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Archive for July, 2012

MDUSD appears to misrepresent some information in letter to parents about special education transportation changes

Although a June 20 letter to some Mt. Diablo district parents appears to attribute details about upcoming transportation changes to an outside agency, I have found that the district actually generated some of the information itself.

The letter includes drastic changes in special education busing procedures, including one that is being implemented “immediately,” one that will go into effect Aug. 26 and one set to begin Jan. 7.

According to the letter, the changes were based on a “Financial Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) study to assist with identifying more effective and efficient means to provide special education transportation.”

Yet, the district didn’t receive FCMAT’s draft transportation report until July 18 — nearly one month after the letter was written. The district had, however, received a June 5 letter from FCMAT outlining some of its preliminary findings and recommendations, which it had not publicly disclosed.

The June 20 letter to parents states: “The study revealed that we are significantly overidentifying transportation as a related service for special education students. For example, the district currently provides transportation to 26 percent of our students with an IEP (Individualized Education Programs); however, in most districts reviewed by FCMAT the average was approximately 10 percent. The FCMAT team found that the district has an inordinately high number of parents who receive reimbursement in lieu of transportation services. One similarly sized district has only two parents who are paid in lieu while we reimburse 144 parents. In response to the FCMAT findings and recommendations, the district is modifying special education transportation services as follows.”

First, the letter states that parents will only be reimbursed for transporting students if the district is unable to transport them.

Second, it states that special education students who attend their neighborhood schools will no longer receive transportation unless they have unique needs.

Third, it says some students will be picked up and dropped off at nearby schools, instead of at their homes, beginning Jan. 7. According to this “cluster model,” students would then be transported to and from schools that are farther away, the letter states.

But when I read FCMAT’s June 5 letter and July 18 draft report, I didn’t see any mention of the “similar sized district” referenced in the Mt. Diablo letter. So, I sent an email to Bill Gillaspie, chief administrative officer for FCMAT, pointing out that the information did not appear in its letter or draft report and asking which district it was using as a comparison, how many special education students it served and what percentage of them were transported to and from school.

“In response to your question, we did not give the district the ‘similarly’ sized district,” he wrote in an e-mail.

We don’t know what district they are referring to, so I can’t tell you how many students with IEPs there are or how many are being transported.

You are correct. We make no reference about this in the draft report.

The district must have that information that they are referring to in their letter to parents.”

I also noticed that the draft report attributed the “cluster” idea to an analysis the district received “from a third party expert in special education law, compliance with IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and best practices.”

“As a result,” the draft report states, “Mt. Diablo Unified is working towards clustering special education students at group stops where appropriate and training special education staff members in the IEP process and in determining whether transportation should be a related service. That same expert has developed a checklist that can be used in IEP meetings to help appropriately direct the provision of service.”

FCMAT then recommends that the district “cluster stops for students who can reasonably get to their local school or a nearby bus stop.” It adds: “These changes should be clearly communicated to parents well in advance.”

Just to double-check, I asked Gillaspie if the cluster idea came from FCMAT or from the district. Here is his emailed response:

“The ‘clustering’ is a MDUSD word that appears to have legal grounds to do so, according to the MSUSD legal counsel. You may clarify that with them, if necessary.

We continued to use it so there would be some consistency in how the district communicates the concept to their parents.

What MDUSD is hoping to do is create group bus stops most likely at the elementary school of residence in their neighborhood, or at a common, public location, like a park, rather than picking up each child at their doorstep.

We agree that having group bus stops for the less severe students who can safely get to those stops is a positive for the children and district.

This can be a cost reducing method of providing transportation, provides for the least restrictive environment and promotes student independence with parent support.

Any change of placement or services will involve an IEP meeting, which consists of a meeting between parent and district.”

I asked for a copy of the independent legal analysis on which the clustering idea was based. Gillaspie said it was FCMAT’s belief that it was a public document, since the district had provided it to FCMAT.

However, as a courtesy, Gillaspie said he called Greg Rolen, the district’s general counsel, on Monday to let him know that FCMAT intended to release the document to me and to see if Rolen had any objection. So far, Gillaspie has not heard back from Rolen.

I also asked Gillaspie to name the districts FCMAT reviewed, when it determined that “most school districts” transport about 10 percent of special education students.

“The figure that we use has no basis in any statistical report or data that is available from the state,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Over the years we observe that most districts that control their transportation placements seem to transport about 10 percent of the total special education population.

(The state wide average of serving children in special education is between 10 percent and 11 percent of the general education population).”

Yet, FCMAT’s report and the district’s letter to parents both appear to represent the transportation percentage as a fact that has been “reviewed” by FCMAT. To further clarify whether FCMAT compared districts, I followed up with a phone call.

Gillaspie said FCMAT had not actually analyzed its data to confirm its conclusion.

“What I told you is an honest opinion what we observe,” he said. “We’re looking at the number of kids that are being transported and the number of kids in special education in the district and we’re drawing a conclusion from that.”

Again, I asked him to name the districts to which he was referring. After hesitating for a few moments, he said the Poway Unified School District transports about 10 percent of its special education students.

“That would be my estimate,” he said. “I would say that you could look at Poway and probably draw that conclusion.”

However, he did not provide the data to back up this conclusion. Instead, he said I could look at the transportation reports on FCMAT’s website.

Gillaspie also said that he was not sure whether other districts “cluster” special education students or whether FCMAT had ever recommended that any other districts do that. He said he would try to find out and get back to me.

I also noticed that the district’s announcement in the parent letter that it will stop transporting students to their neighborhood schools (in most cases), is not specifically stated as one of FCMAT’s recommendations.

Instead, FCMAT recommends improving transportation forms and checklists, which would require parents and district staff to identify whether students attend their neighborhood schools. As previously noted, the recommended checklist in FCMAT’s report was provided by the district’s third-party legal expert.

So, the letter sent to parents includes:

- a change regarding reimbursements, which is partially based on information that FCMAT didn’t even have;

- the elimination of busing to neighborhood schools, which was not expressly recommended by FCMAT; and

- a recommendation regarding clustering, based on a legal analysis provided by the district to FCMAT, which has not been shared with the public.

Parents should be given the opportunity to question the true basis of these decisions, instead of being led to believe they are the direct result of FCMAT’s study.

