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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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