Part of the Bay Area News Group

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?

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

142 Responses to “MDUSD 8-20-12 meeting”

  1. g Says:

    My hat is off to Lynn Dennler for not allowing the “refinements” of board policy to be just lip service to bullying and sexual harassment. The clip was short, so I hope they gave appropriate response and provable assurances of starting to control these behaviors in the early grades.

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Felicia Stuckey-Smith said some schools have protocols in place, but others need to work on implementing them.

  3. g Says:

    It appeared to me that when Hansen asked Pedersen if she could be added to a email or update list for progress, or notifications that are sent to homeowners around YVHS he gave her a “why-what for-eh” sort of non-response and then, without answering her, he changed the direction of his response to “here’s how WE do these things.”

    So arrogant.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Pete is a master bull$h#ter. About 5 minutes into his answer he finally admitted his Board items could be more descriptive, and Lawrence did later join in admitting that too.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    There is definitely a double-standard in how the district is treating YVHS neighbors compared to how they treated Northgate neighbors who objected to the field lighting project there.
    The entire board traveled to Northgate HS for a public meeting, where everyone was invited to express either support or objections to the project.
    Pedersen said that a public hearing is not “required” if there is a mitigated negative declaration and the board has approved the project. But that doesn’t mean the board can’t hold a public meeting and invite the public to comment on the plan.
    Instead, Pedersen appears to want to hold little-publicized meetings with neighbors without informing all trustees or the general community.
    He also said he is keeping the city of Concord in the loop. Perhaps Trustee Cheryl Hansen should ask the Concord staffer to alert her to future meetings.
    It’s unclear why Board President Sherry Whitmarsh has been so involved in the field discussions, while other trustees have been left out completely.

  6. g Says:

    It is clear to me. She has been and is a director on the school’s PTSA–not exactly impartial, I would say.

    Also, the difference in the paperwork/reports for Northgate compared to YVHS is astounding in that WC folks got about twice the detailed information that Concord neighbors have gotten.

    YVHS project is now at over $220K (and growing) just in paper–before shovel hits dirt, and so far that has come from Prop 55 (smaller classes-safer schools) funds.

    Like the other high schools, they were given an “extra” $1.5M to spend from Measure C, and this project was their choice.

    Why is Pedersen gobbling up Prop 55 money on this?

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It was the site’s choice to spend the money in this way, according to Pedersen’s reports. Also, the board approved of the Prop. 55 expenditure.
    Meanwhile, CVCHS reps have told me they are having trouble even reaching Pedersen to discuss their proposed projects.

  8. g Says:

    I wonder if the board has EVER had a advance study session on how to “best” spend various funds. If it “can” be spent for building and pretty much everything in the buildings, they seem to have given Pedersen carte blanche (and sustainable self employment) with the accounts.

    I think field lights at every high school is reasonable, or at least to have on a wish list, but as Pedersen proved with his handling of 2002 Measure C, Prop 55 and any other money they could scrounge up; in a time of declining ADA and tax revenue, there will never be “enough” to just keep up with very necessary maintenance and modern technology.

    He spends simply “because he can” not because it is the wisest use of the money.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Now that the board agreed to issue $150 million, Pedersen is very conscious of the need to spend it all in three years, with another $77 million expected in 2015.

  10. g Says:

    Televise the district meetings? Well certainly! What Egohart does not realize is that once he is gone they will be much more palatable!

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have finished updating this blog post, including a recap of what happened at the meeting.
    Also, I have already uploaded several videos to Qik/tharrington and am still uploading more to YouTube/tunedtotheresa.

  12. Jim Says:

    The info provided in advance of Board meetings is often missing or misleading. The minutes provided afterward are often incorrect or lacking in specificity. So yes, Gary, televising the meetings is probably the only way to assemble a reliable record of what the Board does. Of course, he’s never shown much support for that idea. As any tinpot tyrant can tell you, it’s easier to rewrite history if you don’t let anyone record it accurately the first time around.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    Did anyone think Steven Lawrence looked happy last night ? STAR tests results arrived and numbers were crunched. Test results should be disseminated to the schools beginning today. CDE won’t release them to the public until Aug 31 but if protocol is followed, the press will get them days before, with confidentiality agreements, so their stories can be published on the 31st — Theresa cancel that Labor Day weekend vacation ! Based on the little I saw of Lawrence on the clips, he didn’t look like a happy camper. Reading those tea leaves I would say he has to shake up the district administration to save his own scalp.

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    He actually did look happy during the superintendent’s report, when he was talking about new hires and the Response to Intervention training. However, I had to delete that video so I could record the board discussion at the end of the meeting.
    I’m sorry that I also had to delete the last KVHS speaker, Guy Moore, Mona Ricard and the first few administrative appointments.
    If the district televised its meetings, you would be able to see all of this without interruption (and with much better quality).

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Thank you Theresa for your juggling act — but not a mention of the STAR test results by Lawrence. If he had good news, you know damn well he would have boasted just a bit, or at least announced they had arrived and we could look forward to the results. Instead he boasts they had to hire most of the principals from outside the district rather than from within, and that finally after being embarrassed by being a Disproportionate District TWO years in a row, and subject to sanctions, they finally did some RtI training. My post about a week ago shows that under McHenry they were better than under Nichol or Lawrence. Lawrence needs a 50 point jump to save his scalp or play the blame game on his Assistant Supt’s and the failure of his brainchild: SASS.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As a side note, I noticed that many of the SASS administrators were sitting in the last row, where I usually sit. I sat in front of some of them, since there was no more space in that row when I arrived.
    At first I was surprised, since that’s also where many union reps sit.
    But, after watching my videos, it occurs to me that maybe they don’t want the backs of their heads on tape.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Huge pressure on SASS to attend and “fill the room”. I think a lip reader could actually read some of their kibitzing during some of the discussion of those sitting in front of you. I am surprised you can’t overhear their comments.

