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West Contra Costa district to hold community budget meetings

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, January 14th, 2012 at 4:01 pm in Education, West Contra Costa school district.

Like many school districts throughout the state, the West Contra district wants to prepare for possible budget cuts that may be necessary if voters don’t approve the governor’s proposed tax measure.

To involve the entire community in budget discussions, the district has set up several meetings, according to the following news release, which I received Friday:

“West Contra Costa Unified School District
COMMUNITY BUDGET MEETING SCHEDULE
6:30PM – 8:00PM

The January Governor’s Budget proposal includes the potential for “mid-year trigger” budget cuts to our schools during 2012-13 if a tax initiative is not successful in November of 2012. Schools in our community are another year of uncertainty and reductions to services for our students and schools.

Parents, community members and local business leaders are invited to learn about what the Governor’s Budget proposal means to our schools and what we can do about it.

Wednesday, January 25 2012
Hercules High School
1900 Refugio Valley Road, Hercules

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Murphy Elementary
4350 Valley View Road, Richmond

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Helms Middle School
2500 Road 20, San Pablo

Thursday, February 2, 2012
King Elementary School
4022 Florida Avenue, Richmond

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Harding Elementary School
7230 Fairmont Avenue, El Cerrito

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Pinole Middle School
1575 Mann Drive, Pinole”

Do you think the Mt. Diablo district should hold similar community meetings to discuss possible budget cuts?

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  • Doctor J

    Gov Brown’s new proposal for weighted ADA funding is described in this article and links. According to the blog associated with it, West Contra Costa County Unified School District could have one of the ten highest ADA’s in the State of California — if so, it could be in pretty good financial shape. http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/01/09/how-weighted-funding-would-work/

  • Amom

    Mt Diablo should hold community meetings. A full discussion of the budget would assist understanding and might reduce the infighting currently within the district. What I heard from the Budget Advisory Committee sounds like the district gives the party line period, doom and gloom, no hope, no parcel tax, no discussion.

    Other topics should be added to the agenda: school boundaries, future school closures, busing, how to raise API scores, how to close the achievement gap, whether SASS and EL could be more effective, a strategic plan, a parcel tax, Measure C, and that’s just the beginning. Parents dream the administrators will discuss issues for THE STUDENTS (aka kids) because good news is curiously absent from the superintendent’s infrequent newsletters.

    The risk is that communities want a smaller district but Dent Center is opposed, not sure why? (please someone give a justifiable answer to that question) How about changing attitude and holding meetings to discuss THE FUTURE of the district, whether there will be more charter schools or whether some communities can be spun off, so in the future Mt. Diablo could schedule community meetings with less communities.

    I have a dream

  • Theresa Harrington

    Lawrence should also explain why the district is offering teachers an unscheduled lump sum payment equal to three days’ pay, if the district is in such bad financial shape.

    Or, if the district isn’t in such bad financial shape, he should explain how the possible costs related to the charter conversion could be absorbed by the district’s large reserves, causing no financial impact next year to any other schools.

    Further, he should justify why some schools — such as Concord High — pay 15 percent of their revenues toward “other programs” in the district, while other schools pay as little as 4 percent. Given this current inequity, he should explain why he has suggested that cuts related to the charter be spread equally to all schools. It is up to the board to decide how cuts are made. Lawrence has not explored other cost-cutting ideas that could soften cuts at schools sites.

    Also, Lawrence should respond to the CST demands for reinstated hours — explaining either why he is unwilling to accommodate them — or sitting down at the bargaining table with them to discuss options.

  • g

    Lumpsum bribe? Bribery– The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.

    Influence intended to stave off another Teacher Trigger?

    Doesn’t this “over abundance of money” belong to the taxpayers? Did the District really hoard nearly $40Million dollars in three years while it closed two neighborhood schools to save $1.5million?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, apparently it did. Former Glenbrook and Holbrook parents also deserve answers about why teachers may get unscheduled payments that may equal more $1.5 million, while their students have to walk farther — or pay to be bused across town.
    As I recall, I believe one furlough day for teachers equals about $600,000. Perhaps this payment is intended to reimburse teachers for the three furlough days they took in 2010-11.

  • Nonnie

    The off schedule lump sum for teachers is being bargained for by the teachers union to ‘pay back’ the 3 furlough days from last year which were totally unnecessary. It is not a bribe.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Will the other groups (M&O,CST, CSEA) be reimbursed for their furlough days last year too? CST and CSEA have had their hours slashed. Are only teachers deserving of reimbursement or raises?

  • Anon

    To Amom –
    Many of us share that dream.

    To Theresa#3 -
    All of your points are right on. I am so sad for those families that live in the Glenbrook/Holbrook neighborhood. It is one thing to need to close schools, it is another to do so and save nothing. I am also fairly confident that the incidental uses at both closed schools are there to keep the schools from being available to full-size charters.
    I am sad for the kids at MDHS who are losing $5mil that could have been used for class-size reduction something we know makes a difference for student learning.
    I am sad for all of our kids that we have district leadership that fights against a charter school where parents, teachers, and a community have united in order to provide something better for their kids.
    I am sad that MDUSD is fighting a $1k lawsuit in small claims court over their mistake at leaving a 5 year old child out on a strange street alone. And then to add insult to injury Sherry Whitmarsh diminishes the seriousness of this with her inane comment.

    It is all just sad!

  • Theresa Harrington

    FT: Each union bargains separately. I don’t know if the other unions have asked to be paid back for the furlough days they took. MDEA President Mike Langley said he wasn’t sure if they had “me too” clauses in their contracts.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Yes, the furloughs were “me too.” CST, CSEA and M&O only took as many as the group who agreed on the least amount of days took. I know CST said they’d take up to five, but everyone took three, if I recall.

  • c slamon

    You know this is the first news and information that we have received about WCCUSD since Shelly Meron was fired and yet this article still has to be hijacked and turned into a Mt. Diablo focus. Very frustrating, Ricmond and WCCUSD parents deserve some local education news too!

  • Todd Groves

    The news blackout on WCCUSD is intolerable. Time for CoCo Times to cover West County schools in earnest.

  • Theresa Harrington

    CS: Since Shelly Meron was laid-off, Richmond reporter Hannah Dreier and West Contra Costa columnist Chris Treadway have been trying to fill in the gap, along with me.
    I included WCCUSD in my story about Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding and am planning to write about School Improvement Grants, including those in WCCUSD.
    Although I receive press releases from WCCUSD, I am unfortunately not able to attend those board meetings.
    Please e-mail me at tharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com to let me know about other local education news you think should be highlighted in the Times. Thanks.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a new post about the governor’s budget and State of the State address, which affects all districts: http://bit.ly/zeqvs4

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a new post regarding the WCCUSD All District Music Festival on Tuesday: http://bit.ly/ydX2zK

  • Theresa Harrington

    Also, here’s a post about the WCCUSD board meeting on Wednesday: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/03/05/wccusd-board-to-meet-wednesday/