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MDUSD staff recommends that board deny Clayton Valley HS charter

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 6:28 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Although the Mt. Diablo school board’s agenda released Friday did not state whether staff would recommend approval or denial of the Clayton Valley High School charter conversion petition, the agenda item was apparently changed today.

On Friday, the recommendation stated: “Accept or deny Clayton Valley high school proposal.” There was no attachment at that time.

Now, the agenda item recommendation states: “Deny Clayton Valley charter high school proposal.” A resolution denying the charter has been added. There is no notation on the agenda informing the public that the agenda has been altered since it was originally posted.

Here is what the recommendation says:




WHEREAS, the establishment of Charter Schools is governed by the Charter Schools Act of 1992, as subsequently amended, Education Code sections 47600 et seq. and implementing Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations;

WHEREAS, on or about June 8, 2011, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (‘District’) received the charter Petition (‘Petition’) proposing the establishment of the Clayton Valley Charter High School (‘Charter School’);

WHEREAS, consistent with Education Code section 47605 subdivision (b), at a meeting on August 9, 2011, the District’s Board of Education (‘Board’) held a public hearing on the Petition, at which time the Board considered the level of support for the Petition by teachers employed by the District, other employees of the District, and parents/guardians;

WHEREAS, the intent of the Legislature in enacting the charter school laws were, among other things, to ‘[e]ncourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods’ and to ‘[p]rovide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system’;

WHEREAS, approvals of charter Petitions are governed by the standards and criteria set forth in Education Code section 47605 and implementing Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations;

WHEREAS, Education Code section 47605 subdivision (b) prohibits the Board from denying a charter Petition unless it makes written factual findings, specific to the particular Charter School, setting forth facts to support one or more findings, which include:

1. The Petition does not contain the number of signatures required by Education Code section 47605 subdivision (a);

2. The Petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the Petition;

3. The Charter School presents an unsound educational program for the students to be enrolled in the Charter School;

4. The Petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions described in Education Code section 47605 subdivision (d); or

5. The Petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of all 16 elements required in Education Code section 47605 subdivision (b)(5).

WHEREAS, the Board convened on September 13, 2011, to consider whether to grant or deny the Petition and conditionally granted the charter provided that the petitioners satisfied all conditions by February 2012;

WHEREAS, the District’s administration, with assistance from legal counsel, met periodically after September 13th with the petitioners and has reviewed and analyzed additional documentation provided by the latter to demonstrate that they had met the above‐referenced conditions; and

WHEREAS, the District’s administration has determined that several of the fiscal conditions have not been met; and therefore, recommends that the Board adopt the Findings of Fact, attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’ and incorporated herein by this reference, and deny the Petition.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District hereby denies the Petition to establish the Clayton Valley Charter High School and adopts the Summary of Findings of Fact, attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’.

APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District at the regular meeting of November 8, 2011.”

Here are the findings:




Findings regarding Financial Documents (version 6) submitted by the petitioners for Clayton Valley Charter High School on November 4, 2011, in response to the conditions set forth in Board Resolution #11/12 – 14 of September 13, 2011:

On September 13, 2011, the MDUSD Board of Education approved granting the petition for the formation of Clayton Valley Charter High School with various conditions, including several fiscal ones. Staff has reviewed the financial documents submitted by Marshall Mayotte of ExEd on behalf of Clayton Valley Charter High School to determine whether the conditions set by the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District have been met. As the budget is the school’s business plan put to numbers and a tool for reaching its instructional goals, staff reviewed whether the financial statements now submitted support the information provided by the Charter School petitioners as to its operational plan, including the various changes received to the petition in the interim.

The petitioners and their fiscal representative have been most responsive in submitting revisions to the financial documents as they have identified issues and in response to items identified by the District. The petitioners did so during a time when the shifting sands of the State’s financing of schools has been very trying for all in the District. In addition to the changes from the State, the petitioners have changed their intent with regard to the providing of various services during the course of the review of the financial statements. Further details of the changes will be delineated in the detailed section below.

As submitted on November 4, 2011, Iteration #6 of the financial documents for Clayton Valley Charter High School does not meet all of the conditions set by the MDUSD Board of Education on September 13, 2011.

The specific conditions as set forth in the Board’s September 13, 2011, conditional approval are addressed below.

(1) Submit evidence that the Charter School’s budget supports longer instructional days, a summer program, no furlough days, and a comparable benefit package as stated in the petition.

This condition has only been partially met.

