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MDUSD trustee donates stipend to sports foundation

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, December 31st, 2011 at 5:39 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Sports.

Pat Middendorf, Clayton Valley High athletic director and a member of the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation (UMDAF), got a welcome surprise this month from Mt. Diablo district trustee Cheryl Hansen — a $3,700 contribution to the nonprofit organization.

Here’s an email Middendorf sent to other foundation members about the unexpected gift:

“Just wanted to let you all know that UMDAF just received a present of $3,700 from school board member Cheryl Hansen. This is what the card read:

‘Thank you for all the time, effort and hard work that you have given to keep athletics alive in MDUSD. I think my board stipend is better spent helping to support the work you are doing for our student athletes.

Best Wishes, Cheryl Hansen, MDUSD Trustee.’


Pat Middendorf CAA
Resource Specialist
Athletic Director Clayton Valley High”

What do you think of Hansen’s message and donation?

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25 Responses to “MDUSD trustee donates stipend to sports foundation”

  1. g Says:

    Classic! There’s a lesson to be learned here.

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Classy. Lets see if any of the other trustee’s have enough class to follow her stellar example.

  3. Anon Says:

    This woman should be the board president. The Gary and Sherry don’t have the ethics nor the morals to do the same thing.

  4. Disillusioned Says:

    Ms. Hansen’s donation makes me feel far less disillusioned. I’m hoping she can take this positive spirit and channel it into controlling this Supt., general counsel, and other board members. The donation she just made (and my child is not athletically inclined…) shows me that she truly cares about students. She also advocated at the Dec. 13th Board Meeting against the $2,000.00 spent on an upcoming conference designed to bring a collaborative relationship among school board members; she said that since all board members are adults and as board members their role was already established when they were voted in as board members: to oversee that all children in MDUSD were receiving a solid education. She went on to say that $2,000.00 was an unnecessary expenditure especially during this time of extreme budget cuts. Mayo and Eberhart disagreed with her. Had they agreed with her, Ms. Hansen would to date have contributed $5,700.00 to MDUSD. I see Ms. Hansen as the only ego-less, intelligent, and caring adult that can possibly save this district.

  5. Anon Says:

    Ms. Hansen is one great lady. I hope that everyone recognizes what she stands for. We need more members like her. Way to go Ms. Hansen!

  6. LindaL Says:

    Ms. Hansen should be commended for many of the stands she has taken. She is a voice of reason.

    The Board had a retreat last year to address “board collaboration”. It was clear that the reason to have the meeting was to make sure Hansen fell in step with how things are supposed to be done.

    However, the consultant did not take that position. In addition, Mayo wanted to review the by-laws, Lawrence wanted to talk about goals & objectives versus strategic planning. Eberhart wanted to discuss procedures and decorum at board meetings.

    The consultant suggested they understand the hierarchy of a school board…. bottom line the school board is accountable to, and work for, the community that elected them.

    The consultant suggested they understand the hierarchy of a school board…. bottomline the school board is accountable to, and work for, the community that elected them.

    I personally viewed this exercise as a whining session where the Board majority had hoped the consultant would tell Ms. Hansen she had to get along with the rest of the Board… it didn’t happen. I guess they are going to try again… what a waste of time and money.

    How about spending time on REAL strategic planning.

  7. Wait a Minute Says:

    Cheryl just proved what kind of selfless leadership is going to be necessary and required to turn around the MDUSD.

    Rather then be a “whats in it for ME” and “Show ME my Money” type of egotistical and controlling leader, Cheryl has personally delivered on the MDUSD’s motto of “Where Children Come First”.

    Bravo Cheryl!

    Lets hope that the next board election brings more board members of your type of leadership so this district can begin to rebuild trust and competency for its kids and families.

  8. g Says:

    I would like to know which Board members actually have/need health benefits through the District versus which just take the in-lieu money grab. Anybody know?

