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Mt. Diablo district may seek waiver for Mt. Diablo High state funding

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 8:24 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The same week that teachers at Mt. Diablo High School (MDHS) presented a vote of No Confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy to the school board, district officials realized that they could apply for a state waiver to retain $1.6 million a year in Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding for the campus, according to Rose Lock, assistant superintendent of Student Achievement and School Support.

The school and district submitted a report at the end of the 2010-11 year to the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), which showed that the campus had failed to meet class size reduction requirements. In November, the County Office of Education sent a letter to the district confirming this.

Although both the principal and Lock knew this meant the school would lose its funding starting in 2012-13, McClatchy did not inform teachers about this loss until Dec. 7. They voted No Confidence five days later and presented their vote to trustees Dec. 13.

“As soon as we became aware of the waiver option during the week of December 13, staff kicked into high gear to prepare the waiver request to CDE (California Department of Education),” Lock wrote in an email. “In the process, we discovered some inaccuracies in the 2010-2011 report submitted by MDHS in June. The County Superintendent’s preliminary notification was based on our report. The State’s official notification is expected in February. In the meantime, the District worked with the CCCOE QEIA monitor and NorCal QEIA Technical Assistance to correct the data and have submitted an updated report for MDHS.

Based on the updated report, MDHS met all QEIA targets except for 1 area – ‘Rule of 27′ for six core classes. The waiver request provided compelling reasons why these six classes were above the class size of 27. We are asking for approval by our board…Jan. 9 to submit the waiver request to CDE. A copy of the application will be posted with the agenda.”

When I asked for a copy of the application now (since it is a public record), Lock responded that Lorie O’Brien (who was appointed as Assistant Director of Categoricals and School Support in August) has the final version of the application on her computer and she is on vacation this week.

“We can get a copy to you next Tuesday when she returns or you can certainly request it from CDE sooner,” Lock wrote. “Lorie worked with Peggy Marshburn at the county and Mark Calonico at NorCal QEIA Technical Assistance…”

It’s unclear why Mt. Diablo was in the dark about its ability to apply for a waiver, while many other districts throughout the state prepared waivers for the Jan. 11 state Board of Education meeting. Jennifer Sachs, who monitored Mt. Diablo’s QEIA funding before assuming her position as Director of Categorical Programs for the Pittsburg Unified School District, assisted in preparing a waiver for that district in time for the board’s Dec. 14 meeting.

In contrast, no Mt. Diablo district administrators mentioned the loss of QEIA funding to trustees at their Dec. 13 meeting. Instead, trustees heard about the loss from the MDHS teachers during their vote of No Confidence presentation.

Lock said Mt. Diablo district officials didn’t begin working on a waiver until they learned that other districts were seeking waivers.

“I first heard about Pittsburg from Jennifer Sachs at a County Curriculum Council meeting on Dec. 9,” Lock wrote in an email. “I read an article in the newspaper about the Pittsburg waiver hearing that weekend. When I told Lorie about Pittsburg the following Tuesday, she had just read about the waiver option in an electronic newsletter about categorical programs that she gets from CDE. As you know, CDE has numerous listserves for disseminating information. I can’t tell you how current their lists are. Neither Lorie nor I received any announcement about QEIA waivers. In talking with CDE, Lorie was told that they could do a better job communicating with districts. I am sure this is a result of their budget cuts and large staff turnovers.”

Staff turnovers in the district and County Office of Education could also be playing a role in the apparent confusion about QEIA rules. QEIA funding began in 2008-09, when Mt. Diablo HS had a different principal, the district had a different superintendent and the Student Achievement and School Support division had not yet been created.

On June 22, 2010, the board appointed McClatchy as principal of MDHS. According to Calonico, many high school administrators create their master schedules before the school year ends. This means the master schedule could have already been created when McClatchy assumed her position. If not, she and other administrators would have been scrambling to put it together in July and August for the 2010-11 school year, Calonico said.

Sachs left the district at the end of June, but was not replaced until Aug. 23. Denise Rugani, director of secondary support, left the district in September and has been replaced by an interim director.

Both the county monitor and the county technical advisor have also left their positions. A “QEIA Scale Down” fact sheet posted on the school’s website says the county and district provided close monitoring and guidance to ensure that QEIA requirements were met. So, it is unclear why this monitoring and guidance resulted in failure to meet the requirements.

Teacher Dan Reynolds told me today that the site council approved the waiver application in a 9-0 vote. He said some mistakes were originally made because the school or district didn’t realize they could count certain classes toward their class size reduction requirement, such as Teachers’ Assistant classes.

Gaye Smoot, assistant executive director for California County Superintendents’ Association, said districts have known about the rules since 2007.

