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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. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  2. 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:

  3. 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 ?

  4. Doctor J Says:

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.”

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  8. g Says:

    Yeah, but she’s so h-o-t!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ?

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  13. Katherine Friedman Says:

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

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  15. 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.

  16. Doctor J Says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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:

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDEA and MDUSD have reached a tentative agreement:

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  28. Just curious Says:

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

  29. 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.

  30. Just curious Says:

    Do you blog during the meeting?

  31. 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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