Gillaspie said it is important for districts to involve those who are affected by changes in discussions before they are implemented.

“As we discussed, to implement program or transportation service changes, open dialogue, meetings, correspondence between the district and parents will be required to be ongoing, to assure transparency and a spirit of working together for the best welfare of each child,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I believe the district is committed to do this as a result of our studies.”

Do you believe the district is committed to open, transparent dialogue with parents in a spirit of working together for the best welfare of each child?

AUG. 2 UPDATE: FCMAT has denied my request for the third party analysis, reversing its previous opinion that it was a public document by now claiming that it is protected under the district’s attorney-client privilege.

Here is FCMAT’s response to my request for the analysis and emails between the district and FCMAT, which I received in an email today:

“Hello Theresa:

In regard to your request for document in connection with our nonpublic draft MDUSD Transportation Report, you asked in reference to page 22 who is the legal expert and requesting for a copy of that legal analysis. The special education legal opinion referred to in the nonpublic draft FCMAT report was provided to us by the district in our capacity as an agent for the district in studying and reporting on transportation issues. The district asserts its attorney/client privilege and we are not in a position to release that document under a public records request. If you intend to pursue this further, you need to deal directly with the district.

The same position applies to any attorney/client communication between the district’s attorneys and FCMAT with regard to the study and report. Accordingly, in providing you with copies of correspondence, including emails, we do not include any such communication as to which the district asserts an attorney/client privilege.

I will be forwarding to you in the near future the copies of email correspondence between FCMAT and MDUSD, as you requested, from April 2012 to present, except for any attorney/client protected material.

It is the practice of FCMAT that we do not comment on draft reports, they are subject to review, edit and comment by the district, prior to finalization and publication.

The MDUSD draft FCMAT transportation report was not released publicly by FCMAT and is not a public record. Mistakenly made public, which should have not been, due to the need for district staff to review for accuracy of data, findings and recommendations. This report remains a draft, no final conclusions have been made, and presently continues to be under review by the district, with there is no required timeline for completion.

When a final report is published on our website, it will speak for itself and FCMAT will have no comment. Any questions about the released report should be directed to the district that commissioned it.

Thank you

Bill
William P. Gillaspie, Ed.D.”

AUG. 8 UPDATE: According to the CAC blog, Superintendent Steven Lawrence says the FCMAT reports will not be on the Aug. 13 agenda: http://bit.ly/MQeISj

AUG. 9 UPDATE: I have received the following email from FCMAT’s attorney, explaining why FCMAT is denying my Public Records Act request:

“Ms. Harrington:

I am the attorney for the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). I am responding on behalf of FCMAT to your continuing request for a copy of a memorandum sent to the Mount Diablo Unified School District by an attorney engaged by the District for a legal opinion. This memorandum was made available to FCMAT by the District in order that FCMAT could provide the management assistance which the District engaged FCMAT to perform. In our relationship with the District with regard to this engagement, we have been serving as an agent of the District.

The District maintains that the memorandum in question is a confidential communication protected by the attorney client privilege. After careful consideration, I have concluded that the District’s position is correct and, further, that only the District can waive the privilege and it has not waived it by making it available to FCMAT for the accomplishment of the purpose for which the attorney was consulted by the District. Accordingly, FCMAT will not produce this memorandum in response to your public records request. It is my understanding that, except for this memorandum and any communications between FCMAT and the District’s attorneys in the preparation of the transportation report FCMAT has been working on, you have already been provided by Bill Gillaspie of FCMAT all of the communications, including email, that you have asked for.

By separate email immediately following this one, I will be forwarding to you a letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern” at FCMAT, from the District’s General Counsel, Greg Rolen, dated August 1, 2012. This letter states the District’s legal basis for its position and it is in reliance on that position that FCMAT declines to produce the memorandum. If this is a matter that your publication intends to pursue further, you should consider the District to be the real party in interest and an indispensable party.

Frank J. Fekete
Legal Counsel
FCMAT”

Here is the letter Rolen sent to FCMAT: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=126421163

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 332 Comments »

MDUSD fills some administrative positions, but is still interviewing for others

Based on continued questions from readers about administrative assignments in the Mt. Diablo school district and the district’s failure to publicly announce many of them to the entire community, I have compiled the following list of assignments that have been announced (in some instances only to the school site communities) or confirmed by the district:

Here are assignments or appointments that have been approved by the school board:

Bill Morones: Director of Secondary Education (4-1 vote; promotion from Ygnacio Valley HS principal)

Charla Hernandez: Ayers Elementary (from Brentwood)
Lianne Cismowski: Cambridge Elementary (promotion from MDHS vice principal)
Jon Pierce: Fair Oaks Elementary (from Oakland)
Kristan Martin Meyer: Sun Terrace Elementary
David Ramirez: Westwood Elementary (promoted from El Dorado MS vice principal)

Marie Schirmer: SASS administrator (promoted from Cambridge Elem. principal)

Here are reassignments that Superintendent Steven Lawrence has made without board approval (under his own authority):

Gretchen Jacobs: After-school administrator (transferred from Sun Terrace principal)

Cheryl Champion: Delta View Elementary (transferred from Fair Oaks Elementary)

Jenny Vargas: Sunrise/Shadelands special education (transferred from Westwood Elementary)

Sue Brothers: Principal of Ygnacio Valley HS (transferred from Clayton Valley HS)

José Espinoza: Vice Principal, Ygnacio Valley HS (transferred from Clayton Valley HS)

Stephen Brady: Vice Principal, Northgate HS (transferred from Ygnacio Valley HS)

Jon Campopiano: Vice Principal, Oak Grove MS (transferred from Northgate HS vice principal)

Additional principal openings:
Pleasant Hill Elementary, Valle Verde Elementary, Woodside Elementary and Riverview Middle School

Are you satisfied with the administrative appointments made so far?

