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MDUSD 8-27-12

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 9:23 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

[NOTE: I am updating this Tuesday morning, based on information from the superintendent’s secretary regarding the consent calendar.]

Here is the link to the board agenda: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=347

TUESDAY UPDATE:

Board unanimously passed all items on the consent calendar.

Item 9.10 — AIS Interpreting — was pulled for discussion. General Counsel Greg Rolen excused himself, saying he was married to the vendor. Attorney Deb Cooksey sat in his place during discussion of this item.

PREVIOUS POST:
When I arrived a bit late, Carmen Terrones, Local 1 CST rep was critical of the AIS contract, saying it was a conflict of interest because Greg Rolen is married to Marisol Padilla. It passed anyway, 5-0. (I did not hear her testimony, but this is what she told me after her comments.)

PUBLIC COMMENT:
Former MDHS teacher Jessica Preciado spoke about how disheartened she felt after being ignored by MDHS administrators when she asked them to consider allowing her to work part-time, after her son nearly died of a rare condition. Making matters worse, she said payroll has made repeated mistakes and she was told she was not entitled to the 3 percent bonus and then was told by Bryan Richards that she owes the district $2,500.
“If you really want to keep good teachers,” she said, “I guarantee making an effort to really listen and care would be greatly rewarded with teachers who are loyal to our district, and students who receive a better education.”

12.0 COMMUNICATIONS
MDEA President Guy Moore said Preciado’s experience was not an isolated incident and he encouraged the district to treat its employees with respect. For example, he said new teachers were not paid for their two days of training.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT:
Steven Lawrence presented CAHSEE results and said solar info is now available online.

14.1 Board voted 4-1 to appoint Dr. Kerri Mills as interim superintendent of pupil services and special education, after first voting 1-4 against eliminating item 12 from contract. She is replacing Mildred Browne, who requested a leave of absence after the board failed to extend her contract, when it extended the contracts of many other top administrators until 2014. Browne’s contract was set to expire in June.

TUESDAY UPDATE:

Superintendent’s Report, continued (due to late arrival of presenters): Windemere reps make donation to HOPE project, which serves homeless students.

14.2 Board unanimously approved nonpublic school contracts.

14.3 KVHS
After much discussion (which I’ll post to YouTube/tunedtotheresa), the board unanimously agreed to allow KVHS to operate a county ROP class at KVHS through the end of the 2012-13 school year. The board further agreed that no sale or disposition of KVHS FM shall be considered until the conclusion of the MDUSD 2012-2013 academic school year. In addition, trustees asked staff to continue investigating the value of the station, should it decide to sell in the future.

Three former KVHS students spoke in favor of keeping the station: Rick Bartlett, Matthew Boggs and Karen Klaizynski.

14.4 Elimination of some “overflow” busing
After much discussion, the board unanimously agreed to provide overflow busing for students from Title 1 schools who must travel 1.5 miles or more from their home schools, if their neighborhood schools are full; and to eliminate overflow busing for students whose home schools are not Title 1 campuses, if they will travel 5 miles or less to their new schools.

This was Trustee Lynne Dennler’s idea because she didn’t want to continue making cuts that hurt low-income communities in the district.

Lawrence presented a 6-page Excel spreadsheet that showed available space/overflows for 29 elementary schools: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=127742269

Unfortunately, the spreadsheet did not show the total number of students affected or any cost estimates for savings. It also did not show which schools were Title 1.

Based on questions from the board, Lawrence said his staff recommendation to eliminate busing for all overflow students who would be moved to schools less than 5 miles from their home schools would require about 8-10 bus routes at a cost of about $20,000 per route, or a total of about $160,000-$200,000. He never gave a cost estimate for the amended motion, which the board approved.

Lawrence said he didn’t present this to the board sooner because he wanted to wait for the FCMAT report. Yet, he didn’t present any information from that report.

Trustee Linda Mayo asked staff to work with cities to suggest they apply for Safe Routes to Schools grants to provide sidewalks and improve school access.

14.5 The board discussed the superintendent’s evaluation targets extensively. Unfortunately, my Flip cam was full by this point, so I had to download my videos and I missed the first portion of the conversation, in which Trustee Cheryl Hansen said she walked out of two closed sessions regarding the superintendent’s evaluation because she didn’t believe they were properly noticed and she didn’t receive any information about them ahead of time. There were some very testy exchanges between Hansen, Board President Sherry Whitmarsh and Trustee Gary Eberhart. I did catch some of it on my Flipcam, which I’ll post to my YouTube account.

Trustee Linda Mayo said the board needs to work on communicating better. Eberhart said trustees need to come to meetings better prepared.

Eberhart said he thought it was appropriate for the board to discuss the superintendent’s goals in closed session, but he agreed it was also appropriate to present them to the public for input. He said he didn’t think the board violated the Brown Act in its closed sessions.

Hansen asked what happened to the strategic plan. She said she had asked that it be placed on the agenda, but it wasn’t. Eberhart and Rolen said the board couldn’t discuss that, since it wasn’t on the agenda. Hansen said she has submitted it again and wants to see it on the Sept. 10 agenda.

14.6 The board discussed Hansen’s proposal regarding agenda dissemination to the public. She asked that it be brought back to the board for action.

Eberhart said she should work with staff and that item 6 seemed very hard. Mayo said she wasn’t interested in discussing something so prescriptive. She said she believed the superintendent and Loreen Joseph could work out a system for alerting the public when agenda items have been revised.

Dennler had no comment and Whitmarsh said three board members didn’t want this brought back for action.

14.7 The board discussed Hansen’s idea to create a Mayoral Council. Whitmarsh and Mayo said they had discussed the idea with five mayors at a recent mayor’s gathering and that none of them wanted a mayoral council. Mayo said some of them were interested in less formal ways of communicating with the district, however.

Hansen said she had spoken to some mayors who were in favor of the idea. But, she said any ideas for better communication between the district and its city leaders are welcome.

14.8 The board discussed Propositions 30 and 38.
Three speakers urged the board to support Prop. 30 and not Prop. 38: Mike Langley, MDEA President Guy Moore and MDHS teacher Dan Reynolds.
Mayo said the PTA has endorsed Molly Munger’s Prop. 38. She passed out two handouts to trustees: “Prop. 38 benefits every Mt. Diablo District student” and “November 2012 2012 Funding Initiaves” from CSBA. She asked the other trustees to join her in supporting Prop. 38.
Dennler said she wanted to read through the documents before making a decision. Lawrence suggested bringing them back as separate agenda items.

14.9 The board discussed the idea of creating a Public Information Officer position. Hansen said she was against it, saying it was not a good use of money, especially when the board just cut busing for some students.
Mayo supported the idea and asked the superintendent to create a job description.
Whitmarsh said the County Office of Education, San Ramon Valley district and West Contra Costa districts all have PIO’s. Lawrence said the county has added duties to its PIOs, due to budget cuts.
(This is true. Peggy Marshburn oversees QEIA compliance and Williams Act complaints, I believe. Also, the WCCUSD PIO is in charge of community outreach and engagement.)
Whitmarsh said she has heard from at least three board members that they would like to move forward with the creation of a job description.