During the course of discussion, the petitioners informed us that they would not be offering the summer program or extended day during the first year of operation. Between version 1 and 2 of the documents, Teacher Extra Duty & Stipends were decreased from 16.63 percent of teacher salaries to 10 percent of teacher salaries across all years of the multi-year projection. As various assumptions have changed between versions 2 and 6, the extra pay stipends have remained at 10 percent across all three years. Attached to one of the documents, the petitioners indicated that the 10 percent was for the implementation of longer day and summer program. However, if the costs are going to be incurred during 2012/13, when the program is not being offered, it is apparent that this line item must be covering some other expense. Adding one hour per day to the teacher workday approximates a 14.28 percent increase in time (from 7 hours to 8 hours per day). It may be that the school plans to negotiate a lower rate of pay for the extra hour per day, but this information has not been disclosed. Nor have sufficient details been provided by the petitioners addressing the staffing of the summer program to determine adequacy of the dollars budgeted to pay for the program. There are no additional costs for personnel in the second and third years of the multi-year projection to indicate the expansion of the program. The only increase appears to be step & column and inflation. It is unclear if there is a sufficient financial implementation plan for the elements of longer instructional day and summer program in the documents during any of the three years of the term of the petition. As such, either the underlying elements of the petition need to be modified if necessary, or the budget aligned to fully incorporate them. The cost of benefits projected appears reasonable to the cost of offering a plan similar in nature to the District’s plan.

(2) Submit a budget and multi‐year projections in the State’s SACS or Charter School’s alternative format

This condition has not been met.

While the petitioners have not complied with this element, the multi-year projections that have been submitted have included enough detail for the assessment to be done. As a matter of law, the adopted budget for the first year will have to be in the State’s format.

(3) Eliminate revenue sources that are not applicable to the Charter School from revenue projections as identified in the District’s staff analysis of the petition

This condition has only been partially met.

Many of the funding sources have been adjusted or eliminated pursuant to information provided during the initial review. In other cases, the school was able to show that it would be able to generate certain forms of revenue that the district had requested be excluded, such as a small allotment of Federal Title funding.

However, as mentioned above, the State’s funding model for schools continues to shift. On November 3, 2011, the District received updated assumptions for use in multi-year projections from the Contra Costa County Office of Education with regard to fiscal years 2012/13 and 2013/14. These were shared with the charter school on November 4, 2011. At that time, the petitioners were asked to please review the guidance from the County to be sure that all elements of the updated guidance were included in the final budget submitted. Later that day, the District received an email indicating that all elements of the First Interim guidance had been included. The County guidance included the following changes to the guidance we had previously received:

Assume no State funding for a COLA in 2012/13 or 2013/14.

Assume the mid-year trigger cuts currently in law for 2011/12 will continue as ongoing cuts for 2012/13 and 2013/14.

In reviewing the documents, the petitioners have correctly included no COLA in 2012/13. However, they have continued to include a COLA for 2013/14. Additionally, the midyear trigger cuts at the High School District rate of $300 per ADA have not been included in the revenue assumptions. This equates to overstating revenue by $533,100 in 2012/13 and $838,914 in 2013/14. Because the zeroing of the COLA in 2013/14 affects the baseline for calculating 2014/15 revenues, 2014/15 is overstated by either $314,988 or $848,088 if the trigger cuts also continue as ongoing. Since the county guidance is silent as to 2014/15 at this time, the District will not hold the charter to rolling the trigger cut forward beyond 2013/14 until the Governor’s budget comes out in January and we know more about the specific form it will take, but the petitioners should be aware that it would require an increased level of funding of at least 8.08 percent to remove the trigger cuts and fund the COLA in 2014/15.

Additionally, the charter school informed the District during the course of discussion that they were changing a significant element of their petition with regard to Special Education. Rather than being a school of the District for the purposes of Special Education, they now intend to be a Local Educational Agency (LEA) under the El Dorado County Charter Special Education Local Plan Area (ChELPA). We have received correspondence from the ChELPA with regard to how much Special Education funding the new charter school would receive as a member of the ChELPA and its timing. The ChELPA informs us that the new school will receive $415.65 per unit of P2 ADA. The school will receive its first apportionment at the P-1 Certification in February. While the cash flow effects of this will be discussed further below, the revenue will be discussed here. The petitioners have included Special Education revenue of $826,854. At $415.65 per ADA, the charter will receive $738,610. Therefore, revenue in year one is overstated by $88,244. The charter then assumes a 37 percent increase in Special Education funding between year 1 and year 2 of the multi-year projection with no explanation as to how this increase would come about. Utilizing no COLA for 2013/14 and a flat number of ADA, the revenue would again be $738,610. Therefore, revenue is overstated in 2013/14 by $394,317. In 2014/15 the charter projects a 0% increase, but bases funding on the higher number of 2013/14. Again in 2014/15 this leaves revenue overstated by $394,317.