JULY 30 UPDATE: It has just come to my attention that the district is also seeking a new administrator for Prospect alternative HS: http://www.mdusd.org/alternativeed/Pages/nshs.aspx

AUG. 9 UPDATE: I have just received the following email from Julie Braun-Martin, in response to a request for the names of newly hired principals:

“Here is a list of the newly hired principals:

Kristan Martin-Meyer: Sun Terrace Elementary

Jon Pierce: Fair Oaks Elementary

Thom Kwiatkowski: Riverview Middle

Jenny Cronan: Woodside Elementary

Angela Hotchkiss: Pleasant Hill Elementary

Beverly Tom: Valle Verde Elementary”

AUG. 10 UPDATE: Here’s the email response I received from Julie Braun-Martin, after I asked whether the the appointment of the Riverview MS principal is contingent on board approval, since the board did not authorize Superintendent Lawrence to fill that position:

“The superintendent had the authority during the month of July when the Board was not meeting to proceed with hiring all adminstrative vacancies, so we could be ready for the opening of school.”

Here is the response I sent her:

“Julie, Here is the authority the board granted to Superintendent Lawrence, according to the June 25 agenda report:

‘Member (Linda Mayo) Moved, Member (Lynne Dennler) seconded to approve the Originalmotion ‘Approve allowing the Superintendent to enter into contracts for the above stated positions prior to the August 13 Board meeting.’. Upon a Roll-Call Vote being taken, the vote was: Aye: 3 Nay: 2.

Here is a list of the ‘above-mentioned positions,’ which was attached to the agenda:

‘Elementary School Principal 3.0 FTE

Student Services Coordinator 9-12 .60 FTE

Vice Principal, Continuation School 1.0 FTE

Administrator, NSHS 1.0 FTE

Student Services Coordinator 6-8 .60 FTE

Coordinator, After School Program 1.0 FTE Classified Position

(If approved by the Board)’

The agenda report also stated:

‘Only positions that are currently authorized by the Board can be filled.’

The staff recommendation stated: ‘Approve allowing the Superintendent to enter into contracts for the above stated positions prior to the August 13 Board meeting.’

What is the basis for your assertion that the superintendent was authorized to fill vacancies not disclosed in the June 25 agenda report?”

Here is a link to the June 25 agenda report: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5592&mtgId=345

Here are links to portions of the board’s discussion regarding this:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/KNTiw6TRYWc

Part 2: http://youtu.be/qxY5JWBkGJA

AUG. 15 UPDATE: Since the district still has not released a comprehensive list of new administrators, it appears information will continue to trickle out.

Here’s an announcement about new administrators at Foothill MS, from the principal’s letter to parents:

“…As you and I continue our journey this year you will see some new faces at Foothill. With the retirement of Mike Mattos, we have David Roe joining us in the Vice Principal position. Dave comes from Sequoia Middle School where he has been an administrator for over six years. Previously he taught history for a combined total of 15 years at Clayton Valley High School and Pine Hollow Middle School. Dave looks forward to working with the entire school community to continue Foothill’s long tradition of academic success. You might want to catch one of his infamous “Coffee with Dave” morning gatherings coming to you this fall. Dave will be overseeing the 6th grade.

Also joining us is Theodora Pappas in the Student Services Coordinator (SSC) position. Theo is very excited to join the team here at Foothill and get to know students, staff, and families. Last year she worked between Pine Hollow and Riverview Middle Schools as a SSC and previously she was a middle school Assistant Principal in San Ramon. Before beginning her administrative career, Theo taught high school government, economics, and world history. Theo spent her summer in Greece and is a life time resident of Berkeley. She will be overseeing the 7th grade…”

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2012
Under: Education | 104 Comments »

MDUSD implements transportation changes without first allowing public to see report on which they are based

Quite by accident, I have obtained a draft report that includes much sought-after information about Mt. Diablo district plans to drastically change student transportation services in the next school year.

In April, the district asked the independent Fiscal Crisis and Management Team, called FCMAT, to evaluate its transportation programs and recommend cost-cutting measures or other changes that could improve operations. Many special education parents have been anxiously awaiting the results because they know their children could be affected.

District officials alluded to the report’s findings and recommendations in a June 20 letter to parents outlining upcoming changes. In addition, special education Administrator Carolyn Patton outlined them in a June 25 oral report to trustees.

But the written findings and recommendations were not presented to the board or released it to the public. So, I requested a copy of them, along with a copy of the letter to parents, which Patton referenced at the June 25 meeting.

In an e-mail to Superintendent Steven Lawrence, I wrote that it was my understanding the board had received both documents.

He sent me the following e-mail response on July 19: “That’s interesting because I have not received a draft or final report from FCMAT. I will have to check with board members to determine where the reports they have received came from because to my knowledge no one at the district has received copies of the draft or final reports.”

I learned Tuesday that this was not true, when Lawrence sent this email message, with an attachment: “I needed to check with Carolyn and I believe this is the letter you are referring to. It is a (sic) exit letter of the FCMAT audit.”

But the attachment was not a letter. It was the draft transportation report, which Lawrence previously claimed he didn’t have.

It was dated July 18 — the day before Lawrence sent the email saying he didn’t have the report and that no one else did either.

Oops.

Lawrence had inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. He had also provided proof that his previous assertion about not having the report was false.

I posted a link to the document on my blog, along with a copy of the June 20 letter sent by the district to parents, which I received from a reader.

In another email today, Lawrence admitted he sent me the report in error.

“I made a mistake,” he wrote. “ That is our draft report and has not been shared with the board or any member of the public. Because people have been on vacation we are still vetting the draft to get corrections back to FCMAT. As part of the FCMAT process they always check findings with a school district before the report is finalized. Therefore, there could be errors in the current document. I know that I cannot mandate that you do or don’t do anything with the report, but our goal is to share the actual final report with the board at the Aug. 13 meeting. At that point, the final report would be a public document and you could share any parts of it that you felt appropriate. Attached is the letter that we received at the end of the (FCMAT) visit.”

Here is a link to the letter — dated June 5 — which outlines the transportation issues FCMAT planned to evaluate and includes preliminary findings and recommendations: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=124879803

Recommendations include revamping staffing, curbing door-to-door service and cutting back on student transportation provided by private vendors.

It appears that the letter sent to parents was based on the preliminary findings in the June 5 FCMAT letter, which the public never got a chance to see. Likewise, the draft report — which Lawrence appears to have initially attempted to conceal — would not have been made public if he had not accidentally sent it to me.

The district’s lack of transparency is causing frustration among parents, who want to know why it is making changes to their children’s transportation plans. They deserved to have been given the opportunity to weigh in on the findings and recommendations BEFORE the district decided to implement them.