  18. g Says:

    Theresa, we’ll take what we can get–quantity over tech quality for as long as we have to, and appreciate your outstanding attempts to keep us informed.

    As we have watched the district’s ‘nose’ go higher and higher (and longer and longer with Rolen’s influence), and since the board majority changed in ’08 with Mayo seemingly all too willing to share the pillow, and capped off with “Lawrence, The Non-Communicator” arrival, we have had little hope for transparency outside of your presentations.

  19. anonawhat Says:

    Exactly, what is Rolen’s job description?

  20. Ms. Jean Says:

    I’d love to see the meetings televised. I can’t always attend in person, but I’m very interested in what’s happening. Ms. Hansen’s idea about giving students the experience is a great idea.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anonawhat: Good question about Rolen’s duties. Here’s the link to his expired contract, which has still not been updated since the board approved his contract extension in April:
    Although section 2 states that his duties and responsibilities “shall be attached to this agreement as Exhibit A,” there is no attachment. Also, I note that Trustee Linda Mayo – who moved to remove Rolen from the list of contracts to be renewed – never signed his expired contract.

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added the link to my story about the meeting to this blog post.

  23. The Observer Says:

    Absolutely board meetings should be telecast. Eberhart’s statement about who would want to watch board meetings on TV typifies his contempt of the public and community he is supposed to serve. The fact he is against it is even more reason to have it.

    Allowing people access to the democratic process, who is representing them and how well, and you will raise both the quality and integrity of those representatives very quickly. The camera never lies.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    Was Lawrence ever question explicitly on when the FCMAT reports would be made available and did he respond ?

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Very surprisingly, no, he was not.
    I do have some updated information from Lorrie Davis about that, which I will post soon.
    I am nearly done uploading the Flipcam videos to YouTube. I just have a few board report clips left.

  26. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TO #23 – yep, Gary has obviously never watched a city of concord meeting on CCTV.

    Whitmarsh is the cut from the same cloth – stated how she can’t understand why anyone would want to know about and see the list of principles assigned to schools if they don’t have children going that particular school. Incredibly obtuse.

    If they think of an idea or make request for info, they think it’s smartest thing in the world. But let anyone else, including other board members come up with a request or idea, and it seems to baffle both of them – amazing how that happens :>

  27. g Says:

    CA ED Code 35145.5 begins: “It is the intent of the Legislature that members of the public be able to place matters directly related to school district business on the agenda of school district governing board meetings.”

    It speaks also of the public’s right to speak at meetings, and the last sentence of that paragraph clearly states: “Governing boards shall adopt reasonable regulations to insure that this intent is carried out. The regulations may specify reasonable procedures to insure the proper functioning of governing board meetings.”

    Certainly if the Ed Code speaks directly to the requirement that a school board “adopt a regulation” allowing members of the public to request items be placed on an agenda, it meant it to be a requirement.

    I doubt very much if the California Legislature lacked the foresight in declaring that requirement to, in any way, exclude a board member’s right to be at least equal to “a member of the public” when requesting an item be placed on an agenda.

    Ms Hansen was correct last night in stating that the board needed to “adopt a regulation in its By-Laws that speaks directly to this issue, and how this board will handle such requests.

    Did I mention that Rolen is a Flippin’ bleep!

  28. Doctor J Says:

    Come on Steven, give up your crunched numbers on the estimated API’s — they will be out soon. They are UGLY, aren’t they ? Worse than last year ? SASS knows they are and they all want them to save their skins. You must have started Happy Hour early today. You bet on the wrong horse: Gary can’t save you, and soon Sherry won’t either. The nine month payout won’t last very long, especially since your contract extension is illegal and won’t hold up in court, once Rolen hits the pavement with his walking papers. Why have you never wondered who at MDEA deep sixed you to SJUSD ? SASS was a poor experiment by you. Its now triple in size of what you said it would be, and still can’t deliver. What a waste of taxpayer funds.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Unbelievable that Lawrence would propose a Board policy change that could have First Graders walking up to TEN MILES to and from school, and he didn’t know any specifics about how many children would be affected, what schools would be affected, or any other specifics. Not only did Lawrence look unprepared, but also very foolish — and for a Supt who claims, at least on paper, “kids come first”, extremely hypocritical.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence claims the Board received a busing presentation in March to justify making a child walk up to ten miles to school — which agenda item is he referring to in March ? I can’t seem to find it on the agendas.

  31. Doctor J Says:

    Ok, I found it on March 12 labeled transportation. Lawrence waits until 2 days before school starts to vote on a Board policy change to take effect immediately, when he has had this on his plate since March or before ? Where is the respect for parents ? Maybe we should make Lawrence walk to the office for a week, both ways, with his long stride, and see how walking 20 miles a day will improve his learning capability. The March 12 maps attached show disproportionate impact to the hispanic community due to the overcrowding at Meadow Homes.

  32. g Says:

    Looking back, I remember much of that March meeting very well, but I really don’t remember seeing that Transportation Power Point on line at that time. Perhaps it was posted late, or after the meeting?

    While it doesn’t spell out what they are looking at for “overflow” it seems obvious from the map divisions and student numbers that they are looking at moving sections of students (a total of a couple hundred kids) from both Wren and El Monte over to Westwood, Woodside and/or Mountain View to make room at Wren and El Monte for students from Meadow Homes. They may be moving some students from Cambridge to Fair Oaks?

    Whole lot of shuffle coming to a neighborhood near you.