14.10 The board discussed revising its cell phone policy to allow students to use their cell phones during the school day. Mayo said that the district might need to come up with alternatives for students in low-income areas who may not have cell phones, if teachers plan to use them in classes.

15.0 BOARD REPORTS:

Hansen said she attended the new teacher orientation and Dennler said the district needs to let teachers know that they’re appreciated.

Although she didn’t specifically mention Preciado and Moore’s comments earlier in the meeting, Dennler’s message appeared to coincide with what Preciado and Moore said.

Mayo spoke about some nice comments she received from teachers about recent trainings.

NOTE: Video clips of the Superintendent’s Report, appointment of Kerri Mills, HOPE donation and the beginning of the overflow busing discussion are at http://qik.com/tharrington. Video clips from rest of meeting will be posted soon at http://www.youtube.com/TunedToTheresa.

Here is the link to audio of the meeting: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/audio/2012/08272012.mp3

Do you think the district’s teachers feel appreciated?

TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

I have received the following email from Julie Braun-Martin, in response to my question regarding Mildred Browne’s employment status:

“The district has granted Dr. Browne’s request for an extended leave of absence to address some personal concerns. Notwithstanding her need for a leave, Dr. Browne has continued to work in her role as Assistant Superintendent until the Interim Assistant Superintendent is approved and reports for duty. Dr. Browne will remain available to the District to ensure a smooth transition of the Interim Superintendent. As her leave is a personnel matter, the district will have no further comment on it.”

I have also received the following prepared statement from KQED:

“KQED is not planning to make an offer to purchase radio station KVHS at this time. If and when the Mt. Diablo school board decides to officially put the station on the market, we will consider a possible purchase. We have heard from our KQED Public Radio listeners for years that we need to improve our broadcast signal in parts Contra Costa Country. We have taken a number of steps to improve reception over the years with some success, but we still hear regularly from listeners who have continuing issues with the signal strength of 88.5 FM. Our potential interest in KVHS would be to improve our service to KQED listeners in Contra Costa.”

When I asked if KQED is interested in purchasing the station and equipment — or just the frequency — I got the following email response from publicist Evren Odcikin:

“We have not had any conversations internally about the details of this possible opportunity, so I’m not able to answer any questions about specifics at this time.”

AUG. 29 UPDATE: I heard from Preciado that Julie Braun-Martin stopped by Crossroads school — where she is now working part-time — to apologize and set up a meeting with Bryan Richards to go over the discrepancies in her paychecks. Then today, Trustee Cheryl Hansen stopped by, offered a personal apology and gave Preciado a card. Preciado said she was encouraged by these actions.
However, it’s my understanding that a date and time for her meeting with Richards has still not been finalized.

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130 Responses to “MDUSD 8-27-12”

  1. anonawhat Says:

    So now Marisol Padilla has changed from cronyism to nepotism, it’s still alright for her to earn 94,000 per year? The office manager at my son’s school is bilingual; I don’t know who Carmen is, but appreciate that she came forward with this information: a teacher wants an opportunity to translate; the problem is that she’s not married to Rolen. How immoral, how insensitive with what this teacher’s been through. It’s notable that Guy Moore says that Preciado’s experience was not an isolated incident. This district was built on trust and relationships. Looks like those days are over. When are STAR scores coming out?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Terrones told me she met with the supt. today and expressed the concerns of Local 1 regarding conflict of interest. She said the superintendent said there didn’t used to be a conflict, but now that Rolen has married Padilla, there is.
    However, he said the district needs the services, so they will do an RPF for a new translator, but needed to enter into this contract in the interim.
    STAR scores will be out on Friday.
    At the end of the meeting, Trustee Lynne Dennler stressed the importance of making sure teachers feel valued.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Watch out Marisol, here comes Dr. Kerry Mills. http://www.sbsdk12.org/news/2009/09/30mills.shtml

  4. g Says:

    Since this district is not likely to be as forthcoming with publishing Dr. Mills’ bio, this Santa Barbara piece from three years ago might help:

    http://www.sbsdk12.org/news/2009/09/30mills.shtml

  5. Anon Says:

    Uh oh……

  6. g Says:

    Apparently great minds do think alike 😉

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Perhaps a triolgy could be written . . .Fifty Shades of . . . .

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The board did agree to move forward with drafting a job description for a Public Information Officer. If such a position is created, it’s possible that person might be able to provide bios of new administrators.
    However, Trustee Cheryl Hansen said she didn’t think it makes sense to spend money on a PIO, while cutting busing for children. Instead, she said district officials should do a better job of communicating with the public.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    So Lawrence knew of the conflict of interest “after marriage” and said nothing. And Steve, there is no conflict of interest when they are cohabiting or having intimate relations ? Didn’t you learn anything in your sexual harassment class, or did you skip it ?

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please remember that I have not spoken to Lawrence about this myself and I did not hear if there was any board discussion regarding Terrones’ concerns. This is all based on what she told me during a meeting break.

  11. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Dr. Kerry Mills as interim superintendent – of what? Is this person replacing Lawrence?

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, she’s interim superintendent of pupil services and special education — replacing Mildred Browne. I have clarified that in the blog.

  13. g Says:

    There has been a well known and frequently discussed conflict of interest over the Rolen/Padilla domestic relationship for a long time.

    Lawrence should have done his job and had an RFP out months ago!

  14. anonawhat Says:

    Lawrence’s claim that: “the district needs the services (of Rolen’s wife” and her “services will continue in the interim AND will enter Marisol Padilla “to enter into this contract” is proof that Marisol and Lawrence are both in bed with Rolen. This woman ‘Carmen’ ‘LOCAL 1, CST indicated that there is already a teacher to take over during the proposed contract and is capable and in dire need to act as the “interim”; I’m hoping that this Carmen and Guy Moore follow through and file a grievance. Is there a law that says “now that it’s nepotism, we can still renew a contract for the interim, even though there are numerous MDUSD employees who are able to provide the same services”? Dr. Lawrence and Greg Rolen: karma…Carmen and Guy Moore are on to you. Both of you are there to educate and protect our children, not to gain personal profits or favors. The truth shall prevail.

  15. anonawhat Says:

    OH….by the way: it is not Dr. Lawrence, Mr. Eberhart, or the public who are running this district: it is Greg Rolen. Lawrence and Eberhart are as afraid of him as are administraors in this district. So It’s a “keep-Rolen-happy” mentality or he’ll turn on you and you’ll be gone. Or in the case of Lawrence and Eberhart, he’ll leak a truth or untruth about them or adminsitrators in order to makes them aware that he holds the power….won’t expose my connections.

  16. g Says:

    Lawrence says there is a district chart showing school distances on the district website. Does anyone know where that chart is posted?