Instead, parents are being told now that the changes are a virtually a done deal and they’ll get to see why when the board reviews the final report Aug. 13.

Do you think the district should have invited public input on the recommendations before implementing them?

JULY 28 UPDATE: I sent Superintendent Steven Lawrence an email Wednesday, which included the following statement and question:

“…the report you mistakenly sent me was dated the day before you sent that email. Also Bill (Gillaspie) confirmed that FCMAT sent you the report in a July 18 email. Therefore, you had in fact received a draft report from FCMAT when you stated that you had not and when you stated that to your knowledge no one at the district had received it. Why did you make those false statements?”

Here is Lawrence’s response, which he sent in a Thursday email:

“I responded prior to receiving anything from FCMAT.”

In order to verify that FCMAT had sent Lawrence the document the day before he denied having it, I asked Gillaspie for a copy of the email sent by FCMAT.

Here is the copy Gillaspie sent:

“From: Leonel Martinez
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1:44 PM
To: lawrences@mdusd.org
Cc: Bill Gillaspie
Subject: FCMAT draft report

Steven Lawrence, Ph.D., Superintendent

Mt. Diablo Unified School District
1936 Carlotta Drive
Concord, CA 94519

Dear Superintendent Lawrence:

Attached is a digital copy of the draft transportation report developed by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Please review this draft document and contact us with any corrections or suggested changes. After we receive this information, we will proceed to finalize the report.

Sincerely,

Leonel Martinez
FCMAT Technical Writer
(661) 636-4387

G: William P. Gillaspie, Ed.D., FCMAT Administrative Officer”

The above email shows that the draft report was sent to Lawrence at 1:44 p.m. July 18 — the day BEFORE he claimed he did not have it and said that no one else at the district did either.

The email included the same draft report attachment that Lawrence accidentally sent to me. Although some blog commenters have questioned the fact that the font with the July 18 date on the cover and cover letter is different from the rest of the document, the pdf from FCMAT includes the same dates. So, it appears that is the way the district received the report.

Now that Lawrence’s veracity has been called into question regarding the FCMAT report, I have requested copies of all emails and correspondence between the district and FCMAT from April to the present.

JULY 29 UPDATE: I have received an email from CAC Chairperson Lorrie Davis, who has informed me that the CAC executive board met with some district staff members to discuss the June 20 letter that would be sent to parents. Davis also said the district shared the June 5 FCMAT letter with the committee.

Here’s what Davis wrote today in an email:

“In regards to special ed. transportation, the CAC executive committee met with Mildred Browne, Greg Rolen and Carolyn Patton before the letter was sent out to parents explaining the new procedures. I appreciated them discussing the new procedures with us and listening to our concerns. In regards to ‘clustering’ our non-severe students, our biggest concerns are supervision and congestion at school sites. Parents I have spoken with have stated they are willing to cluster if it helps to save money and services provided for their children at school. We were amazed at how much money is being paid to parents for mileage reimbursement and agree that this practice needs to be controlled.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 135 Comments »

MDUSD transportation plans revealed

After raising questions about the Mt. Diablo school district’s plans for special education and transportation, I received two documents today — one from a parent and one from Superintendent Steven Lawrence.

Here is a letter sent to many special education parents regarding transportation plans:

“June 20, 2012

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Please read this entire letter as it contains important information regarding changes for students who are eligible for transportation as a related service as part oftheir Individual Education Plan {lEP). All changes will commence during the 2012/2013 school year. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District (“District”) strives to provide quality educational programs in challenging fiscal times. As such, the District recently participated in a Financial Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) study to assist with identifying more effective and efficient means to proVide special education transportation.

The study revealed that we are significantly overidentifying transportation as a related service for special education students. For example, the District currently provides transportation to 26% of our students with an IEP; however, in most districts reviewed by FCMAT the average was approximately 10%. The FCMAT team found that the District has an inordinately high number of parents who receive reimbursement in lieu of transpol1ation services. One similarly sized district has only two (2) parents who are paid in lieu whlle we reimburse one hundred forty-four (144) parents. In response to the FCMAT findings and recommendations, the District is modifying speciial education transportation services as follows.

Parent Reimbursements. Effective immediately transportation reimbursements will only be offered when the District is unable to transport the student. Current parent reimbursement arrangements will be honored through extended school year 2012. Any new reimbursement requests require priorapproval from Angie Goakey, Transportation Supervisor.

Home School. Beginning August 26, 2012, students who receive special education services at their home school will not receive transportation unless the IEP team determines that a student’s unique needs require transportation.

Cluster Model. Beginning on Monday, January 7, 2013, the District will transition to a School to School (Cluster) Transportation mode. Unless otherwise noted in a student’s IEP, all transportation for students with IEPs will be from school of residence to school of placement. High school students who live in the Bay Point area will have a cluster point (bus pick-up/drop-off location) at Riverview Middle School. Middle school students who reside in the former Glenbrook Middle School attendance area will have a cluster point at the Glenbrook site.
Transportation as a related service will be reviewed with you prior to January 2013. Any specialized transportation needs will be determined by the students IEP team and documented in an IEP. Students who are medically fragile or pose significant safety concerns to themselves or others will continue to be eligible for door to door transportation. Transportation services will be reviewed at your student’s annuallEP meeting, or earlier, if needed.

We understand these changes impact your child. It is our desire to work with families during this transition. To help with the transition and answer questions the district will be offering the following:

o Parent informational meeting(s) in September 2012 (dates and location to be announced)

o Website with information regarding transportation changes and frequently asked questions

o An email address available for sending specific questions regarding transportation

For assistance during the summer break please contact: Carolyn Patton, Administrator, Special Education, (925) 682-8000, Ext. 4187; or Angie Goakey, Transportation Supervisor, (925) 682-8000, Ext. 3709.

Sincerely,

Mildred D. Browne, Ed. D., Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Special Ed-ucation
Greg Rolen, General Counsel”

The above document appears to be the letter referenced by Carolyn Patton on June 25 when she told the board about the FCMAT findings: http://youtu.be/LV93z1d7wIk

However, Patton said the draft letter was from herself and Rolen. Instead, the final letter sent out was signed by Mildred Browne and Rolen.

