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More details regarding Clayton Valley HS costs

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 6:37 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

After studying the spreadsheets provided to me by the Mt. Diablo school district, I had some additional questions, which I emailed to CFO Bryan Richards.

Here are the questions and his responses, which I received in an email:

“Q. What was the Base Revenue Limit for 2010-11?

A. The Undeficited Revenue Limit was $6,346.02 per unit of ADA (Average Daily Attendance). The Deficited (and therefore funded) Revenue Limit was $5,206.08 per unit of ADA.

Q. Are the unrestricted expenditures solely funded by the revenue limit, or do they include other revenue sources?

A. They are primarily funded through revenue limit sources, but are funded through other sources as well. At each reporting period one of the pie graphs in the Power Point shows the various sources of unrestricted funding. For the 2010/11 actuals, unrestricted revenue broke down as follows:

a. Revenue Limit Sources 80.92 percent

b. Federal Revenue 0.28 percent

c. Other State revenue 16.76 percent

d. Other Local revenue 2.04 percent

Q. Of the 2010-11 revenue limit, how much per ADA was allocated to Clayton Valley HS last year?

A. Revenue Limit dollars are not allocated by school site. Unrestricted expenditure dollars are allocated by school site.

Q. Of the $6.7 million unrestricted in CVHS expenditures, what amount was spent on: teachers’ salaries and benefits, administrators’ salaries and benefits, and classified salaries and benefits (broken down by each category)? What was the remaining amount spent on?

A. Please note that at this level benefits are not broken down by employee type, but consolidated by benefit type.

SACS fund 01; resource 0000-1999; site 323; object code 1000-7999


** Total 1100 $3,938,112.36 Teachers

** Total 1200 $113,932.35 Certificated Pupil Support

** Total 1300 $355,437.25 Certificated Management

** Total 2200 $284,262.48 Classified Support Salaries (M&O, custodial, etc)

** Total 2400 $246,832.88 Clerical & Technical Support Salaries

** Total 2900 $427.25 Classified Other Salaries

** Total 3100 $353,503.72 STRS

** Total 3200 $70,134.88 PERS

** Total 3300 $106,255.47 Soc Sec & Medicare

** Total 3400 $549,793.45 Health, Dental, Vision

** Total 3500 $34,211.86 SUI

** Total 3600 $140,592.44 Worker’s Comp

** Total 3700 $119,799.55 Post-retirement Health

** Total 3800 $11,232.37 PERS Reduction

** Total 3900 $1,303.88 Other benefits

** Total 4100 $6,041.52 Textbooks

** Total 4200 $3,652.93 Other Books

** Total 4300 $86,032.32 Supplies

** Total 5200 $14,668.02 Travel & Conference

** Total 5500 $259,446.86 Utilities

** Total 5600 $2,027.30 Rentals, Repairs & Maintenance

** Total 5700 $1,013.73 Intraprogram Support (Print Shop, Maintenance, etc)

** Total 5800 $3,712.33 Services & Other Operating Expenditures

** Total 5900 $1,195.45 Communications (includes telephone, postage, etc)

** GRAND TOTAL ** $6,703,622.65

Q. What is included in the nearly $2.2 million allocated for CVHS restricted expenditures?

A. These are the site based expenses in categorical programs.

Q. What is included in the nearly $1.5 million for unrestricted central services?

A. All expenditures generated by sites that do not produce ADA are allocated to all those that do in a prorated portion based on the ADA generated. This is part of the calculation of the per pupil district wide expenditures on the school accountability report card.

Q. What is included in the nearly $3.4 million for restricted central services?

A. All expenditures generated by sites that do not produce ADA are allocated to all those that do in a prorated portion based on the ADA generated. This is part of the calculation of the per pupil district wide expenditures on the school accountability report card.

Q. Why is the restricted central services allocation higher than the restricted site allocation?

A. Many categorical programs and district wide maintenance services are administered in a central site code for the benefit of all schools rather than by having individual expenses at each school. Expenditures coded centrally must be spread out to the sites via the per ADA calculation described above.

