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MDUSD board meeting and budget study session tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, May 7th, 2012 at 6:13 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a short meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the district office to approve layoffs and other personnel actions, along with a resolution honoring Classified Employees Week.

Here is a link to the agenda:

Following that meeting at around 6:45 p.m., the board expects to begin a budget study session.

Here is the link to that agenda:

The public will be given the opportunity to comment on any item not on the agenda at each meeting.

One item that may interest Sun Terrace Elementary parents is the elimination of a half-time librarian and part-time ESL teacher at the site: The agenda item says the positions are no longer necessary and the monies are needed elsewhere.

However, Sun Terrace parent Katherine Friedman told me that the PTA has repeatedly said it wanted to keep the librarian, even though Principal Gretchen Jacobs has suggested the position was no longer needed. Often, similar decisions have been accompanied by a copy of site council minutes showing a vote regarding the elimination of positions. No minutes are attached to this agenda item, however.

The board also expects to approve layoffs for several positions at elementary, middle and high schools due to lack of funds:

Here is a link to the budget presentation, which includes cuts suggested in the past but not yet approved:

Do you think the board should approved the recommended personnel changes?


Public Comment: Sun Terrace parent Jean-Pierre Muzac praised Principal Gretchen Jacobs for bringing grants to the school.
Here are video links to his comments (sorry, ran out of space on my Flip cam, so it’s in three chunks):

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Board unanimously approved all consent calendar items.

Trustee Lynne Dennler pulled item 10.3 and Trustee Cheryl Hansen pulled items 10.7 and 10.8 for discussion.

Dennler asked Julie Braun-Martin to explain the layoff process. Braun-Martin said some people who receive preliminary layoff notices may not receive final notices, in part due to the district’s receipt of the MDHS QEIA funding.
The board unanimously approved item 10.3.

Hansen asked about the funding source for positions to receive layoff notices in item 10.7. Braun-Martin said these were positions that were site-funded.
The board unanimously approved item 10.7.

Hansen also asked about the layoffs related to the conversion of CVHS to a charter. Braun-Martin said those who resigned have opted to work at the charter. The others want to remain in the district and may be able to bump people at other sites, if they have more seniority.
The board unanimously approved item 10.8.

The board also unanimously approved the resolution proclaiming May 20-26 Classified Employees Week. Hansen apologized to classified employees for agreeing to lay them off, then thanking them for their hard work.


Public Comment: Sun Terrace parent Elizabeth Borgen said her son fractured his wrist during first recess today and she wasn’t told about it until 3 p.m. when he went to the after-school program. She was very angry.

Here is a link to video of her comments:

Superintendent Lawrence went over the budget presentation, including projections, past budget cuts and previously suggested budget cuts that haven’t yet been approved. He asked the board for direction.

Trustee Linda Mayo said she thinks the board needs to factor in the deficit and look at furlough days.

Trustee Gary Eberhart said he wants to be sure money is expended in the best way possible to educate the students. He said he wants to establish spending criteria to make sure that each expense is critical “and something we can’t live without and more important than what we’re looking at cutting.”

“I want to be able to report out to the community that these dollars are being spent in the best way to educate students,” he said.

In addition, he said he wanted to give more flexibility to sites and to give them incentives to save money by cutting costs, then keep the savings for their own use. He also wants the Budget Advisory Committee to advise the council regarding budget cut recommendations.

Board President Sherry Whitmarsh said she would like more information about site-based spending decisions.

“I do believe we need to work hard to stop deficit-spending,” she said.

She supported the idea of cutting transportation costs and said she preferred furloughs over program reductions.

“We have to make some tough decisions on overflow and home-to-school (transportation),” she said, adding that she leaned toward eliminating the Delta View busing, but keeping busing for MDHS students from Bay Point.

Trustee Cheryl Hansen said the district should take on more transportation itself and consider selling Willow Creek Center.

I don’t recall Trustee Lynne Dennler stating any recommendations.

Do you agree with the recommendations made by the other four trustees?

MAY 8 UPDATE: Here is audio from the meeting:

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231 Responses to “MDUSD board meeting and budget study session tonight”

  1. vindex Says:

    I think the board is in a tough positon. However, with their decision to keep Greg Rolen as Legal Counsel, I’m done supporting any decision they make. Laying off classified and certificated employees, yet extending Mr. Rolen’s contract. Unbelievable. Any unbiased reading of his track record over the course of the last few years, screams for his dismissal.

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Where is the “years ago” promised “STRATEGIC PLAN” to guide the Board in making budget cuts ? Another year gone by and still no plan. The Board solution: dust off last year’s list [edited by Lawrence and Richards to eliminate ideas distasteful to the Board like cutting the Big5 salaries that they just increased by a step increase and longevity]. Full Board benefits will continue — and the Board instead will cut people and programs benefitting children. The latest wrinkle by Gary pretending to be Ron Popiel: establish spending “criteria” — don’t buy something “we can’t live without” — “but wait there is more”. Oh, Gary, are you talking about all those SASS adminstrators sporting their new IPads with custom covers ? Gary should have mentioned that a month ago. And Lame-duck Sherry, quacking the Supt’s line: Cut bus costs: eliminate overflow [read that new boundaries], institute the Fardella no bus retaliation rule for Delta View youngsters who might get dropped off at the wrong location, but keep buses flowing for high schoolers to MDHS from Bay Point. Lone Ranger Cheryl Hansen wants to sell the Crown Jewell Willow Creek Center — but where will we have all these “during school hours trainings” where substitute teacher costs are hidden in the district budget ? I guess that will raise a few million in property sales [unless the district has that property mortgaged for solar bonds] and save about $5 million in substitute teacher costs during school hour trainings. And then there is Lynne Dennler — not a word once again — is she still breathing ? If someone put a blindfold on her, how would she know how to vote ?

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Hansen also pointed out that the proposed list was missing some items, such as selling Willow Creek. Lawrence said it should have been the list that was presented in June and that he would go back and look for it.

    When the board voted not to reduce healthcare benefits for trustees, Eberhart did not appear to use the spending criteria he is now calling for. How do family benefits for board members help to best educate students? It’s also unclear if Eberhart would be willing to consult the BAC regarding trustee health benefits costs.

    Regarding Dennler, she did speak. She just didn’t offer any recommendations about how to make cuts. She asked for clarification about the certificated layoff process during the regular meeting and asked about the FCMAT transportation report during the study session, wondering if it would be as comprehensive as the previous MGT report. Lawrence said since MGT was outside CA, its assumptions weren’t necessarily applicable in CA and that he anticipated FCMAT would come up with some good ideas for cost-cutting by comparing MDUSD to other CA districts. This of course begs the question: Why did the district spend nearly $100,000 on the MGT report in the first place?

    I’m posting video now to Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a seat by the back wall (to plug in laptop and phone), so my laptop, cell phone and flipcam all died during the meeting. Still, I managed to get portions from both meetings. It looked like the district may have audio recorded the regular meeting, but did not appear to be recording the study session. Even Trustee Linda Mayo, who was participating in the meeting by phone, said she couldn’t hear the entire discussion.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just received an email from the Lafayette school district advising the public that its fourth annual online survey will be available starting tomorrow.

    “There will be one survey for district staff, and a separate survey for parents and community members. Both links will be posted to our school and district websites before 2:00 p.m., May 9. The links will also be published in your school newsletter each week. Hard copies will be available at school site offices and the District Office as needed.”

    The San Ramon Valley district also conducts annual surveys of its community. Although Eberhart once brought this idea up in MDUSD, I don’t believe the district has ever pursued it.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the link to video of the mother of the Sun Terrace student who was injured:

  6. Doctor J Says:

    Here is the link to the June 14, 2011 list: includes selling Willow Creek for $750k, shutting down SASS for $2 plus million, and many other ideas left off the current list. How dumb can Lawrence and Richards think we are ? Apparently they think the Board is that stupid. I am going to try to find my list that I posted too.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    TH please follow up your April 29, 2011 report that 213 MDUSD employees earned total compensation of $100,000 or more in 2010. How many was it in 2011 ? This should give us an indication of what “cuts” are being made in the district !

  8. Doctor J Says:

    On May 4, 2011 I posted this list in Theresa’s blog about MDUSD requesting ideas on how to cut expenses:
    “I have proposed this list before first on March 1:
    1. Eliminate all medical benefits for board members.
    2. Reduce the Supt and all Asst Supt’s salaries by 20%.
    3. Reduce all directors salaries by 15%. Its outrageous that more than 200 MDUSD employees are compensation more than $100,000.
    4. Double up small elementary schools to share one principal.
    5. Eliminate Vice-principals at Middle Schools. It worked in Elementary schools.
    6. Cut by 50% vice-principals at high schools.
    7. Rescind the Gang of Five raises.
    8. Hire another in house lawyer for the legal department and reduce outside lawyers to $100,000 from $600,000. Require ALL inside lawyers, including Rolen, to have 2000 “billable” hours per year. Redistribute Rolen’s administrative responsibilities to Lawrence.
    9. Immediately freeze all longevity salary increases of administrators.
    10. Immediately stop ALL overnight travel, seminars, conferences, unless approved by the board.
    11. Stop watering the lawns, reduce mowing to once a month, and stop weeding.
    12. Cancel all cell phone subsidies.
    13. Consolidate an additional 4 – 6 schools.”

    The wage cutting in MDUSD has been of the lower wage earners — the higher wage earners have increased as will be shown when Theresa gives us the comparison to the $100,000 plus earners in the district between 2010 and 2011.

  9. anon Says:

    Dr. J,
    I believe they stopped weeding years ago, based on the 3 foot tall ones in front of our local school’s office.

  10. Katherine Friedman Says:

    Concerning Sun Terrace – I am writing again because at this point I feel very uncomfortable talking to Mrs. Jacobs regarding such incidents stated below as they are obviously continuing. As for other business such as the PTA or helping in any way I can with school safety, I feel perfectly fine speaking with Mrs. Jacobs.
    I am just reading about the child that was injured yesterday and the parent(s) not notified by school. This is absurd! Another incident without parent notification! This is unbelievable! How are children getting hurt and parents not being contacted right away? You would think that after the public comments from the 4/23 MDUSD board meeting, all incidents would be handled appropriately. Although it should not take the extreme measures of parents speaking publicly to get attention…but then for it to continue ???? HOW?!
    I am still very upset in regards to incidents involving my son in which I was not notified by the principal and have yet to receive incident reports. One being the so called punching incident in which I was notified by a staff member of on Tuesday, March 13th. I did not see Mrs. Jacobs until the following day at our schools Chuck-E-Cheese’s fundraiser which is when I asked her about the indecent. Mrs. Jacobs told me that she witnessed my son walk across the blacktop (playground) and punch another child who’s back was turned for no apparent reason. As she described what happened it sounded as if the incident happened that day so I asked “didn’t this happen yesterday?” Mrs. Jacobs told me no, that it happened that day. I found it odd that I was informed by a staff the previous day but I did not question it further with Mrs. Jacobs that day. When I questioned my son about the incident he had no clue what I was talking about. I pressed my son “tell me the truth because the principal would not lie” to the point of him crying “I promise I did not hit anyone.” My son was not able to participate in the fun that evening as discipline. In the days following, I was informed by a noon supervisor (yard duty) that my son asked to be “watched” during recess as my son was worried about getting in trouble for something he would not do. The more I’ve given this thought, I believe my son; I believe that my son did not do as Mrs. Jacobs told me she witnessed. My son may not tell me on his own if he has done something “wrong” but he most definitely does when I ask him, even when he knows he will get in trouble. I met with Mrs. Jacobs on 4/17 after I wrote a letter to the district (concerning these incidents with my son, the 14 substitutes, and other parents concerns) and told her that I believe my son concerning this incident. Her response was just that she wishes I would have brought it up sooner as if the few weeks that had gone by caused her memory to fail her regarding the incident. But the truth of the matter is there should be an incident report. If my son punched another kid, there should be three statements: one from my son, one from the other child and a third from the witness, Mrs. Jacobs. Why is this so important? Because my son is now worried about being “lied on” by his principal and even other authority figures. I teach my children not to lie; that lying is just not ok. I stress to my children to always tell the truth. My children understand that lying is not a respectable characteristic. My son is very hurt by this and it has damaged his view of his principal, Mrs. Jacobs and authority figures in general.
    Another incident in which I did not receive an incident report was on Wednesday, March 28th. My son and other child were involved in a minor incident and (at least my son) “spent the majority of the day with the principal” as the teacher/substitute put it. Again, I was not informed by Mrs. Jacobs, I was informed by the teacher the following day when dropping my son off. When I asked how things were going I was told good but that my son had spent most of the previous day with the principal due to an incident during first recess. All the teacher knew was what the principal had informed him, that my son and another child pushed some other kids. Of course when I asked my son, he said he and the other child were running from a third child when they ran into a group of kids. Mrs. Jacobs described a slightly different story but none the less I found no reason for my child to miss class instruction. Mrs. Jacobs also stated that my son returned to class, however, my son said he never went back to class, his teacher said he never came back to class and the noon supervisor that Mrs. Jacobs asked to walk the children to the office also said they never went back to class. To make matters worse my son was not released when school was let out. My son remained in the office until Mrs. Jacobs had a teacher walk my son to the after school program. Why is this incident important? Because if my son did something that not only warranted him going to the office, but spending most of the day missing class, it would surely warrant an incident report and a call home.
    As much as I would love to believe that Mrs. Jacobs has good intentions, it is very hard to believe especially when I am now hearing/reading about other children being injured and their parents aren’t notified and also have not received incident reports. When all of this talk about parents uniting and going to the district first came about, a father informed me that he had to file a police report because his son had come home from school with bad bruises. The father stated that when he tried to get more information from Mrs. Jacobs and requesting incident reports, he was treated very poorly and was unable to get any information regarding his son’s injuries. This father along with Mr. Louis Acevedo who spoke at the district 4/23 clearly tells me that there is a problem. With all of the “dirty laundry” out, there is yet another incident where Mrs. Jacobs failed to notify the parent(s) just yesterday. HOW?
    I already don’t get much sleep and now I am getting close to none. I lay awake wondering “is this really happening?” I just don’t see how so many people are left to question the judgment and honestly of our principal?? The principal is someone who should be setting the ultimate example at school. It hurts me as a parent to have to tell my child “you still have to respect the principal” and in the same breath “but you make sure you are honest.” I also have a problem with so many parents removing (or trying to remove) their children from Sun Terrace under the circumstances. Some families have told me they are moving to the other side of the school district, one home schooling, others trying to find ways to pay for private school…all because of one person. It is sad. Very sad.
    I have met with Mrs. Jacobs a few times since I first submitted a letter to the district on 4/17. I feel horribly for Mrs. Jacobs who knows that this attention that Sun Terrace and she are getting is not good. These are hard times for all Americans and no one wants to lose their job and I don’t want to see anyone lose their job…BUT at the same time there are things going on at Sun Terrace that need to come to an end. If I was in Mrs. Jacobs’ shoes there is no way I would allow another incident to happen under my watch without proper protocol being followed. I would not outright ask parents or teachers to not go to the district if I am not going to change the very behaviors they are complaining about.
    To top everything off, our students are no longer allowed to have crayons, markers, and such at their desks. HOW ABSURD IS THIS?! I mean kids this age should be doing a lot of coloring along with, or rather integrated as part of their curriculum. Who’s idea was this? According to a few teachers it was Mrs. Jacobs who said she was taking away the “fluff” and of course these teachers are afraid to speak up. I mean the students can’t hang on the “monkey bars” as is, WHAT IS NEXT? What is going to be taken away from our children next?
    Now as for all the parents, teachers and other staff giving me a “thumbs-up” and thanking me or telling me how much they appreciate my speaking up…..Here is a perfect time to chime in! I am only one of MANY voices! I totally understand why some of you fear going to speak directly to Mrs. Jacobs (which I do believe you should) but here is the opportunity to voice your concerns ANONYMOUSLY. Our children deserve the time and effort to make their school what we all have complained that it’s no longer: A FUN AND SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT!

