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Will fewer school days hurt students?

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 6:13 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

As the state budget trigger looms, some school districts may be bracing for budget cuts that could include reducing the school year.

Already, at least eight East Bay districts plan to reduce their 2011-12 school years by one day or more from the traditional 180 days, even without the trigger.

They are:

New Haven 175
Newark 175

Acalanes 178
Byron 177
John Swett 178
Mt. Diablo 175*
Oakley 175
Pittsburg 179

*Needs to be negotiated with teachers’ union.

Last year, the Mt. Diablo school district cut three days from its school year. This year and through 2012-13, it hopes to negotiate seven furlough days with its teachers’ union, including five instructional days and two staff development days.

A policy brief called “Turning Back the Clock: The Inequitable Impact of Shortening California’s School Year,” released by Education Trust-West and other education advocacy organizations today, said shortening the school year hurts students, especially those who are poor or who are English language learners.

“Our policymakers have long applauded themselves for ensuring that California has some of the most rigorous academic standards in the nation,” said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of statewide education advocacy organization. “All California’s students, including the more than 50 percent of our students who are low-income and our 1.3 million English learners, deserve a full opportunity to learn those standards and perform on grade level. As a state with some of the widest achievement gaps and lowest student performance in the nation, reducing learning time in our schools should not be an option.”

AB 114 signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown allows school districts to shorten the school year by up to seven additional days if state revenues fall short of projections, which could result in 168-day school years in some districts.

“Our students deserve both the opportunity and time necessary to achieve their dreams of college and career,” Ramanathan said. “We call on the governor and the legislature to protect the rights of our children and prevent these harmful and inequitable cuts to the school year.”

Superintendent Steven Lawrence said in an e-mail that it is unfortunate that districts throughout the state need to balance their budgets by reducing school days.

“If we expect our children to complete (sic) both nationally and globally,” he wrote, “the state needs to fund education at a level that allows us to expand educational opportunities not reduce them.”

According to the report, most state school years are 180 days. Kansas is the state with the longest school year, at 186 days.

Some other countries, however, have much longer school years, including the Netherlands with 200 days, South Korea with 220 and Japan, which has 243 school days a year.

Here’s a link to the complete report:

Do you think the Legislature should try to find another way to balance its budget?

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

124 Responses to “Will fewer school days hurt students?”

  1. Wait a Minute Says:

    Of course it hurts education. Other countries are kicking our butt by having much longer and more rigorous school years.

    These economically competing countries also have far fewer problems with discipline and drop outs then the US.

    As much as cutting 7-12 days off the calender hurts the MDUSD it pales in comparison to the damage being done by the district management and their terrible decision making.

    They have squandered millions of dollars and will continue to do so until they are replaced with honest/ethical and competent leaders.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t trust these people with my dog!

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Much of the blame in MDUSD has been their horrific financial management in the last ten years, and especially in the last five years. I disagree with Lawrence that the entire blame of MDUSD’s financial crisis should be placed on the Legislature. A perfect example from last week. Just nine weeks into the school year, the Board had to rescuse the transportation dept, headed by district lawyer Greg Rolen, who had a budget of $917,000 which he forcasted in November 2010 would save the district $240,000, and had to be bailed out with a budget INCREASE of $863,000 because of inexcusable financial forcasting on the cost of the District taking over the bus transportation and even worse transportation planning which apparently never consulted with the Special Ed Dept. This kind of financial fiasco has plagued MDUSD time after time for the last ten years — are there any board members who have been on during that whole time ? Oh, yeah. Eberhart and Mayo. The $863,000 increase was done WITHOUT any financial backup provided to the Board or to the public about how such a fundamental error could have been made — only one Board trustee objected and she was shut down. This kind of habitual very awful financial management has created public distrust has made the public reject parcel taxes which most districts have. Even though the “strategic plan” agreed upon by the Board rejects this kind of shoot from the hip response, the Board’s actions speak louder than their words. Back to the Legislature: AB 114 was introduced one night and passed the same night without public hearing and debate. It was a legislative compromise to get a “balanced budget” on time — ha, ha — and the Governor balked at signing it but he did.