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lawrence should have written a staff report outlining the information from the March PowerPoint presentation. Too often, last-minute Powerpoints take the place of thorough staff reports in this district. Trustees and the public have the right to see details about the proposal well before the meeting so they can comment on it.
    Lawrence’s casual reference to the March presentation, without giving any specifics, left everyone trying to remember what had been said five months ago.
    The Meadow Homes principal showed up for Monday’s meeting, but then left, saying her agenda item was coming next week. I’m not sure if she was referring to the busing issue or something else.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#33 More Lawrence surprises next week ! Clearly the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence is chicken to release the STAR results so we can see what the API results are. Actually, its a career ender for Lawrence. He bet on the wrong horse.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    CAHSEE results will be released at 10 a.m. today.

  37. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#36 Since you already have them, subject to confidentiality, it must be a good story ! Look forward to it at 10:01 am !

  38. frustrated Says:

    Any of new admin hires in district?

  39. g Says:

    Also very interesting under Measure C Item 13.10, Pedersen says previously approved positions totaled 10, but “under a compressed staffing model” they’ve been getting by with just 7 people. Now they want to add 4 more–meaning under full approval he would have a staff of 14.

    I wonder how he explains “under a compressed staffing model” how, at various times and nearly every day, there are 8-10-12 MDUSD vehicles sitting at Holbrook?

    Just good buddies dropping by for a visit — and to kill some clock time?

  40. vindex Says:

    Great job Ms. Hansen on your questioning of Rolen. You are correct.

  41. Wait a Minute Says:

    I can’t help but womder if Pederson is going to try and hire The Gary (Egohart) for “his crew” after he leaves the board?

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Frustrated, there is video of some of the hires at YouTube/tunedtotheresa.
    There were two promotions from inside the district: Student Services Coordinator Melissa Brennan, a former behaviorist; and Accounting Supervisor Mika Arbelibide, who has worked her way up in the accounting dept., after starting as a clerk eight years ago. She brought her son, who attends College Park HS, and said she hopes he is proud of her.

  43. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    WAM @ #41,

    In my opinion that is the one and only reason Eberhart is not running again. Just wait for the agenda item from Pedersen to hire THE GARY sometime right after the first of the year.

  44. Anon Says:

    Why would The Gary lower himself to taking a job with MDUSD putting in bathroom soap dispensers when he is president of his own firm specializing in school facility planning and financing?

  45. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Anon #44


    After term end in Nov 2012 – and to ensure no break in full ride benefits courtesy of the Tax Payers / MDUSD Community:

    1. Eberhart will “contract” with MDUSD as long duration construction “consultant”, or
    2. Eberhart will “hire on” as construction project manager with high $ salary & benefits, or
    3. Eberhart will “hire on” in high ranking, high pay & max benefits M&O position (transportation is my guess)

    I do not believe we have seen / will hear the last of Eberhart after Nov 2012

  46. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are the CAHSEE results, which show that Northgate HS had the highest percentage of sophomores who passed the tests on the first try and MDHS had the lowest passage rate for sophomores, among the district’s comprehensive high schools:

  47. Doctor J Says:

    Where are the CAHSEE results released at 10 a.m. today ? Waiting 3 hours later.

  48. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#46 What is the surprise here ? Why is no one surprised at the low scores of MDHS ? Is Kate McClatchy one of the women described by Diane in her Amazon book review and being protected by Greg ?

  49. Anon Says:

    Dr. J – What Amazon Book review?

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    They are right here:

  51. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#49 There was an Amazon book review written by Diane Rolen and posted on the Amazon website about the book: The Courage To Be a Single Mother: Becoming Whole Again After Divorce. It described in detail her husband’s sex addiction, his philandering, and multiple sexual affairs, in and out of marriage. Shortly after it was exposed on this blog, it was removed from Amazon, which can mean nothing other than Diane Rolen’s husband reads the blogs — in between his “relationships”. And in response to another post about Greg Rolen’s duties, General Counsel Greg Rolen is in charge of enforcing and educating MDUSD about the law and policy of MDUSD of sexual harassment.

  52. Anon Says:

    Thank you Dr. J., very interesting information indeed.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    @anon#52, Since I kept a copy of the actual book review, I googled the first few words, and up popped the review, sans Diane Rolen’s name on multiple review sites.

  54. Doctor J Says:

    Did I hear correctly from Carolyn Patton that she met with the CAC during their Brown Act violation meeting to discuss special ed transportation ?

  55. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was curious about her comments also, so I followed up with Lorrie Davis.

    Here’s what Davis wrote in an e-mail:

    “I walked out with Carolyn and clarified what meeting she was talking about because she said something like ‘CAC Government Meeting.’ Cheryl Hansen clarified it was the Parents Meeting that was held at the school next door. We also had the communication discussion when the CAC officers met with Carolyn, Greg and Mildred when the parent letter was being developed…”

    Based on this response, I think Davis is saying that Patton was referencing the Parent meeting held at Monte Gardens Elementary in May.

  56. Anon Says:

    Theresa, can you tell me about the conversation about non public schools? I heard they want to start pulling back? I don’t know if it is all or just out of state?
    Sorry if you already talked about it. I have not read all the comments yet.

  57. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Here is the video I shot of that discussion, which was related to agenda Item 8.19:

    Basically, Trustee Cheryl Hansen wanted to know how the district is planning to try to bring students back from residential programs to save money.
    Brian Cassin said about nine students are being served out of state, at a cost of $100,000-$125,000 per student.

  58. Flippin' Tired Says:

    I was under the impression that the district used AT&T for their internet and classroom tv usage. Why were there three Comcast trucks at Holbrook Elementary today?

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a list of the Top 10 Bay Area schools in terms of their performance on the CAHSEE in a variety of categories:
    Although several Contra Costa County schools made the lists, none are from MDUSD.

