Part of the Bay Area News Group

MDUSD board to discuss Clayton Valley HS charter petition Tuesday

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, October 8th, 2011 at 7:08 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

At Mt. Diablo district Trustee Cheryl Hansen’s request, the school board expects to discuss the Clayton Valley High charter petition Tuesday.

Hansen made the request Sept. 27, after the board heard public comments from the following charter supporters: Clayton Mayor David Shuey, Clayton Councilman Joe Medrano, CVHS teacher Neil McChesney, and CVHS students Sara Kommer and Clayton Martin.

Below are links to videotaped portions of some of the comments. Unfortunately, I was only able to record a couple segments of Shuey’s comments and I missed McChesney’s.

Here’s part 1 of Shuey’s comments:
Here’s part 2:

Here are Medrano’s comments:

Although some in the community have said the charter petition isn’t innovative enough, Kommer showed her ability to “think out of the box” with this creative appeal to trustees:

Martin’s approach, on the other hand, was more traditional:

Trustee Cheryl Hansen announced that she wanted to place the Clayton Valley HS charter petition on the Oct. 11 agenda:

Here is what appears on the Tuesday agenda:

Item 13.2:
Subject: 13.2 Review of and update on the Clayton Valley Charter High School organizer’s efforts to meet the requirements for approval indicated in the Board’s September 13, 2011 Resolution approving, with conditions, the establishment of the Clayton Valley Charter High School

Summary: Review of the status of conditions required of the charter school petitioners. Staff will report on the meetings that have been held between September 13 – October 11, among the Board, district representatives and the charter school.”

This is an information item only, not slated for a vote.

Item 13.3
Subject: 13.3 Motion to rescind the Board’s action of September 13, 2011 entitled, ‘Resolution of the Governing Board of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Granting, With Conditions, the Charter for the Establishment of the Clayton Valley Charter High School’

Summary: Vote to rescind the Board’s action on the charter school approval, with conditions, which occurred on September 13, 2011.

Recommendation: Staff recommends not rescinding the Board action of September 13, 2011 that approved the establishment of the Clayton Valley Charter High School with conditions.”

There are no additional reports or documents outlining progress on the conditions or the reasons for staff’s recommendations. It’s unclear whether any PowerPoint presentations will be added later.

Here is a link to the Sept. 13 resolution approved by the board:

Shortly after this agenda was posted, Superintendent Steven Lawrence sent out the following message to the community (which is not yet posted on the district’s website):

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
October 7, 2011



Under State law, the Board cannot consider the financial impact of a charter on the District when considering whether to approve or deny a charter school. Now that the charter has been conditionally approved, the District must determine the impending on-going financial impact. The information below was not part of the Board deliberation on the charter petition, but it now must be considered as part of the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to maintain fiscal solvency and educational programs for all District students. The fiscal impact must be included in the 2011-12 First Interim financial report in December.

Per Student Funding

1. Not all school districts are funded at the same rate. Unified school districts receive less funding per pupil than high school districts under California’s funding formula. Educational programs generally become more costly as students’ progress through the grades. (As explained below, however, our district is atypical regarding the cost to run an average elementary versus middle/high school).

2. Our district receives the unified school district per pupil funding amount of $5,207 per student. By contrast, a conversion charter high school would receive the average amount for high school districts which is $6,148.

3. Our district, not the state, will be responsible for paying the conversion charter the $941[1] per student difference between the unified rate and the high school rate. Payment will come from the funds generated by all other students in our district.

4. Under AB 114, which was part of the 2011-12 budget adopted by the state in July, 2011, districts must transfer additional funds to new charters at the rate of $127 per student out of their state categorical funds. Our district is using most of these funds to balance our budget including keeping people employed and maintaining programs.

5. Consequently, one component of the charter’s cost to our District is:

$1.8 million[2] or $55 per pupil district-wide.[3]

Additional Expenses

6. Currently, the average district teacher expense including salary, statutory benefits, and health/dental benefits is:

· Elementary: $78,748

· Middle School: $71,285

· High School: $69,261

Note that our elementary teachers have more years of experience than our secondary teachers. Therefore, the district’s average elementary school teacher expense is 13.7 percent more than a high school teacher.

7. Given the variance in teacher costs, plus the impact of the State budget cuts, and the overall cost of programs, we use revenue generated from each high school to support all programs and teachers district-wide. We estimate that due to the charter conversion, our district will have to cut an additional $598,002 to offset CVHS’ contribution to the General Fund.

Total Fiscal Impact

8. Therefore, the board must plan to cut the General Fund by $2.4 million[4] or approximately $74 per pupil, beginning in 2012-13 school year when CVCHS opens. This will need to be an on-going, not one time, reduction.

9. School Services of California (a leading school finance authority) analyzed and verified the calculations above. Our District finance team is willing to partner with the charter organizers to bring in the Contra Costa County Office of Education or Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), both unbiased outside organizations respected for their financial analysis ability, to conduct another review of the above calculations.


1. When CVHS converts to a charter school, any CVHS teacher or classified support staff member who wants to remain a District employee has the right to do so. The state’s contractual ‘bumping’ process will displace more junior teachers and support staff members district-wide to ensure the district absorbs the more senior staff members from CVHS who intend to remain employed by the district. A teacher’s ‘bumping rights’ will be determined by his/her years of experience and credentials. A classified support staff member’s “bumping rights” are determined by job classification and hours of service. This ‘bumping’ will impact a majority of our schools.

2. Before March 15, 2012, we will create ‘bumping’ lists and issue layoff notices to the least senior teachers throughout the District. We will need to go through the same process for classified support staff members by April 30, 2012.

3. Teachers and support staff members at CVHS need not notify us until June 30, 2012, whether they will remain with the District. The timing will make it difficult to retain teachers who receive a layoff notice and are uncertain about their District employment. We continue to ask the charter organizers and our CVHS faculty and staff members to provide the District with as much notice as possible. Early notification will allow our district and CVCHS to adequately staff and plan for the students. We ask for professional courtesy and integrity in this matter.


1. Our district must redraw the high school attendance boundaries to create a home school for students who currently attend CVHS and wish to attend a district high school.

2. Based on space availability, students who are removed from or leave CVCHS will have the right to attend the high school in their attendance boundary.


[1] $6,148 – $5,207 = $941

[2] $1,792,960 is the total amount lost because of the $941 difference and the $127 per student loss in revenue.

[3] In a May 2011, News Update, we explained the above facts, but did not know about the additional reduction of $127 from districts’ categorical funding to new charter schools.

[4]$1,792,960 + $598,002 = $2,390,962″

Here is a response from the charter steering committee, which I received today:

“Oct. 8, 2011
Response from Steering Committee:

The Clayton Valley Charter High School Steering Committee is shocked and disappointed at the latest action of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District superintendent. This clearly undermines the previous public statements of both the district staff and board that they wish to work in a collegial manner with the charter steering committee. Both the timing of the superintendent’s ‘News Update’ and the content make it clear that the superintendent has no interest in working with the charter.

Following the Board’s de-facto denial of the charter petition under the guise of an ‘approval with conditions,’ the charter group moved forward in good faith efforts to meet and confer with district staff to respond to and reach agreement on the 56 conditions. There have been two meetings with staff and a multitude of emails back and forth between both parties. In fact, the charter has been appreciative of the efforts of staff, particularly Deb Cooksey, Rose Locke, Julie Braun-Martin, and Felicia StuckeySmith, and felt that both sides were working in good faith toward a mutually agreeable resolution of the conditions. Our last meeting was on Thursday, October 8, 2011, one day before the superintendent’s update was sent out to all parents in the district. At no point during our meeting with staff or at any other time were we informed the district, or at least the superintendent, was working on a separate track aimed at publicly undermining the good faith meet and confer process going on with staff. However, the superintendent did choose to meet with district principals during the week to share this information. In point of fact, the superintendent has never been involved in direct communication with the charter steering committee since the petition was submitted.

Following the release of an earlier and very similar ‘update‘ from the superintendent on August 26th, informal discussions were initiated between the charter steering committee and the board after the issue went viral in the media. It was our informal understanding that an effort would be made on both sides to work more closely together so as not to engage in one-sided, potentially misleading information being disseminated. Clearly, this is not the case for the district and so the charter steering committee is once again forced to respond to propaganda when we would rather concentrate on continued progress toward resolution.

