Part of the Bay Area News Group

Live blog of MDUSD Jan. 9, 2012 meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 8:17 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Trustee Cheryl Hansen pulled item 8.14 to clarify who is responsible for supervising and evaluating principals.
Rose Lock said the directors normally do not evaluate principals. Lock is responsible for elementary and middle school principals and Supt. Lawrence supervises and evaluates high school principals. Lock said Susan Petersen is evaluating three principals.

Consent calendar and SASS job descriptions were all unanimously approved.

During public comment, one man said the school district should employ a full-time translator instead of hiring consultants.

Also, an office manager, school secretary and IMA complained that they were misled into believing that the district was facing a financial crisis when the CST union agreed to pay and hours cuts. Now that the district is negotiating with the teachers’ union for no furlough days and pay raises, they want their hours reinstated, they said.

AJ Fardella criticized the district’s decision to appeal his family’s small claims lawsuit, in which a judge found the district negligent for dropping off his daughter at the wrong stop. He said that General Counsel Greg Rolen admitted to the judge that the district was negligent.

Because I videotape during meetings, it is very difficult for me to do a live blog, despite my good intentions.

Here is the online story I just sent to my editor:

The Mt. Diablo school board on Monday unanimously approved a waiver application asking the state to forgive it for failing to meet class size requirements so that it can continue receiving more than $!.5 million a year through the Quality Education Investment Act. The state Board of Education expects to vote on the application in March or May.
Trustee Cheryl Hansen said the district should make a greater effort to inform trustees and the public when grant funding is in jeopardy. Although school and district staff have known for about a year that the school was not keeping class sizes below 27 as required, Principal Kate McClatchy didn’t inform teachers until Dec. 7.
The application says school and district administrators made errors in their calculations and misunderstood grant requirements. Still, Trustee Linda Mayo praised the school’s staff for raising test scores.
Trustee Gary Eberhart urged administrators to bring parents to the state Board of Education meeting to speak on behalf of the application, which the school site council approved Dec. 23.
Earlier in the meeting, school clerical workers complained that they were misled last year when they agreed to cut their hours and work days because district administrators said they were facing a financial crisis. Now that the midyear cuts are not as drastic as they were led to believe, they said they want their hours and days reinstated.
The district has reported it has about $38 million in reserves. This has prompted the district to rescind its original plan for seven furlough days this year, which would have cut the school year by five days.
In addition, the teachers’ union is asking for raises. Clerical workers, who said they haven’t received raises in 10 years, urged trustees to reinstate their hours before raises are given to teachers.

No one mentioned the vote of no confidence in the principal.

Do you think the state Board of Education should approve the waiver?

JAN. 10 UPDATE: Here is a link to audio of the meeting: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/January%209%20recording.mp3

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://ohcg.net A. J. Fardella

    Don’t know why you stopped blogging…

    The bond ‘refund’ they gave taxpayers only serves the pocketbooks of Bond issuers.
    The additional revenue if managed in a fiduciary fashion should be applied to the Bond Principle it’s the only way to reduce the slavery of the 50 year long payback.

    The move proposed at tonights meeting was sold as a big win for the taxpayers. It was not. A win for taxpayers will be to pay the Bond principle off early.

    I had to leave as I saw the presentation begin. I went outside to be sick.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I also take notes separately to write my story, so it’s a bit difficult to juggle the blog, video camera and notes.

    I videotaped the bond refunding presentation and will try to post the link later for those of you who can decipher it. Also, Jon Isom promised to give a copy of his PowerPoint Presentation to the district so it could be posted online.

  • Doctor J

    Local One CST believes they were misled because the district accumulated unprecedented reserves over $40 million ? Just remember what Lawrence told you on June 15, 2010 in a press release. “Our classified unions have accused the District of being inflexible because we have not changed our position on benefits and furlough days even though the union has made concessions. We have not artificially inflated our proposal or the deficit and we have proposed only those concessions we need to eliminate the deficit.” Will you ever believe him again on anything ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    The district was previously telling unions they needed to create large reserves to prepare for midyear cuts that have not materialized. Now that the district is conceding it won’t need to take furlough days this year after all, CST employees want the district to stop taking money for them from their paychecks.

    I videotaped the speaker comments and will post links later.

  • M. Thompson

    I am a CST member who has had over $500 (five furlough days)w/h from my pay this year in anticipation of the nine furlough days that the district hoped we would take. Now I understand there will be no more than 4 furlough days this year. Hope payroll stops the deductions and quickly refunds the fifth day they w/held from me and my coworkers in the district. I want my hours back, too!.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is a link to my story about the meeting: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_19714392

    Also, I have added an update to this blog post with a link to audio from the meeting.

  • Doctor J

    Fascinating discussion about the “accountability list” with good questions and good points. The example that came to my mind was the Measure C audits; approved months ago, paid for months ago, and where are they ? I almost got the impression that Gary momentarily thought every member of the public could start calling in to get spending updates every month on everyone’s pet projects. Cheryl quickly shot down that balloon. Or I guess we could get the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree all asking Lawrence where the audits are !! On the count of three . . . one . . . two . . . three . . . DIAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Theresa Harrington

    How do you think the board will vote on the accountability list at its next meeting?

    Regarding the idea of the public calling staff to get updates, I was quite surprised. Usually, the superintendent does not return my calls for information and many people have complained about their inability to get information about busing from district staff. The superintendent, does however, occasionally respond to my emailed questions.

  • http://ohcg.net A. J. Fardella

    Thanks Theresa-

    What is important for Taxpayers to see is that this refund of Bond proceeds in excess of projections, only puts more dollars long term into the Bond issuers pockets. That money properly used would pay down the principle to escape 50 years of the Montel Williams style Bond structure which has us paying 1.8 Billion dollars for borrowing 350 million.
    Since the Board and our Superintendent are in bed with Bond issuers, so goes the action of the District. Of course they sell propaganda to the public as a big boon for the taxpayers…. in the long run, not at all, it just means we’ll pay every penny of this ridiculously conceived bond so the Bond issuers get their money and in the long run Taxpayers are deprived of more of theirs.
    Fiducially irresponsible on the part of the Board and Staff, with our kids suffering the Bondage of this atrocity (every pun intended).

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is a resolution about the bond resale on the consent calendar for Monday: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=4895&mtgId=336