“We work with the schools to help them toward achievement of the requirements — making sure they understand the requirements and making sure they do the actual monitoring,” she said. “So, we hope it’s not a surprise at the end of the year.”

Many questions remain. It’s still unclear whether McClatchy and the district intentionally failed to reduce class sizes or didn’t understand the rules. If they didn’t understand, then it’s unclear why the county and Northern California monitoring and guidance didn’t help them figure out the rules.

The biggest questions now, however, are:

- Will the state approve the waiver?

- And if so, will the school and district be able to comply with the requirements to keep the funding this year and beyond?

Reynolds said McClatchy has said in the past that the funding doesn’t really make much of a difference to the school. However, she has not shown specifically what she means by that, he said.

He and other teachers believe the funding helps tremendously because the grant provides smaller classes, which give educators more time with each student. The school’s test scores have increased, Reynolds said.

At the emergency site council meeting last Friday, McClatchy voted along with the rest of the council to approve the waiver, Reynolds said. Although McClatchy left me a voicemail last week while I was on vacation, she has not contacted me this week to discuss the QEIA funding. District schools are on winter break through Jan. 2.

Are you satisfied with the level of accountability and transparency shown by McClatchy and the district regarding the school’s QEIA funding?

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  • g

    Reading the State Board’s Agenda it is interesting to see their reasons for recommending either approval (with conditions)or denial of the applications that are coming up this time.

    As to why Mt Diablo didn’t do ‘this’ or know about ‘that’—Ego can easily get in the way of acknowledging errors.

    I recall that QEIA also requires schools to closely follow their SPSA guidelines, and see that MDUSD just wrote this years guidelines on 12/7-8. Isn’t near the end of a Semester a bit late for filing this too?

  • g

    …and Lock always has something/someone else to blame—listserves, and yet once again, staff turnover. You get first notice in, what was it, February? You don’t take 5 minutes right then to call and ask about possible remedies should your district fail to make the grade?

  • Doctor J

    Lock’s dodging the questions and throwing curves creates more questions: (1) When Lock, Rugani, Sachs, and McClatchy were advised in mid January 2011 that MDHS was QEIA non-compliant, why didn’t they take immediate action ? (2) In February, when Sachs and Richards met with McClatchy why wasn’t action taken ? (3) Why did Lock, Rugani, Sachs, and McClatchy and now presumably Lawrence remain silent and not inform the staff until Dec 7, Pearl Harbor Day, of the non-compliance despite all the work that went into approving the Single Plan for Student Achievement approved a few days earlier ? See my prior timeline.
    QEIA Waivers for Class Size reduction date back to at least 2009, and Lock was not aware of them ? Rolen not aware of them ?
    No one was minding the store. They can’t multi-task. Lorie O’Brien, a nice lady, hard working, but was hired to do a job she knew nothing about — which is what MDUSD does — they promote within and hire unqualified people and expect them to learn on the job. Meanwhile mistakes are made that cost the district millions. Now she won’t be back until January 3 — that will be too late to notice the Public Hearing for January 9 — a Waiver under the Ed Code requires a public hearing, just like Pittsburg did. It takes ten days “published” notice in the newspaper. Anyone seen it yet ?

  • Doctor J

    The QEIAgate timeline that will HAUNT Kate McClatchy, Rose Lock, and Steven Lawrence: Who knew what and when did they know it ?

    Mid January 2011: In a mid January 2011 meeting called by CCC Office of Education, Asst. Supt. Rose Lock, Secondary Director Denise Rugani, and others from MDUSD including ALL principals of QEIA — that includes Kate McCarthy — were informed by CCCOE that MDHS was not meeting the requirements of QEIA and likely to lose the grant unless the requirements were met. No Corrective action is taken.

    Mid February 2011: The next month, the February 2011 non-compliance letter was sent. No corrective action is taken.

    Mid February 2011: Asst SASS Director Jen Sachs and CFO Byran Richards meet with Principal Kate McClatchy and discuss QEIA grant ramifications. No corrective action is taken.

    June 7: Jen Sachs appointed Director of Categoricals in Pittsburg USD. Resignation effective at MDUSD June 30, 2011. On Dec 19 Jen Sachs wrote an email to Theresa Harrington of the CCT: ““The regular monitoring of the Mt. Diablo High School QEIA program did reveal challenges. The county reports provided to the Mt. Diablo Unified School District each fall documented the areas where the site did not meet the QEIA targets.””

    Before July 15, 2011: Both Asst. Supt Lock and Principal McCarthy sign certification showing that MDHS is in non-compliance.

    August 23 Board approves Lorie O’Brien as Asst. Director of SASS over Categoricals.

    Sept 7, 2011 SASS Director of Secondary Denise Rugani accepts job in Liberty Union School District.