As the ‘update’ was provided to everyone, including the charter, after 6 p.m. on Friday night, we are working to review and respond to the claimed facts and impact.

We hope to have a comprehensive response by the board meeting on Oct. 11, 2011. However, in the interim, we have the following thoughts and comments:

1. What is the purpose of this public ‘update’ if the board cannot consider this in its denial or approval of the petition?

2. Where in the update is there listed any data or foundation for the savings the district will incur as a result of not having to pay for the expenditures of running Clayton Valley? Remember, the district’s own staff report previously estimated the district would save approximately $1.7 million from closing CV. What is the actual per ADA cost of operating the school and and why won’t the district disclose this figure?

3. What data was given to School Services for their review? Did they get information or were they asked to verify the cost savings? Why did the district choose not to share the fact that they were hiring an outside source to review the charter financials at any time before the staff recommendation?

4. Why did the district not partner with the Charter to ensure that this was a ‘fair’ assessment that included cost savings before making it public? Why does the district continually and deliberately refuse to work with the charter steering committee? It is extremely difficult to interpret these consistent tactics as anything but underhanded and nefarious.

5. Why, despite repeated requests by the charter for financial information dating back to April of this year, including the costs to run CV (and therefore the potential savings to the district should it not be responsible for those costs), has the district not provided that information even today?

6. Why, if ‘Educational programs generally become more costly as students’ progress through the grades’ has the district apparently continually underfunded ALL high schools from the average daily attendance rate the state indicates should be given for students in high school? Doesn’t this point to historical and continued fiscal mismanagement and misappropriation by the district?

7. If the district and state recognize the district is underfunding ALL high schools in the district, why do not other high schools in the district demand proper funding or request their own charter?

8. Why would the country and the state have written charter legislation and encouraged charter schools if doing so would devastate existing districts? Similarly, why have so many conversion charters throughout the state been approved and successfully operated, collaborated with and positively impacted their districts? Is MDUSD doing something different such that it would be the only district to suffer from a charter and, if so, isn’t that more a condemnation of the district’s management?

9. Why has Superintendent Lawrence never met or communicated with the charter since the petition?

10. Why does MDUSD use an archaic account code structure that is out of compliance with the rest of the state of California? Is it so it can massage the numbers to suit its purpose? The district’s own financial records are constantly in question and fiscal solvency seems to be teetering on the brink; perhaps the public deserves a closer look at MDUSD’s books.

We will be making a formal request that the superintendent share any information that we provide regarding the district claims to every MDUSD family, just as the current ‘update’ was disseminated. In the interest of unprejudiced truth, this seems a fair proposition. We urge anyone interested to come to the Board meeting on October 11, 2011 and ask the board to answer these and other questions. Please pass this information on to those who want to hear from both sides of this issue and please see our Facebook page or website ( for further information.

Clayton Valley Charter High School Steering Committee”

I spoke to Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh on Friday about the Tuesday agenda items. Here’s what she said:

“My position is the board voted 5-0 to continue a certain path,” she said. “That’s the way the board felt at the time and if Ms. Hansen has changed her mind, she’s free to make the motion and the rest of the board will decide if they want to agree with her or agree with staff’s recommendation. My understanding is it’s only a motion to rescind. There is no other motion that can be made.”

However, Whitmarsh said Hansen could continue to place the charter on future agendas, if she desires.

“She could be putting it on an agenda every week, if she chose,” Whitmarsh said. “It’s her prerogative.”

Whitmarsh, who hadn’t yet seen the agenda, said she would wait to see what the staff report said about progress made before deciding how to proceed.

“There has been nothing so far that would change my mind,” she said. “The board voted 5-0. In my opinion, the board has never gone back to rescind something that the board all supported as a 5-0 vote. It’s interesting that here’s a board member who voted with the entire board and now wants to rescind the motion.”

Trustee Cheryl Hansen left me the following voice mail message today about her expectations for Tuesday:

“I think it’s time that we do the right thing with the charter school petitioners. I think they’ve acted in good faith with very serious intention and commitment and my goal is to kind of correct what I see as a vote that was not a good way to go.

My view of this whole thing is that we need to respect them enough to give them an up or down vote — meaning an approve or deny vote — and the only way to get to that and make it right again is to actually rescind the original vote.

So that is why I had mentioned at the last board meeting that my intention on Tuesday is to get an update on what’s been going on with these meetings, which I had no real knowledge of — and that’s part of what I’ll bring up Tuesday night — what in the world’s been going on behind the scenes with these meetings with the charter school?

I think things need to happen out in the open, which is why I had suggested a couple of times that we have a board charter school study session, because I think things are much more trustworthy when they happen out in the open with the public’s opportunity to participate and listen.

So, my goal is to try to rescind the vote and then hopefully move onto an up or down approve or deny vote. And my vote would, of course, be to approve without conditions.”

Bryan Richards, the district’s chief financial officer, reported at the last board meeting that the district had an unrestricted “undesignated fund balance” of $30.8 million, which was $7.6 million more than anticipated.

Do you think the board should rescind its original vote?

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

146 Responses to “MDUSD board to discuss Clayton Valley HS charter petition Tuesday”

  1. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Yes the board should rescind its original vote, unfortunately too many on the board, namely Eberhart, Whtimarsh, and inexplicably Mayo are only concerned with retaining their power.

    They care nothing of the children.

  2. Just J Says:

    Way to go Ms. Hanson. That is what the Board is supposed to do. Look into matters and make a decision.
    It’s about time we have a Board Member that has the critical thinking skills mathed with morals that we are supposed to be teaching our children.

  3. g Says:

    Dear Sherry: Please don’t count on what you find in the bottom of the Cracker Jack box to educate yourself on the job you were elected to do!


    How can I (Board Member) get an item on the agenda for a meeting?

    For a proposed agenda to become the official agenda for a meeting, it must be adopted by the assembly at the outset of the meeting. At the time that an agenda is presented for adoption, it is in order for any member to move to amend the proposed agenda by adding any item that the member desires to add, or by proposing any other change.

    It is wrong to assume, as many do, that the president “sets the agenda.” It is common for the president to prepare a proposed agenda, but that becomes binding only if it is adopted by the full assembly, perhaps after amendments as just described. [RONR (11th ed.), p. 372, ll. 24-35; see also p. 16 of RONRIB.]

    (oops, do you folks sometime just skip right past this first, very important vote on approval of the agenda?)

  4. g Says:

    Agenda Item 13.2 would appear to be intended as a forum for the District to control the floor by presenting another of its long-winded fluff pieces.

    Hopefully, prior to the vote to approve the Agenda: A request for an Amendment to the Agenda Item 13.2 will be made “allowing sufficient and EQUAL time for the reading of, and a full presentation of rebuttal by the Charter Committee representative”.

    Far too often, the District makes a long presentation and then only allows limited time for rebuttal. This is against Brown Act regulations that require fair time allowance for initial rebuttal. Only public comments may be held to set limited minutes.

    Likewise, Item 13.3 makes no sense at all as it is written, and it needs to be Amended to state exactly whatever Ms. Hansen requests it to state. It is after all, HER Item.

    [RONRIB pp 360-363]

  5. anon2u2 Says:

    In addition to whatever this 7 million “surplus” is… did anyone else notice still the 1/2 MILLION dollar IRS penalty still being floated? How many years has that gone on?

  6. Doctor J Says:

    How ironic and incriminating it is that there is no written staff report describing the progress of joint meetings between MDUSD and the Charter steering committee. When you compare the rebuttal by the Charter Steering Committee and Supt Lawrence’s biased “news update” that cannot be considered by the Board in evaluating the Charter petition, he obviously is so far removed from his own staff he has no clue what has been discussed. This one act alone of his, has undone days and hours of productive discussions; unless of course the district never had any intention of revising the conditions and then it would all have been a fraud. Unless resolved, it will probably all come out in lawsuit depositions where all the participants are placed under oath. Perhaps that is what needs to happen so the wheat can be separated from the chaff and the truth sifted from the lies. There is something rotten in Denmark.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    BTW, how can Rose Lock sit in both principals meetings and hear Lawrence’s presentation to the principals, along with his orders to the principals, and then in good faith participate in the Thursday afternoon meeting with the Charter Committee, and not say a word about the “news update” to hit the mass email on Friday evening which she knows will undo all of the work of district staff and the Charter committee. And I wonder why she didn’t stand up to Lawrence and tell him what he was about to do was wrong.