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Since you have not had a district response to your April 17 letter nor April 23 Board session, I suggest you park yourself in front of Supt. Lawrence’s office until he finds the time to meet with you. Every hour you are there, you call Theresa and tell her still sitting there.

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Katherine, Based on the number of people to whom I have spoken, I was surprised that more people did not come to the board meeting. Has the petition been presented to anyone in the district?
    I have also spoken to other parents who have said their children do not agree with what Jacobs has told them and they believe their children.
    In addition, I have heard from a parent today who said she was not notified when her child was interviewed by a police officer regarding an incident in her first grade class. When she later found out and confronted Jacobs, she said the principal told her it must have slipped her mind to notify her. This parent has vowed to move her child out of the school — or the district, if necessary — saying she doesn’t believe her child is safe on campus.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: In 2011, 185 MDUSD employees earned a TCOE of more than $100,000, or 28 fewer employees than in 2010.
    The number of employees earning a total gross salary over $100,000 went down by one, from 34 in 2010 to 33 in 2011.
    This could indicate that the reductions in health benefits, as well as elimination of some top administrative positions — along with retirements and resignations — have helped to reduce the district’s top-heaviness.
    I will post the top 10 TCOE for each year later.
    Here were the top five in 2010:
    Lawrence: Gross: $247,151.02; TCOE: $294,281.03
    Rolen: Gross: $177,009.32; TCOE: $232,861.24
    Pedersen: Gross: $174,236.57; TCOE: $210,591.32
    Browne: Gross: $155,500.09; TCOE: $182,923.33
    Young: Gross: $148,732.39; TCOE: $168,337.09

  14. anon Says:

    Wow, Katherine, I am so sorry your child is having to endure this in the first grade. I also have a first grader at a different school in this district, and she is thriving in her classroom, due to an amazing teacher and staff.

    Is it possible at this point to file a lawsuit? Special Ed. parents have had success with this in the past. It sounds as if the climate at Sun Terrace is robbing your student, and all of the others there, of an equal education.

    Anyone out there have any advice on this?

    Do we as parents in this district need to start picketing the district office? I do not see any other districts up to their asses in BS like MDUSD.

    This has to change, and it has to change now!!!!

    If it is at all possible (meaning you have the means to transport), DEMAND an intradistrict transfer. Throw the biggest tantrum possible to get it, I have seen that work with other parents.

    There are good schools and numerous amazing teachers and principals in this district.

    A good education is not a privelege, it is a right!!!!

    Keep fighting, and come back here and ask for help if you need it!

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have posted an update with a link to the district’s audio of the meeting. Not sure if it includes the study session.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, it will be an interesting name by name comparison of the $100,000 plus earners in MDUSD to see which names drop off and which stay. Lets remember there were also furlough days in there too ! These are calendar year comparisons.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new report that shows how MDUSD stacks up against other districts in terms of financial stress:

  18. Anon Says:

    Jacobs needs to go. I don’t understand why she gets to keep her job or perhaps we will just pass the lemmon on to another school. If I were her I would resign. She should not be allowed to work in her position with children until he goes back to school and learns again how to handle them. I am so sick over what is going on here.

    GARY and SHERRY and LAWRENCE i hope you are proud of your decisions. Shame on all of you!

    Dr. J. Great idea to sit at Lawrence’s office and call Theresa every hour! In fact more than 1 should go.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Shameful ! 3 weeks since Katherine’s letter and 2 plus weeks since the Board meeting — neither Lawrence nor Lock have contacted her. Instead, they both are orchestrating the cover up — and both have been to Sun Terrace. But they don’t have the manners or courtesy to telephone or write her. Where is their decency ?

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Below Asst Supt, the administrator contracts are year-to-year. How delighted would Directors, Asst. Directors, and below be to find out their contracts are cut 15% in order to fund the continued contracts of the Big5 ?

  21. Katherine Friedman Says:

    The morning after I sent the original email to district, which would be the morning of 4/18, I did receive a phone message from Rose Lock stating that they received my complaint and that it was being taken very seriously. I then sent a follow-up email on Tuesday 4/24, the day after the district board meeting in which I spoke and Rose Lock responded by email just saying that she hopes that I would be attending the meeting that evening for the parents of my sons class (14 substitute class) which Mrs. Jacobs spoke primarily about instructional plans for the remainder of the year and for next year. This year there will remain the sub that has been there a month now, an additional sub M-F and an aid M-Th. For next year Mrs. Jacobs stated there will be the three 2nd grade classes with an additional teacher to help out those three classes (so four 2nd grade teachers, teaching three classes). This is great for the students that have dropped below grade level, but that is not the case with my son. I will have to do extra work with him over the summer and next year to get him back to the more advanced level he was at. He was extremely academically confident prior to this situation.

    I have not received any other response from Rose Lock. Nothing regarding the incidents with my son. I received a response from Susan Petersen regarding that long follow-up (comment #10) that I emailed to the district today in which I let them know that, that was what I posted on this blog. Mrs. Petersen stated that she has been working with Mrs. Jacobs to create the “best possible” instructional plan for the students in my son’s class. She asked if we could meet or have a phone conference “so that I (Petersen) can see wether there are some steps we could take to resolve your questions and concerns.” I don’t mind meeting but at this point I need a written response and it needs to include these incidents with my son which has nothing to do with classroom instruction. I refuse to have these incidents (or so called incidents) with my son ignored or any of the other incidents, especially involving children getting injured and parents not being notified.

    As for the parent that praised the principal for getting grants, money is needed but what good does it do in this environment?

    Also for the few parents stating “well I’ve never had a problem with Mrs. Jacobs” or “she knows not to mess with me”…. WELL PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF ONE OF THESE INJURED STUDENTS… How would you feel as a child being denied to call home when you are hurt? OR HOW ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THE PARENT THAT IS NOT NOTIFIED THEIR CHILD HAS BEEN HURT AND EVEN TOLD THEY COULD NOT CALL HOME….How do you think you would feel as a parent if your child got beat up and you had to find out through your neighbor? How do you think you would feel as a parent if your child spent the majority of the school day in the office over something extremely minor with no notification to you? How would you feel as a parent if the principal was responsible for your child’s damaged view of/lack of trust for authority? Just put yourself in our shoes and ask yourself what you would honestly do if your child fractured their wrist at 10:00am was told to go back to class, denied to call home and you find out at 3:00pm from a program separate from the school………I don’t think anyone can honestly say they would do nothing……I would like the superintendent and the rest of the district to ask themselves the same questions.


  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Based on memory, Pete Pedersen and Alan Young dropped off the list from 2010 to 2011 and Tim Cody and JoAnne Durkee jumped on. I believe the other eight may be the same, but I’ll have to double-check.

  23. Doctor J Says:

    Such disrespect for Katherine by Lawrence and Lock — the patent company line responses and then no responses. I would guess Lawrence and Lock “delegated” the response to Sue Peterson who did not respond until last night — 3 weeks after the fact and only after Katherine’s email yesterday prompted it. Why weren’t Lawrence and Lock “following up” ? Peterson’s May 8th “working on it” — just another b.s. excuse to placate Katherine — such disrespect. Katherine is right — where are the WRITTEN responses to the serious concerns ? The cherry on top was Monday when Gretchen refused to let the child with a broken wrist call home. And Gretchen Jacobs is still principal at Sun Terrace ? Who is running this district ? If its not a crime, it ought to be.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    The public has a right to know — was Asst. Supt. Rose lock at Sun Terrace when the child broke his wrist, and did she know about it while she was there and refused to take action ? Lock’s prompt attention to the mother at the Board meeting after the public comment might indicate Rose Lock knew about the incident already and refused to take action to override the refusal of Gretchen Jacobs to provide medical attention to a child with a broken wrist. What did Rose Lock know and when did she know it ? WristGATE.

  25. Anon Says:

    Katherine and Sun Terrace-this is not an isolated incident. Over the last few years I knew parents at Valhalla and Pleasant Hill Middle who were concerned the school did not cover the curriculum causing parents to teach their children over the summer, and the school didn’t use their emergency phone numbers to contact parents. Those parents didn’t complain-they just moved away. ADA minus 5 . . .

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Other Sun Terrace parents are also talking about leaving the school or district.
    At the board meeting, Eberhart expressed concerns about declining enrollment because if the district drops below 30,000 students, it will have to increase its required emergency reserve to 3 percent of its budget instead of 2 percent. Bryan Richards predicted that won’t happen until about 2015, if the district continues to count CVCHS. If the CVCHS waiver if approved, however, the district won’t be able to count CVCHS enrollment and the drop could happen sooner, Richards said.
    Lawrence said the CDE is recommending against approving the waiver. He said district staff still planned to attend the state Board of Ed. meeting to urge approval.
    So, if families continue to leave the district due to dissatisfaction with school leadership, the district will not only lose ADA, but could have to set aside more money in its reserve, leaving less for educating students.

  27. Anon Says:

    That is a HUGE issue that the board except Hansen ignores. Instead the board extends contracts !!! for the folks responsible for BussingGATE, ToiletGATE and other GATEs. Honestly people, kids are not learning their multiplication tables !!! The board should know parents are MAD !!! Again and again, this board is wrong wrong WRONG !!!

  28. Anon Says:

    Wow after hearing all of this, I am pulling my kids out of the MDUSD. ADA – 3

    Sorry guys, I just can’t have the incompetence of the board be carried on the educational backs of my children.

  29. Wait a Minute Says:

    To Katherine and others families who have been victimized here I am very sorry to here about this suffering put upon your children and yourselves by this horrible Principal.

    Let me make this as clear as possible–Mrs Jacobs is a WACK-JOB. She shouldn’t even be allowed around children much less in charge of an elementary school!!!

