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Clayton Valley charter supporters want to speed up final approval process

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 11:01 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

At a rally this evening at Clayton Valley High School, charter supporters said they want the Mt. Diablo school district to make a final decision about their conversion petition next month, instead of in February.

I videotaped portions of the meeting, before using up all my storage space.

The meeting started with a video of Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, expressing concerns that the school board may seek to derail the charter effort:

Then, attorney Paul Minney outlined concerns the committee has with the petition and teachers Neil McChesney and Pat Middendorf answered questions:

McChensey said he wants the board to make a final decision by Oct. 25. Middendorf said the committee wants to submit all its paperwork to the district by Oct. 12, so she encouraged community members to volunteer to join committees to complete as much work as possible toward meeting the district’s conditions of approval.

After the rally, McChesney told me that he and other supporters met with Deb Cooksey, Rose Lock and Julie Braun-Martin today and “some progress was made.”

Board President Gary Eberhart, who attended the rally and information meeting at Clayton Valley High, said afterward that he couldn’t comment on the idea of modifying the conditions. He also said he couldn’t comment on the idea of accelerating the approval process.

However, he said he was impressed by the energy level of the crowd.

Do you think the board should agree to make a final decision on the charter next month instead of in February?

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28 Responses to “Clayton Valley charter supporters want to speed up final approval process”

  1. anon Says:

    Interesting, in the span of a week Gary has switched from doing everything in his power to shut down the charter, to running for reelection.

    One thing you can say about Gary, he is the consummate politician. Voters should remember that he and Sherry consider getting reelected to be job number one. Your children are way, way down their priority list.

  2. Anon Says:


    Were there other mdusd school board members at the meeting? I was unable to attend, but I’m glad that Mr. Eberhart was there. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but maybe I was wrong about him. I’ll withhold judgement until the charter school is given final approval.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Eberhart disagreed with the charter supporters’ contention that the conditions of approval represent a “de-facto denial.”
    “We approved it,” he said.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t believe that any other board members were there. Eberhart was the only one who was introduced.
    Clayton City Councilman Joe Medrano was also introduced, along with Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmesiter, who was wearing a CVCHS shirt. When Pat Middendorf suggested that people in the audience write letters of support to local officials, Hoffmeister said: “You don’t have to write to me, because I’m already on board.”

  5. Humor Me Says:

    Awaiting the next Dr. J rant in 3..2..1…

  6. Anon Says:

    Thanks Theresa. It would seem to me that the entire board would feel compelled to attend such an important meeting, a meeting where they could receive valuable public input. Kudos to Mr. Eberhart for his attendance. Hopefully he left their enlightened and better able to make decisions that will positively impact CVHS. I hope this brings us closer to independence at CVHS, or should I say, CVCHS.

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I did get the impression that charter supporters were pleased that Eberhart attended.
    As soon as I arrived, one person immediately came up to me and said excitedly: “Gary Eberhart is here!”
    He remained after the meeting for quite a while, talking to people.

  8. Wait a minute Says:

    I wonder if Gary is starting to get nervous, especially when he sees someone as important as the Mayors of Concord/Clayton Valley and Rep Gary Miller lining up for the charter.

    Like I said earlier, all its going to take is a simple phone call from Rep George Miller to the Federal Prosecutor and there might very well be a Federal investigation of the MDUSD for taking SIG and Solar monies from the Feds under false pretenses???

    Of course Gary shouldn’t be the only MDUSD Regime figure getting nervous as investigations often get other persons implicated!

  9. Wait a minute Says:

    Oh and by the way Humor Me and the rest of the MDUSD Regime Minions, awaiting the Federal investigation of the MDUSD, LOL.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    I have said all along that Gary Eberhart can be the hero here and “win-win”. So far he has just played villan — hiss, hiss. I have hope based on last nights meeting that he has now realized that the Tsunami of the charter group will not be defeated — but it could defeat him. Just compare the enthusiasm between Sue Brother’s meeting and last night’s meeting. People know the Sue Brothers is “short” in her stay at CVHS no matter what and she is just grandstanding at the direction of STEUE. If Gary will allow the conditions of approval to be reasonable, he can garner good will from the Clayton/Condord community, and then if the charter fails, he says “I told you so, but you didn’t listen to me.” If the charter succeeds, he takes the credit for allowing it to happen. But right now, the WHOLE community led by Rep. Geo. Miller, Mayors Shuey and Hoffmeister, are exposing Gary’s “misinformation campaign” that he “approved it”. Everyone knows it is a “de facto denial”. In a funny kind of way, it was nice to see Gary “sitting in the crowd”. I mused to myself: get used to it Gary. Gary has the opportunity to save his own political skin — more importantly he has the opportunity to put the children first. Lets see if Gary will put the children first. If he does, he will save his political skin. If he doesn’t, the election results will smack him in the face. Meanwhile, next time you are in line with Gary at the Safeway, give him an earful !