  60. g Says:

    The Pawar contract has some very strict regulations about how they maintain their fleet and oversee the drivers, but has CAC or anyone else from the district actually followed up on any of that on a regular/routine basis, or do we just trust our most vulnerable children to their care for an hour or two a day?

    Has anyone looked over their fleet or garage facilities?

    Do parents just let a van pull up, put their kid in it and wave bye-bye?

    Their insurance policy seems very inadequate for transporting several children at a time.

    At least with Durham, the county contract and others there are valid physical addresses and garages for their businesses.

    Pawar lists a home address in Walnut Creek, a 2 bedroom house in LA and a “Mail Shoppe” drop-box in LA.

    Do they actually run a transport business or do they just have a lot of “contracted” drivers using their own vehicles?

  61. g Says:

    Flippin’: It is Anova setting up shop.

  62. Anon Says:

    I am not sure how Pawar houses their vehicles but I do know that the vehicle aare not privately owned by the drivers. The driver that has my child is very trained. My expierience with them has been very good. They have an excellent safety record and the owner and driver are always available to me to answer any questions and provide documentation.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    Just got an itch that Lawrence is going to try to sneak some massive spending in on Monday’s Board meeting just seven days after the last Board meeting, thinking no one will be looking. And Lawrence continues to be hush-hush about the STAR test results. Cannot be good. Remember last year, he leaked them out right away and that was with an embarrassing one point API gain.

  64. Doctor J Says:

    My post on Aug 17, 2011: “The subdued nature of Lawrence’s report is to prepare the public for bad news to come on the release of the API scores at the end of the month. The district buys a computer program that gives them the ‘rough” API scores, within a point or two. Lawrence is reading the tea leaves [he ought to teach Gary how to do it]. Last year [that was really Nichols year as Supt] the District API rose a modest 11 points. But now under Lawrence with his SASS reorganization, the API score will be flat ! No increase in the district or maybe one point. Now here is the irony. Two of the persistently low performing schools, Rio Vista and Meadow Homes will post increases of over 65 and 50 points ! [High fives for them!] Yet Lawrence fires the Meadow Homes principal Toby Montez !! Go figure ! So how does the district API remain flat with gains like that ? Almost across the board in the “other schools” their scores are flat or decreasing. That is bad news for the children, bad news for the parents, bad news for the District, bad news for the Board, and bad news for Lawrence’s “leadership”. But it is consistent with the Steue record in West Sacramento and Roseville. The Board bet on the wrong horse.”

    Here comes Lawrence’s excusagram once again. How many times will the public buy it ? Remember last year: Meadow Homes rises 56 points and Toby gets fired, but Pleasant Hill Elem dropped 30 points and the female caucasian principal stayed there. This year a new principal at PHE. Lets see the results.

  65. Anon Says:

    Dr. J.,

    Are you suggesting that Lawrence is racist? It fits with what he has done to the socio-economically challenged schools in the district, but that is a pretty charged word.

  66. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#65 I said the policy change recommended by Lawrence has a disproportionate impact on the hispanic community — I did not label him. It will be interesting to see how his Aug 27 report on the impacts will jive with the March 12 report. So why did Lawrence wait until 2 days before school starts to propose a Board policy change that goes into effect “immediately” ? Why did Lawrence wait 5 1/2 months between his March 12 report and August 27 to propose the Board vote ? Was it to silence vocal parents because school will not have yet started ? What did Rose Lock say at the Board Meeting on the Delta View bus stoppage ? Start on first day or in January ?

  67. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I spoke to Charles Ramsey, President of the WCCUSD school board yesterday, about CAHSEE results in that district. He said the board was so unhappy with STAR test and CAHSEE results at Kennedy High that they completely overhauled the administration there, including putting in a new principal. He said the leadership team there was clearly not working and that something had to be done.
    You don’t often hear that kind of blunt talk in MDUSD, accepting accountability and taking decisive actions to remedy deficiencies.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    @#67 Nice to see the WCC School Board paying prompt attention to the test results; and taking decisive action. Just the opposite of MDUSD; there is the Maxwell Smart ‘Cone of Silence’ from Dent. Just as I pointed out last year: 53 point API gain at Meadow Homes and they fire Toby but leave in the caucasian female principal at PHE who had a 30 point loss. This year the PHE Principal suddenly retires at a relatively early age. It will be interesting to see what leaving her in another year cost those students in API. And it will be interesting to see if Dr. Newling was able to build on Toby’s 53 point gain. I would love to see a graphics chart of the high schools on API and CAHSEE with notes on principal changes to see if any of the musical chairs has made a difference.

  69. Doctor J Says:

    Compare: WCCUSD Supt shares the STAR & CAHSEE scores immediately with the Board, whereas MDUSD’s Lawrence doesn’t — as of yesterday late afternoon, still had not been shared with Board members. Steven why are you so afraid about having an open and honest conversation about student achievement, improving instructional quality, and holding your “instructional leaders” aka Principals accountable ?

  70. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I would like to clarify that the WCCUSD Board President was referring to last year’s STAR scores and he had not yet received the CAHSEE scores from the WCCUSD Superintendent. He was commenting based on what I told him about his district’s scores. That district’s decision to replace the leadership at Kennedy HS was based on last year’s scores.

  71. g Says:

    Whatever other reasons MDHS may have for poor performance, ie demographics, travel time, substandard facilities, teachers with their chins on their chests, etc., I don’t imagine spending a majority of the year taking a leak in stairwells helped with morale building.

    There is no question that morale has a remarkable influence on performance, for both students and teachers.

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, and Cindy Gershen’s nutrition program at MDHS seems to be having a positive impact on morale there. She is a consummate collaborator and team-builder.
    Gershen is a wonderful example of a person who is able to effect changes by presenting a vision that everyone can get behind — then working together with all stakeholders to fulfill it.

