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MDUSD special ed Community Advisory Committee to receive transportation update tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at 1:50 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school district’s special education Community Advisory Committee will receive a transportation update from special education administrator Carolyn Patton tonight, according to the agenda. In addition, Chairwoman Lorrie Davis will report on goal planning for the group.

Here’s the complete agenda for the meeting, which will be held at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord:

DATE: September 4, 2012
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:05)

Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – May 1, 2012 (7:05 – 7:10)

4. Transportation Update – Carolyn Patton (7:10 – 7:40)

5. Chairperson’s Report – CAC Goal Planning: Lorrie Davis (7:40 – 8:05)


6. Old Business (8:15 – 8:35)

6.1 Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Mildred D. Browne

6.2 Board of Education Report – Lynne Dennler and/or Gary Eberhart

6.3 Board of Education Comments – Lisa Huynh

6.4 Parent Advisory Committee Report

6.5 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

6.6 Equity Advisory Team – Dorothy Weisenberger

7. New Business (8:35 – 8:45)

7.1 Assist. Technology & Alternative Augmentative Communication – Christian Patz

7.2 Extended School Year – Samantha Espinosa

7.3 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

8. Public Comment (8:45 – 8:55)
Public comment is an opportunity to share concerns and comments with the CAC. In the interest of time, speakers are limited to three (3) minutes each with a total of fifteen (15) minutes for all speakers. Please respect student and personnel privacy. CAC members and district staff may not be able to respond to individual concerns in this forum, but will take your contact information and follow-up with you.

9. Information Items/Announcements/Adjournment (8:55 – 9:00)


There is no mention of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team transportation or special education reports. However, it appears that Patton expects to devote 30 minutes to the transportation update, so hopefully she will inform the CAC about when the FCMAT reports will be finalized and when the parent meetings will be held.

Anyone with questions or comments is invited to attend and speak during the agenda items, or at the end of the meeting, if you wish to discuss something not on the agenda.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Mildred Browne is still expected to deliver the assistant superintendent’s report, even though an interim assistant superintendent has already been appointed.

Here is an email message I received from Julie Braun-Martin over the weekend regarding Browne’s upcoming leave of absence:

“Once there is a final action on the matter, Dr. Browne’s leave authorization will appear on the Board agenda. We are not putting her on leave now, because she’s acting in her capacity until the interim assistant superintendent starts.”

What aspects of special education transportation do you think Patton should address in her update?

SEPT: 20 UPDATE: I have received the following CAC update from chairwoman Lorrie Davis in an email, but the post does not yet show up on the CAC blog:

MDUSD Transportation Update #2

Update #2 September 20, 2012
Dr. Lawrence has informed us that the decision to “cluster” is a managerial decision; therefore, board approval is not required. He stated the decision will be made by Transportation (department) and the board will be informed of the decision. I personally think board policy has to be approved by the board of education. We were also told that the parent meetings will be to INFORM parents of decisions, not gather parent input. I find these statements very disturbing. Parents – please contact your board members and provide your input. Here is the link to the board members names and contact info.

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63 Responses to “MDUSD special ed Community Advisory Committee to receive transportation update tonight”

  1. Anon Says:

    Jim-it sounds like dividing MDUSD into smaller districts might help. WCCUSD has dysfunction and has publicly raised the possibility of a split

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    WCCUSD parents complained at the board meeting about their children being overflowed to other schools. Will any MDUSD parents bring concerns about overflowing to the board Monday?