  8. g Says:

    Dr. J. Not to mention that Lock and the others, as an Ad Hoc Committee representing the Board in discussions and negotiations, there should be Notices and Minutes of the meetings between that Staff Committee and Charter Organizers.

  9. Just a Parent Says:

    Yay. The tin foil hat crew is out in force here.

    To all other parents who think this Charter business has been soaking up way too much of our already stretched education system, and are rightfully concerned about the Charter’s desire to reallocate money from other students and schools to their students and school, please email board members prior to Tuesday.

    The following link has email addresses for the members. Take the time to email them and make your voice heard.

  10. To All MDUSD Parents and Teachers Says:

    MDUSD parents and teachers: check out the above websites. These amazing conversion charter schools are the model for CVCHS. Imagine the pressure a school like this would place on the MDUSD administration to get its act together. We have all waited long enough and it’s time to take control of our kids’ education. Don’t blame the charter supporters – localized decision making is worth fighting for and our state government allows (even encourages) this kind of action. Conversion charter schools get bipartisan support which is unheard of in today’s political climate.

    The district wants you to look at the immediate financial impact in the worst possible light. They want you to be angry at the charter supporters so that you won’t be mad at the district officials for helping perpetuate the status quo. Don’t drink the kool-aid. Start a charter movement at your school and demand control of what is yours. There is a lot of help available to you and powerful people in your corner.

  11. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Just A Parent Says,

    Hi Sherry. Long time no post. I see the heat is beginning to get to you also. What will you and Gary do with your free time after the next election cycle?

  12. Doctor J Says:

    I don’t think Sherry has posted since she refused to answer questions about her participation in Buttercupgate and refused to deny that District business was discussed.

  13. Just a Parent Says:

    Oh yes MDUSD Board Watcher. Adjust that tin foil appropriately. I’m not Sherry, but don’t let that intrude on your grand conspiracy theory.

    So, lets look at the most recent comparison of Charter High School performance versus Non-Charter High School performance.

    So the average conversion results in a 3 to 8 point increase in API. Color me underwhelmed. This doesn’t move Clayton Valley from where it is to where Northgate is, not even remotely close.

    In fact, it’s really only the CMO Charter Schools (which Clayton Valley would not be) that seem to gain any marginal benefit. What’s not in this report, but you can back into it, is that those without a CMO Charter essentially see no change at the High School level.

    So perhaps you can stop your inane political paranoia and focus on what matters. Those of us behind the scenes, concerned parents, are doing so.

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Don’t forget the UMDAF 5k to raise money to keep high school sports alive starts at 9 a.m. It’s not to late to register and particpate:
    The high school with the most participants gets a trophy. CVHS has won two years in a row.

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In case you missed the Sept. 27 board meeting, here’s a recap of appointments and the bond refunding presentation:

  16. Doctor J Says:

    @G#8 , So what is the remedy of the public for non-compliance of the District in giving notice and keeping minutes ?

  17. g Says:

    As an Ad-Hoc committee, working on behalf of the Board:

    Ad-Hoc “internal” committee made up of Board members is not subject to the Brown Act, because it is made up of less than a quorum of Board Members.

    Ad-Hoc “external” committee made up of non-Board members, for the benefit of the Board is subject to the Brown Act.

    „ Civil Actions:
    … -Any interested party may begin an action.
    … -The board would have chance to cure and correct actions.
    … -With judgment, action is void.
    … -Costs & attorney fees may be awarded.

    „Criminal penalties:
    … -With intent to deprive public of information.
    … -Guilty of a misdemeanor.

    Any citizen may (pay up front) file a civil complaint, or the Local DA can file a complaint.

    The Brown Act really has no teeth, because the average citizen has no money to start the action, and in this County…good luck getting Mark Peterson to do squat!

  18. school teacher Says:

    In the superintendent’s newsletter I didn’t see any mention of any savings that the district gets from not having to pay the bills for the CVHS campus once it would become a charter. Have they ever owned up to that money that they would be saving? I had heard rumors that just that would be a savings of close to $1.7-1.8 million. And, as a side note, shouldn’t a district wide “newsletter” have more information than just charter bashing rhetoric that they have already stated? Isn’t there anything more that the superintendent would like to share with the district’s community members?

  19. Anon Says:

    School Teacher,

    You mean like the busing fiasco? Or the illegal solar project? Or the ongoing violations of the Brown Act?

  20. g Says:

    Dr. J: How many Gates are there now? 😉

  21. Doctor J Says:

    I have lost count, but I will ponder it and we can get a list going. I think I started with the GangofFivegate, Buttercutgate, Nugentgate, and then it really took off with Chevrongate. Chevron picked up on that one fast because it has search engines that monitor the web. I wonder if we can do a search of the archives to determine ?

  22. Dee Dee Says:

    Time for some new blood in MDUSD Board, me thinks! Who will take them on?

  23. Number Eight Says:

    IDK if these are official or unofficial Gates:
    and don’t forget

  24. Charter new course Says:

    Add on CVCHSGate

  25. Doctor J Says:

    What a great addition to the resumes of Gary, Sherry, Linda Mayo, Steven Lawrence and those now who have refused to stand up and question — instead just saluted and said yes sir.

  26. Wait a minute Says:

    CVCHS-Gate is absolutely the most impactful and shameful of the many self-induced crises that the MDUSD’s so-called “leaders” have brought onto the district through their lack of ethics, humanity, and competence

    These top-down narcissistic “leaders” truly have no souls.

    No matter how desperately they try to cling to their power and control, a ground-up revolution has started and will eventually bury them. So be it!

    Meanwhile, this thinly veiled divide-and-conquer propaganda piece speaks volumes about how duplicitous Stevie Lawrence and company are. They will gladly break any law and ethically debase themselves in order to “win”.

    In doing so all they are really doing is causing further very serious and probably long-lasting damage to the MDUSD.

    This, the MDUSD “Where Children Come First”.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence and the Board, its about time you all told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL OPERATING COSTS OF CVHS ? Please, no averages, no estimates, no more excuses: actual itemized operating costs.

  28. Jim Says:

    An eblast just went out this afternoon to all Northgate HS parents from principal McMorris stating that, “Funding the Charter School will require MDUSD to pull up to $90.00 per pupil out of each school in the district to pay for the Charter. This is the rough equivalent of 10 sections at Northgate High or 2 teachers!”
    Where did that $90 figure come from? How can the district tell people about the “costs” of this charter, when they are only counting the ADA revenue that they will lose, but never disclosing the CVHS operating costs that MDUSD will no longer have to bear?
    The eblast goes on to encourage all parents to email board members to voice opposition to the charter. Principal McMorris says, “I do not ask for your support to oppose backers of the Clayton proposal.” But then a few lines later says, “I desperately ask you to contact our Board members via e-mail today or tomorrow, or attend the Board meeting tomorrow night and let the Board know how you feel about this issue; our Board must vote this down unless they can show it will not have a negative impact on the students at Northgate High School.”
    More disingenous doublespeak from a district that no longer deserves our support. And such a disappointing message from an otherwise wonderful educational leader like Mr. McMorris. It is tragic what this district does to people. Just tragic.

  29. Dan Says:

    Sorry, but it is time to fire McMorris. He is no longer fit to be principal in my opinion.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    More misinformation and dirty tricks from Lawrence and the Board. I am not even sure it is legal to use district resources to take a political position on a matter before the Board. This is just flat out wrong — what kind of education does McMorris have to verify these numbers. Its ridiculous. The district refuses to disclose the actual expenses of CVHS. Instead the Northgate parents ought to be demanding their fair share of the state money that comes for secondary and they could reestablish sports, VAPA, and many other programs. Again, more bullying by Lawrence by telling the principals — you are either on the team or not. The Board cannot consider the costs of the charter, but yet you have school district administrators inciting the masses with misinformation. Richard Nixon would be proud of you.

  31. Dan Says:

    This is indeed illegal. The board must fire McMorris now.

  32. Just J Says:

    I am so mad I am shaking! Mr. Morris won’t answer his phone. I want him FIRED NOW!!!!!! How dare they. Lawrence needs to be removed as well.

  33. Dan Says:

    Just J,

    Of course he wouldn’t answer his phone. He knows that this was a big f’up by him. He sucumbed to being the lap dog of Gary and Steve.