As a result of the above, revenue is overstated in the following amounts by fiscal year:

2012/13 $621,344

2013/14 $1,233,231

2014/15 $709,305 or $1,242,405 if the mid-year trigger cut problem continues to be ongoing

(4) Submit a financial plan that demonstrates it will have: Adequate cash to meet each month’s operating expenditures, with no months indicating the school will be in a negative cash position

This condition has not been met.

While the documents submitted do not indicate any months with a negative cash balance, and it initially appeared that this condition may be met, upon further analysis, we find that it is not met. As mentioned above in section (3), the school will not begin receiving special education apportionments until after the P-1 certification in February 2013. In analyzing cash for 2012/13, the school has included special education funding beginning in August 2012. Subtracting out those funds that will not appear until February 2013, the school goes into a negative cash position in November 2012 ($61,063), December 2012 ($125,220), and January 2013 ($97,028). This is before taking into account the general purpose revenues and special education revenues overstated as identified in item (3) above. Once those are taken into account, there are also negative cash in the following months: June 2013, July 2013, September 2013, June 2014, July 2014, August 2014, September 2014, November 2014, December 2014, May 2015, and June 2015. This condition shows why the Federal Crisis Management Assistance Team keeps reminding schools and districts that ‘cash is king’. The school is able to have the minimum 3 percent reserve in its projected ending balances in each of the three years of the projection, yet has significant cash issues even when including a multi-million dollar line of credit.

(5) Submit a breakdown of all FTE by job type linking all FTE to line items in the budget

This condition has not been met.

This condition had been met in previous budget submissions, but was not met in the final budget submitted to the District. In the final budget submitted to the District, the petitioners, via Marshall Mayotte of ExEd, indicated the budget had been changed with the following explanation: ‘I added the cafeteria outsourcing option into the scenario, which eliminates the loss we had built in the previous versions of the financials. Please note that no one has decided to outsource cafeteria yet.’

The financial statements submitted indicate the elimination of food services positions, although the positions were still included on the list of FTE. Staff is unable to calculate which positions were eliminated to tie back to the numbers. Staff anticipated an increase in the budget for cost of food in object 4700, as purchasing from an outside source would likely be more expensive than buying raw ingredients and making the food in-house. Staff also anticipated an increase in the budget for Services and Other Operating Expenditures (object 58xx) for the cost of the contract for the outsourced food workers who would serve the students. While the increase in the cost of food was included in the budget, the cost of the outsourced food workers was not. With the FTE eliminated, but no replacement workers incorporated into the budget it is unclear how the food will be served to the students.

A previous iteration of the financial statements indicated that custodial work would also potentially be outsourced. As of this budget submission, the custodians are still included in the FTE and it is assumed by the District that the school will not be outsourcing custodial services at this time. However, the school has indicated they are reserving the right to outsource this at a later date. Such a change will require an update to the financial statements and the school has been advised accordingly.

(6) A fiscal recovery plan to address the cash shortfall in the existing projection and loss of miscounted revenues

This condition has not been met.

While the various iterations of the budget have made progress in meeting this condition, as identified in items (3) and (4) above, this condition is not yet met.”

Do you agree with staff’s recommendation to deny the charter?

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101 Responses to “MDUSD staff recommends that board deny Clayton Valley HS charter”

  1. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the board rejected the charter petition, Trustee Lynne Dennler’s idea to create a committee that would address the issues that led to the effort appears to be gaining traction:

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the link to Barnidge’s column:

  3. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#51 The stupidity of the bullheadedness of Eberhart insisting on defeating the CVCHS petition is just now sinking in to the more reasoned administrators. FACMAT informed Richards the district still has to include the alleged $1.8 M loss in the budget — which is why the District never ended up supporting Lawrence’s fictional $2.4 M. Neither MDEA nor the District can effectively reach an agreement as long as multiple budget issues remain unresolved: (1) CVCHS Charter which may extend into April; (2) unapproved SIG Grants, Cohort 1, for year 2, still remain unapproved, and with furlough days likely will not be approved — $10 M over next two years but it is already included in the budget as if approved; (3) new SIG Grants, Cohort 2, to be submitted on Monday for two schools, one of which is suspect [Meadow Homes] because it is PI Year 5 plus, and no AYP for 5 plus years, and therefore the Transformational Model approved last night might not be an available model under NCLB Sanctions, and will be included in budget even though unapproved; (4) 7 furlough days [5 school days] not yet negotiated with MDEA and based on recent comments by MDEA unlikely to get quick resolution with MDUSD having $24 M in reserve. So MDUSD is in financial limbo including “hoped for” income and grossly inflated loss of income for CVHS. Since the likelihood of either the County or the State approving the Charter which is supported by a near record amount of back up documents due to the 56 onerous conditions is extremely high, it just didn’t make sense for the stubborn opposition to charter that more likely than not will be approved, and created huge divisiveness throughout the district. Oh, and I nearly forgot, since Sue Brothers promised two years at CVHS, her transition to the SASS Dept may be delayed a year if the charter is turned down. Meanwhile, will the District prepare contingent plans for new boundries, feeder patterns, etc. in order to be prepared or will it just continue to lick its chops with a temporary triumph ? And yes, I think Lynne Dennler’s idea is long over due — as we all learned of the huge diversion of funds from all the high schools — and I guarantee you when the dust settles there will be demand from the parents and staffs for their “fair share”. And we pay these administrators how many millions of dollars to make these kind of stupid and bullheaded decisions.

