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Live blog of MDUSD Dec. 13 meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 at 9:00 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

In an attempt to update the community more quickly about what happens at Mt. Diablo school board meetings, I am going to try to live blog tonight.

So far, the board voted 4-1 to elect Sherry Whitmarsh as president (with Hansen voting no) and 4-0-1 to elect Linda Mayo vice president (with Mayo abstaining). Mayo nominated Whitmarsh and Dennler seconded.

The board also unanimously reappointed Superintendent Steven Lawrence as board secretary.

The board voted 3-2 to change meeting dates to Mondays (Hansen and Mayo voted against).

Board unanimously approved consent agenda, except item 10.31, which was pulled.

Student reps reported on a variety of activities.
MDHS student said the campus is losing millions of dollars in QEIA funding.
YVHS student reported school band won first place at Napa Band Review.

Mayo asked that appointments be made before public comment.

Board appointed Christian Patts administrator of related services 5-0.

Board appointed Hunt Lin program specialist special ed. 5-0.

Board appointed Budget Advisory Committee members as presented. 5-0

Mike Fine asked the board what it intends to do to improve math test scores at CVHS.

Janet Fitzpatrick spoke against cuts to IMA II positions.

Several MDHS teachers said a majority of campus teachers have voted no confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy.

Debbie Hickey of CST Local 1 spoke against cuts to her bargaining unit.

Lawrence reported on Diablo View MS developments and Wells Fargo grant of $40,000.

CFO Bryan Richards presented a budget PowerPoint and board unanimously approved a “Qualified” budget, meaning the district may not be able to pay its bills for three years.
Trustee Gary Eberhart asked Richards to create a one-page document that shows the district is not “sitting on a $43 million pot of gold.”

Board unanimously agreed to approve contract increase with Non-Public Agency, Ed Support Services, as presented.

Board unanimously approved budget allocation for Seneca Center, revised MOU.

Board unanimously agreed to contract for maintenance of district’s Measure C phone systems and voicemail as presented.

Board agreed to SunPower change order as presented (I believe Hansen voted no).

Board unanimously agreed to increase the contract/purchase order amount with Beyond the Words, Inc. for the Services of Educational Interpreters for the Deaf for School Year 2011-12.

Board did not act on CSBA nominations, since no one had approached trustees requesting to be nominated.

Board voted 4-1 to spend $2,000 on a Governance Leadership Development Workshop on Feb. 4 (Hansen voted no).

Eberhart said the rest of the items on the agenda were for information only.

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  • Anon

    Is there some kind of law that says how long they have to post minutes? It seems that no minutes 6 month later is just wrong. How long does it take to approve minutes?

  • Anon

    Whoops that was 1 year 6 months ago

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, Trustee Cheryl Hansen pointed out last night that minutes are supposed to be distributed by the next meeting: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=4774&mtgId=312.
    It’s unclear why the June 22, 2010 minutes are missing.

  • Doctor J

    @Theresa, here are the portion of the approved minutes of June 22, 2010 [note the public comments about Mt. Diablo High]:
    “16.2 Approval of Administrative Assignments for 2010-2011
    In an attempt to find the best match for each school, District staff has gathered input from site staff members and parents. For those positions that we feel we have a match, we will announce the person filling the position; otherwise, we will continue to search for qualified candidates. The District requests approval of administrative assignments for 2010-11 as announced.
     Diane Sargent, Site Based Program Specialist, assigned to Meadow Homes Elementary School
     Linda Hayes, Vice Principal, assigned to Northgate High School
     Cynthia Goin, Principal, assigned to Wren Elementary School (approved at the June 15 meeting)
     Rhys Miller, Principal, assigned to Valle Verde Elementary School
     Sandy Bruketta, Principal, assigned to Hidden Valley Elementary School
     Spoogmai Habibi, Principal, assigned to Ayers Elementary School
     Christine Huarjado, Principal, assigned to Riverview Middle School
     Ean Ainsworth Vice Principal, assigned to Riverview Middle School
     Kate McClatchy, Principal, assigned to Mt. Diablo High School
     Liane Cismowski, Vice Principal, assigned to Mt. Diablo High School
     Cheryl LeBeouf, Principal, Assigned to Olympic High School
     Katie Gaines, Vice Principal, assigned to Olympic High School
    Public Comment
    Dan Reynolds, English teacher at Mt. Diablo High, expressed concern that administrative changes were made at the school during the summer without input from staff. He asked the Board how the principal swap will affect the restructure plan as he would like to offer his input and help. Colin Jones, science teacher at Mt. Diablo High said he would like to see the students, parents, and teachers become engaged to help dispel the message that Mt. Diablo High is a failing school.
    Allen moved, Eberhart seconded and the Board voted 5-0-0 to approve the administrative assignments for 2010-11 as presented.”

  • Theresa Harrington

    I see that the minutes are available if you search the ESB website: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/
    Interesting that there’s no link on the district’s board site, however.

