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Clayton Valley HS Charter Board members wanted

By Theresa Harrington
Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 3:09 pm in Clayton, Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Alison Bacigalupo, a member of the Clayton Valley HS Charter steering committee, sent me the following information about the election process for the charter school board:

“The Clayton Valley Charter High School (CVCHS) Governing Board electoral process has officially begun. We are currently looking for candidates to fill our nine open board positions:

(2) Teachers

(1) Classified

(2) Parents

(2) Community members at large

(1) Retired teacher

(1) Administrative

To submit an application or resume for candidacy or to find out more information about board member qualifications, terms, powers, and/or the general election procedures please visit the CVCHS website at:

The application deadline for candidacy submission is Thursday, August 25th, 2011. The election will take place in the Clayton Valley High School Multi-use Room on Thursday, September 1st, 2011.”

The Mt. Diablo school board expects to vote on the charter petition Sept. 13.

Do you agree with the charter committee’s decision to elect a governing board before the charter is approved?

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24 Responses to “Clayton Valley HS Charter Board members wanted”

  1. Just J Says:

    Yes I do agree with them. If the district approves then they are that much closer to getting things in place. If they have to appeal to the County then as soon as they approve the charter will be able to take shape.

  2. g Says:

    Who will be casting the initial votes–the Steering Committee? I think the board should include at least 2 (advisory or voting) Senior Students.

  3. Just J Says:

    As far as I know there will be a non-voting student on the board. I would think that this can’t happen until the Charter is approved but I don’t know for sure

  4. Alison B. Says:

    At the request of District staff, several members of the Steering Committee, our legal representative, financial analyst and CCSA consultant, met on Wednesday, August 10th, to clarify specific points within the Charter document. With regard to the Governing Board, the District felt strongly that they wanted to see a Board in place prior to their vote. They felt the makeup of this initial Board would help District staff determine the Governing Board’s readiness to implement the Charter.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    @Alison B, who on “District staff” requested this ? Its the Board’s decision, not the decision of District Staff. When you say that the “District felt strongly” — who are you talking about ? I withhold my comments about when it is appropriate to have a “Board in place”. Thank you in advance for your clarification.

  6. Anon Says:

    The fact that the charter is essentially rushing to get a board in place in the mext couple of weeks is ludicrous!!! Mistakes are made in haste and I do not thnk this is a smart idea. Let us community be more a part of it. Lets learn more, let’s get it approved, lets get some committees going, and THEN the cream will rise to the top. Oh my god, to do this so quickly the frickin’ steering committee will be the board and that isn’t right. We need to diversify the talent pool. Its summer for gods sake, we are going to miss a lot of people who may be great. Do not let this board bully you!!

  7. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    I strongly encourage the Charter to call Gary’s bluff. Don’t let him bully you into hastily choosing a board. He would like nothing better than to see you fail and get to say “I told you so”.

  8. g Says:

    Actually, I believe Charter legal advisers suggest that it is a good idea to have your board elected prior to District determination. That way, if you have to appeal to the County, you have your chosen and elected talking heads in place to lead the way.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    It may be a divide and conquer strategy by Eberhart and Lawrence & Associates. Once they know the names, they can focus on them directly and “work them”. Disinformation can be put out about them and retaliation against current teachers. I don’t think they are being forthright with you. Personally, I would have a private discussion with a couple of friendly board members about “where this is coming from”. I am suspicious.

  10. g Says:

    On the other hand, allowing that the Charter application is in proper and generally otherwise acceptable form, for District Staff(or a Board representative) to even hint that whomever is chosen for the Charter Board might have an effect on whether the Charter gains approval is highly suspect from a legal standpoint.

  11. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    G @10,

    You mean illegality like when Gary threatened retribution on a small subset of schools in the district?

  12. Anon Says:

    I am thinking they just want to dig up more ammunition, we’ve already seen the character assassinations possible in this district. Whether or not the board likes the individuals or not should have no bearing… Any board will be elected by interested and impact parties and will/should follow the charter bylaws, etc. What the board thinks should be inconsequential. That’s like saying before we get divorced I want to know who your next wife will be first. I feel its putting the cart before the horse and non of the boards damn business!

  13. Doctor J Says:

    Or it may be a plan to have a shill proposed and elected — e.g. how can parents even vote since they haven’t made a choice of attending or not ?
    I agree — this is “teacher trigger” and if the requirements have been met, it should be approved, whether or not MDUSD Board members “like” the Charter Board or not. Besides, how can you even have proper notice, until you have an approved “charter” — once the charter is approved, the whole voting process can be handled appropriately. It sounds like Jonestown to me and the punch will be spiked.