    October 2011: CCC Office of Education runs class numbers again, and MDHS still out of compliance.

    Oct 25: Kate McClatchy told the Board on Oct 25: “The stability of our faculty at Mt. Diablo High School is central to our continued improvement in student achievement.”

    November 17: CCC Office of Education sends out Notice that funding will be cancelled due to non-compliance. No action is taken.

    Nov 21: Lawrence holds special budget impact meeting about CVCHS charter impact, and publishes that MDUSD has for the last two years had reserves exceeding $40 million dollars each year. No mention of QEIA loss at MDHS despite mention that MDHS has QEIA funding that provides additional teachers.
    Nov 27 MDHS Sitecouncil approves the SPSA. No mention of QEIA loss.

    Nov 28: Special Board meeting. No mention of QEIA loss.

    Nov 30 Chair Dan Reynolds signs the SPSA. No mention of QEIA loss.

    Dec 3 Ricardo Pinzon of the English Learner Advisory Committee signs the SPSA. No mention of QEIA loss.

    Dec 3: Kate McClatchy signs the SPSA. No mention of QEIA loss.

    Dec 7: MDHS teachers first learn of loss of QEIA funding.

    Dec. ? Asst. SASS Director Lorie O’Brien prepares a Q&A about loss of QEIA fudning: “…central office staff met regularly with Mt. Diablo High staff to review progress and provide guidance. Mt. Diablo High staff monitored all targets closely.”

    Dec 12: MDHS teachers, through MDEA secret ballot, vote “no confidence” in Kate McClatchy.

    Dec 13: Regular Board meeting. No mention of QEIA loss except during Public Comment by MDHS staff who voted “no confidence” in Kate McClatchy. Neither staff nor the Board addressed the issue, and neither staff nor the Board appeared surprised by either the “no confidence” vote or loss of QEIA funding.

    Dec 15: following Meas C meeting, Board Vice-President Linda Mayo has no comment on the MDHS situation telling Theresa she will have to get the other side of the story.

    Dec 16: SASS Asst. Director Lorie O’Brien cancels her vacation to work on applying for waiver but says she does not know why MDHS did not meet QEIA mandates.

    Dec 23: MDHS Sitecouncil approves waiver. School Board has not yet approved. No public hearing has been scheduled or published in newspaper inviting testimony. Agenda notice is insufficient for Waiver Public Hearing. Take a look at how Pittsburg handled it.

    Dec 29: Rose Lock says she doesn’t have a copy of the Waiver — although I think she presented it to the Sitecouncil — the irony is that it is easier to get a mugshot of a custodian or Nugent than it is to get a copy of a Waiver submitted to the CDE.

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    The long awaited other shoe begins to drop.

  • disillusioned

    unbelievable…what happened to integrity? More trust would be built if any of the adults in charge admitted to their mistake/oversight. Dr. J’s timeline is very disturbing because at no point were students’ best interest a motivating factor for the adults in charge to follow the expectations of the QEIA grant. It seems obvious that smaller class sizes is an appropriate requirement of the grant. I wish all schools in this district had the opportunity for smaller class sizes, but am not resentful of schools that are able to provide this support through the QEIA grant. I am resentful that throughout Dr. J’s timeline, no one took advantage of this opportunity. Even though MDHS is not my child’s home school, each school’s success affects each homeowner’s property value in this district. For the students’ sake, I’m hoping a waiver is still possible.

  • g

    Doctor J: Don’t forget the “fair warning” letter of Feb 16 that was sent by Christine Swenson to “Select District Superentendents” (Lawrence). That should have triggered a call from him to his staff to confirm that all QEIA schools were “on target”.

    Did he just ignore it?

    It clearly states that “it is critical that each QEIA-funded school has revised its SPSA to address all school improvement efforts that are supported by QEIA funding, and that all SPSA are formally approved as required by law. Specifically, revisions to the SPSA are to be developed and approved by the school site council and formally approved by the LEA’s governing board”.

    The SPSA itself is described as a “end of year” report, and progress is supposedly disseminated monthly and yearly to staff and site council and other advisory committees.

    It seems to me that should be “school year”, and should be approved and up and running by the time a school year begins, not just getting its annual updates, reviews and revisions 4 1/2 months into the school year!

  • md

    All year Ms. McClatchy has been telling staff not to count on QEIA. We all wondered why she seemed so determined to plan without that money. I really believe she has known ALL YEAR.

  • MDHS Supporter

    All this documentation of “QEIA Gate” is interesting to me, but I think we can get lost in the details. This high school has been systematically sabotaged through budget cuts, teacher layoffs, incompetent administrators for as long as it has served poor students. We are just able to learn the details and specifics in this particular case.