    Ask yourself, has MDUSD done everything it can to reduce its expenses ? Of course not. The Supt salary remains above average, the Asst Supts are above average, the Gang of Five raises were never reversed, and MDUSD has some of the highest paid teachers in the country — California avg is third highest in the country. And the Board gets $60,000 in health benefits. The Board’s policies and the Administration’s implemention have just resulted in a Hat Trick, MDUSD is now “Program Improvement” in all three titles: Title I [new], Title II [3 years], and Title III [6 years]. Tremendous amount of human resouces now must be spent at the District and school levels developing plans that should have been in effect for years, and the plans in place for Title III have been continued despite being a collosal failure year after year. Yet we still have the same jockeys riding the horses. Go figure. Would that work at Chevron ? or Microsoft ? or General Electric ?

    So yes, there is much more that can be done other than reduce the school year — much by the district and much by the legislature. There is plenty of blame to be passed around. Its time to fix it, instead of pointing fingers. Where is the finalized Strategic Plan ?

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The board said it wanted to send the strategic plan draft to other committees such as CAC, PAC, etc. However, I don’t know if it has actually been circulated. The PAC meets Wednesday, but no agenda has been posted yet.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    @Theresa #3 Just another ruse and delay. Eberhart and Whitmarsh never intended for “real” strategic plan to be developed.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    Looks like MDUSD is in violation of federal law by not having sent out the NCLB letters within the 14 day window and not posting the school choice and supplemental educational services matrix on their website. Take a look at this
    And then there is a 20% allocation requirement of title 1 funds.
    Am I reading this correctly ?

  6. Another CV Parent Says:

    According to Doctor J, “MDUSD has some of the highest paid teachers in the country”. Yet the CVHS teachers started the teacher conversion so they could pay themselves more. Yes, it’s true. Read the charter documents and watch their PowerPoint presentations. Their first pass at a charter even stated that they planned to pay themselves more than MDUSD teachers. Do some research and you’ll see that teachers at “teacher trigger” conversion charter schools often give themselves raises with the extra money the schools get. What do you expect when you give financial control of a school to its employees?

    The teachers got to decide on the composition of the Clayton Valley governing board and they made sure it was dominated by employee interests, not members who will put the students first. Out of nine members, four will be school employees (the max. allowed by law) and one will be a retired teacher selected by the governing board, giving the employee interests a majority. Plus the two community members will be selected by the other governing board members, the majority of whom will be employees. Even the two parents reps were originally going to be selected by the other governing board members. Thank goodness that was changed after a public outcry. But when the teachers changed the parent reps to elected reps, they added a provision that every person who wants to be considered for a postion on the governing board, even the parent reps, must first submit their resume to and be interviewed by a committee that is made up primarily of school employees.

    The deadline for parents to submit the form stating that they intend to enroll their child in the charter school has just been extended. Parent support for the charter isn’t as overwhelming as the teachers and Mayor Shuey would like you to believe. Most will enroll their children at CVCHS simply because it’s our neighborhood school. But many recognize the charter for the trainwreck it is. Even some who favor the charter conversion are deeply embarrassed by the irresponsible, selfish, and juvenile behavior of the charter steering committee.

  7. Just J. Says:

    Since the National Report card came out today I think having less days will hurt our students more than they are being hurt now. Shame on all of us for letting this happen.

    Nations Report Card for 2011 released today shows stalled performance in 4th grade reading. Proficient means at grade level. 67% of 4th graders were below proficient (the same as in 2009), and 76% of 8th graders were below proficient.

    Find a summary of your state performance

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Well, it appears its Sue Brothers still celebrating Halloween as Another CV Parent. California ranks 3rd in the Country as to highest paid teachers. Lets get to your salary at West Sacramento as an Asst Supt for a tiny school district — way overpaid according to California and national standards, as our administrators here in MDUSD even though its larger. All of this information is right from the California Department of Education website. NCLB is all about getting more money in the classroom and out of administration so there is better teaching. In fact, one of the deficincies in MDUSD’s SIG grants is they don’t, as they are required, have a plan to “reward” good teachers — all the CAP for the SIG did was say they will “recognize” them — you know the good old slap on the back or wherever. How about a financial reward ?

  9. Wait a minute Says:

    Good call Dr J,

    Yes Sue Brothers is a hypocrite. She built an expensive empire in smallish West Sac with a very large Dpt under her control and outrageous pay for herself and her minions there.