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I was wondering the same thing. Although the superintendent showed the audience step by step how to find the information about solar power, he did not show how to find the school distance maps, or even hint at where they might be found.
    He also presented a detailed list of overflow schools, which was not attached to the online agenda or distributed to the public. Instead, it was only distributed to the board. When I asked for a copy of it after the meeting, the superintendent’s secretary said she didn’t have it. This is unacceptable. The superintendent should have provided copies to his secretary and to the public and should have posted it online with the agenda report.
    It’s great that the solar information is available online, but it would be even more impressive if the superintendent would share the boundary information online with as much transparency as he shared the solar information.

  18. Michael Langley Says:

    #16 G, go to fiscal department on district site and look for reimbursement for a pdf milage chart

    http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/Fiscal/Documents/Mileage%20Chart%20NEW%207-30-08.pdf

  19. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Thanks Mike. I would never have thought of looking for it in the fiscal dept.
    You’d think there would be some sort of user-friendly map for the public to try to understand if they will or will not be entitled to busing. Superintendent Lawrence’s presentation should have included this.
    Here’s my story about the meeting: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21414759/mt-diablo-school-board-allows-clayton-valley-charter

  20. xcelveye Says:

    Post #8: “The board did agree to move forward with drafting a job description for a Public Information Officer.”

    What bird are they going to feather this nest for? This is the oldest trick in the public sector staffing book when trying to circumvent the law and the standards of fair play. Building the job to fit a predetermined candidate of limited experience but otherwise owed a favor; be it for cronyism, nepotism or a simple payback for personal services provided is a practice MDUSD board and directors always used.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    Has there been any official Board action on Mildred Browne ?

  22. Doctor J Says:

    Wouldn’t any of Marisol Padilla’s earnings after marriage to Greg Rolen be community property of both — and vice-versa ? Court records on line say Rolen’s divorce was final September 30, 2011 and so the Padilla/Rolen marriage should have occurred after that. When Rolen filed Bankruptcy in Dec 2011 he did not disclose he was married.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have asked Julie Braun-Martin for the status of Browne’s employment and have received no response. There has been no public announcement regarding a board action, unless it was one of the four negotiations for dismissal or release approved in closed session last week.
    Terrones appeared to be under the impression the Rolen marriage was fairly recent, based on the fact that she said Lawrence didn’t appear to think there was a conflict of interest all the other times AIS has received MDUSD contracts.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    I am confused between the apparent conflict between the MDUSD electronic school board agenda and the Times story on the busing issue. The electronic board agenda says: “overflowed more than 1.5 miles from their home school will be provided transportation.”

    The Times story says:
    Trustees unanimously agreed to eliminate busing for some “overflow” students who must attend schools not in their neighborhoods, if their schools do not receive Title 1 low-income federal funding and are less than five miles from their home schools. Students who attend Title 1 schools would continue to receive busing, if their new schools are 1.5 miles or farther from their homes.

    The agenda seems to indicate that there is just one rule: 1.5 miles from their “home school.” The Times story suggests there are two rules: a 5 mile rule and a 1.5 mile rule “from their homes”.

    Can you please clarify that.

  25. Michael Langley Says:

    Doc J, Dennler’s amendment was passed to make two sets of guidelines. Title 1 Elementary overflow students get bussed if new school is over 1.5 miles from home school. All other overflow students are bussed if new school is over 5 miles from home school.

  26. g Says:

    Children walking 5+ miles–many of them with NO sidewalks! Thanks Mr Langley for the info.

    Busing students based on one seat available here, 4 seats over there; your 2nd grader at this school in Bay Point, your 3rd grader over the highway, miles away in Concord, your 5th grader at yet another school! It could happen! Meadow Homes families could find their children spread out to two or three different schools as well.

    If new students move in and claim those seats, your kid gets overflowed to yet a different school next year–or maybe mid-year?

    Having lived here for many decades, I know Concord pretty well. Using the district’s chart it is obvious they used the “shortest driving route” from school-to-school and NOT the safest walking route through neighborhoods.

    Many of our older neighborhoods have no sidewalks. East Olivera has no sidewalks, one very rutted and muddy shoulder (none on the other side) and it’s a winding two-lane freeway access route. I’d like to see Lawrence and Goakey walk it at 7am in January!

    How about the Title 1, SIG and QUIA funds that kids are entitled to at their current school? Do those funds travel too?

  27. Doctor J Says:

    Thanks Mike for the clarification. Different rules depending upon the designation of the school. Sounds like economic segregation. Wait until they start tampering with the school boundaries. I am assuming its based on whether the “home school” is Title 1 or not as opposed to the “transfered to” school. The official record is even more confusing: “Amended Motion Member (Lynne Dennler) Moved, Member (Linda Mayo) seconded to approve the Amended motion ‘Students who attend Title 1 elementary school and overflowed more than 1.5 miles from their home school will be provided transportation. ‘. Upon a Roll-Call Vote being taken, the vote was: Aye: 5 Nay: 0. The motion CARRIED 5 – 0″ This was a vote on a Board policy that wasn’t even written out. Wait until Rolen munches on those words.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, the motion on the agenda item left off the second part, which was that the board agreed to eliminate busing for all students whose new schools are less than five miles from their home schools, as long as their home school is not a Title 1 school.
    Board President Sherry Whitmarsh was having a bit of trouble typing in all the motions last night, so she may have assumed everyone knew about the second half, since that was the staff recommendation.
    I shot Flipcam video of all this, so will be posting it to my YouTube account today.
    Also, I’ll finish my meeting recap in this “not so live” blog.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    And when is this new busing policy supposed to go into effect ? Thursday ? That’s a knee slapper. Theresa, better check with your weather department. Hurricane Steven is about to hit Contra Costa County. BTW, is the Times just going to let another Brown Act violation slip by when you and the public didn’t get your copies of what was distributed to the Board by staff ?

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Loreen said she would try to get it for me today. The problem is that Lawrence was referring to it without distributing it to the public. He had a PowerPoint, but the writing was really small and hard to read. Plus, it was a multi-page document, so the audience could only see one page at a time. There were several staff members from Meadow Homes sitting behind me and I’m sure they would have liked to have gotten copies of the document as well. The superintendent never even asked if anyone wanted copies, so I erroneously assumed the PowerPoint had been attached to the agenda.
    Regarding the policy, I believe Lawrence said he wants to try to start implementing it Monday. Hansen asked if they should postpone the decision to the next meeting, so they would have more accurate numbers after school starts. But, Lawrence said he didn’t want elementary children to get too attached to their home schools before being transferred.
    Already the scenarios g outlined are happening. Lawrence said two children were overflowed to Valle Verde, but when they got there, they called the district office in distress saying the school wouldn’t register them. It turned out that two children who live in the Valle Verde neighborhood had just walked in that morning to register, so they bumped the overflow kids.
    Hansen said it seemed like the district was putting families through a lot of trauma to save about $160,000. When she asked how much Dennler’s amended motion would save, Lawrence said he wasn’t sure.
    This is partially why Hansen was against the PIO position. Her stance was that the district shouldn’t be spending money on new a administrator while making some kids walk 4 miles to school.