    What a shame, he is an otherwise honorable man. I am also calling for his firing.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence leading this orchestra and he just gave the Charter organizers a swan song legal basis for a court attack which the district cannot defend and will most likely result in the charter being approved, and those who acted illegally named in the decision, which will result not just in their firing but the ending of their careers, and possible loss of their credentials. Morris can hardly pull a Lee Harvey Oswald and say he acted alone. There was a whole group of people in that room who heard what Lawrence said and his veiled threats if they did not take action. There will now be great pressure on Morris to fall on his sword to save Lawrence, Lock, Eberhart, Whitmarsh, Mayo and Dennler. Morris ought to worry about his own skin and not theirs. Since Eberhart and Whitmarsh presumably authorized Lawrence to do this dirty trick, they need to immediately disqualify themselves from further participation in the process, which means leave the room during the discussion and vote.

  35. Jim Says:

    Let’s not be too hard on John McMorris. Although he is personally opposed to the CVHS charter as, I suspect, many traditional educators would be at first, we have no idea what pressures might have been exerted upon him. He cares very deeply about the success of Northgate HS, and if the district convinced him to go to bat for them to protect his school, I can see how that would happen.

    His pleas are unlikely to resonate with many Northgate parents, however, for the simple reason that, just a few years ago, they faced the same situation as that currently facing the families of CVHS. Northgate had a principal who was the absolute picture of inaction, indifference, and incompetence. Over a period of years, when school funding was rising, not falling, she almost ran that school into the ground. The personnel, the facilities, the curriculum all suffered. It was only a coordinated campaign by the community (including the futile attempts to “secede” from MDUSD) that finally convinced the district to “ease” her into retirement. It has taken several years for Mr. McMorris to begin the necessary clean-up — repairing facilities, getting rid of a few, but very destructive and appallingly incompetent teachers, making the curriculum more responsive to students’ needs, and repairing the broken relationships with the community. And he has done that in the context of rapidly declining funding and financial uncertainty.

    The school was lucky to get Mr. McMorris, but “luck” is also the crux of the problem. The structure of the system remains the same: at any time, an incompetent, indifferent district administration can waltz in and screw up everything. (Or, through neglect, they can take their sweet time, as they did at Northgate.) All of the families and all of the schools in the district are vulnerable to MDUSD incompetence. At any time, they can come in and ruin your school, and you will have no choice, because the district has done everything in its power to deny you any form of school choice, just as they are doing now with the CVHS charter. Without that kind of choice, where parents are free to take their children to another public school that is not run by MDUSD, there will never be the kind of accountability that we expect from most other institutions. And why should there be? MDUSD gets it money regardless of what we think.

    So even though there are a few nefarious individuals in the district leadership, we would do well not to focus too much just on individuals. This is a very broken system — an unaccountable government-run monopoly that solely dictates how our children will be educated. And that institutional structure — not just a few jokers in the district office — is the REAL problem.

  36. Charter new course Says:

    You’re right. You can see McMorris’ arm being twisted, ouch!

  37. g Says:

    Let’s back up a bit. This gang warfare from Lawrence, and maybe EberMarsh started quite some time ago.

    Theresa did a piece on 8/14 about the throngs that came out to support the Charter.

    “The only people who spoke against the petition were the principals of Northgate High in Walnut Creek and Ygnacio Valley High in Concord.” (John McMorris and Bill Marones)

    Kind of makes you wonder why just these two? Anyone know how long Eberhart and Marones have been buddies? Were they at St Mary’s during the same time frame–or even friends before that?

    A few days ago, Marones was lauding Sue Brothers when talking to Theresa. And, while Lawrence isn’t willing to let Glenbrook kids put both cheeks in a bus seat, Marones has been able to order tables and benches for his YVHS quad area!

    This gang building was all in the works before Lawrence cornered the Principals to get them to start crying foul over his convoluted costs of Chartering.

    Marones and McMorris have worked almost in tandem since 2005 at three different school districts. If one moves, the other soon follows.

  38. Just J Says:

    Mc Morris may be a good principal but a great leader does not let his arm get twisted (besides who in the world would want to work for someone like that) Unfortunatly his stupidity will get him FIRED! You can not use public means for your own personal issuses.
    I demand that he be removed from his post and Lawrence as well.

    Never trust anyone who won’t look you in the eye. Mr. Lawrence you better be paying attention tomorrow night and quit rolling your eyes at people when they talk.

    Hey Charter committee Maybe you should get down on your knees and bow to the Gang and maybe they will allow your Charter to go! “that was sarcasism”

  39. Doctor J Says:

    McMorris crossed the line, perhaps the legal line, and as any good school teacher will tell you, the consequences must follow. Its time to sit McMorris at the interrogation table, hand him the yellow pad and pen, and start writing everything as it went down. Its time the truth be told — the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is way beyond any personally held belief in whether Charter Schools are good or bad. I can understand the remorse McMorris is feeling now as he cannot even answer his phones — work, cell or home. McMorris, you bet the farm on the wrong horse.

  40. Number Eight Says:

    In this glorified totalitarian prison system that inmates call MDUSD, McMorris is kept under close surveillance. Lawrence is his boss and a Northgate parent (we know because the press has covered his kids’ volleyball awards). McMorris must have Stockholm syndrome, bad.

  41. CVCHS Supporter Says:

    I was planning on attending the October 25 MDUSD meeting in support of the charter, but now it looks like we need to be seen at the 10/11 MDUSD meeting as well.

    I am really surprised to hear that the Northgate principal e-mailed Northgate parents to try to get them to oppose Clayton Valley’s charter. That just seems wrong.

  42. Someone Says:

    Brothers, however, while starting off strong – is starting to show some signs of what may be her true motivation. While she talks a big game, as someone else said, she is definitely only there for 1 year. It is clear, she says it as often as possible, and has short timer attitude already. She’s starting to lose some supporters, they’re dropping like flies as they say…

  43. g Says:

    Number Eight: It’s kind of funny that you should refer to MDUSD totalitarian actions.

    In a land far away, a long, long time ago, McMorris taught his students that:

    “Totalitarianism is a political, social and economic system that uses any means available to subject the individual to the goals and leadership of the state”.

    Has it been so long ago that he doesn’t even recognize it any longer? Even when he is being used like a sacrificial pawn?

  44. WHOA! Says:

    Ok!! HOLD the phone! If the board can not consider the financial impact, why is this MORON telling people to ask the board to not approve the charter due to money. But first, ALERT ALERT, conditional or not, the charter is approved! What if Brothers put this out? HOLY COW, what is wrong with McMorris!?!?!?! He really need to be fire, Lawrence has gone too far.

    But you all know Lawrence has a kid at Northgate right?

  45. Doctor J Says:

    @G#41 Unless McMorris has a promise of a reward, I can’t think of a single good reason for his e-blast. I would bet dollars to donuts that Lawrence was involved in the decision to do the e-blast, and if it crossed the legal line, you can bet more donuts that McMorris is not going to take the rap by himself. The coincidence of McMorris being only one of two people to speak out at the Board meeting against the charter is just too weird.

  46. g Says:

    Dr. J. There’s always a reward. Maybe today it’s half a million in extra funds for lights and bleachers that all taxpayers will have to pay for, and that the school won’t have to come up with for themselves. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

  47. The Observer Says:

    The district office buzz is that McMorris is auditioning for either Rose Lock’s or Denise Rugani’s job.

  48. Northgate Parent Says:

    Northgate parents come speak out tomorrow night in support of this charter. Imagine if the Clayton Valley parents interfered with our desire to leave this District. We should support their efforts to provide their children something better.

    There is no factual evidence that it will cost this district $90 per student if Clayton Valley goes charter. The District has two choices ~ show that they have under-funded our high schools for years or show that they have allocated the high school ADA rate and there is little or no additional cost. They are between a rock and a hard place and that is exactly why we have not seen the numbers.

    We do not have a reason to fight our neighbors in Clayton!