    The conditions at the high school are bad, and it is clear that these conditions are created by policies from the top. If we “zoom out” from Concord we would see that MDHS is similar to schools in Vallejo, Richmond, Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, etc. Expand further and we find similar situations in the central valley, LA, San Diego and anywhere where there are a majority of students in poverty.

    This undermining of public education is only one side of the assault against people in poverty. I admire the kids for waking up every day and doing their best. Not all of them make it. It is not a surprize to see why they don’t. I think we are in a period of “hidden” racism. The most disturbing part is that it is “hidden” in plain sight. I think it is worse than any water cannons and dogs because it affects so many, and has the appearance of being “normal.”

    In “QEIA Gate” we are just seeing here the particular actors. In exposing them, I think we need to be talking about them in a more general way. I think the community and students would be more responsive.

  • Theresa Harrington

    One thing that is surprising is the contrast between the district’s intense work to inform the community about the potential loss of funding as a result of Clayton Valley High School’s conversion to a charter — estimated to be $1.8 to $4.2 million a year — and it’s apparent complacency regarding the loss of $1.6 million a year at MDHS.

    The loss of QEIA funding is likely to mean larger class sizes and a loss of student services coordinators who provide counseling to at-risk students, Reynolds said. Teacher Patrick Oliver predicted this could mean more drop-outs and lower test scores.

    The school board recently adopted a new “equity” policy aimed at ensuring that every student in the district receives a quality education — regardless of their economic or racial status. Do you believe this is achievable?

    FYI, here is a link to CTA’s website about QEIA success stories: http://www.cta.org/Issues-and-Action/QEIA/QEIA.aspx

    MD: When you say “all year,” are you talking about the 2010-11 school year or this school year. Clearly, she has known since last February that the school was not meeting its requirements.

    Dr. J: Thanks for the timeline. Keep in mind, we get mugshots from the police, not from the district.

  • g

    Even without the SPSA or QEIA updates it only takes a quick look at Mt’s most recent SARC reports to see that those in charge didn’t take requirements very seriously. Couple declining enrollment with the fact that they indicate a full teacher staff in 2008-09, with a shortage of 7 teachers in 2010. Did they hire those 7 teachers for 2010-11 in order to fulfill QEIA mandates–or even in 11-12 to show valid attempts? I don’t know the answer–hopefully they did hire where needed.

    Looking at the “objectives” for the SPSA that they just published, indicates that there has been no real improvement over the previous year. They’ve only implemented/achieved 50-75% of their goals, and insiders could probably argue that those numbers are inflated.

    Compare Mt, to Northgate SPSA—shocking difference. Is this because Northgate has to answer to wealthier, English speaking parents (for the funds they provide) while Mt Leaders know it ‘only’ has to answer to the State–and a majority of parents (with limited English, who live 10+ miles away) have no idea what is going on, or that they have gotten the shaft?

  • Theresa Harrington

    As I have previously noted, the school’s vice principal told me the requirements weren’t met because the district couldn’t afford to hire more teachers. However, district officials have not corroborated this. And, as has also been noted, the district had ample reserves in 2010-11, which presumably could have paid for more teachers.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just spoken to a CDE QEIA program administrator, who said the districts that appear on the Jan. 11 state Board of Ed. agenda filed their waivers in October. He said the waiver process is well-known throughout the state. However, he said the state has never received a waiver regarding the Rule of 27.
    He also said it’s possible the application could be deemed incomplete because it doesn’t include the required public hearing and board vote. If deemed incomplete, the state Board of Education won’t hear the waiver application until May.
    He also said the school should make every effort to meet the QEIA requirements this year, so the state board can see the school and district have made adjustments.

    md: Do you know if your school meets the class size requirements this year?

  • Doctor J

    @TH#13 Here is a CDE link to all you want to know about CDE waivers, forms, and calendar. The reason that Dec 23 was magical is that is was the last day to have waivers on file to meet the March 7-8 2012 Calif BOE meeting. See the 2012 BOE Calendar. Why is that important ? March 15 is the deadline for giving pink slips. Giving out pink slips to 22 MDHS teachers would cause a Tsunami and maybe even a sickout. The link will also take you to instructions for filling out the General Waiver form and describe the difference between a Board Meeting and a Public Meeting. I could be wrong, but I believe some of the waivers I previously provided links to did involve the Rule of 27 as that is part of Class Size Reduction. http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/wr/