  4. g Says:

    Dr J; could you sit on a panel with Eberhart at the helm and believe he would act (not just talk) in good faith? Theresa gave us a good look at the “Strategic Planning” session. That very team should have been put there for one reason: To see the problems discuss them, change some rules and work to settle the issues that have been like bile in the throats of the district for years. But the purpose of that panel devolved into “say the right thing–pick the best word–reshuffle the platitudes–but do the same shtuff!

    Gary has known for many years that if you pad it up, smear enough camouflage on it, make it look pretty, most of the people will fall for it. His campaign promise, like his resume is a testament to that!

  5. g Says:

    Theresa, in your article you said “The district may also create an independent committee to determine the ultimate financial effect of the charter, Superintendent Steven Lawrence told the board”.

    I think it would be safe to assume that such a committee would be just about as independent as say, his Measure C Oversight committee, or as unprejudiced as his School Closure Committee, or maybe as outspoken as his Budget Advisory Committee…or….

  6. Doctor J Says:

    @G #54 — No, his personality will not allow it.
    @G #55 — Until the “actual costs of operation” of the school are released — and its been 7 months since they were requested — even the GAO could not figure it out. Lawrence probably wants to appoint some of his Rotary buddies. I say we need the State Auditor Elaine Howle.

  7. g Says:

    Linda L; It is neither by accident nor coincidence that McMorris seems to be a hero. The previous principal–was he always a dud?–or maybe a once dedicated leader who had been cut off at the knees just one time too many, by a District leadership that was Ego driven, devided, contentious and drowning in its own bile?

    So, Northgate finally gave in and vommited what it thought was making it sick. We always put that off for as long as possible, even while knowing that we will feel better when we just do it and get it over with. At this point the District grabbed McMorris off his very slow-moving train and he has been like that first sip of ginger ale. It won’t cure the illness, but it might make you feel better for a while.

    Now there’s Clayton Valley. They gave the “new” leadership a chance, but just as they feared, they quickly realized the problem was not going to go away. District leadership had changed–a little bit–but not enough. The Ego was still there and had brought in a partner, looking out for their own power and personal interests first, and still making the District sick. Kind of like the picnic potato salad, it’s been sitting there congealing for too long. It’s good that Sue is there, and partnering with Lawrence to put some lipstick on the underlying issues. But how long can that subterfuge last?

  8. Alicia M Says:

    Dr. J @24 – You are right. Based on the hedge clause in the FCMAT report, the numbers are no more reliable as a result of FCMAT’s compilation. Also, it appears FCMAT was engaged to prepare this report prior to the October 25th board meeting. Reading the FCMAT report it indicates they were engaged on October 25th…which would have had to occur prior to the evening board meeting.

    The Steering Committee should ask for 1) the FCMAT engagement letter/agreement, 2) the representation letter to FCMAT, 3) all correspondence with FCMAT, including emails, 4) FCMAT workpapers, and 5) all documents provided to FCMAT. It is important to know the precise procedures performed by FCMAT to determine if any of their work was meaningful.

  9. g Says:

    Hi Alicia: Maybe that list should also include a copy of: “The team provided Mount Diablo Unified School District management with suggestions on potential cost impacts associated with the possible conversion”.

    We might not like what we see, but should get to see it anyway.

  10. Alicia M Says:

    G #59 – Yes. These suggestions should have been made in writing. That document should be obtained along with any other documents evidencing the basis on which these suggestions were derived.

  11. CarolineSF Says:

    All this demonstrates how violently charter schools rip communities apart. Maybe it would be worth it if they were successful, but except for the ones that exclude and push out the challenging students, they’re not. And are the charter backers all happily planning to exclude and push out the challenging students as current charter schools do?

  12. Doctor J Says:

    @CarolineSF#61 Do have a legitimate study to support your assertion ?

  13. 4Parents Says:

    There was optimism when 3 politicians requested a FCMAT report. Too bad the report was limited in scope. MDUSD is heading for the iceberg. Before it’s too late, MDUSD needs a complete report like FMCAT prepared for Inglewood School District.