  14. Alison B. Says:

    Deb Cooksey works for the District office as an Associate Legal Counsel and was the representative from that department in the meeting on Wednesday. Besides ourselves, the meeting only included District staff–there were no School Board members present nor have we spoken with them directly. This meeting was only to help clarify some staff questions so they could make a well-educated recommendation to the Board.

    As to the question of election timing, our lawyers had suggested that we put a Board in place prior to the public hearing. In fact, generally in this situation, the Initial Board could be appointed by the actual Incorporator—in this case, the lawyers. However, the Steering Committee felt strongly that even this first Board should be elected. One of the teachers who spoke at the public hearing specifically used her time to announce the election process and where to find the information and, in fact, we received at least two applications that evening—before our meeting with District staff. The deadline for application submission is the 25th which is a full 10 days after opening the process and the actual election won’t happen for a full week after that. We’ve announced the election in the electronic newsletters of both CV and Diablo View and I believe Pine Hollow will publish shortly. We’ve submitted information and website links to the local newspapers and blogs. We are sending emails to friends, neighbors and the community and asking people to forward the information on.

    As you can see, the Steering Committee is committed to staying as transparent as possible. We want and welcome community input. Additionally, we would prefer to give the District and School Board whatever information they need to help make a decision in our favor. Having a positive outcome on September 13th means that we can move forward with implementing the structure for our opening in 2012.

  15. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Hi Alison,

    What you say sounds great and if an ethical and honorable MDUSD board were in place it would be the way to go.

    But, please be careful, this board has different motives. They want to know who is on your board so they can put an end to what they see as a mutiny.

  16. g Says:

    Allison B: Thanks for the update. The honesty and transparency of your organization is very refreshing!

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Alison, your motives are wonderful but you must understand that neither Steve Lawrence or Gary Eberhart has EVER made a recommnedation to approve any Charter. I don’t want to offend you, but I think your group is being naive about the motives of “staff”. “Staff” is under orders to find reasons to recommend disapproval of the Charter. They need something to hang their hat on because otherwise your group has dotted all the “i” and crossed all the “t”. I am sure the meeting was just very chatty, but when their recommendation is made, I guarantee you that they will misquote your group. Like Board Watcher said, they are under orders to put down the “mutiny” which is why Lawrence brought in his trusted sidekick, Sue Brothers. I suspect she has been promised an Asst. Supt job, whether or not she is successful. There is a reason that her last two districts have called her and Steve by the combined name of “Steue”.

  18. Alison B. Says:

    Dr. J, et al–I’m confident that the Steering Committee is completely aware of what we’re up against and the historical background of all participants (thanks to many of you here!). However, everything we are doing now will also help in our appeal to the County if that becomes necessary.

    Keep the information coming . . .

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Alison, read today’s article if you need “another” reason for a charter school independent of MDUSD. MDUSD trying to give SIG schools “more instruction” while cutting instruction at all other schools. How do the parents at non-SIG schools feel about that devious plan ? “Contra Costa’s Mount Diablo Unified School District is working with its union to have seven furlough days this year. Even though the district is counting on that savings, those furlough days could jeopardize the district’s School Improvement Grants for three of its campuses, which are among the lowest-achieving in the state. The California Department of Education is withholding the funding from the district until it can show it will increase instructional time at those sites.
    Crunch time
    Mount Diablo district officials were in the midst of hasty negotiations last week, trying to figure out how they could give students at those schools more instruction, while planning to cut the school year for all other students. “

  20. Wait a Minute Says:

    Good luck Allison. Just be extremely careful in dealing with the highly unethical people who have run this district into the ground and only want to see you fail.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, the superintendent has released a news update about STAR test scores, inviting parents to help schools analyze the results and come up with plans for improvement:

  22. Doctor J Says:

    The subdued nature of Lawrence’s report is to prepare the public for bad news to come on the release of the API scores at the end of the month. The district buys a computer program that gives them the ‘rough” API scores, within a point or two. Lawrence is reading the tea leaves [he ought to teach Gary how to do it]. Last year [that was really Nichols year as Supt] the District API rose a modest 11 points. But now under Lawrence with his SASS reorganization, the API score will be flat ! No increase in the district or maybe one point. Now here is the irony. Two of the persistently low performing schools, Rio Vista and Meadow Homes will post increases of over 65 and 50 points ! [High fives for them!] Yet Lawrence fires the Meadow Homes principal Toby Montez !! Go figure ! So how does the district API remain flat with gains like that ? Almost across the board in the “other schools” their scores are flat or decreasing. That is bad news for the children, bad news for the parents, bad news for the District, bad news for the Board, and bad news for Lawrence’s “leadership”. But it is consistent with the Steue record in West Sacramento and Roseville. The Board bet on the wrong horse.


  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post that looks at overall growth from 2010-11 in the district and at the four campuses that received School Improvement Grants:

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a link to a Q&A about the charter conversion:

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