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Clayton City Council denounces MDUSD board’s conditional charter approval, mayor is heartened by community support

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 at 7:50 pm in Clayton, Concord, Mt. Diablo school district.

As the Clayton Valley High School charter petition has gathered steam in the community, the Clayton City Council has emerged as a strong force in favor of the conversion.

Although city and school leaders have traditionally sought to maintain a positive working relationship for the good of the communities they both share, a schism has emerged in the Clayton and Concord area of the Mt. Diablo school district that serves Clayton Valley High.

This was highlighted last month, when the Clayton City Council unanimously denounced the school board for its approval of the Clayton Valley High charter petition,  if more than 50 conditions are met by February:

Clayton Mayor David Shuey has been the most outspoken council member, encouraging the public to email him with questions or to voice support or opposition to the charter. He recently received a copy of a letter of support sent to the board and superintendent from a family whose child will not enter high school for many years.

Both Shuey and the father who wrote the letter agreed to allow me to post it below:

“Dear Council Members and Superintendent Lawrence,

Today my daughter, and future CVCHS student, is 10 months old. The thought never occurred to me that I would have attended four meetings with regards to her high school before my daughter was 10 months old. After attending these meetings to learn about the Charter conversion process and to hear from both the steering committee and Mt. Diablo Unified School District, I am in full support of this conversion happening with Clayton Valley High School.

This e-mail is to confirm support for the Charter conversion both my wife and and myself, and to notate our dissatisfaction with the MDUSD approval with conditions. As has been pointed out by the steering committee, some of these conditions are unrealistic or not possible to achieve until after the Charter has been approved. We agree with Mayor Shuey that the current approval with conditions is a de-facto denial.

Both Julielyn and myself, applaud the city council for taking such a strong stand and support for the Clayton Valley Charter High School. Thank you for helping to make our daughter’s future a bit brighter.

Anthony & Julielyn Chippero.”

Despite this support, there appears to be deep concern among some parents and administrators in other schools about the financial impact the charter could have on them.

Although Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister has also come out in favor of the charter, other city council members in Concord, Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek have remained silent on the issue.

Do you believe it is appropriate for city council members to take stands on school district issues?

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17 Responses to “Clayton City Council denounces MDUSD board’s conditional charter approval, mayor is heartened by community support”

  1. g Says:

    If the city council members are citizens within the district, they certainly should become outspoken and involved—especially if they have students in the system.

    On the other hand, some short-term district-hopping employees who don’t live in the district, and who don’t have kids in district schools, should maybe stick to the work that is listed on their “employment” agreement.

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is an update on the Mt. Diabo Flex Academy charter, approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Education:
    It plans to open next fall, but may need approval from the city of Walnut Creek for its facilities, since it is opting not to locate on a Mt. Diablo district campus.

  3. Jim Says:

    Local elected officials cannot, and should not, ignore the conditions in their local public schools. As any real estate professional will tell you, the public schools are one of the most important factors, if not THE most important factor, in the health and livability of any community. MDUSD is a taxpayer supported government monopoly. The residents of Clayton have no choice but to attend those schools, unless they can afford private schools. So yes, city council officials have every right to voice their concerns about MDUSD. I wish other municipalities covered by the MDUSD monopoly would take a similar interest in what is going on there.

  4. Just a Parent Says:

    Get outside of Clayton and the tenor is very different, so I’m absolutely fine with City Council members from other areas voicing the concerns of those constituents.

    One can only hope they are more professional than Mayor Shuey has been in his communication regarding this issue.

  5. 4Students Says:

    Jim is right. People expect the city and county to hold the school district accountable. People are shocked when they find out this is not the case, and there is no accountability. Hence the frustration with MDUSD. Looking around the rest of the state, mayors get actively involved with the schools like LA Mayor Villaraigosa whose initiative has turned around 22 low-performing schools and maintains charter, magnet and pilot schools

  6. Wait a minute Says:

    Well JAP @4, what about Mayor Hoffmeister’s support for the charter?

  7. Anthony Chippero Says:

    @Just a Parent aka AnonParent

    It’s too bad you did not attend the school board meeting last night to express your opinion about the Charter. You may have been quite surprised to hear Cheryl Hansen speak on some of the conditions set as being “impossible” and “unreasonable”. There was discussion amongst the board that many of the existing schools could not meet those conditions in the timeframe set forth or until the Charter has been approved and operating. Even Lynne Dennler seemed to have a change of heart about the conditions and voted to rescind the 9/13 vote.

