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Live blog of Feb. 7 CAC meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 7:36 pm in Education.

CHAIRPERSON REPORT:
Chairperson Lorrie Davis reported that the CVHS charter will serve special ed students.
Special ed director Mildred Browne said teachers must notify the charter and the district if they want to stay with the charter. If not, they have to apply for a position, she said.
Davis said the charter hasn’t yet finalized its plans with the El Dorado SELPA.
Browne said the El Dorado SELPA won’t decide which schools to take on until March. CVHS may also contract with the county SELPA, she said.
A parent said a union rep at the school said that seven special ed employees were going to be laid-off, but that was not corroborated.

Felicia Stuckey-Smith said her office was sending out two mailings to students in the CVHS attendance area: one for all 1,800 students and one for special ed and section 504 students. Browne offered to give the letters to the CAC blog committee so they could post them.

Davis also announced that MaryAnne Talbot is leaving March 2, so this is her last CAC meeting. Davis and vice-chairwoman Dorothy Weisenberger praised Talbott’s service to the special ed community.

CELEBRATION OF SUCCESS UPDATE:
Parent liaison Hilary Shen said the “You make a difference” awards ceremony is coming up March 28. It celebrates community members, staff, parents, teachers or other students who aren’t in special ed who have gone out of their way to support children with special needs. She has nomination forms.
Past award-winners include the Walnut Festival, Buddy Play, teachers, office staff, behaviorists, students, a bus driver and a custodian.

ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT REPORT:
Browne reported that outside counsel Matt Juhl-Darlington wrote a summary of opinion regarding reports and opinions for children with disabilities as they relate to report cards and transcripts.

She passed out a list of Legislative bills currently proposed in the state that may be of interest.
Brown also announced that parent reps would be attending two conferences.

She invited parents to participate in the legislative advocacy day May 2 in Sacramento, when they can meet with legislators regarding issues they’re concerned about. She also mentioned that Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla is cosponsoring legislation that could help districts regarding charter schools. (She didn’t mention that the legislation would allow financially strapped districts to deny a charter based on financial impact.) Brown urged CAC members to read over the proposed legislation and decide what they would like to talk about with legislators.

CAHSEE: Brown said it was a shock to learn that the CAHSEE exemption for special ed students ends June 30. Some districts have been piloting an alternative that has been determined to be too difficult, she said. So, Brown said there either needs to be emergency legislation to extend the exemption or else special ed and section 504 students will have to pass the CAHSEE to graduate.

MOE: Brown said the state did not make its Maintenance of Effort requirement, which could cost about $8.6 million in federal funding. She said it’s still unclear how the state is going to make up for it. Special education in the state of did not spend what they needed to in order to meet their Maintenance of Effort, she said. So that will impact the amount of federal funds the state gets, she added. So, she said, the question is: Will that be passed onto school districts as far as a deficit of some kind?

Mandated reporting: Brown said the governor’s budget would eliminate all mandated reporting, which could impact incident reports related to the Hughes bill. These involve incidents where a student has to be restrained, she said. “Will we no longer document that? Will we no longer be able to do restraints?” she asked. She said the Hughes bill would be repealed, if the Legislature approves the governor’s plan.

Transportation: Brown said that funding for special education transportation is also proposed to be eliminated in the governor’s budget. If the Legislature approves this, it would increase the general education contribution to special education to pay for federally mandated transportation for district students.

BOARD OF EDUCATION REPORT:
Trustee Lynne Dennler reported on the Monday board meeting and Trustee Gary Eberhart mentioned the governance workshop and upcoming strategic planning meeting on Feb. 22, along with the CVHS charter waiver vote.

Board of Education Comments: Parent Vi Ibarra reported on recent board meetings she had attended.

Parent Advisory committee Report: Parent Tricia Tamura-Li said the PAC discussed EL Master plan. She urged parents to submit comments or concerns by Friday. Browne said there is not much in it for special ed.
Tamura-Li said the number of parents participating in the PAC is dropping and that most parents were from CPHS or Sequoia MS.

Budget Advisory committee Report: Parent Tricia Tamura-Li said the meeting got postponed to March 14. This committee is also looking for new members, she said. Members are wondering about their roles in their advisory capacity.

Equity Advisory Committee: Parent Dorothy Weisenberger reported that the next meeting is Feb. 28. She expressed concerns that the draft strategic plan doesn’t appear to include anything about equity.

EL Master Plan Task Force: Parent Morena Grimaldi said the draft plan is being presented to the community and the community can comment online. Schools also have hard copies in English and Spanish and some groups have received presentations. After information is gathered, the committee will meet Feb. 23 and in March to discuss it and decide whether or not to incorporate it. The final draft will be sent to the board in May.
She said she has pushed for a few things for special ed specifically, but asked for CAC members’ input.

This was followed by more discussion of the draft strategic plan, a nurse’s report, parent liaison report and subommittee updates. There was no extended school year report because the parent rep was absent.

Public comment: Davis read a letter from a parent who was concerned about bullying at Valle Verde Elementary.

Information/Announcement: A special ed teacher informed the group that Johnny Applegate, a wonderful special ed teacher at MDHS, died last week. Many people asked about memorial services and agreed that he will be greatly missed.

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  • Doctor J

    Those who particpated from the district, violated the Brown Act since the meeting agenda was not properly noticed 72 hours in advance.

  • g

    I really am tired of paying executive wages to people who do not appear to even attempt to keep up with their jobs. Fire their asses and hire four good clerks to do 10 times the work.

    “Brown said it was a shock to learn that the CAHSEE exemption for special ed students ends June 30″.