  • Doctor J

    I found them on the August 24 2010 Consent Agenda for approval of minutes.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Bond Oversight Committee meeting is tomorrow night at 7 p.m.: http://bit.ly/t2K1Ze
    Agenda says there is a “minority report” with the annual report. Not sure what that means, since there is no staff report other than the Quarterly Report online.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#57 Actually it says: “Annual Report: Minority Report”. Minority of what ? Race, gender, political party, religion, what ??? I am not sure this is a proper description and may not meet the Brown Act minimal requirements. How could the public figure that out ? No mention of the audits. Interesting.
    Guess they are going to spends thousands of dollars importing the attorney ?

  • Realia

    Dr. J, I assure you that the no-confidence vote was taken in spring 2010 at Olympic High School with the results I previously posted. Alt. Ed. Program Director Dr. Mildred Browne admitted in a faculty meeting the following year, after months of requests from Olympic teachers, that McClatchy had received the no-confidence vote and that she, Dr. Browne, was aware of it. So, despite the publicized vote, McClatchy was promoted to be the principal of an even bigger high school. It’s really the Peter Principal, I mean Principle, in action.

    One should check out Olympic’s current principal, Marc Lopes, to see how the feeder pattern of administrators to MDHS is going. He’s cut from the same cloth at McClatchy – blame teachers for everything, let students do whatever they want with little-to-no consequences. And like McClatchy, he has issues. It’s a matter of time before his actions and inaction will snare him and the district. And I suspect he may be subject to a no-confidence vote in the near future.

    By the way, Dr. J, very nice record keeping. That’s why I only post what I know to be true – I never know when it might be quoted in the future, and it’s a lot easier to remember and confirm/defend the truth than a lie.

  • Doctor J

    Realia, no doubting your word. Olympic is a revolving door. Since June 2010 [18 months] there has been McClatchy, LeBeouf, Benson, and since July Lopes.
    http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2011/06/23/mt-diablo-district-administrative-shuffle-underway/
    Lawrence really knows how to pick quality principals. Remember Nugentgate ?

  • Realia

    Oh no, Doctor J. Marc Lopes was named co-Principal soon after Benson arrived in the middle of last year, when Le Beouf was seemingly forced out to make room for the ascension of certain proteges. After Benson was transferred from her Small Necessary High School, Lopes was made the principal of that school, then Olympic, after only being in the district for a few months as a counselor. Then Benson suddenly resigned near the end of the year. At the end of last year, Lopes won almost every administrative award for “turning around” Olympic. Well, yes, he has turned it around – and on its head. Perhaps those were his marching orders from “Dr.” Browne. No one ever accused her of being subtle.

  • Alicia M.

    A “minority report” is a summary of findings presented by members of the BOC who disagree with the majority. I’ve asked that a minority report be issued along with the annual report so that the public can be informed of each BOC member’s findings relating to the expenditure of bond proceeds and compliance with the California Constitution.

  • Anon

    want to commend theresa and the times for printing the mdhs story . . . the public will want more coverage about dropping the $3.2mil qeia football . . .

  • Theresa Harrington

    Soon, I will post the comments teachers made at the meeting, along with links to the video. The loss of funding will likely cause layoffs and class size increases, making it more difficult for the school to meet district goals and objectives and NCLB targets, one teacher said.
    However, they had many additional concerns about McClatchy, which they explained in searing detail.

  • Doctor J

    @Realia #61 I find no Board action approving Lopes as co-principal with Benson, but that doesn’t mean I doubt your word. I am just wondering who was appointing Lopes to all these positions without Board action ?

  • Anon

    won’t dent find a way to spread the 3.2 million cuts to the other schools

  • Theresa Harrington

    I don’t believe so. Superintendent Lawrence has explained that categorical funding such as QEIA directly benefits specific school sites. So, when it is lost, it affects only the school involved.
    He contrasted this with unrestricted revenues, which are spread throughout the district, saying the loss of CVHS as a charter would impact everyone.
    However, it is interesting to note that the amount lost at MDHS ($3.2 million) could be more than the amount Lawrence has estimated would be lost due to the charter ($1.8 to $4.2 million).

  • Realia

    Dr. J, I believe the Superintendent can transfer administrators from site to site within the district without board approval. I suspect the co-principal scheme was never formalized and was simply a chess move by “Dr.” Browne to help her protege get the job at Olympic, but I do believe the official transfer of Lopes to Olympic was part of a board meeting in May or June. He made references to his faculty about needing board approval to make his position official before he could start planning for this year (the plan is that there is no plan except continually coming up with new ideas and then not following through on them, then trying them again, etc. – all with no teacher input).

    Someone should look into the current state of the school McClatchy left behind. Some teachers are out for various work-related reasons (one already quit mid-year). There’s no money for anything – but the music studio that Comcast paid for and McClatchy allowed to be turned into a storage room, with very expensive equipment, is being revived and a part time engineer is to be hired (students will then be able to earn credit for making raunchy hip-hop music). Oh, and there’s a club for illegal aliens and their families that was started by the outgoing Student Services Coordinator.