    Other than negative comments on various blogs, the presence of people against the Charter has been almost non-existent at the three board meetings I have attended. As was mentioned at the end of the article other council members have been silent on the issue, not against, just silent. If you are against the Charter come out to the board meetings and let your voices be heard.

    I am grateful to see the Clayton City Council members at every board meeting concerning the Charter. After speaking with them, they have received overwhelming support from the Clayton residents about the Charter. As they are elected to do, they are speaking out for the wishes of the majority of the citizens they were elected to represent. It feels good to be part of a community that is proactive instead of complacent.

  8. CVCHS Supporter Says:

    Well said, Anthony Chippero!

  9. 4Parents Says:

    Attempts to reach out to MDUSD don’t always work. The Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council called a community meeting to address the number of chronically low-performing schools, and Lawrence attended but no board members (before the last election). The room was full with families. Lawrence told the parents to volunteer, get a TB test, go to Dent Center and pay to be fingerprinted. That led to a collection being passed to help parents pay for fingerprinting. What has happened since then?

  10. Just TEACH! Says:

    You can have your charter or not…but this year can the proponents of the charter who teach at CVHS TEACH! Don’t give my kid pizza to stuff envelopes and charter school mailings in your class when she is supposed to be learning….or show movies because you need to work on your charter documentation. Charter or not TEACH! We are not keeping our best and brightest at home and we expect you to TEACH this year. What is going to be the evaluation system for teachers in the charter…??? I don’t care one iota if it becomes a charter or not…what will the big difference be? Why do you think our Juniors did so poorly on the testing last year? Ah hem….they cannot teach themselves…you can blame the kids all you want but they will still be coming charter or not so what strategies and curriculum will be in place to prepare them for college that is not in place now? Stuffing envelopes sure isn’t going to do it!

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    CVHS Principal Sue Brothers told the school’s Parent Advisory Council that she is holding teachers accountable for educating students.
    She encouraged parents who were not satisfied to contact her.

  12. g Says:

    Just TEACH: “Stuffing envelopes sure isn’t going to do it!” I disagree.

    I would give extra credit and call it a lesson in “Employing the Masses to Effect Change Through Political Strategies”.

    Sue Brothers understands political strategy quite well.

  13. Wait a Minute Says:

    So Sue Brothers is going to start “holding teachers accountable…”!

    Well watch out teachers at CVHS in support of the Charter.

    Because when the Charter finally gets approval, Sue will go fully negative and its going to get ugly.

    The people in West Sac who told me about how former pre-school director Sue Brothers set up a program for putting 1-6th grade elementary students AT THE CONTINUATION HS there wanted me to post another unpleasant fact about Sue.

    It seems that Sue and her minions in West Sac were quite the sadistic hatchet people there.

    In fact, they had a proclivity for going after staff they didn’t like who were struggling with serious illnesses like cancer and MS.

    I say this because one teacher who had MS and had to fight just to get ADA grab bars installed in the bathroom ending up dying from MS complications while serving in West Sac.

    Well another one of Sue’s victims there has also just recently passed away. It seems that a wonderful counselor at the continuation school who was in remission for cancer decided to oppose Sue when she put the elementary program in there.

    Sue hired a hatchet-person of a principal who viciously went after the counselor and Sue herself personally gave the counselor a mentally-ill and sadistic negative job evaluation.

    In any case, the counselor then had a re-occurence of cancer under the duress that was put upon her and was been in declining health ever since. Now this victim has also just passed away.

    There were other cases of similar abuse too.
    Sue Brothers, buddy of Stevie Lawrence at her finest.

  14. Just J Says:

    I hope sue reads this. If she thinks for one second that she will take any action against a teacher that supports the Charter she is sadly going to have to deal with the 2000 supporters. I will make her little minion head spin with work. I would hope that she is an adult and would never do this.

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Sue Brothers did not say anything about taking action against teachers who support the charter.
    She said she wants to hold teachers accountable for educating students during the year that she is at the school

  16. Wait a minute Says:

    And I’m sure Sue Brothers never openly said anything about retaliating agaianst people in West Sac either but she still did.

  17. Wendy Lack Says:

    Parents and teachers interested in doing what’s best for students are using whatever leverage they can to do so — including standing up to oppose the school bureaucratic machine. This is a positive trend for California schools:

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