  31. Wait a Minute Says:

    Greg Rolen (esquire), has been and continues to willfully break ethics rules by having a personal relationship with a highly paid district vendor (even before he was married.) e

    These breach of ethics are especially egregious since it is his job as General Counsel to design and implement policies that follow the law and protect the district.

    Now that he has married Marisol, the fact that Stevie Lawrence has said that they will continue to contract with the Rolen’s company AIS shows just how determined these corrupt people are to continue to flaunt the ethics laws and defraud the public.

    I highly reccomend that everyone who is appalled by Rolen’s conduct to file a Complaint with the State Bar about Rolen’s ethical lapses in these matters.

    Hopefully the Fardella family and others who care about the damage that Rolen and his cohorts have done to out district and the childen and public will act by this matter to help bring positive change to the MDUSD.

    Here is a link to the State Bar’s complaint procedure:
    http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation.aspx

  32. Doctor J Says:

    Where is the PowerPoint ? How many times does Lawrence get to “get away with” violating the Brown Act ? I mean if a principal let the students “get away with” the school would be run like . .. . . oh, yeah, Oak Grove.

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    There was also a CAHSEE Powerpoint that he presented during his superintendent’s report, which is not posted online.
    In addition, Trustee Linda Mayo passed out some information to the board regarding Proposition 38. It included a breakdown of how much each MDUSD school would get if this proposition passed. The district should post her information online with that agenda item, as well, since Trustee Lynne Dennler said she would like to study it before voting on which measure(s) to endorse at the next meeting.
    Luckily, I was able to catch her after the meeting and she gave it to me, saying it was all public information available online and that there is a “benefit calculator” that shows you how much each school will get, at http://www.prop38forlocalschools.org.
    She also gave me a CSBA handout entitled “November 2012 Funding Initiatives,” which gave a brief overview of both ballot measures. There is no website listed on that handout, but it’s possible it could be on the CSBA website.
    I have just spoken to the superintendent’s secretary and she said the link in the fiscal dept. is what Lawrence was referring to, so there is no actual map showing distances.

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a Tuesday update to the top of this blog post regarding the consent calendar and AIS discussion, based on a conversation this morning with the superintendent’s secretary.
    I will update the rest shortly.

  35. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Something really doesn’t seem right with all of this. My prediction: something else big is about to be revealed.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have completed my update/recap of the meeting in this blog post, including a link to the overflow busing chart.
    Now, I’ll start uploading my Flipcam videos to YouTube/tunedtotheresa.

  37. Wait a Minute Says:

    Although I have kind of lost faith in the CCC Grand Jury it might also be effective for concerned citizens to also lodge a complaint about Greg Rolen’s ethic violations and possible steering of lucrative MDUSD interpreting contracts to his girlfriend and now wife Marisol of AIS.

    Here is the link on how to do this:
    http://www.cc-courts.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=4186#matters

  38. Wait a Minute Says:

    I probably need to make this more explicit,

    Greg Rolen’s ethics violations regarding his girlfriend/now wife’s lucrative MDUSD Interpreting Services Contracts are most definetly CONFLICTS OF INTEREST under the law.

    This is because he has a duty as General Counsel to both educate and protect the MDUSD against exactly what he and Marisol Padilla are doing here!!!

  39. Doctor J Says:

    What’s the rush Steven on the bus routes ? You sat on them from 5 1/2 months March 12 to now, and suddenly want “action” — yet you come to the last two Board meetings pretty unprepared — can’t answer specifics about how many children are affected and specific cost estimates. You are willing to make First Graders walk 5 plus miles to school just so you can get a Press Secretary. Why do you need a press secretary ? You just dumbed down your public communications from every two weeks to 9 times a year. Why not just hold a one hour press conference monthly and let the press do the publicity for you ? Oh, they might ask hard questions ? Not any harder than the next board will ask you.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, Board members accusing each other of Brown Act violations in an open meeting. Even walking out of closed sessions due to Brown Act violations. Now, where is the District Attorney ? That sounds like a Grand Jury investigation waiting to happen.

  41. Doctor J Says:

    Audio available for yesterday’s Monday Night at the Fights, with Lame Duck Eberhart tag teaming with Chevron Sherry and Mayo — both sides please –, against Truth Seeker Cheryl. Lame Lynn taking a nap on the sidelines. http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/audio/2012/08272012.mp3

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Eberhart asked Hansen if she had talked to the DA regarding alleged Brown Act violations and she said she wouldn’t talk about that. He assumed that meant it was not a Brown Act violation, saying if it were, she would be visiting the DA and talking about it.
    Regarding Lynne Dennler, she was very proactive on the busing issue. It was thanks to her that Title 1 students get to keep their busing. Lawrence said he spent hours going over the bus routes with her and that she took a great personal interest in this item. She even challenged Eberhart during the meeting, asking if he liked making students walk miles in the rain. He shot back that he didn’t like any cuts, but the board needed to cut about $10 million.
    Dennler said that ever since she has been on the board, cuts have affected low-income students the most. She really took a stand on this. She was definitely not a lame duck who sat on the sidelines.
    In addition, Dennler made an impassioned speech at the end about the importance of making teachers feel valued.
    She also took great interest in the proposition discussion and said she wanted to have time to consider the initiatives.

  43. g Says:

    “Whitmarsh said she has heard from at least three board members that they would like to move forward with the creation of a job description.”

    Say it isn’t so…four members of the board have had “serial” meetings with the Board President? Do they expect us to believe this isn’t happening frequently and on many subjects?

    I’m surprised Rolen hasn’t cut her flapping ad-lib tongue out long before this! But then, he is kept pretty busy coaching Lawrence with his subtle head signals and Egohart with his quick whispers and notes.

    On the other hand, Rolen, Lawrence and Egohart probably admire Whitmarsh’s ability to lie without compunction, so will tolerate her many faux pas at the dais.

  44. Wait a Minute Says:

    Dr J,

    That’s why I said in my post above that I have kind of lost faith in the CCC Grand Jury because of their inaction (at east so far) in dealing with these pervasive and ongoing breachs of the law regarding the Brown Act.

    Hopefully the board candidates will be made to explicitly address these issues before the election because, like the Brown Act itself, SUNSHINE is the BEST DISINFECTENT for DIRT (AND CORRUPTION)!

  45. Doctor J Says:

    Rolen said he was removing himself from the “dais” on the AIS contract — did he leave the room ? I think that the FPPC requires the person to leave the room when a conflict of interest is declared, and to declare what the conflict of interest is. I heard nothing to suggest all of that happened. In fact, nothing was said by the speaker to identify what the conflict of interest was.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Lame Duck Eberhart asks the Board to go to “closed session” to find out how paragraph 12 was arrived at — not sure that is allowed, but they did it. Then when they come back in Eberhart discloses what was discussed in closed session — ironic since he has accused Cheryl Hansen indirectly of the same thing.