Q. You reported that the district has $7.6 million more in its ending fund balance than anticipated. Could this help buffer the financial impact of the charter?

A. The district’s higher fund balance is primarily due to carryover in various programs at school sites that anticipate spending their funds in the current year. It is not anticipated that the funding would be available for the purpose you describe. Additionally, fund balance is one time funding, like a savings account. Whereas, the revenue losses related to the charter school are ongoing. One time funds cannot cover ongoing costs well as they run dry after one use.”

This explains why the unrestricted per student allocations don’t exactly match the revenue limit. In looking at the spreadsheet, the only schools that received more than the revenue limit amount of $5,206.08 in 2010-11 were the small necessary high schools and Olympic HS.

To give context to the above questions, here is a breakdown of the total Clayton Valley HS budget for 2010-11:

Annual ADA: 1753.82

Direct unrestricted costs: $6,703,622.65 ($3,822.30/ADA)
Unrestricted central services: $1,449,129.74 ($826.27/ADA)
TOTAL UNRESTRICTED COSTS: $8,152,752.39 ($4,648.57/ADA)

Direct restricted costs: $2,199,586.91 ($1,254.17/ADA)
Restricted central services: $3,397,225.95 ($1,937.04/ADA)
TOTAL RESTRICTED COSTS: $5,596,812.86 ($3,191.21/ADA)

TOTAL COMBINED COSTS: $13,749,565.25 ($7,839.78/ADA)

Total Direct Costs: $8,903,209.56 ($5,076.46/ADA)
Total Central Services: $4,846,355.69 ($2,763.32)

Total going toward direct costs: 65 percent
Total going toward central services: 35 percent

Does this budget seem reasonable?

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40 Responses to “More details regarding Clayton Valley HS costs”

  1. g Says:

    Reasonableness is in direct relationship to that of Usefulness du Jour. If they need it to say something else, leaving it in the hands of a paid consultant can do that quite easily.


    “Revenue Limit dollars are not allocated by school site”—what? say that again.

    You dump all Unrestricted dollars into one bucket, but then Expenses are pro-rated and charged out to each school based on ADA?

    Did I read that correctly? So poor Oak Grove has to pay part of McNorthgate’s outrageous principle’s salary? Huh?

  2. Another CV Parent Says:

    A better question would be “how does this compare to other districts?”

  3. g Says:

    Another CV Parent: How do you feel about your school (based solely on its population) having to pay a much higher prorated amount toward things like inter-district bus costs, and utilities at Dent and M&O and the water bills at Bay Point Schools/parks-etc than the smaller schools are charged?

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Eberhart was busy Monday doing damage control after Whitmarsh’s weekend slip that “we are voting against” the charter. Eberhart played his last card — the financial viability of the charter, when MDUSD cannot for the last six months produce the actual costs of operation of CVHS, but the controled information release identifies 35% of the CVHS as going to the District Office. Truly the fox guarding the chicken coup. Its now clear the Gary and Sherry will vote against the charter — even before the information is released to the public — claiming in a vaccum that the charter is “not financially viable”. Just more hypocristy from the King and Queen of Hypocrisy. Whether or not Linda Mayo and Lynne Dennler will be sucked into this vaccum of hypocrisy remains to be seen. Let’s not forget the Pleasant Hill tape recording of Supt. Lawrence admitting the charter will succeed financially. He will have an interesting time tonight tap dancing after he shot himself in both feet at the same time.

