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Mt. Diablo district answers questions about proposed CVHS charter school

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, August 27th, 2011 at 7:57 pm in Clayton, Concord, Education.

At Mt. Diablo school board President Gary Eberhart’s request, the superintendent has posted a list of Questions and Answers regarding the proposed Clayton Valley HS charter conversion on its website. I am posting it below, in case blog readers would like to comment on it.

“Clayton Valley Charter Update
Charter Petition Process

1. What should I do if I signed the petition saying I am “meaningfully interested in teaching at the charter” but have changed my mind?

A. If you are no longer are interested in teaching at the charter, please e-mail or call Julie Braun Martin in the Personnel Department at braunmartinj@mdusd.org or 682-8000 ext. 4136 by September 5, 2011. The district is required to verify that at least 50 percent of the current permanent teachers are meaningfully interested in teaching at the charter, or the petition cannot be considered for review. Regulations exclude probationary teachers from the decision.

2. I was surprised that so many teachers were willing to sign the document. Did they have a chance to thoroughly review the charter petition before they signed it, and did they understand the implications to their employment rights?

A. We do not know whether teachers read the petition before signing, or whether the changes to their employment rights were fully explained to them.

3. When will the public know whether the teachers who signed the petition saying they were ‘meaningfully interested in teaching at the charter’ really plan to teach there? I’m worried that some of the teachers at my school will lose their jobs because of this.

A. If the charter is approved, the district staff will recommend to the board that teachers be required to resign from the district if they work at the charter school. If the charter is approved, we will request that teachers who plan to work there voluntarily submit a resignation to the District by February 1, 2012, effective June 30, 2012. The February time frame allows the charter school to have ample time to recruit teachers. The Feb., 2012 deadline also allows the District time to absorb senior tenured teachers from Clayton Valley High School who will bump into other schools, displacing more junior teachers. Once an employee submits a resignation and the board votes on it, the resignation is irrevocable.

Charter School Board

4. Who will be on the board of the charter, what experience do they have in running a school and do they have a background or significant experience with school finance?

A. The charter petition does not identify the members of its board. We understand that the charter proposers are in the process of identifying Board members. The petition indicates that the board will be composed of 2 teachers, 2 parents, 1 classified staff member, 2 members at-large, 1 retired teacher and 1 administrator. At-large members cannot be current employees of the charter.

Personnel

5. If a current CVHS teacher chooses to work for the charter, do they retain district seniority and tenure?

A. No. Teachers at charter schools are at-will employees of the charter school and are not District employees. If the charter is approved, the district staff will recommend to the board that teachers who choose to work at the charter be required to resign from the District. Those teachers will lose their District tenure and seniority rights. The charter could grant seniority status and tenure, but those rights would only apply at the charter, and teachers would not have rights to employment in MDUSD.

6. Can teachers who want to work at the charter school take a leave from the District for one year or for any period of time?

A. The district, in its sole discretion, can permit or refuse to allow employees to take a leave to work at a charter school. Staff recommends against this. It is too difficult to plan, and unfair to the district teachers who remain, to hold positions within the district for teachers on leave who chose to work elsewhere. Teachers should be required to resign from the district to teach at the charter school and if they decide to reapply to the district, then they will need to go through the hiring process.

7. What happens at a charter school if a teacher needs an extended leave of absence because of a medical condition? Does the charter school have to pay the teacher who is out plus the sub? Where does that money come from?

A. The charter school board would decide whether to grant leaves of absence and whether or not those leaves are paid. It is unclear how substitute costs related to paid leaves would be funded as the current budget information received from the petitioners does not include a line for substitute teacher expense.

8. Will teachers at the charter have the right to transfer back into the District?

A. No. The district, in its sole discretion, can permit or refuse to allow employees to transfer back to the district from the charter for a limited period of time. Again, if the charter is approved, the staff will recommend against allowing such transfers. In considering transfers, the district must consider the equity of allowing teachers who leave to work elsewhere to return and thereby displace other district employees. If we were to permit transfers back, it would be unfair to our employees at other schools who could lose their jobs to make room for transfers from the charter.

9. Do the Ed Code rules for teacher termination apply to teachers at the charter school?

A. No. While the district must strictly adhere to the due process dismissal rules as set forth in the Education Code, charter schools do not have to abide by those rules. Charter school teachers are at-will employees who can be terminated at any time without cause unless the charter board decides to give them protection from at-will dismissal.