    Stevie Lawrence (and Sue Brothers) have a long history of hiring Wack-Jobs in West Sacramento from what I have been told. Several of the Principals they hired there were abusive and denigrating towards staffs and children.

    Its the type of personalities they feel will carry out their agendas. One of their Wack-Jobs had a Grand Jury investigation conclude that she had falsified a School Site Council for Yolo HS and used this fake to sign off on documents like the Single Plan, see here:
    This one blew up on them and apparently Sue Brothers was implicated in this scandal and had to flee back to her protector Stevie Lawrence.

    Because your child’s and your civil rights were violated I would highly recommend that you start filing complaints on these matters:

    #1 File a police report and a child abuse report with the police dpt.

    #2 File a complaint with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing against Mrs Jacobs,

    #3 File a complaint to the CCC Grand Jury. The Grand Jury will ALWAYS hear serious school safety complaints.

    #4 File a Uniform Complaint with the MDUSD.
    They must report back to you their findings in writing by certain timelines and if you disagree with their findings you can appeal the complaint to the State Dpt of Ed so this keeps districts honest.
    Any other type of complaint they can stall and other wise take evasive action on and never have to report on it in writing.

    #5 Let Theresa know all the follow up details so she can get it into the public domain through this blog or another article/editorial on the CCC Times.

    Good luck and please take these actions for the good of ALL CHILDREN in this currently dysfunctional district.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    CDE publishes MDUSD declining enrollment trhough 2012:

  31. Doctor J Says:

    LIVE from Sacramento: Its the California Board of Education. I haven’t yet seen Steven Lawrence in the audience. But last time he sat on the “left” of the podium as you face the Board. Watch how a quality Board operates !

  32. Anon Says:

    DJ#29-Remind me how much did MDUSD save, NET, by closing 2 schools ?

  33. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#31; Actual documented savings is unknown and the district has refused to disclose. Bryan Richards on June 14, 2011 boasted in his “savings matrix” that the closing of Holbrook would save $510,537 and the closing of Glenbrook would save $741,396. Total savings claimed: $1,251,933. However, Richards has refused to confirm the ACTUAL savings from closing these two schools.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    After watching most of Item 4 on the CBE Agenda, its pretty clear that the current MDUSD efforts in ELD are already way out of date and a waste of time and money. I hope Supt. Lawrence is there listening and learning.

  35. Katherine Friedman Says:

    This is all so overwhelming :-(

  36. Katherine Friedman Says:

    Theresa, do you know if Elizabeth Borgen file an official complaint? How about a police report?

  37. Jim Says:

    @ 26 TH — I hope everyone caught your scoop about emergency reserves needing to increase from 2% to 3% if MDUSD enrollment drops below 30,000. That is news to me, and that seems like a pretty significant figure. Where would the additional $3-4 million of reserve contribution (1% of the annual budget) come from? How long would MDUSD have to make that contribution? What new cuts would be needed to fund it?

    These are big questions for a district that is already trying to keep its head above water (and trying to sell oddball bonds that don’t pay interest for 20 years).

  38. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Katherine, No, I don’t. When I spoke her, she had come straight from the hospital. But I will follow up with her.

    I do believe that WAM’s suggestion that you file a Uniform Complaint will require the district to give you a written response and that an outside person may investigate your complaint. I haven’t heard of anyone filing such a complaint yet.

  39. Wait a Minute Says:

    Yes, A Uniform Complaint is the only way to hold districts fully accountable for their actions regarding complaints with the exception of hiring an attorney and suing for damages which should also be considered here.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, LAUSD has 15 key school performance framework evaluators. Evaluates all schools into five tiers. “Enusre school-site stakeholders take ownership of the school improvement process” — unlike MDUSD which essentially excludes parents or only gives them a head nodding opportunity. PSC–Public School Choice for lowest tier schools. Focus: Academic Achievement; Leadership that supports achievement; Culture and Infrastructure.

  41. Katherine Friedman Says:

    Sun Terrace – Gretchen Jacobs

    Someone else mentioned on one of these blogs something to the effect of Jacobs time (two years) being about up at Sun Terrace….

    I GOOGLE’d Jacobs myself & found some interesting information that definitely raises some questions.

    Time line that I have been able to come up with. Could not find anything prior to 2004-05 school year.
    Assistant Principal
    Citrus Elem in Fontana, Ca 2004-05 & 2005-06
    Yermo K-8 in Yermo, Ca 2006-07 & 2007-08
    Graham Middle, Mountain View, Ca 2008-09 & 2009-10
    Sun Terrace, Concord, Ca Oct 2010-11 & 2011-12

    Minutes, Regular Meeting of the Board of Education, Silver Valley Unified School District 3/13/07
    Page 1, 3.1 Public Comments
    -Wyman parent (and 2007 PTO president) removed his children from Yermo due to district not responding to his 5 written complaints. States SD hired private investigator who made 2 appts with him but failed to show for either. Wyman delivered copies of complaints to board president and requested be discussed April agenda.

    *Makes me wonder why Wyman removed his children from the school? Did it have anything to do with Jacobs?

    Mountain View Voice 5/2/08
    -Jacobs will start summer 2008 as principal at Graham Middle School
    -states was principal in Silver Valley SD in Southern Cal
    -served as teacher & principal at several districts before arriving at Yermo

    *Why “several districts” ??? Don’t teachers & principals typically remain at the same school/within same district for many years? 5/22/08
    -Jacobs being replaced as principal at Yermo (K-8 school in Silver Valley School District)
    -Leaving Silver Valley SD to take promotion at other California SD
    -Moving to N.Cal to take similar position, she will be working toward becoming an assistant superintendent

    *Was Jacobs “replaced” or did she leave to take “promotion”? Jacobs had to of been looking for another job…why look for another job when only in second year at this school and within district? This came only two months after Wyman removed his children from school…is her leaving related? Went to Graham Middle School near San Jose where “she will be working toward becoming an assistant superintendent” but in the middle of the second year she anounces she is retiring (see below) ???

    Graham Middle School Site Council Minutes 3/25/10
    Page 2, #7 updates, 2nd item
    “Gretchen discussed her recent decision to retire at the end of this school year. Gretchen plans to complete her doctorate degree and resume teaching at the college level.”

    *Retiring to go back to school to teach at college level, but ended up at Sun Terrace Elementary some sixty miles away… ???? All of these school districts are pretty far apart? Is there a legit reason for this?

    Jacobs is now at Sun Terrace Elementary with all this madness circalating around her. It sounds like there are grounds for lawsuits…. Will MDUSD ask her to leave, in which she can give her reason for departure, or will the school district fire her? Or will Jacobs with the assistance of the school district cover up?

    So Jacobs gets grant money…. Sounds to me like it wil be cheaper to hire a professional grant writer along with a principal that allows children with fractured wrists’ to call home, than keep Jacobs, pay for multiple teachers for one class, pay attorney fees, possibly pay for damages stemming from lawsuits, etc.

    Someone please tell me how grant money is more important than a STABLE, SAFE, HEALTHY, NUTURING LEARNING ENVIRONMENT…that creates a positive memorable school experience…in the long-term we’re talking about successful adults.

  42. Katherine Friedman Says:

    Sorry I was typing fast & notice several errors. I’m sure you all get the picture…

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just spoke to Board President Sherry Whitmarsh about the Sun Terrace concerns. She said that she has not been personally contacted by any parents via email or phone call. She said that Lock sent the board an email after the April 23 meeting, letting trustees know about the meeting she had with parents.
    Whitmarsh said she did ask Lawrence to follow-up Monday and has not yet heard back from him.
    “I think we need to continue to listen to parents,” she said. “I think that if parents are still concerned, it makes me concerned and I want to make sure we are understanding what people’s issues are and that we come up with processes to alleviate any of their concerns –teachers and parents.”
    She said she hasn’t received any complaints from teachers at the school either.

    Here is a link to the board’s contact info:

  44. Doctor J Says:

    SacCityUSD: School Quality Review:SQR to review school performance. Aligned to District Strategic Plan. Training. Self-evaluation with staff, parents, students. Site Review Visit: 2 days visiting classes “Are students learning and how do we know ?” Action Plan and Written Report. Six Areas are evaluated called Domains. 3 year cycle. In third year now and 80 schools received first review.
    Key: Quality Review is aligned to Strategic Plan. Since MDUSD has no strategic plan, this won’t work until that is on board.

  45. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, I have added links to video of the Sun Terrace parent who praised Jacobs, as well as the parent who complained about not being notified when her son fractured his wrist, in the body of this blog post.

  46. 925mom Says:

    If civil rights were violated, I would go straight to the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) with my complaint. Their timelines are very strict, however. (180 days, I believe)You do not have to go through the district’s Uniform Complaint process prior to filing a complaint with the OCR.

    I looked into filing a civil rights complaint last year with OCR, as well as numerous compliance complaints with the CA Dep. of Education for various violations under the IDEA that kept my child from receiving an appropriate education. I didn’t end up filing, but seeing how this board operates, and how the board conducts itself during the public comment portion of their meetings, I personally would never use the Uniform Complaint procedure. I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in this board’s ability to hear my voice, consider a complaint or make an unbiased decision that is in the best interest of my child. To make matters worse, the district and the Board are being advised by a legal department that either doesn’t understand the IDEA or has made the conscious decision to ignore the law and the provisions it provides children with disabilities. I’m not sure which one is worse considering that our lead counsel has a child who is receiving his FAPE because of the provisions set forth under the IDEA.

  47. g Says:

    Why on earth would anyone with concerns contact Sherry Whitmarsh? Would someone ask for guidance from the kid up front who’s wearing the pointed hat?

    It’s a shame that the parents of the 1st grade class with the dozen substitutes didn’t file a William’s Act Complaint under the Mis-assigned Teacher Clause. Instructions for a simple Williams Act UCP clearly state that a certificated teacher must be “assigned”, and “…not a series of substitutes or other temporary teachers”, and in the case of Sun Terrace, that teacher must have an English Learner certificate.

    Although this year is already a lost cause, the affected parents should still file, and do it right away. Even though it will not be publicly reported until July, it may help the district to learn a lesson for future years. Whether this falls on the head of the Admin in charge of substitutes, or Peterson or Lock doesn’t matter–someone wasn’t doing their job in watching out for the kids, and they need a good whack on their overpaid noggins!

  48. Doctor J Says:

    State Board President Mike Kirst gently chided the press for not picking up on tomorrows discussion about a NCLB waiver letter to be sent the the US Department of Education where California promises to make certain changes to “strenghten California’s system of accountability and intervention”. How would MDUSD fare under this new proposal ? Highlights: Single system of performance goals; changes to API targets; changes in how target “program improvement schools” and districts; sanctions at school and district levels; CDE to monitor Title 1 funds. This discussion can be found at the attachment to tomorrow’s Agenda Item 14, pages 13-16 (pagess 4-7 of proposed letter).

  49. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#43 Did Sherry share with you either or BOTH of the reports from Rose Lock or Steven Lawrence that were supplied by SASS ? I noticed Sherry only commented on one from Rose Lock after the April 23 letter. They are public records and were requested during the Board meeting.
    Sure sounds to me like the only complaints that will see the light of day are “Uniform Complaints” [can appeal to Calif Dept of Education and “Williams Complaints”.
    Don’t worry if Supt Lawrence has to drive to Sacramento [75 miles] because its free to the district since his salary already includes all travel within 100 mile radius.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    One thing to add to the complaints is that all of the substitutes may not have had the proper teaching credential to substitute in those classes ! Also since MDUSD is regularly short of substitutes, no qualified teacher may have been in that class.

  51. Wait a Minute Says:

    This is such a condescending remark by Board President Whitmarsh: “I think that if parents are still concerned…”!!!!

    This shows you her worldview, a student fractures his wrist at school in the morning and their parents are not notified until afternoon and meanwhile the child is sitting in severe pain all day! and “Chevron Sherry” wonders if parents are “still concerned”???

  52. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM#51 Just so Sherry can understand this, what kind of fine would Chevron get if it refused to let an injured worker get medical attention for a broken wrist for six hours ?

  53. Wait a Minute Says:


    An OCR complaint is a good idea too.

    Honestly, I think the parents involved should file every type of complaint possible as this will have the greatest chance of changing this disgusting situation.

    The reason I suggested a Uniform Complaint as well is because it and Williams Act complaints are the only in-house complaints that force the district to do something because these complaint processes are mandated by law. Any other type of complaint can be subverted by the evil people like Rolen and never see the light of day.

    It does not mean they will do the right thing but it does make them:
    #1 Follow strict timelines
    #2 Provide a written response that can be appealed OUT OF THE DISTRICT TO STATE
    #3 They must report the complaints quarterly to the County Office of Ed and from there they get reported to the State.

    Honestly, Elizabeth Borgen should see if an attorney would take her case for damages on contingency because this matter is that serious.