  5. Jim Says:

    Thank you, Theresa, for bird-dogging these financial questions. It is sad that the media have to play “50 Questions”, over a period of weeks, just to try to get MDUSD to provide enough financial info so that WE can attempt to cobble together an approximate statement of revenues and expenses for just one school. All this back-and-forth and obfuscation just to try to verify the MDUSD claim that the district will lose $1.8 million or $2.2 million (or whatever the figure du jour is) on the CVCHS charter. Unbelievable! Such a claim could only be based on a statement of all revenues and expenses that can fully be allocated to one site, yet even after all this back-and-forth, we still haven’t seen such a statement with all of the figures in one place. We are being asked to put it together on our own, hoping that the “50 Questions” covered every possible item, and that nothing was left out. A revenue and expense statement is something that almost any other organization would do as a matter of course, but it seems to be beyond the capabilities of MDUSD. Fortunately, charters are not allowed to operate with such primitive financial practices. If we needed any further proof about who is the more transparent and responsible party in a comparison between MDUSD and CVCHS, these exchanges have provided it.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district is using the difference in the revenue limit ($941 per student) to justify its claim that the district would lose $1.8 million.
    Yet, Bryan Richards said that the district doesn’t allocate revenue limit money by school.
    So, it’s unclear how that revenue limit difference specifically applies to the charter.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim, You are so kind to MDUSD when you say “obfuscation”. I call it concealment and fraud. What is wrong with MDUSD telling the TRUTH !

  8. Another CV Parent Says:

    G, I’m not sure I understand your question. As I understand Theresa’s article, centralized costs are divided by the number of students in the district, then added to the costs to operate each school based on the number of students at that school. In effect, for accounting purposes, the centralized costs go with each student, not each school. That sounds like the reasonable way to account for things as far as I’m concerned.

    I don’t see how this discussion is relevent when it comes to the CVHS charter. It just doesn’t matter. Many of those costs will not decrease when CVHS leaves the district. They’ll just get spread across fewer students. The district will still need the same number of curriculum experts, accounting clerks, HR people, testing coordinators, etc. Nor are these costs relevent to the charter steering committee when it comes to making up their own budget. Their costs are going to be very different than MDUSD’s costs.

    If you look at what has happened in southern California, you’ll see that there has been a trend for high schools in unified districts to convert to charters. The schools are very upfront about the reason, just at the CV teachers were. It’s all about the money. The state gives unified districts a smaller amount per student that a charter high school gets. Therefore, it’s financially advantageous for the high schools to convert to a charter and receive a higher per student funding rate. MDUSD has pointed out – and the charter petitioners have finally accepted – that the extra funding is taken from MDUSD’s budget. If you read the coverage of charter conversions in southern California, it is also universally acknowledged that the conversions are financially bad for the districts. That’s just the way it works when a high school in a unified district converts to a charter. I don’t know why anyone would believe the situation would be any different in MDUSD. We’re really not that special.

    I think it’s a complete waste of time for district staff to attempt to dig up every financial transaction so the charter supporters can find a way to “prove” they’re not the financial bad guys here. They ought to man up and publicly admit the facts. They ought to say “CVHS will get more money as a charter than it did as part of MDUSD. That’s why we’re converting to a charter. When we started this journey, we did not realize how large the financial impact would be to MDUSD. We thought the additional money would come from the state, not from MDUSD’s budget. But we are continuing with our plan to convert to a charter because…..”. And they should tell us why they believe this is the right thing to do even though it’s financially bad for the students and employees who remain in MDUSD. That would be the honest thing to do, the morally correct thing to do, the classy thing to do, the smart thing to do. But neither the teachers nor Mayor Shuey seem to have it in them to do it.

  9. Jim Says:

    Theresa, as I think about this problem of knowing what is spent in public school districts, and how much money there is to spend, one starts to think more generally about all of the financial issues that arise around MDUSD decision-making. Think about the questions that swirled around how much money would be “saved” with the school closures discussed last school year. After what we’ve gone through with CVCHS, do we have any more faith, now, in the figures that administrators cited back then? When decisions are made about Special Education, personnel costs, or Program Improvement, how do we know whether there is any integrity around the financial figures that come into play?

    It would be wonderful, someday, to see an in-depth investigative piece in the CC Times around the topic “School Finance: Do Administrators Know What Things Cost?”. Some people think they are hiding data, and that may be true, but it’s also hard not to question whether school administrators really know themselves what the facts are. I wonder whether your paper could shine more light on school financial administration, as Daniel Boorstein’s excellent commentaries have done to highlight the problems of California’s public pensions practices. So much of the media’s education coverage seems to focus on “funding”, and yet often, no one seems to know what things actually cost.