10. Will the teachers and classified staff at the charter be covered by the district’s current bargaining agreements?

A. The charter petition says employees of the charter will be covered by the collective bargaining agreements in place at the time of conversion until it negotiates different agreements. However, those agreements would be between the employees and the charter, not the District. The charter board would need to adopt the contracts as written for this to occur. The charter board could modify any district agreements, or they could write new ones from scratch. Again, contract negotiations would be between the charter school and the charter employees union.

11. The charter school plans to open in September 2012 and district teachers are not required to give notice until June 2012 of their intention to return to the District. How will the District plan to absorb those teachers who decide not to work at the charter school?

A. If the charter is approved, the District will ask CVHS teachers who plan to work at the charter to submit a resignation form by Feb. 1, 2012 to be effective at the end of the 2011/12 school year. If the district is unsuccessful in getting resignation forms, it will have to do precautionary layoffs by March 15, 2012 in order to reduce or eliminate the number of FTE equal to the number of teachers who are eligible to teach at the charter. This will impact staffing at most, if not all, secondary schools.

Funding

12. The charter school will be funded at a higher rate than CVHS currently is funded. Will the district cover the shortfall by taking funding away from other schools?

A. Yes. The charter will be funded at the charter high school rate, which is higher than the unified funding rate the district currently receives. The board will have to determine how to cover the shortfall. The difference is about $800 per student at the charter school. There are currently about 1900 students at the school, so the district would lose about $1.52 million dollars each year the charter was in operation.

13. Would CVCHS be willing to forgo the high school funding rate and to be funded at the lower unified rate so as not to create a financial drain on the remaining schools in the district?

A. The budget projections that the charter submitted were based on the higher funding rate. They can negotiate a lower rate with the district, but at this point, they have not indicated they are interested in a lower funding rate to minimize impact to the rest of the district.

14. Is the proposed budget realistic? Can the charter proposers do what they say they want to do with the amount of revenue they project?

A. The charter proposal includes little detail about programs and costs. The ExEd firm that developed the budget for the proposers, and who the petition says will be their business services provider, said in a meeting that they used typical charter budget figures which assume most teachers will be lower on the salary scale. If the charter hires mostly teachers on the low end of the salary schedule, those predictions could be realistic. If they hire experienced teachers, costs would rise significantly. The charter proposers have also indicated that they do not plan to use union custodial or landscape maintenance services, but instead will contract out those services. Charter schools are not required to use the district’s services, and can achieve cost savings by hiring low wage employees.

15. I notice also that the budget that is proposed contemplates a $2 Million loan, presumably for startup expenses. If the sponsors cannot meet projected enrollment or revenues do not match predictions, and the school is forced to discontinue operations, who then pays back the loan? Does this obligation fall back on the District? Have the sponsors said anything about where they will get this loan?

A. The charter will be an independent corporation. The district will not be liable for debts of the charter as long as the district meets its obligation of fiscal oversight. If the charter is approved, the District will follow the oversight obligations to minimize its legal exposure for debts and other obligations of the charter. However, the district will have to adjust its budget, if necessary, for any costs associated with reabsorbing the students back into the District, including the expense of hiring staff and teachers if the charter school is unsuccessful. The charter application does not specify the source of the charter will acquire the $2 million loan.

16. What is the district’s response to comments by the sponsors that the district’s assessment of the financial impact of the conversion is overblown, because it does not take into account the savings that would be realized from expenses relating to the operation of the high school that would be taken off the district’s books?

A. The district will not realize significant savings if it no longer operates Clayton Valley High School. This fact is due to all of the budget reductions that have been made to district office staff prior to now. In fact, we are not aware of a single district level position that could be reduced as a result of Clayton Valley High opening as a charter school.

Instructional Program

17. How long will the charter school day and year be?

A. The information in the charter petition is vague. Bell schedules and calendars were not included, but there is a statement that the school year could be longer.

18. Would my child have to attend school in the summer at the charter school? We usually take a long vacation in the summer, and the petition says the summer induction is mandatory. How long is the induction, when is it, and what happens if we are on vacation during that time?

