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MDUSD trustees differ on approach to county charter vote

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 7:14 pm in Contra Costa County Board of Education, Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education staff is recommending that its Board of Education approve the Clayton Valley High charter tomorrow.

But Mt. Diablo district board president Sherry Whitmarsh and Trustee Gary Eberhart — who both voted to deny the charter in November — are taking different approaches to the county vote.

Whitmarsh said she plans to oppose the charter, while Eberhart said he’s willing to concede that the county board will likely approve it.

“I am going to speak against the staff recommendation,” Whitmarsh told me.

She said there are three points she wants to make: (1) regarding the financial viability of the charter, (2) special education, and (3) the Mt. Diablo school district’s potential loss of funding.

“Even though this year the governor has not done the trigger cuts as bad as we thought they would be, next year it could be up to $350 per student,” she said.

In addition, she said the legislative analyst said today that the governor may have overstated the amount of income that could be raised through taxes, which could impact next year’s budget.

Secondly, Whitmarsh said she would like the charter to take responsibility for all special education students in the school’s attendance area, to reduce the district’s costs.

Third, Whitmarsh said the charter could cost the district more than $3 million.

“So 6 percent (of students) will be getting the money versus 94 percent (that wouldn’t),” she said.

Eberhart, on the other hand, said he does not plan to speak against the charter.

“I would be shocked it the county board didn’t approve the recommendation of staff,” he said. “I just think that they probably rely on their staff to provide them the information necessary and their staff has come to the conclusion that — based on some financial forecasts and the like — that they feel the charter should be granted. I just don’t know on what basis someone on the board would stand up and say their staff didn’t do the analysis correctly.”

Instead of fighting the charter, Eberhart said he wants to help the students affected.

“The time for me to talk about whether or not the charter should be approved or denied is kind of passed,” he said. “It’s time to talk now about how students are going to be supported.”

Do you think the county board will approve the charter?

FEB. 1 UPDATE: Here is a link to the minutes of the meeting, in which the county board unanimously approved the CVHS charter petition with conditions:

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260 Responses to “MDUSD trustees differ on approach to county charter vote”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Sounds like Sherry hasn’t read the Staff report very carefully. Since when does she think MDUSD can “force” special ed students to attend the charter ? Gary’s political sense is slightly better. He knows the staff report outclassed any of the flimsy arguments put forth by Cooksey and Lawrence.

  2. Anon Says:

    I love it. We may be witnessing the first split in the dynamic duo of Sherry and Gary.

  3. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Let the charter go through. But make the charter take care of ALL the students in its boundaries. They cannot be allowed to offload the expensive students – special education and behavioral problem students – onto the district. You want to run the show? Fine. Handle it ALL yourself.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    @FT Any child in the CVHS boundaries, special ed or not, can attend CVCHS — but no one can mandate that any child attend a charter against their will. There are a few exceptions like expelled students, etc.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#2 — Its not a split, just a strategy. Gary is getting Sherry to do his dirty work and then she can take the heat. They are both opposed to the charter. Gary just doesn’t want to get up with his future political aspirations and look like an idiot arguing against a solid report. So far under Sherry’s reign as President: First Qualified Budget, now first HS Teacher Trigger Charter. Gary was smart to get his name off as President. The list is getting longer.

  6. The Observer Says:

    That string in the back of Sherry’s head connects directly to Gary’s hand as he pulls it moving her mouth open and shut.

  7. David "Shoe" Shuey former Mayor of Clayton now just councilperson :) Says:

    I am glad to see that Mr. Eberhart has realized there is no further sense in dividing community against community. I would hope that Ms. Whitmarsh realizes by tomorrow that the district has not, as requested by state and federal officials, conducted an independent audit and so the over 5 different “loss” numbers have no credibility. More importantly, as she has been well instructed by staff, this financial impact is not a proper consideration in deciding on the charter. As an elected official, it would be bad faith for her tto get up again and pander to an issue that she knows full well cannot be considered. It is now time for the district to stop the games, accept change and begin to work with the charter and the community to repair the relationship they have damaged. As the charter group has said all along, this can be a win-win for all concerned and it is now time for all to start working together not apart. I look forward to tomorrow’s meeting with anticipation and the knowledge that County staff has fully reviewed the petition without any hidden agenda and has seen this is a viable and well supported petition that is exactly what was intended by the charter legislation. I am confident that the county board will also give full and fair consideration and I can only hope they accept and agree with staff. Let a new day dawn and the healing begin.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Good luck Shoe — you have supported the teachers 100% and carried their banner. The irony is that because of arrogant decision making by Gary, Sherry, and Linda they now have ceded supervision of the Charter to the County. The county learned a valuable lesson from Pittsburg USD.

  9. g Says:

    Sherry isn’t even aware of just how on her own she really is now. If those are her “three” points, she needs to hire someone to read for her as well as someone to help decipher her mush-for-brains reasoning.

    Did she expect Gary to play follow the leader as she has followed him? Ninny! Gary’s Ego is not capable of following, or showing respect to anyone, and he will instead, try his best to make himself appear superior to ANY other “leader”.

    This is election year—you’re on your own this time little girl!

    Has she forgotten that Gary has sat mutely by, just as she has at board Charter discussions? Now, her first contact with the County, and he’s going to sit back and let her insult not only their staff but the County Board as well, and all by her little ol’ self.

  10. Wait a minute Says:

    And he is such a political coward that he probably won’t even attend having got “Chevron” Sherry and “Show me the gratuties” Stevie Lawrence to go instead.

  11. Wait a second Says:

    Flippin tired 3# You know they are going to do just what you said, This is a charter that already excludes students. I still cannot understand how this could be approved, this is the “not in my backyard” charter. They still continue to lie to the teachers about voteing in the schedule, calender year, etc. Read the fine print teachers, inservice for incoming freshman in July, school starts three weeks early, three weeks off for christmas, school ends in mid-June. This is all in the charter and opps by the way, we can’t revise it once it’s approved. They aren’t telling you that part until it’s too late.Bend over teachers, get ready for your new and improved administration filled with housewifes, former mayors, and others who know nothing about running a school.

  12. Wait a minute Says:

    Sounds like WAS#11 along with “Chevron” Sherry are getting pretty desperate as their political careers start to evaporate!

  13. Anon Says:

    It’s official! We are approved!

  14. Doctor J Says:

    How soon until Sue Brothers departs CVHS ?

  15. Anon Says:

    Sue Brothers will be “appointed” to dent before the month is up.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    what Lawrence has withheld from all of you is that the Governor’s new budget equalizes the ADA amongst all age groups, and only is differentiated or in reality money added based on the percentages of Low Income and English Learners — so the higher percentage of Low Income and English Learners, the higher the ADA will be. Lawrence intentionally let Sherry put forth such an abomination of lies.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The whole waiver discussion was very interesting.
    At first, Lawrence said the district had been told it couldn’t seek a waiver. The county had a letter that contradicted that.
    Lawrence said, “We’d love to see that.”
    Later, Paul Minney, attorney for the charter, said “I sent the letter to your general counsel, so I’m surprised you don’t have it.”
    Then, Deb Cooksey got up and said she had the letter, but that she had spoken to people who told her something different.
    It turns out, I have actually spoken to Karen Moore at the CDE, whom Lawrence claimed said the district couldn’t apply for a waiver. Moore told me that a waiver of financial impact hasn’t been sought before, but it is waiverable. So, the district can certainly try to apply for one. It will be up to the CDE lawyers to recommend whether to approve it or not.
    Lawrence also said School Services of California told the district it couldn’t seek a waiver. But, School Services is a consultant, not a an organization that has the authority to rule on that issue.
    Just like with QEIA, the district appears to hope someone will extend an invitation for it to seek a waiver and give lots of writtten guidance before administrators are willing to pursue it.
    Now that the charter is approved, they have the incentive to get moving on it.

  18. David "Shoe" Shuey former Mayor of Clayton now just councilperson :) Says:

    #11 wait a second – Thankfully, the County saw through both the district’s and your foundationless arguments and approved the charter. Despite all the bad faith, we at CVCHS will work to better the environment for all students. Improvement comes from challenges. Do you think Apple and Microsoft would be what they are today if they didn’t push each other? CVCHS will help all children in the district by innovation and challenges. MDUSD must change it ways and this is the wake up call. We will work in good faith with MDUSD but they must accept the fact they must change for the betterment of all our kids. Let’s heal our wounds and mend our fences. The County got it and now the district needs to also. Thank you County Board and staff for “doing the right thing.”

  19. David "Shoe" Shuey former Mayor of Clayton now just councilperson :) Says:

    I want to thank those watchdogs out there that are constantly keeping on eye out and watching our elected officials. Folks like DoctorJ, G and wait a minute, Just J, board watcher and others are serving vital functions to keep elected officials honest. Theresa Harrington has proven to be our Woodword and Bernstein in digging into the system and making accountability a real issue.

  20. Flippin' Tired Says:

    “Despite all the bad faith, we at CVCHS will work to better the environment for all students. Improvement comes from challenges.

    That means not one special ed student is tossed from your school and that every expelled student stays on your own campus in a small necessary high school setting.

    You wanted your own school? You take the easy and the difficult. It’s ALL in your lap. We’ll be watching , “Shoe.”

  21. Linda L Says:

    Congratulations Clayton Valley!

  22. Anon Says:

    The Special Ed issue is really getting me upset. I am a special ed parent. Do you guys really think that CV won’t take Special Ed. Kids? Or have control over what parents will do?
    The people who spoke last night against the Charter re: Special Ed were members of the CAC. They just showed how uneducated they are in the world of Special ED. If they are willing to spew lies like the IEP would have to be re-done. CVCHS will not deny Special ed kids and family’s. They will embrace them and welcome them into the school. IEP’s follow the child even from State to State. This is Federal and State Law. From what I heard last night these people are just taking the word of the district. The fact that you have to be the loudest to get an IEP done in the first place is just wrong. This is not the way Special Ed should work.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Councilman Shuey: It will be interesting to see if the district follows through on Lawrence’s suggestion regarding bringing in FCMAT at the end of the year to analyze the financial impact of the charter. I believe one of the trustees wanted to include that in the conditions. Do you know if that became part of the final board-approved conditions?

  24. Anon Says:

    “They must accept the fact they must change for the betterment of all our kids” is pure optimism. This district never changes for the better. There’s still no accountability. Quite the opposite! Theresa and bloggers do their best but Dent can’t seem to change. Do all schools go charter or should we split up this district another way? “They” need to change, but during an election year, “they” is us!

  25. MDUSD WC Resident Says:

    Now, Northgate

  26. Doctor J Says:

    @CVCHS, beware, the retailiation begins today. Keep good notes. You are all still voters in November for the MDUSD Board and can change the direction of the Board.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#17 Lawrence & Cooksey yesterday did a perfect impersonation of Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First by first denying and then admitting. The County had the letter and Lawrence denies it, but Cooksey has to admit it ! Bottom line: three strikes and you’re out !

  28. Wait a minute Says:

    Big Congrats to CVCHS!

    You have struck the first blow against the unacceptable incompetence, hypocrisy and tyranny of the district’s top leaders. The Berlin Wall has now been cracked, how long until it falls?

    Thanks a bunch Shoe and congrats to you also.

    And to Theresa a big, big thanks because a free press is necessary to democracy and democracy is what is at stake here.

  29. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: One charter supporter told the county board that if it denied the petition, it would be sending the message to the district that the way it now operates is okay. But, if it approved the petition, it would be sending the message that the district needs to change. It remains to be seen if the district agrees with that message.

    Dr. J: Yes, it reminded me of how Lorie O’Brien claimed there was no paper trail to back up the first MDHS QEIA report. There was backup and the district had the letter that Lawrence claimed to know nothing about. So, either he was misrepresenting his own knowledge or Cooksey hadn’t shown him the letter.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#29 The district needs to test the water — seems like a widespread outbreak of amnesia at the Dent Center.

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The County Office of Education clearly is not going to back up false or misleading claims by district officials.

    Trustee Pam Mirabella said that the fact that CBO Bill Clark — whom she termed as VERY CONSERVATIVE — supported the charter, was very persuasive to her. Clark is the same county official that Lawrence and Richards look to for guidance regarding the district’s budget.

