Despite frustrations expressed during the past month by those who are pushing to convert Clayton Valley High School to a charter, a new sense of optimism is beginning to emerge.
Clayton Mayor David Shuey told me he sent an e-mail to Mt. Diablo school board President Gary Eberhart and Superintendent Steven Lawrence today, saying he was encouraged by the overall tenor and outcome of Tuesday’s board meeting.
“It was nice to actually hear some real discussion from the board on the issue,” he wrote. “As you know, we have submitted all of our responses to the conditions to staff on Wednesday and I believe we have a meeting with staff on Tuesday to go over any further concerns. While damage has been done to the relationship between Clayton and the district, if on October 25 this issue can be resolved one way or the other without further delay, I am hopeful that we can rebuild that relationship and move forward in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way.”
I also spoke to Trustees Linda Mayo and Cheryl Hansen today about the status of the petition and conditions of approval.
Mayo said she has based her previous votes on staff reports, not the possible financial impacts of the charter conversion on the district.
She clarified this in the following email:
“Since I did not have any advance information on the financial impact to the district and because I know that the fiscal impact cannot be used to deny the charter, therefore on September 13 I made my decision based on staff’s written and oral evaluation of the submitted application.
On October 11, I made my decision to sustain the action taken on September 13, because I believe there are still items that can be clarified and are important to Clayton Valley students and MDUSD students alike. One example is this: the application indicates the lottery priority for students: 1) current students and siblings, 2) students residing in the CVHS attendance area, 3) students from any other area. This has now been clarified to include #3) MDUSD students.
It’s my understanding that the applicants have submitted many documents after business hours on Thursday, October 13. I have stated previously and again on October 11, that I would consider the approval of the charter prior to February pending the evaluation and recommendation by staff.
My comments (on Oct. 11) in regard to the fiscal impact of the charter were to advise those present and the community that it is practice in MDUSD, when a board approved item affects the budget, the revenue/expense is included in the budget documents as soon as possible. For an amount this large, and knowing that there are only seven meetings remaining until March 15, MDUSD must begin to inform the community of the budget reduction potential, commence dialogue and determine where reductions can be implemented.”
Mayo said that her understanding is that the lottery now has a four-tier priority system, with MDUSD students getting preference over those outside the district.
“Since the voters and taxpayers in the MDUSD have funded that facility, I think that district students should have a higher priority,” she said. “It’s my understanding an MOU has been signed. That’s an example of an important elment that I think is worth sustaining the effort to go through the process.”
Hansen said she hopes to vote to give final approval to the charter Oct. 25, either by agreeing the petitioners have met the conditions or by eliminating some conditions that may not be possible to meet entirely this early in the planning stage.
“My goal is not to wait until February,” she said, “because dragging this out is not doing anybody any good at all.”
Neil McChesney, one of the teachers leading the effort, said the steering committee hopes to answer staff’s questions during their meeting Tuesday, to clear the way for an Oct. 25 approval.
“The end result is we want a positive staff recommendation that we’ve met all the conditions,” he said. “So far, we’ve made progress and I’m going to cross my fingers.”
Do you think both parties are moving forward in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way?