  10. Jim Says:

    @Another CV Parent: You have made a number of assertions that strike me as pretty glib. Let’s look at them more closely:

    “As I understand Theresa’s article, centralized costs are divided by the number of students in the district, then added to the costs to operate each school based on the number of students at that school.”
    Your conclusion may be the one that the district wants residents to make, but it’s not clear to me that that methodology is what the district is using. In fact, they cannot treat all “centralized” costs that way. For example, the cost of a Title 1 administrator in the central office should not be allocated across all students in the district, when some schools do not have Title 1 programs or funds. Many non-discretionary funds have similar restrictions relating to the actual student populations in the school that are being served. Moreover, there explanations ignore the fact that districts are SUPPOSED to be spending more in high schools to maintain a continuing, proportionate impact on student achievement.

    “If you look at what has happened in southern California, you’ll see that there has been a trend for high schools in unified districts to convert to charters. The schools are very upfront about the reason, just at the CV teachers were. It’s all about the money.”
    I have followed media coverage about those schools pretty closely for my blog, and in no way is it “all about the money”. I have also had some experience working with LAUSD, as well as other large districts, and the the primary complaints in the conversion schools do not come as any surprise. They concern the bureaucratic interference and micromanagement of local schools, as the bungling district tries to impose failing, one-size-fits-all solutions that teachers, parents, and even local administrators don’t want. The fact that local students can have more money spent in the classroom, instead of on central office overhead, is a welcome benefit, but the conversions are hardly “all about” that. Otherwise, every school would be doing it. I would urge all visitors to this blog to Google info on these conversion charters to read about the ACTUAL motivations behind these conversions and the benefits that students and teachers have realized.

    “I think it’s a complete waste of time for district staff to attempt to dig up every financial transaction so the charter supporters can find a way to “prove” they’re not the financial bad guys here.”
    Let’s remember that the district is the party that first raised the issue of the supposed financial damage from this charter. It is only reasonable for their assertions to be challenged. MDUSD has cited a number of large conflicting figures, but NONE of them has been substantiated. Even assuming that there is a “funding hole” created by this conversion, are you saying that the magnitude doesn’t matter — whether it is $2 million, or $1 million, or $2,000 or $1,000? The district should just be able to use any figure that they care to use? Is ANY amount simply unacceptable to charter opponents? This whole discussion could be resolved within hours, if MDUSD would simply “man up” and reveal the revenue and costs involved in running CVHS. For some reason, they won’t, or can’t.

    The people who assert that this conversion is “all about the money” but then seem strangely incurious about how much money is actually involved, seem to have latched onto one last, desperate tactic: they can’t attack the charter on instructional, organizational, or financial grounds, so they are going to grasp at the one remaining wedge issue they can dredge up, which is that the charter will “hurt” the rest of the district by some totally unknown dollar amount.

    I doubt that this divisive tactic is going to work. Instead, the financial questions that are being raised are going to lead even more people to question whether the people in Dent Center are at all competent enough to be running such a large district.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Another CV: Some of the centralized costs will have to be picked up by the charter, such as food service, etc. Some of the direct costs may change because the charter will not employ the same administrators and may choose to hire its own custodians.
    The charter could opt to seek less than it is entitled to. But first, it needed to see the actual costs, so it could determine if it could afford to do that.
    Mayor David Shuey told me the charter committee might consider revising its budget, after it sees an independent analysis of the impact. However, he said they would not revise their budget before tonight’s vote.
    Jim: I agree that many people don’t realize how much things cost. This is why the spreadsheet the district provided is interesting. At the very bottom, it shows a total of $147.8 million in unrestricted funding, or $4,542.86/ADA.
    All of the high schools except College Park and Concord HS received at least this much. CVHS received $105.71 per student more, while College Park received $19.02 per student less and Concord High received $201.39 per student less.
    Eight elementary schools received more than $4,542.86 per student in unrestricted funding, along with five middle schools.
    The small necessary high schools and Olympic continuation high each received between about $820 and $12,899 more than $4,542.86 per student in unrestricted funding.
    Regarding school closures, no — the district has never showed that it saved $1.5 million.
    The total direct unrestricted costs to operate Holbrook were about $1.5 million and the total direct unrestricted costs to operate Glenbrook were about $1.9 million. But, the district forfeited its School Improvement Grant for Glenbrook, which would have offset those costs substantially.
    Also, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said the district would consider consolidating small necessary high schools, which has not been done.
    He also said the district would offer more online courses to home-schooled students. I don’t know if that has been done and no estimates were ever given regarding how much this would save.
    The district also intended to redraw boundaries for Meadow Homes Elementary and Bay Point schools to save money on overflow busing. I don’t believe this has been done either.
    Seneca is now generating some revenue at Glenbrook and the district estimates it is saving some money by housing the Measure C team at Holbrook.
    However, there has not been a final report to the board about the total saved.