  49. Doctor J Says:

    Where does Sue Brothers go ? Take Rose Lock’s job, and McMorris goes to SASS Secondary Director ? That could account for Rose’s out-of-character behavior trying to save her own hide for a couple more years. Didn’t the board extend her contract for three years prior to Lawrence’s arrival ? That would put Rose under contract until 2013,

  50. N Says:

    Site principals and Dent administrators are being ruthlessly bullied because the bullies (Lawrence, Bryan Richards, Greg Rolen)tell the principals/Dent administrators what to say, when to say it, who to support, and how to think. And heaven help those who don’t follow the bullies’ orders – they end up being given a directive that they can’t refuse because they either stood up for something they believed in or asked a question that made the bullies uncomfortable. In the past 2 years, take a look at how many site principals and Dent admins have left (most have spouses who can provide financially). I’m thinking the principal of North Gate was given an offer he couldn’t refuse. Although not CVCHS’ intent, their pursuit of a charter has brought to light the glaring unethical and unlawful actions that will continue until an audit regarding monies and procedures exposes the corruption.

  51. David "Shoe" Shuey Mayor of Clayton Says:

    I am absolutely disgusted by the continued public misinformation and scare tactics employed by this District and condoned at least implicitly by this Board. Mr. Lawrence sends his staff to meet with Charter organizers while he is in the background authoring hit pieces like Mr. McMorris’

    Here is what I sent to the Board last night:

    Gary and All,

    Let me say again, REALLY?

    This is how you show “We are committed to ensuring that the charter school opens in 2012?”

    You say we are creating a battle where there is no need? Again, Really?

    You either have a rogue principal who is sending out legally wrong and factually incorrect information using District Resources (In which case I would like to see immediate public discipline and a retraction to all parties who were sent this email) or this is part of a dedicated campaign by the District against the charter petition. Given that Steve and at least Rose were present at a meeting with Principals and others last week prior to his “news update,” could anyone blame us if we feel that maybe there is a campaign of misdirection going on from your offices?

    Given that Mr. McMorris has his facts wrong about your ability to consider the financial impact on Northgate, I would suggest that you have him send out a retraction immediately.

    Also, since our “eyes and ears” throughout the rest of the District will let us know if other principals go rogue or were told to send out their own newsletters so you could get some heretofore nonexistent opposition to show up tomorrow, I would request that you immediately inform them to not send anything out that is incorrect in the law or facts.

    At every turn you (Ie District not you individually) send out nice little “reasoned” responses to what are obvious disinformation and opposition campaign tactics, but each time you top yourself with new acts of contempt for your constituents in Clayton and Concord. Shame on you. I also wonder what Congressman Miller will think of these tactics? Susan Bonilla? Mark DeSaulnier? the DA?

    I am composing a very encompassing public records request and it will cover information that was provided to the principals regarding this misinformation campaign, including emails to and from the District. It will also request all information provided to School Services, including the costs of running CV and the savings if the District does not have to pay for its operation. You should probably start shredding now — wait, that is illlegal isn’t it?



    David “Shoe” Shuey
    City of Clayton

  52. Just J Says:

    Shoe, Very nice letter except they will never stop the game play. Gary and Lawrence are the problem. I too will ask for public records supporting the facts put forth and will add in a few others.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    Gary and Steve, and other co-conspirators — you really p. o. the wrong person — Shoe. Just wait until the hard drives on your computers are examined and you cell phone records — yeah, they are all public records. Try and destroy any records a la Ollie North — Shoe must be thinking “Go ahead make my day.” He makes his living as a trial lawyer finding hidden emails, uncovering destruction of evidence, and attacking the credibility of witnesses — he has a whole staff, and he is highly respected among the judiciary in CCC. He is good. You guys are amatuers compared to him. The victor gets attorney fees. If I were you, I would not rely upon Rolen to CYA. After the Nixonesqe dirty tricks this week, your time is running out.

  54. John Q Says:

    The Walnut Creek attempt to secede from MDUSD was futile because MDUSD was using the same anti-reform tactics. All the district parents are in this rut together. All the parents need to support CVCHS. All the parents need to support secession. All the parents need to vote for change in 2012. United we stand!

  55. Wait a minute Says:

    “…start shredding now-…”


  56. Doctor J Says:

    @JohnQ, you’re correct — the only hope of reform in MDUSD is a successful CVCHS charter — once that happens, either the district will be more attentive to the needs of the sites or face more charters. I can’t wait to see the first annual report of the SIG grants to see how the schools felt their support from the district was — I can’t believe they felt much support from SASS who is off doing their own thing and not very unified.

  57. Wait a Minute Says:

    So no retraction of either Stevie Lawrence’s thinly veiled propaganda “news update” or McMorris’s illegal and ill-advised e-blast entry into the propoganda battle on Stevie’s behalf.

    So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that the board majority has already had a serial meeting on how to vote in violation of the Brown Act.

    Now they will just go through the motions of pretending to debate before voting not to rescind their previously already decided before that board meeting in violation of the Brown Act and “approving with 56 conditions” strategy.

    Bring on the Grand Jury and other investigations and litigation folks.

    By all means lets spend the people’s money fighting to retain our power and control here where “The Children Come First”.

  58. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Since I have been on vacation, I have just belatedly posted Northgate Principal John McMorris’ message to his school community and Clayton Mayor David Shuey’s respose:
    In an email about an hour ago, Shuey told me he had not yet heard any response from the board or district.
    As I previously mentioned, Times reporter Rick Radin is covering tonight’s meeting and I will follow up tomorrow.
    It’s possible that you may be able to listen to the meeting live on KVHS radio:
    However, I have noticed in the past that the station does not always broadcast the meetings, especially those that start early, such as tonight’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

  59. Wait a minute Says:

    So, what is the significance of Eberhart being MIA from the meeting last night?

  60. g Says:

    MS. MAYO: Just which one of those 56 Conditions would change the “financial effect” or “reduce impact”, and why start considering your fiduciary duty to the electorate at this late date unless you’re willing to give back some of the board’s pay-to-play salaries? That would keep two teachers employed!!!

    From Radin’s article: –Mayo cited the financial effect of allowing the charter to go ahead without an adequate review process, even though a loss of revenues cannot be used as a basis for denying a charter.

    “We have a fiduciary responsibility to reduce the impact,” she said.–

    Ms. Mayo, we now realize will change camps as easily as a tissue blows on the breeze. She will sniff out the power and trudge around in the shadows, clinging to a man’s shirttail if that’s what it takes to gain favor from whomever she thinks has the power.

    Ms. Mayo should be ashamed—at the last meeting she couldn’t even stay on point with a comment, and now this week, she breaks state charter law and waves the tattered dollar symbol as if the money actually belonged to the board instead of the schools.

  61. Another MDUSD Mom Says:

    When I heard Mayo do that I was shocked. Perhaps that is grounds for an appeal. I have to believe the charter lawyers were all over that last night.

  62. Doctor J Says:

    Linda Mayo is so confused — her fiduciary duty is to follow the law, not to reduce the impact of a teacher trigger charter. She obviously broke the law last night by mentioning the financial impact — that cannot even be considered, but she wants to reduce the financial impact on the district by putting illegal and unreasonable conditions on the charter which will financially improve the district’s position by killing the charter. G you are right — not a single one of those 56 conditions affect the financial impact of the district except if they kill the charter conversion. I am no lawyer, but I think the court would invalidate her vote, and then it would be 2-1. You would think that after 15 years of being on the Board, she would have a better handle on what her real job is.

  63. Number Eight Says:

    G, You’re exactly right. The money belongs to the schools. The schools belong to the taxpayers. The money comes from us. For the children. Not for the board or the district. The board trustees are sworn to act in trust for us. The district are employees of us. Stop the dirty tricks and start being transparent, open and honest.

    Before Mayo brings up financial effect, first start dealing with shortchanging the high schools $900 per student. The district caused this problem. Stop working backwards. Start being accountable and fix it. Start looking at the big picture.

  64. g Says:

    As long as the Charter committee tries to “play fair” with a District and Board majority that doesn’t know the meaning of the words “fair, honest or fiduciary duty, they won’t have a chance.

    It’s high time for their legal battle to commence.

  65. Wait a minute Says:

    I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of the $941 per HS student that is being diverted is NOT ending up at the Elementary schools or any of the schools but is rather being used to subsidize district administration!

    What we need is a very thorough audit of the MDUSD’s books to really see what is happening with the money in this district.