  47. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Eberhart seems to be the buddy of DA Peterson, who got him to try and intimidate Hansen.

    Notice how when Hansen stood her ground Peterson dropped that hot potato. Must have really upset The Gary that the DA wouldn’t do his dirty work.

  48. Doctor J Says:

    Lame Duck Eberhart is finding he has less and less friends now that he will not be running for re-election. His political future is in limbo.

  49. anonawhat Says:

    @TH: when will the Contra Costa Times write an article about what’s happening in this district as indicated in the above blog? I realize that because of your integrity you would only provide the facts; but the facts are chilling. When I listened to Preciado’s appeal to the board (which was interrupted by Whitmarsh’s insensitive reminder to “wrap it up”), and Lawrence’s response that Rolen’s wife’s contract was going to be renewed despite nepotism, there’s enough facts to unnerve voters who visit the polls this November.

  50. anonawhat Says:

    @TH: Also…..I think the public would be interested in knowing the vast number of site principals (especially elementary) who have left the district in the past 2 years-my son has had 3 principals in the past three years and all 3 were very competent.

  51. Jim Says:

    @33 — If Lynn Dennler believes the propaganda on the Prop 38 site, then she provides another example of that adage, “If you stand for nothing, then you’ll fall for anything.” The web site says that, “Prop 38 raises $10 billion a year for schools, puts it into a secure trust fund that Sacramento politicians can’t touch, and distributes the money evenly on a per-child basis to every public school.”

    Sure, the politicos in Sacto won’t be able to touch THAT money, but they sure can touch the REST of the funding that is currently going to schools — say, about $10 bil worth. Remember the lottery proceeds that were “dedicated” to schools? That money simply allowed Sacramento to cut other general funding for schools, solving nothing. If it is satisfactory to fund schools just enough to keep them barely on life support, then that is what our legislature will do (and has done), despite all the other funds that are “dedicated” to schools. I predict that Prop 38 will go down in defeat for that very reason. People recognize that it is just more tax revenue that will replace other school funding, so that those funds can be redirected to boondoggles elsewhere in the budget.

    Question: What has Lynne Dennler done to support an MDUSD parcel tax that would NOT be subject to the budget whims in Sacto and would ACTUALLY INCREASE the funds available for our students?

  52. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Jim, Lynne Dennler did not take a position on the measures. She merely said she wanted more time to study the issues. Linda Mayo staunchly supported Prop. 38 and asked her fellow trustees to join in that support.
    The three speakers pointed out what you are saying. I’ll upload video of their comments to my YouTube account later.

  53. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anonawhat: I will write about Preciado separately.
    Here are four moving videos in which she describes her story — first to me — then to the board (She was Jessica Swan at Northgate):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bMFoMGin5s&feature=share&list=UL_bMFoMGin5s
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vm1MZsqvCM&feature=share&list=UL6vm1MZsqvCM
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_0m6g-PtQE&feature=share&list=ULe_0m6g-PtQE
    Part 4 (to board): http://youtu.be/DSpkwwy9HX4

    I will need to listen to the audio to get the full picture about the AIS agenda item.

  54. Anon Says:

    Loreen Joseph sent the Superintendent’s update today. Nowhere in the email or the update does it give the name of the superintendent. The primary news is that we hired 81 teachers. Nowhere does it say how many teachers left voluntarily or involuntarily. My kids had great teachers last year who we hear rumors left for other districts. This news comes from The Great Void which has no reference to everyday reality.

  55. g Says:

    I just watched all 4 You tube videos of Jessica Preciado, and have just one thing to say to Sherry Whitmarsh:

    “I have to ask you to ‘wrap it up please.’ You have conspired to and have done enough harm to this district!”

    The next item on OUR agenda is to, at the very least, elect people to the board that still have a heart, and hopefully, unlike you, at one time had an honest soul. You had a copy of what she was reading. You could easily see that she only needed a few more seconds to “wrap it up” on her own.

    Please withdraw, and save yourself, and your family from the expense and very public embarrassment that is surely about to come your way.

  56. Anon Says:

    The NO MORE WHITMARSH campaign is just about to hold our first kickoff event.

    Then we begin our very well funded Anti-Sherry media blitz.

  57. Anon Says:

    G, ditto that-I knew Preciado and she was my child’s best high school English teacher. She does go above and beyond both at school and after hours time grading extra writing prompts and caring for the whole student that the district should have valued. I know another wonderful caring teacher who needs to go part time but is having no luck with district personnel. It’s ironic that the main topic in the Superintendent’s update is the success of personnel.

  58. Doctor J Says:

    Lame Duck Eberhart embarasses himself and calls the Supt’s “evaluation targets” the first document available to evaluate him by. Oh please, Gary did you forget the “goals and objectives” proposed by Lawrence and adopted by the Board on Sept 28, 2010, which are essentially the same as the new ones, except some of the new ones are “dumbed down” from 2010 ?

  59. Doctor J Says:

    @56 Are you also considering a Recall Dennler campaign ?

  60. Jim Says:

    @53 — A principal I greatly admired once told me, “A school can go as far as the teachers will take it.”
    Evidently, Mt. Diablo High, which I think we can all agree has a LONG LONG way to go, will have to get to wherever it is going without Ms. Preciado.
    What a waste. What a shame.

  61. Doctor J Says:

    @42 Yes I will give credit to Lynne for finally speaking up about children and parents on the busing issue, but neither she nor Lawrence had any idea what the financial benefit to that change of policy would be — and she spent several hours with Lawrence, as he described in an exaspterated voice, going over all the bus routes. And at the end of the Board meeting, she did speak up saying teachers don’t feel appreciated — what was her first clue after that impassioned speech by Jessica Preciado about how poorly she was treated by Kate McClatchy and then MDEA Guy Gibson who blasted the district for not paying new teachers for two days of mandatory training to save $50,000. Wouldn’t the California Labor Commissioner have something to say about that ? My critique of her is generally she has been a Linda Mayo head-nodder, has been unengaged, and sits on the sidelines on most issues. So I will change her nickname in post 41 to Sideline Lynne.

  62. Anon Says:

    Lynne Dennler cracks me up. I have never seen anyone and I mean ANYONE further over their heads.

    Remember at the beginning of her term when she repeadetly complained about the restirctions the Brown Act placed on her. Almost as if she had never in her life seen a public meeting before.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    Why can’t I find any campaign finance statements for Lynne Dennler in the 2010 election ?

  64. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dennler ran virtually no campaign in 2010. She did not publish a ballot statement and I don’t think she solicited campaign contributions. I also don’t think she had fliers or campaign signs.
    There was wide speculation that one of the main reasons she won was her “retired teacher” ballot designation. She also participated in public forums and newspaper interviews.

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a “Tuesday Afternoon Update” to this blog post with an email message from Julie Braun-Martin regarding Mildred Browne’s leave of absence and a statement from KQED regarding KVHS.