    Now she is playing her role in the strategy her good friend Stevie Lawrence and his minions have come up with to oppose the charter.

    By all means Sue, take on those greedy teachers and their politician supporters like the Federal and State Representatives, State Senator and multiple Mayors and City Council Members.

    Just remember that while you and Stevie do this, the MDUSD is literally crumbling under the weight of repeated bad management decisions leading to crisis and scandal now known all over the State and Federal Dpts of Ed.

    By all means spend all your energies on fighting the many people backing the charter and all the while the self-induced damage could very well lead to the takeover or breaking up of the MDUSD not to mention indictments!

  10. anon Says:

    PAC meets tomorrow night , and the agenda is always a joke, it says Welcome and Introductions, Elementary Report Card, Other. What will other be? Its not a productive meeting, no one would ever challenge Lawrence in person as people do on the blogs. Some do bring concerns to the table , but I never hear if they actually get taken care of. One parent suggested a couple times back (maybe it was the CV mom) to get back to more regular communication, and that hasn’t happened. Does anything ever happen around here?

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I pointed out after the last meeting, the Superintendent didn’t actually ask if anyone had anything they wanted to bring up under “Other.”
    Instead, he adjourned the meeting after he finished answering budget questions.
    I won’t be able to attend tomorrow night’s meeting. It would be nice if the district would post handouts and minutes.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    The PAC meetings have become just a wink and a nod to placate parents — one item agendas when there this many crisis in the district ? Are you kidding me ? How will the parents be involved in reviewing the data and input into the LEA for Title I ? Its a federal requirement. Then there is the bus fiasco, including both routes and costs ? in Google Maps Just put in 2326 Bisso Lane, Concord CA and see all the buses ! Why did we need to purchase new buses ?

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’m surprised the draft Strategic Plan isn’t on the agenda.

  14. Another CV Parent Says:

    Sorry, Doctor J, I’m not Sue Brothers.

    And as much as it pains you, CVHS parents like her because she’s doing a good job.

    I’d love to see good teachers rewarded and bad teachers let go. But that would take a change in the union contract, wouldn’t it. We won’t be seeing that with CVCHS, no matter how much the parents want it. Same teachers and same contract after it turns charter. There are many Clayton Valley parents who want a say in teacher evaluation, pay, and hiring and firing. But we won’t get it with the charter. Paying the same teachers more money isn’t going to do a thing to improve student performance.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    @Another CVP #14: If the CVHS parents thinks she is doing a good job, they can send their kids to whatever school she is at next year — oh, I almost forgot, Lawrence is holding her a job at Dent as SASS Director of Secondary.
    There may be lots to criticize about the “teacher trigger” but the parents sure never got themselves organized to do the “parent trigger”. Nevertheless, peer evaluation can be much more brutal than administrator evaluation. We will just have to wait and see how wise and frugal the teachers will be of the budget when they are in charge. I still favor the charter and trust all charter management to do a fair and equitable job. Afterall, parents will vote with their feet.

  16. Wait a Minute Says:

    @Another CVP, why don’t you ask Brothers to apply to the charter people for the principalship of CVCHS?

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    On a very positive note, I just received an e-mail linking to this wonderful, heartwarming video of the Oct. 9 5k run to save sports:
    This shows there are a lot of very hard-working people in this district who live up to the MDUSD motto: “Where Kids Come First.”

  18. Wait a Minute Says:

    That is a great video Theresa.

    What it shows is that there are many, many great people in the MDUSD working very hard to save this district.

    Unfortunately, the district’s so-called “leadership” is largely responsible for much of the damage that Pat Middendorf and other true leaders are trying to rectify.

    Way to go Pat! Not only are you working to save athletics you are also working to save the district from its inept leaders by leading the charter movement which will bring positive change to the MDUSD.