  14. Jim Says:

    Dr. J: No, CarolineSF does not have what you have asked for. She is an intractable charter opponent who makes these assertions on other blogs, while offering only anecdotes as evidence — some from a very long time ago, pertaining to charters that no longer exist. This charge of “exclusionary” enrollment practices is one of the last refuges for charter opponents. It makes a memorable talking point, even without supporting evidence. (The very last refuge they take is, “Sure our schools are lousy, but if some kids are stuck in them, then all kids, everywhere and forever, should be stuck with them.” We saw exactly that point expressed by some of the CV charter opponents on Tuesday night.)

    I would urge anyone interested in the facts to simply visit any local charter. In my experience, they are every bit as diverse, if not more so, than the local traditional schools. Why is that? Well, it’s no secret that disadvantaged communities have some of the worst schools (although MDUSD is doing all it can to enable higher-performing schools to join that club), so it’s not surprising that people in those communities especially seek out charter schools and tend to be well-represented in them. But as the dysfunctions of traditional education spread to more and more higher-performing schools, we’re now seeing the same demands for School Choice among more advantaged families. The problems of traditional education, as delivered by the typical large monopoly district, are showing up everywhere, so it’s not surprising that families from across the spectrum are seeking other choices. Also, because charters typically have looser residency requirements, students from farther away can attend. This is especially true for districts like MDUSD that essentially oppose all charters. Any charter that gets approved by the County or State gains flexibility in enrolling students from farther away, so they can actually contribute to the diversity that mandated attendance boundaries tend to undermine. (As you know, MDUSD has not so subtly played on this “outsider” fear among parents, by spreading the word that “students from outside the area” could end up in CVCHS, as well as in other neighborhood schools, as the result of this charter.)

    CarolineSF represents an organization called Parents Across America, whose astonishing mandate appears to be to defend traditional school district bureaucracies no matter what. They purport to represent “public school parents”, but in practice, the things they advocate essentially reinforce the status quo. Defending teachers and neighborhood schools one could understand, but defending central district bureaucrats? Who could imagine? What next, astroturf organizations dedicated to defending used car salesmen? Mortgage brokers?

    I wouldn’t devote too much attention to defenses of the status quo from people who have so little familiarity with what is happening in MDUSD. They literally have no idea…

  15. Just J. Says:

    @CarolineSF, What do you mean by Challenging students?
    Are you referring to special ed? or are you referring to kids that are in trouble?
    I sure as hell hope you are not referring to special ed students with a comment like that! I have 30 years of research and studies behind me to back up the fact that public school systems are failing our kids.
    I would love to have a serious debate with you and help you get educated on Challenging kids!

  16. Anon Says:

    Knowing people like CarolineSF I would wager the “challenging kids” she is talking about are minority kids.

    My opinion would be the CarolineSF is an out and out racist.

  17. Wait a minute Says:

    The only ripping apart of the MDUSD community is because the failed beauracrats like Stevie Lawrence and his backers chose to play divide and conquer in a very divisive opposition to the charter.

    Recruiting children from other schools to oppose their fellow students from CVHS was a shameful, divisive and manipulative act of desperation by those seeing their absolute power and control slipping away.

    Unfortunately for the entire MDUSD community, the damages that these so-called leaders have inflicted with their desperate strategies will persist even after they are gone.

    The West Sacramento school district that Lawrence and Brothers left to come here reports that they are still dealing with the fallout of their reign of terror there and the primary job of their new Superintendent is to repair the communications and relationships that were badly damaged by Lawrence/Brothers “leadership”.

    Now if Eberhart really wants to support Dennler’s proposal of a committee to find out why all he has to do is look at himself in the mirror as it was his partnership with Stevie, Greg, Deb not to mention Sherry and Linda that was the immediate cause of the charter.

    If Bonilla really wants to author legislation to help education then she would author a bill to require that districts give a straight up or down vote on charter proposals to avoid the damaging divisive battle we just saw happen here.

  18. Ignorance is Bliss? Says:

    @CarolineSF – You indicate the CVHS charter is “violently” ripping our community apart, yet you have no problem inferring the charter supporters and entire charter school system of discrimination against special education students. Before making such a disgusting accusation, you should back it up with relevant data.

  19. Jim Says:

    In defense of CarolineSF — just to be clear, she is saying that charters exclude kids who are thought to be “challenging”, either because of their low academic performance or other reasons. She is not advocating such exclusion (unless maybe it is done in the form of the public “magnet school” model used in SF and elsewhere). She is just saying — without evidence — that charters exclude such students, even though the law expressly prohibits such activity, and there is no empirical evidence to suggest that charters do this in any widespread way. (You can always find isolated examples of almost anything, of course.) It’s important for charter oponents to keep those claims visible, in case a charter starts to show higher student achievement. Then they can say, “See! The results are biased to begin with!”

