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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. 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 . . .

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  5. 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:

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Charter supporters are celebrating with the community on Saturday:

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