  19. CVHSMom Says:

    That really is a nice video! I hope they use that video as an educational piece next year to drum up more interest. Sad it keeps dwindling. But I do think Pat has a point, people see the sports continue, I think there is a perception that “it’s fine.” Of course we know it’s not. Pat brought a tear to my eye when she got choked up. I can’t even imagine the school, and my kids lives without high school sports.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    While my heart is warmed by the tremendous contribution of volunteers and donors to the MDUSD athletic fund for about $60,000 it pales in comparison to the horrific spending practices of MDUSD where we saw last week overspending on bussing of $863,000 and recently where because the textbooks were order from a wrong vendor instead of the mfg, it cost the district an additional $175,000 for the workbooks, nearly 3 times what was raised by the run. We need good decisions made by the top leaders in MDUSD so we don’t have to depend upon generous donors to support high school athletics.

  21. Another CV Parent Says:

    Doctor J, I can’t imagine why you think handing over the school to the employees to run with no oversight will be good for the students.

    Take a look at what happened at one of the conversion charter schools the CV teachers have named as a school we should emulate. Helix Charter High School in La Mesa had four teachers arrested and convicted for molesting students in an 18-month period between 2006 and 2008. The authorizing school district brought in an outside firm to investigate if there were any systemic problems at the school that led to this pattern of bad behavior. Staff refused to cooperate with the investigator on the advice of their lawyers. The consultant crucified Helix school leadership. He said they were more concerned with their school’s reputation than protecting the students, didn’t follow the law, didn’t effectively investigate, failed to cooperate with investigators, created an atmosphere where teachers felt they could misbehave with impunity, etc. The school responded by attacking the report and denying everything.

    The school district began the procedure to revoke the school’s charter because the school was unable to fulfill its basic duty to protect its students. But the district decided to let the school continue in operation if they agreed to work with district staff to write and institute a strict code of conduct for school employees, better trained employees on their legal responsibilities, and reconstituted the governing board to make it more accountable (fewer teachers on the board).

    Just a few months later a Helix school administrator was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he helped a student run away from home. The school school district once again began the procedure to revoke the school’s charter because Helix administrators were slow to report the incident to authorities, failed to remove the administrator from the school during the investigation, and were slow to respond to school district inquiries about the incident.

    Helix High School responded by accusing the District of trying to revoke the charter for financial reasons, filed to get its charter renewed early, and sued the school district. Guess who their lawyers were…. Yes, the same law firm the CV charter steering committee is using. A legal settlement was eventually reached. The school district agreed to renew the charter in return for the school dropping the lawsuit and firing their executive director.

    Just last August a Helix High personal finance teacher was sentenced to jail for embezzling money from a neighboring high school where he worked as a baseball coach.

    As of last spring, Helix was projecting significant financial deficits for each of the next three years, which will leave it close to insolvency. The school is fully enrolled, but has no one on the waiting list despite the continuous publicity campaign it wages to entice parents to enroll their children.

    This just goes to show what can happen when a school is free to operate without the oversight of district staff or an elected school board to make sure they do the right thing. It also shows how difficult it is to revoke a charter, even with the most grievous mismanagement.

    I didn’t have to look hard to find this story. All I had to do was google one of the schools the charter steering committee was naming as a school in whose footsteps we should follow. It’s probably still listed in their powerpoint presentation from last April.

    And yes, Helix’s API score is slightly higher than CVHS’s. But as is noted in the last set of board minutes posted by the Helix governing board, “scores are not totally reflective of what goes on at a school.” Helix’s API score dropped 8 points this year. Also noted in the board minutes, one of the board members wonders if the governing board should have a strategic plan.

  22. g Says:

    Great showing of those who do believe that the “kids come first”!

    Think of how proper spending could help with sports, or pay for a couple more teachers, or
    classroom enhancements.


    11/24/10, MDUSD ORDERED: 10 ea. 22 passenger Bantam buses AND 9 ea. 12+2 passenger Bantam buses

    Total cash price $1,326,000.00

    They could have paid cash–they had the money to do that–but instead they wrote a Lease Agreement with PNC, a finance company in Ohio, and put the full $1,326,000.00 cash, as security, into an Escrow acct at US Bank in Columbus, OH. From those funds, US Bank will make the twice yearly payments to PNC Equipment Finance Co for seven years.

    So, MDUSD had the funds to pay cash and thus pay NO interest—but instead, they will now pay 14 equal installment payments totaling $1,469,948.48

    In other words— $143,948.48 in interest. So Bantam got its cash sale for 19 buses, PNC makes almost $144K in interest, and US Bank gets to “invest and reinvest” MDUSD’s Escrow funds of $1,326,000.00 over and over for seven years in their own Money Market Account and KEEP the income they earn on it (over and above $144K interest) as their fee for handling the escrow account.