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the FCMAT report:
    Staff recommends that the board deny the petition:

  13. Linda L Says:


  14. g Says:

    I hate to be the “I told you so” here, but:
    My comment # 40 from Nov 2 under “Will fewer school days hurt students”:

    G Says:
    November 2nd, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    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”….

  15. MDUSD WC Resident Says:


    was this resolution on the agenda published on Friday or did it pop up today?

  16. Just J. Says:

    MDUSD WC Resident: It was not posted on the Friday agenda I have it printed out and now it is there.

  17. Another CV Parent Says:

    Well there you have it. According to the FCMAT report, the District is correct in its financial assessment of the Charter’s impact and it is approximately the same as what other unified districts experience.

    Those are pretty detailed and well-supported reasons for denying the charter based on their finances. I wonder if the Board will deny the petition, or will they give them additional time to fix it. Until they get those corrected, I would think the County BOE would deny it for the same reasons.

    It was interesting to read that the charter wants to use El Dorado instead of MDUSD for special ed. Theresa, do you have any idea why? From a practical standpoint, what would that mean for special ed students at the charter?

  18. Dan Says:

    I’m confused. Two questions:

    1. Will Whitmarsh address her irresponsible threats of retribution against the CVHS feeder pattern tonight?

    2. If the district can not use the financial impact in their decision to approve or deny, WTF was the FCMAT report about anyway?

  19. Anon Says:

    I checked the site an hour ago and there was no resolution in the agenda.

    Just now I checked again and it was there.


  20. g Says:

    I will give you another comment that we can come back to in February as an “I told you so”. The entire purpose of having Cooksey play footsie with the Charter people for the last two months was to get them to, in effect, rewrite their application to make it less acceptable going forward—NOT to make it agreeable in the present.

    It was a good application to start with, but has now degraded to a point that they have little chance of getting the County to approve it—and the rules state that they MUST present it to the County exactly as it was presented to the District.

    Sorry Pat, Neil, etc. You fell for the oldest con game known to man. They counted on you trusting them and playing nice–while they were loading up on the KY jelly!

  21. Anon Says:

    Does anyone have any evidence that there is collusion going on?

    We need to build the case to have the board leadership arrested.

  22. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    I warned the the Charter supporters back in September that the board was just playing games with them. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

    You can’t trust Gary. He is an evil coniving SOB.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDUSD WC Resident: the resolution was not posted on Friday. Also, the original staff report said: “Accept or deny Clayton Valley charter high school petition” next to “Recommendation.”
    Now, it says: “Deny Clayton Valley high school charter proposal.”
    I don’t understand how the district can change the agenda after it is posted, without making some sort of notation that it has been changed.
    The state Board of Education adds “addendum” when new information is added after its agenda is posted. MDUSD should do the same.
    Often, MDUSD also adds Powerpoint presentations after the meeting.

  24. Just J. Says:

    Where is Dr. J with all of this? This is corruption at it’s best! Way to go MDUSD! Way to put the kids first.

  25. Another CV Parent Says:

    G, this fiasco is the steering committee’s fault. They’re the ones who insisted on rushing it. They should have taken the time to get it right.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    ACVParent: El Dorado County has a charter SELPA, which is used by many charters throughout the state. The FLEX Academy also plans to use this SELPA.