A. There are no specifics about the mandatory summer induction in the proposal.

19. Will the charter require all students to wear uniforms?

A. There is mention of uniforms in the charter petition, but no clear information.

20. What are the courses of study being offered at the charter school?

A. The petition says ‘a full catalog of courses’ but there are no other details included.

21. What kind of grading system will be used at the charter?

A. There is no description of a grading system.

22. What will be the graduation requirement at the charter?

A. The petition indicates the ‘goal’ is 230 credits, but does not contain a clear timeline to achieve this goal.

23. When will the curriculum plan for the charter school be developed?

A. The petition did not provide a timeline.

24. When will the charter assessment plan be developed?

A. The petition did not provide timeline for developing the assessment plan.

25. How will teaching effectiveness and student learning be monitored to ensure that instruction is rigorous and students are engaged and learning at the charter?

A. The petition did not provide a description or details on how it will ensure rigorous instruction and engagement.

26. What specific strategies will be used to address the diverse learning needs of students at all ability and achievement levels, as well as of all racial, socio-economic, and linguistic backgrounds?

A. The petition does not provide a description or details about this.

27. How will instruction be individualized for students who are more advanced or behind their grade level peers? What will be the curriculum or teaching methodology for these students?

A. No details are provided in the petition.

28. What is the school calendar and how is the school day scheduled?

A. Several options were discussed in the petition but no definite selection was made.

29. Will there be a summer program for students wanting enrichment or remediation? What about students who need to make up credits?

A. A summer program is referenced in the petition for year 2 but there are no details about which students will be eligible or allowed to attend, or what the budget for this program would be.

30. How much English Language development will students who are English learners get? How will this instruction be provided? How will English learners be supported in core instruction?

A. The petition does not contain details relative to how much ELD English learners will receive, how that instruction will be provided or how English learners will be supported in the core instruction.

Special Education

31. Historically, charter schools have not served large numbers of students with special needs. How will the charter school ensure it has personnel and resources in place to assess and support students with special needs so they have access to the charter experience?

A. The charter school must enroll all students whether or not they are in special education. The district would initially need to ensure that the charter school has an appropriate plan for special education students.

Suspension/Expulsion

32. What is the suspension and expulsion appeal processes? (a) Where will students be placed pending their expulsion hearing? (b) Where will students be placed if they are in fact expelled from the school?

A. There is no appeal process if students are suspended or expelled from the charter school. The petition does not address where the students will be placed pending expulsion hearings or when they are expelled from the charter school. However, if students are expelled from the charter school, parents will most likely seek to enroll their students back in a district school.

Student Services

33. Will students have the services of a school nurse? (a) What will be the role of the school nurse? (b) What will the services be for those students who have medical issues that prevent them from attending school?

A. The charter intends to be a ‘school of the District’ for special education purposes. Therefore, students whose IEPs require nursing services will have those services provided by the District. The charter school organizers have not indicated whether general education students, including those with Section 504 plans that require nursing services, will be provided with them.

Facilities

33. If all CVHS students don’t attend the charter, will the district be operating CVHS at the same site?

A. For purposes of determining whether to grant the petition, the law requires that the district assume that all or the vast majority of current CVHS students will attend the charter and therefore, that the charter will use the entire facility.

35. I notice the budget does not have any line item for reimbursing the district for the use of the campus through rent or any other mechanism. Is this what is required by the Education Code when there is a direct conversion? It seems any other operator would need to pay for a facility.

A: There are California statutes that address the facility charges that a school district charges a charter school for the use of a district school. Beginning with its first year of operation as an independent conversion charter, the charter will have to pay a charge for the use of the district facility. The applicable rate is determined in statute.”
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[END OF MESSAGE]

This message doesn’t state who submitted the questions. Some of them could have been answered by reading the petition, which is available at https://sites.google.com/site/claytonvalleycharterhighschool.

It’s surprising that the district didn’t specifically answer the question about whether the district would save money by not having to operate the charter. Instead, it said the savings would not be “significant.” It also stated that no district office positions could be eliminated as a result of the conversion.

As I have previously pointed out, the School Closure Committee was given estimates for how much the district would save if it discontinued operating each campus in the district. The amount for Clayton Valley HS was listed as nearly $1.7 million — including several site administrators, office workers, campus supervisors and custodians — as well as utility savings. No district office staff were eliminated as a result of closing Glenbrook or Holbrook either, yet the district still saved money by discontinuing operations of those campuses.

The Q&A also doesn’t specify how much money the district would receive from Clayton Valley in rental income. These revenues would partially offset the loss of ADA revenues.