  • Doctor J

    @TH#15 One of the issues ALWAYS addressed by CDE staff and the BOE, did the District take immediate corrective action ? Financial impacts are not considered in QEIA waivers since QEIA provides the funds to lower class sizes and the districts “knew the requirements” going in.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#15 CDE discusses Rule of 27 in the Santa Ana waiver: Santa Ana USD waiver “states that cuts to revenue limit funding have resulted in teacher reductions causing an increase of the student-to-teacher ratio.” CDE Recommendation is: “The California Department of Education recommends denial of this request based on three factors: (1) QEIA program requirements were known to the district prior to its decision to apply for program participation; (2) QEIA funding is expected to be used to hire teachers resulting in significantly reduced class sizes for students at QEIA schools; and (3) QEIA legislation requires an average classroom size of 25 students or lower for core subjects, with no more than 27 students per classroom regardless of the average classroom size.” http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr12/documents/jan12w20a3.doc

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, but this wasn’t requesting a waiver for the Rule of 27, it was requesting a waiver for the average class size.
    MDUSD will tread new ground with its waiver.
    Although MDUSD contends it didn’t know it could submit a waiver, the CDE rep with whom I spoke said it is well-known that the state board considers the QEIA requirements “waiverable.”
    It’s unclear why MDUSD didn’t realize this sooner, especially since Jennifer Sachs realized it.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I have just posted the superintendent’s News Update, which notifies the community about the recent teacher and custodian arrests, upcoming budget cuts and the QEIA waiver: http://bit.ly/vadNAF

    Also, although the district the public hearing notice for the County Office of Education’s charter appeal public hearing, there is no notice regarding the QEIA public hearing posted on the district’s website: http://www.mdusd.org/Pages/default.aspx

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    “Reynolds said McClatchy has said in the past that the funding doesn’t really make much of a difference to the school.”

    Theresa, if you ever get through to McClatchy, by all means, please ask her whether Mr. Reynold’s comment is correct, and if so, what she means by that. It is just astonishing to me that she goes all the way to the CVCHS hearings to testify, without any evidence whatsover, how much that charter will suuposedly hurt schools across the district, but a direct hit of $1.6 million to HER OWN school’s budget won’t matter?!?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Reynolds said McClatchy has spoken against QEIA.
    “She says she doesn’t think it does anything for our students and it’s not showing any real gains for our students,” Reynolds said.
    When I asked Reynolds what McClatchy bases this on, he said she has made comments such as: “The data shows…”
    But when he asks what data McClatchy is referring to, she does not produce any.

  • Wait a Minute

    The real facts of the matter are that Principal McClatchy’s “leadership” isn’t doing anything for her students and no real gains are possible under her so-called “leadership” (f course, the same thing can be said about Superintendent Stevie Lawrence).

    In fact, McClatchy is incapable of even running a safe school as these articles demonstrate:
    http://claycord.com/2011/10/03/mount-diablo-high-school-teachers-fed-up-with-abuse-on-campus/
    http://claycord.com/2011/09/19/two-large-fights-at-mt-diablo-high-school-in-concord-before-school-starts/

    It really goes with just plain common sense that without safety, there can be no maximization of learning!

    Principal McClatchy should be fired immediately for her incompetence in safety and QEIA but she won’t because she has backed Stevie Lawrence against the CVHS Charter so he will protect her as Eberhart, Ebermarsh and Mayo will protect Stevie.

    Where kids come first?

  • Wait a Minute

    Great timeline spelling out the “comedy of errors” that is the MDUSD’s so-called “leadership” on this QEIA issue Dr J!

    The facts of the matter are that Stevie Lawrence and certainly his cohort from West Sacramento Sue Brothers have incredible disdain for all students and families of poverty and color.

    The West Sac people who suffered through 4 plus years of their mis-management all confirmed to me how they consistently shifted monetary and other resources from the schools serving low income areas to the higher income areas.

    They also told me that they were famous for giving short shrift to School Site Councils in the poorer schools.

    In fact, they apparently had one of their chosen hatchet-job Principal they brought in to crush a rebellious staff falsify a Site Council that the Yolo Grand Jury ended up investigating and substantiating that this Site Council was in fact wholly falsified.

    Apparently Brothers was implicated in this illegality and this is the prime reason she had to flee West Sac to regain the protection of her benfactor Stevie Lawrence!

    Here is the Grand Jury report for the 2010-2011 year, just open up the final report with adobe pdf and scroll it down to Yolo HS.:
    http://www.yolocounty.org/index.aspx?page=2043

  • Doctor J

    @WAM #21 I read the Yolo County Grand Jury findings at pp 33-35 that Yolo High School in WUSD falsified a Sitecouncil meeting and minutes to falsely show approval of a SPSA which never occurred and was then sent to the District and approved. Are you saying that as the Asst Supt Sue Brothers was implicated in this and had knowledge or participation in that event ? Are you saying this is the reason she was reassigned to other duties from her Asst Supt job and thereafter sought a job in MDUSD ? I am reserving judgment until I see some more facts about her alleged involvement. I do note that the Grand Jury recommended that :”R1. WUSD should monitor the District’s schools to ensure that site councils are properly constituted and valid SPSAs are submitted.” I do not know if that recommendation involved Asst. Supt. Sue Brothers job description at the time of the phoney Sitecouncil meeting and purported approval of the SPSA which was January 13, 2010. Further, I do not know if she was blamed for the failure to properly monitor that the site councils are properly constituted and valid SPSAs are submitted. I believe Steven Lawrence was still Superintendent of WUSD on January 13, 2010 as he did not start at MDUSD unitl approximately February 1, 2010.

