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MDUSD approves CVCHS charter waiver, discusses informal meetings and strategic plan

By Theresa Harrington
Sunday, March 4th, 2012 at 1:55 pm in Education.

The Mt. Diablo school district held a Feb. 22nd public hearing regarding a waiver for additional costs associated with the Clayton Valley Charter High School. The meeting also included a study session regarding the possibility of holding less formal meetings in the community and finalizing the draft strategic plan.
Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Board President Sherry Whitmarsh have filled me in on what happened. (I was unable to attend the meeting.)

Here’s what Lawrence wrote in a Feb. 28 e-mail:

“(District residents) Willie Mims and John Ferrante both spoke in support of the waiver during the Public Hearing. The board voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the waiver.

The revised strategic plan will be posted on the website by the end of this week. The next step is to solicit input around prioritization of all of the sub areas under the five main topics. The hope is to identify two or three top prioritize (sic) under each major objective.”

Whitmarsh said the district will submit the waiver directly to the state, instead of going to the county first, based on advice from the California Department of Education. Whitmarsh said that Deb Cooksey told trustees that the state said there’s very little hope that the waiver will be approved. The state Board of Education expects to vote on it in May.

Regarding public input and informational meetings in the community, Whitmarsh said no dates were set because General Counsel Greg Rolen and the general counsel for the California School Boards Association (CSBA) warned that the meetings could be Brown Act violations if trustees discuss items that have not been agendized, such as a future high school in Bay Point.

“We could do meetings much like we do public input, where we listen to people,” she said. “My response is: How is this different from our regular board meeting?”

She said the superintendent and general counsel have been asked to draft a potential way the board could hold these meetings without violating the Brown Act.

Regarding the strategic plan, Whitmarsh said the superintendent was making adjustments to the draft based on board comments. She also said the revised draft would be posted on the district’s website (but didn’t say when). At either the March 12 or March 26 board meeting, trustees will revisit the draft, she said.

Each board member was asked to think about his or her two top items, which they would like to see staff pursue in terms of drafting measurable goals and objectives. She said that the district would not be able to pursue every item raised in the draft plan in 2012 because there were so many.

“That’s unrealistic to have goals in every single one of those,” she said. “So, we as a board would pick the top two for the 2012 year for tactical and measurable goals to put on there.”

Here is the draft plan the board considered Feb. 22: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/62b5fe3c-3c6f-4721-a771-cc3118f3d104.pdf. Unfortunately, I don’t yet see the revised strategic plan posted on the district’s website, as Lawrence promised it would be by March 3.

The draft plan includes an outline for five strategic initiatives: academic excellence and learning; supportive family and community involvement; high quality, effective staff; respectful, responsive service and communication; and optimal operations and infrastructure. Each topic includes several proposed goals.

Which two items do you think the district should focus on in 2012?

MARCH 9 UPDATE: Here are the minutes, which the board expects to approve on Monday: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/e9e0df2a-90ea-427c-b544-605d3bb3b7e8.pdf

Also, the board expects to discuss the informational meetings and strategic plan: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5141&mtgId=339

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