  54. Doctor J Says:

    @Katherine and other parents: I agree with WAM — file every complaint but especially the Williams and “Uniform Complaint” and they can be appealed to the state for further review. Its the only way to expect some accountability.

  55. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Sherry’s response is simply par for the course. I would bet she ran that response by Gary first though. She does whatever Gary asks.

  56. anon Says:

    If Jacobs withheld medical attention for a child for six hours, call CPS, that is clearly abuse! They will investigate.

  57. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence switched seats and is now visible ! Impatiently ! President Kirst just said he would take Mt. Diablo last ! Sounds fishy ?

  58. Doctor J Says:

    Learned a new term from State Board member Patricia Rucker: “budget dust”.

  59. Doctor J Says:

    OMG, watch Lawrence twitch his right leg as he waits impatiently ! He must have a dinner appointment !

  60. Jim Says:

    Again with the $1.7 million “loss” figure. Lawrence has no shame, even before this committee. And then Cooksey suggesting that the district may be subject to litigation from underserved students if these funds are “diverted”. What they both ignore — again — is that there would be no “loss” if CVHS, and all MDUSD high schools, were funded at the prescribed rate to begin with. For years, MDUSD has underfunded high schools according to the formula, and now this hearing makes that clear.

  61. g Says:

    The difference between the City of Concord Budget study workshop and MDUSD Budget study workshop is astounding! To see Concord have each department head stand, present their own budget, suggestions for saving funds, comparison between 5 years ago and today, and have Council question, opine and suggest is like day is to night, and MDUSD represents night!

    The city has to take care of 123,000 people and all of the infrastructure that population represents. While they make no bones about being stuck between a rock and a financial hard place, they have ideas, they listen and they share.

    Most notably, in comparing them I wonder:

    How does the city get by with one full time staff attorney, two part time staff attorneys and just one outside legal firm under contract? Their full legal department budget is under $1.2 million, and they are looking at perhaps eliminating the outside contract and putting on another inside attorney and still manage to save money!

    Compare that to MDUSD-with less than 1/3 the population (students and employees). Just our two full time attorneys cost 1/3 million dollars–1/3 of the City of Concord’s full legal department budget! Then, I have tried to go through warrant reports to figure out the true cost of the multiple, multiple, multiple payments to the myriad outside legal counsel, and cannot come close to matching it to their so-called budgeted contracts. I think it is safe to say MDUSD outspends Concord by MILLIONS.

    I would like to see a true MDUSD cost/budget for the Legal Department.

    Something stinks!

  62. Doctor J Says:

    OMG, Lawrence crying poor impoverished district after he orchestrates the Big5 Contract extensions and salary increases plus keeping the School Board full family medical, dental and vision. Robbing Peter to pay Paul ??? Are you kidding me ??

  63. Jim Says:

    In the hearing today, the members of the State BofE were clearly confused about the math in how MDUSD calculated what they deserved from the waiver. Several board members noted that MDUSD was “clearly in the right” on this issue. So it is “right” to underfund ALL district high schools on a per student basis, year after year, and then when one HS leaves, to call it a “loss” when you have to pass through to that HS the per student funding that they were SUPPOSED to get all along?

    I guess if I find out that someone has been stealing from me year after year, the courts wouldn’t give me any recourse, once I discover the thefts, because I’ve been stolen from for so long?

    Well, they finally recognized that the whole matter is outside their jurisdiction and couldn’t approve it, as people have been telling MDUSD all along…

  64. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: The difference in the written budget reports is also worth noting.
    Concord posted a comprehensive written report — complete with detail — with the agenda.
    MDUSD posted pages of numbers, with no written explanation, the day of the meeting.
    There were long silent gaps during the MDUSD study session while trustees read the information — seemingly for the first time — and then were expected to react to it.
    Also, when you watch the Concord video, you will see MDUSD Board President Sherry Whitmarsh state that the district would be $5 million in the hole at the end of 2013-14, even if voters approve the governor’s proposed taxes. Concord reporter Matthias Gafni, who sits a few desks away from me, asked me if this was accurate.
    When I looked at the budget materials presented to the board, I told him I didn’t see that. Instead, the budget showed the district would have an ending balance of negative $3.6 million. When I called Whitmarsh to ask where she got the $5 million figure, she said she didn’t have the budget in front of her when she was addressing the Concord Council and she thought it was $5 million. When I told her it was $3.6 million, she rounded it up to about $4 million.

  65. Anon Says:

    Quoth Queen Sherry “Let them eat cake!”

  66. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In the SBE meeting, it appeared that MDUSD supporters were implying that CVCHS students and staff would be eating cake while the rest of the district’s students would be eating crumbs as a result of the charter conversion.
    The SBE voted 4-2 to deny the waiver. Since this was apparently not enough votes to carry the motion, the waiver will be brought back again in July.

  67. g Says:

    Theresa, Sherry was, in my personal opinion, an embarrassment to the district. Aside from looking a bit of a slob, to say she was there “only” as a PTA rep, but then throwing around accelerated district budget numbers puts the lie to both her position and the letter she wrote.

    Does the district’s supposed budget shortage next year speak honestly of, or take into consideration, the recent habit of hoarding of excess reserves, and grant moneys, at the expense of today’s students?

  68. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#66 The SBE requires six votes to pass anything even when they are down to just six appointed members instead of a full compliment. They have a rule that if any waiver is not voted down in two consequative meetings, it will be automatically approved, which seems to be the strategy of the two members who voted no. @Jim, sounds like an email campaign to the state board members would be appropriate to educate them.

  69. g Says:

    I don’t see how the State board could do anything but deny the waiver, or more correctly, refuse to even address the request for a waiver if, as they said, they cannot appropriate funds or spend General Funds to support the Districts request.

    It seems they should have refused to even consider it today, or at the very least it seems the legal advice they were given should have been spelled out clearly as part of the staff’s recommendation. Was even voting on it at all an error on their part?

    If Bonilla’s bill passes though, I suppose that would change the game plan in July. Perhaps Dr J is correct, and stalling was the ultimate plan for some.

  70. Jim Says:

    Bonilla’s bill appears to have a special carve-out to punish CVCHS:

    The spirit of the bill appears to be that no conversion charter will get more in per student funding by converting than it would have gotten by remaining in the district (ehem, even if the district is short-changing funding for ALL of its high school students as a matter of course). So on page 3 the bill says:

    (A) The amount of the actual unrestricted revenues expended per unit of average daily attendance for that school in the year prior to its conversion to, and operation as, a charter school, adjusted for the base revenue limit per pupil inflation increase adjustment set forth in Section 42238.1, if this adjustment is provided, and also adjusted for equalization, deficit reduction, and other state general-purpose increases, if any, provided for the unified school district in the year of conversion to, and operation as a charter school.

    (B)Commencing with the 2013–14 fiscal year, the general-purpose entitlement shall be determined based on the amount per unit of average daily attendance allocated in the prior fiscal year adjusted for the base revenue limit per pupil inflation increase adjustment set forth in Section 42238.1, if this adjustment is provided, and also adjusted for equalization, deficit reduction, and other state general-purpose increases or decreases, if any, provided for the unified school district in that fiscal year.

    But directly thereafter, the bill says:
    (2) This subdivision shall not apply to a charter school that is established through the conversion of an existing public high school within a unified school district on or after January 1, 2010, but on or before December 31, 2012, which instead shall receive general-purpose funding pursuant to Section 47633. This paragraph does not preclude a charter school or unified school district from agreeing to an alternative funding formula.

    That narrow date window for high school conversions only appears to apply to CVCHS, and no other school in California.

    As I’ve said before, “Watch out CV! They’re not done with you yet.”

  71. anon Says:

    If Sherry was speaking “only as a PTA rep”, which PTA was she representing? What did she say as a rep? Did the PTA she was representing approve her statement?
    Just curious.

  72. g Says:

    Yes, it appears that under (2) Bonilla could have simply replaced the words “a charter school” with the words Clayton Valley.

    Bonilla may need to be reminded of a few things.
    1) Eberhart does not have what she needs. 2) She also abandoned MDUSD for Berean.
    3) She refused to send her own kids to MDUSD. 4) Butt out.

  73. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    @71 – most likely YVHS – and since she made it clear she was there only as a PTA rep and not a board member then she is not entitled to reimbursement for travel either.

  74. Doctor J Says:

    The SBE is heading for a Constitutional collision by its refusal to outright deny the waiver. Lawrence is playing Russian roulette by pursuing the waiver — where does he stand now ? He is in a budget no-mans land. No approved waiver, the Board must take action and must show the full payment in the Budget to CVCHS. As he put it yesterday: close to Bankruptcy. So what good would the Big5 contract extensions be ?

  75. Doctor J Says:

    Who were the two SBE who voted against the denial of the waiver ? Theresa, it would be interesting for you to get a reaction from the Controller’s office as to what they will do as far as paying CVCHS if the “general waiver” is “approved” by the State Board of Education failing to deny the waiver. I would bet they are unaware of this constitutional collision going to happen in July ! Sounds like CVCHS had better rev up its engines and be in full force at the July meeting or MDUSD might only pay part of its bill to CVCHS and no one else will pay it. Might make the 4th of July look like a secondary fireworks show !

  76. Doctor J Says:

    Mike Langley had better get ahold of SBE Board member Patricia Rucker, a CTA Lobbyist, and straighten her out on this before the CVCHS “Teacher Trigger” staff is alienated and bolts MDEA for lack of support.

  77. Doctor J Says:

    Has Gretchen Jacobs lost it ? A couple of rumors are swirling: Jacobs is accusing Katherine of “attacking her” — verbally I assume. Also, heard Jacobs will miss this mornings Elem Principal’s meeting to squash a teacher rebellion at Sun Terrace. Also, if you notice at other districts, she always gets someone to speak well of her at Board meetings — same method she is employing here. At other districts they saw through it. I wonder if the parents are following through with their Williams and “Uniform” complaints. I will bet that no one has met with or sent any letters to Katherine. SASS is just pulling the “silence” routine on her and ignoring her.

  78. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla did send her children to MDUSD schools.

  79. Wait a Minute Says:

    Bonilla was also an english teacher in the MDUSD according to Ballotpedia:

    Unfortunately she is running unopposed in the primary and it seems she has no announced opponent for the general election yet.

    I think if anyone does run against her we should point to them Mrs. Bonilla’s attempt to punish CVCHS through her bill.

    I will put her in The Gary’s and “Chevron Sherry”‘s level of duplicitous “public servants”!

    Its no wonder our democracy is in such a poor state of health with self-serving politicians running the ship of state onto the rocks at all levels.

  80. Katherine Friedman Says:

    #77 Doctor J
    Where did you hear Jacobs was saying that I was personally attacking her? I wonder because your post was at 7:56am. I arrived at Sun Terrace at that time to drop my son & another child. I walked them to their classes and spoke with Jacobs around 8:05 or 8:10. She said to me that she felt I was attacking her as far as personal (outside of Sun Terrace issues) & that the focus should remain on the children. I did apologize that she felt that way. BUT how did you hear about this & especially before me….. Who all is Jacobs telling this to? I am NOT responsible for the issues at Sun Terrace & this is NOT going to get turned into something it’s not. My concerns are minor compaired to some others.

  81. Katherine Friedman Says:

    And no I have not heard back again. I want a response in writting!

  82. Doctor J Says:

    Jacobs talks a lot to justify her actions. Others pass it on.

  83. Theresa Harrington Says:

    How did she justify not allowing Elizabeth Borgen’s son to call his mother when he fractured his wrist?

  84. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Very interesting. WristGate may end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    Just shows you how much the MDUSD board really cares about our children.

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just spoke to board candidate Ernie DeTrinidad, who said he is trying to visit as many campuses as he can before the election. When he visited Sun Terrace, he said he was impressed by the technology Jacobs has brought to the school. He said Jacob’s plate is very full and she faces many challenges overseeing a Title 1 school with a large population of free and reduced lunch and EL students. He said she is in the process of hiring more teachers. He said it’s possible things may have gotten out of hand, but that he believes some complaints may be blown out of proportion and that there are a lot of positives going on at the school.
    However, we did not discuss the specific allegations that have been made, so I’m not sure if he knew about the fractured wrist incident.

  86. Theresa Harrington Says:

    A special closed session meeting to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation has been scheduled Monday:

  87. Mdusd Employee Says:

    How many more times are they going to evaluate the superintendent? Or is this the start of the next one?the public hasn’t even heard the results of the evaluation which caused 80% of the board to offer a contract extension. Maybe Lawrence wants a larger raise and Gary/Sherry are going to offer him one.

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just returned from Sun Terrace Elementary, where I had tentatively scheduled an interview with Jacobs. Unfortunately, however, she never confirmed the interview time and she was gone when I got there. I’m still hoping to speak with her directly.
    However, I did speak with a longtime parent who said that Jacobs appears to be making progress and the mood at the school is becoming more positive. She said Jacobs has become more approachable, but still needs to apologize to her staff for the way she has treated them in the past, set schoolwide rules so everyone knows what’s expected, and be consistent.