    The point to remember, whenever people attack a charter like CVCHS, is simply to ask, “How well is MDUSD doing in comparison? How likely are things to improve if we remain with the status quo?” That’s why the district’s criticisms of CVCHS’s financials and special ed plans (of all things!) look so hypocritical and feeble.

  20. Jamie Terry Says:

    I would like to point out that when we look back on the charter (Yes it will become a charter) we need to look at the make up of students now and compare to students that are in the charter. We can not assume that lets say if there is only 10% black 10% hispanic 10% special ed and so on that these numbers will change just because of the charter. They will change if the make up of the neighborhoods change.

    I am all for equal education for all! I don’t look at the color of skin to determine if a child deserves an education. I do look at what that child knows and what they need to know to be succesful after high school. Each child no matter where they come from is different. Special education does not discriminate and all children need to be taught. (emphasis on period).
    I am deeply saddened that the district does not do this. When my own son needed special education he was denied because he was not far enough behind. I used the internet (Google is wonderful) to educate myself. I realized early on that I could not trust the people in charge of the system. I had to fight and fight hard to get help. No parent should have to fight that hard to get an education for their child! No parent should have that much distrust for the educators. I have devoted my life to helping parents find the material they need and helping them navigate through a system that does not help children!
    I believe with all of my heart that these children WILL be served with the Charter and it won’t matter what color they are, what language they speak or where they live.

    I hope that made sense.

  21. i read the charter proposal Says:

    and it said that special ed would be farmed out and expelled kids would get sent back to the district. that means that the challenging students would not be at the charter so the charter community would be all spiffy clean. then their scores would be higher and it would look like the charter was working. let’s not be coy; call it what it is – a ploy to have the perfect school with the perfect kids and none of the riff raff.

  22. Just J Says:

    Ok, so in the first year the charter would have to use MDUSD as their SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area)If that is what you are referring to as farming out. The Charter will join the El Dorado Charter Selpa. The Charter has no choice they have to join a SELPA. The SELPA oversees special education.
    The law is very clear on Special Education and it must be followed or you will loose your school.

    Expelled kids are Expelled kids. Where do you think Expelled kids go from Mt. Diablo Unified? There were 3 just at the last meeting. The law is very clear what you can and can’t do. You cannot expell a child that does nothing wrong. There is a huge difference between suspension and expelled. If A child is violent, brings weapons to school, sells drugs do you think the charter should not expell? If you do then the District should not expell either. The District does not deal with these challenging kids.

    I think you had better clear up what you refer to as Riff Raff. Oh and no kid is perfect.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It will be interesting to see if CVHS test scores rise this year, under Principal Sue Brothers’ leadership.
    She told the school’s parent advisory committee that she was trying to tackle academics head-on, especially math instruction.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#73 Unfortunately those test scores will not be out until after the charter starts. The Supt, as usual, is a day late and a dollar short.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    Today, the Calif Board of Education approved, 8-1, the Synergy charter in Pittsburg Unified previously denied by both Pittsburg and Contra Costa County BOE’s and denial recommended by CDE, and essentailly slam dunked them on the denials based on “financials”. This should bode well for CVCHS whose financials were much stronger. In a week or so you can watch the replay, and can read the documents attached to the agenda. See item 12.

  26. Tod Says:

    Hey Clayton Valley community, thanks for destroying the district. You always had Walnut Creek envy for as far back as I can remember. It’s always greener on the other side of the fence huh? How about fixing the problems and working within the system! Sorry to disappoint you, this isn’t Sue, Stevie, or the rest you so loathe and hate. Pathetic.

  27. Another CV Parent Says:

    I don’t think there’s any reason to expect test scores to rise this year just because they’ve got a new principal at CVHS. They’ve got the same students and the same teachers. She hasn’t had time to implement the changes to the math curriculum that she announced this fall.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Has she instituted the peer tutoring program she proposed? I have been meaning to do a blog post about Brothers’ State of the School report and her plans for improvement.

  29. Wait a Minute Says:

    Well Tod,

    hate to tell you but the only folks destroying the district is the district bureaucrats like Stevie and their current 3 member board majority.

    The good new is the charter might very well save the district from itself by forcing a positive change to competent and caring leadership. Lets hope so.

    I see that Another Sue Brothers post is stating right up front that CVHS test scores will not go up and its going to be all the kids and teacher’s faults.

    Of course the test scores at Sue Brothers last school district never went up either and she had 5 years there!

  30. Just J Says:

    I think it is terrible to have to pay students to tutor kids. I would be happy about it if we had a decent math department but we don’t. We have to pay the same crap teachers and now pay kids to teach.

