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Mt. Diablo district war of words continues in Clayton Valley charter debate

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 12:09 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

As allegations fly on both sides of the Clayton Valley High School charter debate in the Mt. Diablo school district, the war of words is intensifying.

Trustee Cheryl Hansen is butting heads with Board President Gary Eberhart (figuratively speaking). Clayton Mayor David Shuey and other charter supporters have also lashed out at Eberhart, along with Superintendent Steven Lawrence.

Lawrence and Eberhart are standing their ground, however, saying staff members need more time to review the charter committee’s most recent financial data, before they can make a final recommendation to approve or deny the charter petition.

“I received an e-mail from David Shuey indicating that we were dragging our feet,” Eberhart told me Monday. “None of that’s true.”

Eberhart said he had received an e-mail from Shuey earlier last week that said negotiations during a Tuesday meeting between staff and the charter committee had been positive and collaborative and that things were going well.

“But then when he presents it publicly, he says: ‘You guys are dragging your feet,’” Eberhart said. “It’s disingenuous. It’s not factual.”

Eberhart said the Oct. 25 deadline the charter committee set was never agreed to by the district.

“He (Shuey) keeps telling us that: ‘You need to bargain in good faith,’” Eberhart said. “Bargaining in good faith means not placing artificial deadlines out there, which mean: ‘Do this or else.’”

Shuey said he believed staff was working in good faith to try to meet the Oct. 25 deadline. He wrote the first email referenced by Eberhart after those productive meetings, he said.

“That is just ludicrous if he can’t see that my tone changed when the good feelings we had of working with staff were torpedoed by the failure to put it on the agenda (for a vote),” Shuey said. “We worked well with staff and then we found out that it wasn’t being put on the agenda. That’s disingenuous in any stretch of the imagination.”

Shuey said staff and the committee have come to agreements regarding conditions that seemed impossible or very difficult to meet.

“The proof’s in the pudding,” he said. “Staff has worked with us. The problem is that staff is not Gary and staff is not Steve, because Steve and Gary were really the ones who made the decision not to put it on the agenda (for a vote).”

Teacher Neil McChesney told me today that he and teacher Pat Middendorf asked the district on Sunday to hold a special meeting before Nov. 8 for a final charter vote. As of this morning, he said he had received no response.

Shuey said he did not understand why the district placed the charter on the agenda as an information item under “Superintendent’s Report.”

“I think that’s a direct conflict to what I repeatedly asked for and what board member Hansen asked for,” he said. “That screams of a monarchy, not a democracy, and I’m very disappointed in it.”

Eberhart said he anticipated the board would vote on the approval or denial next month.

“We told them originally that we wouldn’t make a determination until February,” he said. “Now, we’ve come out and said on Nov. 8, we will make a final decision. The superintendent said that staff will be complete with their review.”

He defended the decision not to put the item up for a vote Tuesday, saying Roberts Rules of Order don’t allow the board to successively revote on the same issue repeatedly, after it has already been defeated. (Referring to the Oct. 11 vote to rescind the Sept. 13 motion. It died after Hansen and Trustee Lynne Dennler voted to rescind, while Trustees Sherry Whitmarsh and Linda Mayo voted to stick to the original approval with conditions. Eberhart was absent at that meeting.)

Eberhart said Roberts Rules only allow for a motion to rescind or a motion to table.

“There cannot be a motion for an amendment,” he said. “There is no opportunity to place another motion on the agenda that would attempt to thwart the will of the majority of the board, which voted to approve the charter on 9/13. Roberts Rules is pretty clear on that.”

He also said the public might question why a board would keep reconsidering the same motion, after it has been defeated.

“We have a responsibility to present motions to the community that they’ll understand,” he said.

Hansen, however, disagrees with Eberhart’s interpretation of Roberts Rules.

“In Gary’s voice mail to me on Thursday afternoon, he stated twice that my charter school agenda item was not going to be placed on the agenda because ‘Robert’s Rules did not provide for it to be placed there,’” Hansen said in an e-mail. “In my follow-up email to him on Thursday, I challenged him to document the citations from Robert’s Rules of Order that gave him that authority or that substantiated his claim. Of course, I have never heard back from him. Personally, I am willing and able to cite specifics from Robert’s Rules that absolutely support my putting the agenda item on; in fact, Robert’s Rules have specific means to ensure that this can happen.”