Also, the district knows how much each teacher at CVHS earns. It could provide the public with information about whether those who signed the petition are at the high or low pay range.

Finally, the Q&A doesn’t reveal whether district staff plans to recommend that trustees approve or deny the charter.

Although I normally pose only one question at the end of blog posts, this Q&A raises a few I would like to throw out:

1. In light of this new information, do you believe trustees should approve the charter?

2. If trustees approve the charter, do you believe they should require charter teachers to resign from the district? (Or, do you think they should allow a one-year leave of absence?)

3. Do you think the district should tell the public how much it spends to operate CVHS and how much it could charge in rent, so the public would know both the costs as well as the possible revenue loss associated with the possible conversion? (In essence, should the district reveal how much it would save or lose, when the cost of operations and possible revenues from rent are taken into consideration?)

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Q&A 32 and 33 tick me off no end. So the charter can suspend or expel anyone they want – and they can use whatever criteria they want, I’d wager – and those kids get to come back to the District? And the charter gets to use District nurses?

    Nope. You want a charter, you get to do it ALL yourself. Keep your misbehaving students and take the health care costs of the others into your own budget. You want autonomy, fine. All or nothing. Either you’re independent or you’re not. No half measures.

  • g

    So Gary requested a long stick to play with in the outhouse and Steve complied. But how many brigands did they call into the back room to help concoct the list of only Negatively construed questions?

  • Anon

    Flippin Tired,

    Your comment is right on point.

    Why should the district allow teachers to take a one year leave of absence? So teachers try a one year period at the charter and then decide that it’s not for them. They get to come back to the district and a teacher that stayed at the district gets fired to make room for the teacher returning from leave. Hey, if you want to teach at the charter, that’s cool, but the door is closing behind you. Be sure you choose wisely.

    I’m glad the district is trying to communicate what’s going on. Leave it to the times to criticize the district when they are trying to get news out. I have more questions, but great start.

    Should they approve it? I don’t care. If they don’t everyone in Clayton will be pissed. If they do, everyone else will be pissed. It’s a no win situation.

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    @ Flippin Tired (Paul),

    Hadn’t seen you on here in a while Paul. Still your old self I see.

    To all:

    We had always expected Gary and Co. to throw a fit at their loss of power over CVHS. This is just the start of what will be a lot of mud thrown by the district. It should be expected, Gary’s ego is too large to think that he would behave as a professional.

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    One more thought, does the wording in this document sound like Sue Brothers at all?

  • Just a Parent

    The Q&A essentially shows how little the CVHS Charter has revealed, both to prospective teachers and to parents about how they plan to operate.

    And before any of you think this is some district mouthpiece and try to position this as propaganda and mudslinging, it’s not. I am just a parent who sees this move as a poorly planned knee-jerk reaction to ineffective community efforts that ride on the coat tails of a tea party ‘the government is bad!’ mentality.

    You want change? Repeal Prop 8. But that would require some actual effort and maybe even some sacrifice eh? Didn’t you have to get a loan just to get the money to create the charter? I get it, it’s okay for you to take money from others to help your school, just as long as it isn’t YOUR money.

    What happens if the Charter founders? If API scores don’t skyrocket? If the autonomy turns into a clique that splits the community?

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    No surprise here, really. Of course they will retaliate against their teachers and students if the charter proceeds. MDUSD has fought every charter proposal that has ever come up, with every legal and not-so-legal tool at their disposal. Even if they can’t stop the right thing from happening eventually, they can slow it down, screw it up, and maybe, just maybe, wear everyone down enough to protect their positions for a few more years. It is a sad and cynical business.

    Thomas Peele’s column in the Contra Costa Times about MDUSD’s ongoing hassling of Alicia Minyen on the Bond Oversight Committee ought to convenice anyone who still holds any doubts, that this district will do anything, to anyone, to protect its perogative to run their school monopoly the way they see fit:
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/columns/ci_18765031

    No shame. Absolutely no shame.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anon: The Times is not criticizing the district for getting information out.
    This is a good start, but it doesn’t answer the critical question of how much the district spends to operate CVHS.
    The Q&A states: “The district will not realize significant savings if it no longer operates Clayton Valley High School.”
    This seems to indicate that it may realize a small savings. The district doesn’t explain what it means by “significant.”
    The public deserves to know whether the district’s initial claim that it would lose $1.6 million is true or not. So far, the district has only discusssed the revenues it would lose, without discussing its loss of financial obligations.
    This Q&A also suggests the charter organizers could request a smaller per student allocation, based on the unified amount instead of the high school amount. Does anyone believe this is a viable option?