  31. Dan Says:

    I’m hearing that Whitmarsh is continuing to threaten the CVHS feeder pattern with school closures if the charter is approved.

    Does anyone know if this is legal? It seems that it should not be.

  32. Just J Says:

    If someone would come forward and verify this I would be willing to help that person and school. Who ever she is calling it needs to be documented or it will never stand up anywhere.

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Sue Brothers has NO TRACK RECORD in any school or school district of improving test scores. Ask her. Not Woodcreek, not Roseville, not West Sacramento.

  34. g Says:

    I don’t know, Dr J.; Cooksey was very clever in getting the petitioners to fold/staple/mutilate and in every other way alter the original petition, knowing the alterations themselves might well be enough to warrant a second denial if it went up to the next level. I think Synergy got lucky and had a little angel on her shoulder this time.

    CVCHS needs to really get their ducks in a row to argue the merits of alterations that they think should stay and which ones should go, and just who requested the changes to start with.

  35. CV Mom Says:

    Theresa, the school site council just voted last month (Oct) to start the math peer tutoring program, I don’t think it is started yet. They were looking for student tutors and fine tuning the scheduling and availability.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a recap of the meeting, which includes some video clips and comments made by board members before their votes:

  37. SK Says:

    After following all this for a couple of days as an “innocent bystander” (with kids in the MDUSD school district), this is my impression: The charter school got denied because of the money. But who can blame anybody for wanting to protect their children from more budget cuts? Yes, everybody not in the charter is afraid to be left behind in MDUSD with even less money, and understandably so. That’s why I think Kish Rajan’s suggestions of the charter school asking for less money from the district is an interesting solution.
    At the bottom of all this is one problem: There is not enough money for all of our schools coming from Sacramento. MDUSD has endured so many budget cuts (without a parcel tax to soften the fall), it’s amazing it still works as it does. I agree there is mismanagement, and I agree it needs major improvment. But maybe we all should soften our disdain towards MDUSD, and focus our energy on pushing to get more money for education into the state budget – e.g. by raising (extending) taxes.

  38. Alicia M Says:

    @ SK – Our Community will have to pay over a staggering $1 billion for the district’s 2010 Measure C, and over $500 million for 2002 Measure C. Our children who remain living in our Community and future property owners will be stuck paying most of the 2010 Measure C bonds’ principal and interest in 24 years when the bonds balloon. So I’m curious…how much more in taxes do you think our Community should pay?

  39. 4Parents Says:

    Alicia M, SK wants to raise STATE taxes – ROFLOL.

  40. Alicia M. Says:

    @ 4parents – Thank you for your clarification, and my question still applies. Also, raising state taxes will not guarantee additional and/or equitable funding to MDUSD.

  41. Wait a minute Says:

    I would never support raising taxes UNTIL it was shown that the existing taxes were being used efficiently and effectively.

    I think its obvious to anyone who follows the MDUSD that efficient and effective governance/leadership IS NOT HAPPENING and therefore any additional money they get is largely squandered, i.e. Rolens $850,000 cost overrun for bad service on bussing.

  42. Linda L Says:

    In Novemebr 2009 MDUSD polling showed that 81% of voters in the Mt. Diablo District did not approve of the District’s financial management. This is, and will continue to be, a major factor in the District’s ability to pass a parcel tax in the future. The raise to Greg Rolen’s et al and an ill conceived bond measure have only fueled the community’s mistrust.

  43. Doctor J Says:

    Lets add that the Charter’s request for ACTUAL expenses at CVHS was never responded to despite 7 months of requests. What are they hiding ?

  44. Just J Says:

    Dr. J. I think we all know what they are hiding.

  45. anon Says:

    Linda L,

    It’s not surprising that the community has concerns about the financial management of the district. The community looks to their community newspaper to provide accurate information regarding the district and that same newspaper continues to maintain that the cost to repay 2010 Measure C is over $1.8 billion. Then there is Alicia M. who purports to be a tax expert of some kind and she maintains that the cost to repay 2010 Measure C is in excess of $1 billion. Can either source substantiate their figures? I sure would like them to back up their claims and show their work. The district deserves oversight, but spreading rumor and innuendo is only hurting the children, not fixing any problem.

  46. Linda L Says:

    Anon #95,
    I am so happy you bring this up.

    As you know the $1.87 billion quoted by the paper was provided by John Isom who was hired by the District to calculate this number when Dr. Lawrence realized he didn’t know the overall estimated cost of the bond when he was asked by the CCTimes editorial board. And as you also know he was asked this question because he was asking the CCTimes for an Endorsement of Measure C.