  89. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:


    Don’t believe what you hear, it is simply the Jacobs/Lawrence/Eberhart spin machine ramping up to speed.

    Lots and lots of problems exist at Sun Terrace, things a simple “attitude” change can’t fix.

  90. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The parent to whom I spoke said she has seen a dramatic change since things “blew up” three weeks ago. She wasn’t sugar-coating the problems, but she did appear to be trying to give Jacobs the benefit of the doubt regarding a desire to change.
    We did not discuss specific parent concerns such as Elizabeth Borgen’s son’s fractured wrist. The parent was talking in general about the mood on campus, which she says is improving.

  91. g Says:

    Sorry. I simply do not believe one can just “decide” to be a changed person.

    “Eeew, you don’t like me”?
    “OK, I’ll be someone else”.

    You promise yourself and others to change. Maybe even manage it for a while. But just as you can only hold those ab muscles tight for so long; sooner or later you will have to breath, and be who you are.

    Looking at her history, it seems she has had plenty of time to develop either good or bad habits and hone her admin skills, and it just doesn’t sound like she is in the right job.

  92. Andrew Says:

    before going on to jacobs-gate, what ever happened to mcclatchey-gate. teachers, parents, and students from MDHS went before the board regarding their lack of confidence in mcclatchey, but with the exception of the toliet-gate response, the board never responded to the other concerns that were raised during the public comment session. Looks like the teachers and parents at sun terrace won’t get a public response either. the big 5 don’t care about our students. the only hope is this november’s election-get eberhart and whitmarsh out so the public can be heard.

  93. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have heard that Jacobs may have requested administrative help.
    Even the parent I spoke to this afternoon acknowledged that Jacobs’ people skills have been lacking and that in the past she has always appeared to be angry and condescending.
    Recently, however, the parent said Jacobs’ mood has been more upbeat and she has even been wearing more brightly colored clothing and complementary makeup, which has added to her new more friendly persona.
    It remains to be seen whether this is window dressing or whether Jacobs has really softened into a warmer person.

    Andrew: the MDEA Facebook post indicates that McClatchy is clamping down on teachers by changing the rules about who can be department heads. Teachers at MDHS have continued to keep pressure on the district.
    Teachers at Sun Terrace, on the other hand, appear to be too fearful to speak out. As I have previously mentioned, it is unclear to me why there is such an atmosphere of fear at Sun Terrace.
    While I was at Sun Terrace this afternoon, I popped by the after-school program office to see if anyone would talk to me about the incident with Elizabeth Borgen’s son. One woman said the district has instructed them not to speak to the press about anything that happens. This is a publicly-funded program. Why is the district telling employees they are not allowed to speak about what is happening in the program paid for by taxpayers? Lack of transparency and accountability are major concerns of mine, as a reporter trying to cover the district.
    The parent to whom I spoke said that teachers also believe they are not allowed to speak to the press. This is not true. Anyone can contact me outside of school hours to speak in confidence, if they choose. Everyone has First Amendment rights, which the district cannot take away.
    I was also struck by the fact that the Livermore school district issued a quick statement to the community about its grief regarding the recent death of a student in a skateboarding accident. Yet, when I tried to contact Woodside Elementary school community members about how the death of one of their students in a bicycle accident was affecting them, I was essentially told to go away. Superintendent Steven Lawrence never issued any sort of message to the community about the death. The public has a right to know what’s going on in schools and should not be shut out.

  94. Anon Says:

    So Jacobs changed her clothes put on makeup and a fake smile and all is ok? Wake up people! Change is needed. Get rid of her. She had her chance. How can you run a school and not have people skills? These kids deserve a person who shows caring. I just can’t even believe we are having this conversation. I feel the same about the day care. How can the district tell them not to talk to the press. I guess we will all read about it in the court papers. Good luck Greg

  95. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The same admonishment not to speak to the press was apparent at Woodside, after the student’s death. Two staff members told me they would have been willing to speak to me about the little girl and how her death was affecting the school community, but they didn’t think the principal would allow it. The district doesn’t seem to understand that the public is a part of the school district and the public genuinely cares about what’s going on in schools. They are not isolated.

  96. g Says:

    I’ll bet the District didn’t put that “keep silent” edict in writing! That means Lock is running around threatening them.

  97. g Says:

    Theresa, it sounds like you’ve been blacklisted at the school level. They’re saying talk to Dent, or don’t talk at all.

  98. Tbird Says:

    Regarding all of the comments about the so called WristGate. There is no WristGate. If you actually knew the facts regarding this incident, you would have nothing to say about it except for the fact that it was unfortunate that a student ended up with a fractured wrist.

  99. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Who does Lawrence think he is, Kim Jong Il?

    This is ridiculous. Vote No on Gary and Chevron Sherry.

  100. Realia Says:

    McClatchy pulled all the same stunts when she was at Olympic – with the same result, a no-confidence vote. Despite the fact that the district knew of the vote (or maybe because it did know), McClatchy was promoted to become the principal of Mt. Diablo High School. Perhaps the great minds at the Dent Center will promote Jacobs and McClatchy so they can join forces and driving teachers out of the district. Those two seem like they deserve each other.

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Tbird: Why wasn’t the boy allowed to call his mother?

  102. Doctor J Says:

    At SBE meeting, Chris Swenson, Director of Improvement and Accountability, reported that CDE is visiting all SIG sites, that a few are fully implemented but most are lagging in implementation [and its year 2 of 3 year grant]. Based on Spending Reports just filed by MDUSD, it would appear that MDUSD is sorely lacking in implementation since through the end of 3rd Quarter, 2 of 3 schools and the district are not spending the grant money as they promised [I know, so what else is new].

    Latest SIG, Cohort 1 Spending reports through 3/31/12 [3rd Quarter, Year 2] – filed by MDUSD with CDE on 4/27. Tried to put into spreadsheet but blog not accept it. Student Population numbers taken from CDE 2011/12 Enrollment numbers provided by MDUSD.

    I would hope Theresa and every parent and member of the public would ask Steven Lawrence and Rose Lock: Why isn’t MDUSD and the SIG Schools spending the Grant Money according to the SIG plans written by the schools and district, approved by the Supt, Board, CDE and the US Dept of Education ? When the API numbers come out, there may be some real disappointments.

    Here is summary with rounded numbers:

    Bel Air — Student Population 452
    Spent through 3/31/12 in Year 2, 2011/12 $804,000
    Total Available in Year 2, 2011/12 $1,701,000
    Amount Spent per Pupil through 3/31 $1,778
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 $897,000
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 per pupil $1,984
    API Gain in 1st SIG Year 2010/11 +25 671

    Rio Vista — Student Population 426
    Spent through 3/31/12 in Year 2, 2011/12 $340,000
    Total Available in Year 2, 2011/12 $450,000
    Amount Spent per Pupil through 3/31 $798
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 $110,000
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 per pupil $258
    API Gain in 1st SIG Year 2010/11 +66 735

    Shore Acres — Student Population 517
    Spent through 3/31/12 in Year 2, 2011/12 $887,000
    Total Available in Year 2, 2011/12 $1,965,000
    Amount Spent per Pupil through 3/31 $1,715
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 $1,078,000
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 per pupil $2,085
    API Gain in 1st SIG Year 2010/11 +13 672

    District — Student Population total 3 SIG Schools 1395
    Spent through 3/31/12 in Year 2, 2011/12 $407,000
    Total Available in Year 2, 2011/12 $1,377,000
    Amount Spent per Pupil through 3/31 $291
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 $970,000
    Left to spend in Year 2, 2011/12 per pupil $695
    District Wide API Gain in 1st SIG Year 2010/11 +2 786

  103. Doctor J Says:

    @TBird, the boy fractured his wrist at first morning recess and mother not advised until 3 pm at afterschool program — WHY ? The boy asked to call his mother, and Principal Gretchen Jacobs told both the boy and his teacher he was not allowed to. If you know the facts and think they are different, please tell us. Your blanket denial is not credible.

  104. Doctor J Says:

    The Lawrence Six performance — Steve, Mary, Rebecca, Matt, Jane and Socorro — before the State Board of Education on Wednesday late afternoon lacked credibility and I would expect to see CVCHS out in unison for the July meeting for the repeat performance. I have been wondering what waterhole Steve rewarded the Lawrence Six with after they were done about 6:15 pm in Sacramento ? Oh, how I would love to see Steve’s “Cal-Card” for MDUSD credit for Wednesday, and frankly for the last 27 months. What a picture it would give us — maybe even the ButtercupGATE meeting, Chevron entertaining, and more ! Theresa, perhaps its time for a “Cal Card” public records request on Steve Lawrence ?

  105. Doctor J Says:

    Ask Lawrence and Lock — where are the Principal and Teacher evaluation standards you are supposed to have for the SIG schools ? Ask them if there is any parent and community involvement in developing them ? Don’t let them give you the same excuse the SBE gave the Feds on NCLB — SIG requirements are different from NCLB.

  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is an LA Times story about the SBE’s stance on evaluations:

  107. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#105 Its important to understand that SIG evaluation requirements on Principals and Teachers is a separate issue from NCLB evaluations. Under SIG, the Districts and Schools voluntarily accepted large amounts of funds promising to reform their Principal AND Teacher evaluations and provided money in the grant to do it — whereas under NCLB Principal and Teacher evaluations are “required” for underpeforming schools and districts but with no money to develop those programs. The standards for both evaluations essentially the same. Once you use your SIG funds to develop the Principal and Student evaluations, you can just extend them to the whole district. Another imporatnt factor: “Principal Evaluations” don’t require any negotiation with teacher unions like MDEA and thus the only excuse why MDUSD isn’t doing these is laziness. “Teacher Evaluations” are covered in the two secret MOU’s but no progress on their implementation has taken place.

  108. Doctor J Says:

    Mike Langley, when are you going to “man up” and release the School Climate Surveys for the last three years, instead of holding them in your back pocket during negotiations ?

  109. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Langley told me Monday that the union and district were planning to meet with the mediator today regarding impasse.

    Regarding the climate surveys, he said the union plans to share the results privately with the district first, to see if there is a response. If there is no response or a response with which the union is not satisfied, the results will likely be shared with the press and public, he said.

  110. getthefacts Says:

    To Dr J. and Theresa
    The boy with the injured wrist at first recess DID NOT ask to call his mother; was not crying or showing he was in any pain; in fact he had full movement with his wrist; put pressure on and then was given some ice and he willingly went back to class; the story as I heard it is he fell again later in the day(no mention of this here) possibly causing more injury to his wrist. No child is denied a call home if they are sick or injured and to believe someone would knowingly not let a child with a severe injury call home is ludicrous.

  111. getthefacts Says:

    #110 should have said the boy was able to put pressure on his wrist.

  112. Doctor J Says:

    I think Langley has already released the first two years to the district — aren’t they public records then subject to the PRA ? Theresa, why don’t you do a PRA request for them so the public has a right to see them ? Langley said in blog “Third Campus . . ” post #2 that “They are meant to give an accurate snapshot of site conditions to District leadership to facilitate improvement where warranted and to maintain what is working when we see success. In the past, we have not released the results to the general public, because we hoped for thoughtful and constructive action from District Administration.” If Mike continues to hold them in his back pocket shrouded from the sunshine of public review under the implied threat to MDUSD of public disclosure unless the union is satisfied, that sounds like a “shakedown” to me. Releasing “three years” of School Climate Reports will show trends, improvements or declines, and give a balanced picture.

  113. Andrew Says:

    @Theresa #93: so, nothing has really changed in mcclatchey’s approach and nothing has been done to correct her approach. it’s nice to hear that the MDHS teachers are still putting pressure on the district. in regards to freedom of speech, if i were a custodian, office mgr, principal, teacher, or any other employee in this district-i’d keep my mouth shut and keep as far away from you as possible. i have several friends who work in different positions in this district and they know that if they want to keep their job, they need to keep their mouth shut and not even ask questions about anything. the mdusd parody is too close to the truth and my friends told me that lawrence and rolen are very scary people and you don’t want to get on their bad side. so all employees in this district are working in an atmosphere of fear. vote out gary and sherry-support cheryl hansen’s endorsement of any candidate in november because she is the only one who has the guts to question them. i think that if employees are living in fear-that parents and students suffer.

  114. Theresa Harrington Says:

    GTF: I interviewed Borgen and her son immediately after she spoke at the board meeting. She said he asked the substitute teacher if he could call his mother as lunch was ending. Borgen told me the teacher said nothing could be done (to help him) because Jacobs told her he couldn’t go to the office. Borgen also said she immediately called Jacobs after she heard about the incident from the after-school program. Borgen said Jacobs told her that her son should have told her that he already had an ice pack and that she would call the substitute to ask more questions. Borgen said she assumed Jacobs would go to the after-school program to talk to her son, but Jacobs didn’t.
    I will call Borgen to see if she agrees with your version. I have also contacted Jacobs and Rose Lock regarding issues raised by parents and former staff, but have received no response.