Eberhart said he did not believe he was exceeding his authority as board president in his interactions with Hansen.

“Our board policy is pretty general in terms of determining the specific roles of board members,” he said. “The board members will provide direction to the superintendent. The superintendent will manage the district.”

Eberhart said the meeting between the charter committee and district was the superintendent’s jurisdiction.

“Being in the middle of a legal negotiation for the district is tantamount to managing the district,” he said. “Arguably, that’s not someplace the board members belong.”

He said he thought CSBA and other entities that provide board members with guidance regarding their roles would agree with that. The only exception, he said, would be when the board as a whole agreed that one or members should be a party to the negotiations.

Hansen, however, said she didn’t consider the meeting to be a legal negotiation.

“I’m unclear why Gary would state that these meetings are legal negotiations,” she said in an e-mail. “The entire process is public information, including the conditions as well as the summative report of findings. The board has never talked about this issue as a ‘legal negotiation’ nor has Gary or any staff member stated that to me. After I informed staff that I would be attending their last meeting with the charter school petitioners in order to listen firsthand to the discussion, I was simply told, ‘See you there.’ I would say that any perception of the meetings as legal negotiations are more the perceptions of Mr. Eberhart. I believe they are and should be public discussion.”

Although Hansen has said she wanted to attend the meeting to find out what’s going on behind the scenes, Eberhart said trustees can get that information by asking staff. He said the public will find out about progress during the Superintendent’s Report and during the staff presentation on Nov. 8.

“We’ve told them (the charter committee) we will not unreasonably delay this process,” he said. “We’re talking about making this decision three months prior to when we said we were going to make a decision. So, any attempt to frame this as that we’re trying to delay or that we’re not working to make a decision, it’s just baseless. Who in the public wants our staff to make a recommendation to the board prior to achieving an understanding of what’s in this plan? Is that really what the community wants? This is a big investment for the community to make. Don’t we want to make sure that it’s a good investment?”

Shuey said the charter committee hasn’t been given all of the actual costs for running the school from the district.

“The financial (aspect) has been problematic,” he said. “Bryan (Richards) has not been as forthcoming or as helpful (as the rest of staff). Maybe it’s because he’s busy.”

But Eberhart said it was his understanding that the district had fully cooperated with the charter’s information requests.

“I’ve asked the question 10 times, 10 different ways: ‘Are we withholding any financial information from the charter people? Have they gotten everything they’ve asked for?’ The answer is ‘yes,’” he said. “So, either someone’s lying to me, or this is a strategy to confuse the public, to tell people that we’re dragging our feet.”

Shuey said he believed Eberhart wasn’t getting accurate information regarding the district’s financial disclosures.

“If he’s being told that by staff,” Shuey said, “then when he finds out it isn’t true, I hope it opens his eyes and the rest of the board’s.”

Eberhart said the district has offered to have a third party review its financial analysis, but the charter committee hasn’t shown an interest in pursuing that.

But Shuey called this offer a “smoke screen,” saying it’s irrelevant to the charter decision. He also reiterated that he didn’t believe the district was using actual costs of operating CVHS in its projections.

Although the board doesn’t intend to vote on the charter Tuesday, the public can comment on it and the board can discuss it, Lawrence said in an e-mail.

“Deb (Cooksey) will be providing an overview of the meetings between the charter proponents and the district and where the district is in the review process,” he wrote. “She will provide an oral report.”

Today is Shuey’s birthday. Yet, he said he plans to speak at the meeting.

“I can think of nothing better to do on my birthday than to come and speak for the kids,” he said. “I’ve heard from a considerable amount of people that are upset with the district and I wouldn’t be surprised if other people came to express their displeasure.”

Shuey said hoped Eberhart would stand by his remarks that the board expects to make a final decision Nov. 8.

“I am encouraged by Gary’s comments, but they don’t quite touch home plate,” Shuey said. “He’s rounding third and he seems to be going home, which is where we want to go, but he hasn’t touched home plate. All he has to do is tell us ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by a date certain.”

Shuey said he is not happy with the way communications between himself and district officials have played out over the course of the charter debate.

