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MDUSD bracing for worst based on May revise, other districts may not be so hard hit at first

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, May 14th, 2012 at 5:18 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Gov. Jerry Brown released his revised 2012-13 budget today, revealing dire projections for K-12 education if voters reject his planned tax proposal in November.

Here’s our overview of the revised budget proposal: http://www.contracostatimes.com/california-budget/ci_20620197/gov-jerry-brown-calls-more-social-services-cuts

Brown’s budget would allow districts to cut the school year by a combined total of 15 days in 2012-13 and 2013-14, to balance their budgets, if state trigger cuts are pulled.

The Mt. Diablo school district, which expects to look at budget reductions Monday, may consider 12 furlough days in 2012-13 if the taxes don’t pass. School board president Sherry Whitmarsh told me this would likely mean the district would shorten the school year by two weeks (10 days) and eliminate two teacher in-service days.

Since the board cut elementary music education, Whitmarsh said she has noticed a decline in music students at the secondary level. To keep from further eroding music and other important programs, Whitmarsh said she would prefer to have furlough days than other cuts, such as increasing minimum class size requirements.

Now, classes must have at least 20 students, she said. But that could increase to 32, which would eliminate some small programs (such as music classes or AP classes).

Superintendent Steven Lawrence sent me the following comments in an email, in response to the May revise:

“We are very concerned around the budget proposal for several reasons:

1. If the taxes pass, it makes it look like the state is adding a great deal of funding to education when in reality they are just paying back the deferrals. So, districts will only see a minimal increase in our funding per unit of ADA (Average Daily Attendance).

2. Our preliminary calculations show that if the governor’s tax initiative does not pass we will be reduced by $520 per ADA or over $16 million. A reduction this size would be devastating.”

The Contra Costa County Office of Education is advising districts to budget conservatively, with the worst-case scenario in mind, said spokeswoman Peggy Marshburn. This means planning for the November tax initiatives to fail.

“The budget news is worse than we have been anticipating, with the ballooning of the deficit,” she said. “But, every district is different. They all have different reserves. They all have different revenue streams and different priorities. A couple of districts have given raises. Others are looking at furloughs. Each district’s finanicial picture is very individual.”

Both the Mt. Diablo and John Swett districts have filed “qualified” budgets, meaning they may not be able to pay their bills in three years. Mt. Diablo is at impasse with its teachers’ union, which is seeking a one-time bonus that would repay employees for three furlough days taken last year.

Teachers in the union plan to protest past cuts before Monday’s board meeting.

Would you rather see MDUSD cut programs or impose furlough days?

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  • Doctor J

    The drums are a beating across MDUSD with news leaking out . . . the annual Lawrence musical chair shuffle will start Monday night, everyone will be wearing their painted smiles, with kleenex tucked in their pockets. Sue Brothers . . .yup, I called this one a year ago, Director of Secondary in SASS. Lawrence was totally blown away by Mike Langley’s sharing of the MDEA school climates — and Steven’s typical tantrum. Remember that Lawrence “poo-pooed” Trustee Denler’s suggestion a year ago that there was more discontent than in just CVHS. I am hearing that the three worst climate schools are Sun Terrace [no surprise here], Shore Acres, and Foothill MS. One of these principals was pretty beat up emotionally over it — and its not Sun Terrace. So Lawrence now demands that SASS develop its own “climate control” survey since obviously SASS had no idea that there was staff dissatisfaction at any of these schools — uh, duh, where are your SASS coaches that are supposed to be working directly with staff ? Rose Lock as part of the BIG5 just got her contract extension so she took that punch on the chin. And yes, its about that time, that SASS does its Razzle Dazzle “we are doing a great job, pat ourselves on the back” presentation at the Board meeting either this month or next — no real facts, just fluff. So soon we will see Sue Brothers spying on SASS from the inside with Lawrence on speed dial. I wonder if even Gary is having second thoughts.

  • Doctor J

    Teachers laid off, but MDUSD yesterday posts new teaching jobs available ! SASS Principal coach posted yesterday — I thought this job was posted a few weeks ago ? No applicants ? SIG Grant teachers for Meadow Homes and Oak Grove. Board Math Teaching Specialist. School Bus Driver Training/Dispatcher — I thought Lawrence said he was cancelling Transportation. And lots more ! http://www.edjoin.org/searchResults.aspx?districtID=92

  • Mdusd Employee

    Little birds chirping at Dent Center this AM – principal at one soon to be converted charter high school going to another high school and principal of that high school coming to Dent Center. The former shall be moved to Dent when a certain member from former superintendent’s cabinet is let go in June 2013. Possibly explains why contract extension wasn’t proposed when others were.Unidentified board member said to have put notch on his handle over this coup.