  • CV Parent

    Just a Parent # 6–If you’ve ever worked on an organizational Board, operated within the structure of bylaws or actually read the CV Charter document you might understand that the language in these types of documents is purposefully broad to allow for ongoing research, flexibility and change. If renewals of these charters are either 3 or 5 years away (depending on chartering agency, there would otherwise be little room to change if needed to to implement newer teaching methods.

    Additionally, mandating detail at this level is the job of the Governing Board that is being elected now. The recommendations for different areas of concern (curriculum, operations, personnel, etc.) will come from Standing Committees that are open to all as well as bargaining agreements still to be determined. Much of this CANNOT happen until the Charter is approved.

  • Doctor J

    Listen carefully and you can hear the sounds of rats jumping off of the MDUSD ship before it sinks — lets see if the captain has the guts to go down with the ship.

  • Doctor J

    This is the most vindictive, venemous, scare tactic I have ever seen in writing in MDUSD — did the Board authorize this or just Gary ? I would love to hear each OTHER board member stand up and disassociate themselves from these purported district policies. Otherwise, I guess we can conclude that at least 3 of them consented to it, again without a public meeting, which would be another example of a Brown Act violation — Gary alone cannot set Board policy and if Lawrence is just his puppet, then so be it. I would think that this would just cement all the teachers together rather than pull them apart. Who wrote it ? It certainly doesn’t match the writing style of either Lawrence or Eberhart or Julie Braun Martin — oh, I guess that leaves Sue Brothers as the main suspect. Here we are before school starts and its already STEUE. Is there any doubt that the district’s request for an informational meeting with the Charter organizers was anything but a ruse to divide and conquer the staff.

  • David “Shoe” Shuey Mayor of Clayton

    I am extremely disappointed in the District’s lastest “Q&A” which appears to be nothing more than a divide and conquer scare tactic aimed at the teachers at CV. What purpose does this serve in the District’s decision to approve or deny the petition? I, like others, wonder and hope that this is not the act of the full Board as we still hope that we will get good faith evaluation of the petition and hoped for approval on September 13, 2011. However, we deal with the hand we are dealt and as I write this the steering committee, as well as other dedicated parents, teachers and staff has been meeting to prepare a response.

    Importantly, let me make clear that the steering committee provided the District with a lengthy response to their questions that arose out of a face to fact meeting held with the District on August 10, 2011. It would appear the District chose not to include these responses in their “Q&A”, which results in a very slanted and misleading “Q&A” document. I will work with Theresa and see if we can post the response that was given to the District so that all can see with transparency as is right.

    Let me stress again that the steering committee has and will continue to answer any and all questions posed to it by the District or any other person.

    Finally, despite what seems to be a program designed to justify denial of this petition, we remain optimistic that a majority of the Board will see the clear community and school desire to move forward with this charter school and choose to work with us rather than against us.

    As always, if you want to send me any questions or comments you can at shuey@rankinlaw.com.

  • wait a minute

    Yes Shuey, Dr. J and friends.

    Unethical and desperate people will stop at nothing when their grasp on power is slipping away. Just look at Khadafi, Assad and all the others pushing back against basic democracy in the Mideast right now.

    And yes, Sue Brothers is definitely one of the authors of their slanted propaganda hit-piece masquerading as “info”!

    My contacts in West Sac say it has Sue Brothers written all over it. In fact both her and Stevie Lawrence denied in similar and exquisite detail an outside charter (later approved by the state BOE) in West Sac using similar “the sky is falling” verbage.

    By the way, some of their statements are patently untrue (big surprise there) and all are completely slanted to sow doubt in the ranks of the teachers in a hope to divide and conquer. Exactly what Lawrence and Brothers practiced in West Sac. They cultivated informants at all the job sites to snitch on what people were saying about them and in their union meetings. Kind of like the gangsters running and ruining the Union in the famous movie On the Waterfront.

    So now that both Stevie Lawrence and Greg Rolen have had blistering editorials against them in the CC Times (hopefully one on Eberhart is next) for their utter lack of professional decency and ethics I think the time is right to move them out of public service since they do not even meet the basic standards of the idea of public service.

