By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, August 27th, 2011 at 6:36 pm in Education.
Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Steven Lawrence has sent out the following message to families, welcoming them back to school on Tuesday:
“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
August 26, 2011
I would like to welcome all of our families back for the 2011-12 school year. I hope that you had an enjoyable summer and are ready for a new school year. Although times remain financially difficult for public schools across California, I assure you that the dedicated Mt. Diablo Unified School District professionals are working hard to serve your children. We look forward to an exciting and successful school year.
Start of School Reminders:
If you are driving your child to school please leave a little early during the first week of school. Many parents will be new to your school and are becoming familiar to the traffic patterns. So, it is always good to give yourself a little extra time as people learn the beginning of the school year traffic. Also, let your neighbors know that school is starting so they anticipate additional traffic and look for students walking to and from school.
A reminder to students in grades 7-12: you must have proof of your TdAP immunization. If you have not already turned it in, please bring it with you to school. All students in grades 7-12 must either submit their booster verification or have their parent/guardian complete and submit a waiver form by September 30th.
Clayton Valley Charter Update
Based on community questions, we have created a Q&A that can be accessed from the District’s home page under the District News heading. The link to the Q&A is http://www.mdusd.org/NewsRoom/Pages/default.aspx.
After reviewing the Q&A, if you have further questions, please e-mail the district at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board will be taking action on the Clayton Valley Charter High School proposal at the September 13th Board meeting.
Measure C Update:
As you know, we are using a portion of the Measure C Facilities Bond resources to invest in a district-wide solar project. This project truly began three years ago when district staff and the Board had the foresight to apply for $56 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) through the Federal Government. Through the CREBs program, the Federal Government pays for 70 percent of the interest rate on the bonds which will save our local community millions of dollars in interest payments. This community investment is expected to save the district more than $220 million over the next 30 years. In the first five years of the solar project, we will not only save three million dollars annually on our PG&E bills, but we will also receive approximately three million dollars annually in rebates from the California Solar Initiative. During this ongoing state financial crisis, this additional $6 million per year will help us minimize the need to further reduce staff and educational programs. Without these funds, the board would have had to identify millions in additional reductions from the June budget. These reductions would have been equivalent to eliminating 80 teaching positions which would significantly increase class size or necessitate closing an additional eight to 10 schools.
Significant progress was made over the summer installing solar at many district schools. When completed, our solar project will be the largest K-12 project in the nation and will generate more than 12 megawatts of energy annually. We appreciate your support and patience while we complete the solar projects. For some schools, there will be short term traffic issues… Please remember the long-term positive impact the solar initiative will have on your children’s educational opportunities.
If you have specific questions about the solar project or other facilities projects being funded with Measure C, please visit our Measure C website at http://mdusdmeasurec.org/ or contact your school’s principal.
Again, welcome back and I hope that everyone has a great start to the school year. We look forward to seeing all of our students on the first day of school, next Tuesday, August 30.
Steven Lawrence, Ph.D.
Mt. Diablo USD”
[END OF MESSAGE]
I heard from Northgate parent Teresa Torbett that Walnut Creek police were ticketing cars parked in special permit areas off Hutchinson Road near the school’s athletic fields, despite the fact that parking is no longer available in the Eagle Peak school parking lot due to the solar project.
Although parking is available off Castle Rock Road in the school’s north parking lot, no signs were posted on Hutchinson Road to let people know this, she said.
She spoke to the Walnut Creek Police Chief, asking for leniency until the school parking lots are usable, and was initially told no exceptions would be made. However, she was later told by the city’s Arts, Recreation and Parks Department that officials would see what could be done to provide parking for families such as those in the Walnut Creek Soccer Club, who use the fields.
During the Aug. 23 board meeting, Measure C administrator Tim Cody presented a Powerpoint about the project and said his team plans to hold community meetings with schools slated for solar panels during the second interval of construction.
Do you think the district should work with cities to ensure alternate parking is available for families that need to access schools during solar construction?