    Did she really mean ‘shock’? Or was that meant to sound like some kind of buddy-buddy, girl talk?

    I’m serious. Does everyone at Dent just sit and wait for a memo, email, phone call?

    YooHoo, you’re losing your grant. Scuse me, you’re out of compliance. Ahem, Time’s up!

    Are they PROACTIVE in any part of their job? Ever?

    Milly, you have had TWO YEARS to at least hear about it these timelines!

    Direct and pretty clear on the CDE: “…determination whether or not it is feasible to have alternative means to the CAHSEE for SWDs. On July 14, 2010, the SBE determined that alternative means to the CAHSEE are feasible and adopted regulations in February 2011 extending the implementation regulations date for alternative means from January 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012.”

    It goes on to say: “The exemption from meeting the CAHSEE requirement for SWDs remains in place until alternative means are implemented.”

    Sooo… whatcha been doin’ for these two years to get prepared? Never mind, I know. It’s the budget’s fault.

  • Doctor J

    But G, Mildred was last year’s State Spec Ed Administrator of the Year — is she the best there is ?

  • Just J

    I was so glad to hear they spent so much time talking about CVCHS and the rumors that a parent heard from a rep that lay offs would happen. Then they went on about a letter that will be sent. Can’t wait to see that one.

    The CAHSEE is not new news….I knew about it last year but then again I pay attention to Special Ed news and laws.

    What they should be concentrating on is putting programs in place that will benefit the students and save money from private placements. Perhaps they could spend some time on compliance issues. They are out of compliance on IEP’s all the time.
    Maybe they could address the busing issues rather than making about the budget fix the problems we have now.

    Dr. J. If Brown is the best, then I suppose Special Education is in a state that will never get fixed. Lord help us all!

  • Parent

    How would I find out how many openings are available at Northgate, for all grades 9-12?
    CV grey area for students who do not want to attend CVCHS for the 2012-2013 school year. Since this is one of the top performing high schools in the bay area, imagine most if not all will want this to be their home school. Also, will these applicants have preference over regular inter-district transfers? Nobody, seems to know the number of spots available for any of the grades at Northgate :(

  • Theresa Harrington

    Parent: At the Monday board meeting, Felicia Stuckey-Smith said between 100-200 transfers attend Northgate and Concord HS. She said there is some space available for CVHS students, but didn’t state a specific number.
    Also, the school closure advisory committee looked at school capacities and enrollment. That information is available at http://www.mdusd.org/Community/Pages/scac.aspx

  • Another Parent

    Theresa, Do you have any more information on the special ed employees getting laid off at CVCHS? Is MDUSD laying them off and will CVCHS rehire them? Or is CVCHS laying them off? I’m confused….

    Another question about special ed: Is the County SELPA the same one that MDUSD belongs to? Or does MDUSD have its own SELPA? Who does the County SELPA serve?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Both Mildred Browne and Pat Middendorf said the layoff comment was an unfounded rumor. It appears that whoever started the rumor was confused.

    No, the county SELPA is different from the MDUSD SELPA. The county SELPA serves many small districts, as well as county programs. MDUSD’s special ed program is so large that it has its own SELPA.

  • Doctor J

    Is there a commitment from the Supt that Northgate will expand to its capacity in order to accept CVHS students ? Additional staff would have to be hired in order to accomodate “capacity” at Northgate.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The superintendent didn’t comment about Northgate’s capacity, but Stuckey-Smith said there was more room, just not enough to accommodate all CVHS students.
    Lawrence said YVHS could accommodate them all.

  • Anon

    Capacity at NorthGate has been an issue. The district sent Crystyl Ranch there willy-nilly, something to do with a $$$ developer agreement $$$ money-money-money-money, however when Montecito was built and its closer to NorthGate, a Trustee finally visited and saw NorthGates overcrowded and Montecito was sent to CVHS. Capacity at NorthGate may be overstated because it has interior hallways which are included in the square footage. Apparently that’s okay because they can and have put desks in the hallways.

    Any high school should welcome more students to increase revenue and programs. But someone should check with the site administration about whether there actually are enough classrooms and bathrooms. Some teachers do not have a classroom and are sharing all day. NorthGate wants to use Measure C funds to build more classrooms and bathrooms. They don’t have unlimited room for a ton of CVHS transfers but betcha we won’t find out until late August.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I believe labs at Northgate also don’t have enough stations to accommodate a full class of more than 31 students.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Public hearing on CVHS waivers is Feb. 22, but the district hasn’t yet posted the waivers: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/com/print_item.aspx?itemId=4993

    The public is also invited to comment on the Draft Strategic Plan: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=4994&mtgId=358

  • Anon

    Where is the rest of the Strategic plan?

  • Linda L
  • Sue Berg

    Mary-Ann Tucker is the wonderful administrator who is retiring on March 2. She was also an elementary school principal in the district for several years. She will be missed.

  • Parent

    Northgate should be able to accept approx. 350 new students (cv grey area students) for the 2012 – 2013 school year. They will have more freshman & senior spots than soph & junior spots for this school year. Their wet labs won’t be able to expand til the 2013-2014 school year. Lottery System for admissions but once your in it becomes your home school. Also, Gil Lemmons NCS athletics is working with CIF to clear Junior and Senior athletes so they won’t lose eligibility. Thank you, for this forum and Teresa your wealth of information and ability to point parents in the right direction is so valuable to the community. It’s hard enough to find answers @ least you can get a step for a hint here on this forum. Thank you, again!

  • Anon

    Rumor has it that resource and special Ed kids will not have NG as a choice. They will have to go to Concord high. This is what I heard from some 8th grade parents that say they called the district to get their options. Maybe someone can confirm this.