  73. Wait a Minute Says:

    Those qualities right there make Cindy a better candidate to be the MDHS principal then McClatchy.

    Hell, Cindy would surely make a much better Superintendent then Stevie Lawrence.

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Agenda for Monday’s meeting is posted:
    There’s another AIS interpreting contract on consent calendar.
    KVHS is finally up for discussion and supt. is promising more info re overflow busing.
    Also, many of Hansen’s agenda items are included.

  75. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM, Cindy would at least put a stop to the ridiculous Dent Center time wasting pot lucks full of fatty, high caloric, high carbohydrate, and otherwise unhealthy food that the District isn’t even allowed to be served to children — working at Dent is guaranteed to add 20 lbs. How many emails does it take to determine who is bringing the Ptomaine Salad on Monday ?

  76. Wait a Minute Says:

    How appropriate-$69,000 for Rolen’s BFF!

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Perhaps some of the Dent administrators should head over to the MDHS’s football practices to see how Gershen is feeding those hungry teens.
    Gershen says she started by feeding the school’s staff because change comes from the top.

  78. Doctor J Says:

    There is something fishy about the Meadow Homes consultant contract for about $60,000 at about $900 per day. Didn’t the Board recently approve a $200,000 plus contract on the same subject ? I don’t recall Meadow Homes having this in their Nov 2011 SIG application. Is this a friend of Mary-Louise ?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM#76, It certainly gives new life to Diane’s Amazon Book Review. I wonder if Marisol was one of the people alluded to by Diane ? Who approved these contracts for “legality” ? Where is the conflict of interest disclosure ?

  80. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Once again, the agenda report lacks specificity:
    Although the district did name the contractor, it did not state the amount of the contract in the agenda report. Even though it is being funded through SIG, the public shouldn’t have to hunt through the contract to find out how much this is costing.
    Thank you for pointing out that this is a $900 a day contract for a person who is traveling from Firebaugh,CA at a total cost of nearly $60,000.
    It will be very interesting to see next year’s STAR results to find out if this investment pays off.

  81. g Says:

    As to AIS Contract; 1) They know they will end up paying her at least the same as last year–roughly $110,000.00–so why don’t they just give us a true idea of costs right up front?

    2) How hard would it be to “proof-read” this crap before publishing it? Once again…again… they give us a copy of a two year old contract with a dollar figure of $24,500.00!

    Or–maybe her legal advisor prefers to have the published contract show that low dollar figure in case the IRS comes calling mid-year.

  82. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#77 Or maybe walk to school like they want the children to walk ten miles to and from school ? Can you believe that Lawrence proposes a Board policy change and hasn’t even done the homework to know how many children it will affect and how far they will have to walk to school ? So unprepared. So unprofessional. He could care less about the children, he just focuses on the money to pay his next raise.

  83. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    FYI – if you are going, the August 27 agenda shows the mtg starts at 6:30 pm; an hour earlier than stated on the district’s page for board mtgs.

    Probably need the Aug 27 board mtg start time confirmed, or check if it is a typo.

  84. g Says:

    Item 14.1: Here they go again jumping the gun on contracts that the new board should get to decide upon.

    Contract for an Interim Assistant Superintendent of Student Services AND Special Education, with an Automatic increase of status in one year.

    “Immediately upon expiration of this Agreement, the Interim Assistant Superintendent will be awarded a two-year contract as Assistant Superintendent, Pupil Services and Special Education
    on July 1, 2013…”

    They’ll fill in the blanks (the name) of this new high roller on Monday, I guess….

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    HFO: Yes, 6:30 p.m. is the correct start time. I received an email from the superintendent’s secretary noting the early time.
    Dr. J: It does seem a bit odd that the board would agree to automatically promote the interim assist. supt to the position permanently in this contract, without conducting a competitive job search and without allowing the new board to weigh in. It will be interesting to see if the board candidates have any comments regarding this.
    Regarding the overflow busing, it is surprising that there is still no FCMAT report (which addressed overflow busing) and that Lawrence has not attached the March PowerPoint, to which he previously referred.

  86. Jim Says:

    @80 — So in the contract shown in that link, the vendor is Kathryn Catania, President of Strategies of Success, which Bizapedia shows as a Nevada corporation whose other officers appear to be family members. What is odd is that the Fresno County Office of Education also shows her as an assistant superintendent:
    and as an “Administrator” of FCOE’s ASSIST program:

    It appears that she takes the intervention programs that Fresno County offers to its districts and peddles them on the side, under her own family’s business. One hopes, at $900/day, that she will have enough time for the students in the troubled schools of MDUSD.

  87. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I wonder if Fresno minds that she is doing all this work on the side.
    It’s hard to believe she can be fulfilling her obligations as an assist. supt. in Fresno while also spending about 60 days out of an 180-day school year in MDUSD helping out Meadow Homes Elementary.
    And this contract includes travel reimbursement. Isn’t there anyone closer than Fresno who could provide this service?

  88. g Says:

    I think it’s just like Kern Co getting the FCMAT contract, which is a big money maker for them, and Poway Transportation Director, and other similar districts’ personnel) doing work for FCMAT.

    If it’s a money maker for the individual, maybe they accept less salary from their employer as a win-win for both. Of course that means MDUSD is paying our costs AND supplementing other districts’ costs.

    I noticed on the new un-named Interim Asst Supt position that there is a clause stating that they may work/lecture, etc. outside the district (if it isn’t on school time), meaning they could use up all that very generous “sick/vacation” time, if they want to.