I also received the following email from Lawrence:

“Theresa,

I needed to check with Carolyn and I believe this is the letter you are referring to. It is a (sic) exit letter of the FCMAT audit.”

But the attachment he sent was not a letter. Instead, it was a draft Transportation Review from FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis & Management Team): http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=124831160

This report is dated July 18. That is one day BEFORE Lawrence sent me the email below, dated June 19, in response to my email asking for the FCMAT report and letter mentioned at the board meeting:

“That’s interesting because I have not received a draft or final report from FCMAT. I will have to check with Board members to determine where the reports they have received came from because to my knowledge no one at the district has received copies of the draft or final reports.”

So, it appears that Lawrence may have inadvertently attached the report that he previously claimed no one had received. It’s still unclear what document Patton was referencing when she told the board in June: “In response to the FCMAT report, we have already seen the preliminary findings….” She also said, “As I think you have all seen, the FCMAT study identified….”

Here is a portion of the July 18 report related to FCMAT’s staffing recommendations:

“…FCMAT recommends that the district create the positions of director of transportation, vehicle maintenance supervisor, and field trip scheduler. This model also includes only one lead mechanic, eliminating one of the lead positions. The vehicle maintenance supervisor would lead one shift, and the lead mechanic would be responsible for the other shift. Both the vehicle maintenance supervisor and the lead will maintain the parts inventory and work order processing. The safety and training supervisor would no longer dispatch on a regular basis, but would work out in the field, performing duties such as behind-the-wheel driver training, completing safety ride checks with drivers as they drive routes (evaluations), observing student loading and unloading at schools, providing classroom and in-service driver training, as well as maintaining driver records.

The three driver instructors would continue bidding a route, but they would not be guaranteed eight hours per day. These personnel should be used as driver instructors only when necessary as an extra work assignment. The supervisor-dispatcher positions would be reconfigured as scheduler-dispatchers and not retain the supervision responsibility. Added to the dispatch office will be the support of the third scheduler for field trips. Supervision would be accomplished by the operations supervisor, safety and training supervisor, vehicle maintenance supervisor and the director of transportation, dividing the staff for evaluations. The net effect of this reorganization would be the addition of three positions and the deletion of four others, an overall reduction of one position.

Aides who assist students on buses are assigned by the Special Education Department but are charged to the Transportation Department. Fewer than five aides ride on school buses, but the exact number was unclear. Bus aides should report to the Transportation Department, which should hire, train and evaluate them. The reasons for assigning a bus aide should be clearly stated on a transportation request, so the department knows the specific student requirements.

Employees indicated that in recent months, tension has developed in the department. Meetings were conducted, a survey administered, and an outside facilitator hired to evaluate and mitigate some of these issues. This tension was not evident at the time of FCMAT’s visit; however, bus drivers and other staff reported that meetings were recently attempted between the supervisory staff and department employees. Every attempt should be made to continue this process.

Transportation rarely holds staff meetings where key department staff can discuss issues and plan. These meetings are an effective way to build camaraderie and contribute to the overall welfare and success of the department. Staff meetings should be a regular function of the department.

The department has no driver or employee handbook. The transportation services coordinator has worked on a draft handbook that he hopes will ultimately be adopted. The district should completely evaluate the draft document to ensure it complies with the collective bargaining agreement, existing district rules, and practices, and laws and regulations.

Recommendations

The district should:

1. Consider adopting the staffing model recommended by FCMAT.

2. Consider reclassifying the driver instructors as bus drivers and utilizing them as instructors only when needed as appropriate through the collective bargaining process.

3. Bus aides should be hired, trained and evaluated by the transportation department.

4. Continue meetings with employees.

5. Continue to work on developing a department handbook.

6. Institute regular department staff meetings.”

Do you agree with FCMAT’s staffing recommendations?

JULY 25 UPDATE: I received the following email from Superintendent Steven Lawrence this morning regarding the draft FCMAT report:

“Theresa,

I made a mistake. That is our draft report and has not been shared with the Board or any member of the public. Because people have been on vacation we are still vetting the draft to get corrections back to FCMAT. As part of the FCMAT process they always check findings with a school district before the report is finalized. Therefore, there could be errors in the current document. I know that I cannot mandate that you do or don’t do anything with the report, but our goal is to share the actual final report with the Board at the August 13th meeting. At that point, the final report would be a public document and you could share any parts of it that you felt appropriate. Attached is the letter that we received at the end of the visit.

Sincerely,

Steven”

Since I had already posted the draft report on my blog last night, I replied that I would post the above email today so readers would know that the draft might contain errors and could be corrected before the final report is presented to the board on Aug. 13.

I will post the exit letter as a separate blog item.

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 32 Comments »

Cindy Gershen has not lost sight of her goal to change the way the community eats

Cindy Gershen works in the kitchen of the Sunrise Bistro Restaurant in Walnut Creek.

Ever since Cindy Gershen called me several years ago to tell me about the Wellness City Challenge and Healthy Restaurant Association she was spearheading, I have witnessed her amazing ability to light a fire in others and convert them to her cause — which is ultimately to change what the community eats.

That’s no small task. But Gershen — who owns the Sunrise Bistro in Walnut Creek — is undaunted.

I wrote a “Hometown Hero” story about her four years ago, in which I described her as a “petite dynamo” who was sweeping people up in her mission to transform the way people eat, exercise and think about health and wellness.

“I’m an agent for change,” she said at the time.

She based her commitment on her own transformation from an overweight, unhappy woman to a healthy, energetic 56-year-old grandmother who looks years younger than her age. After she cut down on sugar and began eating whole foods and fresh veggies — and reduced the size of her portions — she was able to lose 100 pounds and keep it off.

She invited Dr. Robert Lustig, a UC San Franciso pediatrician, to speak at Las Lomas High about his groundbreaking research on the effects of sugar in the body, years before he was plunged into the national spotlight in 2011 when The New York Times wrote about his video gone viral, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”

Gershen was also spreading her message about healthy eating years before Jamie Oliver launched his “Food Revolution” in 2010.

Although she hasn’t gained national attention yet, Gershen has a cookbook deal in the works with a freelance writer who said during a recent garden tour at Mt. Diablo High that she was sucked into Gershen’s vortex.