“I didn’t start the war,” he said. “But, I’m not backing down, because my constituents have been clear and unequivocal that they want this for their kids. I want this for my kids and it’s something that needs to happen. They could have very easily done this much earlier and not had the animosity and the rancor, but they chose this path. I don’t feel good about the way it’s gone down. I don’t feel good personally. I’ve had to take a leading role as kind of a lightning rod.”

He said respect has to be continually earned.

“We’ve gone in stops and starts,” he said. “Just when we think we’re making ground, they pull the rug out from under us.”

Eberhart said he would also like to see communications improve — both with the public, as well as between board members.

“We have a responsibility to be professional and be collegial and do the business of all the children of the Mt. Diablo school district at every meeting we show up for,” he said.

Shuey said he hoped both sides could rebuild trust after the final decision is made.

“I continue to maintain that when it’s all said and done that everybody needs to take a step back and I hope that fences can be mended,” he said. “But, there has been a lot of damage done and it’s not going to be be assured, but I’m going to try.”

Do you agree with Eberhart’s characterization of the meetings between the charter committee and district staff as a “negotiations?”

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  • Anon

    Beware Charter School Proponents,

    I can assure you the board “leadership” and Lawrence will develop a scenario which allows them to delay the Nov. 8th vote.

  • g

    So many smokescreens instead of straight forward talk. Gary, don’t ask “are we giving them what they need”, ask “How much did we spend last year to run CVHS–bottom line!!” Should be a simple question. You won’t ask a straight question because then you would be accountable, and it is not in your nature to ever give a straight answer!

    “Eberhart said he would also like to see communications improve — both with the public, as well as between board members.”

    Excuse me, but he is a lying “sack-”. He falls back on that tired old “open communications” line of his every time he runs out of wind and rhetoric on an issue and just before he takes another disappearing dive down the rabbit hole.

    When is the last time he answered an email from the “public” that disagreed with the Board or questioned his personal statements?

    There is only ONE Board member who feels it is important to speak to the public, about the public’s concerns, even if it is a lot of work to go through, and answer email.

  • vindex

    well done Ms Hansen and Mr. Shuey. You are standing up for our kids and not backing down from these two men. I’ve heard that in the D.O. the politics that are being played are awful. Mr. McHenry was a good man but clearly incompetent.. Mr. Lawerence is not a good man and clearly a game player. Who would have thought that we we’d looking back at the McHenry years as the “good old years”?

  • Doctor J

    Eberhart statements are as phoney as a $3 bill — He KNOWS the actual costs of operation of CVHS have never been provided — he refers to it as a “financial analysis”. If Gary doesn’t follow through with the Nov 8 promised vote up or down, I firmly believe this will go to court and you will see the only way to find the truth is “under oath” and lies will be prosecuted. Gary and Lawrence have stacked the deck with Rolen and Cooksey. I followed G’s advice and googled Deb Cooksey. What a baggage history. The irony of all of this is yesterday two Oakland schools pulled the teacher trigger to go charter [her former district]. Maybe they will borrow Cooksey’s 56 Conditions. I just can’t wait to hear Gary and Lawrence’s excuses for lack of textbook sufficiency AND the Sanctions of Program Improvement “Hat Trick” in all three titles. Remember, you don’t have to identify yourself by name to speak at the board meeting — use an alias.

  • Doctor J

    @Vindex, you are so right. Good people in the district are being pressured by the powers that be not to tell the truth but keep it hidden and in some cases to outright misstate the truth. Why do you think the textbook sufficiency resolution is such double talk. Why was the attachment of who didn’t have textbooks removed from the agenda ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    It remains to be seen how well the district will adhere to the resolution by providing information “detailed the extent to which textbooks and instructional materials were provided to all students, including English learners.”
    A written attachment could have satisfied that.

  • Doctor J

    @TH #6 Instructional materials not given to English learners ? And one wonders why we are in Title III PI Sanctions for the SIXTH YEAR !! And so what is the new Director of EL doing to remedy this ? Seems like she is playing the same old broken record. Where is the EL Plan that Norm Gold was paid for ? actually, paid for twice.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    “Teacher Neil McChesney told me today that he and teacher Pat Middendorf asked the district on Sunday to hold a special meeting before Nov. 8 for a final charter vote. As of this morning, he said he had received no response.”