    It was also very surprising that a CAC representative stated that IEPs would need to be “redone” for all special education students attending the charter. That also turned out to be false. It’s unclear where she got her misinformation.

  32. Anon Says:

    Assume Mirabella meant Clark is conservative about accounting and fiscal management, and was not referring to his individual political views. CCCOE should be non-partisan. And Clark seems like a great guy. Like MDUSD should hire . . .

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: I assume that she meant fiscally conservative, also, given the context.

    Another interesting moment was when Lawrence argued the board should deny the charter based on the financial impact. A trustee asked him if he understood they could not deny the charter for that reason.

    Lawrence hesitated, then said: “Yes, you have to make your decision based on current law.”

    A possible follow-up question that no one asked was: “Then, why are you making that argument?”

    It seemed that Lawrence was trying to make political points about his perceived flaws in the law, despite his knowledge that his arguments carried no weight with regard to the board’s decision.

    Other people who spoke against the charter made similar arguments, appearing to ask trustees to ignore the law because they believed it was unjust.

  34. Parent w/ ?? Says:

    When will CV be accepting applications ( Intake Packet) from MDUSD students not in CV boundries? Will CV stay in the DVAL for sports? If so will they still be part of UMDAF or will they be like the private Christian school and self fund? If a student in CV’s boundries does not want to attend the charter and wants to stay a MDUSD student what would be their MDUSD home school? Since inter-district transfer deadline is only days away will this time be extended? Will CV be offering summer school this year? Will it be open enrollment or only for CV students?

  35. Anon Says:

    Another interesting moment was when superintendent orvic said if the board denies he will be at the state speaking on behalf of the Charter.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Ovick made that comment after Trustee Dan Gomes suggested inserting a condition regarding the fiscal impact. Ovick informed Gomes that would be illegal. I think he was trying to make the point that he would disagree with the board if it inserted that condition.

    However, if the board had made legal findings that could justify denial, which Ovick agreed were legal, I don’t believe he would oppose his own board.

  37. Doctor J Says:

    Not surprising Lawrence would argue for the county BOE to violate the law — he has no respect for the law or the truth. Is it really believable that Cooksey had the letter but Lawrence didn’t know it ? This was not a new letter. Perhaps Theresa can obtain it. In the unlikely event Lawrence didn’t know about it, it shows the total lack communication between Rolen/Cooksey and Lawrence. I don’t believe it.

  38. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have emailed Lawrence and Rolen asking them who told the district it couldn’t file a waiver, but I got no response.
    Either they didn’t know or they didn’t want to tell me. Obviously, I should have asked Cooksey. But, I assumed that if Lawrence and Rolen didn’t know, they would get the information from her.

    Also, Cooksey told the board that she knew from her previous work in Oakland that the district couldn’t seek such a waiver. The dispute seems to lie in which section of the law is being discussed. The district is talking about the apportionment amount, but Minney is talking about the financial impact (meaning the state could make up the difference.)

  39. Doctor J Says:

    Claycord has posted pics of the meeting and victory party at Morisey’s. Nice. Although on a personal level, I thought it was such a Grand Slam, that the Mudville Grill might have been more appropriate !

    [Opps, prior post under wrong subject, sorry]

  40. Helll Freezing Over Says:

    Flippin”, you’ve posted a few times about CVCHS and Special Ed / Expelled students. I’m trying to understand your apparent anger and resentment with these groups of students.

    in your post that I pasted below, you mention:

    “That means not one special ed student is tossed from your school and that every expelled student stays on your own campus in a small necessary high school setting.”

    Does this happen today at all the MDUSD high schools? Does NG or YV or CP keep ‘their special ed / expelled’ students in a NSHS on their campus?

    If the CVCHS student attends a NSHS on the CHS campus, does the ADA for that student then go to CHS (MDUSD) while they attend? (maybe that’s more a question for the District to answer – but logic would tell me the ADA follows the child and based on where the child attends, that school or district ‘gets’ the ADA – just like out of district students who attend our MDUSD schools today).

    Would you agree the point is more about keeping the child in ANY school and working toward completing sucessfully instead of WHICH school they attend?

    I’m really trying to undertand why this is such a sticking point for you, and I just can’t reason it out. Hoping you can explain why …


    Flippin’ Tired Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 6:26 am
    “Despite all the bad faith, we at CVCHS will work to better the environment for all students. Improvement comes from challenges.

    That means not one special ed student is tossed from your school and that every expelled student stays on your own campus in a small necessary high school setting.

    You wanted your own school? You take the easy and the difficult. It’s ALL in your lap. We’ll be watching , “Shoe.”


  41. Jim Says:

    Congratulations to the CVCHS team! Many segments of our community owe you a nod of gratitude. Among them:
    CVHS Students and Parents — they will now have an important new choice in public education, exemplifying the kind of freedom that we expect to exert in almost every other part of our lives. Families will see whether the MDUSD monopoly is actually providing the “best education possible” under current circumstances, as the district has long asserted (while also fighting school choice tooth and nail), or whether students can enjoy a better alternative, even in the face of tight education budgets.
    CVHS Alums — they can once again point to their alma mater with pride, as a reflection of the aspirations and capabilities of their community, and not as simply one more unfortunate example of the Dent Center’s attitude of “whatever is just enough to get by”.
    MDUSD Families — we will now have a local example of an alternative vision of what is possible in public high school education, where teachers and parents are free to run a school without all of the incompetent district meddling and the burden of the central office “overhead” that keeps valuable dollars out of the classroom.
    MDUSD Teachers — although they are often blamed unfairly for the problems in MDUSD, teachers seldom have real power to promote positive changes in our schools. Now our teachers have an unprecedented opportunity to work with parents and the community to show how well our schools can be run. What a great prospect for everyone in the district!
    CV-Area Homeowners — although it is clearly not their primary goal, by giving residents a choice in public high schools, rather than allowing one’s address to determine a child’s educational prospects, the CVCHS leadership can have a greater positive impact on local home values than almost any other government action imaginable, helping to reverse years of declines that, yes, were led by market conditions, but were also exacerbated by the deterioration of MDUSD in comparison to nearby districts.

    I hope, and believe, that the CVCHS leadership understands the tremendous responsibility that it now carries. Breaking the MDUSD monopoly and giving families more choice can deliver huge benefits for everyone in the district. Now they need to deliver on that promise.

  42. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Anon #22 and Hell #41,

    All I keep hearing about is how awful MDUSD is, and how very Lake Wobegon the new charter will be.

    However, I have first-hand experience as to how a charter or magnet school will toss out the “undesirable” kids. My child has a learning disability, and as soon as the IEP was in place, we were told that we no longer fit the criteria for that magnet school. Nothing else changed. I guess the test scores would have suffered because of my defective child. Meh. They lost out on a great kid and a tireless parent volunteer.

    I don’t have any problem with special ed or expelled kids, and I do believe they deserve to be educated. Right now, they are usually moved to another MDUSD campus.

    However, since MDUSD is SO awful, and the charter students are SO deserving of better than everyone else, then the charter can keep them – ALL. That means they don’t get to toss anyone out and send them back to the awful district.

    They want to run things their own way? Marvelous. More power to them. But charter management doesn’t get to chery-pick which kids stay and which kids leave.

    So, No, Hell #41, I DON’T agree that ANY school is okay. If you’re a charter kid, you can stay at the Perfect School where you’ll get the Perfect Education with the Perfect Staff and the Perfect Ex Mayor in charge. You don’t get to send the expensive students away.

    Anon #22, you think the charter will embrace special ed kids? I hope you’re right. Experience tells me otherwise. Good luck.

  43. Curious Says:

    @#30, was the YVHS gal wearing a blue sweatshirt and did she have shoulder length blond hair?

  44. Anon Says:

    Flippen, I know I am right. I am a parent of a child in Special Ed and I advocate for children with Learning disABILITIES. I know how great these kids are. I know that the teachers at CV want to educate these kids.
    I am sorry for you and and your child having to move schools. That was terrible that after you figured out what was going on they say We won’t help you. This will not be the case with CV or El Dorado Selpa. MDUSD is a joke. We can and will do batter.

  45. anon Says:

    Parent w Q’s @35.

    If you were there last night (?) You would hear that the sport foundation will continue, we’ll stay in the same league, and all will be well with sports. I know you and others are worried as if it wasn’t for Pat Middendorf and the foundation there would be no sports at all in MDUSD.

    As far as summer school… of course it would be open to CV students only. We are no longer a district school. Perhaps there would be a way to work ADA funding for summer school if space available.

    My understanding is that the district has to now rezone the CV area to be zoned to a new school for kids who do not wish to attend the charter.

  46. Clayton Squirrel Says:

    Thank you Jim!

  47. Wait a minute Says:

    The reason that Flippen and others keep bringing up this red herring that the CVCHS must be (illegally) forced to take all spc ed students (including from non-public schools)from their attendance area and keep all expelled students is because they are followers and apologists for “Chevron” Sherry (and the rest of the failed MDUSD leadership) who said the same thing last night.

    What is clear is that as the FIRST TEACHER CONVERSION HS CHARTER IN NORCAL this validates the fact that Eberhart, Mayo and Whitmarsh are the WORST SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS IN NORCAL and Stevie Lawrence is unquestionably the WORST SUPERINTENDENT IN CA PERIOD.

  48. Wait a minute Says:

    By the way, I thought it was emblematic of the two sides and their approachesthat the few anti-charter attendees had obviously xeroxed copies of their small Vote No!!! signs and the much larger pro charter contingent had many large hand painted and different signs.

    Basically the difference between Eberhart/Lawrence’s astro-turf campaign and the true grass-roots campaign of the charter.

  49. Flippin' Tired Says:

    No, WAM, it’s not a red herring. You think you can offload the expensive students and keep the low-cost perfect princes and princesses? I don’t think so.

    Keep your own problems, you’re so convinced you can do better.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    Canel your vacation Julie Braun-Martin — all thanks to Eberhart and Lawrence — you will have a busy July and August, and the same with all high school principals who will have Musical Chairs played with their staffs. You won’t find out which CVHS teachers are going with the charter and which are transfering to another MDUSD school. On top of that, you are going to have at least 22 MDHS teachers laid off in March that won’t know until May whether the frivilous waiver is denied. Plus now that Lawrence and Eberhart have shown their true colors, there will start to be an exodus of district and site administrators that are fed up with the “guano” going on behind closed doors — just wait until they find Sue Brothers at Dent by the end of this month circling over Rose Lock like a vulture waiting to take her job. You’all made your beds, now sleep in them. No sympathy here.

  51. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have heard that some people have already left because they were fed up with the way the district is run.

  52. Doctor J Says:

    Denise Rugani and Jen Sachs got out early to get decent positions. Are the rank and file happy with the way Midred Brown runs Sp Ed ? Rose Lock running SASS ? Jeff McDaniel running Transportation and Maintenaince and Operations ? Bryan Richards running accounting ? Greg Rolen playing lawyer ? MDEA outfoxed Eberhart and Lawrence for no furlough days. Local One finally woke up and wants reinstatement of hours and benefits. Every aspect of the Eberhart and Lawrence plan are failing now.

  53. CVCHS Supporter Says:

    Dear Flippin’ Tired:

    My CVHS son had an IEP through elementary and middle school. You would never guess if you met him. I don’t think special ed students are a “problem”. They don’t wear signs but many of the students in support of the charter are or were classified as special ed students at some points in their education.

  54. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a link to an explanation of the charter legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla:

  55. Doctor J Says:

    If the governor’s current budget proposal to equalize ADA payments across age groups, and only enhance them by Low income or English Learner status becomes law, Bonilla’s bill would be meaningless since the impact in every school district would be dollar for dollar.

  56. g Says:

    Does anyone besides me see a conflict of interest in Julie Braun-Martin being in charge of hiring teachers and teacher interns while sitting on the Board of the highly funded ‘non-profit’ REX AND MARGARET FORTUNE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, which also contracts with the founder’s ‘for profit’ Fortune and Associates for leadership advice and purchase of publications?

  57. g Says:

    Did I forget to mention that Llana Israel Samuels works for the Rex and Margaret Fortune School of Education—not that that has anything to do with anything….