    I strongly recommend that everyone who cares about children in the MDUSD write a short complaint about the numerous Act violations and the many financial shenanigans regarding the Bonds and the SIG grants. Wouldn’t hurt to include copies of the CC Times editorials I mentioned and Theresa’s fine stories about these many issues.

    CC copies of your complaint to the CC Grand Jury, the county and Federal DA’s offices, the State Attorney General and Representative George Miller asking for outside state and federal investigations/audits of the MDUSD.

    In fact, “Dr.” Lawrence knowingly committed fraud when he initally signed assurances on the original SIG Grant applications stating that negotiations had begun with the MDEA to increase instructional time for the 4 SIG schools when he damn well knew that didn’t happen. Multiple felonies were committed right there alone!

    I think also a complaint to the state bar on Rolen is absolutely warranted based on his actions trying to quash Alice Minyens peeling back of the onion that will find Rolen steering money towards his unethical lawyer pals doing the bond work.

    In other words, stand fast people and don’t just play defense against these corrupt people, go on the offense. The sooner they are out of their positions of power the sooner the MDUSD can recover its reputation and the children can come first again.

  • wait a minute

    Sorry, forgot to put Brown in front of Act so the complaints should be on the Brown Act violations and whatever else you notice them breaking.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Clayton Mayor David Shuey has provided me with the committee’s meeting notes and answers to questions raised by the district regarding the charter. I will post them in a separate blog shortly.

  • Linda L

    This is a mockery of the definition of transparency. Bullying and scare tactics… this District leadership already threatened the feeder pattern schools, why not the teachers.
    It simply looks like a pathetic and desperate move.

    Why not a discussion about how this might actually be good for the students or how this might inspire change within the district.

    Here is a novel thought… what if MDUSD were to tell parents about why they think they can provide these kids a better education than this charter? What new innovative programs does MDUSD have planned for CVHS? How is MDUSD going to handle the issues that they have known to be plaguing CVHS, but have done nothing about?

    Silence…

    That is why this charter should be approved.

  • Just J

    I agree with Dr. J. (and Theresa) If you read the Charter many if not all questions are answered.

    I had high hopes that the District would actually work with the Charter. Not sure why I was thinking that way. They have never tried to work with anyone when it comes to the children. I am also very disapointed that they thought they could word the questions the way they did and think the community and teachers would not see what they are doing. I would really like to see a copy of the e-mails and or names of the people who actually asked those questions.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Just J: The notes from the meeting provided by David Shuey show who asked the questions and how they were answered.
    I am in the process of formatting them for my blog.

  • David “Shoe” Shuey Mayor of Clayton

    Theresa,

    Thanks for doing that I am running out for another commitment but am hoping this will show people how the charter steering committee has been open and honest throughout the process.

    Shoe

  • Theresa Harrington

    The public can judge for itself when it sees the contrast between the district’s version and the committee’s version.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just posted the committee’s meeting notes and answers to questions posed by district officials: http://bit.ly/n2wjO5.

  • anon

    It really doesn’t matter who wrote the Q & A because it went out under Lawrence’s name. He’s the one who must take the blame for such an incredible display of ignorance, deceit, and unprofessionalism. What a profound lack of integrity and leadership.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a story about a superintendent who put the needs of his district ahead of his own by asking to be paid at a lower rate than entry level teachers, in part to help restore trust in public officials: http://m.sacbee.com/sacramento/db_98822/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=EIkjDuBx&full=true#display

  • g

    Out of respect for Reverend Powell in the story linked above, I will delete my own expletives!

    The hatchet team, each and together, like to write virtually everything in a vague, broad and too often misleading manner, which they believe will allow them, when necessary, to more easily back-peddle later. History also shows that they frequently don’t read the fine print before they agree or sign legal documents.

    As of 4/12/11 the Board approved the following agreement with MDEA members:

    19.1.2. the following leaves of absence without pay are provided:

    19.1.2.1. Improvement of Health
    19.1.2.2. Educational Improvement
    19.1.2.3. Opportunity (This one is good for
    a semester or a year and is “on request”)
    19.1.2.4. Maternity
    19.1.2.5. Parental
    19.1.2.6. Political
    19.1.2.7. Religious Ovservation
    19.1.2.8. General (that’s cool)
    19.1.2.9. Pre-Retirement (I love this one–50/20-10/5)

    ——

    Note that it does NOT say “may be provided” it says “are provided”. It does not say anything about disallowing leaves of absence because it will make too much work for the District, or just because they are mad at you, or want to punish you for disagreeing with their likes and dislikes.