  9. Flippin' Tired Says:

    I don’t understand why board members even receive benefits. This is not a full-time job, such as other elected official have. These people have jobs, or are retired, or can qualify for medi-cal. They get better benefits than the people who actually work for the district.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FT: Board members receive benefits because it is a perk they have voted to give themselves. However, they did vote to abide by the same caps as employees. Trustee Lynne Dennler receives retiree health benefits from the district. Hansen also likely receives benefits from her position with the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

    During the upcoming budget cut discussions referenced by Superintendent Steven Lawrence in his most recent “news update,” members of the public could suggest that trustees reduce their benefits. Under recent budget cuts, employees who work less than four hours a day get no health benefits. Do you believe trustees work the equivalent of four hours a day for the school district?

    g: You can see which board members received benefits in 2010 by searching this database:

  11. Anon Says:

    Flippin tired (I mean Paul),

    Interesting that you say that now that you are no longer on the board.

  12. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Still not Paul, Anon, but happy to see the paranoia still parading through your brain!

    Theresa, I know about the 4-hour rule – that’s why the board was considering cutting several jobs to 3.75 hours per day. Vote themselves benefits, then take away site position benefits? Classy. Do you know when precisely they voted for themselves to get benefits?

    No, I don’t believe any board member puts in 4 hours per day. Half the time I don’t even think their head is in the game when they sit in the board room.

  13. vindex Says:

    well done Trustee Hansen

  14. Jim Says:

    I commend Cheryl Hansen for her generosity, but I do not believe cutting board member benefits or stipends is a good answer. If one believes that we need school district bureaucracies at all (which I do not, but that’s another topic), then they have to be managed, and we won’t get good management by making service on school boards even LESS attractive than it is now. Currently, we seem to attract largely the untalented and those who hope to cash in on political connections. Serving on a school board will never be very economically attractive to people with the talent to occpuy themselves productively elsewhere. But we can at least ensure that the penalties for serving are not so great that we deter talented people like Ms. Hansen from even considering service. If we do that, we will to leave ourselves too vulnerable to mediocre candidates who seem to view becoming a member of the school board as their only plausible path to recognition, prominence, or self-respect.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Jim, there is a flip side to that coin. Perhaps we are attracting Gary and Linda who serve to get a $14,000 tax free health care benefit for part time work that their full time employers don’t provide PLUS a stipend of about $8800 per year , yet their very own Board policies have cut the health care benefits of part time MDUSD workers ? I think you should extend your argument that “we won’t get good management by making service [in school districts] even LESS attractive than it is now” — do we have poor management in the MDUSD because we aren’t paying and providing enough benefits to Steven Lawrence, Greg Rolen, Midred Browne, Rose Lock, Julie Braun-Martin, Pete Pedersen, Bryan Richards and the SASS directors enough ? I haven’t heard a single person say these people are being paid too little and don’t get enough benefits. All the complaints I hear are about poor management skills, poor decision making, and lack of strategic planning to guide their policies and decisions. Organizational Behavior 101.

  16. Jim Says:

    Doctor J, you make a reasonable point. There is always the risk that the wrong sorts of people will be attracted by benefits that are too generous. Perhaps the current health benefits fall into that category. I just want to make sure that we don’t make board service too unappealing for more talented folks, or allow our dissatisfaction with this board to discourage other potential candidates.

    As far as the administrators’ compensation, I regard the entire world of education as a parallel universe, where normal incentives are absent, or so distorted that we cannot trust them. There is no reason to expect sound “OB 101” management practices in most public schools, because such practices are actually difficult to institute and maintain, and public school administrators have almost no incentive to embrace those challenges. As I’m sure you know, the “market” for ed administrators is not a very open one. Salaries often don’t correlate with competence. It is exceedingly difficult to find people who are familiar with all of the arcane knowledge of ed regulations and financing and who are also competent managers. I think we have the administrators we have because the board has not insisted on better candidates, at least since McHenry and probably before. And we have the board we have because most households do not have school-age children and have lost interest in school elections. Too many other people who might have retained an interest in public education have given up on our schools as being hopelessly resistant to improvement. This leaves the elections at the mercy of the unions, contractors, vendors, and others with narrow interests that may conflict with the needs of our children.