  115. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: I did receive the first year’s survey from a PRA request. The enclosed letter to Superintendent Lawrence said:

    “During the 2009-2010 school year, MDEA developed a School Climate Survey to gauge the conditions on each site from the viewpoint of our members. Our intention was to create a tool that would highlight areas of strength and allow dialogue in areas of perceived need for attention. The first survey could act as a benchmark, and each year it is our intention to repeat the survey at every site.

    Since the primary purpose is to create positive site dialogue, MDEA Lead Representatives were sent the results for their site alone. We do not encourage sites to compare results, as it is an internal snapshot rather than competition. We present this complete set and hope you can take the time to reflect upon the data.

    Our goal continues to be open communication with the goal of working to ensure the best educational climate for our students regardless of the fiscal situation. We trust this annual survey will be a touchstone to that communication.

    Individual complete sets will be distributed to members of the Superintendent’s Council and members of the MDUSD School Board.”

  116. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Andrew: The Sun Terrace parent to whom I spoke yesterday concurred. She said that when the principal was away at district office meetings, the atmosphere on campus was calm. But that when she returned, it became combative because people reacted to Jacobs’ demeanor and that even students could feel the negative “vibe” on campus.
    Now, however, she said it is improving.

  117. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#115 Can you provide us a link to review these public records that are now several years old understanding that site comparisons as MDEA points out were not the purpose and since the evaluations were done by each staff, may not be easily comparable ?

  118. Andrew Says:

    @TH#115: because of what i’ve heard, it might be useful to the teachers union to take a district climate survey. and with the observation of the sun terrace parent that you talked to yesterday- saying that when jacobs returned from district meetings she sent off a negative vibe, it proves to me that she and other principals and employees are working in fear. since the teachers are the largest group of employees, i think their opinions regarding their trust of this superintendent and his mandates would help the school board in evaluating him.

  119. Andrew Says:

    @TH#115: because of what i’ve heard, it might be useful to the teachers union to take a district climate survey. and with the observation of the sun terrace parent that you talked to yesterday- saying that when jacobs returned from district meetings she sent off a negative vibe, it proves to me that she and other principals and employees are working in fear. since the teachers are the largest group of employees, i think their opinions regarding their trust of this superintendent and his mandates would help the school board in evaluating him.

  120. g Says:

    Mr. Langley also said:

    “Sometimes our members tell us of abuses, but ask that we not make them public for fear of retribution. We honor those requests”.

    So, should we simply assume that those “abuses” are included in the annual surveys? There seems to be a lot of musical chairs of both admins and teachers each year. Should we at least see how, or if, respondents to the surveys compare the different school sites when they change positions? Maybe MDEA’s attempt to not have the different sites “compete” is in fact hobbling the results.

    The record I would like to see, but never will, is progress or lack thereof, specifically for the students that were sent from Holbrook to Sun Terrace and Wren. For the most part, they were a very happy school, and really “on a roll”. I would hate to think any of that has been lost.

  121. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Andrew, many other districts survey their staff and communities. Trustee Cheryl Hansen also suggested that the board hold public input sessions where the community could give feedback on the board and superintendent’s job performance, but General Counsel Greg Rolen said that would violate the Brown Act.

  122. Andrew Says:

    @G #120: there is that word again-fear. and to make it worse-fear of retribution. but if jacobs leaves a district meeting where she feels fear of lawrence’s mandates, it would only make sense that she puts the fear of lawrence into every teacher and student. it just trickles down from the top.

  123. Doctor J Says:

    @G #129 You will be able to “kind of” make a comparison. In 2011 the API scores were this: Holbrook 816 +39; Sun Terrace 776 -4 ; Wren 741 -24. In theory, the Holbrook students should make the Sun Terrace and Wren scores jump significantly. If the climates are bad at ST and Wren, you won’t see that. Yes, I agree, closure of Holbrook was one of Eberhart’s worst decisions, but typical of his gun slinger quick draw mentality.

  124. Andrew Says:

    @theresa #121: has anyone challenged rolen’s claim that community feedback regarding the board and superintendent’s job performance is a violation of the brown act?

  125. g Says:

    Un Huh, who speaks as an employee of Sun Terrace said of Jacobs: “She is constantly speaking of how all of the “bad kids” came from Holbrook and how she has changed this…”. If that’s an accurate quote, Jacobs sounds to me like a person who will use any tactic, including an attempt to divide and conquer to cover her own shortcomings. What could she accomplish from spouting something like that but to promote gang-like opposition among the students?

    I would really like to hear some remarks from the Holbrook parents.

  126. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Andrew: Superintendent Lawrence and Rolen came up with alternative topics to be discussed at the meetings. Although the board agreed to hold meetings, they voted down the suggested topics. So, at this point, there are no scheduled meetings. No one has publicly disputed Rolen’s claim that a more general agenda would violate the Brown Act.

  127. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: There is no online link to the climate survey. It is a binder full of info.
    Major concerns in 2009-10 at all levels were: student discipline, time to analyze data, meeting time, classroom time devoted to testing and test preparation, and teacher and student safety at sites.

  128. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#126 On May 7 the single agenda item was “Budget” with zero attachments prior to the 72 hour cutoff. On May 14 the sole agenda item is “Superintendent’s Evaluation”. So let me suggest a couple of agenda topics: State of the District; MDUSD Evaluation by Parents; Superintendent Evaluation by the Public; District and School Climates; Is MDUSD serving Students and Parents ? All of these meet the Brown Act nothwithstanding Rolen’s attempt at a self examination of his colon.

  129. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #127 Maybe you could post just one survey as an example. Are they summarized by school or just a bunch of individual surveys ? Has the Times thought of doing a “SurveyMonkey” like survey ?

  130. Theresa Harrington Says:

    There are individual site surveys regarding climate and technology, as well as summarized results. Langley said MDEA previously omitted individual comments, but those might be included this year.
    The climate surveys include 25 statements, which teachers rated on a scale of 0-10 with 0 strongly disagree and 10 strongly agree.
    In 2009-10 Sun Terrace scored highest in teachers feeling that they and their students were safe (8.13) and lowest on feeling that an administrator was present on campus whenever needed (3.63).
    I don’t believe the Times has thought of doing a survey monkey, but the district could.

  131. Doctor J Says:

    I have a “hunch” 😉 that “getthefacts” #110 is none other than Gretchen Jacobs trying to spin the story to her salvation. Since we have not heard any more from Katherine, I would bet the district is willing to give her whatever she wants to “remain silent”. Clearly the district is pulling the reins in on Jacobs to get control of the situation for the last month. @TH#130, we need more of those details as they are public records. Remember that “public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.”

  132. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I mentioned, the district employees who could help me “get the facts” — namely Jacobs and Lock — have not responded to my requests for information about Borgen’s complaint.

    Regarding the survey data, it is very detailed and I can’t really scan it all and post it.

    Major concerns of elementary teachers in 2009-10 were: the amount of time testing and test prep infringed on teaching; lack of administrator presence on campus; lack of adequate time to prepare, analyze and report on assessment data; and amount of time spent in meetings.

    Regarding safety, 10.8 percent of elementary teachers did not feel safe at their sites and 11.4 percent did not believe their students were safe at their sites.

  133. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#132 Teacher’s issues in 2009/10; excessive testing, no administrator on campus, no data assessment time, and excessive meetings have all got worse in the last 3 years.

  134. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a blog post about the SBE’s vote on MDUSD’s charter waiver request:

  135. Doctor J Says:

    Sudden cancellation showing on district website this afternoon of tomorrow’s CAC workshop on “Parenting a Special Needs Child”. No explanation.

  136. Sun Terrace Says:

    #110 On Monday the facts were perfectly clear! The child was in pain ALL DAY and his parent(s) were not notified. EVEN if the child later injured his wrist a 2nd time, Jacobs STILL FAILED TO CONTACT HIS PARENT(S). It’s pretty simple, GRETCHEN JACOBS CONTINUES TO “MESS UP” and what is the district doing about it?

    Gretchen Jacobs met with the boy’s parents on Wednesday and now there is a totally different story as to what happen. Gretchen Jacobs is quite skillful in manipulating teachers, students, parents, and yes even the district. How else could she treat her staff like complete crap and they not speak up and now even take her side? Gretchen Jacobs is a hustler! Anyone that believes in her now is getting the wool pulled over their eyes!

    #132 Gretchen Jacobs will not give you a statement or answer any questions because she is continuously changing her story. She lies so much she doesn’t know what the truth is.

    If Gretchen Jacobs remains the principal at Sun Terrace, the district must get held responsible.

  137. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Those were the elementary teachers’ major concerns.

    Here are the Middle School teachers’ major concerns from 2009-10: students not receiving appropriate consequences for breaking rules; not enough time to prepare, analyze and report on assessment data; time in meetings not used wisely; decisions affecting teachers are not made fairly.

    It noted: “Comments from respondents indicated an impression of ‘playing favorites’ and retaliation when administrators make decisions regarding teaching assignments, classroom assignments, evaluations and other matters.”

    Regarding safety, 12.6 percent of middle school teachers did not feel safe at their sites in 2009-10 and 19.6 percent did not believe their students were safe at their sites.

  138. Doctor J Says:

    Tonight Gretchen Jacobs is asking herself, Am I even relevant anymore at Sun Terrace ? She has seen this handwriting on the wall several times before in other districts — now just 19 months in this district. After having the Supt, Asst. Supt. Lock, and the SASS descend on her campus since the initial parent letter of April 17, parents complaints at Board Meetings of April 23 and May 7, including a claim of refusal to notify a parent of a serious injury to a student, and her first grade now under the direct supervision of SASS, it now appears her remaining time in this district is short. Lawrence cannot afford not to take decisive action with two Board seats up for grabs in November.

  139. Sun Terrace Says:

    #138 Doctor J, I sure hope you are right. Sun Terrace needs someone we can trust in.

  140. Doctor J Says:

    @#139 Sun Terrace teachers, through MDEA, should request a private meeting ASAP with Supt Steven Lawrence. If he refuses, MDEA can guide you through the process of “no confidence” as MDHS did. New principal assignments are coming as soon as May 21 — its doubtful that Sun Terrace is on the current list which is why so much effort to repair the image of Jacobs is being made.

  141. Doctor J Says:

    When will parents demand pay cuts for the Big5 and benefit cuts to the Board so their children can have crossing guards ? Since neither Lawrence nor Eberhart will budge on cost sharing street crossing guards with the City of Concord, when will Chief Swanger drop the shoe cancelling all crossing guards ? How will not having crossing guards affect Lawrence’s plan to shift elementary boundaries, cancelling all buses, and have elementary children crossing more busy streets than current ?

  142. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    It is time that Eberhart and Whitmarsh step up and do the right thing if they have any guts. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

    The Gary fiddles as MDUSD circles the drain.

  143. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: One of the questions I sent to Lock, which has not been answered, is: Do you anticipate changes in school leadership next year? If so, how will those decisions be made and when will they be announced?

    The public deserves to know how the district putting children first by giving them the best site administrators possible.

  144. Doctor J Says:

    Where is the parent involvement in the selection of new site leaders that has been promised numerous times by Lawrence, Eberhart, Whitmarsh and even Lock ? They just filled the principal pool — but no parent involvement. So much for Lawrence, Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Lock making promises.

  145. Sun Terrace Says:

    #144 Sounds like Gretchen Jacobs is one of them, says whatever it takes to make people happy but sheldon keeps her word.

  146. anon Says:

    Ayers is going through a principal selection process and they held a meeting with interested parents on Wednesday this week. Sounds like the district does look for parent input when hiring a principal. More inaccurate info from Dr. Jabber

  147. Been Down That Road.... Says:

    Anon #146–how sweet that, as an elementary school parent, you still have such a fresh naive view of our District. I’m guessing that, if Ayers had a “parent input” meeting for new principal characteristics and qualifications, the District has already hired someone or alerted an existing principal of a transfer. They have a long history here of jumping the gun. The parent meetings are, many times, clearly a formality.

  148. CG Says:

    The district may ask for teacher/parent input when looking to hire a new administrator, but the person they hire is often not what the school community wanted.

  149. Doctor J Says:

    No parents are actually on the selection and interview committees. I agree with Been DTR that having the parent meeting to talk about “characteristics” is often a formality, after the fact. If Lawrence was real life parent involvment, have them as part of the interview and selection process.