  66. Just J Says:

    WAM, Yesterday I spent the entire day on the phone with with the State Department of Education, Brown’s office, The Grand Jurry, CCCBOE, and many others….What I found is that there is no accountability with anyone. I asked the State what in the Hell we are paying them for if they don’t get involved and the answer was After School programs and Special Education regulations. I think everyone needs to start calling everyone they can think of and put pressure on to do an audit of safety issues, Special Education, Measure C, General Audit, and so on. We need to pull together now and make complaints. This Board is not going to be responsible and we need to hold them accountable. That is where it all is On the Board

  67. g Says:

    From the District’s 11-12 Budget:

    General Education —————- Annual ADA

    Kindergarten ————- 2,454.40
    Grades One through Three – 7,265.62
    Grades Four through Six — 7,199.66
    Grades Seven and Eight — 4,654.78

    Grades 9-12 ————– 8,980.60

    In addition to ADA, there are separate funds for: Opportunity Schools and Full-Day Opportunity Classes, Home and Hospital, Community Day School, Special Education, Special Day Class, Nonpublic, Nonsectarian Schools, and Licensed Children’s Institutions.

    Now, if we could just get Lawrence to give us some facts that align with the budget.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    I wonder how many voicemails Lawrence’s office voicemail holds ? His cellphone ? Didn’t he say that he had an opendoor policy ?

  69. Doctor J Says:

    McMorris ought to be shocked that the district is getting $8980.60 per high school student and how much trickles down to his budget ? But then again, McMorris must be looking ahead for a larger paying job to spike his pension.

  70. Just J Says:

    He did say that but I am still waiting for a call or e-mail or something….Glad I am not holding my breath.
    From what Heard last night he was hit pretty hard. Just wait there will be more to come.

    G, Lawrence will NEVER tell the truth. That he has already made clear. He didn’t anticipate the community members being as smart as we are. He thinks just because he has DR. in his title he can out smart everyone…HAHAHHAA the jokes on him. If you give an idiot a lengh of rope he will hang himself eventually.

  71. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a link to Rick Radin’s story about the meeting:

  72. g Says:

    From CA DEPT of ED: This is what was reported for MDUSD. (note, the most recent numbers are from 2009-10, as of Feb. 23, 2011)

    “Calculation of current expense (cost) of education per average daily attendance (ADA) pursuant to Education Code Section 41372”.

    LEA# 61754-Mt. Diablo Unified–Current expense-$8199.00 Total per ADA k-12.

  73. Helll Freezing Over Says:

    On Aug 26 2011 the District Supt reported the District would have to pay $1.52 million per year because of the Charter (‘about’ $800 x ‘about’ 1900 CVHS students = $1.52 million).

    On Oct 7 2011 the District Supt reports the District will have to pay $2.4 million per year because of the charter ($941 x 1900 CVHS students + 598, 002 = 2.4 million (rounded up by the district)).

    Why weren’t the ‘additional’ expenses detailed in the Oct 7 2011 “newsletter” – in their calculations / funding portion of the Aug 26 2011Newsletter? The Supt states these are from AB 114 listed as part of 2011/12 State Budget adopted in JULY 2011.

    The District Supt also states in Funding point 7 (cut & pasted here)
    “Given the variance in teacher costs,plus the impact of the State budget cuts, and the overall cost of programs, we use revenue generated from each high school to support all programs and teachers District-wide.”

    $1.52 million per year as stated 6 weeks ago by the District Supt is raised to $1.8 million and ‘additional expenses’ also appear raising that ‘cost’ to $2.4 million per year …

    … how did that happen?

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    So far, the district has not shown the public — or the charter organizers — all of its backup information for these numbers.
    Trustee Cheryl Hansen says such information should be explained in a study session so that everyone understands what information the district has thus far been discussing behind closed doors.
    The superintendent has offered to go over the numbers with an outside party, such as the Contra Costa County Office of Education. Do you think such a meeting should be held in public?

  75. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    @Theresa 74 – yes.

  76. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district also hasn’t told the public how it intends to spend the unanticipated $7.6 million in its unrestricted ending fund balance.

  77. g Says:

    I got a long call and too many comments got in between my two comments. Now I’m reading other comments and see how my copy/paste made the first comment look like dollars.

    #67)Budget ADA is budgeted # of students.
    #72)Expense per student was $8199.00, waaaay over the $5207.00 that Lawrence says the District receives; especially since the district ends up with a nice little “left over” reserve, some of it “found money”.

    The question is, where did Lawrence get his $5207.00 figure? I know where I got the $8199.00-right off the State’s site showing how much was allocated per ADA.

  78. Wait a Minute Says:

    G, you have to remember we are dealing with “Lawrence Math”.

    I have talked to many people who have known him from his teaching/coaching and admin days in SoCal to Roseville and West Sac.

    Everyone says the same thing about him: extremely superficial and dishonest with the facts, a serious control freak and mean streak (he was infamous as a coach for screaming at his kids), and an extreme bully in all education administration matters.

    Everyone said he was absolutely not suited by either temperament or professionalism to be an administrator or leader. Most thought he shouldn’t even be around children.

  79. The Observer Says:

    What about the SunPower govt loan scandal….twice as big as Solyndra, George Miller, Sr., George Miller, Jr., MDUSD, Gary Eberhart, et. al?

    what happens to us when they go belly up?

  80. g Says:

    For those who want more info on The Observer’s post:

    It would appear that the 10-15 jobs our $1.2 billion loan created were in Mexico. So glad MDUSD is trusting them with a 20 year contract. 😉

  81. Calculated Move Says:

    Oh the tangled web they weave. Fox news – Hannity also had a piece on Sunpower. See the following link:

    MDUSD also paid Sunpower for a $2 million guarantee and $3.4 million for pre-paid maintenance. I wonder if it is not too late for MDUSD to back out.

  82. Theresa Harrington Says:

    When MDUSD evaluated the solar bids, it took into consideration whether the company would still be around in 20 or 30 years.
    Although Solar City submitted a lower bid, the MDUSD committee decided to go with SunPower, in part because of its more established reputation in the community and because of its vast experience installing school solar projects.

  83. hs parent Says:

    All this has raised another issue that I have read regarding high school funding. What revenue comes from high schools? Their biggest revenue was gate money from athletic games and leftover transportation fees which went to the general fund. However, they never saw the whole picture and cut athletics. Now the gate money, sport stickers, etc. is supposed to go directly to the funding of athletics, along with contribute to play, aka “pay to play”.

    What revenue comes from high schools? Where are our state of the art high schools from that revenue and bonds? Every bond passed is for facility improvements, yet many high schools lack in facilities compared to neighboring communities. Even Riverview Middle School in Bay Point has better athletic facilities than some of our high schools, paid for by MDUSD. Where is high school revenue going? Why not back to the high schools since they are underfunded per the district?

    This is only one of a number problems with MDUSD and I know it’s off topic a little. But it illustrates the lack of competence by this District. CVCHS is experiencing some of the same issues as athletics. The District took months/years to provide the cost of athletics (not really sure what they provided was accurate, actual costs either), not surprised at all they can’t provide the cost of running CVHS. They don’t know because of their convoluted accounting and they have no idea on actual expenses. Whatever number they come up with will also change several times, of course higher, not lower, as is already happening.

    I am beginning to wonder if athletics is still their main revenue source…and even bigger now. You can bet though that every penny raised by parents is tracked and accounted, but never, never has a statement of expenses, a balance sheet, or anything indicating what they have spent been provided by the District. And the threat that enough dollars have not been raised and athletics will be gone is continually made. Is contribute to play, sport stickers, and the gate money really funding athletics now? Is it now an “other” bucket and considered as revenue from the high schools?

    Please someone explain what revenue comes from high schools and why it does not go back to our underfunded high schools. It surely can’t be from athletics.

  84. hs parent Says:

    sorry, incompetence, definitely not competence!

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The superintendent admits that the district is taking close to $600,000 in revenues that are supposed to benefit CVHS and using them districtwide.
    His newsletter fails to point out that elementary schools employ far fewer teachers than high schools. Therefore, his teacher salary information is not an apples to apples comparison.
    The public deserves to know exactly how much the district spends on salaries and benefits for the staff at CVHS, along with all other operating costs for that school.

  86. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The US Dept. of Ed awarded nearly $5 million in charter school grants for planning, etc.:
    None were in California.

  87. Doctor J Says:

    Who was the MDUSD Committee’s “financial expert” that evaluated the financial stability of SunPower ? Gary ? Pete ? Bryan Richards ? Greg Rolen ? With $1.2 billion in govt loans, and another $1 Billion in private loans, it won’t take much to sink that ship. I have a sick feeling about this deal. Especially when there is talk now of delaying some installations and installing them on old roofs.