  58. Anon Says:

    Shame on Bonilla. Any possible “negative impact on the school district” should be handled another way such as the waiver procedure. The State should be encouraging teacher conversion charters and should accommodate them. Bonilla is locking our teachers and students into no choice, the failed district administration, which here has been called a monopoly, or I like the term “educrat blob.” This is a bureaucracy with NO accountability. It’s always “poor Mt. Diablo”! Families are supposed to wait four years to elect a new school board? And who wants to run? And then there’s no strategic plan and no hope for a parcel tax. Guess what, our kids go to school every day and we can’t wait four years, admins are leaving and families are leaving too! I know one family with three kids, mom works in Concord, who just moved from Concord to Albany for a better school district. Concord needs MORE charter schools or figure out a way NOW to improve this district. Bonilla’s bill would be the worst thing for Concord!

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Does the district contract with this company?

  60. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister expressed strong support for the charter, saying the number one question that businesses considering moving to the city ask is: how are your schools? She believes the charter will attract businesses, which would boost the city’s economy and make it a more desirable place to “live, work and play.”

  61. Doctor J Says:

    @G#57 Is that listed on her Fair Political Practices Form 700 on file with the District ?

  62. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the statement made by Assemblywoman Bonilla’s rep at the meeting on her behalf:

    “We are privileged to have a strong community support and interest in improving educational opportunities for our students here in Mt. Diablo. I support the creation of charter schools that create new opportunities for educators and encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods. However, we must also address the issue of funding inequality that was exposed by this process. I’ve coauthored AB1172, which today passed the Assembly Education Committee. We are hopeful that we will be able to remedy the funding gap created during a high school charter conversion in a unified funding rate district. We hope to ensure that the funding of a charter does not create funding inequity for other students within that school district. I believe that AB 1172 will provide the vital discussion to ensure that all concerns are addressed in the charter conversion process.”

    Perhaps Lawrence was hoping the board would deny the petition, in the hopes that Bonilla’s legislation would become law before the State Board of Education would hear the appeal. Then, it could have been denied at the state level based on this new law.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    @Th#63 Lawrence is always a day late and a dollar short. Perhaps his reference to existing law was to try to influence the county BOE. Any charter will always impact the district because that will be less students to spread the district expenses across.

  64. g Says:

    Theresa, Yes. Prior to calling it Fortune School of Education, it was named Project Pipeline.

  65. Anon Says:

    The first two sentences of Bonilla’s statement are rendered meaningless, and actually are misleading. It reeks of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  66. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Bonilla’s bill doesn’t specify what kind of “negative impact” would qualify for denial. If districts use your argument, then you are correct that every charter would have a negative impact.
    The disparity that currently exists between high school charter rates and blended unified rates is a more narrow issue.

    Anon: After reading the proposed legislation, I don’t see how it remedies the funding gap, since it doesn’t appear to propose any solutions. Instead, it provides a strong reason for every district to deny charters.

  67. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Do you know if Braun-Martin was on the board at the time the district contracted with this company?

  68. Anon Says:

    TH #67-Thank you for seeing through the smoke-screen! Bonilla and every other politicians should be working on SOLUTIONS for Concord families! Either roll up your sleeves and FIX MDUSD, or get out of the way of all the charter petitions!

  69. Doctor J Says:

    Braun-Martin was a Director board member in 2010, 2009, and 2008 according to the IRS Form 990’s published by Guidestar. I do not know about prior to then.

  70. g Says:

    Theresa; The farthest back I can see is that she has been on their Board since at least 2008. The most recent MOU I have found ran through June, 2010. In one record, MDUSD received just over $35K through an MOU from the Foundation for being the Foundation’s “Fiscal Agent”.

    Then, on several cases, the District accepts their students at Intern Teachers. I have no idea what it costs the district to have these Intern single-subject teachers. Maybe it’s a good deal, maybe not?

  71. Theresa Harrington Says:

    If they had used them at MDHS, perhaps their QEIA funding wouldn’t be in jeopardy. (But, then again, it is unlikely that intern teachers could teach AP classes. However, perhaps they could free up more experienced teachers by taking on lower-level courses.)
    Or, if there is a teacher and a teacher-intern in one classroom, I wonder if that qualifies for cutting the class size in half under QEIA.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    Did Braun-Martin list the relationship on her FPPC Form 700 ? Did she sign the MDUSD Board approvals to place it on the agenda ?

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Despite the district’s continued concerns about the possible loss of funding due to the charter conversion, it appears to have enough money to eliminate proposed furlough days this year and to offer teachers “a one-time off-schedule payment equivalent to three workdays (1.639 percent), as reduced by the impact of the state revenue triggers:”

    In addition, the district is willing to increase the certificated hourly rate from $20 to $25 per hour and increase the summer school and standard intervention hourly rates from $25 to $31 per hour.

    Do you think the CST unit should get more money and/or reinstated hours, based on this?

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a link to the governor’s K-12 education budget proposal, which includes the “weighted per pupil funding formula” on page 140, along with increased funding for charter schools on page 141:

    As noted by Dr. J, the budget says it would “continue to provide growth funding for all charter schools through the charter school categorical block grant, until a weighted student formula replaces this funding mechanism.”

  75. g Says:

    Wellll, yes, what’s good for the goose–and all that–, but a 20% increase in wages, and corresponding benefits for the already employed should wipe out that budget reserve really fast.

    Wouldn’t it have been smarter for both the district AND unions to agree to spend down that reserve and hire/rehire a few teachers to fill in on the education gaps that are clearly evident in such a poor performing district?

  76. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Possibly they could hire some more teachers to be sure MDHS is compliant with QEIA.

  77. g Says:

    Not only Reserve funds going fast, but–Since Mount D had several hundred thousand dollars left in the QEIA bucket at the end of June, and are attempting to cry ignorance, have they now scrambled to put into place a plan to quickly hire or shuffle teachers and students, using those funds, in any attempt to show a “good faith” effort to get in line with requirements IF they are, by some miracle, granted the waiver?

    It surely does not look like it.

    Dear Dent, Board and MDEA—please Google “good faith”.

  78. Doctor J Says:

    When you watch the instant reply from SBE on the waivers from yesterday, you will understand why there is no chance in hell that the MDHS waiver will be granted since (1) no corrective action has been taken to date since the first notice on Oct 27, 2010; (2) Kate McClatchy, clearly an obstruction to the QEIA compliance, has not been replaced; (3) the Supt has not taken responsibility. Even with those three things, its a close call. So just count on losing $5.4 million. When will individuals be held accountable for not doing their job ?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @G, Bel Air has $2 million in SIG funds which is $4500 per student they can spend by June 30. That is just 5 1/2 months away.

  80. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Under the district model, McClatchy is accountable to the superintendent. He is accountable to the board. The board is accountable to the voters.

  81. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Perhaps they could get some Teachers Aides from MDHS, thus lowering class sizes at the high school.

  82. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#81 Voters holding Board Trustees accountable is just every four years per Trustee, with elections on a partial board every two years. Trustees holding the Supt accountable is in closed session with no specific report to the voters and no input from the voters. MDUSD has no specific set of criteria on the Supt holding a Principal accountable for job performance. As was pointed out yesterday in the SBE meeting, California has no set standards for holding principals accountable like most of the nation does. Its too cozy of a relationship.

  83. g Says:

    Theresa @82, You made a really good suggestion. I have no real idea how they could make it work, but something like:

    Many students at MDHS come up from the Bel Air area. There must be several Juniors/Seniors that could not only boost their own future resume, and who have sufficient grades that could qualify as paid Teacher Aids (kind of like the tutor program that Sue Brothers said she was putting together for her kids). Hire just one more teacher/leader and add one Future Teacher Academy type class to MDHS. Pull ‘willing and grade-eligible’ students out of other over crowded classes. Get Bel Air to hire back their own past students on rotating day schedules, and get a whole classroom of kids part time jobs at the same time. Also, maybe lowering class sizes for QEIA. The more I try to put it together, the goofier it sounds, but that’s why we pay a couple hundred people the BIG bucks. Get them to figure it out.

  84. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Olympic High has a “service learning” program that places teens on campuses such as Meadow Homes and Cambridge Elementary, where they work as reading assistants — providing much-needed assistance to teachers, individualized attention to elementary students, and role models who care about education. It’s a win-win program and could likely be emulated by MDHS and the Bay Point SIG schools.

  85. Doctor J Says:

    Not one word today from Lawrence, Eberhart, Whitmarsh or Mayo about reconcilliation and working together for the best interests of the children. Very telling.

  86. g Says:

    A.J. and neighbors. How do you feel about taking on the task of re-birthing Future Teachers of America Clubs in Bay Point?

    A lifetime ago, I was in FTA at my high school. I was also in FFA, but that is a different story :). I loved FTA. We sort of ‘sponsored’ a local grammar school. We volunteered as teacher aids, we decorated and cleaned classrooms, we quietly donated funds for those who routinely failed to bring lunch money. There was no such thing as free lunch in those days. That club helped direct my future.

  87. NitWit Says:

    Doctor J, don’t tell me that is surprise in your voice :). Are you going soft on us??? Ha ha j/k

  88. Doctor J Says:

    Amazing how a good SLAM DUNKING of Lawrence, Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Mayo by the County Board of Education have made them retreat to their caves and go SILENT. Beginning on July 1, Dent will have about 4% less students to worry about — should ALL Dent salaries be CUT by the same percentage which would be commensurate with their now reduced responsbilities ?

  89. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I spoke to Whitmarsh after the meeting, as well as yesterday. She said she still has concerns about the charter’s financial plan if voters don’t approve the governor’s proposed tax measures. She also had concerns about the analysis the county did regarding ethnic diversity in the district compared to Clayton Valley HS, since the county looked at the entire city of Walnut Creek, instead of just the portion served by MDUSD. In addition, she said the county didn’t look at Pittsburg, which is partially served by MDUSD. Also, Whitmarsh said she has asked Greg Rolen to look into the waiver possibility.

  90. g Says:

    Yeah, She thinks she is smarter than the County staff….

    School bus accident this morning in front of Glenbrook. News says only two students on the bus at the time. The CHP was called in.

    Thank goodness no injuries, but Too bad it wasn’t already loaded with the usual 80 butts for 70 seats.

  91. Doctor J Says:

    What provision of next year’s state budget on education does Sherry want to waive ? Pretty hard to figure that out until the new Budget is passed especially since the Governor’s proposal is to revamp ADA and the legislature gets to tinker with that during the legislative process. Actually MDUSD might end up in a better financial picture if the governor’s proposal is adopted on ADA by not having CVCHS in the district. It all depends how the formula works. Poor Sherry, Gary left her dangling in the wind the other night. And Lawrence certainly did not find a friend in the County Supt.

  92. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Whitmarsh wants to look into the waiver option presented by charter attorney Paul Minney. In looking at the state budget, I don’t see a lot of detail about the revamping of the ADA calculations. Have you seen more detail in writing on that?

  93. Doctor J Says:

    @G What time was the bus crash ? Maybe the children were going to be late for school ? Or were others left unpicked up ?

    @Theresa, your prior budget link only took me to a 16 page document, and I could find no references for pp 140 or 141. I am not sure how the budget works, but it probably starts out with broad brush strokes and over time gets the details filled in.

  94. g Says:

    Dr. J. the Times report says 7:36am. My guess is they were there to do a pick up. I wonder how many were in line? It would be interesting to find out how long it took the District to send another bus, or just what the whole story is. The Times did not say what crashed with what or any real info to “complete” the story.


  95. Wait a minute Says:


    ROFLAO. So “Chevron” Sherry is still worried about the charter???

    You know, if she put as much worry and effort into the rest of the MDUSD’s myriad problems as she did into the charter and she did into trying to steer the solar contract fiasco to her employeer Chevron then maybe the MDUSD would be teetering from one scandal to the next?

  96. Doctor J Says:

    Interesting article on how weighted funding would work. More interesting is it is based on concepts developed by current State Board of Education Michael Krist who co-authored an article with then law professor and now state Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu and former state Secretary of Education Alan Bersin. The primary difference is that their formula also factored in regional costs of living, while Brown, in an effort to make it simpler, does not.