    A special meeting before November 8th? What will that cost, in manpower and energy? Are McChesney and Middendorf going to pay for it? Do you think money grows on trees? I refuse to let my tax dollars pay for the crybabies request. MEET THE DAMN CONDITIONS INSTEAD OF POSTURING AND POSING!

    I used to be all for the charter, figuring it would keep the whiny Clayton crowd on its own campus and out of the rest of the district. Now, I hope they go down in flames, because it’s not about the students anymore, it’s about inflated egos, egotistical lawyers and overreaching politicians.

    Who else is sick to death of the crap from both sides? I can’t wait until my last child is finished with this district. I will vote against every bond or parcel tax.

  • Doctor J

    @FT #8 No cost to the District. I am sure that Shoe could provide the venue, and the only required District attendees are on salary and don’t get paid extra for Board meetings — unless they are in the Gang of Five and then that is included. It would be a short meeting; apparently there is agreement that most of the conditions have been met, and those could be approved. The ones that the board doesn’t think are met, are disapproved. So FT, what is the cost you are referring to ?

  • Just J

    This is from a post on a blog about Cooksey WOW!

    Deb Cooksey is an evil, vindictive bully who’s legacy in OUSD is that she has been responsible for targeting staff and District employees for dismissal…by trumping up salacious, inflamatory and misleading charges…GOOD RIDDANCE (too bad the rest of the legal dept isn’t leaving with her, as they reflect the same mentality and incivility)!!!

    I’d lay odds that there’s more that a little bit of ax grinding going on here…..

    Then again…perhaps she wasn’t offered a big enough cut of the action herself…..EQ

  • Just J

    Dr. J. Why on earth do you waste your time responding to FT? He is not worth the little bit of brain power it takes.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Of course a special board meeting will be held on district premises. Of course it will cost. The sound guys alone work all day – I see them on a regular basis – do you think they work for free at the night meetings? No, they get paid overtime. OT for any CST folks, more work for the custodian. Lights, heat, toilet paper, water…it costs. You know this well, “Doctor” J, since you work for the district.

    Or, the charter committee can get all their ducks in order and present the finished plan on November 8th, and get their up or down vote then.

    But no, they have to snivel, threaten and whinge away. It makes them look weak, whether they see it or not. If they can’t do the hard work now, who believes they’ll do the hard work when it’s really critical?

    I’m no great fan of this Board, but I’m even less a fan of the charter crybabies.

  • Theresa Harrington

    J: I forwarded this post to Oakland schools reporter Katy Murphy and she said the allegations appeared to be unfounded.

    Here’s an Oct. 2009 story she did about a lawsuit involving Cooksey:

    By Katy Murphy

    OAKLAND — A noisy legal battle between the Oakland school district and a small law firm it accused of fraud and racketeering has come quietly to a close.
    Bryant & Brown, a local husband-and-wife firm, agreed to pay the Oakland school district $325,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed in December. The settlement, entered last month in U.S. District Court, includes no admission of wrongdoing. Each side will cover its own legal expenses.
    The firm also dropped its defamation countersuit against the school district, the district’s former general counsel, Deborah Cooksey — once a close friend of the lawyers she investigated — and its former interim superintendent, Roberta Mayor.
    The Oakland school district has a new general counsel, Jacqueline Minor, and a new superintendent, Tony Smith. Neither was named in the defamation claim.
    “We believe that bringing an end to this dispute was in the best interest of OUSD, ” said Troy Flint, the school district’s spokesman, in a statement prepared by both sides.
    In January, Flint said the district was seeking more than $1 million from the firm. The lawsuit stated that Bryant & Brown defrauded the district with duplicate and falsified bills and that it carelessly handled a case, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    Guy Bryant and Meredith Brown, prominent community members whose children attend local schools, had performed legal services for the school district’s facilities modernization project since 2001. Their attorney, Zack Wasserman, said they had made some billing errors but that the allegations were overblown. Wasserman said the firm repaid the district about $38,000 before the suit was filed.
    The jointly prepared statement lists a number of the projects on which Bryant & Brown had worked for the district and said the attorneys “have been dedicated to serving the interests of OUSD as its Special Facilities Counsel.”
    “Going forward, as parents and residents of Oakland, we remain fully committed to our school system and the highest quality of education for its students, ” Brown said.