  3. Jim Says:

    @51 Anon — Sounds like Hercules mayor Dan Romero has discovered what cities all over the country (including Clayton, CA) are realizing — you simply CANNOT have a healthy city without healthy public schools. People who are affluent enough to afford private schools may put up with a lousy school district, but over time, everyone else who can leave will do so, taking businesses with them. Unfortunately, mayors are in a pickle. The local education monoploy is no more accountable to them than they are to anybody else.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I attended a Commonwealth Club forum in which the Sacramento Mayor and his wife, Michelle Rhee, talked about the importance of mayors getting involved in their local schools. He has started a foundation and a charter school in Sacramento, I believe.
    In some other states, the schools are actually run by the city government. But, that’s obviously not the case in California. Here, public schools don’t even need to go through city planning commissions or city councils to get projects such as field lights approved. Private schools like Carondelet and De La Salle, on the other hand, do need city approval for expansion projects.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Regarding Arens, she wasn’t on the layoff list, so maybe she was a temporary teacher:
    Temporary teachers automatically lose their jobs at the end of the year and must be rehired again. And she is definitely not alone on the new hire list — lots of schools appear to have hired new teachers at the last-minute.

  6. Jim Says:

    @54– Theresa, it is quite rare, anywhere in the U.S., for the schools to be run by the city government. Mayors in cities such as NYC and Chicago that do have power over public schools got that power through special state legislation.

    A monopoly is a monopoly, no matter who runs it, so mayors running the local schools is unlikely to help much. They are more visible, politically, than the typical under-the-radar school board, but they also have a lot to handle already, and their re-election can depend on other factors, even when the schools are still doing poorly. Instead, many mayors are backing parent-trigger-type legislation that can provide more school choice for residents and more accountability, as Reuters reports here:

    Unfortunately, the “trigger law” in CA is available to parents of children only in the bottom 5% of schools. (In permitting the legislation in CA, the unions were clever enough to know that such schools typically have many low income and illegal immigrant parents, who find it difficult to organize and are easy to intimidate, which was exactly the problem in Compton and now Adelanto.) The “teacher trigger” option is available in any school, but of course, then it’s up to the teachers whether to proceed — not always an ideal circumstance.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Jim, its always difficult to govern schools as a group — in Nevada the districts are organized by county and thus you have some of the smallest districts in the nation like Eureka County Nevada and some of the largest Clark County Nevada. California with about 1000 school districts has similar disparities. Unfortunately, this economic crisis has not caused local school districts to cut the district salaries of its leadership — that hurts retirements — but cut the staff help, increase class sizes, and reduce overall education effectiveness. The SIG grants have proved over and over again, and right here in our district, that increased instructional time between a teacher and student improves education. As I point out, take away the 3 SIG schools dynamic API improvements, and this district would have a massive drop of about 25 API points — enough to sink Lawrence’s career because it matches [maybe much worse than] his underachievements as an administrator in Roseville and West Sacramento.

  8. Anon Says:

    Re # 54-I’m still stymied and wondering that MDUSD board refused the mayoral council idea. It could have prevented some serious mistakes with school closures, busing, safe walk routes to schools, and lockdowns to name a few, and it could assist with developing a strategic plan and passing a parcel tax. Theresa do you have more insight to the board’s reasoning to deny the mayors’ request? But I’m not truly stymied and wondering, because we’ve learned this board will make the decision that’s worst for the kids.

  9. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Decision Matrix for current Board Members:

    1st – make the decision that benefits themselves
    2nd – make the decision that benefits their family
    3rd – make the decision that benefits their friends
    4th – purposefully make the decision that hurts kids the most.


  10. SR Says:

    FCMAT report is on district’s website.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Becareful SR, my computer just blocked a trojan backdoor virus while looking at the FCMAT report. Wonder who put it there ?

  12. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry but Lorrie Davis brought this on herself by not running the CAC according to the Brown Act and being subservient to Lawrence and the District. Perhaps she can take control of the CAC again, follow the Brown Act, and exert the legislative pressure on the District that the CAC is intended to since it is a creation of the Legislature. This move by Lawrence is just the first of many to come as a result of the departure of Mildred Browne, and the dependency of Kerri Mills in getting a good recommendation from Lawrence to get an automatic extension on her contract to carry her through retirement. Its time for the CAC to step up and do what it is intended. Read the guidebook that I previously cited as published by the state.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    Lorrie, I posted this link in #32 two weeks ago. I suggest you read it !

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