  97. Doctor J Says:

    According to the original article from April 2008, MDUSD is one the districts used in the simulated calculations. Here is what is listed in that article. I do not know how it would compare for current data and of course Gov. Brown’s proposal does not adjust for wage index :

    ADA 34,326
    %FRPL 30
    %EL 19
    Wage Index 1.09
    Actual 6,744
    Similated 8,034
    Gain 1,291

  98. Doctor J Says:

    April 2008 “Reforming School Finance”

  99. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM #96 Think of all of the lost resources of MDUSD staff spent opposing the Charter that could have been spent fixing Mount’s QEIA non-compliance ! Lawrence, Eberhart, Cooksey, Whitmarsh, Lock, McClatchy they all fiddled while MDHS QEIA burned ! I will bet in time and expenses, the District spent over $100,000 opposing the charter and maybe a thousand in monitoring Mount’s QEIA. They really have their priorities mixed up. Lawrence looked like a fool before the County BOE and County Supt and they called him on it ! How professionally embarrassing. ‘Chevron Sherry’ -love it- stumbled through her presentation not even talking about relevant items. Linda Mayo was really out of her visit-school-sites league. Gary left them holding the bag. How courageous !

  100. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Our cops reporter has been trying to reach a CHP officer to find out. He believes there were no injuries.

    Also, I would like to share an email that I received from the father of the former Glenbrook student who contacted me about the district’s 3-to-a-seat policy. He told me that after my story ran, the district started providing two buses.

    “Just thinking about how bad this could have been with the way they were packing the busses,” he wrote. “Hopefully no one got hurt. Because of you making the bussing issue a public issue and forcing the school transportation board to address it (2nd bus), I believe that you prevented a kid from getting hurt.

    Sadly, I was speaking to another parent this morning who was complaining about the district’s lack of responsiveness and accountability regarding busing and other issues. This seems to be a pattern in MDUSD. People don’t go to the press unless they feel the district is not listening to them.

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Surprisingly, Trustee Linda Mayo left shortly after making her comments. Board President Sherry Whitmarsh, on the other hand, stayed until the end.
    I didn’t see the other board members, but they may have been there.

  102. Doctor J Says:

    At one time, I posted the name and phone number of the CHP officer over school busing in CC County. He is probably busy doing a thorough inspection of the bus for safety issues, which is why CHP has jurisdiction. Your “One Cheek On, One Cheek Off” article exposed Rolen’s willingness to sacrifice child safety for budget frugality, while the District had a $43 Million safety net. If there was ever any doubt that Rolen was in charge of Transportation, he cleared it up in A J’s case when me made the excuse that he was able to represent the District in a small claims case because he was the Transportation Director ! Genius Greg.

  103. g Says:

    Minor Correction Dr.J: Tangential Genius Greg!

  104. Doctor J Says:

    How does MDUSD fare compared to other local districts in a ADA weighted scenario ? These are from the 2008 Article and are ‘simulated’ and would have to be updated and the wage adjustment removed:
    Antioch 8186
    MDUSD 8034
    Fairfield 7833
    Fremont 7814
    Manteca 7589
    San Ramon 7420

    Unfortunately, not all districts were calculated back in 2008, but I would expect someone very quickly will use current data.

  105. Can Charter Approval Be Revoked? Says:

    Quick question…can MDUSD appeal the County’s charter approval? The reason I ask is there are rumblings that Dr. Lawrence is holding an informal, non-published meeting with parents of kids in Pleasant Hill who are opposed to the charter. The meeting is next Friday at College Park High at 4:00 p.m. It makes me wonder why he would hold a meeting after the fact unless there is a chance he is planning something else. Doctor J, you always seems to be in the know…

  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    My understanding is that the district cannot appeal. Thanks for letting me know about the meeting!

  107. Anon Says:

    I am guessing he is doing it at college park because that is one of the schools that is rumored to be next. I think he would get his arse handed to him if he tried to have a meeting at NG.

  108. David "Shoe" Shuey former Mayor of Clayton now just councilperson :) Says:

    We have been told by our charter attorney that the district cannot appeal, which would make sense otherwise it would always go to the State.

  109. g Says:

    Very interesting. Theresa, You’re not likely to get anything over the long weekend from the district. Maybe you could check with Susan Noack or Steve Oldenbourg at Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education. If anything is afoot, One of them would know. They were very busy through 9/2011–receiving donations, and awarding grants–then nothing has been updated since. They are registered as a non-profit, but apparently have not filed required tax documents. That worries me!

    Or, maybe Jenny Reik at the City of PH’s Education/Schools Advisory Commission would know?

    It would be interesting to know how and if these two organizations are involved in the district’s endeavors lately.

  110. Anon Says:

    I too heard there was a meeting next Friday at 4pm. It was supposedly set-up by Lawrence. It includes a small group of invited parents to chat about the charter. What would be the point?

  111. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I wonder if CPHS parents are starting to ask why more of the money for their students goes toward district central services and other programs than all but one other high school in the district.

    As I have previously reported, the district receives $5,261.50/ADA for each CPHS student and takes $777.18/ADA or nearly 15 percent off the top for “other programs.”

    In addition, it takes another 826.27/ADA for central services (this is standard across the board), bringing the total CPHS contribution to central services/other programs to approx. $1,603.45/ADA or 30 percent of the total received.

    Here’s how the other high schools compare to CPHS’s $777.18/ADA contribution to other programs:

    CHVHS: total deducted for contributions to other programs: $523.55/ADA (about 10 percent)

    Concord HS: total deducted for contributions to other programs: $805.10/ADA (about 15 percent)

    MDHS: total deducted for contributions to other programs: $390.37/ADA (about 7 percent)

    Northgate: total deducted for contributions to other programs: $286.82/ADA (about 5 percent)

    Ygnacio Valley HS: total deducted for contributions to other programs: $201.02/ADA (about 4 percent)

    One CPHS parent emphasized fairness, when speaking against the charter. Do the above disparities in funding contributions to districtwide programs seem fair?

  112. Mary G. Says:

    You guys are all pretty paranoid. You’d think the world revolved around the CVHS charter. Move on and get over yourselves. There’s nothing insidious or wrong with some of “us parents” who simply want to meet and have an informal Q&A about issues that affect us as a feeder pattern. And while you’re at it, why don’t you pick up a few manners and stop name calling and/or insulting people who disagree with you? Is this how you teach your own children communication skills?

  113. @Mary G Says:

    When secret by-invitation only meetings are put together inviting charter-opposed Pleasant Hill only parents, what message do you think that is sending to the rest of the district parents who do not fall into that category? I have heard from 2 people that principals are “hand selecting” a few parents to attend an “informal” Q&A, but questions need to be submitted ahead of time.

    What about those who parents who are charter opposed but live in Clayton or Martinez or Baypoint–are they not just as important? Or how about those, who are in favor of the charter and just want to understand how the charter will affect, as Mary said, “us as a feeder pattern”–have they been offered an outlet to ask questions directly?

    The district is about all of the MDUSD families, not just PH. It will be interesting to see if other secret meetings will be conducted in the other parts of the community. I hope so. And, how about inviting everyone, not just those opposed. The way this has been set up doesn’t seem equitable and transparent to me and I don’t think it will to others either.

  114. Anon Says:

    Mary G,
    The problem is fairness and equity, and not just monetary. This district does not understand or act upon those concepts. Today the Times reports that San Ramon district is considering a bond measure and has set up “staff and community forums” at EACH high school to “look at districtwide projects being considered plus the projects for each site’s particular high school and its feeder schools.” MDUSD is missing that sort of public forum to discuss either community facility needs (don’t forget the 2010 Grand Jury report), or educational needs, or busing needs, or even the actual feeder pattern boundaries because MDUSD boundaries are a mess. Instead of this invitation-only CPHS meeting, the superintendent should set up PUBLIC forums at each high school with a full agenda of issues. He held a meet & greet community meetings when he started but that turned out to be a sales pitch for the solar project, and there’s been nothing since. The board members held strategic plan community meetings but the superintendent doesn’t believe a plan is necessary. Communication has been one-way and when does he meet with and actually listen to the community? No wonder there are parent lawsuits, teacher protests and schools converting to charter!

    Thanks for name-calling us paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you

  115. Anon Says:

    Someone asked before about whether Grand Jury reports are public and the answer is yes! They are easily accessible

    This is the Grand Jury web site

    This is the 2010 report

    There is also the 2009 report

    Two Grand Jury reports in two years and you’re calling us paranoid?

  116. Wait a Minute Says:

    The West Sac people told me the following things:

    that Stevie Lawrence was all but invisible at the much lower number of schools there too after his initial meet and greet the first year there.

    He preferred to rule from the District Offices through, GUESS WHO? Good old Sue Brothers!

    They also said that Stevie, Sue and their HR hatchet man Don Beno would openly discuss their many plots around the district office’s workers to “get” certain teachers or principals or others until Stevie’s last year when the heat was coming down.

    They told me that in particular, Sue Brothers was frequently extremely rude and even profane towards people there.

    At that point they started to all go to 1-2 hour lunch together every day, kind of sounds like the ButterCup incident doesn’t it?

    Oh and incidently. Prior to going out to lunch every day Stevie and friends regularly used district money to order their lunches in under the guise that they were a “working lunch” for administrators. NICE!

  117. Doctor J Says:

    Has Gov. Brown been reading the blog ? “Brown calls for the adoption of new, unspecified local accountability measures that would give parents and community members more access to information. The assumption is that they would become a countervailing force to ensure that money is spent wisely.
    Advocates for low-income students and English learners will nonetheless argue that there needs to be more assurance – and tighter rules – to ensure that money for disadvantaged students actually will be spent on them.” From the Fensterwald article I cited yesterday in the blog above.

    How wonderful would it be to have “accountability measures that would give parents and community members more access to information” — something we don’t have in MDUSD.

  118. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence is afraid of open “town hall” meetings as there are too many “gates” in progress and way too many in the past that litter the landscape. He wants handpicked “softball” questions by unknowledgable people.
    I think the parents, as one blogger said, just want lots of answers to many questions, including the scandalous finances that the CVCHS charter exposed. I would hope every school starts asking these questions. Bel Air having $2 million of SIG funds to spend by June 30 — $4500 per child. The district applies for these grants and then doesn’t implement them. The balance is carried over until the grant runs out and then millions are lost. If the grants really had validity, they would have been fully implemented.
    More significantly, when you combine the Lawrence “charter” fiasco and the Lawrence QEIA fiasco, plus the ineffective management of SASS, and all the other scandalous behaviors starting with Buttercupgate, Solargate, etc. and now Eberhart abandoning Lawrence and Whitmarsh at the County hearing [way too late to distance himself from his own creation], Lawrence knows that one more disaster and the noose will be around his neck, and could be career
    ending. Can you imagine a district investigating Lawrence for a job, and just doing a Google on him with this blog ? OMG.
    One question. Why do you think Linda Mayo left the county meeting after she gave her speech and didn’t stick around for the decision ?

  119. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s interesting that Lawrence is making time to meet with CPHS parents, yet — to my knowledge — he has not taken the time to meet with teachers at MDHS to discuss their vote of No Confidence in their principal, whom he directly supervises and evaluates.

  120. Doctor J Says:

    The Mount teachers now have too much knowledge. Lawrence is not going to step into the Lion’s den.

  121. Amom Says:

    Lawrence did not set up a community meeting back when the MDHS feeder pattern found out it had many chronically low-performing schools. Gloria Magleby of Bay Point set up the meeting and Lawrence was invited to speak along with Federal Glover and other community leaders. That was when Denise Rugani was Riverview principal and before Measure C, the EL audit, the CVHS charter, and losing the SIG and QEIA grants. It seems public forums would help the district and possibly restore trust.

  122. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although Superintendent Steven Lawrence has said he plans to hold public budget meetings, he has not yet scheduled any (as far as I know).

    WCCUSD, on the other hand, plans to hold six community budget meetings in the next few weeks at various schools in its district:

  123. g Says:

    And as I recall, all Lawrence had to say at the Bay Point meeting was “woe is us with the State Ed Budget” and “it’s Schwarzenegger’s fault”, and set the interested parents all up to help push the Measure C.

    He did not discuss specific Bay Point issues at all. He just set Bay Point up for Measure C and to see who he could he should choose to push a “direction” for School Closures.

  124. MDHS Teacher Says:

    Doctor J said it best…
    January 14th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    “The Mount teachers now have too much knowledge. Lawrence is not going to step into the Lion’s den.”