  • Another CV Parent

    I haven’t seen any “animosity and rancor”, as Mayor Shuey put it, in public comments from the District. All of the animosty and rancor has come from the charter steering committee’s press releases as well as Mayor Shuey’s pronouncements. His letter to the Board regarding the Northgate principal was childish, unprofessional, and something he should be very ashamed of. I’m glad Mayor Shuey does not feel good about his own behavior in the charter school debate. But rather than accepting responsibility for his own actions, he’s attemping to blame others. Shame on you, Mayor Shuey.

    The Board never agreed to vote on the charter petition on the October 25 meeting. Mayor Shuey claiming that it’s the board’s fault “that my tone changed” and good feelings disappeared when the board would not agree to his demand that the issue be placed on the Oct. 25th agenda is ridiculous. It’s a date that the charter petitioners themselves made up and the district never agreed to it. Any hard feelings or rancor because of that are due entirely to the Mayor Shuey and the charter petitioners themselves, not the actions of the Board.

    I’m also mystified by his claims that the district is refusing to give him details on exactly how much it costs the District to operate CVHS. Why does the charter committee need them? It’s seems obvious to me that the costs to operate the school as part of the school district and the costs to operate it as a charter will be very different. CVCHS will be outsourcing back office functions to a company in Southern California and hiring their own on-site administrative team. Clearly those costs will be very different from the District’s administrative costs to run the school as part of the District, where many costs are spread district-wide. CVCHS plans to hire outside firms to do maintenance and janitorial functions. Clearly those costs will be very different from the costs to use district staff. The list goes on and on as to what costs are not comparable: costs to run the cafeteria, costs for office machines and supplies, costs for insurance, costs for legal support, costs to develop curriculum. Those are numbers the CVCHS steering committee needs to be researching and developing themselves, not expecting MDUSD to hand to them on a silver platter.

    So why does the charter steering committee need details as to what it costs the district to run CVCHS? My guess is that they don’t need the info to prepare their own budget. They simply are trying to get financial details that they can use in a publicity campaign to counter the District’s assertion that CVHS turning charter will hurt the District’s finances.

    I’ve been astonished by the poor behavior of the charter steering committee, Mayor Shuey, and school board member Hansen. Rather than do the hard work required to successfully convert a large high school to a charter school, they’ve chosen to hurl insults and ridiculous accusations, threaten to bring in the District Attorney and tattle to other politicians, make outrageous demands of District staff and the elected school board, and blame others for their own personal failures. At the next board meeting, I fully expect them to threaten to hold their breath and stomp their feet until the Board agrees to give them whatever they want. That’s the level of discourse we’ve seen from this group.

  • Just J

    Thank you Theresa!

  • Doctor J

    @FT,#12 I guess you forgot about that Special Meeting Sherry tried to illegally have outside the district boundries at the San Ramon Marriott on a Sunday ? She said it would have been no cost to the district. There is no reason not to have it hosted by the City of Clayton since CVCHS supporters requested it.

  • Dan

    Dr. J.

    Oh man, I had almost forgotten about that. Marriott Gate. When the board got some heat for the cost of the Marriott you had them all stammering about an “Anonymous Donor” who would pick up the tab. Later it was discovered that the “Anonymous Donor” was Sherry herself.

    Then you had Mayo claiming she would have never gone in the first place.

    Ah good times back in those days, those scandals seem like child’s play compared to the current boondoggle.

  • Anon

    All we can say is “accurate but not honest”. He knows that the District has not provided the correct information to determine the cost of running CVHS. Gary will never admit to lying about numbers because he justifies them as accurate… he just never admits that the numbers he provides are irrelevent.

  • Theresa Harrington

    State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and Walnut Creek Councilman Kish Rajan have sent a letter to the board urging a quick resolution to the charter issue and an independent analysis of the financial impact to district: http://bit.ly/rz2XYl

  • Doctor J

    @Dan #17. I can’t take the whole credit, there were many. The irony of the whole thing is that the consultant they hired actually started them on a path of unification, and its unfortunate that they didn’t have more sessions like it so they could learn to work together as a board instead of a poor immitation of the 1917 Mexican Revolution.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The consultant wanted to hold more sessions like the board retreat, but trustees didn’t agree on another date to meet.