Others on the tour smiled knowingly. Gershen approaches people with tornado-like force, intent on opening their eyes to the problems that result from unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles. Then, she persuades them to work alongside her.

Childhood obesity and diabetes are two of the ills she aims to eradicate through her relentless commitment to nutrition and health.

She started slowly at Mt. Diablo High, with a grant from the Mt. Diablo Healthcare District that enabled students in the culinary arts program to cook nutritious meals for the school’s staff. Some detractors criticized the project because it didn’t feed students.

But Gershen and those who embraced the idea said the project helped build a foundation that could be passed onto students, after teachers saw for themselves how changing their diets helped them feel better.

The project culminated with an event in May called “Come to the Table,” which included healthy meals prepared by Mt. Diablo High students, motivational speakers and panel discussions.

It garnered support from Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and officials including city council members, state Superintendent Tom Torlakson and Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

“That brought a lot of people to the table,” said Concord Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister, who attended that event and the recent garden tour. “That was the ‘aha’ moment.’”

Gershen seized the moment to build momentum. She is helping teach students at Mt. Diablo High how to grow their own food, cook it and eat it, through a pilot healthy cuisine and sustainable tourism program.

The pilot is a partnership between the Wellness City Challenge, the Mt. Diablo CARES summer program, the school’s International Hospitality and Tourism Academy and Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Regional Occupational Program. Environmental science teacher Patrick Oliver, who has worked as an organic farmer, is hoping someone will donate an orchard quality tractor to the school so he and his students can plant crops more easily.

Gershen is also working with the Mt. Diablo school district’s food services department, with another grant from the Mt. Diablo Healthcare District, to bring healthier foods to other schools.

Leading by example, she has earned the respect of those who have partnered with her, including Don Graves, who works with foster youth in Contra Costa County.

“She doesn’t have to do this,” said Graves, after the garden tour. “What strikes me — and what’s important — is her passion.”

Four years ago, Gershen threw down the gauntlet.

“If everyone’s got the same information,” she said earnestly, “in five years, you’ll see a change in the way we eat, which will impact our health.”

She’s got one year to make that prediction come true.

Do you think she can do it?

JULY 25 UPDATE: Here is a note I received from Roy Larkin, who sits on the Mt. Diablo Heathcare District Board, which provided the grant that funded Gershen’s first project at Mt. Diablo High:

“I do hope that the Wellness City Challenge is successful in the MDUSD. The initial program went well and the cost of good nourishing food was about $1 per person. With the annual increase in student fees for meals and the rise in obesity, wouldn’t it be nice to see lower student fees, healthy foods and lower obesity rates spread randomly throughout our schools?

Roy Larkin”

AUG. 20 UPDATE: Here is a link to a story by our sports reporter Ben Enos about how Gershen is feeding the MDHS football team to change the way they eat: http://bit.ly/POEQ4C

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Education | 8 Comments »

Brave New Voices Festival in Berkeley and Oakland today and tomorrow

About 500 youth ages 13-24 from throughout the U.S. and several countries will converge on this weekend for the Youth Speaks’ “Brave New Voices Festival,” which is the largest ongoing spoken-word event in the world, according to organizers.

It brings together young artists, educators and “emerging leaders” to celebrate artistic empowerment and youth voices.

The festival starts today from 3 to 5 p.m., when the Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks will co-host a Town Hall meeting at the Zellerbach Hall auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus to discuss issues affecting their lives.

Then from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, the finals of the Brave New Voices Festival will be held at the Fox Theater in Oakland, where guest judges will select the Grand Slam Champion.

Here’s more information from a news release:

“BERKELEY, Calif. – The Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks announced a new partnership today to bring journalists and the country’s young people together to improve the quality and reach of reporting about the key challenges affecting the next generation of Americans. The goal of the collaboration is to create a hub for 21st-century storytelling, where youth poets and journalists can come together to produce reporting that deeply involves and engages young people.

From immigration and education to health care and the environment, CIR’s journalists and Youth Speaks’ spoken-word artists take on critical issues and communicate them through channels that the public can react to and consume. The goal of the partnership is to bring together these two groups of content creators, providing journalists with deep insight into the topics and forms of storytelling that matter most to young people, increasing the news literacy of youth, and giving youth a central role in how their own stories are told in the media.

‘The Youth Speaks partnership is a unique opportunity to engage a generation that we – and most journalism organizations – have yet to fully reach,’ said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. ‘We want to hear directly from young people so that we can better understand the challenges they face in life. We will use that intelligence to inform and evolve our reporting so that young audiences will value investigative journalism and understand the role it can have in shaping their future. We also hope, through this partnership, to work with Youth Speaks artists to translate investigative reporting into their own voices, providing another distribution platform for reporting on the issues they care about most.’

The two organizations will formally launch their partnership this week at Youth Speaks’ Brave New Voices Festival, the largest ongoing spoken-word event in the world, which brings together young artists, educators and emerging leaders to celebrate artistic empowerment and youth voices. From 3 to 5 p.m. today, July 20, CIR and Youth Speaks will co-host a Town Hall at the Zellerbach Hall auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus with 500 young people, ages 13-24, from throughout the United States and several countries to discuss a range of issues that affect their lives. The finals of the Brave New Voices Festival will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, where special guest judges will select the Grand Slam Champion.

‘The more our youth are engaged in their community, the better, and that is what brings Youth Speaks and CIR together,’ said James Kass, founder and executive director Youth Speaks. ‘We believe that young people can use language to take control over their lives, and we are constantly looking for new platforms where they can express and empower themselves. Civic engagement and investigative journalism are ways for youth to further develop their education and develop confidence in their ability to control their destiny and impact their community…’

About Youth Speaks
Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks is the leading nonprofit presenter of Spoken Word performance, education and youth development programs in the country. Presenters of local and national youth poetry slams, festivals, reading series and more, Youth Speaks also offers a comprehensive slate of literary arts education programs during the school day and after school and provides numerous publication and youth development programs. All together, Youth Speaks works with 45,000 teens per year in the Bay Area and has created partner programs in 60 cities across the United States. For more information, visit www.youthspeaks.org.