    Exactly…I am so curious as to see what “plan” will be unveiled on Jan. 30 and who will be there to tell us. (I don’t dare say “discuss” because that would require talking back and forth and God knows that doesn’t happen with Ms. McClatchy or her “team.”

    Will Lawrence deliver the plan to us?
    What do you think?

  125. Doctor J Says:

    My guess is that if Sue Brothers isn’t promoted to Dent at the Jan 23 Board Meeting, then on the 30th you will meet your new “Overseer” Sue Brothers and Kate McClatchy will be over at CVCHS to punish them.

  126. Realia Says:

    If McClatchy does end up at CVCHS, it will be with the justification that she started a small charter school in Oakland (and admitted before several teachers at her previous no-confidence school that she was later run out – a few calls to the school can fill in the blanks) and therefore is the appropriate administrator to oversee another charter start-up. Oops, I hope I didn’t give anyone an idea to go with…

  127. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry, I meant CVHS — I don’t think the charter will hire her.

  128. MDHS Teacher Says:

    (sigh) Gee, thanks for setting up that meeting at CPHS next Friday, Dr. Lawrence. Can we get a meeting with you at Mt. Diablo High sometime? Glad to see your priorities are in order.

    -One of 80+ disgruntled MDHS teachers

  129. Anon Says:

    To MDHS Teacher,
    If you want a meeting with Lawrence threaten to go charter. You are in a perfect position to do so.

  130. Anon 2 Says:

    MDHS Teacher,
    And you might tell your compadre, MDHS teacher on leave of absence Tom Torlakson, that Bonilla’s bill doesn’t achieve the desired effect. It’s a tool to defeat charters. A charter could be the answer for MDHS and all MDUSD high schools. Although not conversion charters “Waiting For Superman” shows how they can benefit students. Time to realize it’s not happening with Dent Center.

  131. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDHS Teacher: What knowledge do you now have that you didn’t before?

    Also, who told you a new plan would be unveiled Jan. 30? Do you mean a new plan for administration at MDHS?

    Have you specifically requested a meeting with Superintendent Lawrence? It looks like CPHS parents did. If you specifically requested one, he would have to respond either yes or no.

  132. Doctor J Says:

    @#130 Excellent point — Does “MDHS Tom Torlakson Teacher on Leave of Absence” have to disqualify himself from all comments and discussion about the “waiver” request since he potentially has a financial interest if he were to return to MDHS ? “Torlakson’s journey has led him from the classrooms of Contra Costa County’s Mount Diablo Unified School District (where he remains a teacher-on-leave)” Perhaps Theresa should pose a question to State Board of Education President Dr. Michael Kirst, whether Coach Torlakson should be disqualified.

  133. Linda L Says:

    I still don’t understand why parents aren’t angry with the district for under-funding our high schools. The thought that the same amount per ADA is spent at a high school and elementary school in this district is unbelievable. Why aren’t we talking about that?

  134. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lawrence did address this at the Nov. 21 charter budget meeting, saying it is because teachers at elementary schools on average make more than teachers at high schools. But, that doesn’t explain why some high schools pay more toward “other programs” than others. Concord High is paying way more than its fair share.

  135. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#134, The FTE’s which determine the number of teachers to students can be equalized by age groups, but the salary schedules will not be equalized because of seniority schedules. You are correct, there needs to be an explanation of why the “other programs” payments are not equalized or how exactly they are determined.

  136. Doctor J Says:

    @LL#138. New SIG grants for Cohort 2 were just approved for $3.8 million for two schools and the district — which the district is strutting around like a banty rooster, but yet no explanation on how Bel Air is going to spend the accumulated SIG $2 million — $4500 per student — from 2 years ago which can be spent by June 2012. This is just like the MDHS QEIA grant where there was lots of money to reduce class size, and yet neither Mount nor the District sought to keep the class sizes within the requirements. What good is the grant money if it is not spent on what it is intended ?

  137. Linda L Says:

    TH #134,
    Yes, I know that is his standard answer to the high school funding question but when you have to resort to posing answers in terms of averages I question what lies behind the numbers. For example: I would assume there are far more high school teachers with less than a full FTE than elementary school teachers because the high school structure supports and often dictates part time teachers more often (A French teacher who teachers three classes or any core subject where the number of students are not equal to a certain number of full-time teachers). The elementary school model would only accommodate part-time under a job share situation. So…
    If you had three high school teachers one working .8 FTE and two working .6 FTE and all making the equivalent of a full time $50,000 salary they would be making $40k, $30k, and $30k respectively and represent the equivalent of two full time teachers at a total cost of $100,000 and an average salary of $33,300. In contrast if you had two full-time elementary school teachers working at a rate of $50,000 per year at a total cost of $100,000 the average salary would be $50,000.
    So you see here is an example of the exact same total cost for the equivalent of two full time positions but you have very different average salaries due to the part-time/full-time nature of the position.

  138. Doctor J Says:

    Linda, I understand the concern with “averages” on salaries and I don’t like that either. Yet I am not too comfortable with giving each school the same teacher salary budget that won’t allow for differences in longevity pay. I don’t think one should penalize students because they have more experienced teachers who get paid more, and say, ok, then you get less teachers. That is all addressed in the 2008 Kirst article I cited and the current pilot schools operating under a “all the same ADA” despite teacher salary differences are struggling. What concerns me more is the large disparities in “other” and “district overhead” that are being charge to the schools.

  139. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD has failed to share with the public once again the Revised Budgets for the Corrective Action Plans on the SIG budgets previously submitted that show the actual expenditures for the 2010-11, and then how the remaining funds for years 11-12 and 12-13 are to be spent — even though we now have year 11-12 half way gone. This is why Bel Air currently shows a total SIG budget for 11-12 available for spending of $2 million [$4500 per student] but no publically disclosed budget on how it is to be spent. If MDUSD fails to spend the full SIG budgets for 11-12 once again, they roll over to the third and final year, 12-13, and potentially could even be larger. Ironically, none of these budgets have been presented to the Board for approval.

  140. Linda L Says:

    Doctor J,
    I am in no way implying that teachers not be paid differently and at this time “differently” is based on longevity. I get that and any concern I have for that concept would be a discussion for another day.
    I am trying to make the point that a memo from the Superintendent that lists the AVERAGE salaries by elementary, middle, and high schools is not in any way a justification for proving a higher cost of educating our kids in elementary school. I was trying to show that a higher average does not necessarily relate to a higher overall cost. Our elementary school teachers may have a higher average because of seniority or they may have a higher average due to the full-time/part-time scenario I outlined. I would rather see a per pupil cost by school type. That would at least confirm that the cost could be due to seniority. The averages are meaningless and even the FCMAT consultant confirmed that.

  141. Flippin' Tired Says:

    All the salaries are right here, and the differences between degrees and longevity.

  142. Linda L Says:

    This doesn’t show actual costs this looks like a salary schedule.

  143. The Observer Says:

    Those are the salary schedules…..the actual costs are in the district budget.

  144. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Last year the Mercury News had everyone’s salaries:

    Hopefully they’ll do it again. Then anyone can see each school’s list of employees at each school’s website, and match up what they make.

    The district will never give out that information; you have a better chance of being picked up on time by a district bus than getting real numbers from 1936 Carlotta.

  145. Linda L Says:


  146. Linda L Says:

    Observer and FT,
    Part of the point I am making is that the actual cost by school is available, given that fact why won’t our District provide the actual numbers rather than averages?
    They are concerned enough to have meetings with parents and meetings with Principals. They are concerned enough to speak with our legislators and our county board.

    Why not take the time to provide actual costs to prove their point? Until they do… I contend that they are under-funding our high schools. I would be thrilled to be proved wrong.

  147. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Linda: Yes, the district provided a spreadsheet at its Nov. 21 budget meeting that showed the funding disparities, but gave no detail. Clearly, the information is available. But, the district didn’t post that spreadsheet online, along with its PowerPoint and video. I hope that CPHS parents ask for their school’s budget, so they can compare it to the budgets of other high schools, middle schools and elementary schools.

  148. Doctor J Says:

    Hopefully the greater access to financial records in the district proposed by Gov. Brown in his budget for school finance reform will aid us in having full disclosure without the “hide the ball” and “shell game” tactics that Lawrence, Eberhart and Richards are infamous for.

  149. School Teacher Says:

    As far as finances go, the district should be able to provide details about where the money goes and what it is being spent on. If they say they can’t do this, they need to get some help to set up a system so that it is possible. I don’t think any financial statement made by the district is trustworthy. At present they seem to be able to shuffle numbers around to prove whatever point they want to make at the moment. That is unacceptable. Even when it comes to the charter, they claim they are losing the $1.7 million, but as I understand things, this isn’t even guaranteed because they’re not exactly sure about certain financial issues (possible savings) related to the issue.

  150. Doctor J Says:

    Where are the Audits delivered on Dec 22 ?

  151. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I attended the School Services of CA budget workshop today. They recommended setting aside $370/ADA in reserves in case the tax measure doesn’t pass. If the district does this, it may not be able to afford the 3-day teacher payment.

    Also, a spokeswoman for the governor said he will further discuss the weighted funding idea during his state of the state address tomorrow. Apparently, it will be phased in over five years. In 2012-13, 80 percent of funding would be the same, while 20 percent would be according to the new formula.

    Although most categorical funding would be eliminated, QEIA and ASES would remain intact. As has been pointed out, MDUSD is in danger of losing its QEIA funding and it already sacrificed some of its ASES (after-school) funding when it closed Holbrook and Glenbrook.

  152. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#151 Not only has MDUSD made bad decisions regarding loss of QEIA and ASES funding, but lets not forget the loss of SIG funding too by school closings. Its one bad decision after another with no explanation and no consequences to the decision makers.

  153. Theresa Harrington Says:

    School Improvement Grants will also continue under the new formula, but Class Size Reduction funding might not, School Services reps said. It is true that these decisions could be costly for MDUSD and for students — who may end up with larger class sizes that could have been funded through QEIA and SIG.

    Trustee Cheryl Hansen’s idea of holding public input sessions to evaluate the board and superintendent could provide the public with the opportunity to question such decisions:
    Trustees expect to discuss this idea at next Monday’s meeting, along with Hansen’s idea for an Accountability Progress Report: Such a report could show whether the board’s decision to forfeit SIG funding for Glenbrook and ASES funding for Glenbrook and Holbrook offset the savings that Lawrence promised — and whether the district realized the $1.5 million in cost-reductions he predicted.

  154. Doctor J Says:

    “Abandon ship” is starting to begin in MDUSD once again among the mid level management — its not just an Italy thing. Rumors are starting to swirl as disgruntled administrators share their frustrations with trusted co-workers. Oh, there will be so many other excuses why they are leaving but they are just excuses.

  155. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Does MDUSD do succession planning? If it did, then mistakes such as the QEIA “staff turnover” problems could be avoided.

    When I covered the city of Walnut Creek, succession planning became a priority as many key longtime dept. heads and managers retired or left.

  156. Doctor J Says:

    Perhaps Lawrence is trying to return to Sacramento area at San Juan Unified:
    Only real problem is they follow a Strategic Plan. :-)

    Here is how they do their Supt. search [from their website]:

    Superintendent Search
    The Board of Education has authorized a full search to recruit and select the next superintendent. This is a lengthy process which is anticipated to end in April with the selection of a superintendent.
    The Board is very interested in community insight regarding the qualities needed by the next superintendent. Input is being taken in three ways:
    1. Community and staff can use the online or paper form to share input. (Paper forms should be available in school offices starting the first week of January.)
    2. Community and staff can schedule a time to meet with search adviser Barry Reed on Jan. 11 or 12 and share their thoughts in person. (Time can be scheduled by contacting Nan Roux at 971-7111.)
    3. The Superintendent Selection Advisory Committee will interview finalists to identify perceived strengths and weaknesses prior to the Board’s final selection.

  157. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I see they established a Superintendent Selection Advisory Committee, which I don’t believe MDUSD did. Instead, trustees were the selection committee and the follow-up interview of Lawrence’s staff — including Sue Brothers — took place in West Sacramento, which may have led some interested MDUSD residents not to attend. It was, however, a publicly noticed meeting, which I attended. No one else from the MDUSD community attended, however.