  150. @been down that road Says:

    I completely agree! When our school administrator left last year, the district held both parent and staff input meetings to gather attributes the community wanted for the next principal. Then they held an interview panel comprised of parents, teachers, sass coaches, other principals, etc. The entire process is just for formality. The district wants you to think they care what the panel thinks, but everything is predestined from the start. Everything is well thought out and planned to get the panel to choose who the district wants–everything from which order the candidates come in to interview to the body language of the district director of personnel (you can tell a lot from her body language in how close she sits and responds to the candidates). All questions were completely scripted and pre-designated in advance. No outside questions were permitted. The end result is the principal is nothing like how he interviewed, and in fact, lies have been uncovered in his resume. This principal is far from what people thought he was, and in many eyes is not a good fit for the school (of course there are a few that like him; those that couldn’t stand the prior principal and just wanted anyone new). Call me a skeptic, but I think the district just wants to give appearances on soliciting public input and if things don’t work out, absolve themselves from any responsibility saying the panel chose the principal. Beware Ayers, the same thing will happen to you. That you can be sure. The problem is, the quality of principals out there (at least the ones who were brought in to this specific panel I speak about) were absolutely disappointing. And, people thought, “wow”, is this the best person the district could find? It’s no wonder the hired principal was chosen.He was the best person in a pile of rubbish. Apparently, the quality administrators don’t want to come to MDUSD. I wonder why (sarcasm).

  151. Doctor J Says:

    Do you like TV reruns ? Here is a MDUSD rerun from last year’s annual Administrator Shuffle — enjoy ! Just like an old time movie,’Bout a ghost from a wishing well.

  152. Doctor J Says:

    Does MDEA have the courage to strike ? SF teachers vote 97% to authorize a strike. The comparisons between MDUSD & SFUSD are surreal. “stalemate in contract negotiations with the district”; “The school district. . . is seeking . . .million in cuts from teachers’ salaries and benefits over the next two years, and preparing to issue more than 200 pink slips affecting teaching positions by the May 15 deadline.”
    “Union officials have said they do not trust the district’s budget numbers.” “It is time for the district to stop seeking unilateral cuts and sweeping program changes, and to start treating the teachers and paraprofessionals with respect and to recognize what we have done to keep this district afloat,”

    However, I don’t see where the SFUSD Board extended any administrator contracts with automatic pay increases, and step increases like MDUSD did. Nor did I see where the SF School Board was taking “full family medical, dental, and vision” when district employees were not receiving the same.

    Maybe its time for MDEA to show the courage to stand up to the Eberhart political machine. He keeps his benefits and cuts everyone else’s — except for the Big5. Hypocrisy can be overcome by courage.

  153. Fly on the Wall Says:

    Other MDUSD staff should take a look at MDHS where principal McClatchy has divided her staff including the other administrators. It is apparent who is privy to her plans. Obviously she likes “yes” people who go along with her plans, no matter how detrimental and absurd they are. There are also favored teachers who can do just about anything or nothing and not fear reprisal in the form of negative evaluations. Despite the vote of no confidence, she has not changed from her original course and appears to have the backing of the superintendent.

  154. Theresa Harrington Says:

    During the board’s governance workshop, Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh said her highest priority is attracting and retaining high quality employees in all areas:
    However, I don’t believe the board has actually discussed its definition of a high-quality employee.

  155. CG Says:

    Apparently, the quality administrators don’t want to come to MDUSD. I wonder why (sarcasm)

    This district could hire quality administrators from a talented pool of teachers currently working in this district.

  156. Doctor J Says:

    @CG#155 Was it Eberhart or another Board member who claimed that in the last Supt hire [Nov 2009] the pool of applicants was small and lacked qualifications ? Yet, the pool of applicants to take Lawrence’s place a few months later in West Sacramento was very high, and touted to be very high quality. Has the thought ever crossed Eberhart’s mind that his dictator micromanaging style of Board leadership might be the primary factor in the difference ?

  157. Theresa Harrington Says:

    CG: The district has hired quality administrators who are former teachers, such as Connie Cirimeli at Sequoia MS. John McMorris, principal of Northgate HS, is also a former teacher (although from another district). I heard that a teacher applied for the position of principal at Sun Terrace, but was not selected.
    Liane Cismowski, vice principal at MDHS, was a National Board Certified Teacher and was on the NBCT board, I believe. She has mentored teachers seeking National Board Certification.
    MDEA President Mike Langley has told me that he doesn’t understand how principals can effectively coach teachers if they’ve never been teachers themselves.
    But, I have also heard that some people think teachers may decide to become administrators because they don’t enjoy teaching or may not be effective teachers.
    So, there appear to be different schools of thought on whether former teachers necessarily make the best administrators.

  158. Fly on the Wall Says:

    Why doesn’t the principal at MDHS seek the advice of vice principal Cismowski, who appears to have the educational and intellectual advantage on her?

  159. @155 Says:

    Yes, quality administrators can sometimes be found in teachers looking to move up if those teachers have their admin credential (most do not). But, in this particular case, no one applied internally, so they had no choice but to hire someone from the outside and select someone from the limited pool of candidates.

  160. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Are you referring to Sun Terrace? I heard there may have been an internal candidate. However, I do not know that firsthand.

  161. Doctor J Says:

    As we approach the two year anniversary of NugentGATE, obviously Julie Braun-Martin still has not got down the job of background investigation on candidates. A simple google of Gretchen Jacobs easily uncovers some questions about her background — even Katherine found these. BTW, has Nugent ever been approached to explain his side of the story ? Maybe he would feel free now.

  162. Ayers Parent Says:

    Trust me, we are keeping VERY CLOSE TABS on our next principal search!

  163. sun Terrace Says:

    #160 Yes a long time CEP teacher applied for the principal position but did not get it. She is well liked & respected at Sun Terrace.

  164. School Teacher Says:

    Anon @146

    I totally agree with Been Down That Road @147. Any parent, and for that matter, teacher input is meerly window dressing for the district. They have their own agenda, and the “input” in my opinion goes ignored (unless it happens to agree with their agenda).

  165. anon Says:

    Of course it’s difficult to attract the best and the brightest administrators to mdusd. With the witch hunt, bully mentality of this web site and the low pay offered by mdusd as compared to other districts, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

    I did like the comments by that board candidate regarding sun terrace. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to attach himself to the mob. The last thing this board needs is someone else who is going to grandstand and patronize the 12 people on this blog site. Maybe there is hope.

  166. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, please don’t forget post #13. And Happy Mother’s Day. :-)

  167. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Thanks and Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

    Regarding the SBE hearing, I was also surprised when Lawrence said the district is deficit-spending about $9 million a year. Yet, the budget numbers distributed during last Monday’s study session show a deficit of about $16 million this year, followed by $10.8 million next year if the governor’s proposed taxes pass:
    It’s unclear to me where he got the $9 million figure.

  168. Doctor J Says:

    My post #102 demonstrates that where schools have huge amounts of “additional funding” they do not know how to get those funds into the classroom to benefit children’s education. The SIG schools filed a detailed grant AND when they weren’t in compliance, were required by the Feds and CDE to file a “Corrective Action Plan” and still almost at the end of year 2 of a 3 year grant, still haven’t figured out how to spend the money they said was “vital” to the education of the worst performing schools in the district. Even the district is not spending the money to benefit children’s education — unless you consider SASS’s new IPads and custom cases, as benefiting the sutdents. Just throwing money into a pot, does not mean it will be spent wisely or even according to the written plan. MDUSD’s SIG grants should be cut to actual spending and redistributed to other needy schools who lost out in the SIG competition because MDUSD’s SIG grants were “better on paper” but only partially implemented.

  169. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#167 My wise grandfather said: “When you tell the truth, you only have half as much to remember.” Lawrence has told so many different versions of the budget and Richards has so many different versions on his computer, neither of them can keep the truth straight from lies.

  170. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the district has continued to argue that the CVCHS charter’s impact would result in equal cuts to other schools across the board — or in deeper cuts to schools in the CVCHS charter feeder pattern — no one raised this idea during the budget study session. Instead, it appears that cuts will be made based on the total amount of the deficit, with the CVCHS charter impact lumped together with everything else that is contributing to it.

  171. Doctor J Says:

    If the Eberhart/Lawrence threats to punish the CVCHS charter “feeder pattern” with deep cuts were carried out, it would result in “teacher triggers” in the middle schools and elementary schools, essentially cutting out the heart of the district, and becoming a paradise in the middle of a desert. But the threats accomplished their purpose — divide the hearts of the parents.

  172. Doctor J Says:

    Anyone fudging on their resume should be fired ! Google CEO is out.

  173. Doctor J Says:

    Excuse me: yahoo ceo !

  174. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Regarding the fractured wrist: I just spoke to Elizabeth Borgen and her son and they stand by their original statements.
    However, it is true that her son fell a second time and re-injured his wrist.
    He said he asked the principal if he could call his mother and she told him to go get in line and go to class. He then saw Jacobs speak to the substitute, but could not hear what was said.
    He says he was in pain all day and asked the substitute repeatedly if he could call his mother and was told “no.”
    Jacobs did meet with Borgen and told her there had been miscommunication and that she didn’t understand what the boy had asked her. She also said the substitute must have misunderstood what she told her.
    Borgen said Jacobs apologized and told her she had called other schools to find out what their policies were regarding student injuries. Now, Jacobs is implementing a new policy to call parents when students are injured, Borgen said.
    Jacobs has not responded to my interview requests. Rose Lock sent me a very general response regarding actions the district is taking to remedy issues at Sun Terrace, which did not address student injuries.
    However, she said a parent survey has been distributed to all Title I schools.

  175. Elizabeth Borgen Says:

    My personal comments regarding my son’s injury. My son fell and injured his wrist during his first recess and then fell again at the end of school. I was never notified by Sun Terrace Elementary. It was the after school program that called me because he was clearly in pain. As for the comment about him putting pressure on his wrist that is wrong, what he did do was move his wrist around to see where the pain was worst.

    The bottom line is that my child was injured while school was in session and I was never notified. He asked repeatadly to call me but the teacher refused to let him call me because she “misunderstood” what Mrs. Jacobs told her. No matter what the injury is, when a child is injured it is the parents right to make the decision weither the child is ok to stay at school or if the child should be picked up.

    I have not filed a formal complaint because I simply don’t know how to.

  176. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#174 Lame leadership at the school and at Dent.

  177. Sun Terrace Says:

    What a lame excuse. Neither the principal or substitute understand “I want to call my mother”? Was the child speaking greek? I doubt it!

    It looks like the district is sweeping this under the rug. There are excuses for everything; everything is just a mistake or misunderstanding or unfortunate turn of events.

    As for the survey, I hope it’s not the survey they expect to get 50% participation on in less than 2 weeks….

  178. Sun Terrace Says:

    @175 Elizabeth Borgen, I hope your son heals quickly!

    Make sure everything is in writing! Email the district and also complete their complaint forms (send an email stating you’ve submitted the complaint so that it is documented). All email address’ are on the MDUSD website. You may have to get the official complaint forms from the district.

    Some of the parent complaints can be easily ignored, but not yours. There is absolutely no misunderstanding a child wanting to call home when they’ve injured themselves and are in pain. Just like ASP noticed your son was in pain, Gretchen Jacobs noticed as well.

    Your story has not changed from day one. Lets see how many times Jacobs changes her version of events. You should also file a police report! And as someone else suggested, call Child Protective Services.

    Your son is not the first child to be injured and Jacobs failed to notify parent. Gretchen Jacobs is only implementing a new policy because the district has gotten involved. Jacobs could care less about our children.

    I hope you follow through Elizabeth.

  179. Doctor J Says:

    How many schools has Gretchen Jacobs been an administrator at ? And never had a policy about notifying parents of an injured child. Jacobs statements are simply disingenuous.

  180. Doctor J Says:

    @Mrs. Borgen, please read post 29 above, and there are links to the forms.

  181. Sun Terrace Says:

    Gretchen Jacobs will do as she please with no remorse for as long as she can get away with it.

  182. anon Says:

    Mrs. Borgen,
    Please look here as well:

    As the legal caretaker of your child during the school day, she failed miserably to obtain proper medical care for your child.

  183. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    At what point should we attempt to get CPS involved at Sun Terrace. It sounds like a very unsafe place for children, with the “adults” in charge failing to provide proper medical care.

  184. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is what Rose Lock told me in an email regarding the parent survey and SASS coaching:

    Parent survey: “The Title I parent survey is already in progress. Each school has a survey coordinator, most of them are parents. Parent can participate online or request a hard copy version. It is also translated. The survey closes on June 1.”

    SASS coaching: “School Support Administrators meet with their principals on a regular basis. The support is tailored to the needs of the individual principal and school.”

  185. Doctor J Says:

    @#184 What was the question to Rose ? The School Support Administrators [Principal Coaches] report directly to her, not to the Directors of Elementary or Secondary. Her quote is not taken from the current Job Description she put forth Dec 13, 2011 and approved by the Board on Jan 9, 2012. Read duties 1, 2 and 3.

  186. Doctor J Says:

    Title 1 Survey:

  187. Theresa Harrington Says:

    This was the question, as it relates to Sun Terrace: “Can you please tell me how SASS is working with the principal according to the coaching model?”