  • Doctor J

    Atnn Board on Textbook Insufficiency: Please tell us why no discipline was taken against the person that cost the district $175,000 by ordering the instructional materials from the wrong vendor ? In any private company, that person would have been given their walking papers.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Under Funding and Fiscal Impact, the agenda item states: “Textbooks and instructional materials will be purchased with Instructional Materials Fund Realignment Program, Lottery, and Williams Settlement Instructional Materials Funds.
    Fiscal Impact: No impact to the General Fund”
    Do you think the district should reveal how much is being spent from the listed funds?

  • Doctor J

    @TH #23 We already know that there was a $175,000 mistake and therefore a fiscal impact to the general fund. Tell us the whole story for a change Board and staff.

  • Doctor J

    @TH #21 Another failure of Gary’s leadership as Board President, but partial blame also lies with other Board members who I don’t recall bringing it up again at another board meeting.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is how Superintendent Steven Lawrence describes what happened last week, from an e-mail he sent me today:

    “I left a voice mail for all Board members requesting that they allow staff to continue without observers the collaborative and productive work in meetings with the charter organizers. As is the case with all forms of negotiations, staff feels meetings are more productive and efficient when they work without observation and then report back to the Board and me. Prior to the October 18 meeting, I asked Ms. Hansen if she would have a conversation with me rather than observing staff’s meeting with the charter organizers. She agreed. Our conversation was positive and enlightening.”

  • g

    “…, staff feels meetings are more productive and efficient when they work without observation…”

    Yeah, well that says a whole lot more than he intended!

    Brown Act be damned; would’t ALL meetings be more “efficient” if the public was barred from the proceedings?

    Less witnesses for the back-stabbing to follow?!

  • MDUSD WC Resident

    I just finished reading the article about the charter school controversy. There seems to be much disgruntlement with the district in the CV area and while I’m more of a supporter of the Northgate area moving to WC which is quite logical and sensible I have followed the charter controversy with interest. I sense a great deal of empathy with CV parents in my neighborhood.

    While it seems to have become a very bitter process what stood out for me was the board president’s interpretation of Robert’s Rules of Order. He is completely wrong about what may be voted on, when, and how.
    Why this is important is how the lack of a lucid, properly implemented, and open process breeds distrust and suspicion. If Mr. Eberhart’s explanations are based upon his own interpretation then he should not be allowed to conduct a meeting since that interpretation violates fundamental principles of the individual’s, groups’, or community’s right to present, debate, discuss, and vote on the issues.If they are another’s interpretation, the district needs a new parliamentarian because Mr. Eberhart’s actions are either because of his ignorance of Roberts Rules or his intentional misuse of them Which could be compared to the banana republic dictator who says “the rules mean what they say I mean”. If either is the case, the board needs to find another board president.

    In summary, I will be providing my support to my neighbors who will still continue to move the NOrthgate Walnut Creek feeder schools to the WC and Acalanes school districts.To our neighbors in Clayton and Concord who have taken on their arduous and courageous task, my best wishes for the optimal outcome.

  • MDUSD WC Resident

    Edit: In the third paragraph the word “because” should be deleted after parliamentarian and a period inserted.
    In a later line the word “which” is capitalized and it shouldn’t be.

    Thank you

  • Doctor J

    Maybe the meeting with Lawrence was recorded by Hansen so we will know who is telling the truth.

  • Wait a Minute

    Stevie Lawrence is a lying manipulator and a bully and has a track record of this behavior all through his educational career.

    Hell, as a HS water polo coach he was infamous for savagely screaming at his athletes during games as soon as something went wrong. I think we all no how counterproductive and unprofessional that is.

    In any case, Lawrence and fellow bully Eberhart are only trying to keep strict control of the process and shutting out Hansen and that is wrong as hell.

    The real reason that Eberhart wouldn’t support any further consultant-led board retreats is because the consultant was telling them the PROPER conduct and role of the board.

    Teaching things like the board president doesn’t have any more real power then the rest of the board rubbed Eberhart the wrong way. He wouldn’t want his “crew” getting any such ideas. Yes Gary, democracy is a dangerous idea.

