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MDUSD 8-20-12 meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 8:45 pm in Education.

President Sherry Whitmarsh announced the board agreed in closed session to enter into negotiated agreements with four employees related to discipline, dismissal, release, complaint.

Trustee Cheryl Hansen removed items 8.2, 8.19 and 8.23 from consent calendar.
Trustee Lynne Dennler pulled items 8.35-8.38.

I apologize for not keeping up on this tonight. I’ll update later. Please visit my Qik and YouTube websites for video clips.

11:50 p.m. UPDATE:
Board unanimously passed all items on consent calendar that were not pulled for discussion.

8.2 Hansen requested revisons to 6-25-12 mins. Board voted 5-0 to approve 6-4-12 minutes and await revisions for 6-25 mins.

8.19 Hansen requested more information about how district is trying to bring back students from outside programs. Brian Cassin said the district spends $100,000-$125,000 or more per student in out-of-state residential programs, but the district is trying to bring more back.
Passed 5-0

8.23 Salas O’Brien: YVHS field lighting
Hansen asked about status of a public hearing regarding an environmental report. Pete Pedersen said the original plan did not require a public hearing, since there was a negative mitigated declaration. It only needed board approval. However, now that the scope is being increased, a new environmental study is being conducted.
Hansen asked Pedersen to make agenda items more specific so the public knows what the contract pertains to.
Board unanimously approved contract.

I’ll add more updates later.

AUG. 21 UPDATE: Here is a recap of the rest of the meeting. Please note that I have uploaded several videos to my Qik account and am in the process of uploading the rest to YouTube. Unfortunately, I ran out of space on my flip cam and had to erase some of the earlier videos to catch the lively discussion at the end of the meeting regarding future agenda items.

8.35-8.38: Trustee Lynne Dennler removed these items to discuss concerns about how they will be implemented (see Qik videos). Board unanimously approved policies.

CVCHS teacher Neil McChesney, a Concord High student and a CVCHS student urged the board to allow CVCHS to offer a radio class using KVHS. McChesney said he understands this will be on next Monday’s agenda. (See YouTube video)


MDEA President Guy Moore talked about rebuilding trust between teachers and district leaders.

Mona Ricard, a Sequoia Elementary teacher and Mt. Diablo Council of PTAs rep — and a district Teacher of the Year — talked about Prop. 38 and an upcoming meeting regarding PTA at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in Dent Center.

Superintendent’s Report: Superintendent Steven Lawrence talked about recent Response to Intervention training for administrators.

13.1 Board unanimously appointed Thom Kwiatkoski as principal of Riverview MIddle School.

13.2 Board unanimously appointed the following elementary principals:

Beverly Tom — Valle Verde
Angela Hotchkiss — Pleasant Hill
Jenny Cronan — Woodside

13.3 Board unanimously appointed Sandra Bradley as Vice Principal of the Alliance special education program at Olympic HS.
(NOTE: This appointment is on YouTube/tunedtotheresa. Unfortunately, I erased videos of the previous appointments due to lack of space on my FlipCam. However, this video shows some of the other principals leaving.)

13.4 Board unanimously appointed Melissa Brennan as a Student Services Coordinator at MDHS.

13.5: Board unanimously appointed Maurice Burman as a Student Services Coordinator at MDHS.

13.6: Board unanimously appointed Mika Arbelbide as an accounting supervisor.

13.7: Board unanimously appointed Janelle Commins as a supervisor in Food and Nutrition Services.

13.8: Board unanimously appointed Terri Porter as Coordinator of After-school programs.

13.9: Board unanimously appointed John Willford as Assistant Project/Program Manager for Measure C

13.10: Board unanimously agreed to create new Measure C construction management positions.

13.11: Reclassification of some classified positions:
Julie Braun-Martin said there was a typo and salary for one position is lower than stated in staff report.
Board unanimously approved reclassifications.

13.12: Board unanimously approved renewal of CAC members.

13.13: Board unanimously approved Measure A tax levies.

13.14: Pawar Transportation contract
There was considerable discussion of this item (see videos on Qik and YouTube).
Trustee Linda Mayo noted that the numbers on the staff report did not add up to the total amount listed. At first, Angie Goakey said there was another $100,000 because it included some summer school services in the 11-12 fiscal year. But after Lawrence asked whether it was a typo, she said it was a typo. So, Trustee Gary Eberhart amended the motion to reduce the total by $100,000.
Carolyn Patton referenced the FCMAT report, without saying when it will be publicly presented.
“We’ve had the FCMAT review,” she said. “We’ve had an outside agency that’s reviewed our transportation.”
At Greg Rolen’s request, she also elaborated on the “clustering” plan.
Mayo mentioned other transportation reports previously presented to the board (but not referenced in the current staff report).
Patton talked about the letter sent to parents informing them of transportation changes, adding that IEPs will be necessary to address students’ needs. She said there was a special education parent meeting before the summer and there will be three more. She said 191 students who were being transported to their home schools will no longer receive that service, effective the first day of school.
Patton said the parent letter did not include many details about clustering. IEP teams will determine who is eligible, she said.
Patton added that Goakey has found other districts that use clustering and said the district is compiling information about what they are doing.
Eberhart said he has met with Goakey and the general counsel and he is very comfortable with what the district is doing.
“It sounds like we’re doing a good job,” he said. “And it sounds like we’re doing a good job of communicating that to the families.”
When Hansen asked about bus drivers, Goakey asked if she was referring to the FCMAT report. Hansen said she didn’t have the FCMAT report. Hansen said it was important to communicate well with the community regarding transportation changes.
Board approved contract as amended 4-1, with Hansen voting no, due to lack of information about the students being served and the lack of a clearly stated long-term plan for reducing outside transportation contracts and cutting costs.