About Center for Investigative Reporting
The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR reports reach the public through television, print, radio and the Web and have received numerous journalism awards, including the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Scripps Howard Award, and Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards. In 2012, CIR received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. CIR reports have sparked federal legislation, policy change at all levels of government, public-interest lawsuits, reforms in corporate practices and a major United Nations resolution. In 2009, CIR founded California Watch, the largest investigative team covering the state. In April 2012, CIR merged with The Bay Citizen, which produces accountability reporting for the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit www.cironline.org.”

What issues do you think are important for youth to discuss?

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Education | 1 Comment »

Second time a charm for MDUSD charter waiver?

Once again, several representatives of the Mt. Diablo school district plan to trek up to Sacramento tomorrow, hoping to persuade the state Board of Education to approve their request to waive the financial impact of Clayton Valley Charter High on the district.

“I am going to the SBE meeting tomorrow and plan on addressing the SBE,” Superintendent Steven Lawrence wrote in an email. “It is important to the district because of the drastic cuts the state has made to our budget and the limited amount of funding provide(d) to educate the children of California. Any further loss of funds will negatively impact the educational opportunities for students in the district.”

District board President Sherry Whitmarsh said she doesn’t intend to go to the meeting because she believes the state board would be more likely to listen to parents than to district officials. Several district parents will attend, she said.

If the board denies the waiver, the district will have to shell out about $1.7 million more to the charter than it will receive from the state for the charter’s students. This is because the high school rate of funding is about $978 more per student than the unified school district rate.

The state Department of Education recommends denying the waiver because it would increase state costs and could set a precedent that would lead other districts to seek waivers. In addition, the board may not have the authority to grant the waiver, since school funding is granted by the Legislature.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, has proposed AB 1811 to try to help remedy the financial impact of charter conversion high schools on unified school districts.

But in looking more closely at her amended bill, which is in the Senate, it appears it would not apply to Clayton Valley Charter High.

Subdivision B of her proposed bill states:

“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, including the formula
specified in Section 47633.”

Section 47633 is the existing law, which would require the district to pay the charter high school rate. So, it appears that the bill is intended to remedy any future disparities that could arise if more high schools convert to charters in unified districts.

Here is the link to the state Department of Education agenda: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr12/agenda201207.asp

The district’s waiver request is Item W-25.

You can watch the action unfold online at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/

Do you think the state Board of Education should approve the district’s waiver request?

Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Under: Clayton Valley Charter High, Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 100 Comments »

Lafayette superintendent’s July community update

Although some districts take the month of July off, Lafayette Superintendent Fred Brill has issued a message to his community to update parents about Transitional Kindergarten, student registration, the upcoming school board election, school calendar and professional development.

Here is his message:

“July 13, 2012

Dear Parents and Community,

I hope this communication finds you immersed in a restful summer vacation filled with family, friends and fun! There are a few notable changes and events of which we would like you to be aware:

· Transitional Kindergarten: The recent passage of the 2012-2013 California Budget now includes a requirement that all school districts provide a Transitional Kindergarten program, which we are prepared to do at all of our elementary school sites. In the 2012-13 school year, this program will be offered to those students born on or after November 2 and on or before December 2 in 2007. For more information, contact Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rachel Zinn, (925) 927-3500.

· New Student Registration: Over the summer when school offices are closed, new families may come to the Lafayette School District Administration Office, 3477 School Street, Lafayette, to enroll for the upcoming school year. Please call Melissa Hom, 925-927-3500, if you have questions.

Summer Registration Hours at the District Office are:

July 3 – August 3
Tuesdays-Wednesdays-Thursdays: 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Fridays: 8:00 – 11:30 a.m.

· Online Fegistration System-Reghub.org: We have now moved the student information database to the Cloud. This has allowed us to collaborate with LPIE and parent organizations to streamline the parent registration process through an online website. Parents, please look forward to receiving detailed information about how to update personal information, as well as the times for your school’s mascot day (August 20), in the August mailer, which will be mailed out the first week of August.

· Governing Board Elections: Two Board member terms will end this year (Shayne Silva and Stephenie Teichman). These 4-year term seats are set to be on the November 6, 2012, Election ballot. The candidacy filing period is July 16 – August 10, 2012; however, the filing period will be extended if an incumbent does not file. For information on filing Candidate Nomination papers, election timetable, etc. contact the Contra Costa County Elections Department. If you would like information on serving on the Governing Board of the Lafayette School District, feel free to contact any current Board member whose email address can be found on our district website: http://www.lafsd.k12.ca.us/board.

· Revised 2012-2013 School Year Calendar: We made a minor change in elementary conference dates (Grades 1-5) (changing one of the four elementary parent/teacher conference days in September from a Wednesday to a Monday). Early student dismissal will be on: September 24, 25, 27, 28 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). Wednesday, September 26 will be a regular, full day. To download the 2012-2013 revised calendar (pdf), visit our district website: http://www.lafsd.k12.ca.us/Calendar

While many of our campuses have been overflowing with summer camps, soccer and baseball, our custodians, grounds and maintenance crews have been working tirelessly to ensure our facilities are sparkling and ready for the first day of school, and our teachers have been collaboratively planning and attending conferences in preparation for the beginning of school on August 21.

I look forward to a positive and productive school year for all of our students!

Warm regards,

Fred Brill, Ed.D.
Superintendent”

Do you think it’s important for district superintendents to communicate with the community?

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012
Under: Education, Lafayette | No Comments »

MDUSD board to hold special closed session meeting Monday regarding superintendent’s evaluation and possible litigation

Last month, the Mt. Diablo school district trustees voted 3-2 to authorize Superintendent Steven Lawrence to enter into construction contracts and hire administrators over the summer without their approval, in part because trustees normally take the month of July off.

However, the board has scheduled an unanticipated special closed session meeting Monday to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation and two potential lawsuits.

Here is the agenda:

“Special Closed Session
DATE: 7/16/2012 TIME: 6:00 PM CODE:
LOCATION: Room 6, Dent Center – 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord

1.0 Call to Order

1.1 President will call the meeting to order: Info

1.2 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call: Info

2.0 Public Comment
2.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time: Info

3.0 Adjourn to Closed Session

3.1 Superintendent’s Evaluation: Info

3.2 Anticipated Litigation: Info

4.0 Adjournment
4.1 Adjourn meeting: Info”

At the June 25 meeting, trustees Gary Eberhart and Cheryl Hansen voted against authorizing the superintendent to hire administrators without board approval, saying they did not want to relinquish that authority. Board President Sherry Whitmarsh, Vice President Linda Mayo and Trustee Lynne Dennler voted in favor of granting that authority to Lawrence.