  66. Anon Says:

    Whitmarsh at her arrogant worst – When Hansen asked her why an agenda item she submitted wasn’t on the agenda Whitmarsh said in her opinion it didn’t need to be on. When Hansen said the board president doesn’t have that authority Whitmarsh said her opinion was what counted. Gee, she learned well from her mentor Eberhart, didn’t she. She definitely needs to go.

  67. Doctor J Says:

    Doesn’t Mildred have to comply with Board Policy 4361 and have her leave approved by the Board ? “8. All leaves of absence, except sick leave, industrial illness or accident, bereavement, jury duty, court appearance, management leave days and paid military, shall be approved by the Board. Requests for leaves shall be submitted in writing to the appropriate personnel director, giving specific dates and type of leave.” I would guess her request for leave is subject to the PRA since it must be submitted to the Board.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#66 Did you hear that Sherry said the “closed meetings” are being “reported” in the foyer after the closed sessions. The Agendas never specify that, and no minutes of the Board meetings where there are only closed sessions are ever made — another violation.

  69. Anon Says:

    It’s tragic for our students that Dennler’s campaign was to be the voice for teachers. That’s commendable but students must be the first consideration and in a well-run school district the benefits then trickle down to teachers and staff. Tell me what has Dennler done for the district like say finalize the strategic plan? We end up with children hoofing to faraway schools, no accountability for anything, and students who lose great teachers like Preciado because of the district dysfunction.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    It just occured to me why Lawrence is so desperate to save an extra $200,000 quickly: Lawrence is going to pay Mildred during her leave of absence, and is paying the new ‘Interim’ Supt also. He throws out these round numbers 8 routes @ $20,000 a route — when Cheryl asks for the specifics, he says they are just estimates. We all know about Lawrence’s ficticious money saving estimates: SASS to save $50,000 a year — OMG what a joke. School closure to save several million — show us the beef Steven, that never happened either.

  71. g Says:

    Yeah, Browne needs to address some personal concerns–most of us would just go ahead and call those concerns “the lecture circuit” AKA The Mary Bacon approach to living large off the education machine.

    How quaint of JBM to call it personnel issues.

    What is JBM calling the time off required for the rest of Browne’s posse on the “Personal Concerns” Lecture Circuit? Insurance for her own future seat on that train?

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Hansen mentioned the need to complete the strategic plan and asked for it to be placed on the next agenda.
    Regarding Preciado, there is a silver lining for some students in the district — she has been hired part-time at the Crossroads school for pregnant students and teen moms. After all she’s been through, she said she feels that maybe this was meant to be, since the atmosphere there is very much like a caring family. Also, some of her former students are there.

  73. Anon Says:

    We’re waiting for Hansen to get seconded . . .

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    We’ll see if it shows up on the next agenda.
    Here’s a link to a blog post that includes the Superintendent’s Welcome Back message to the community: http://bit.ly/OoGTJE

  75. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Also, please note that I have just finished uploading all of my Flipcam videos from the meeting to YouTube/tunedtotheresa.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    Kerri Mills said she met with the CAC recently. Wouldn’t that be a violation of the Brown Act ?

  77. The Observer Says:

    Re:Jessica Preciado
    All the public information officers on the planet could not have mitigated the negative effect created when board president Sherry Whitmarsh bummed rushed – “I’m going to ask you to wrap this up”- Ms. Preciado on Monday night. Having witnessed it in person first and then seeing it on video Whitmarsh’s less than symapathetic response to the young teacher’s story perfectly illustrated what MDEA president Guy Moore spoke to also. Many employees don’t feel heard and as such don’t feel valued. Look at Whtimarsh’s response when Ms. Preciado finished speaking – not so much as a word of thanks for sharing her story, a word of concern about the child’s health, nor a word that the Whitmarsh is sorry for the woman having to go through all that, none of that. Instead, you heard, ” Next on the agenda”. Just like teachers and the public feel that we are all just ” Next on the agenda”in MDUSD.

    And, speaking of agendas, Whitmarsh let us all know that she is the sole arbiter of agenda items. When Hansen questioned why an item she submitted was not on the agenda Whitmarsh replied in imperious terms that she didn’t think it needed to be on for consideration. It’s surprising that Linda Mayo didn’t leap to her feet then and declare, “The King is dead, Long live the Queen”

    Monday night’s board meeting clearly illustrated why we need to elect new new board members in November who will listen and respond to the teachers and the public.

  78. Doctor J Says:

    As I watched Jessica, I wondered what Dr. Kerri Mills was thinking. Did she think, “Is this the kind of culture I want to work for ?” As you read the article about her, and the 2009 FCMAT Santa Barbara report, she is used to working where there is open discussion about issues without repercussions. And she is leaving her future to the sole “evaluation” of Steven Lawrence after a few months ? Little does she know about the vindictiveness embedded in this district, and punishments for “open discussion”. If Theresa is able to get an interview with her, that might be a great question for her — What were you thinking as you listened to Jessica and about to accept a job with this district ?

  79. Wait a Minute Says:

    @ The Observer#77

    Hopefully the NO ON WHITMARSH campaign will use this video of Whitmarsh disrespecting this wonderful, young teacher and her very real concerns in their campaign.

    The other information they should get out to the voters is how Whitmarsh is supporting the cronyism and now nepotism of MDUSD’s General Counsel (and 2nd highest paid employee of the MDUSD) Greg Rolen’s household being given six figure contracts (when totaled) for the AIS district-contracted interpreting services.

  80. Doctor J Says:

    @WAM I think Rolen has now surpassed Lawrence in salary when you add his and hers together: and just think how much the district is now paying for his medical and dental for the “whole family”. I would love to know when the marriage was — presumably sometime after Dec 5, 2011. Did Rolen leave the room or just the dais ?

  81. Doctor J Says:

    I can’t wait for the website: NO ON WHITMARSH. They can link all kinds of videos, parodies, statements, and refusal to answer questions like ButtercupGATE which I posted a couple of weeks ago. And lets not forget to link her campaign “donors” — both this year and from 4 years ago.

  82. Doctor J Says:

    Has Sherry lived up to her 2008 Campaign Statement ? Can’t wait until Theresa posts the 2012 Statement. Here is the 2008 Statement: “My name is: Sherry Whitmarsh My age is: My occupation is: Competency Development Consultant Education and Qualifications:
    With two children who attend schools in the Mt Diablo Unified School District and as a member of two MDUSD committees I am aware of the issues that exist.
    As your board member I will help facilitate positive change for this district. I will champion a strategic plan which extends out 3 – 5 years. This plan needs
    to be developed through collaboration among all members of the MDUSD community. Administrators, teachers, school staff, students, and parents need to have a seat at the same table to help develop a plan that will guide us through times of economic growth and crisis.
    We must ensure that MDUSD is able to attract and retain qualified staff. We must offer competitive salaries and benefits to all staff to ensure that we hire and retain the best possible employees. Only by retaining highly qualified staff will we ensure that our children can receive the best education possible.
    It will be my responsibility to ensure that all children receive a high quality education in a safe learning environment. Every student must be encouraged
    to make academic progress. Setting high expectations for student conduct and behavior will ensure that classrooms are constructive centers for learning.
    It is with honor that I have the endorsement of the teachers of our district, and the maintenance and operations employees of our district.
    With your vote, we can have an efficient administration, the best teachers and school staff that will make a positive difference in the lives of our children. I ask for your vote. If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at sherry@votesherry.com or 925 899 4731. Thank you.”

