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MDUSD seeks input on draft CVCHS waivers

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 1:42 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a public hearing Thursday regarding waivers it intends to submit to the California Department of Education seeking to avoid an anticipated negative financial impact when Clayton Valley High converts to a charter next year.

Under current law, the district anticipates it would have to pay about $980 per student more than it receives from the state to the charter, costing about $1.7 million. The proposed waivers would shift this additional cost to the County Office of Education or the state, if approved.

Although the district has posted an agenda for this public hearing, it has not yet posted the actual waivers for the public to review.

However, I have learned that portions of the waiver application have been distributed to the Budget Advisory Committee. I’m posting the information sent to the committee below.

Memo from CFO Bryan Richards:

“Budget Advisory Committee Members

Attached are preliminary attachments A and B for the District’s application for a waiver regarding the financial effects to the revenue limit regarding the Clayton Valley conversion to an independent charter. Part of the CDE’s waiver process is that such requests be shared with one of the advisory committees to the Board. Since this most directly affects the District’s budget, we are sharing it with you. Please review the information and let us know if you agree or disagree with the District’s application for the waiver. Also, if you have questions about the information, please feel free to ask them and we will get you answers. According to our legal counsel, we do not need a formal meeting of the committee to meet the requirements of the statute, just to get your input. I will put this on the agenda for our next meeting in March to update you on the status and to have an opportunity for any additional questions that may come up to be asked. Please note that this item goes before the Board of Education at a special meeting on February 22nd so please respond before then if possible.

Thank you for your assistance.

Bryan Richards
Chief Financial Officer”

Proposed waiver language (language to be stricken is bracketed):

“#6: EDUCATION CODES SECTIONS TO BE WAIVED

ATTACHMENT A TO MDUSD WAIVER REQUEST RE: CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING IMPACT

(1) Waive the stricken through provisions of Ed Code Section 47632(j)
(2) which provides that:

“If a charter granted by a county office of education after having been previously denied by a school district, the sponsoring local educational agency means [the school district that initially denied the charter petition.]”and substitute the following language: “the approving County Office of Education that granted the charter.”

And

(2) Waive the stricken through provisions of Ed Code Section 47660 which provides that:

“(a) For purposes of computing eligibility for, and entitlements to, general purpose funding and operational funding for categorical programs, the enrollment and average daily attendance of a sponsoring local educational agency shall exclude the enrollment and attendance of pupils in its charter schools funded pursuant to this chapter.

(b)(1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), and commencing with the 2005-06 fiscal year, for purposes of computing eligibility for, and entitlements to, revenue limit funding, the average daily attendance of a unified school district, other than a unified school district that has converted all of its schools to charter status pursuant to 47606, shall include all attendance of pupils who reside in the unified school district and who would otherwise have been eligible to attend a noncharter school of the school district, if the school district was a basic aid school district in the prior fiscal year, [or if the pupils reside in the unified district and attended a charter school of that school district that converted to charter status o or after July 1, 2005]. Only the attendance of pupils described by this paragraph shall be included in the calculation made pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (h) of Section 42238.”

Practical Effect of Waiver

Either of the above-reference waived provisions would have a neutral fiscal impact on our district.

• Under the first scenario, the Contra Costa County Office of Education, would be deemed the sponsoring local educational agency of the conversion.

• Under the second scenario, the Clayton Valley Charter High School, a conversion charter, would be treated the same as a start-up charter and the funding difference between the District’s unified rate and the high school rate, would not be borne by the remaining students and families of the district.”

Rationale for the waiver:

“#7: DESIRED OUTCOME/RATIONALE

ATTACHMENT B TO MDUSD WAIVER REQUEST RE: CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL

FUNDING IMPACT

On January 11, 2012, Contra Costa County Office of Education approved the conversion of Clayton Valley High School to an independent charter school. CVHS is the District’s second largest high school and houses approximately 5.47% of the District’s pupils. Mt. Diablo USD is a low wealth unified district funded below the statewide average. The inclusion of the school’s students in the District’s revenue limit and then having the District pay out to the charter general purpose block grant based on the statewide average high school district rate causes the District to lose $979.84 per unit of ADA at the school. This creates a loss of approximately $1.74M annually at a time when school funding has already been cut, and is proposed to be further reduced in the 2012-13 budget. This creates a significant hardship upon the remaining students in the District.