  89. Jim Says:

    @87 Theresa — Below is the CA DoE’s list of approved intervention providers, if you are in Year 3 of Program Improvement:

    That’s why they can charge $900/day. There aren’t a lot of ’em to deal with all the train wrecks in California’s public schools. Her personal contact info is there. You could call her and see how busy she is! (that is, if the contract doesn’t turn out to be “attorney-client privileged” info again…)

  90. Doctor J Says:

    Why does Sue Brothers come to mind ? Steven has to appoint her before the STAR test results are made public, and we see what really happened at CVHS under her watchful eye. Steue is on their way.

  91. g Says:

    We have so many Directors, and Asst. Supts. of this and that, I’ve lost track.

    Who is the new un-named person replacing?

    Rumor has it that Hukkanen is on her way out, –but Rose hasn’t told anybody yet?

  92. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: But this contract doesn’t appear to benefit Fresno. It appears to benefit Catania and her company.
    This reminds me of former Hercules City Manager Nelson Oliva, who solicited out-of-town contracts for his daughters’ company while collecting his salary from Hercules, which some alleged violated his employment contract.
    The new unnamed person is replacing Mildred Browne, who requested a leave of absence after the board did not renew her contract when it renewed contracts for Lawrence, Rolen, et al.
    The problem with this person not being named is that the public has no opportunity to voice its opinion. In contrast, the public was able to speak for and against the other contract renewals.
    Instead of giving this person an automatic permanent contract at the end of the interim period, the district could bring the permanent appointment back to the board in June, so that the public could comment on it and the new board could have its say.

  93. Doctor J Says:

    @TH, The problem is the Lawrence “owes” Sue Brothers. And then Sue Brothers will owe him. Its a symbionic relationship.

  94. Doctor J Says:

    I don’t recall Mildred Browne’s departure, in whatever form, ever on the Board agenda. Did I miss something ?

  95. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, I don’t believe Browne’s departure has ever been noticed on a board agenda. But, Julie Braun-Martin confirmed to me in an email that Browne was trying to negotiate a leave of absence. It does seem premature to appoint her replacement without approving her leave, however — unless she was one of the four negotiated dismissals/releases approved by the board last Monday.
    Regarding your hypothetical speculation about Brothers, would it make sense to leave YVHS without a principal two days before school starts? Would such a decision reflect the district’s motto of putting students first?

  96. g Says:

    There was something about her retiring and being double-dipped back into the system I think. By all the contracts on this Agenda, I’d say she hasn’t relinquished much.

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Browne still appears to be in her position, signing contracts and agenda reports. I don’t recall seeing anything about her retiring or being rehired as a consultant on a board agenda.

  98. g Says:

    Theresa, On July 18 you reported that you had asked JBM if there was a succession plan in place for Mildred Browne’s departure, and she had not replied yet. Did she EVER reply to that question? Or did you get an “ignore” response.

  99. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In checking my emails from Braun-Martin, this is the response I received on July 18:

    “I am not at liberty to discuss Dr. Browne’s leave as the details are still being worked out and also it is a personnel matter.”

  100. g Says:

    The funny thing is, that even though Lawrence is coming to the board on this agenda to approve the appointment of a new interim Asst Supt., there still has been NO notice to the public that Browne is leaving/changing jobs.

    It isn’t even a by-the-way on the agenda.

  101. Doctor J Says:

    Lame-Duck Egohart is bound and determined, at whatever the cost, to punish the voters in the next three months. Monday night we will see which candidates step up to call on the Board to withhold action to tie their hands.

  102. Doctor J Says:

    Can you believe they are still sending emails about Monday’s potluck. Here is the attitude: “Always a SASSy party to be had!” If SASS spent that much time coaching the principals . . . instead hire a consultant.

  103. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: This is true. The public is still awaiting notice of Browne’s employment status.
    I have sent an email to Julie Braun-Martin asking whether Browne’s leave of absence has been finalized.

  104. g Says:

    Perhaps this would be a good time to revisit the story and comments from this site on 3/12/12.

    Note in the description of what they will do at Meadow Homes is “3. Working with a leadership data coach.”

    Note comments #6 and #11 from **Anon. Who did the translations? Was in Marisol Padilla (AIS) or Evalina Villa–both very highly paid and on two-hour minimum contracts.

    And then of course, I complained about spending a heap of money (to supplement the many highly paid doctorate degrees already in the district) by bringing in talking heads from outside the district to “feed the machine” which is, I fear, the true reason for SIG grants in the first place–Feed the machine–and if kids happen to improve their education somewhere along the way; well, that’s good too.

  105. g Says:

    How will Mildred Browne be spending her “Leave of Absence?” Well, unless there is a change of plans, in November she will be in Tennessee (as will her recently promoted side-kick Linda Hutcherson), speaking at the National Alliance of Black School Educators:

    “Response to Intervention:
    Connecting the Triangle
    Dr. Mildred D. Browne,
    Linda Hutcherson, Lavinia Henlon,
    Adria Angelo”

    In the mean time, we’ll hire from outside the district someone who can teach the folks at Meadow Homes how to use “Response to Intervention.”


  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe that Angelo is a former district employee and Henlon is a school psychologist.
    Hopefully, Hutcherson is sharing her insights with district schools when she’s not taking time off to talk about the district’s successes with RTI at national conferences.
    Perhaps this team could do a board presentation about RTi during a future superintendent’s report to enlighten the public about how well this is working in MDUSD.

  107. Doctor J Says:

    Looks like Mildred and Linda will get to appear before the California Fair Political Practices Commission and explain the receipt of their “honorariums” [and don’t forget the airplane fare, meals and hotels, unless MDUSD is paying for those — I wonder how much the fine will be ? :-) “No member of a state board or commission and no designated employee of a state or local government agency shall accept an honorarium from any source if the member or employee would be required to report the receipt of income or gifts from that source on his or her statement of economic interests.”
    Government Code Section 89502(c)
    Don’t worry Greg might show up with you to explain why you haven’t taken the Ethics Course mandated by AB 1234.