  188. Sun Terrace Says:

    The problem with the survey is the short period of time (less than 2 weeks) for the survey coordinator to get parents to complete the survey. I haven’t seen parents being asked to participate or a notice home regarding the survey.

  189. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#187 Rose, as the direct supervisor, clearly did not know the answer to “how” Susan H. was working with the Principal. Shameful. Rose even gets a weekly activity report from each SASS administrator. She should have known when SH & GJ met, for how long, the issues and what they were working on. But apparently she didn’t. Trustee Gary Eberhart, who says he has a BS in Business Administration from St. Mary’s, would even know that a supervisor has to know what the employees are doing for proper supervision, and provide guidance and direction where necessary. If Gary ran his own construction business like Rose runs SASS, Gary’s business would go under. Supervision 101.

  190. Itsgettingold Says:

    EB#175 and all who have jumped on the bandwagon – Contrary to what you want to believe, not only was your child shaking his wrist back and forth and twisting it at the wrist, he DID put downward pressure on his hand. He pressed his palm down on the countertop as well as place the back of his hand down on the countertop putting pressure on his wrist both times. There were several witnesses when this occurred and all saw the same thing. And to Theresa Harrington: I used to enjoy reading your column. But, after all of your reporting on the wrist incident, I will not be able to believe the accuracy of anything you publish.

  191. Theresa Harrington Says:

    IGO: My reporting is based on what Elizabeth Borgen and her son told me. Gretchen Jacobs has not responded to an interview request. The after-school program personnel also declined to comment. I would be happy to speak to you or any of the other witnesses. Please call me at 945-4764.

  192. Tired Says:

    It is amazing how issues get so out of hand(no pun intended). The majority of staff members at Sun Terrace are caring parents and NO ONE would make an obviously injured or sick child stay at school and keep them from calling home.

  193. Elizabeth Borgen Says:

    To post #190 since you claim to know so much about what happened does this mean that you are a staff member at Sun Terrace and that you saw first hand what was going on? Were you one of the staff members that refused to let him call me when he asked to and by doing this violated his rights? And can you please explain to me why after my son asked to call me multiple times he was refused? Also please explain to me why when I went in and spoke with Mrs. Jacobs myself she did not once mention or ask him about twisting and putting pressure on his wrist outside of him feeling where the pain was which is exactly what he did in the emergency room with a medical professional?
    Your comment sounds to me like the you and the school are trying to invalidate the seriousness of my sons injuries.

  194. Elizabeth Borgen Says:

    To post #192 I will agree that there are staff members that are caring but the facts are the facts. My son was injured and weither or not the staff members believed him he did have a serious injury and they outright refused to let him call me. How would you or even poster #190 feel if you were in my position? Also this is not the first time one of my children was injured and I was not notified by phone or even a note. This is unacceptable on many levels.

  195. Doctor J Says:

    Sounds like Rolen is trying to poison the jury pool. It really doesn’t matter whether the wrist was or was not broken — any time a child who has injured himself at school asks to call his mother, that request should have been granted. No excuses.

  196. Doctor J Says:

    Sun Terrace did not have a medical professional evaluate the injured boy — school is not a prison. Sounds like #190 and other staff went way beyond first aid and were practicing medicine without a license, and then kept the injured boy incarcerated against his will.

  197. Tired Says:

    It really doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say at this point. The mom felt she had a point to make and it has been made. Hopefully her son has a speedy recovery!

  198. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Tired, You are incorrect. It does matter what I have to say, it could have been my kids subjected to this gross mistreatment.

  199. #190 Says:

    As #192 stated the “majority” of staff are caring (weather parents or not) but unfortunately there are the #190’s. #190 clearly is missing the point and sounds as if they are taking it personal maybe because they had something to do with the bad choice (not allowing the child to call his mother) or 190 is now part of the cover-up as obviously Gretchen Jacobs is cracking down on staff. There is no valid excuse for that situation. If 190 is a parent, they need to think if there child asked to call home how they’d feel if their child was dinied. Regardless if the child looked hurt or not, it’s not up to the principal, noon supervisors, or any other unqualified personel (medically unqualifiied).

  200. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Kudos to MDUSD Teacher of the Year Mona Lisa Ricard at Sequoia Elementary:
    “The teacher at Sequoia Elementary School in Pleasant Hill has created a classroom recipe for success, where good manners are emphasized, and where her students feel affirmed, respected and safe,” according to our story.

  201. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC blog is also getting the word out about the Title 1 survey:

  202. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Board has asked for more info re hiring long-term subs:
    It will also appoint up to four new elementary principals:
    And there will be a SASS report:
    Here’s entire agenda:

  203. Doctor J Says:

    It appears the Longterm sub policies are in place. What went wrong at Sun Terrace ? That’s what the public is entitled to know. Perhaps it will take a PRA request by Theresa to get to the bottom of this fiasco. Who in personnel was monitoring the use of 13 subs ?

  204. Doctor J Says:

    Just four new elementary principals ? Look like the district got caught short by GretchenGATE.

  205. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I called Mike Langley to ask about the climate survey rumors that have been posted here and he said he will not comment on the results because they have not yet been distributed to site administrators or the board.
    Jacobs has not responded to repeated interview requests.
    I asked Borgen about the allegation that her son put pressure on his wrist. She said he told her he demonstrated how he hurt his wrist by placing it on the counter in the office, but did not push hard. There were only two people in the office at the time, Borgen’s son told her. No one has contacted me to speak on the record about assertions to the contrary and Lock did not respond to a question about children’s injuries.
    Borgen’s son’s fourth-grade class has also had more than one sub, she told me.

  206. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s what Lock told me in an email that the district is doing to support students at Sun Terrace:

    “Working with Personnel, additional teachers were added to first grade classrooms for the remainder of school year in order to provide additional instructional support
    All first grade students have been assessed on current levels of reading and math skills
    A four-week summer intervention program will be offered for first grade students from 7-23 to 8-17.
    Under the guidance of the Dir. Of Elementary Support, a morning literacy program for first grade students identified as below grade level has begun.
    District teacher coaches are working directly with substitutes on classroom management and instructional strategies.”

  207. Theresa Harrington Says:

    $16,000 more for AIS translating services:
    And the district is tracking two projects on its board progress report:

  208. g Says:

    Yeah, but she’s so h-o-t!

  209. Doctor J Says:

    Board Agenda for May 21: No minutes attached for April 23 or May 7. I have not compared minutes of March 26 to see what changes were made, and if all the changes requested by Trustee Hansen were made. I am surprised the proposed changes were not highlighted.
    Here comes Jack Schreder again — another $25k, under Measure C — “solicit the services of a school planning professional who has verifiable and successful experience in determining/updating both ‘modernization’ and ‘new construction’ grant funding eligibility under the program.” Uh, we already have a full time Grant Writer.
    The Clark Consulting contracts are confusing — for school year 2011-12. Well, there are just 3 weeks left. They say they need to train some teachers who didn’t get the training in Summer 2011. How many ? Who is paying the teachers ? Will it really cost $44k for this ? And then take a look at the Meadow Homes item, which says “classrooms” and then “housing units” and the contract is just for design work. Looks like this cost is coming from developer funds — which ones ? Why ? Or is it General Funds ?
    I imagine the City of Concord will be real happy that the CHS Marquee sign won’t comply with the Concord Sign Ordinance. Maybe that will help endear the City to MDUSD on the crossing guard issue.
    There goes Pete again . . .ask for approval of a list that doesn’t yet exist. I need a break. Absolutely convoluded agenda.

  210. Doctor J Says:

    @206 &207 Notice how Rolen’s name is conveniently left off approving this contract increase. Hmmmmmmmmm. His relationship, if any, should be disclosed.

  211. Doctor J Says:

    Sounds like Rose is scrambling to get these students to pass up to Second Grade. What has SASS been doing for the last 6 months about this ? We know what they have done in the last 3 weeks. Did Rose ever get back to Katherine ?

  212. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I spoke to Katherine Friedman today and she said she has received no written response to her latest communications.

  213. Katherine Friedman Says:

    No other communication has gone to Rose Lock, but no I have not received any response from her.

  214. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is my story about Sun Terrace, which includes a response from Principal Gretchen Jacobs:

  215. Doctor J Says:

    @Katherine #213 Rose Lock will not respond directly to your questions in writing — she will do everything to avoid them as you have learned including ignoring you, having a subordinate contact you, have others try to appease you. Your only recourse is to file the “Uniform Complaint” form which will require a formal response or you can appeal to the State Board of Education. Take a look at all your options previously referenced above in posts.

  216. Doctor J Says:

    I guess Gretchen hasn’t read the School Safety plan she approved.

  217. Tired Says:

    Dr. J.

    If you are so unhappy with your job at the district office, maybe it’s time to find a new job.

  218. Theresa Harrington Says:

    When I spoke to Board President Sherry Whitmarsh on Thursday, she said she still had not received any complaints from Sun Terrace parents via email or phone messages.
    Here is contact information for board members, who oversee district staff:

  219. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @218 – but sherry and the other board members plus district staff in attendance did HEAR the parents who spoke about issues at Sun Terrace during the board meeting – and regardless should at the very least be following up with staff and acting on what they HEARD at that time. Waiting for emails or phone calls from other parents is an excuse – not action.

  220. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It is true that there is no requirement to send an email or call a board member before a complaint can be addressed.
    Some parents have said the district appears to be taking advantage of the fact that they did not know how to formally register complaints. Most thought that speaking before the school board would be adequate.
    Borgen said Susan Petersen has promised to give her a complaint form. But, she wondered why Lock didn’t give it to her in the first place.
    It’s unclear how well the district is publicizing the Title 1 parent surveys, which close June 1.

  221. anon** Says:

    @Theresa Harrington #207, and every adult who belives that our monies should be spent first on our children.
    The director of AIS is Marisol Padilla, who is co-habitating with Greg Rolen. In June 2012, her contract for interpreation services went from approximately 25 thousand per year in 2012, and increased in July of 2012, to approximately 83 thousand per year. AND NOW there is a motion to increase her income by 16 thousand??? Now, I realize why Linda Mayo made a motion to not extend Greg Rolen’s contract…it just took a while and a little internet search. AND, not to mention that both Marisol Padidilla and Rolen’s daughters are receiving non-public school educations although their home school was quite capable of meeting their educational needs. Thank you, Linda Mayo-please investigate as the least restrictive environment for both Rolen and Padilla’s daughters’ can be met at their home school.

  222. Anon Says:

    @anon**221 While I agree with you on the issue of Rolan and Padilla You can’t say that the NPS for their children should be considered. Unless you have proof that the local school could handle their education. I know where they go to school and I think you are worng with the local school being able to handle their education.
    As much as I can’t stand Rolan and Company these are two seperate issues and you can’t bring the kids into the argument. The Board should not be involved with LRE placement. This is a Special Education issue and having the Board making those decisions will open this District up to Many Law Suits.
    As for Rolan and Padilla I still don’t understand how the board can and did renew contracts and increse monies paid out.

  223. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Rolen and Padilla,

    There absolutely has to be a conflict of interest here. The board is disgusting that they can’t or won’t look into this.

    Rolen – you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Eberhart – you should resign in shame immediately.

  224. Wait a Minute Says:

    MDUSD BW@223

    I don’t think that either EberMarsh or Rolen have any shame as they are well aware they are colluding to run a mafia operation here in the MDUSD with alot of help from Stevie Lawrence and a few others.

    But in any case it is
    for “general counsel of the MDUSD Greg Rolen to engineer a

    Notice that this latest “proposal” to tack on 16K to Marisol Padilla’s compensation just happens to bring her fees up to $99,000.

    I wonder why that figure was chosen?

    Possibly to deflect criticism from adding 6 figures to Greg Rolen’s latest household???

    I hope that everyone concerned about the real purpose of the MDUSD and the real customers (children) of the MDUSD write a complaint about this to the Grand Jury:

    Because until this grossly unethical conduct stops the children and parents and taxpayers of the MDUSD will continue to get fleeced by these criminals posing as public servants.

  225. g Says:

    You all do realize that you are only talking about the main district contract. Individual departments can and do write their own separate contracts. Generally they are one task oriented and usually only around $10K each and get little if any attention from the board.

  226. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDEA and MDUSD have reached a tentative agreement:

  227. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’ve heard some Sun Terrace parents may speak at tonight’s board meeting, which will start at 7 p.m.:

  228. Just curious Says:

    Is there a way to follow what’s happening at the board meeting on the computer?

  229. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, but the district should post audio tomorrow. Sometimes the district also broadcasts the meeting on the CVHS radio station at KVHS 90.5. You may be able to access it online.

  230. Just curious Says:

    Do you blog during the meeting?

  231. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Normally, I do. But, tonight I won’t be able to attend the first part of the meeting due to a family commitment. It’s possible I may go late.
    Here is a preview post:
    I encourage anyone who attends or who listens in to comment on the post.

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