    So now we quote that figure and Gary Eberhart and company tell us we are wrong. Okay. It absolutely makes complete sense that MDUSD provides numbers and then refutes those who use those numbers. Where are the new numbers? Why hasn’t John Isom done a new calculation if Gary is so sure HIS hired consultant’s numbers are wrong?

    That begs some additional questions:

    Why hasn’t John Ferrante responded to any of the email requests sent by Alicia Minyon regarding information that falls under the purvue of the BOC?

    Where is the Christie White audit? Will the 2010MC BOC review the findings?

    Where is the annual report for the 2010MC BOC?

    Why hasn’t her correspondences been made public record as they are required to be?

    Why hasn’t the District fessed up and explained to the community that they broke their promise and our tax rate has now exceeded the $60 cap?

    Why hasn’t the District told us why they chose to exceed the $60 cap rather than sell those outrageous bonds that John Isom said would have cost taxpayers $1.87 billion?

    Why hasn’t the District told us how much they discounted the $59mil worth of bonds that they did sell as originally planned with 20 plus years deferred?

    I am sure that Alicia’s numbers are predicated on the fact that the District has changed their original intent of deferring payment in leiu of breaking the political promise of a $60 cap. So man up and tell us that. Those of us who opposed the bond wanted that truth in the first place. In fact, other than the fact that it means they lied to the voters to get the measure passed, it is the better course of action and always has been.

    The District doesn’t just deserve oversight, oversight is mandated by law. Rumor and innuendo – REALLY? The CC Times and Alicia Minyon are now hurting the children?

    Someday I hope this District will be led by people who understand what is required to obtain public trust and confidence and will be courageous enough to actually address what is truly hurting our children without always needing to blame it on someone, or something, else.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    Why aren’t State and County officials enforcing the disclosure laws against MDUSD ? LL’s questions deserve to be answered for every citizen. MDUSD open your fiancial books to the citizens — or be prepared for subpoenas which will take your books and computers and reveal much more than you ever thought possible.

  48. Alicia M Says:

    @anon #95 – I have never “purported to be a tax expert”. In my calculations, I adjusted John Isom’s projections downward to account for the $62 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and Quality Schools Construction Bonds. The federal government will subsidize about 70% of the interest payments on these bonds. HOWEVER, the district’s bond counsel made it very clear on the August 22nd BOC meeting that the IRS’ subsidy on interest payments does not have to be used towards debt service…meaning the district may divert what the IRS intended to offset interest payments towards the general fund or whatever. If this happens, then the CREBS and QSCBs will cost more to the Community. Let’s all hope this nevery happens.

    As you know, the district has issued $50 million in Capital Appreciation Bonds, where interest and principal will be deferred for up to 24 years. Such a deferral results in compounded interest, where in this case, will cost $145 million to pay off the $50 million. This is much more expensive than issuing a conventional bond.

    So how did Isom get to $1.87 billion?…by assuming deferred payment bonds over a 40 year maturity. That maturity is the longest period allowed under the law, which results in a huge amount of compounded interest…the longer the maturity, the more costly the bond (ever heard of “TIME VALUE OF MONEY”?).

    Further, I adjusted the $1.87 billion downward in hopes that the remaining $228 million to be issued will have 30 year maturities instead of 40 years. I also assumed, like Isom, that Capital Appreciation Bonds would be issued in the future, because the district has already done so and in order to keep the disrict’s promise to voters of not exceeding tax assessments of $60 per $100k, it must issue Capital Appreciation Bonds. (BTW, the tax rate has been exceeded and for this year we are paying $61.20 per $100k.)

    So are these numbers Rumor…I WISH! I challenge this district to prove Isom wrong. I challenge this district to prove me wrong. So you think making the public aware of the district’s own estimates of the cost of 2010 Measure C is hurting children? What’s hurting our children today is that they will pay these bonds back when they mature in 2030, 2035 and beyond. Please note that the cost to pay off a bond can be found in each bonds’ official statement. All of MDUSD’s bonds ever issued can be found at I encourage all parents to read the bond’s “official statements” so you can see in black and white how much each bond costs. All of our children should be taught the valuable concept of “Time Value of Money”. Such a concept is critical so they can one day, after the age of 18, make important decisions like voting for bonds, taking out a mortgage loan or car loan. You took quite a leap of accusing me of hurting children…I hope you can take another leap and attend the next board meeting urging the district to stop hurting our Community by issuing Capital Appreciation Bonds. It is not too late to mitigate the overall costs of the 2010 Measure C.

  49. Wait a minute Says:

    Great points Alicia.

    Because of the outrageous length of these 40 year bonds our children will be hurt as they will be the ones paying for them on the back end.

    The MDUSD, “Where Children Come First”?

  50. Just J Says:

    Don’t you mean The MDUSD “Where childrens money come first?

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