Funding a comprehensive high school conversion charter in a unified district at the high school district rate ignores the reason the high school district rate is higher than the elementary rate. It is higher to help cover the costs of students who are more expensive to serve: continuation; community day; and other students at risk of dropping out of school. Comprehensive high school students are not that much more expensive to serve than elementary or middle school students due to the fact that State law mandates a single salary schedule for unified districts. However, under current scenario, the District will retain all of the expensive to serve students and will lose the funding with which to serve them.

If the effect is spread across the entire District, it results in a loss of $56.68 per unit of ADA (a 1.09% decrease) for all other schools in the District. However, many parents in the other communities in the District feel strongly that other feeder patterns should remain unaffected and the impact of this cut should be borne solely by the Clayton Valley feeder pattern. There are currently 3,504.68 units of ADA in the other schools that are part of the Clayton Valley feeder pattern. A small portion of two of the schools feeds into another high school attendance area, but their ADA is included in this calculation. Spreading the loss of revenue among these four elementary schools and two middle schools would create a loss of funding of $496.81 per unit of ADA (a 9.53% decrease) on these campuses, and would put their funding at $4,711.35/ADA, well below the statewide average for elementary school districts.

Maintaining this disparity also works against the State’s intended objective of district unification and consolidation as it creates a penalty should any high school in the consolidation ever decide to convert to charter status.

Until now, conversion charter high schools have been predominantly limited to the Los Angeles Unified School District. If a school in LAUSD of 1,777 converts out of a district of 571,225, it comprises only 0.31% of that district’s students. The conversion of the school in LAUSD creates a loss to the other LAUSD schools of $3.05 per ADA. In our District the loss is nearly 20 times that amount.

Through this waiver, the District seeks to neutralize the financial impact to the other students of the District. This can be accomplished by having the County Office of Education deemed the Local Educational Agency responsible for the charter school for the purposes of Education Code Section 47632, and by not requiring the District to include the charter students into the District’s revenue limit calculation for the purposes of Education Code Section 47660.”

Do you think the district should call a special meeting of the BAC, so members could publicly discuss the waivers and hear each others’ comments and questions?

3 P.M. UPDATE: Here is a link to the letter originally provided to the district by the charter’s attorney, suggesting a waiver: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=110816395

FEB. 23 UPDATE: Here is a link to the waiver application and attachments: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/91f7d359-6b05-48b9-a324-90b2b5e35b6d.pdf

FEB. 27 UPDATE: Tonight, the school board expects to accept resignations from 64 CVHS teachers and to approve retirements for eight more: http://bit.ly/AdQEvs. This means 72 teachers have chosen not to continue working in MDUSD next year.

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  • Doctor J

    I wonder if Cheryl will ask for a public explanation tonight as to why they weren’t included in the minutes. So much for their workshop on “getting along”. Maybe it would have been cheaper to sing Kumbaya.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Funny you should mention Kumbaya. Mike Langley said he is hoping for a little Kumbaya, after some members of the district negotiating team recently voiced the opinion that the teachers’ bargaining team was “out of touch” with its members.

    District negotiators, Langley said, asserted that teachers wanted furlough days. But, after polling teachers, the union found that teachers don’t want furlough days after all.

    Stay tuned for tonight’s budget presentation…

  • Doctor J

    Lawrence & Eberhart’s negotiating team accusing Langley’s team of “being out of touch” ? OMG. ROFLOL. Lets see, that would be Julie Braun Martin and Deb Cooksey making that accuasation — get a grip ladies.

  • Doctor J

    Has the District paid back the teachers and others for “withholding” the furlough days before they were even negotiated ?