    That, in a nutshell, is why I wouldn’t leave something as important as public education in the hands of an unaccountable monopoly like MDUSD. It didn’t work for producing shoes, cars, or virtually anything else in the Soviet Union, and it is not producing an educated citizenry here in the U.S. Unfortunately, most people do not yet agree with me. They wish to, somehow, make our education monopolies work better. So long as that is the dominant paradigm, I would like to see us have better school boards and not do anything to discourage better candidates.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Jim, and I think you make good points too. I do not know what the magic pill is for public education. We weren’t very satisfied with it when there was lots of money, and we aren’t satisfied with it when we have cut to the bare bones. It seems to me we have to get back to the basic concepts instead of the Board micromanaging. The Board sets the policies and holds the Supt and management responsible. It was refreshing to see the Penn State Board take quick and decisive action with regard to the recent scandal — we can disagree about the scope of the action, but it was quick and decisive. They held the top people accountable. At MDUSD which cries about every tax dollar lost, millions can be lost due to staff incompetence, and there are no consequences, and lots of coverup. You have to wonder why Board members Eberhart and Whitmarsh who took McHenry to task, refuse to hold Lawrence to the same standards. It all began at Buttercupgate.

  18. g Says:

    I believe this generous action warranted much more coverage with a nice, BIG story in the Times–pointing out how much the individual board members take from the school district’s education coffers for their so-called “volunteer” work, and the greedy cash-out-in-lieu for health benefits that they already have from other sources.

    Combined, they pocket enough to pay for another desperately needed teacher at Mount D, or any other SIG/QEIA school, or to keep several part-time SpecEd Assistants on the clock.

    The school board was never intended to be a cash cow for local ego-driven politicos.

  19. MDHS Teacher Says:

    “The school board was never intended to be a cash cow for local ego-driven politicos.”-G

    Well said!!

  20. The Observer Says:

    Eberhart has sucked more out of MDUSD than anyone in board history. Never before has anyone has taken so much and done so little for so few for so long.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, when I spoke to Board President Sherry Whitmarsh after the recent PAC meeting, she told me that she has repeatedly asked if she could “opt out” of the vision and dental insurance, but she was told she could not, because the policies the district has in place require all employees to be covered.

  22. Anon Says:

    Teresa #21
    I do not believe that. I would like to see this policy in writing. If this District requires employees to be covered for vision and dental we have another host of problems that should be addressed and resolved.

    I am guessing that whoever is in charge isn’t reading the rules correctly – who would’ve thought!!!
    They may be mixing up medical insurance with these other two options.

  23. g Says:

    Would it be splitting hairs too finely to point out that: The Board Members are NOT Employees of the District.

    They are instead, volunteers. Duly chosen representatives, working for the taxpayers, and charged with the duty of overseeing the actual “employees” of the district, on behalf of the Taxpayers.

    In exchange for this “volunteer” position, so valiantly fought for in the polls, and whose time is freely given out of their (alleged) dedication to the welfare of ALL students, the taxpayers agreed to provide a small stipend sufficient to “cover their expenses”–period!

  24. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Of course you can opt out! I chose to forego medical coverage, as my spouse’s medical is a far better plan. I kept the vision and dental, because it is superior to what my spouse is offered.

    That’s a load of b-o-l-o-g-n-a.

  25. The Observer Says:

    Hansen doesn’t take any benefits according to the Bay Area Public Employees Salaries website with the San Jose Mercury News. So, she knew how to opt out. Sherry should ask her how to do it.

    Plus, Hansen donates her entire board stipend to school programs like athletics and music.

    Eberhart, in 2010,took over $17,854 in health benefits along with $8802 in stipends, not to mention his Solar Certificate expenses, trips to San Diego, San Francisco, etc and other “perks”. This from a man who routinely whines that Sacramento doesn’t give schools enough money.

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