  108. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Would this also apply to Catania’s contract? Obviously, she’s getting paid way more than an honorarium.

  109. Doctor J Says:

    Good idea TH, its been so successful these ladies have led MDUSD to be designated two years in a row as a “Disproportionate District” and now sanctioned by the state. Maybe that’s what “closing the triangle” means, eh ?

  110. Doctor J Says:

    @#108. Yup. She hides her income in Nevada.

  111. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t recall any board presentation about this sanction. Isn’t this something the public should be informed about?

  112. Doctor J Says:

    TH, you might ask Julie B-M if attendence at this Nashville conference qualifies at Personal Necessity Days under the MDUSD definition ?

  113. Doctor J Says:

    I suggest a PRA request to BOTH the CDE and MDUSD on all communications to MDUSD about being designated “disproportionate”.

  114. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The board is also going to discuss the creation of a public information officer. Do you think that person would inform the public about such important developments in the district?

  115. Doctor J Says:

    G gave us the link to March 12, 2012 blog in Post 104. See my post at #38 at 8:12 am: “Here is a quote from Mildred’s email as quoted by Billy Bob nearly a year ago in the blog: “Sue Peterson, James Wogan and Felicia Stuckey Smith and I attended this meeting. Dr. Mary Bacon also attended. The meeting and presentations provided training to districts to assist districts in developing strategies so the districts will not be cited as being ” significantly disproportionate”. If we are found to be ” significantly disproportionate” then we will be subject to the loss of 15 percent of our special education funding. . . . Our presentation was well received. We all left the training better prepared to continue our work in this area.
    Thanks Mildred
    Mildred Browne, Ed.D.
    Assistant Superintendent”
    What were the results ? MDUSD again this year was named as “Significantly disproportionate”. MDUSD scored worse in the EdTrustWest report card than last year, worse than any district in CoCo County and third from the very worst.”

    Mildred, does this qualify you to speak at Nashville about “Connecting the Triangle” ???

  116. g Says:

    Theresa, I was hoping you would pick up on the other two going to TN. Adria retired, but then picked up a cool $67K as a “substitute principal” at Mount last year. Good job of the principals’ work being done at Mount–NOT MUCH!

  117. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Why did Mount need a “substitute principal” when it had McClatchy there full-time?

  118. Billy Bob Says:

    I have other interesting emails back and forth with an associate of mine and the BOE regarding the infamous trip to Sacramento (3 days and nights at the MARRIOTT) for a 1.5 day conference.

    Mayo and Whitmarsh were particularly supportive of the “need” for these individuals to have some R&R because they have worked so hard and done so much for the distirct.

  119. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Breaking away from this thread, we have an update regarding the tragic killing of a Woodside Elementary student and her father by an Olympic HS student in a traffic accident last spring:

  120. g Says:

    In her April 2012 report in Special Edition, Browne says: “The State Department of Education Review is finally complete. Last year, Mt. Diablo was non-compliant in
    642 areas. The good news is that we are compliant, and we have successfully updated all student records and amended system regulations to meet state requirements.
    As discussed in the January Special EDition issue, we continue to work on the high-priority issues of equity and disproportionality with the help of a grant. A survey was distributed throughout the district, and responses are being reported to the Equity Task Force.”

    Ah, but are responses being shared with the public? Is this just another Another Grant going, going, gone outside the district?

  121. g Says:

    Theresa #117; sorry, the Times salary report actually says “Substitute Administrator,” not substitute principal—minor difference?

  122. Doctor J Says:

    @#118, Please Billy Bob, forget the tease and just share the whole emails. Let the public be the judge of the rationale.

  123. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: It could be for a variety of administrators — hard to know.
    Regarding the Equity Advisory Team, this information needs to be made public. When consultants generate reports, then only share them privately with select groups, the public is not getting its money’s worth.

  124. Jim Says:

    @108 — It would seem to apply to Catania’s contract, but that would be a matter for the Fresno County OoE to determine. My suspicion is that these gigs-on-the-side are actually pretty common. (One thing that always surprised me, working with public school districts, was how “ethically challenged” many of the employees could be. They literally couldn’t imagine that there was anything wrong with behavior that, in most companies, would get you fired in a NY minute.)
    @110 — I don’t believe that Catania is necessarily “hiding” her income from the MDUSD contract in Nevada. She probably just doesn’t want to pay state taxes on the income, and as we know, NV doesn’t levy a state income tax. Just because one’s income comes entirely from CA state taxpayers doesn’t mean that one must pay such state taxes oneself 😉
    @115 — We are going to be hearing a LOT more about Significant Disproportion in the coming years, particularly if Pres. Obama is re-elected. From what one hears from Arne Duncan and others in the Dept of Ed, they intend to place much greater scrutiny on disproportionate representation of minorities in many areas of public education — special ed classification, discipline actions, and even participation in advanced offerings such as “accelerated”, honors, and AP courses. Districts such as MDUSD do NOT want to be standing in front of that freight train waving a flag that says, “We are already WAY over the line here!” At least, not if they can possibly avoid it.

  125. Doctor J Says:

    Mildred says in Special Edition, Jan 2012: “district Equity Advisory Team, which is being co-chaired by Felicia Stuckey-Smith, Director of Student Services, and Susan Petersen, Director of Elementary Support.
    The team includes representatives of the Board of Education,district and school staff, and community representatives and parents, including the Special Education Community Advisory Committee (CAC).”
    Seems like that is a Board created committee, subject ot the Brown Act, and once a Board member gets the report — already happened — its a Public Record. Another PRA request for your list Theresa.