    On the Cooksey revelations, isn’t it amazing that evil people seek out and recruit like-minded minions to help them. Kind of like the Taliban inviting in Bin Laden. It is my understanding that Lawrence and Brothers did the exact same thing in West Sac and in doing so they destroyed employee morale, communications and site autonomy. Of course the test scores never went up there until THEY LEFT–LOL.

    I wonder what the real connection is between Gary and Stevie. I understand Stevie’s wife was instrumental in getting her husband the job as she was raised in the MDUSD. Is it possible that they Stevie’s wife and Gary’s family are related?

    Another issue that needs to be pointed out is that Concerned Parent and Another CV Parent are most likely Sue Brothers again taking pot shots at the charter and now Mayor Shuey.

    Just remember Sue and Stevie, you played the same kind of crap in West Sac and it really backfired on you!

  • anon

    And, there’s still even a half million dollar IRS fine hanging over their heads – it’s been years! Doesn’t it collect more penalty and interest? Maybe if they took care of themselves, and let the charter take care of themselves, that would be a better plan.

  • anon

    Another CV Parent, they need the numbers and information to also research and inform the true cost to the district. All we see are numbers based on ADA (lost), but we don’t see that factored against the MILLIONS saved by not operating the school or employing the teachers. It really is sounding more and more that CV Parent is Sue Brothers as somewhere else tonight I read Sue Brothers told clerical staff today they would lose their job when the charter opens, and that is almost exactly what CV Parent said above. It is also incorrect.

  • anon

    I think all was said tonight at the board meeting. Gary asked for an independent financial review to better understand the financials and the impact on the district – sounds to me like he’s admitting even he doesn’t understand it. From the financial docs I’ve seen , you literally need a class to understand it all and it still doesn’t appear to tell the whole story.

  • Theresa Harrington

    When I spoke to Eberhart about the financials, it sounded like he was relying on what staff had told him had been presented to the charter committee. He didn’t seem to have seen it himself.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Pat Middendorf also said that Brothers told classified staff today that they would lose their jobs if the charter opened. Yet, that is not true, Middendorf said.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I don’t see “because” or “parliamentarian” in the third paragraph. I also don’t see the “which” to which you refer.

  • g

    Theresa, he (29) was correcting his own (28) post ;)

    I smell a new attempt at stalling by Gary–He will try anything to stall so they can’t open until 2013, and he knows he’ll be gone and someone else will bare the blame.

    I may have misunderstood, but I think no matter how cleverly she breezed right past it, Cooksey did in fact drop the February Bomb again tonight. Nov 8 “presentations” and “recommendations”, but no actual Board study time?– that won’t allow much time for Gary to decide what is best for the rest of mankind, so he’s going to shoot for putting it off to Dec, or Jan…….so he can “anal ize” it.

  • Just J

    Theresa, I could not stay for the whole meeting last night. What happened with the text books? and do all the school sites now have text books and work books?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, according to Rose Lock, all the sites had textbooks as of yesterday (Tuesday).

  • Anon

    I will say it again,

    Beware Charter supporters. “In my opinion”, the board has already identified a way to stall the vote yet again on Nov. 8th.

  • Another CV Parent

    No, Anon 33, I’m not Sue Brothers. Nor did I say clerical staff would lose their jobs.

    The charter steering committee has stated that they will hire ExEd to perform back office functions performed by the district. On another blog, Mayor Shuey stated that ExEd is providing the 3-year budget plan that the was included in the charter petition essentially for free with the understanding that ExEd would be hired for the first year of operation. Somewhere along the line they’ve identified Marshall Mayotte, of ExEd, as holding a financial leadership position at the charter.(CFO perhaps? I don’t really remember.) Pat Middendorf has stated publicly that she feels the maintenance and janitorial staffs are overpaid and do a lousy job and that as a charter CV will hired outside firms to do the work for less. Go back over the materials presented by the charter steering committee and you’ll find the info in writing.

    I have no knowledge of what Sue Brothers told the clerical staff, but I assume they are in the same position as the teachers. I expect they’ll have to resign their positions with the District in order to work for the charter. It’s up to the charter administration to decide who they want to hire. I don’t know what ed code or their union contract says about this situation. Do CV clerical employees have the right to move to other District schools and “bump” less senior employees if they don’t want to work at the charter? I don’t know how that works.