    Theresa, you mention searing comments the teachers made about McClatchy. These same concerns were expressed by the Alliance staff when numerous complaints forced Gail Isserman and Mildred Browne to interview the Alliance staff (Olympic teachers begged to be interviewed as well, but they were rebuffed – Browne only cares about her Alliance program, even though she oversees Olympic and other Alt. Ed. sites, as well). One teacher gave one of the interviewers a long laundry list of McClatchy’s misdeeds and how they were examples of unprofessional conduct making her unfit for the job. Then McClatchy was inexplicably promoted after the interviews and the no-confidence vote and, well, we can now see how that’s working out.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#67 More importantly, the “notice” to correct the problem arrived in Feb 2010 and NOTHING was done to try and correct the situation to avoid the loss. The big question is WHAT has Lawrence been doing to correct the MDHS QEIA funding situation for the last 22 months ? Obviously Kate McClatchy has done nothing. Or has she ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    The difference with Mt. Diablo teachers, however, is that they chose to go public with their No Confidence vote, with a presentation to the school board.
    Did the Olympic teachers ever consider such a move? Are there any Olympic teachers now who would be willing to speak “on the record” about this?
    Dr. J: As you will see in the comments to the board (when I post them shortly), teachers say McClatchy told the site council she did not master schedule for QEIA. They say she knowingly failed to comply with QEIA requirements.

  • Doctor J

    @TH #71 Sounds like sabotage by Kate McClatchy. The question is whether she did that with or without the knowledge of Lawrence or other district officials.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    I’ve heard Mr. Reynolds speak at numerous board meetings. He is very passionate about Mt. D students and finding ways for them to be successful. Might he consider being an administrator? He’s a very dynamic young man and clearly the students respect him.

  • Doctor J

    @FT #72 Does Mr. R have an administrative credential ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Dr. J: Teacher Dan Reynolds said Jen Sachs and Bryan Richards made a presentation to the site council about the funding. It’s unclear if they knew McClatchy didn’t intend to comply, however.
    Here’s the blog post with the teacher comments and video links: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2011/12/15/mt-diablo-hs-teachers-lay-out-reasons-for-no-confidence-vote-in-principal/
    I don’t know if Reynolds has an administrative credential, or if he has any desire to be an administrator.

  • Anon

    Mr. R is very high up in the MDEA – the word in the union is he’s building his resume for a CTA staff job down the line.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    I have no idea of his credentials, but it’s plain to see that he is a strong, popular teacher who is very pro-student. These are the kind of educators we need to clone.

  • Number Eight

    TH #67,

    This is a tragedy for MDHS teachers and students, but it WILL affect all the high schools. When they layoff 22 teachers then seniority rules will kick in and we can expect teacher turnover at the other high schools. The NGHS principal stated he didn’t want transfers from CVCHS, but now NGHS should expect many more from MDHS. This turnover is the absolute worst thing for all the students. What’s the rationalization for why they lost the QEIA funding?

  • Theresa Harrington

    6:44 p.m. UPDATE: When I originally wrote this, I believed the person who called was a teacher. I later learned that Gary Peterson is a vice principal at MDHS. He told me his name, but not his position at the school, when he called.

    I have just heard from a teacher (actually a MDHS vice principal) who did not join those at the board meeting, who said the district couldn’t afford to comply with the requirements because it would have needed to hire more teachers. He said he didn’t believe it was McClatchy’s fault. I am checking with district officials to get clarification about this.

    You make a good point about bumping. It would appear that this bumping could exceed any bumping as a result of the CVHS charter, which district officials have warned the community about.

  • NitWit

    I think it is time for all high schools in this district to wake up and stop living in their bubble. We all must demand accountability and corrections to the woes at all schools, as it is clear what happens at one, will impact ALL others. Northgate was all up in arms about a few CV transfer teachers? Let’s see what happens with a layoff of this magnitude at Mt. Diablo. Let’s see what happens when the school (MDHS) deteriorates even further and kids start to transfer to Northgate and other schools. How about let’s just see what happens when the kids who need it the most aren’t getting support and the drop out rate soars. It affects all of us one way or another. When are we going to stop living in a vacuum?

  • Theresa Harrington

    The city of Concord recently enacted a truancy ordinance to address students who aren’t in school.

  • Irene

    I agree with the fellow that recommended Mr. Reynolds as MDHS principal. This is an individual who is very much capable of doing the job and doing it with stlye. He is well liked by peers, students and parents. He has that genuine love for the kids and want them to do well. Look at his track record that will show that he will do whatever it takes to do what is right. What do you say Dan would you take the position if its avaliable? And it best be because if its not I will start something with those fools that we call the Board . . . . .with the exception of Cheryl Hansen.

  • Irene

    McClatchy was fully aware of QEIA funding, why do you think she alway made some lame excuse why she didnt have when asked by Mr Reynolds during several site council mtgs. Poor Mr Simms had no idea that he was suppose to have the plan done when he had to sit in on a mtg for her. Something came up….. sure it did. This was something that she was aware of and could have fulfilled. She had ample time too. Its not like she was busy because all she was doing was giving orders for others to do.