  126. Doctor J Says:

    Well Jim, if she does the job in California, but owns a company in Nevada, it still should be charged to her California Income Tax. Maybe the California Taxing authorities should audit her.

  127. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim #124 — The flag MDUSD will waive is “we need another grant” to get us out of this problem we created. What color do you think that flag ought to be ?

  128. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Perhaps this could be addressed as part of the superintendent’s evaluation, which includes this target:

    “Provide the Board with the legal implications of creating a feedback mechanism for school staff (classified, certificated, administrators), students, parents/guardians, and district staff to provide feedback around school and district climate. The goal of the feedback tool is to identify areas we are doing well and areas of growth. It is not meant to be an evaluative tool.”

    What legal implications could there be? Other districts such as San Ramon survey the public. Why should it be a problem in MDUSD?

  129. Doctor J Says:

    Has anyone compared the Supt’s 12-13 self proclaimed “board agreed” evaluation targets with what he set as his own goals previously ?

  130. g Says:

    This all goes back to two (current) things.

    1) The latest contract approved last week with Mary Bacon, who holds her speaking business in Hillsborough, but her Art Gallery, (Images of Culture) in San Mateo, (but who, coincidentally, also maintains an address in Las Vegas–for income tax purposes maybe)?

    2) When Hansen asked to have Board Accountability on all contracts, the “majority” chose to consider it for items of $100K and above only. They may be slippery, but not really stupid.

  131. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Carolyn Patton has released a transportation update on the CAC blog:

  132. anonawhat Says:

    @Dr. J #127: i think the color of the flag should be white: “we surrender”; because they’ll be surrendering soon once the Lawrence posse is exposed.
    In regards to RTI, it sickened me that Lawrence spoke to this training for site administrators at the last Board Meeting; as if, “everything is now okay in meeting student needs”. My son is in need of RTI, but just because administrators have had the training does not mean that the union-driven teachers will implement what was advised at the inservice the administrators attended. Too bad that teachers won’t implement what is in the best interest of the students rather than what is in their best interest or their union’s best interest. what I’m looking into and what the rest of the public should also be looking into is: “why the grand exodus of administrators and teachers?” an additional 8 new elementary principals this year? I’ve tried to speak personally to the principal at my son’s school and my daughter’s school, but both principals avoid the conversation and look fearful when i ask this question…

  133. Jim Says:

    @126 — Dr. J, small point, but I don’t believe that Catania — or rather Doctor Catania (keep forgetting that!!) — is the actual vendor. The vendor is Strategies of Success, which is domiciled in NV, where it books its revenue from contracts like the one with MDUSD and where it pays taxes. If that company decides to pay procedes out to Dr. Catania, then she’ll have to pay CA taxes on whatever is paid out to her. But my guess is that she leaves the money in the company to the extent possible. (People love to speculate about Mitt Romney’s taxes, but in my experience during 10 years in corporate finance, working with lots of high net worth individuals, it is usually the smaller business owners who play games on their taxes. They operate well below the radar, compared to all the household name multi-millionaires, who need to be pretty careful.)

  134. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence’s District Goals were approved Sept 28, 2010, and never updated.
    Lawrence’s proposal sor “Superintendent’s Evaluation Targets 2012-2013” to be considered by the Board on August 27, 2012 differ as follows:
    Eliminated Elementary Target 4 for schools under 800 API to “implement benchmark assessments in language arts and math and develop intervention plans based on the quarterly common assessment results.

    Eliminated Middle School Target 3 for schools under 800 API to “implement benchmark assessments in in each core subject area and develop intervention plans based on the common assessment results. Hmmm. Doing assessment testing in middle schools ??

    Lawrence left Target 3 “blank” for High School Graduation Rates — another great proof reading job Steve and others who “signed off” on this agenda item.

    Prior High School Target 4 for schools under 800 API to “implement district benchmark assessments in each core subject area and develop intervention plans based on the common assessment results.” Hmmmm. Since you were in a High School District in Roseville, I am not sure why you put that in.

    New Target 4 [formerly Target 5] for High Schools: Added new B to list — others remained the same.

    So Steve, how did you do for your first two years on your performance targets ?

    Other targets:

    Dumbed down internal communications from School Support and Personnel from weekly updates to monthly to board members.

    Dumbed down external communications from “twice monthly” to parents and staff to “during school year monthly newsletters”

    Eliminated creation of Board calendar with all events posted.

    For all of those many hours of “Superintendent’s Evaluation” in Closed sessions, I wonder what took so long ?

  135. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim#133 Nice pick-up Jim. The W-9 says its an “S Corp” with a California address but apparently incorporated in Nevada. I will rely on your analysis.

  136. Anon Says:

    I don’t think Ms. Patton understands what “Stakeholders” really are. She will continue to work with Rolen and the CAC but she has not reached out to the parents (with exception to the ill planned letters)

  137. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a blog post that shows how MDUSD compared to other districts in the county on the CAHSEE results (as well as how it improved from 2011 to 2012):

  138. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are two blog posts about Monday’s meeting:

    – one about the KVHS vote:

    – and one about virtually everything else:

  139. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Regarding the Susan Hukkanen rumor, a search of the Butte County Office of Ed. website turns up her name, with no job specified:

  140. Theresa Harrington Says:

    This is unrelated to this thread, but WCPD has arrested a man on suspicion of lewd activities at WC Elem. School:
    Video surveillance assisted in the arrest. Do all MDUSD schools have video cameras?

  141. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a blog post about the special education update, which includes more information from Lorrie Davis and another document I got from FCMAT:

  142. Doctor J Says:

    @139 I guess Roger got her another job. She was pretty outspoken about being passed over several times in SASS while other people were selected for the Director positions.

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