  158. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD Board members interviewed Sue Brothers in West Sacramento to determine if they should select Steven Lawrence as the next Supt. The plot thickens.

  159. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brothers was one of several West Sacramento administrators, trustees and community members who was interviewed. Everyone spoke very highly of Lawrence and MDUSD trustees were very impressed.

  160. Jim Says:

    I hope we don’t allow Linda L’s financial points to pass without further discussion. The reason why unified districts have a higher “blended” rate than elementary districts, and why high school districts have a higher rate than unified districts is that we are SUPPOSED to be spending more per student on high school education. If we are not, those students ARE getting short-ghanged.

    High schools require more specialized instruction, which requires teachers who command skills that are worth comparatively more in the labor market and therefore more expensive. A more diversified curriculum usually results in smaller average class sizes. And facilities for science, sports, and the creative arts also need to be more sophisticated to prepare students to compete in the post secondary world. This is true across the country, and if you look at private schools, both parochial and independent, which are unfettered by political considerations, you see that tuition and spending is always higher for high schools than for elementary and middle schools operated by the same types of organizations.

    Linda says that the “actual cost per school is available”. I’m not so sure about that. We know that MDUSD has said that they don’t even track substitute teacher costs by school site, which ought to be a comparatively easy task. Cost accounting systems that accurately allocate costs by function are often challenging to create and maintain, even for high performing organizations. What makes us think that MDUSD has any idea how to allocate centrally billed items like water, insurance, and utilities, let alone central administrative functions or the depreciation calculations needed to expense capital investments?

    The interesting question is: why doesn’t accurate accounting of costs matter to so many large districts like MDUSD? I believe that there are two reasons for this glaring deficiency: 1) accurately tracking costs by site has no “upside” for districts. They are not interested in any kind of cost/benfit analysis, because they aren’t accountable for their performance anyway. Such figures would only stir up a political hubub about spending being “fair” among schools (and of course, their is no commonly accepted definition of “fair”, when it comes to school funding). Second, an accurate accounting of per-student expenditures per site would reveal how much spending in large districts has shifted over the last decade to instruction in basic skills at the elementary level. Everyone agrees that basic literacy and numeracy skills are key to almost any kind of future student success, and everyone wants to “close the gap” in achievement among various student groups (which NCLB focuses on, of course). So districts spend more and more in those areas, even though they have almost no record of success in achieving those goals. Eventually, the bottom 30% of students drop out in large part because they did not master those skills (producing our abysmal graduation rates here in CA and across the country), and the district can proceed with moving the rest of the students, at a lower cost, toward whatever kind of watered-down diploma is still affordable.

    Nevertheless, our district monopolies keep telling us that they are doing the best job possible, while simultaneously doing everything possible to keep competitors off their turf. What is puzzling, is that we keep expecting these unaccountable monopolies to suddenly adopt a new paradigm where they would track spending against outcomes and insist on higher performance. Honestly, I don’t know why they would ever go to all that work. One could sugarcoat it all, but that is the fundamental phenomenon that we are confronting.

  161. School Teacher Says:

    Jim @#160

    I agree wholeheartedly. The blended rate the unified districts receive is not supposed to under fund the high schools. They are supposed to received just as much as if they were part of a high school only district. MDUSD’s claim about the expense of elementary schools makes me wonder if the high schools spun off into a high school only district, would the district go under, or is this just a convenient excuse/explanation for shoddy/shady financial mismanagement?

  162. g Says:

    Theresa @159: If another District came here to interview, and asked about Lawrence, I’d give him a “glowing” recommendation too! I’d lie MAO to get rid of him, just like WUSD people did.

  163. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence has 12.5 months left on his contract. Either he starts looking now or starts lobbying for a contract extension.

  164. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an excerpt from a story I wrote after Lawrence was hired as superintendent of MDUSD:

    “If the principal is not supporting the school and the staff, we need to look at what we need to do,” he said. “After a period of time, if that’s not happening, we probably need to look at some new leadership for a school.”
    In the Washington district, Lawrence brought in three assistant superintendents who helped close a middle school, create K-8 campuses and open a high school. In the Mt. Diablo district, he will work closely with four assistant superintendents and the district’s laywer, Greg Rolen.
    Three days before appointing Lawrence, the board voted 3-2 to extend the contracts of four of these administrators through 2013 and raised Rolen’s pay by nearly $28,000. Two dissenting trustees said they preferred to allow the new superintendent to have a voice in such decisions.

    Trustees Linda Mayo and Dick Allen voted against the contract extensions through June 30, 2013 for Mildred Browne, Rose Lock, Pete Pedersen and Greg Rolen:

  165. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#159 What specific accomplishments was Lawrence praised for during the interviews ? I would like to contrast what positive things were said about him in West Sac with what he has accomplished in MDUSD. So far, the only accomplishments I can think of are a TWO point API gain for the district [next API won’t be out until end of August]; he worked on the Measure C — almost blowing that when he went to the Editorial Board of the Times without knowing how much the bond was going to cost the taxpayers; he put a new label on Curriculum & Instruction now calling it SASS, played musical chairs with C&I personnel going back to the schools and school principals coming into the district office — with no real results except for higher costs, and losing two key SASS administrators the first year: Asst. Director Jen Sachs and Director Denise Rugani, which may have cost MDHS its QEIA funding of about $5 million.

  166. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an excerpt of a story I wrote about the interview meeting:

    A 46-year-old family man touted as a visionary leader focused on improving student achievement has been named superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district.
    Steven Lawrence, who has led the small Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento through many changes during the past three-and-a-half years, will take the helm in Mt. Diablo on Feb. 1 with a salary of $249,500. Trustees on Friday unanimously approved his contract through June 30, 2013, after interviewing more than 30 administrators, parents, trustees, union representatives and community members in the Washington Unified School District.
    “He really collaborates with the people around him,” said board President Gary Eberhart. “Washington has a similar diversity situation and there’s a real emphasis on ensuring that all students have access to a quality education.”
    Lawrence said he looked forward to living up to the board’s expectations and hoped to make trustees proud of their decision.
    During the morning interviews, everyone who spoke gave glowing recommendations for Lawrence and praised the changes he has brought to the Washington district, including closing its only middle school and creating K-8 schools, and opening a new high school. They said Lawrence was not afraid to stand up to the board or to employees regarding his convictions, but was also responsive and open to new ideas.
    Lawrence has helped change the community’s perception about the district, which was considered dysfunctional when he arrived, many said. He formed partnerships to bring resources into the district and trained administrators to help them improve instruction and make it more consistent.
    He was praised for his budget expertise, sense of equity and sense of urgency to make changes. Administrators said he inspired them to become better managers and used test scores and other data to measure success.
    Employees said they appreciated Lawrence’s open-door policy and his willingness to listen to their concerns, yet agreed he has high expectations and holds them accountable for accomplishing goals. Those who don’t are not happy with his leadership, said Sue Brothers, assistant superintendent for educational services.
    “Some teachers are uncomfortable because the data shows their kids aren’t reading,” Brothers said. “Life is not comfortable in this district if you don’t perform or if you don’t believe that kids can learn to read.”

    Do you think Lawrence has helped change the community’s view of MDUSD?

  167. g Says:

    Ahhh, those were the days. Mayo seemed to, at least occasionally, have a mind of her own, and didn’t bow down and lay every thought in her head at the feet of “staff recommendations”. Where did that person go?

  168. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In looking through my old notes, I found another story I wrote before the West Sacramento interviews:

    “He has exhibited a dynamic understanding of school districts,” Mt. Diablo board President Gary Eberhart said. “The biggest thing for me is he’s unapologetic about his desire to ensure that the school district is providing good quality customer service. That’s something I’ve been begging for the last four years and it’s just something we absolutely need for our school district.”
    Former Superintendent Gary McHenry resigned in September, after being placed on administrative leave in February. Interim Superintendent Dick Nicoll will retire Jan. 31.
    Lawrence has led the ethnically diverse West Sacramento district of about 7,166 students through changes during the past three-and-a-half years, including closing a middle school to create kindergarten through eighth grade schools and opening a high school.
    “I believe he’s been able to bring a new vision for the district on how to better deliver educational services for students in the 21st century,” said Dave Westin, a Washington district trustee. “We’ve revamped much of the curriculum and brought in a lot of new administrators, as well as principals.”
    Lawrence said Wednesday that he preferred not to comment on his candidacy until the board has completed its assessment of his qualifications. His assistant superintendent for human resources, Don Beno, said Lawrence is an innovative educational leader who spends a lot of time in classrooms, helping teachers and principals to improve their skills.
    A paid union representative, however, criticized Lawrence’s “hands off” approach to employee disputes, saying Beno handles these.
    “I think employees would have been a lot happier if there had been a more hands-on approach from Steven Lawrence to deal with the problems that were well-known in the district,” said Rod Gaulman, a regional labor relations representative for the California School Employees Association. “But, for the most part, he’s a likable person.”

  169. Doctor J Says:

    Compare Washington [WestSac] and MDUSD under Lawrence:

    W: growing enrollment: now 7,000
    M: declining enrollment: now 33,000

    W: 3 Asst Supts.
    M: 4 Asst Supts plus Gen Counsel

    W: Closed 1 middle school and converted six K-8 schools; Open 1 high school
    M: Closed 1 elementary and 1 middle school

    W: API Growth 07-08 13 points; 08-09 11 points
    M: API Growth 10-11 2 points

    Just saying.

  170. g Says:

    and then there is the glowing recommendation given to him by the first in Northern CA
    conversion of —-CVCharterHS….

    “But, for the most part, he’s a likable person”.

    I call that the story in a nutshell.

  171. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I found my notes from the Nov. 20, 2009, interview meeting. While most comments were glowing, one person said: “I think sometimes he gets so focused on where we need to be (in terms of improvement) that he doesn’t take a lot of time to make sure that every single person is 150 percent behind his plan.”

    Do you think Lawrence builds consensus in MDUSD?

  172. Doctor J Says:

    I have not generally seen the traits identified in #’s 166 & 168 demonstrated by Lawrence. His comment a few weeks ago about busy putting out fires, really is contrary to being visionary about education — the Fire Chief is not using an axe and a hose to put out the fires; instead he has trained Batallion Chiefs who command the firefighting. Unfortunately Lawrence portrays himself more as a puppet of a couple of Board members for their pet projects — Solar and attack the Charter. Back in May 10 when he gave his vision of what SASS was created to do, it had some real possibilities — instead Lawrence has just allowed SASS to become a repackaged C&I with all SASS Adminstrators for School Support [principal coaches] reporting directly to the Asst Supt and now bypassing the two Directors of Secondary and Elementary as they had originally been tasked between the two directors as set forth in the original May 2010 Org Chart and 2010 Job Descriptions attached to the SIG applications. The Director of Secondary left in Sept and I would bet we will see the Director of Elementary [first person Lawrence announced for the Dept] leave soon as well, especially her job description has been severely cut back from the 2010 job description. Among the fears now are that Sue Brothers now has the Principal experience she previously lacked to qualify for Director of Secondary and will soon be appointed to that position, perhaps as soon as next Monday with the CVCHS charter approval.

  173. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In reading my notes, it looks like Lawrence had a similar “coaching” philosophy in his old district. One principal said Lawrence’s focus on improvement came as a “culture shock” to some school administrators, who were used to working independently, without much oversight, before he came.

    “He knows what he’s looking for and he will tell you exactly what he wants,” one principal said. “Even if it’s uncomfortable to talk about, he will…. We were a struggling district. We’ve been a dysfunctional district in the past….As administrators, we tended to have autonomy, so it was difficult for us to be directed. He feels the urgency of what we need to do and he communicates that urgency.”

    Do you think Lawrence is communicating urgency to improve in MDUSD?

  174. Doctor J Says:

    @#171 Unfortunately not. Building consensus requires trust back and forth between the group and leader, and I can’t think of any trust that has been built. Unfortunately change has mostly come by fear and dictatorship. Two quick examples. First, getting district and site administrators to line up behind furlough days; the choice Lawrence gave them was to either be a team player or be considered not to be a team player. That is ruling by fear and not by consensus. Second, creation and building of SASS was not done by building consensus of site administrators and more importantly site teachers and union leadership but by a mandate in May 2010 and the tearing down of C&I without thinking through where all of the duties being handled by C&I were going to be handled just as no thought was given on who was going to order, inventory, and distribute textbooks when that department was eliminated, since that was not an original function of SASS.