  88. anonamom Says:

    Dr. J: When SunPower sold 60% of their company to Total in France a couple of months ago, to try to stay afloat, they didn’t completely abandon ship, but they certainly turned over the helm.

    Yesterday, Tech Trader Daily said: “…Department of Energy representative Damien LaVera, who says in the case of SunPower’s $1.2 billion loan for a California solar project, the matter was “rigorously” vetted over a course of “many months.”

    Of course, that vetting for a “California Project” (hmmm–is that mdusd?) took place before the 60% sale, I believe.

  89. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The contract was signed before the French takeover, I believe.
    The financial expert was Russell Driver, whom Pete Pedersen said he would ask to present the district’s solar energy savings calculations to the Bond Oversight Committee in December.
    The team also included committee members John Parker and Rick Calloway, I believe. The district also consulted an outside lawyer who helped draft the contract.
    As a reminder, the other bidders were Roebbelen, SolarCity and Vanir-Parsons.

  90. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I have previously pointed out, the district estimated it would save $1.7 million by closing CVHS.
    This includes $1.4 million for nearly 18 staff members the district would no longer employ (including administrators, clerical and maintenance workers) and $273,541 in utilities costs.
    The district estimated this savings at $904.43 per student, based on 1,884 students.
    If the district no longer operates CVHS, it will realize these same savings, in addition to all the other school operations costs.

  91. John Q Says:

    Are the MDUSD panels made in USA? Didn’t the Measure C BOC visit the plant and there’s another plant nearby? It sure sounded like MDUSD panels are built here in the Bay Area. Is that truth, partial truth, or outright lie?

  92. Theresa Harrington Says:

    JQ: Some bond committee members visited a SunPower site, but I’m not sure if it was a manufacturing plant. They also expressed interest in going to the headquarters.
    I will try to find out where the panels are manufactured.

  93. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a link to the news release about the loan guarantee:
    And here is a subsequent SunPower news release about the project:

  94. Just J Says:

    According to the news (FOX, CNN, MSNBC) the manufacturing is done in Mexico.

    I would like to see what is going to happen if sun power goes under. Maint. is huge with solar panels. I know I have to clean mine very often. How will NDUSD be able to do this?

  95. Curious Says:

    Theresa re: #90
    Don’t you also have to factor in the ADA revenue the district will lose if CVHS becomes a charter? Not just the ADA revenue it currently receives for CVHS, but the additional +/-$900 per student it will have to allocate to the school.

    Some of the total ADA revenue is used for districtwide services to all schools and staff (e.g.professional development, programs for special needs students, curriculum training, recruitment and retention of personnel). Those services and much of the costs would continue for the remaining schools if and when CVHS becomes independent.

    The Board may not be able to use finances in its vote on the charter, but it certainly has the responsibility to look ahead to see how district services would be provided with less ADA revenue. I’m having trouble thinking the financial aspect of the charter is as clearcut as proponents say it is.

  96. Doctor J Says:

    SunPower is now owned 60% by a French company, and the French economy is on the brink because of the Greece fiasco. Then they have a $1.3 billion US government loan, and then got another $1 Billion private loan. Hard to believe they have enough assets to make that a positive balance sheet.

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Curious, Certainly the loss of revenue should be taken into account. But, the district hasn’t revealed its formula for how much money it takes from each school to support districtwide programs. It would be helpful if the district would show the public all the data that went into these calculations, to make the financial aspects more clear for everyone.

  98. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a Media Matters response to the George Miller/SunPower allegations by Fox News:

  99. Curious Says:

    Theresa, #97: I agree.

  100. WHOA! Says:

    Theresa, so in addition to the 1.7 as that seems to be the magic number, and that number was factored assuming they’d keep students and teachers for the most part. yes they lose the students but they lose the teachers too. Teacher salaries of 5-6 million. Where is that factored?

  101. WHOA! Says:

    Curious, if you factor in the ada lost, then you also have to factor the teacher salaries saved, right?

  102. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Whoa: That is what the charter committee has been asking. So far, the district hasn’t shown how it is factoring in its reduced costs for operations, including teachers’ salaries.

  103. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Political columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen has checked out the Fox News piece and says it’s untrue:

  104. g Says:

    Just a little math pulled from the 2011-12 Budget. CVHS is about 5.8% of the TOTAL K-12 student population. Do they get about 5.8% of the total revenue of $270,395,432.00? That would be, $15,682,935.00. NO, because $72,587,742.00 of the total revenue is “Restricted” and accounted for seperately. So, let’s just say CVHS doesn’t need (or get) ANY of the Restricted funds (it does, but we won’t count it).

    That leaves $197,807,690.00 Unrestricted. Does CVHS get 5.8% of that? $11,472.846.00?

    NO, because the Restricted funds budget comes up short by $43,049,965.00 and has to be supplemented from the Unrestricted fund.

    So that leaves $154,757,725.00 Unrestricted. Does CVHS get 5.8% of that? $8,975,948.00.

    NO, because $13,764,388.00 has to be “put aside” for “Uncertainties” like IRS and “possible” State shortages.

    So that leaves $140,993,337.00. Does CVHS get 5.8% of that? $8,177,614.00?

    That is roughly an ADA of $4,333.00 and I would guess it is pretty close to what MDUSD would have to admit to if budgets “per school” were line itemed.

    The District says it gets $5207.00 ADA. It says it would have to supplement the ADA $900.00 to bring CVHS up to “average” $6100 High School Rates. Of course here you have to see some Lawrence game playing, because they wouldn’t have to cover “average”. They would have to base costs on using the State’s small-medium-large district formulas, but that is a very small percentage difference.

    The District does not want anyone to know how much HIGH SCHOOL allocation is being spent elsewhere! We know they don’t evenly distribute the $5207 evenly between K-12 schools.

    My spiralling-cost math may be a bit fuzzy, but I’m guessing they would actually have to come up with closer to $1767.00 in order to also cover the $800.00 or so ADA that they have been “shorting” CVHS all along. I wonder if all of the high schools are being “shorted” something between $900.00 and $1700.00 ADA because of the Districts inability to properly distribute State allotments for K-8 versus High School cost of education–and its own fuzzy math.

    $1767.00 ADA might be what they’re really fighting over. But of course, they can’t legally consider the money when considering the Charter application, can they?

  105. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Superintendent Steven Lawrence has promised that by Monday, Bryan Richards will provide me with the data that backs up the message Lawrence sent out last Friday.
    Here is information from the CDE regarding charter funding:

  106. g Says:

    I have to disagree with one premise of Lisa V.’s interpretation of what has happened in the solar industry questionable practices.

    If anyone in Miller’s Firm lobbies, directions to do so come from the managing partners. If money is made, the managing partners get “theirs”. If influence is bought through campaign donations, the managing partners benefit. Miller IV cannot be exempted nor excused in his complicity .

  107. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I touched base with Lisa regarding this comment and she emailed this response to me:

    “This is a federal loan guarantee. Miller IV’s firm was hired to lobby the state. SunPower hired an entirely different firm to do its federal lobbying.”

  108. Dan Says:

    So Theresa,

    They are giving Bryan Richards an entire weekend to “cook the books”.

    I see it’s business as usual in the MDUSD.

  109. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s not clear why the information is not available now.
    Neil McChesney said Bryan Richards is often busy and difficult to reach.

  110. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    @Dan 108

    Given the districts’ track record of saying many times they will provide the requested cost details over the past several months only to have those dates come and go without even an acknowledgment or apology for not doing what they said they would, or delivering any part of documentation requested, I doubt anything will be provided by Monday.


  111. g Says:

    Theresa, I disagreed more generally with Lisa’s protection of the Miller IV involvement with SunPower, and while she was just debunking the DOE loan association, the attempt to separate State lobbying from Fed lobbying was, in my mind disingenuous.

    SunPower paid $138 thousand to Miller’s firm in 2010 and so far $38 thousand in 2011 for “renewable energy” multiple legislation in CA.

    California legislation directs much of the energy decisions for the Country and the employment and manufacturing of much of the energy industry both here and abroad.

    So if renewable energy is being lobbied for and mandated in CA, it must be followed and lobbied at the Fed level as well, to keep Fed funding flowing into CA as the first lobby intended.

    It matters little who the lobby check is made out to, as long as the result is a win somewhere up the chain for the company and their lobbyists.