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

    I have checked with our city attorney and the agenda on Friday made it clear that the decision was going to be approve or deny tonight and the newly added stuff does not change that agenda item it is staff’s recommendation. There is no Brown Act violation in that and we are fine with them making an unequivocal approval or denial that can be appealed to the County if necessary. We hope that the Board rises above staff and approves as it remains something that can be a win win going forward in collaboration but that is their choice. Just make the choice.

  28. g Says:

    Shoe: You do realize the County will not be able to hear it in Dec, and then in Jan the best they can do is hold a “community interest” hearing, and then that makes Feb the very soonest they might make a vote–and they can then also approve “with conditions”?

    All of this timeline was worked out while the Committee was trying to play nice with Cooksey.

    A Brown Act Violation occurs even if YOU don’t object to them changing the Item sometime after 7pm yesterday (per my search history that is the last time I looked for changes).

  29. Theresa Harrington Says:

    David “Shoe” Shuey: Does the city of Clayton add or change agenda items after the agenda has been posted? If so, does it somehow notify the public that there have been changes or additions?

  30. Wendy Lack Says:

    What is the potential legal consequence of a District making a decision on a charter petition based upon financial impact on the District?

    It violates state law — but is the only enforcement mechanism a lawsuit? Or is there any other “teeth” in the law?

    If the consequence of violating the law is immaterial, then it appears more likely than not that Districts would go ahead and violate the law by considering the financial impacts (and playing politics in the community, accordingly).

  31. Another CV Parent Says:

    Theresa, the staff recommendation says they got another iteration of the budget from ExEd on November 4th. I imagine that’s why the staff recommendation wasn’t posted until today. Perhaps that’s why Mayor Shuey isn’t upset that it wasn’t posted until today. The staff could have said the budget was so late in coming in that they wouldn’t be ready for tonight’s meeting, but they agreed to go ahead with keeping it on the agenda for tonight. And that’s what the charter steering committee wanted, a yes or no vote tonight.

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t disagree that the charter committee wanted a decision tonight.
    I just think it would be more transparent if the district would indicate somewhere on the agenda that the agenda recommendation had been changed and an attachment had been added.

  33. Another CV Parent Says:

    Wendy, the board won’t make a decision based on the financial impact to the District. They’ll make it based on the fact that the financial plan submitted by the charter steering committee isn’t sound. That’s why staff is recommending that they deny the charter.

    The financial impact to the district is information that will have to be included in the district’s next financial statement to the County BOE (in December, I think.) It’s certainly fair and appropriate to let the public know when a particular decision will have a major impact on the district’s budget. If the vote is “yes”, then the district will have to start to work immediately putting together a list of potential cuts, which will once again be discussed and voted on by the board, with input from the public.

  34. Another CV Parent Says:

    Theresa, perhaps the agenda needs a “last updated” date somewhere?

  35. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, I think that would be helpful. It would also be helpful if changes or additions were somehow flagged.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a separate blog post that details the resolution to deny the charter:

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You can watch video clips of tonight’s board meeting at:

  38. Doctor J Says:

    Perhaps I am wrong, but didn’t something change in the Agenda under consent matters ? Something looks fishy there.

  39. g Says:

    If you are going to use Robert’s Rules for most things, you should have to use them for everything!

    The time to “change” the Agenda is a)before it is ever posted, or b) in public, at the very beginning of the meeting, when the board SHOULD be asked if it wants to “approve” the Agenda as presented. This is a step that MDUSD skips right on past–even though we now know Gary says he “carries RR around” with him now–haha.

  40. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ Another CV Parent #33:

    I recall Dr. Lawrence telling a Pleasant Hill group a few weeks ago that the CVCHS was financially sound because there is an existing student population in sufficient numbers to make the school viable and predictable. So the staff recommendation against the charter on financial grounds is inconsistent with Lawrence’s earlier statements. How is the public to reconcile the contradiction?

    This whole charter petition sounds as though it has become politicized — that rational discussion of the issue by the District is neither desired nor possible.

    Guess tonight’s vote speaks for itself and it appears the legal bills are going to be racked up soon, by both the District and charter petitioners.

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