  • School teacher

    I would like to clarify something about this “bumping” that has been mentioned. Any teacher who decides to remain with MDUSD will only have seniority to move into a position that is open due to someone leaving or had been filled by a non-permanent teacher. Teachers will not be able to “bump” another teacher from their position if that teacher is classified as being permanent. So, teachers who decide to remain with MDUSD really won’t have the “pick and choose” flexibility that people have been portraying. They will only be able to move into positions that are open at that time. And, if the number of teachers who remain with CVCHS is as big as they claim, there really won’t be many teachers to accomodate. So I think the principals that have mentioned this (particularly Mr. McMorris at Northgate since he specifically painted a doom and gloom picture of this) are being much too extreme in their comments. Who would have thought they’d do something like that. ha ha

  • Doctor J

    So after Linda Mayo seconded the Motion of Cheryl Hansen to table the motion to cover a $683,000 cost overrun on special education buses so that additional information on the costs could be obtained, why did Linda Mayo vote against the motion ? When the district voted to take over the bus transportation, what was the budget for the special education bussing compared to what they had paid the year before ? Or were they just shooting from the hip per standard operating procedure ?

  • Just J

    Dr J. The whole discussion was a disaster I don’t think anyone gets it except for Cheryl
    This is a very sad time for mdusd. From what the county told me the only reason the state hasn’t taken over is because the state is broke.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Linda Mayo said she seconded the motion “for discussion.”
    Eberhart said he wouldn’t support it because the kids need transportation now. However, he asked Rolen to get the information to Hansen.
    Although Rolen previously told me he would present a transportation report to the board, it appears that he has instead given an oral presentation to the Community Advisory Committee. Since there is no written report or Powerpoint, anyone who missed the CAC meeting is in the dark.
    Hansen said it is important to report back to the public whether the initially projected savings have been achieved or not. Rolen said he thought they had, but he had no documentation to support that assertion.

    School Teacher: A few other teachers made the same point Tuesday — that bumping happens every year and if 80 percent of the teachers remain, there won’t be a whole lot of bumping going on.

  • Number Eight

    Just J,
    Who at the county said that? It’s mind-boggling how they abdicate responsibility. The county reviews the district budget. A while ago they pressured Acalanes district to reduce exorbitant teacher raises. Time for the county to use the same pressure on MDUSD. Or is MDUSD in the clear with its $7.6mil windfall???

  • Theresa Harrington

    The district has built approximately $6 million into its budget for furlough days, including nearly $4.6 million for furlough days that MDEA hasn’t yet agreed to. In addition, the district is already projecting millions in revenues from three School Improvement Grants that haven’t yet been renewed. It is already spending 14.46% more on teachers’ salaries at the three SIG schools for the extended school day. That money was supposed to be funded through the SIGs, so the district may be dipping into its extra $7.6 million now to help cover that stalled funding.
    In addition, the board just approved $683,602 more in funding for special education transportation and nearly $765,000 for additional special education assistants, which were not included in the original budget.
    Ron Bennett, of School Services of California, told me it’s common for districts to build cuts into their budgets that haven’t yet been made, so they can certify “positive” on their budgets. However, if MDEA doesn’t agree to the cuts, the district will need to take them out of its projections at some point.
    Another incentive MDUSD had to certify positive was to make its bond sales more desirable. If the district had certified “qualified” or “negative,” its bonds wouldn’t have been as attractive to investors.
    If the County Office of Education agrees with the district’s “positive” certification, there is no danger of a state takeover.
    In the recent past, the County Office of Education recommended that the district consult an outside fiscal adviser. However, I don’t believe the district followed through on that advice.

  • Doctor J

    @#48 If just one of those “dominios” falls, the whole budget collapes.

  • Curious

    Teacher #43 and Theresa, The issue is not the number of teachers who might use “bumping rights” but the specific teachers who may be bumped. Parents may not care that 80 percent of teachers remain every year if the one they want for their child’s classroom is let go simply because another has seniority. Often teachers in their first and second years in a district (before qualifying for tenure and becoming “permanent”) bring a level of enthusiasm and resourcefulness that parents appreciate and don’t want to see their school or student lose. While there may not be a lot of “bumping” going on, it’s an important issue for those who do lose their jobs and the parents and students who love them.