  • Theresa Harrington

    This reminds me that I was contacted several months ago by someone on the College Park HS site council who left me a voicemail message saying the district had taken back money that he believed was supposed to be under the council’s jurisdiction (or had somehow not allowed the council to allocate it). Unfortunately, I didn’t follow up at the time, because I was busy on other stories. I will look through my phone messages next week to see if I can find the name and number of the person who called. If by chance anyone from the CPHS site council sees this comment, please call me at 945-4764 to discuss your expenditures. Thanks.

  • Doctor J

    Steven Lawrence was Supt of Washington [West Sac] USD through the end of January 2010 as verified by the district agendas and approved minutes. In his last regular Board meeting on January 28, 2010, not only did ALL of the SPSAs get approved on the consent agenda [including the phony Yolo High], Supt. Lawrence also recommended his Asst. Supt. K-12 Curriculum & Instruction, Sue Brothers, for a contract extension through June 30, 2013, which the Board approved. Immediately after Steven Lawrence left, WUSD hired Dr. Michelle Lawrence, for Supt of Berkeley USD as the “interim” Supt. In June 2010, Dayton Gilleland, Ed.D, was hired as permanent Supt. His message of July 9, 2010 lauds Dr. Michelle Lawrence’s interim leadership but fails to even mention Dr. Steven Lawrence. Very telling. http://www.wusd.k12.ca.us/Departments/Superintendent/superintendent.html
    And then we all know about the subsequent reassignment of Sue Brothers, and quick exit thereafter to MDUSD even though she had a contract through June 30, 2013 as an Asst. Supt.
    I can see the smoke, I wonder where the fire is.

  • Doctor J

    High School Principals report directly to Supt. Steven Lawrence, not to Asst. Supt. Rose Lock. See Lawrence’s Organizational Chart. http://www.mdusd.org/superintendent/Documents/org-chart.pdf

  • Disillusioned

    @Dr.J: I’m assuming that Dr. Michelle Lawrence is a relative of Steven Lawrence, but I don’t know how they’re related. Also, i don’t understand how the accolades she received as the interim supt. at Berkely USD was telling in that Steven Lawrence was not mentioned by the new Supt of Berkely USD because Steven Lawrence came from WUSD; but i would like to know more about this. I do understand and have concerns regarding the history of Steven Lawrence and Sue Brothers at WUSD.

  • Disillusioned

    @Dr. J: i just looked at the Lawrence’s Organizational Chart. Does that hyphenated line between the school board and Greg Rolen mean that Rolen oversees Lawrence?

  • Doctor J

    #27 Michelle L. and Steven L. are NOT related. Wait a Minute has reported that Michelle was asked to straighten out the district before the new Supt was hired. She had been a successful Supt in Berkeley USD. She was the Interim Supt in WUSD after Steven L. left Feb 1 2010.

  • Theresa Harrington

    D: Although the hyphenated line appears to imply that Rolen oversees Lawrence, that is not the case. Rolen reports to the board and to the superintendent. Previously, Rolen reported only to the superintendent, but the board changed that reporting structure to give the general counsel more autonomy.

    Also, I don’t believe that Michelle Lawrence is related to Steven Lawrence.

  • Doctor J

    #28 A previous Grand Jury report stated that the District’s General Counsel reports directly to the Board of Trustee’s and not to the Supt. Note that when the Gang of Five was given raises in Nov 2009, in order to justify Rolen’s $27,000 increase, he was put in charge of transportation and maintenaince and operations, which Pete Pedersen had previously done. That means he now reports to Supt Lawrence for those jobs, it creates a huge conflict of interest as to who he really works for and is responsible to. How can he give independent legal advice to the Board about Lawrence, when he also works for Lawrence and reports to Lawrence ? There have been bussing and maintenaince issues ever since Rolen took over those jobs. I hope Theresa is working on a bussing expose.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Dr. J: The story for Tuesday is related to one family’s experience with the district’s transportation department that they believe is an example of many problems with busing since Rolen assumed responsibility for it. They question how Rolen can independently investigate problems in the transportation department (as general counsel), since he is the one overseeing busing. In essence, they say, he appears to be able to use his role as general counsel to defend his work as head of transportation.