  • Theresa Harrington

    No principal job listings, when jobs are sorted by “certificated management”: http://www.edjoin.org/searchResults.aspx?districtID=92

  • Doctor J

    Principal “pools” were posted a month ago. @MDEmployee, makes sense because Lawrence had to have a contract extension to make that scenario “work”. And as far as I know there is only one “his” on the Board so he continues to orchestrates coups. Funny how this all coincides with a “evaluation” two nights ago — and they didn’t discuss this stuff ? Oh, that would have been a Brown Act violation. Why should they worry, they had another Bay Point Community meeting last night without Brown Act notice. Seems to be a pattern of secrecy.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It’s very surprising that the district did not post a public meeting notice regarding the Bay Point Master Plan meeting last night on its website or send a notification about the meeting to the CC Times.
    Although the district has posted its PowerPoint online, it does not reveal what Superintendent Steven Lawrence shared regarding his “thoughts”: http://www.nlarch.com/docs/baypoint/docs/BayPoint_Presentation_5-15-2012.pdf

  • Doctor J

    @TH#56 Perhaps the CCTimes should file a Brown Act complaint with the CC District Attorney’s office.

  • Theresa Harrington

    If the district only notified parents, that notification excluded everyone else in the Bay Point community who may be interested in the plan.
    At the first community meeting, many people complained that the broader community didn’t know about the meeting, which was why they asked for a second meeting.
    The consultants promised to do a better job of publicizing the second meeting.

  • g

    To see what is going on in Bay Point I recommend reading their meeting minutes. The last posted was for their Mar 1 meeting but it is very informative. See Item 1 and Item 6-e.

    http://ca-contracostacounty.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=1853

    Of course you could contact Debra Mason, as she is currently the School Laison.

    Couldn’t help but notice John Parker mentioning that Mt Diablo High has such poor participation they were going to disband the PTSA in April.

    Theresa, do you know if that happened?

  • P. Parent

    Dr.J you called it, Sue and Steve back together again! OMG if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny. Valle Verde Elementary is looking for a new principal. Rose and Julie were on site Monday with the same song and side show they gave 2 years ago to replace the last principal. Foothill MS is just about to bust at the seems. Climate over there is very, very hot! Northgate blew out two of the solar panels last week, relief the Pomp and Circus Invitation only group missed that. They are all in a lather over transfer students dragging down academics. The bloom is falling off the rose with the principal not over what you’d think. It finally came to a head over CV Charter comments he made & firing of the basketball coaches! I kid not :)

  • Theresa Harrington

    g: I don’t know if MDHS PTSA was disbanded, but I heard one mom who showed up was told not to discuss the vote of No Confidence.

  • Doctor J

    Steue, as they used to say in Roseville Distrit my source says ! Lawrence would start a sentence and Brothers would interrupt and finish the sentence — so they say ! Hence Steven and Sue combined: Steue. I knew something was up on the basketball coaches, with all of the teams needing new coaches. CoachGATE it is ! BTW how do you “blow out” a solar panel ? And April Bush seems to be playing musical schools: College Park, Glenbrook, and now Foothill. “Very, very hot climate” matches the MDEA bottom three designation.

  • Theresa Harrington

    MDEA is encouraging teachers to wear their blue armadillo t-shirts tomorrow to mark the two-month anniversary of their impasse declaration.

  • g

    Is there a new Athletic Director for MDUSD? North Coast Sections lists that there is an opening for an Athletic Director for MDHS, but then does not provide info. Hmmm?

  • Doctor J

    YVHS also has all 3 Boy’s Basketball Coach jobs open.

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    Hold on, let’s not pass this by. Why in the world would the basketball coaches be simultaneously fired?

  • Theresa Harrington

    I’ll ask our sports reporters if they’ve heard anything.

  • Anon

    P.P.60-I beg to differ. I know Foothill and Northgate parents, the kind who attend PTA meetings, and they are okay with the current principals. The laaaast principals at those two schools fed a bad climate. The Foothill principal was moved to SASS . . .

  • Doctor J

    @Anon#68 Are you saying that Linda doesn’t meet Lawrence’s description of “former successful princiapls who can coach principals” ? So what about Linda doesn’t meet this Job Description and Qualifications ? http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/7233baf4-a610-411c-b237-8e0086face96.pdf

  • Anon

    IDK about SASS or MDEA but parent grapevine says the Foothill climate pulled a 180 improvement . . .

  • sun Terrace

    #51, So with Sun Terrace being one of three worst climate schools & parents complaining, what do you think will happen with Gretchen Jacobs?

    #68, To make sure I understand, Foothill MS previously had a bad climate and the principal that was there at that time is now a SASS? If that is the case and there are other SASS that were once principals with bad climates, it’s no wonder Gretchen Jacobs’ SASS hadn’t sounded the alarm on her. Sounds as though the district has people in these coaching positions that need coaching themselves.

