like this would have happened. But he did say there is a pending Public Records Request around this issue. Kudos to whomever put that through.

    No real explanation for why there was not a CBOC organizational meeting as required by the by-laws in July. My impression is the the CBOC allows Pedersen to tell them what they will and will not do like little sheep.

  • g

    We’re going to get an AGENDA for the Oversight Committee meeting? Wow–that’s a first–and about time!

  • Holbrook Dad

    This is a little off topic but I would like to tell the Supt. and the Board what a great choice they made when they closed Holbrook.

    Holbrook had a 34 point increase in API which gave them a score of 811 for their final year. Well done Holbrook students! You all should be very proud.

    The closing of a wonderful and IMPROVING school such as Holbrook is just another fine example of the top notch leadership the MDUSD is providing it’s students. Top notch, top notch!

  • g

    Right on Holbrook Dad! Knee Jerk and Slack Jawed Drooler District didn’t even bother to look before they decided to send these hard working kids to lower performing schools, and lose the Principal that took them to those scores. Hell, Lawrence didn’t even know where the school was, and had certainly never “bothered” to visit!

  • Theresa Harrington

    I submitted the Public Records Act request for the staff information, which Greg Rolen has promised by Aug. 12.
    Regarding STAR test results, they are due out Aug. 15. It will be interesting to see if the School Improvement Grants helped boost achievement at Glenbrook MS and Rio Vista, Shore Acres and Bel Air elementary schools.

  • Doctor J

    Theresa, What was the SIG money spent on ? We know it wasn’t increased instructional time. I think we need an accounting for each of the SIG schools on how the money was actually spent. I don’t think the STAR tests will tell us anything about the effectiveness of the SIG Grants.

  • Doctor J

    T minus 21 days until loss of SIG grants. Negotiations supposed to begin today before Board approval tomorrow. How can the district include the denied SIG grants in their budget projections ? In fact, they already hired some of the people and spent some of the funds and the SIG funds were turned down by the State and Feds. Increased instruction time must be in place by first day of school, August 30 — how can that possibly happen ? Still no answers.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The board expects to approve more than $50,700 in expenditures at Bel Air Elem. using SIG money: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=4290&mtgId=314

  • g

    Through Theresa (please), I have a question for Steven Lawrence:

    Speaking of Legal uses for Measure “C”.

    Mr. Lawrence, you report that “The remaining Tier III deferred maintenance funds of $1.5 million were swept to the general fund”,

    This appears to mean that you may now perform some “routine deferred maintenance” using Measure “C” funds, which of course, we know is not allowed—and we all know there is a lot of “routine” deferred maintenance that has not been done in a timely manner!

    This would also be contrary to CDE determinations:

    From EdBrief, March 6 2009: “Information provided by CDE earlier this week clarifies that prior-year balances for deferred maintenance are not available for “sweep ups” into LEA General Funds.”

    and continues,

    “There has been some confusion in the field because deferred maintenance is not listed in Budget Trailer Bill as a program you could not sweep up prior-year balances. HOWEVER, because prior-year balances for deferred maintenance are ((required to be)) placed into Fund 14 restricted accounts, CDE has opined that these prior-year balances are not available for sweep up under the new budget act.”

    Mr. Lawrence, do you concur? Will you be readjusting the deferred maintenance funds to the correct Fund?

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just learned that the special 2010 Measure C Bond Oversight Committee meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22 in the district board room.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The special Bond Oversight Committee meeting agenda has been posted: http://www.mdusd.org/NewsRoom/Pages/measure-c-agenda-082211.aspx

  • g

    Yep, that’s some Agenda. I understand they would have had to ask Pedersen if they wanted to post it on the Measure C site too. Well alrighty then.

  • Doctor J

    I wonder if the Agenda for the Bond “Oversight” even meets the Brown Act ? It should be an embarassment to the Board and Supt — it certainly delegitimizes the “Oversight Committee”. What lack of quality.

  • Dan

    Given that agenda, I assume Mr. Pedersen is making an ill timed effort at a joke. What is disturbing is that he thinks it is ok to make a joke around this very sensitive issue.

    I emailed him asking if it was a joke or incompetence. He essentially told me that he would no longer answer any email questions from me, unless I met him in person.

    The board (especially Whitmarsh) has been trying to identify me for the last year or so, I assume they want to make my children “pay” for my opposition to their policies. Therefore, I refuse to meet with him in person. So no more information for Dan from Pedersen.

    If the agenda is not a joke, then it is a clear symbol of gross incompetence. Especially given the fact that no July meeting occurred as explicitly required in the committee’s by laws.

    Given the possible $1.6 Billion that our children and grand children are on the hook for for this bridge to nowhere, I argue it is time to bring in competent management.

  • Doctor J

    Seems like there are way too many secrets about the “bond oversight” and other actions of our school board. Here is what the Legislature said in the Brown Act about secrets in school districts: 54950. . . . the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. 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 people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. 54952.2. (b) Except as authorized pursuant to Section 54953, any use of direct communication, personal intermediaries, or technological devices that is employed by a majority of the members of the legislative body to develop a collective concurrence as to action to be taken on an item by the members of the legislative body is prohibited.
    54953. (a) All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency . . . 54953.3. A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance. 54953.5. (a) Any person attending an open and public meeting of a legislative body of a local agency shall have the right to record the proceedings with an audio or video tape recorder or a still or motion picture camera. . . 54953.6. No legislative body of a local agency shall prohibit or otherwise restrict the broadcast of its open and public meetings 54954.1. Any person may request that a copy of the agenda, or a copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet, of any meeting of a legislative body be mailed to that person.

    Friends, I suggest you all send in your written request for a “complete copy of the documents constituting the agenda packet” and have them mailed to you.