  175. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Another woman praised Lawrence for offering her the opportunity to “try out” a job for three months. “He believes that getting the right person in the right job is very important,” she said. “He is very open to trying new things. Financially, he’s very intelligent.”

    Has anyone in MDUSD ever been given an opportunity to “try out” a job?

  176. Doctor J Says:

    @#173 Theresa, lets not confuse Lawrence’s Bobby Knight philosiphy of coaching with mentoring Principals by experienced successful former principals who would mentor through suggestion and consensus as was supposed to happen in SASS.

  177. Wait a minute Says:

    You hit it on the head G.

    The facts are clear about Stevie Lawrence. CVHS is the first public HS in NorCal to have a teacher-trigger conversion charter.

    This combined with the myriad other scandals that have happened on Stevie’s watch in the MDUSD (like his accepting gratuities from Sherry Whitmarsh’s employer Chevron while discussing the solar contract) easily makes him the worst superintendent in CA period.

    For what its worth everyone I talked to in West Sac said he was a horrible superintendent there also.

    He was best described by a principal there as “the most superficial person…” that they had ever met!

    These people also told me that everyone except Brothers and Beno purposely gave the MDUSD board their glowing recommendations of Stevie just to be rid of him.

    Stevie worked through his hatchet-people Brothers and Beno and his real legacy in West Sac was severe damage to employee morale and community relations caused by the evil troika of Stevie, Sue Brothers, and Don Beno.

  178. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, perhaps you can give us “Where are they now?” for those who were purged from C&I in 2010, just a year and a half ago.

    I am still chuckling about the “try out” a job comment.

  179. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Administrators in the Washington dist. said Lawrence spent a lot of time in classrooms and that he personally coached principals about good instruction.

    Sue Brothers said: “He has a really good eye for people and he rearranges the bus according to people’s strengths.”

    Another cabinet member also used the “bus” analogy, saying: “He understood the dynamics he had to deal with — making sure not only you have the right people in the organization, but they’re in the right spot. He moves people to the right seat on the bus.”

    Several administrators also referred to Lawrence’s directions as “marching orders,” which they all followed. But, they said he was open-minded and encouraged them to give input into decisions.

    One administrator said Lawrence told him in February, 2009 that he expected to remain in his position in the Washington district for two or three more years. Then, after he applied for the MDUSD position, that administrator said Lawrence called him and said: “I need to know that you don’t think I lied to you.” Apparently, Lawrence had a change of heart, but said he had intended to stay that long when he made that comment eight months earlier.

  180. Doctor J Says:

    @Wait a Minute: I guess we can expect Don Beno to come along soon. Where did he end up ?

  181. Doctor J Says:

    The bus analogy is based on author and professor Jim Collins’ management book about 10 or 15 years ago called “Good to Great”.

  182. g Says:

    Which is just about the time both Eberhart and Lawrence decided they knew it all already.

  183. Doctor J Says:

    Musical chairs:

    C&I: One director, one Assistant Director, 2 school support Administrators, 4 curriculum Specialists, One Program Specialist, 8 clerical support. 17 positions.

    SASS: One Asst Supt, Three directors, One Assistant Director, One EL Student Support Administrator, Five School Support Administrators, 2 Teacher Coaches, 8 Clerical Support. 21 positions.

  184. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, Lawrence mentioned this book when he spoke to Bancroft Elementary students after they protested his decision to move their principal to Valle Verde Elementary. One Dad in the audience said the book also talks about the importance of involving stakeholders in the decisions.

  185. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the Bay Point MAC is keeping its eye on possible MDUSD plans for a new high school there:

  186. Doctor J Says:

    @183 Remember in May 2010 Lawrence promised that SASS restructuring of C&I would save $50,000 and the Board said they were shown the numbers ? It didn’t add up then, and it doesn’t add up now.

  187. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Perhaps that could be added to Hansen’s suggested “Accountability Progress Report.”

  188. Doctor J Says:

    @184 Since Bancroft parents meeting, I don’t think Lawrence has attended another one — instead he sends Rose Lock who plays Sgt. Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes: “I know nuthing !”

  189. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Then, CPHS parents will be getting a rare treat when they meet with him on Friday!

  190. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence alone is accountable for supervision of the high schools — its always entertaining to watch a 6’4″ man tap dance. The parents now know they have the upper hand in the negotiations after Lawrence’s failed strategy on the charter which ended up exposing the shell game financing scheme taking away from the high schools. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t Gary’s strategy or he wouldn’t have walked away at the county BOE — instead Gary left Lawrence holding the bag so to speak and also left Sherry swinging in the wind. It was rather pathetic. Gary can’t run for the County BOE until 2014 so his only hope of remaining relevant is to run for re-election. To win, he needs to start distancing himself from Lawrence’s failed strategies. I wonder if Lawrence is pursuing the San Juan job in suburban Sacramento ?

  191. g Says:

    Gee, the CP school calendar doesn’t mention a parent meeting with Lawrence. The District calendar doesn’t mention a Superintendent chat-up at CP.

    I’m sure it was not their intention to leave out the “ordinary folks”.

    Have we all made sure to contact every parent we know in that area to advise that they should attend anyway?

  192. Just J Says:

    LOL Dr. J #183 That was like singing the 12 days of Christmas..hehheeehhheeha

  193. Just J Says:

    G, I think every parent from every area should attend.
    Theresa, will you be going Friday? I hope you can report back to those of us that can’t make it.

  194. g Says:

    Perhaps as part of Ms. Hansen’s Accountability Report we could also ask about over $4,100.00 to cater a buffet dinner to thank the Christy White “Auditor”.

  195. Linda L Says:

    Are you kidding?

  196. Doctor J Says:

    Ok G, you got the tease in — give us the scoop. I’ll bite — pun intended. :-)

  197. g Says:

    Well, they coded the 10/06 payment as “meals for employees” as well as “Dent”. Who knows for sure how they code what they can’t/won’t explain. Since it was at the same time they paid the $26+thousand to Christy White, I would rather believe they schmoozed the auditor rather than just themselves. Especially since they already spend thousand$ a month for (non-conference) food coded to Dent.

  198. Tagg Says:

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of EVIL is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke 1789

    We are all very proud of the CVCHS group, Theresa Harrington, and the only honest board member, Cheryl Hanson to route out the Evil Empire.

  199. Doctor J Says:

    @G Perhaps its time for Theresa to do a Public Records request for the back up invoices for all the “meals for employees” and “Dent” using the specific codes, dates of checks, and check numbers so they can’t squirm out of the requests.

    Where are the audits delivered December 22 to Bryan Richards ?

  200. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Well now we at least know where all the money high schools are “contributing” to dent goes.

    After ChevronGate, I am no longer surprised about any of this.

  201. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Just J: I have sent an email to Superintendent Lawrence asking if the Friday meeting is public, but he hasn’t responded. I have also asked about the Jan. 30 “plan” to be unveiled at MDHS. Again, no response.

  202. Doctor J Says:

    Tom Barnidge’s editorial analysis was too kind and way too shallow. The narcissism of Lawrence and certain board members fueled by irrationaland vindictive tactics designed to be obstructionist and create divisiveness within the district did nothing to promote the educational objectives of public education and showed pure contempt for the teenagers of Mount and the dedicated faculty of Mount. Eberhart who had demanded the toughest opposition to the charter at all costs, pulled out at the last minute to leave Lawrence holding the bag and left his board supporter new Board President Sherry Whitmarsh to hang in the wind and embarrass herself before the entire County BOE. Eberhart was no where to be seen.
    Soon Lawrence will mark his second anniversary as Supt of MDUSD. For two years, Lawrence has ignored the needs of students, faculty and administrators in the district, while instead blessing the pet projects of certain board members. At first there was no communication with the taxpayers, and then the communication was foisted upon him by an unhappy board. The last newsletter was absurd — no news at all and completely missed the point of two employees accused of improper relations with minors. Trustee Lynne Dennler asked him to investigate why there are so many schools unhappy in the district — his shallow reply: last spring we talked to CVHS and decided to make a change in leadership — he hired his old sidekick, Sue Brothers, who had just had her duties as Asst Supt in the tiny Washington USD “reassigned” to . . . well, as far as we can tell, nothing. In her prior two districts she has ruled with an iron fist and she and Lawrence were known as “Stue” for ruling in synch. So Barnidge was right to some extent — when the charter organizers spoke up, why wasn’t Lawrence asking “why” instead of how can we destroy their movement. At Lawrence’s behest, Deb Cooksey dreamed up 56 onerous conditions, instead of Lawrence meeting with the organizers and figuring out how to fix the problems that lead to the unhappiness. While Lawrence fixated on destroying the charter movement, he ignored what was happening, or better said, not happening at Mount. He had ample written and verbal warnings. Mount has lost over $5 million in QEIA grant money. He refused to sign the General Waiver document admitting to incompetence and ignorance as the excuses why he as the immediate supervisor over Principal McClatchy, didn’t get the problem fixed when it first surfaced in Oct 2010. Instead he had Asst Supt Rose Lock sign it. But written job descriptions and org charts already pointed to him as the “immediate superior” of the principal and yet there has been no sighting of him at Mount. But he was too busy playing silly games with the CV charter, while Mount burned. Hiring a Supt with no track record of success whose sole experience as Supt was from a tiny district and his prior district was small too, was clearly an irrational act by a board that wanted to micromanage an inexperienced Supt being overpaid to kiss the ring of the School Board President. Lawrence has continually opposed the efforts to have a Strategic Plan against which his record can be measured. And then, time after time, Lawrence’s name seems to be front and center with almost every “gate” scandal in the district. Its time for a change — its time for a new Supt.

  203. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the link to Barnidge’s column:

  204. Theresa Harrington Says:

    How some districts are collaborating with charters, instead of fighting them:

  205. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Parents: If your child will turn 5 between Nov. 2 and Dec. 1, I would like to talk to you about the governor’s plan to eliminate funding for Transitional Kindergarten in the fall. Please call me at 925-945-4764.

  206. g Says:

    Theresa @204; Excellent article on the pros and cons of district/charter collaboration. Thank you.

    Paul Hill may have said it best: “In cities where the district doesn’t embrace the portfolio model, charter leaders will need to guard their independence, but join district leaders in looking for arrangements that improve children’s opportunities.”

  207. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have just received an email response from Superintendent Lawrence to my questions regarding the charter. He said the district is continuing to research several waiver options and that the meeting with Pleasant Hill parents is not a public meeting.

    “A group of parents from various schools in the PHS feeder pattern asked if I would meet with them,” he wrote. ” I said yes and set up the meeting. There is no set agenda for the meeting.”

    He said the district will need to wait to see the governor’s trailer bills before it will be able to estimate how the new “weighted” funding model could change the financial impact of the charter.

  208. g Says:

    “A group of parents…” I would imagine that would be the highly funded and well placed Pleasant Hill Education Foundation, and the Pleasant Hill Elementary School Foundation. They really need their own City Charter District. If anyone could pull that off it would be Pleasant Hill.

  209. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Pleasant Hill tried to secede from the district many years ago, but was unsuccessful.

  210. g Says:

    Many of those parents have moved over, and let the next-gen take the helm. Back then citizens were maybe more inclined to “ask” for things to go their way. This gen is more apt to take a firm stand for what they want their kids’ futures to look like. If they look out farther than the next couple of years, they will go for it again.

  211. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Also, some members of the Contra Costa County Board of Education have changed since the Walnut Creek attempt to secede was denied.

  212. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I see the district paid more than $600,000 to the Fortune School of Ed in December, along with more than $32,000 to Matt Juhl-Darlington:

    Also, the long-awaited audit has arrived:

  213. g Says:

    …and a board member there is a decision maker here…as I mentioned the other day.

    Maybe I should be charging for my fortune telling skills 😉

  214. Theresa Harrington Says:

    District to look at new boundaries for students who don’t want to attend CVCHS on Monday:

    Here’s the link to the complete agenda:

  215. g Says:

    I see the District had to pay back $83,996.96 in what they describe as “all other Federal money” for Glenbrook. I haven’t seen it yet, but that sounds like it was just “part” of what they had to pay back.