  11. anon Says:

    Gary shops at Safeway?

    Given some of his comments over the years and the way he carries himself as the mob-like godfather of the MDUSD, I figured he had staff that did his shopping for him.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    no, I have conversesd wih Gaary at Safeway.

  13. A former CV Mom Says:

    So does mean the charter petitioners have come around to the position that the conditions imposed by MDUSD are acceptable? Are they saying they will be able to prove they’ve met them by next month?

    Or are they simply planning on telling MDUSD next month that they aren’t going to meet the conditions and asking for a straight out denial so they can appeal to the County BOE?

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The charter petitioners do not believe the conditions imposed by the district are acceptable. However, it appears that they realize they can’t appeal to the county unless the petition is denied.
    They appeared to be saying they would try to meet as many conditions as possible by next month, while also hoping to persuade the district to relax some of the conditions.
    They appeared to be worried that the district could end up denying the petition in February, which might not give them enough time to appeal to the county and the state and open in the fall.
    Therefore, they said they want the district to make a final decision in October. They said they are also preparing their appeal, in case the district board denies the petition.
    But so far, the board hasn’t agreed to fast-track the approval process.

  15. Curious Says:

    Doctor J, do you really work for MDUSD? If so, do your supervisors know you spend your workday posting on blogs? I’d hate to think my tax dollars are paying for you to waste time like that. You seem to have major issues with your employer. You are so filled with rage and hatred that your thinking is obviously distorted. Why don’t you get another job?

  16. A former CV Mom Says:


    Why are the charter petitioners in such a hurry to open? This entire process has been rushed. They haven’t done the detailed planning necessary to successfully run a large high school. As District staff pointed out, the plan is woefully lacking in the required specifics. Most importantly, their financial plan was inadequate.

    Why don’t they take the next year to really think about how they want to change the school? Figure out what their goals are for the school and come up with specific plans to achieve them. Come up with a detailed curriculum plan. Come up with a detailed plan on how they will handle all functions currently done by the District. Figure out what staffing will be required to implement their plans. Come up with a proposed salary schedule and employee evaluation process. Decide what facility changes need to be made. Work up a detailed and realistic financial plan to implement their desired changes. None of this requires final approval from the school board. They’ve already elected a governing board and appointed members to important committees. What’s stopping them from getting to work?

    Once they’ve done all that, parents, community members, CV employees, and the MDUSD board will be able to evaluate their plans. Until they’ve done that, they’re asking us to blindly trust them.

    The MDUSD board did the right thing in voting for conditional approval. The conditions are sensible and they need to be met to protect the almost 1900 students currently enrolled at Clayton Valley.

    So in answer to your question, Theresa, no, I don’t think the MDUSD board ought to speed up the approval process. The Board is doing the right thing in requiring the petitioners to meet the conditions they set forth. They would be remiss in their duties if they went along with the petitioners’ desire to have them deny it simply so they can appeal to the County BOE.

  17. Number Eight Says:

    No, Doctor J is a Safeway cashier apparently

  18. Wait a second Says:

    CV Mom I totally agree with you and I am sure most parents and teachers do. I hear housewifes are working on committees to rush this through.I don’t want part time moms running the school, I want people who know what they are doing and trained to make educational decisions. This is a small group trying to make this a Clayton School. Lets consider the students first, not egos and district bashing. Take your time people!

  19. CVCHS Supporter Says:

    Some of those “housewifes” have doctorates.

  20. Wait a Minute Says:

    You know, all these repeated comments by Wait A Second, Former CV Mom, Curious, Humor me, and many others on the other threads all display signs of a distinct pattern.