  • Realia

    @TH#61 Just who runs the agenda for MDHS’s PTSA? The no-confidence vote (and the previous one McClatchy got at Olympic) is a legitimate agenda item as it, and the reasons for it, impact the school community at all levels. McClatchy may be able to try and control her department heads, coerce new teachers into accepting whatever five-year plan she’s focused on the the moment, and harass the veteran teachers who can see through her utter incompetence and the contempt she holds for faculty and students alike, but the PTSA should be beyond her control. This latest example of muzzling proves why it should be so.

    With two no-confidence votes under her belt, McClatchy is a shoo-in for a Dent Center promotion – perhaps a SASS position? Then McClatchy’s replacement at Olympic (handpicked by M. Browne with no interview process, etc.), who is even less competent than McClatchy (with a long track record of an inability to keep a job for long), could be promoted to take her place at MDHS. The one thing those two “administrators” have in common? The ability to blindly obey and implement any and all directives given to them, and the ability to destroy what’s left of campus morale. Browne and Lawrence must be so proud of themselves. MDUSD: where cronyism comes first and kids come last.

  • Doctor J

    @ST#71 GJ is a problem that was not anticipated by Lawrence or Lock. The Elem Principal pool of candidates is way small. Additionally that they just had to repost the SASS Principal Coach position due to inadequate candidates applying, will probably mean they have to recruit from one of the current principals, which will leave another vacancy. I am very worried that Rose will probably follow her historical instinct to “save” the administrator at the expense of the children and either leave GJ there for another year, or worse yet transfer her to another school for a “second” chance, or in this case is it a “seventh chance” ?

  • Doctor J

    Compare CDE’s School Climate Report Cards for 58 districts. Here is Mount’s: http://cal-schls.wested.org/data/mt_diablo_1011_SCRC.pdf

  • Theresa Harrington

    There is also a school parents’ survey: http://csps.wested.org/

  • Theresa Harrington

    MDEA plans to forward its climate survey to the board and superintendent soon and is giving teachers the option of removing individual comments about sites, according to a note to MDEA members.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I just spoke to some YVHS neighbors who said they were very disappointed in the stadium lighting meeting last night. They said the district didn’t send letters to everyone in the neighborhood and that district representatives did not seem to be interested in addressing their concerns. Instead, they said it appeared the meeting was merely held to satisfy a requirement for the mitigated negative declaration. They said the board expects to approve the plans June 25.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#77 Sounds like the warm up for another night of protests, this time by YVHS neighbors — read that “taxpayers” and voters ! What should we call this one, “LightGATE” or “NeighborGATE” ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    They said they were told the project will be funded through Prop. 55, not Measure C.
    If that’s true, one person reportedly asked, then why are we supposed to submit comments to Mitchell Stark, who works for Measure C? Apparently they were told that Stark also handles Prop. 55 projects.

  • Wait a Minute

    WOW DrJ@ 4,

    These School Climate numbers are shockingly low at 13% with similar demographic schools at over twice as better off.

    A stunning indictment of Kate McClathy’s and Dent and the Board’s utter incompetence at providing a Safe and Secure School for our children to be successful in.

  • School Teacher

    @TH #77

    Is the description of the district’s interest in the concerns a big surprise? This was just a “check the box” type of meeting similar to them asking for input for school principals, or asking for input on what is not working at a particular site and then just doing whatever they want. Very pathetic.

  • anon

    @Realia,
    Unless McClatchy is the current president of the MDHS PTSA, she has no control over the agenda. If she is not a paid member of the MDHS PTSA, she has absolutely no say in it at all.

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    Anon #82,

    Trust me McClatchy’s power stretches much further than you imagine. How do you think she is still where she is? Just try to put it on the agenda and you will see what I mean. It will be subtle but it will be removed and won’t see the light of day.

  • anon

    @MDUSD Board Watcher,
    If McClatchy attempts to deny discussion of a properly agendized item, the PTSA of MDHS needs to seek counsel from Mt. Diablo Council of PTA’s, the 32nd District of PTA’s, the California State PTA and even National PTA, as she has no authority to do so. The MDHS PTSA also has the option of meeting off campus, the Concord Library could be an option.

  • Fly on the Wall

    McClatchy’s attempts to control are backfiring.

  • Anon

    The scuttlebutt in the halls today is that McClatchy is livid at these posts.

  • Realia

    McClatchy should be livid with herself and her unprofessional behavior, but that would require self-awareness. It’s astonishing what she’s gotten away with at both of the schools she’s run – into the ground. But she’s good at following orders and at harassing employees – a model administrator in MDUSD.