  • g

    Well, he used his role as general counsel to respond to the Grand Jury’s complaints about his own performance and got by with it!

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, and as has been pointed out, that Grand Jury report was never discussed by the board at any public meeting.

  • MDHS Teacher

    I am a teacher at Mt. Diablo High and have been for the past seven years. I stand behind Mr. Reynolds at our school. He is 100% correct when he says that Ms. McClatchy has said in the past that the funding doesn’t really make much of a difference to the school. I have been at countless meetings where QEIA has been brought up and I have seen Ms. McClatchy literally roll her eyes, shift around uncomfortably in her seat and sigh. Now I get it. She knew all along that we would lose QEIA funding (lose teachers) for the 2012-2013 school year, and she did nothing about it. WHY??? I feel duped and I feel sad for the students and their parents (WHATEVER LANGUAGE THEY SPEAK!!) that will lose some excellent teachers because of her mismanagement. Shaking my head.

  • Theresa Harrington

    MDHS teacher: The loss of QEIA funding would equal about $1,000 per student. If CVHS converts to a charter, MDHS would lose about $75 per student.
    Do you think Superintendent Steven Lawrence, who supervises McClatchy, has shown as much concern over the loss of QEIA funding as he has over the loss of CVHS revenues?

  • Doctor J

    @MDHS Teacher: When Kate McClatchy told the Board on Oct 25: “The stability of our faculty at Mt. Diablo High School is central to our continued improvement in student achievement.”
    Do you believe she was telling the truth or lying ?

  • Theresa Harrington
  • Disillusioned

    At Theresa (entry 34): Is the Grand Jury Report a public document that can be used as a reference by disillusioned parents?

  • Anon Staff

    As another member of the MDHS community, I can confirm Principal McClatchy’s consistent deriding of QEIA mandates during discussions throughout last school year. She has made similar comments about CPA grants the school receives. It will be interesting to see how long those grants last as long as she turns a blind eye to their requirements. The CDE would have every right to review all support monies the school receives considering McClatchy’s restructuring goals that directly contradict the structuring requirements of CPA and QEIA.

    I do give credit to Vice Principlal Peterson for going on the record on these issues. It should also be noted, however, that he has only worked at MDHS for a few months and cannot accurately speak to the climate created by Principal McClatchy regarding grants since her appointment as Principal.

    Theresa: Do you have any further information regarding the legal implications of intentionally not attempting to meet QEIA mandates? I found it very interesting that Lorie O’Brien volunteered this information to you. Every tidbit of evidence from this debacle suggests a willful refusal to follow QEIA mandates by at least Principal McClatchy and, possibly, by Superintendent Lawrence. I am sure the community would be thrilled to defend the actions of these players against legal action. How much would that cost?

  • Doctor J

    What will Lawrence do now with Sue Brothers when she leaves CVHS ? Now that the Yolo County Grand Jury report is in the open about the Yolo High School principal’s falsification of the Sitecouncil and SPSA in January 2010 when Lawrence was Supt. and Sue Brothers Asst. Supt over K-12 of WUSD. Who knew what and when did they know it ? http://www.yolocounty.org/index.aspx?page=2043

    Ironically, Brothers in May 2011 after her “reassignment” to unspecified duties in WUSD, gave up a lucritive contract extended at Lawrence’s request to June 30, 2013, suddendly departs to MDUSD for a principalship at CVHS because she wanted to “work with the kids directly” now appears to be ready after just a half a year to get back to the Ivory Tower at District offices and away from the kids. Will she be haunted by her supervision or lack thereof of Yolo High School’s administration in the phony Sitecouncil meeting and ficticious approval of the SPSA ? 2012 roars in like a Lion ! Never a dull moment at the Dent Center.

  • Wait a Minute

    Sorry Dr J, I’ve had no internet for the last couple of days.

    And yes, where there is Smoke there is most definitely FIRE just like what keeps repeatedly happening here in the MDUSD!

    Regarding the illegally falsified School Site Council and its subsequent (non)-meetings and documents like the SPSA at Yolo HS, West Sac people told me that the Grand Jury coming in was clearly a major step in the fleeing of that district by initially Stevie Lawrence and eventually Sue Brothers even though she was gifted a fat 3 year contract extension.

    Incidentally, since the West Sac last minute and ill-advised lucrative contract extension for an unethical administrator like Brothers is a proven Method of Operating (MO) by Stevie Lawrence, look for him to pull the same if he has to leave the MDUSD.

    Remember the Grand Jury testimony and proceedings are secret so its not likely that anyone will go on the open record about at least Brothers being implicated in the illegally falsified Site Council, meetings and SPSA but I have been told that at least Brothers was implicated.