  216. Doctor J Says:

    @212&213 So does Julie Braun-Martin list her position as Director of Fortune School on her FPPC Form 700 ? Does her district position as Asst. Supt of Personnel constitute a conflict of interest in doing business with Fortune School ? BP 2310 might be violated by the large amount of this transaction which is within her area of supervision as an Assistant Supt.

  217. g Says:

    A copy of that Fortune contract would be helpful. That’s what I call alottabucks in one throw. How many teacher interns and for how long and at what schools? Coding spreads the expense out to the entire district.

    This is just one of those examples of why the district can’t pinpoint what actual school expenses really are. Every school pays a percentage to Central Services, but every school doesn’t benefit.

  218. Doctor J Says:

    The Board minutes approving the contract in Nov 2010 have disappeared ! According to the Agenda Julie Braun Martin approved the agenda item, and there is no disclosure on the Agenda of her conflict of interest as a Director of Fortune School.

  219. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The agenda item also states: “no impact to the General Fund”

    Agenda item:

  220. Doctor J Says:

    The Fortune/MDUSD agreement, as I read it, does NOT provide any payment to Fortune, let alone over $600,000 for year 11/12. It appears that the only fund it could have come out of was General Fund as outlined in the first page summary. More egregious is that Fortune School wrote the agreement with Julie Braun Martin, Asst. Supt., signing for the District when in fact she was also a director of Fortune School. I don’t think it passes the smell test, it doesn’t pass the District’s conflict of interest provisions, it doesn’t seem to pass the FPPC rules, and who knows what state laws it may violate. An immediate investigation should be conducted, and full disclosure made to the public. If there was a similar payment in 10/11, it would put into question the entire audit for which approval is being sought.

  221. Wait a minute Says:

    Multiple Grand Jury complaints are needed immediately on this.

    Go to this link and dowloand the Complaint Form:

    I recomend filling it out by asking for an investigation regarding a probable conflict of interest with the expenditure of large amounts of public funds out and send it in.

    Attach any district agendas contracts, etc between the MDUSD and Fortune.

    Also include a print out of the Fortune Board of Directors listing MDUSD’s Asst Supt Julie Braun-Martin as a Director of the company that she is then doing business with in her official capacity as an MDUSD senior administrator.

  222. g Says:

    Maybe, out of the generous hearts of those footsie players at Dent (they know who they are), it was decided (somewhat spitefully) that since the district is rich in hoarded reserves right now, gained off the backs of those who couldn’t fight back; and before someone starts waving placards and suggests we give it to our students or our teachers or our janitors, we should just play benefactor to our high-tea friends and simply donate almost 2/3 of a million dollar$ and call it a match to Fortune’s student teacher stipend (or some such bull).

  223. Wait a minute Says:

    Here is the link showing Braun-Martin as a “Director” of the Fortune “School”:

  224. Theresa Harrington Says:

    And here is information about the company’s name change:

  225. Doctor J Says:

    Don’t forget the Fair Political Practices Commission who has teeth for enforcement !

  226. Doctor J Says:

    Would love to see the “invoice” from Fortune that MDUSD paid the $600,000 plus on ! Who signed the check ? A check that size should have raised the eyebrows of everyone !
    Has anyone gone to Dent to review Julie Braun Martin’s FPPC Form 700 for disclosure of her relationship with Fortune ?

  227. Doctor J Says:

    I hope Cheryl Hansen or any member of the public pulls the warrant list from the Consent Calendar and questions the expenditure, and requests the Board not approve it until full disclosure of ALL of the documents are made.

  228. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the last board meeting, Hansen said she pulled an item from the consent calendar based on questions she received from the public (most likely via phone or email).

  229. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, have you requested any information on this item from Richards or anyone else ?

  230. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have requested a copy of the contract and invoice associated with that payment from Bryan Richards.

  231. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the emailed response I received from Richards:

    “Fortune School of Education (formerly Project Pipeline) has a grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to provide the alternative certification for intern teachers program. An LEA in the State has to serve as their Fiscal Agent for processing the CTC grant funds. We have served as the fiscal agent for the grant for many years. The transaction you refer to below is the pass through of their grant funds from the State CTC. It is not a contracted services payment.”

  232. g Says:

    Please advise Mr. Richards that if he would simply update his own Budget & Fiscal Services Chart of Accounts website, much of which has not been updated since 2002, school site budgets not updated since 2003 and none of which has been updated since 2005, perhaps we could avoid these conflicts.

    Exactly what are all of the Program Codes 09xx? There are no 09s listed on the site.

  233. Doctor J Says:

    @231 — Was there ever Board approval ? And it still begs the question if JBM has ever disclosed her directorship on her Form 700 for FPPC.

  234. g Says:

    Dr. J, they embedded the 11/17 minutes in the Agenda for 1/11/11. It was all part of a Consent Agenda, so no discussion, 5 up, no down.

  235. g Says:

    And, it makes little difference whether JBM is an unpaid director. This district still hires, pays going teacher rate, and completes the training for what may be a very disproportionate number of students from the Fortune program.

    There are a lot of teaching schools and programs out there from which to choose intern candidates, and she should not be encouraged to play some sort of “sorority sister” hiring game.

  236. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #231 Did Richards provide you with ANY documentation on Fortune Schools like the current grant, the agreement between Fortune & MDUSD to serve as the LEA, or Board authorization ? I still don’t think the arrangement meets the MDUSD conflict of interest code, and failure to disclose the relationship in the FPPC Form 700 is problematic.

  237. Doctor J Says:

    Looks like MDUSD is much more than just a “pass through” on the grant — they appear to be partners with Fortune Schools on the grant.

  238. Doctor J Says:

    How much, if any, has MDUSD charged Pipeline/Fortune School according to Paragraph 3 of the agreement last modified in 2009 ? What is MDUSD’s liability, as a co-applicant, if Fortune misuses the grant ?

  239. g Says:

    Very interesting reading about Pipeline/Fortune over at the blog Mirabilis HubPages: this one for instance:

    Local School Rep 13 months ago

    I came across these blogs and I am a Principal w/a local school district in Contra Costa County. Our District use to hire at least 35-50 interns from Pipeline each year. This year we hired just two. Pipeline used have the edge on the intern market, but with new leadership and turning out poor quality interns(teachers), our school district is not hiring Pipeline students at all. I have seven former Pipeline students who have gone thru the program and every single teacher that works for me will not recommend this program to anyone. All of teachers have complained that they have very poor instructors, actually one of the Fortune’s kids teaches Credential courses and this person only has a BA degree in marketing, no Credentials at all. The other Fortune kid is the NEW CEO and this person has no Credentials at all or never taught public/private school. How can you produce quality educators when your instructors don’t have a Credential or never have taught in a public school? How can you run a Intern program or open charter schools when your CEO has never taught or lacks a public school credentials? How can you close the achievement gap when your entire motive is to make money??? In all reality we need to call our local government and stop state funding to this intern program.

  240. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, Richards didn’t provide any backup. But, I could ask for it.

  241. Doctor J Says:

    Rolen is such a hypocrite in attacking at $1k small claims judgment but exposing the district to over a half million in liability by co-partnering on a grant with a small potatoes company and not requiring insurance or payment for MDUSD services or assurances of compliance.

  242. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Doctor J,

    Rolen isn’t a hypocrite, in my opinion he is performing a quid pro quo event for JBM. The real question is what does JBM have on Rolen that would convince him to do something like that?

  243. frustrated Says:

    When does Dr. J ever get any work done?

  244. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Pleasant Hill Education/Advisory Commission plans to discuss the CVHS charter and Northgate HS at 7 p.m. Wednesday:

  245. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have heard an unconfirmed rumor that the district may consider allowing students who don’t want to go to the charter to attend Northgate HS.
    Unfortunately, however, the district’s agenda report doesn’t state what its recommendation is regarding school boundaries:
    If the district is serious about improving accountability and transparency, it should include its boundary plan in the agenda packet, instead of unveiling it as a surprise at the meeting. At the board retreat last year, some trustees said they don’t want surprises at board meetings.
    UPDATE TO THIS COMMENT: I have learned that this rumor is speculation, based on the superintendent’s comments at the County Board meeting, in which he said that Northgate and Concord HS were the closest high schools. Actually, I believe YVHS is just as close as Northgate and has more available space.

  246. g Says:

    Theresa, I would predict that they will decide to “look at” hiring Jack Schreder to do yet another study. Then next meeting they will be presented with a contract that staff has already signed.

    In Dec, 2010 you reported: “According to Richards, the district has spent $305333 with the firm (Jack Schreder) since 2001”.

    Now, we’ve spent nearly half that amount again in just one year! As I mentioned in another thread, Schreder got a contract in May for $14,500. to take up to TWO YEARS to study realignment for just Meadow Homes and Delta View. (He was able to do a complete school closure study in just a couple of months!!!!)

    Jack Schreder has been paid $119,138.96 in the past 12 months. The only “study/report” of what those funds were for (roughly $70K) that I have seen was his School Closure Study. He has received payments for one thing or another in 9 of the last 12 months. Besides the Closure Study, what was the other $50K for and where are the reports?

  247. g Says:

    Theresa, Your remarks at 244 and 245 and the Agenda for PHEF tie together in an interesting way. Can we maybe presume that there has been a “private meeting” at Northgate much like the “private meeting” last week at College Park?

    It seems a discussion of “Attendance Boundaries” at Northgate are premature, at best, if no previous discussions have taken place with district officials.

  248. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’m not sure we can assume anything. But, it’s interesting that the PH group wants to hear about Northgate HS.
    It’s also quite possible that members of the PH group attended the superintendent meeting last week.

  249. Doctor J Says:

    Has anyone spilled the beans on the last Friday’s meeting with Lawrence ? Or did I miss it ? As far as the Jack Schreder reports, has anyone done a public records request for both: all the invoices from Schreder and all the reports or correspondence, including electronic reports and emails from Jan 1, 2010 to the present ?

  250. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Superintendent Steven Lawrence has assured me in an email that the rumor about plans to send students who don’t want to attend CVCHS to Northgate was not accurate.

    “No formal proposal is being made tonight,” he wrote. “We are looking for direction from the board prior to bringing anything formal forward.”

  251. Anon Says:

    TH 250 – do your notes from the county board hearing show that he mentioned northgate and concord high, and not yvhs? that was a red flag . . .

  252. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Do you know when he said that? I don’t have that in my notes, but my laptop battery died and my phone battery died, and I had to write my story while the meeting was still going on, so my notes are somewhat incomplete. I can also look at the video I shot.

  253. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Contra Costa County Office of Education will discuss its MOU with the CVHS charter at about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday:

    The board will also discuss the superintendent’s “Choose Civility Initiative,” summaries of legal expenses, membership dues and conference expenses for all programs across the agency, and English Learner support. I wonder if MDUSD would consider reviewing all legal expenses, membership dues and conference expenses for all programs across the district at a public meeting.

  254. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the Assembly has passed Bonilla’s bill, which is being called a “roadblock” to new charters:

    Although Bonilla’s rep has said an amendment was being drafted that would address the funding issue, I don’t see any language about that in the amended version:

  255. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just posted an update with a link to the minutes from the Jan. 11 County Board meeting, at which trustees unanimously approved the CVHS charter with conditions:

  256. Doctor J Says:

    Those are minutes ! You would think that with the Gang of Five raise she got, the Supt’s Secretary would try to emulate excellence in taking notes for the minutes. This is an excellent example.

  257. Theresa Harrington Says:

    She got a very small raise compared to the other four and is not an administrator. Also, the superintendent’s previous administrative assistant’s job was eliminated, so the current secretary is ostensibly doing twice as much work.

  258. Doctor J Says:

    Everyone, including site administrators, is doing double duty, but only 5 select individuals got the “raises” for “increased responsibilities”, which was a slap in the face to everyone else in the district office and at school sites who also have taken on “increased responsibilities”. Lets not forget the site staffs who got hit with hour reductions too ! The Gang of Five kept their raises while others were being cut: Rolen’s $27,000 raise to run “transportation” being the largest and also the biggest boondoggle.

  259. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC is reassuring special ed parents that the CVHS charter will continue to serve their students:

  260. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Charter supporters are celebrating with the community on Saturday:

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