13.15: Board unanimously approved AA Med Trans contract

13.16: Board unanimously approved Maxim contract

13.17: Board unanimously approved Consolidated Application

13.18: French Honors Course: Info only. Board was advised to direct questions to Rose Lock.

13.19: Creation of Administrative Regulation 5131.2 regarding bullying: Info only, to be approved at next meeting.

13.20: Elimination of overflow busing for students who live less than 5 miles from overflow school (Revision to board policy 5116 – School Attendance Boundaries):

In response to questions from Mayo about students who would be affected by this proposed policy amendment, Lawrence said he would have updated information Wednesday. He said last year, the district had 79 routes and attempted to pick up overflow students on special ed routes or overflow routes. He said the district is looking at establishing a 5-mile rule, which would reduce the number of students served. He said the board received a presentation about this in March. (However, this was not referenced in his staff report for this item.) He did not mention the FCMAT findings and recommendations related to overflow busing.
For the next meeting, Hansen said she wants a list of overflow schools, the number of overflow buses per school and the number of overflow students per school. She said she has heard concerns that this policy might affect socio-economically disadvantaged students and schools hardest.

13.21: Future board action agenda items:

Board candidate Brian Lawrence said he hoped the district would measure the success of principals by how many are still principals rather than by how many have become district administrators. He mentioned district PowerPoints, then said some have suggested the public doesn’t ask enough questions. He asked the board: “Are we providing enough information and are we informing the public?”

Whitmarsh said the board president and superintendent set the agenda. However, this agenda item was being presented to get an idea of whether other board members would be interested in seeing items presented this way for consideration on future board agendas. She said there would be no discussion of the individual items listed.

At this, Hansen raised a point of parliamentary order.

Rolen said the item was being presented to achieve some sort of transparency to agenda-setting.

But, Hansen said this should not be a casual, informal proceeding. Instead, she said it should be written up as a bylaw amendment.

Eberhart said it’s perfectly appropriate for the board president and superintendent to set the agenda. He noted, for example, that board benefits had already been discussed at a previous board meeting.

Rolen interjected that Whitmarsh had admonished the board not to discuss individual items.

Hansen questioned Rolen about the need to amend a board bylaw or policy, if trustees are going to change the way they identify future agenda items.

Rolen said his previous comments stood on their own and he declined to elaborate on his position.

Hansen said it appeared that the board was being asked to vote on future agenda items, therefore this new procedure needed to be formalized in writing.

Eberhart said it was an attempt to try to appease the board member who was trying to bring the item to the agenda. However, he said he thought the attempt to honor other board members in this way had failed.

“My recommendation is to move the agenda,” he said.

Mayo asked if his recommendation was to not discuss this item at all.

Eberhart repeated that he wanted to move the agenda.

Mayo said this agenda item was her idea.

“I was the one that suggested that we place the items on the agenda in this manner because a board member has felt that their agenda items were being thwarted,” she said. “I felt we needed to treat all items equally.”

She said the idea was intended to be a pilot.

“It was an attempt to honor your request,” Mayo told Hansen. “You obviously disagree with that process. So if we don’t have your agreement to try it out, that leaves it up to the president and superintendent.”

Hansen said she was not saying the agenda procedure should not change.

“Yes, my items have been blocked,” she said. “And no, I haven’t repeatedly tried to put the same item forward.”

She criticized the current procedure because agenda items are omitted. She reiterated that the proposed procedural change should be a written amendment to the current bylaw. In the absence of of a formal change, she said it appeared the board was being asked to be an advisory body to the president and superintendent.

Mayo said she recalled that Hansen had previously suggested adding “future agenda items” to agendas.

Hansen said she had suggested that, citing CSBA, but the rest of the board had rejected the idea. Although she said Rolen disagreed with her, Hansen repeated that the new procedure should be brought forward as a bylaw change.


Hansen mentioned attending an administrator training. She also said she has had continued discussions with CCTV regarding televising meetings and has suggested that MDHS Digital Safari students might be able to operate the cameras.

Eberhart said: “I can’t imagine who would want to see our meetings on TV.”
He praised the air conditioning installation. He also praised district administrators.
“Our staff continues to be accessible and informative when we have questions for them,” he said. “I get answers.”

Mayo said she attended the district’s “Leadership Institute.” She also mentioned that Comcast is offering cut rates for families of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches. Lawrence said he has sent information about this to some sites, but will get it out to all campuses.

Whitmarsh thanked staff for work to get schools ready for students, who will return next week.

Dennler did not make a report.

Here is a link to the meeting audio:

Here’s a link to my story about the meeting:

Do you think the district should pursue televising its meetings?

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