Do you agree with the board’s decision to authorize Lawrence to hire administrators over the summer without board approval?

JULY 15 UPDATE: I received the following email from Trustee Cheryl Hansen today, informing me that she was surprised by the Monday meeting and is unsure why the board needs to continue discussing the superintendent’s evaluation:

“I just thought you might be interested in how I found out about Monday night’s special Board meeting: I read your blog posting on Thursday afternoon which was the first that I’d heard about any meeting.

When I checked my email, I found a message from Greg Rolen sent on July 12 at 12:47 PM to all Board members that referenced a Monday meeting. A couple of hours later, I received the email that the agenda had been posted.

That evening, I emailed Sherry Whitmarsh asking her what the point of Monday night’s meeting was since, according to Sherry at our April 23 Board meeting, ‘we finished the superintendent’s evaluation,’ which was her justification when I questioned her about what the hurry was for extending the superintendent’s contract that night.

Given the surprise nature of this meeting, I also asked Sherry to send me any materials that might be presented or discussed on Monday night so that I could reflect upon them advance. When I received no response, I emailed her again on Saturday and, as of this moment, have still had no response from Sherry.”

JULY 16 UPDATE: I received a voicemail this morning from Board President Sherry Whitmarsh explaining that the reason she did not return Hansen’s email was that she was camping in a remote location Thursday through last night and was not checking e-mail.

“She did not receive anything from me because it was not my meeting to call,” Whitmarsh added. “The superintendent wanted to discuss his evaluation for the next school year.”

JULY 17 UPDATE: I just spoke to Board President Sherry Whitmarsh to get clarification on her statements to me yesterday. She said the superintendent asked her if it would be okay to have a special meeting and she agreed.

“He did own that agenda item,” she said.

The other clarification was regarding her statement about the Poway “definitive assessment.” She said it was a closed session conversation with “OUR counsel, not the bond counsel.”

“Greg spoke to me in closed session,” she said. “I don’t know if it was anticipated litigation or what else. I do not remember when it was.”

When I asked if the rest of the board was present at the time, she said: “Yes, as far as I can recall. But there have been some times when someone has come in late.”

Regarding administrative assignments, she said the district may release them all at once next week — hopefully by Aug. 1. She said she hopes to put together a list of all the schools and principals, vice principals and student services coordinators — indicating which ones are new to the sites — “so that people can just see what’s going on.”

“I know that they are still conducting interviews this week,” she said. “So that’s why I belive they were trying to wait ’til early next week to release because they were hopng to have the interviews completed and the acceptances done.”

Whitmarsh’s latest characterization of the “definitive assessment” of the Poway letter being a conversation between herself and General Counsel Greg Rolen during an unnamed closed session — which Trustee Cheryl Hansen does not appear to recall — seems to undermine assertions by Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Trustee Gary Eberhart that they had received a “thorough analysis” of the Poway letter. It also appears to contradict Rolen’s statement in his PRA denial that: “The request seeks a legal analysis provided by the bond counsel to the Board of Education.”

That doesn’t sound like a conversation between him and the Board President. That sounds like a direct communication between the bond counsel and the board.

As a reminder, here is a link to video of the board’s conversation about the Poway letter: http://qik.com/video/52274799</a

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the first portion of the superintendent’s comments on video. But, according to my notes, he said: “We’ve given the board a thorough analysis of the Poway letter.” The video also shows Trustee Gary Eberhart saying: “We have received extremely definitive assessments of the process we’re using…”

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2012
Under:
Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 105 Comments »

Candidate filing period for Nov. 6 election opens July 16

The filing period for local candidates planning to run for open seats in the Nov. 6 election opens July 16 and closes Aug. 10, unless an incumbent fails to file for re-election. In that case, the deadline is automatically extended to Aug. 15, according to political reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen, who has compiled a long list of open seats in local agencies.

Here’s an excerpt of her list, which includes school board openings in Contra Costa and Alameda counties:

Contra Costa:

Acalanes Union High School District (two seats)
Antioch Unified School District (three seats)
Brentwood Union School District (two seats)
Byron Union School District (two seats)
Canyon Elementary School District (two seats)
Contra Costa County Board of Education (two seats)
Contra Costa Community College District (two seats, wards 2 and 5)
Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (one seat, Ward 7)
John Swett Unified School District (two seats)
Knightsen School District (three seats)
Lafayette School District (two seats)
Liberty Union High School District (two seats)
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (two seats)
Martinez Unified School District (three seats)
Moraga School District (two seats)
Mt. Diablo Unified School District (two seats)
Oakley Union Elementary School District (two seats)
Orinda Union School District (two seats)
Pittsburg Unified School District (three seats)
San Ramon Valley Unified School district (two seats)
Walnut Creek School District (two seats)
West Contra Costa Unified School District (two seats)

Alameda County:

Alameda Unified School District (three seats)
Castro Valley Unified School District (three seats)
Dublin Unified School District (three seats)
Fremont Unified School District (three seats)
Hayward Unified School District (three seats)
Livermore Unified School District (two seats)
Mount House Elementary (one seat)
New Haven Unified School District (three seats)
Newark Unified School District (three seats)
Pleasanton Unified School District (three seats)
San Leandro Unified School district (three seats)
San Lorenzo Unified School District (four seats)
Sunol Glen Unified School district (1 seat)

In the Mt. Diablo district, incumbents Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh have not yet publicly announced whether they intend to seek re-election. The teachers’ union has endorsed challengers Brian Lawrence and Attila Gabor. District residents Ernie DeTrinidad and Debra Mason have also told me they intend to run.

What are you looking for in a candidate?

AUG. 22 UPDATE: I have received a phone call from Mt. Diablo teachers’ union President Guy Moore informing me that MDEA has endorsed retired College Park HS Principal Barbara Oaks, now that Attila Gabor has pulled out of the race due to health concerns.

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Under: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Education, Election, Mt. Diablo school district | 63 Comments »