  • Doctor J

    Here is Cheryl’s “ace in the hole” to get things on the Agenda. MDUSD Board Bylaw 9323 allows Board trustees to respond to the public. It says in part: “3. Without taking action, Board members or district staff members may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public about items not appearing on the agenda. Additionally, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, a Board or staff member may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his/her own activities. (Government Code 54954.2)
    Furthermore, the Board or a Board member may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, ask staff to report back to the Board at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action directing staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda. (Government Code 54954.2)”

    Can’t wait until she start “directing the Superintendent” to place items on the agenda with full reports ! Go Cheryl !

  • SchoolSecretary

    I don’t know if teacher’s had furlough days deducted this year. Classified staff received furlough day refunds this past week.

  • Doctor J

    The CVHS 11, that will remain in MDUSD, has JMB announced the procedure for “bumping” yet ? I wonder if it will parrot the “closing procedure” used last year ? Did any of the teachers at MDHS submit requests to transfer to another school ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Very surprisingly, I found out that the district did not record the Feb. 22 meeting. Also, the superintendent’s secretary told me she was not required to attend the meeting, so there will not be substantive minutes. Considering that the meeting was a required public hearing regarding the CVHS waiver, it’s very unusual to have no public record of it. I wonder if the SBE will ask for the minutes from the meeting.

    Apparently, the board sat around a table due to the rest of the meeting being a “study session,” and the district hasn’t figured out how to record trustees when they sit in this format.

    When I covered the city of Walnut Creek, they simply placed microphones in front of the city council members when they sat around a table for their study sessions. I’ll bet the students in the MDHS Digitial Safari could figure out how to do that.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#58: Supt Lawrence is the “Board Secretary” and I guess he gets to type up the minutes ! LOL he can’t even keep his commitment to do “bi monthly newsletters”. Frankly, I don’t call what we get from the regular meetings “substantive minutes” compared to what the CCC Board of Education or the State Board of Education publishes, and certainly a couple of notches below what we used to get a few years ago.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, the secretary said I should speak to Lawrence to find out what happened at the meeting. So, I assume he is the one preparing the minutes.

    The rationale for the abbreviated minutes, according to Trustee Gary Eberhart, is that there is audio backup. Without audio backup, however, it is very surprising that the superintendent did not ask his secretary to at least attend the public hearing portion of the meeting to take notes. She told me there were three speakers on the waiver. I will call her today to find out who they were. Too bad there’s no record of what they said or what trustees had to say about the waiver.

  • Doctor J

    It will really boost Steven’s ego to address him as the “Board Secretary”. :-)

  • Doctor J

    The problem with audio back-up is several fold. Its not foolproof and we have more failures so far than success. Second, Board policy only requires it be kept for 30 days, not permanent like Board minutes are required by law to be kept. Why wasn’t Loreen at the meeting ? She got a Gang of Five raise for this very duty — yes it was the least amount of the five, but she is paid for this duty. Afterall, it was a “Public Hearing” !

  • Doctor J

    Did Cheryl raise the issue of her Agenda items being censored again ?

  • MDUSD Parent

    Where can I find the link, to the teachers resigning from MDUSD? ( teachers that are currently at CVHS) Also, would that have the 11 teachers that are staying with MDUSD ? There is a reference to the link above. However, I can’t seem to find it :(

  • Theresa Harrington

    MDUSD Parent: Here is the link to the list of CVHS teachers who are resigning and retiring: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/d8b9db25-4cc0-4ee2-a36c-1f0581612d59.pdf
    Teachers who are remaining in the district are not listed, since the board did not have to approve their decision to stay.

    Dr. J: I didn’t hear Hansen mention the missing agenda items during the meeting. Perhaps she mentioned them before I arrived.

    Also, the district has already posted the audio from the meeting: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Pages/boe-sam.aspx

  • Theresa Harrington

    Info night for incoming CVCHS freshmen is tonight: http://bit.ly/GJSzAx
    Freshman course request forms are due March 28 and are also available in the offices of Diablo View MS and Pine Hollow MS.
    CVCHS intends to hold its public lottery at 6:30 p.m. April 2 in the multiuse room.