    Does the Board even bother to read this crap before they agree to toss out $144,000.00 of our school’s money in unneccessary interest payments?

    Now I’m looking for an accounting of the $1.7Million dollar (10 bus) Grant from 2011…?

  23. Just J. Says:

    Thank you for posting that video! Pat I know you will read this…..Thank you for your passion. Thank you for trying to make it better for the kids!

  24. Just J. Says:

    @ Another…..The only thing I can say is REALLY?????
    That is really digging deep. So now you think the teachers will run wild and contribute to minors rape them and take all the money for their own gain. REALLY??
    I think you need to get back on your meds with that one. I don’t believe they are modeling after HELIX pay attention.

  25. Wait a Minute Says:

    @Another is REALLY keeping busy.

    You must really hate teachers, just like Sue Brothers.

    Sue Brothers and Stevie Lawrence are infamous in West Sac for having their hatchet man HR person go after several staff members suffering from serious conditions like cancer and MS.

    If that isn’t deplorable conduct then I don’t know what is. Stevie Lawrence has already had 3 different CC Times editorials blasting his so-called “leadership” such as when he was taking gratuities from Chevron while discussing the largest school solar project in the USA.

    Do you have anything to say about that Ms” Another…”?

    Did you bother to watch the video above with Pat Middendorf going the extra mile for the ENTIRE MDUSD sports community?

    Pat and Neil are pillars of the community, so why don’t you crawl back into your hole before you disparage them and the rest of the greedy teachers of the charter effort?

  26. Doctor J Says:

    Lets just focus on the repetitive spending fiascos: recently the SASS spending $175,000 for workbooks that were given out for free if they ordered from the mfg instead of the vendor; and then the $863,000 cost overrun on buses because of the failure of Greg Rolen to do the math — he just used Pete Pedersen’s old math and didn’t do his own research. Is that the kind of lawyer you want running the district ?

  27. Another CV Parent Says:

    Just J, I didn’t have to dig deep. Middendorf and McChesney named Helix Charter High School as a school for us to emulate. All I did was google it to find out why they thought it was so good. Imagine my surprise at what I found. Just goes to show how little research Middendorf/McChesney put into researching charter conversions before they decided to go for one. It also illustrates the dangers of having a school with no district staff or elected school board overseeing school leadership to make sure they do the right thing, even if tarnishes the school’s reputation, even if it means one of their fellow teachers or administrators is in serious trouble. Given the poor behavior exhibited by the CV steering committee, I have no confidence in the willingness of the CV governing board to do the right thing when the going gets tough.

    But it’s not just about the personalities involved in the school today. The governance structure structure created in the charter documents will endure long after the current personalities have moved on. Unfortunately it is inherently flawed and is designed to put the needs of the school employees ahead of the needs of the students.

    Before you get too gushy over how wonderful Pat Middendorf is, think about what is likely to happen to MDUSD athletics if CV turns charter. The MDUSD board has said that either all high schools have sports or none will. So all six high schools have banded together to raise money through the UMDAF. But if CVHS turns charter, that rule will no longer apply to CVCHS. They can have all the school sports they can afford, no matter what happens to sports in the rest of the District.

    My understanding is that CVHS raises more than it’s fair share for UMDAF, in effect subsidizing poorer schools such as Mt. Diablo High School. Do you think they’ll continue to do that when they turn charter? I don’t. I think they’ll drop out of UMDAF, raise their own money for sports, and keep it at CVCHS. Their fate will no longer be tied to what happens to the remaining MDUSD high schools, so they have no incentive to subsidize sports at MDUSD high schools.

    And of course CV turning charter will cost the rest of the district $2.4 million per year. Every school and every child will suffer because of what Pat Middendorf and the charter supporters are doing. But in return Clayton Valley will be a better place for Pat and the rest of the Clayton Valley teachers to work. Nice going, Pat.

  28. Wait a Minute Says:

    Crawl back in your hole Sue. You and Stevie are beyond redemption.