    Keep in mind that Brothers was Stevie Lawrence’s right hand person in mismanaging West Sac’s district.

    It is a guarantee that Stevie knews about and signedy off on everything Brothers did there and the documented track record here in the MDUSD also indicates he knows and approves of every unethical decision here also.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anon Staff: Based on my discussion with a QEIA program staff member, it sounds like the district would not face any legal actions — even if it has intentionally disregarded the grant requirements. It could, however, lose the grant funding.

    Still, it sounds like the state may be reluctant to penalize students and teachers (by taking away funding) if administrators were at fault. The state tends to believe that superintendents who sign “assurances” that they will comply with grants actually intend to follow through on their promises, the CDE rep said. The waiver will be evaluated based on its merits and the state will not investigate whether or not the school’s failure to comply was intentional, he said.

    That, of course, does not prevent the public from holding the superintendent and principal accountable for the school’s failure to comply with the grant requirements.

  • Doctor J

    @TH, The SBE in granting the waivers does require COMPLIANCE but has in the past waived some of the timelines for good reasons. I can’t wait until you get a copy of the waiver so we can see if the District has a “good reason” for non-compliance or if this is just a made up excuse. I guess it is possible for MDHS to make the corrections so there is compliance starting the second semester, but that might mean hiring some new teachers to make all classes comply with the Rule of 27.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Apparently, the district was advised to present “compelling reasons” for exceeding the Rule of 27. It is, in essence, asking for forgiveness after the fact.
    In my discussion with the QEIA program staff member, I commented that it seemed like it would have been prudent to find out ahead of time whether the reasons for noncompiance were compelling, instead of waiting until after the school year ended, when it was too late to rectify the situation. He didn’t disagree.
    He also stated that waiver applications take “a lot of work.” My impression was that they are normally not hastily drafted in a matter of days, as was Mt. Diablo’s.

  • Doctor J

    With MDUSD’s history of non-compliance, and near defiance, in abiding by the SIG grant requirements and now the QEIA grant requirements, the only thing I find compelling is a total disrespect for the law and for the students who are the most affected by the district leadership’s thumbing their noses at CDE and the Feds. Compelling is that when MDHS and MDUSD learned in the fall of 2010 they were in non-compliance, and throughout 2011 as set forth in my timeline, they took NO CORRECTIVE ACTION and even more compelling is that they still haven’t taken any corrective action !!! Where is the accountability ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Accountability ultimately lies with the board. It will be interesting to see if trustees ask for any accountability from district staff during the public hearing next Monday.

  • LindaL

    Can someone shed some light on this issue, I am confused.
    MDHS is losing $1.6 mil in funding because they didn’t meet the reduced class size requirement for that funding. They say they didn’t meet it because they didn’t have the money. Isn’t the $1.6 mil intended to cover those costs? Am I missing something?

  • Doctor J

    @TH A “public hearing” has been scheduled ? Where is the notice ?
    @LL, The CDE prior waiver decisions that I have provided links to, especially for large districts, have basically said: you knew the rules going in, and the money was to ensure there were class size reductions that met both the “average class sizes” and the cap of the “Rule of 27″. CDE has rejected every time the excuse of “we couldn’t afford it” since that is precisely what the QEIA money was to be used for.
    Where is the Waiver application that has been a public record now for ten days, and still being concealed by the District ? Let’s read their excuse. If the waiver is based on false claims, CDE should be notified. Rose Lock told Theresa she could get it from Lorie O’Brien who conveniently was out of town, even though Rose presented it to the MDHS Sitecouncil on Dec 23. Where is it Rose ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Linda: I haven’t yet seen the waiver application, so I don’t know what the stated reasons for noncompliance are. However, the school’s vice principal told me it was because the district couldn’t afford to hire more teachers. He said that I should speak with district officials, whom he believed would confirm this. So far, though, no district office administrators have offered any reasons for the noncompliance, despite my repeated voicemail and email messages to Superintendent Steven Lawrence, Assistant Superintendent Rose Lock, QEIA administrator Lorie O’Brien and Jennifer Sachs, the previous QEIA administrator who now oversees grants for the Pittsburg district.
    Before completing the waiver, O’Brien told me she expected to try to show that the school exceeded class sizes for certain students so that they could take AP classes.
    Yes, the QEIA funding is supposed to fund additional teachers. So, it’s unclear why $1,000 per student wasn’t enough to pay for the teachers needed to keep the grant.
    O’Brien said the school’s emphasis on academies complicates scheduling because it leaves students less flexibility than a non-academy schedule.

    FYI, the Parent Advisory Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday: http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/DispForm.aspx?ID=218&RootFolder=%2FLists%2FUpcomingEvents
    Perhaps someone will ask about the QEIA funding.