    Until MDEA members actually resign, (and why would they?) it seems to me that they are entitled to require the District to live up to the Contract.

  • CV Parent

    some could argue that working for a Charter constitutes Educational Improvement…

  • g

    I do not understand how the District can say it is their “policy” that a teacher on Leave may not work as a teacher somewhere else!!

    The District set a precedent when it signed a contract that would allow District teachers to take an “Opportunity” leave to work at Eagle Peak. The Agreement (Article 13–
    2005/2010)

    http://www.eaglepeakmontessori.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/epmscharter2005_20101.pdf

    I surely do hope every single teacher signing on at CVCHS sees this and stands up for their rights! Would Eber-rence really rather pay court costs than allow the leaves?

  • CV Parent

    G–You ROCK! I love precedent…

  • Long-time Board Watcher

    Theresa, re: Comment 23
    Kudos to Superintendent Larry Powell for proposing a way to save the Fresno County Office of Education $800,000 in discretionary funding over three years. Under his plan, he will technically retire from his position and then be hired back under a post-retirement contract of $31,000 a year. As stated in the article, “Powell will still earn a six-figure retirement. . .”

    Yes, Powell is to be admired for giving up three years of six-figure earnings, but he is able to do so because 1) he’s eligible to retire and 2) he has a large enough retirement to meet his personal needs while working on a post-retirement contract.

    Not every school district or county office of education has a superintendent with enough years of service to retire and then come back on a small contract. Most, in fact, want superintendents who are relatively young and energetic and not in their final years of service. Also, based on comments on this blog, many people are averse to retirees, no matter how skilled, who continue to work for their former employers under post-retirement contracts.

    So while Powell’s story is admirable, it cannot be seen as a model for providing low-cost, qualified leadership in more than a handful of situations.

  • Doctor J

    @LTBW, lets be clear about a few things: Powell will only work part time as a retired annuitant; Powell’s total income will only be as much or less than he previously made — very laudable — and some cities have done the same thing with their city managers and public safety chiefs. The objections on this blog to the use of retired annuitants in the Measure C projects is that their total income of retirement and “new” employment exceeds their last year’s salaries and thus they gave themselves “raises”. Also there have been objections because they are not qualified construction project managers because they are not licenced contractors, and because the bond said there would be no administrator salaries and indeed they were and are administrators. Plus there is the whole lack of transparency issues and discrepency in the oversight committees.

  • Sue Berg

    G, re: Comment 26
    The Charter Agreement you cite ran through 2010. The term of the MDUSD-MDEA contract cited in Article 13 was 2001-04. Have either or both been updated and approved?

    If they have and the agreement/contract still include the text, “Permanent teachers of the MDUSD hired to teach at Eagle Peak. . .,” would it really apply to the CHVS charter? I’m not sure the comparison with Eagle Peak can be used. In creating EPMS a group of parents and teachers proposed a small, separate education program based on the Montessori method, not the conversion of an entire school.

    Contrary to Jim (comment #7), the district has not “fought every charter proposal that has ever come up.” The district leadership supported the EPMS charter petition in 2000 and worked collaboratively with the EPMS Board and Executive Director. The initial and subsequent agreements reflect that collaboration. Since EPMS was created the district received only one other charter petition, which it and the county both rejected as incomplete, before this leadership received the Flex Academy petition a year or so ago. That’s three petitions in 12 years; one approved, one rejected; one pending.

    The District’s Q&A may seem heavy-handed, but it does provide information essential to teachers considering a move to the CVHS charter, especially if the move means they would no longer be employees of the MDUSD. And if one of the purposes of the charter is to be independent of MDUSD, how can its staff continue to be employed by the district?

    As a former district employee, I am following the CVHS charter issue because I worked with some wonderful CVHS parents and administrators and heard students and teachers report on their school’s achievements over the years. I can see the pros and cons of CVHS becoming a charter and can only hope that both sides of the issue can be addressed rationally, without rancor, and with the well-being of the students as everyone’s highest priority.

  • Sue Berg

    Correction, with apologies:

    That’s FOUR petitions in 12 years; one approved, TWO rejected, one of which was subsequently approved by the county; one pending.