  83. Doctor J Says:

    What will Lame Duck Eberhart do with his $1,637.46 in his campaign account he last reported through 12-31-2010, but has not filed up to date campaign donation statements ?

  84. g Says:

    As I understand it, the fine for not filing up to date forms is $1,000.00 per. If they follow up on complaints filed on him, that would put him in the hole. He is past due on more than one.

  85. anon Says:

    Dr. J,
    Sherry has not only NOT lived up to her campaign promises, I’d say she has done just the opposite. So very, very sad.
    I don’t understand how this happens, it must just be the bane of politics. I wonder how she reconciles this within her own conscience.
    I was literally brought to tears watching Mrs. Preciado’s statements to the board. At least Gary looked like he was listening to her.
    Does the board discuss public comments? Are they even allowed to? Where is the follow up, or follow through on comments made by the public?
    This is all so terribly disheartening.
    Sherry, what happened? Can’t believe you are actually running again, I am very disappointed in your tenure. I really expected much better from you.

  86. Doctor J Says:

    Where Sherry is SO VERY WRONG is that she controls the agenda. Education Code (35145.5) gives the public an even more active role in the agendas of school board meetings, “to place matters directly related to school district business on the agenda of school district governing board meetings.” I wish someone would submit an agenda item and have Sherry reject it — then get a court order to prohibit her from doing that in the future.

    Yes Anon, Board members can briefly comment on or even ask questions based on the public comment. In

  87. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the board retreat, Whitmarsh said her top priority is attracting and retaining highly qualified staff in all areas.

  88. The Observer Says:

    The board doesn’t need a public information officer, it needs an exorcist. There were a lot of heads spinning on Monday night.

  89. Doctor J Says:

    What a unique idea, develop an “action plan with 154 goals” from the FCMAT report and then inviting FCMAT to come back and review the progress. Hells bells, Lawrence won’t even allow FCMAT to make a final report so it stays secret — why would Lawrence want someone following up to see if he actually did what he said he was going to do ? And what about this: “Progress on the action plan and individual goals has been prepared and presented to the board several times.”

    Here is an excerpt of a report by Kerri Mills to her Supt on Feb 14, 2012: “FCMAT conducted an initial comprehensive study on our District’s special education program in June, 2009. The original scope of their study covered the following areas: 1) Parent participation, 2)Communication, 3) Organization, 4) Fiscal, and 5) Program and Training. At that time, they made significant recommendations for improvement. Based on those recommendations, the District developed an action plan with approximately 154 goals. Progress on the action plan and individual goals has been prepared and presented to the board several times. After working diligently on these goals over a period of time, the District invited the FCMAT team to return to assess our progress in implementing the recommendations of their initial report. The original FCMAT team of five staff members returned to the district in October, 2011.”

    I want to hear from the candidates: WHAT WOULD YOU DO ?

    BTW, SBUSD must have a Strategic Plan because at the bottom of the staff report to the Supt., it identifies which “Board Focus Goals” the report pertains to.

    Lawrence would never allow this detail in a staff report to the Board. http://www.sbsdk12.org/board/attachments/2012/02-14/02-14-12_attachment_F.1.pdf

  90. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It appears to be a unique idea to have a written staff report, instead of merely calling up the special ed staff to answer questions during a board meeting or springing a last-minute PowerPoint on the public, without posting it or providing copies.
    I would guess that this staff report was attached to the agenda when it was disseminated too – another unique idea.

  91. Doctor J Says:

    And available on the internet when the Agenda was posted 72 hours in advance. The Agenda also indicates the attachment was photocopied and available for distribution to the public at the back of the room. They actually practice the Brown Act in Santa Barbara.

  92. g Says:

    Rolen and Eberhart like to “practice” at it too when it fits their personal agenda. We need people who are proficient at using it.

  93. anonawhat Says:

    @ the observer #88: how do you perform an exorcism on Rolen, Lawrence, and certain board members when they are the devil themselves? An exorcism for them is a waste of time, but karma……that’s another story…can’t wait

  94. anonawhat Says:

    @TH #53: did i get this right? After watching your videos on YouTube of the August 27th meeting, I noted that Jessica Preciado was interrupted by Whitmarsh at 3 minutes and 31 seconds. HOWEVER, Mr. Bartley who spoke on behalf of KVHS, spoke for 8 minutes and 55 seconds without interruption from any Board Member. Have I miscalculated or missing something? Please tell me that a teacher’s baby is more important than a radio station.

  95. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Actually, the KVHS video includes more than one speaker: http://youtu.be/mTFeRHEYeo0

    Bartlett spoke from about 0:25-4:02, so he spoke for about 3.5 minutes. At about 3:29, the buzzer went off and he said, “I need to wrap it up, I guess.” He then continued to speak uninterrupted for another 30 seconds or so.

  96. Doctor J Says:

    On Friday, when the STAR test results are released by CDE, here is the link to the CDE Estimated API calculator. Pass it around and post your results ! http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/documents/calc11b12g.xls

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’m interrupting this thread to report that a 16-year-old Las Lomas HS student has been reported missing since Friday: https://local.nixle.com/alert/4878806/?sub_id=215768

  98. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a Santa Barbara news report about Mills’ appointment in MDUSD, after implementing FCMAT recommendations there: http://www.kcoy.com/story/19411466/santa-barbara-unified-school-district-losing-an-administrator

  99. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added an Aug. 29 update to this blog, with information from Preciado about two visits she has received from district officials at her new job on the Crossroads campus.

  100. g Says:

    Isn’t it SAD when a reputable company makes the mistake of relying on the 5 year out-of-date MDUSD website for information?

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s another news story about Mills’ departure from Santa Barbara: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/082912_special_education_director_kerri_mills_leaving/

  102. Doctor J Says:

    @G, yup, they are in a hurry and don’t verify facts like enrollment figures. They should have checked the CDE site, but they are not “Education Reporters” like Theresa is !

  103. Doctor J Says:

    @99 Too bad some of Mount’s administrators don’t have the same sense of humanity and compassion. Of course, one got promoted to elementary principal, and the others are still employed despite a 7 point API drop and didn’t meet her subgroups.

  104. Anon Says:

    Shouldn’t the apology be coming from Sherry Whitmarsh?

    Sherry appeared to be a heartless, unfeeling, despicable human being.

  105. Doctor J Says:

    @104 Yup, that was insult to injury. I think I would strike “appeared to be”. Add her insult to Cheryl, and like Abe Lincoln said: Its better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. Sherry’s true colors showed last night like a flag in a strong wind.