    They either stoutly defend the MDUSD or condescendingly (yes WAS, your “housewives” comment is condescending of the very parents of CVHS)
    suggest the Charter effort should either give up or “wait” another year or meet the pages of conditions put upon it by the district. Many of them also sing the praises of Sue Brothers and what she is doing at CVHS, etc, etc, etc.

    It is pretty clear to me that these many posts under different screen names represent an orchestrated effort by the MDUSD “Leadership” (or their minions) to defend themselves against the many rapidly proliferating and self-induced scandals they find themselves in.

    They also represent a huge Dirty-Tricks campaign (that even the Nixon campaign would have been proud of) to defeat/co-opt the Charter as it has the most potential to dethrone them.

    In fact, the whole approval with conditions/wait until February is in and itself a dirty tricks legal strategy to run the charter out of money and time and I’m sure it was conceived by by—Greg Rolen along with Lawrence, Brothers, Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Mayo.

    This is really a battle to the political death between the two sides. I hope for the sake of the children of the MDUSD and the taxpayers that it ends in the political/professional demise of the above referenced people since they have already done incalculable damage to the children and taxpayers of the MDUSD.

    I hope the good people of the MDUSD are making complaints to the Grand Jury, DA, Federal Prosecutor, Representative George Miller, Senators Feinstein/Boxer and Ca State Senator and Representative to investigate the considerable corruption and mismanagement, and mis-use of power by the MDUSD’s so called “leaders”.

  21. Wait a second Says:

    Wait a Minute, I am for the charter school, I just want change now! I think rushing this or copying what already exists means the school will go backward before it moves forward.Sue Brothers is moving the school forward now into new territory and I would like to give her a chance to clean things up.Please don’t dismiss my post as a district post. You are a Charter supporter and I hope you and your people are willing to work with different view points in reguard to the school and education. Don’t turn into the district you long to leave.

  22. Doctor J Says:

    @WAS, SB is not going to stay at CVHS — why do you think they haven’t replaced Denise Rugani in her Director of Secondary in SASS ? SB is just a flash in the pan, will hold a “director” job until Rose Lock is forced out, and then will become the Asst Supt which she was promised by Lawrence. Neither of them have denied it. Mark my words.

  23. Wait a second Says:

    DoctorJ I know this is just pro charter propaganda you are posting to sway the parents away from Sue Brothers. Don’t get use to her because she is leaving. She has committed 5 years if the school dosen’t go charter, thats a fact.

  24. Wait a minute Says:

    Ask the troops in Roseville and West Sac about Sue Brother’s (and Stevie Lawrence’s) “commitments” and you will get rolling on the floor laughter. Lawrence and Sue both said they were “committed” to staying in West Sac for the ‘long haul”.

    Their ONLY goal here is to kill the charter. They will say ANYTHING to try and get people to abandon it.

    Meanwhile as they focus on the charter, the entire MDUSD is suffering from the rapidly growing disasters of their incompetence and dishonesty like the imminent loss of 15 MILLION from the SIG debacle.

  25. Luke Says:

    This was the first Clayton Valley Charter school meeting that I’ve attended and I can tell you I was overwhelmingly impressed by the dedication of the faculty, parents, and students. They have begun an amazing movement that has the potential to drastically improve the public school system in California.

    I grew up in Clayton, attended DLS and now live in Concord. I have never considered sending my kids to public school…until now.

  26. Doctor J Says:

    @23 Rumors are now flying around the District that Denise Rugani’s postition as SASS Secondary Director is now being replaced on a just a temporary basis for the rest of the school year until Sue Brothers is available to take it. She will be replaced by a part time retired Secondary Director from a neighboring distirct and a consultant at about $120 per hour — certainly not a cost cutting move. And certainly a move to save the place for SB as I predicted long ago. I have never seen SB commit in writing to be the CVHS principal for five years.

  27. g Says:

    In Brother’s recent comments as Theresa reported, she stated that 1) she thought the Charter would be approved. 2) if she had three years she could turn the school around.
    3) said she’s not going to let this year go to waste. “I’m here till June 30…”.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have also heard a complaint alleging that no inside or outside search was done to fill the Valley View MS principal position.
    I have not yet confirmed this. However, the board gave Superintendent Steven Lawrence the authority to fill that position without its approval over the summer.
    I’m not sure if the district is required to post positions and allow other interested candidates to apply.

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