  29. Dan Says:

    Another CV Parent (AKA Sue Brothers),

    Are you off your meds? Why the F’ would CVCHS subsidize other schools sports if they are a charter?

    Have fun in the unemployment line next year. I bet you and Stevie are out of jobs in the not to distant future.

  30. To Another CV Parent Says:

    Don’t you see how inflammatory your comments are? No more sports! $2.4 million in costs to the other schools! Teachers only out for themselves!

    Let me ask you this – What is our ELECTED school board and district administration going to do to make this District better?

    Continue to ignore pleas for change until it becomes a crisis for the District and not just the individual school sites?

    Continue to blame every short-coming on the budget and the lack of funds coming from the State?

    Continue to ignore the pleas for proper planning?
    Or proper leadership? Or proper communication? Or proper honesty?

    Continue to ignore the call for a better quality of education especially at the high school level? Ignore the pleas for more relevance, rigor, and engagement?

    Continue to ignore the pleas for better customer service and the pleas to have a District that says “yes” instead of “no”

    What is it that our ELECTED Board is going to do to make this better? Let me answer that for you. NOTHING. They are going to do what they always do. Sherry Whitmarsh is going to say, “Our schools are great, my kids have thrived.” Linda Mayo is going to tell us about her digital safari visit and the fact that the kids are doing amazing things. Gary Eberhart is going to say, “yes we want to do those things but it is all the State’s fault, we don’t have the money!” Hansen is going to continue to be shut out at every turn and complete the first half of her term with the fewest “seconds to her motions” ever. Lynne Dennler will be silent unless she finds the strength to speak her mind.

    And all the while our kids wait for a quality education. So CV Parent I find your arguments petty, misleading, and designed to scare our communities.

    If this District want to sway puplic opinion they need to start looking internally and address REAL PROBLEMS not the made up issues!

  31. Wait a minute Says:


    Dr J and G are making good points above about the incredible fiscal incompetence of the so-called “leaders” of the MDUSD.

    $863,000 cost overrun by Greg Rolen in the cost of bussing students.

    + $27,000 raise that was given to Rolen for doing this.

    + $143,000 in unecessary interst payments for their new busses that could have been avoided by paying cash?

    = $1,033,000 squandered on bussing and Rolen

    +$175,000 wasted on workbooks because of the misorder.

    =$1,208,000 or a cool $1.2 million dollars squandered right there in the last 6 months by these “leaders”!

  32. Doctor J Says:

    I think Steve Lawrence’s contract expires end of January 2013, a couple of months after the Nov 12 election where two school board seats will be in the election.

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, can you update us on the MDEA negotiations ?
    1. Overall negotiation for a contract extension ?
    2. MOU negotiations for the SIG grants for Meadow Homes and Oak Grove ?
    3. Issue of NCLB requiring 50% staff from four low performing schools to be transfered out ?
    4. Furlough days or should I say week ? 🙂

  34. Anon Says:

    There is still the issue of a half million dollar IRS fine! It’s been sitting there for years, still being “worked on” I can’t believe that more penalties etc aren’t being tacked on, and if they really don’t think they owe that , then why is it still being set aside? When will that be resolved?

  35. Audience Member Says:

    Let me get this straight, CVHS shouldn’t leave MDUSD because the CVHS parents donate money for MDUSD team sports and if they leave the district then the other schools would not be able to take money from the pool that CVHS athletes raise? CVHS’ raises more than its fair share? Excuse me, how do you donate too much? Any school can fundraise, it just takes effort and ideas. I am watching the CVHS Band turn over every fundraising rock it can think of to try to send the CVHS Band on a trip next spring.

    I also take issue with “Another CV Parent’s” descrition of the charter steering committee. I have never been so proud of a group of volunteers. Folks like Mayor Shuey and the volunteer parents have nothing to gain but a better school for our community. The teachers have been great and very hardworking. I see them over and over at the MDUSD Board meetings and they make me proud.

    The MDUSD Board meetings have become quite uncomfortable to attend. Small venues when they know a large group is coming, thus forcing dozens of charter supporters to wait in the foyer while district employees save inside audience seats with their “Reserved” pieces of paper. Odd, confrontational behavior from Mr. Eberhart that adds nothing to his cause. A real lopsided rule system about how long each side can speak, no matter the importance of the topic or the information being given by the speaker.