  106. anon Says:

    re: the 8-29 update from Theresa: what a nice gesture to Preciado from Cheryl Hansen….the ONLY Board Member who is competent. And also impressive that Julie Braun-Martin took the time to meet with Preciado. I’m hoping that Richards will investigate Preciado’s case.
    By the way, for those who haven’t watched Theresa’s video on YouTube, check out the obvious whispering between Rolen and Eberhart.

  107. g Says:

    So how did all the kids do today? Did enough buses show up? Did the kids get dropped off in the right places. Were there textbooks and workbooks enough for everyone? Were all the toilets working, and unlocked? How about all of those new air conditioners? Were there qualified teachers and enough aids in every classroom?

  108. Anon Says:

    Looks like the no on whitmarsh campaign is beginning.

    Check out what I found: http://mdusdelection2012.blogspot.com

  109. Realia Says:

    Julie Braun Martin and Cheryl Hanson – what phonies. Here’s hoping against hope that Jessica Preciado gets a fair evaluation this year. But knowing how vindictive and petty JBM is, I wouldn’t count on it.

  110. Sparrow Says:

    Let’s be clear.

    Julie Braun-Martin’s visit to Jessica Preciado was a PR move. That is it.
    Jessica’s story has become public, and Julie Braun-Martin was simply doing damage control. For years, Braun Martin has been concerned with one thing: the bottom line-ie, protecting the district. She has repeatedly responded to the concerns of MDUSD teachers with indifference. When she is not indifferent, she is calculating, often blurring ethical lines.
    Almost as bad is MDEA’s apparent willingness to look the other way where Braun-Martin is concerned. She continues to drop the ball when it comes to adequately assisting teachers who come to her for much needed support, yet, at least publicly, MDEA seems to consistently give her a pass.
    While Preciado’s case is important and poignant, her experience is not is not isolated, nor is it, unfortunately, the most egregious. MDUSD staff have dealt with poor treatment from the personnel office for years.
    In May, former MDEA president Mike Langley posted these comments on this blog:
    “We will continue to work for change at the dysfunctional sites…teachers…will tire of the crushing dysfunction and surly lack of basic human respect they are experiencing and look elsewhere to serve other students they so wish to support”
    However, the “surly lack of disrespect” teachers encounter at their schools at the hands of their administrators can only persist if the district continues to allow it. Theresa Harrington responded to Langley by asking him to make all school climate surveys public.
    Why is MDEA so reticent to let the public know what is really happening both at the school sites and also at the district office-more specifically, Julie Braun Martin’s office?
    Clearly, as in this most recent case with Preciado, she is more responsive when things are made public, so perhaps shedding the light on what she has been allowed to keep secret for so long is the way to go.
    What is MDEA waiting for?

  111. Anon Says:

    G 107, As far as I know there were enough busses for the ones that get transportation still. They did pick up some kids so early that they were dropped off at school at 7:30. Many parents still were not aware that their bussing changes and they had not transportation.
    Text books won’t be handed out til next week I believe.

  112. Anon Says:

    Cheryl Hansen is not a phony. She has no interest financial or otherwise to go to Crossroads and apologize other than her class and basic human decency which she demonstrates at all times even in the Dent Center looney bin. Hansen was a teacher in the district and probably understands Precaido’s situation better than most of us. Other board members should step up and apologize for this fiasco.

  113. Doctor J Says:

    Is this a Nugent II ? Did Julie B-M do a thorough internet research job or did she blow it like she with with Dr. Nugent ? I think Dr. Mills needs to respond to her termination and explain it. I think Steven Lawrence needs to respond why HE would recommend a candidate who was fired ? http://www.marinij.com/millvalley/ci_12066284

  114. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The story does say that she was an assist. supt. and the board planned to replace her with a director, so it’s possible they were trying to save money.
    Also, Santa Barbara apparently had no qualms about hiring her after that.

  115. Doctor J Says:

    Her husband was fired as Supt of Albany USD. How did that affect it ? “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first to deceive ?”

  116. Doctor J Says:

    What answer has SHE given as to why she was fired for cause ?

  117. g Says:

    Her husband left Albany over 10 years ago. That probably had no effect.

    Santa Barbara seems to have liked what she did under her “orders to follow the FCMAT recommendations.” I’m sure many parents did not like the changes.

    Then there is the fact that she says she “was recruited” by MDUSD—- there’s the real story! Recruited? Did someone from FCMAT maybe put a bug in the MDUSD ear suggesting that there was a person in Santa Barbara who, in just a couple of years, had proven she could do exactly what they were recommending this district do–and she was a Bay Area resident to boot? There’s the question.

  118. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Regarding Hansen, she sent me an email about her reactions to Preciado’s statement and did not mention anything about visiting Preciado. It was Preciado who told me about Hansen’s visit.
    Then, I sent Hansen an email telling her that Preciado told me she had apologized on behalf of the board. Hansen said she did not apologize on behalf of the board, but did extend Preciado a personal apology, since the board president had not responded after Preciado’s comments.
    Hansen wrote that relationships between people in the district matter.
    “Relationships are built when we have a heart, listen, and respond with empathy, support, and problem solving,” Hansen wrote.

  119. Anon Says:

    Santa barbara had something like 11 special Ed directors before mrs. Mills. This could explain why they were willing to take her. They are happy she is gone.

  120. Anon Says:

    This is NugentGate II for sure.

  121. Doctor J Says:

    When did the Board authorize Lawrence to recruit for an “interim” and then permanent Asst Supt ? Its not on the agendas.

  122. Doctor J Says:

    Why did Guy Moore accuse the District of “cheating” the new teachers of two days pay, if it was according to the contract ? Wouldn’t that be more of MDEA not properly representing the “new teachers” ?

  123. Anon Says:

    Dr. J.,

    I suspect that Lawrence needed complete a favor to the FCMAT guys for their “help” in dealing with the little early release of documents problem (notice that FCMAT report is still curiously under wraps).

    FCMAT may have needed to complete a favor to MDUSDs newest employee (why is not completely clear).

    Bada Boom Bada Bing.

  124. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As an update to the KVHS vote, the station is off the air temporarily, due to overheated equipment: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_21475464/kvhs-radio-equipment-overheats-knocks-programming-off-air

  125. Anon Says:

    Could be retaliation from a board member known for threatening retaliation.

  126. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, it was due to high temperatures in the studio.

  127. Anon Says:

    Did the studio have a/c ? Might be a use for those Measure C funds ?

  128. Theresa Harrington Says:

    If it did, it wasn’t turned on.
    I think the school has developed its list of Measure C projects, but I don’t think studio ac is one of them. It would make sense that something has to be done to prevent this from happening again.

  129. Doctor J Says:

    I wonder if there is an agreement on who is responsible for maintaining and repair of the equipment ?

  130. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Melissa Wilson said the radio class had funds in the former CVHS ASB account set aside for renovating the studio, which could be used to replace the equipment. But, she’s not sure how much was in the fund or where the money went.

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