    Hopefully MDHS parents will get wind of how she’s trying to control the school’s PTSA, and why, and they will demand answers from the district as to why McClatchy deserves to keep her job. Perhaps the PTSA could hold a no-confidence vote on McClatchy. Unfortunately, those votes only seem to confirm to the district bigwigs that McClatchy is their kind of gal.

  • Anon Staff

    More news on the MDHS front… The school has lost its federal funding for the after-school program. I am unsure who is responsible for maintaining this grant but I doubt there will be as forgiving an appeals process (if there will be any) as there was with QEIA.

    2 major grants lost in less than a year. Ouch!

  • School Teacher

    Theresa,
    I see the mention of the agreement being reached with CVCHS about the facilities. I see no mention of a dollar amount in the agreement. Do you know how much the district will be getting from this? Wouldn’t this money reduce the financial impact the district is claiming?

  • g

    School Teacher: You are correct. The Contract mentions Attachments A and B, but they did not publish them. Those attachments would show the dollar amounts.

  • Doctor J

    Get ready for Monday night’s new comedy: SASS reading powerpoint slides they are still working on, praising themselves while breaking their arms patting themselves on the back, and ignoring all the problems with horrific school climates. Meanwhile, the children suffer.

  • g

    Better late than never; the minutes to be approved have now all been posted, and it is great to see that they are far more comprehensive than in past months. At last, comments and concerns are better. I, for one, thank the secretary for the extra effort!

  • Doctor J

    SASS should be sharing “data” with the Board and public — they have all 3 Benchmarks before the just completed Star testing, which is supposed to be the predictor, and can compare school by school, grade level by grade level. Showing the data would provide some justification for the “death by testing” mentality that seems to have strangled SASS — not showing the data provides zero justification for the huge amount of time and resources put into 3 Benchmarks of testing. Is the public getting what they pay for ? Or is the only thing we are permitted to see are the new SASS Ipads and cutsom cases ?

  • Fly on the Wall

    From school board meeting 2/27/12
    PUBLIC COMMENT
    Derek Wang, Jim Rowe, Sandra Davis, Cherie Adcock, Raul Reyes, Kellie Morales, Sharon Marks, Ruben Quinoñes, David Rosenbaum, Pam Dean & Bray McCollum, Keith Coppage, Heather Fontanilla, Bryan Shaw, Jules Cook, Karen Arcangelo, Barbara Breashears, and Shey Reed spoke in support of the administration at Mt. Diablo High School.

    Mrs. McClatchy has friends.

  • Doctor J

    I don’t remember the Feb 27, 2012 Minutes with such detail — in fact if I recall Trustee Hansen objected to the brevity of the minutes at the next meeting in March, and voted against the adoption of the minutes. Has someone gone back and “changed” the approved minutes after the fact ? Actually when you look at the entire minutes, there is much more detail than I recall during that time period. Perhaps the heat is affecting my memory.

  • Doctor J

    Benjamin Franklin — quite a person. http://histv.co/SZ3

  • g

    Dr. J: The heat is not affecting your memory.

    The CYA came into effect with 2/27 minutes where we see a brief explanation of public comments, when several people “spoke in support of the administration of Mt Diablo High School”.

    And to think, it was just on Feb 6 that Eberhart said they would have to vote on a change of policy in order to increase minutes. Gee, I don’t remember them voting to increase the minutes.

    I’m glad they did, finally. I hope they continue, and get even better. This couple of years of total disregard of the public’s concerns and their continued denigration of Cheryl’s attempts to have the public’s concerns brought to light has been abysmal.

  • Doctor J

    G, I also appreciate the new effort for detail in the minutes, but frankly am appalled by the inaccuracy. Someone needs to proof read the minutes before posting. Just SOME of the examples from April 23 proposed minutes: “Vice President Whitmarsh led the pledge . . .” Meeting extension motion was to 1:30am, not 12:30am. Motions and votes are all mixed up in 16.7. “Amended Motion #1″ either should be listed first as the original motion or listed after the original motion was made but before the vote. Amended Motion #2 — was this an amendment or a new motion ? It passed, but then the other series of motions identified as “amended” #3 and #4 were actually made before the vote on #2, not after. It all becomes very important to understand how the meeting unfolded and the importance of accurate and detailed minutes. These are just some examples.

  • Doctor J

    Rose Lock just blew through her Elem Principal pool in a week and needs more Elem Principals — just posted the second “pool” application deadline for June 4. Tonight the Agenda says “up to 4 Elementary Principals”. Looks like more openings next month. http://www.edjoin.org/viewPosting.aspx?postingID=425651&countyID=7

  • g

    I wonder if there’s any chance Sara Dieli might be lured back to ‘fix’ Sun Terrace the way she fixed Holbrook? She was a great loss in the school closure fiasco.