    I hope that this comes to a final decision on November 8 with a straight approval or denial from the MDUSD Board. After all the meetings that have gone before, I still wonder what surprise hoop lies in store for the charter school to jump through…

  36. g Says:

    “Reserved Seating”? The Board allows this? WTH?

  37. Anon Says:


    “Word on the street” is that another delay attempt is in place for the supposed vote on Nov. 8th.

    Get ready for the “October Surprise” from the board leadership.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    @Audience Member, I regret to inform you that Gary will not allow a “final decision” on November 8 — its part of his personality. His intention is to keep it in limbo so there can neither be an appeal nor court action.

  39. vindex Says:

    Of course. Also, it cuts the pay of teachers which is not a great recruiting tool for new recruits. This bodes poorly for the future.

  40. g Says:

    I think it’s not just “word on the street”. You have to read between the lines on everything that Cooksey said. “”We collaborated and we worked everything out: “except the fiscal stuff”; “except the final insurance stuff”; “except the personnel stuff”; “except the stuff Rose Lock is still looking at”; “except the stuff Bryan Richards is working on””…. “We’re going to bring you recommendation this and recommendation that”. “We’re going to recommend you hold them to the February personnel dates”….

  41. Wait a minute Says:

    Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

  42. Just J. Says:

    Yes G reserved seating. Now granted the 5 seats in the first row were for students to report to the Board and they left after they were done but the 2nd or 3rd row was reserved for Wing D (I think) Special Ed. I could not stay and hear what was up with them but I don’t think this should be allowed. They were on the agenda after the Charter and could have let others have those seats since the room cleared out right after the charter business was done (None of us can stomach the mess the Board is making) with the exception of Ms. Hansen.

  43. School Teacher Says:

    If “another CV Parent” would like to really try to prove a point, he/she should try to list some positive things the leadership of MDUSD has done that would attract a teacher to want to stay in the district. In watching this whole charter thing progress, I haven’t really seen much that would make me want to stay in the district if I worked there. In fact, most of the district actions have simply driven me away from their side. How many of the members of the district, if they had children entering the teaching profession, would encourage them to take a job in MDUSD instead of other surrounding districts, or even the charter school? I understand that there are unknowns involved in the development of the charter, and there will be issues to work out, but the “knowns” of the district have offered nothing I think would attract a teacher to stay. And, with the extremely poor conduct on the part of the district, coupled with a lack of what I would consider to be legitimate objections, it makes me think even they feel the charter will work out, and it will end up being further evidence of their incompetence.

  44. School Teacher Says:

    This thing has really gotten off topic from “will fewer school days hurt students?” Whose fault is that? haha.

  45. Anon Says:


    What I meant by “word on the street” is “according to my very inside sources”. The fix is in.

    My bet will be there will not be an up or down vote on Nov. 8th.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon #45 and G: Don’t worry, the Charter committee is prepared. There will be swift and decisive action taken. A lawsuit filed, injunction obtained, and then depositions under oath of the major players. They can’t all keep their stories consistent, and the lies will be exposed. The liars will be prosecuted. Please research the definition of a narccist, and you will know what I mean.

  47. District Teacher Says:

    @ School Teacher. No matter what the article or blog entry is about, virtually the same posts follow. Though I agree with the comments made by very vigilant community members regarding the mismanagement of this district (and believe me, I could add plenty regarding the school where I work), greater focus on topics at hand would be appreciated. Reading the On Assignment posts is like a written version of Groundhog Day. Perhaps off-topic posts should be deleted.

  48. Just J Says:

    @District teacher

    Isn’t this how discussions happen? When people talk in person the conversation usually goes elsewhere. Deleting off topic posts would be a violation of freedom. Perhaps you should join in and tell us some things you would like changed and lets see what happens.

  49. Doctor J Says:

    What is the cost of sending the Title I sanctions letter to every home in the District ? Think postage, printing, stuffing envelopes, etc. It had to be at least $25,000. Benjamin Franklin said: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When are we going to get to the prevention instead of just relying on the cure ?

  50. Doctor J Says:

    @District Teacher #47 Would love to hear what you could add about the mismanagement of the district and your school ! Nothing will be improved until it is identified and discussed.

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