  112. g Says:

    I should have added that I like Lisa V.’s local coverage, and especially appreciate her live interviews at election time. But you will rarely find me on the side of Lobbyists, no matter what the cause might be.

  113. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The charter committee says it has met all the conditions of approval and hopes the board will give final approval to the charter on Oct. 25:
    Here’s a new blog post with details I learned today:

  114. Doctor J Says:

    Funny how district staff after many meetings refused to make a written report about the 56 conditions. Is the Board going to vote on each and every separate condition after discussion ? Could be a long meeting. Hope Gary shows up so he can get a little culture about “small potatoes”. We will see if he allows the same type of open and honest exchange of dialog that happened when he wasn’t there.

  115. Doctor J Says:

    Why doesn’t Lawrence just provide the ACTUAL costs of operation of CVHS instead of arbitrary averages. CVCHS has been asking for them for six months.

  116. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have asked for this information (as has Clayton Mayor David Shuey) and Superintendent Lawrence has promised this to me by Monday.

  117. Wait a Minute Says:

    The problem is that Stevie Lawrence is infamous for dishonesty and bullying of staff to support his decisions.

    Whatever numbers that he gives will reflects this.

    In any case, it is ILLEGAL for the BOE to even consider fiscal impact.

    There is now so much evidence of fiscal impact being the main criteria for denial that any legal action against the district would be a slam-dunk, albeit at a cost in time and money.

  118. g Says:

    Interesting that the online Agenda for that 10/11 meeting was changed after it was published (and after the meeting?). The change was the way it should have been in the first place though. 13.2 and the original 13.3 were combined.

    Just interesting that they can change the published Item after the fact, when it seems it should have been kept as published and then explain a “pull and change” in subsequently published minutes.

    Obviously, someone is watching Theresa’s Blog and paying attention to comments.

  119. Doctor J Says:

    @G #118. Changing the published and posted agenda within the three day notice period and after the meeting — wow, the Board Secretary might be in some hot water — oh that is Supt Lawrence. Oh, I can see some corrections possibly in an “amended notice” or noted in the minutes, but you can’t change the actual posted agenda that qualifies for the Brown Act. There has to be a paper trail of any changes or corrections. YES, not only do the highest staff read the blogs — so do the rank and file staff — they just pray that their “trips” are not publicized like Mildred Browne’s Entourage trip to the Marriott in Sacramento for three nights for a 1 1/2 day meeting. I wonder if Lawrence and others have their reservations for the annual Monterey/Asilomar trips ?

  120. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I noticed that the agenda was changed also. I assumed it had been discussed at the meeting, but since I wasn’t able to attend, I don’t know if that’s the case.
    Also, the motion and votes don’t show up at the bottom of the agenda items like they usually do after meetings:
    The superintendent’s secretary told me this is because there was some sort of computer glitch.
    Since Board President Gary Eberhart was absent, the responsibility for administering the electronic voting was passed to Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh. Apparently, this system was problematic.
    I’m not sure if the district plans to eventually update the agenda with the motions and votes.

  121. Doctor J Says:

    Let’s remember that Supt Lawrence’s official position on the MDUSD Board of Education is “Secretary” and he alone is responsbile for keep the accurate records. The fact the Supt’s secretary helps him, does not relieve him of his responsibilities.

  122. Wait a Minute Says:

    I doubt there was any sort of a “computer glitch”.

    Its far more likely that this is a clumsy cover-up.

  123. Dan Says:

    I can guarantee from my informants on the “inside” that this is yet another attempt at a cover-up.

    Brown Act violation galore in the MDUSD.

  124. g Says:

    Theresa, it looks like you had a fun whirlwind (pun intended) vacation, but I missed your usual live-action-reporting at the meeting.

  125. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Thanks! Yes, I enjoyed visiting the “windy city.”
    Regarding the meeting, Trustee Cheryl Hansen told me that she has begun personally audiotaping the meetings herself so that she has a record of what happened.
    For the rest of us, we will have to wait to see what shows up in the minutes.

  126. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#125 Oh yeah ! Cheryl disputes some of the minutes and another Trustee says, that’s not how I remember it. Cheryl hits the play button — checkmate.

  127. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @105 – on 10/14/11 you posted:

    “Superintendent Steven Lawrence has promised that by Monday, Bryan Richards will provide me with the data that backs up the message Lawrence sent out last Friday.
    Here is information from the CDE regarding charter funding:

    So, it’s Monday – got data?

  128. Doctor J Says:

    @#127 — Its becoming harder and harder to differentiate between Lawrence’s broken promises and lies.

  129. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I did receive data, but it includes several spreadsheets, which I haven’t had time yet to try to analyze.

  130. Anon Says:

    There is a Budget Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, open to the public. You can get Brian Richards right in front of you.

  131. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #129 Are these “actual costs” or just “averages” that he prepared for Lawrence’s propaganda piece ?

  132. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It does not appear to include an actual breakdown of CVHS costs. Instead, it includes spreadsheets based on ADA.

  133. g Says:

    I’m not an accountant, but I have done a little old fashioned “pencil” bookkeeping for a $20 million Company. A good, and simple, spreadsheet for me lists Assets in one column and then “spread” of Revenue and Expenditures across a row, so you can intersect and come up with a true bottom line figure for each Asset.

    They will have to come up with something like that to send to County/State if they ever want to “charge” correct expenses to the Charter School. Is it possible they don’t even keep an “Account” per “Asset” spreadsheet(yet)? If that’s the case, OMG!

  134. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Instead, it includes an “overview of calculations,” instead of an actual breakout of those calculations.

  135. Wait a minute Says:

    I’m sure the CVCHS people will have experts look at it.

    Hopefully we will get a full report on what their conclusions/findings are.

  136. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #134 Are you feeling cheated again ? Where are the actual costs ?

  137. Anon Says:

    Well I suspect it has something to do with Bryan Richards needing an entire weekend to “cook the books”.

    I can imagine them all sitting around a table desperately trying to come up with a way to obfuscate the true costs of running CVHS.

    I’d bet in a true apples to apples comparison, that the district comes out ahead if they let CVHS go. The real problem here: Eberhart’s Ego

  138. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the district just made calculations based on ADA, without looking at actual costs per site.
    There is a spreadsheet titled “Raw Teacher Salary Data,” which is blank.

  139. Wait a Minute Says:

    Well as they say in the business, garbage in=garbage out!

  140. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #138 — A blank page with “Raw Teacher Salary Data” — reminiscent of Rosemary Woods and the famous missing tape recordings she erased. Accidental I am “sure”. Why does the Board let them get away with this crap.

  141. Theresa Harrington Says:

    They said to follow up with questions, so that’s what I’ll have to do.

  142. Doctor J Says:

    Don’t play their game — turn it over to the First Amendment Coalition who can get attorney fees for winning a public records request.

  143. Anon Says:

    Theresa are you going to go to the Budget Advisory Meeting? (thursday) You’d assume they’d be talking about such an “important” matter at a budget meeting would you not?

  144. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s interesting that the district doesn’t list Budget Advisory Committee meetings on its website under “upcoming meetings:”
    Yet, it lists the Parent Advisory Council, board meetings and Community Advisory Committee meetings.
    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend. However, it would make sense for the committee to discuss the CVHS conversion impact on the budget.

  145. g Says:

    Theresa, I have also looked for BAC info. Richards’ Fiscal Dept. site shows a link for BAC meetings, but it is a “dead” link. What good is that?

    On old minutes prior to 2009 you could at least find Budget Committee meetings and BAC members listed as being in attendance. The only “maybe constant” that I can find is that several from 2002 and 2010 Measure C Committees were/are also on BAC and some also on PAC. Some people are on the same two or three committees at the same time. In fact, I can’t find a Committee that Ferrante has NOT been on except maybe PAC. Can’t help but wonder; are they really outstanding citizens, or certain shoe-ins when committees are being built because they are good at looking the other way when things aren’t quite right, good at leading others to follow the directions of the Staff, and good at redirecting discussions when others disagree with Staff?

    Whatever the case, there is just too much going on in the District that is not available to the public on the website (since Lawrence came in).

  146. g Says:

    Although it is in essence Richard’s committee, looking back at Whitmarsh’s now silent Blog, she apparently was in charge of putting together the BAC. On 4/29/11 she stated that she had received 10 applications for the 17 openings.

    Maybe she could enlighten us on who, what, when and where–and Why so secretive?

Leave a Reply