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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. Doctor J Says:

    Why doesn’t Lorrie Davis and Mildred Browne comply with the Brown Act and CAC By-laws by posting publicly and on line the CAC agenda 72 hours in advance ? The By-laws, revised in 2010, which include: “6.2 Meeting Notices: Pursuant to the Brown Act, a calendar will be established annually with the business meeting dates and times. Notice of all regular and special meetings shall be in writing. Notices will state the date, time, and location, and shall be emailed to each
    member not less than five (5) days before said meeting. The notice shall include an agenda of the upcoming meeting and minutes of the past meeting. Notices must be posted and communicated in compliance with the Brown Act. Items to be included on the agenda
    must be submitted to the Chairperson or the Secretary ten (10) days prior to the upcoming business meeting. The Chairperson will develop the agenda in collaboration with the district’s administrative liaison.” AB 1344 and

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Why aren’t the CAC Bylaws posted on the web ?

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the link in your last post is to the bylaws (although it says: “to be approved.”)

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Link is to proposed CAC revised by-laws approved by Board of Education. Why doesn’t CAC post the approved By-laws on its own page so the public can know what rules govern the CAC ? They post the out-dated Consent Decree, but not the current By-laws ? All of this begs the question why Lorrie Davis and Mildred Browne don’t feel obligated to follow the CAC By-laws and the Brown Act. Why not ?

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although Trustee Gary Eberhart has requested that all agendas and minutes for committee meetings be easily accessible on the district’s home page, this still has not been accomplished. The CAC agenda showed up today, but I don’t think it was there Friday.
    The WCCUSD website, on the other hand, has a very easily accessible list of all committees along the left-hand side of the page:

  6. Doctor J Says:

    AB 1344 REQUIRES Brown Act agendas be posted on websites — its not a request or a nice thing. Its the law ! And failure to abide by the Brown Act is subject to prosecution, if we had a District Attorney that prosecuted crimes.

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It is the responsibility of the superintendent, general counsel and board to ensure that the district is following the Brown Act.

  8. Anon Says:

    I sure hope Carolyn Patton updates the whole truth about transportation. Kids are not being picked up, the schedules are all messed up, kids arriving to school at 7:30, Staff is very upset, Bus drivers are rude…..and so on. Thank you Carolyn for working so hard with Greg Rolen on hiding the FCMAT and doing what you think should be done rather than doing what is right. Also, thank you so much for all the returned calls (NOT)

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’ll see if I can videotape her report.

  10. Anon Says:

    Patton should be thrown in jail for gross,negligence of her duties.

  11. Sue Berg Says:

    Dr. J #6: AB 1344 applies to meetings of the Board of Education, not to committees. From a summary of AB1344 provided by the law firm of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost and posted on the web: “AB 1344 also requires any public entity that maintains an agency Internet website to post the agenda of a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board at least 72 hours in advance on its website. Similarly, they must post the agenda for special meetings 24 hours in advance.”

  12. Doctor J Says:

    @SueBerg#11 While I am not an attorney and neither are you, it seems like the definition of “local agency” also includes the CAC as an ‘or any board, commission, or agency thereof’ in Govt Code 3511.1 “”Local agency” means a county, city, whether general law or chartered, city and county, town, school district, municipal corporation, district, political subdivision, or any board,commission, or agency thereof, or other local public agency.” But even if not, the CAC is bound by the Brown Act to post 72 hours in advance, which it did not.
    And be that as it may, its Board adopted by-laws require posting and notice.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lorrie Davis told me the CAC is not subject to the Brown Act, because it is a parent group.
    Regarding Patton, she did say there are “hot spots” with problems and acknowledged that some bus drivers are refusing to pick up children or call the dispatcher, but she said she is working with the transportation dept. to improve the district’s commitment to customer service.

  14. Anon Says:

    It is amazing to me how Sue Berg continues to be a district apologist. Angling for the new PIO job Sue? How many other aliases are you posting under?

  15. g Says:

    Lorrie Davis needs to get someone to sit her down in a quiet room and read the law to her! This is an “official” board established advisory committee, and as such is required to follow the same rules as the board itself. Geeesh!

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The big news from tonight’s CAC meeting was that there will be no parent meetings after all in September, since the district is still trying to figure out if it would save money by clustering.
    When I asked Patton if she knew when the FCMAT reports would be finalized, her answer was: “No clue. But, the factual corrections have been sent.”

  17. Sue Berg Says:

    To all the Anons: As I’ve said many times now, I long ago decided that I will only post comments I’m willing to put my name on. So if you don’t see my name, it’s not from me. If being “a district apologist” means correcting or clarifying something I know to be inaccurate, so be it. As for the PIO job, I am very happily retired.

    Dr. J, I agree that neither of us is an attorney, but the firm whose explanation of AB1344 I quoted is full of them. By the way, if you or anyone else really want to know what the CAC is doing, go to one of the monthly meetings. They’re open to the public.

  18. g Says:

    Sue Berg: We are all pleased that you feel free to use your name on blogs.

    FYI, in the instant case:

    “public entity” = the district’s CAC.
    “board of directors” = Lorrie, etc. etc. etc..

    It really isn’t hard to understand the laws. It’s just hard to live up to the requirements, apparently.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Hey Lorrie Davis, READ the CAC ByLaws revised by the CAC in Sept 2010 and approved by the Board of Education on October 12, 2010. Get a clue. Brown Act.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    @SueBerg#17, Did you forget it was just a year ago on Sept 20 2011 that you accidentially exposed your alias “Long Time Board Watcher” in post 21 ?

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although Davis said the CAC chooses to conduct its business meetings according to the Brown Act, she said the group was told its summer meeting was an exception because it wasn’t a regular business meeting.

  22. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#21, I guess you can get the “factual corrections” as a PRA. How is the rest of the PRA request through the puppy dog Times’ lawyers coming ? Did the Times give up again ?
    @#13 I don’t understand. In post 13 Lorrie Davis thinks the CAC isn’t “subject to the Brown Act” but in #21 Lorrie claims it there was a Brown Act “exception” for not being a regular business meeting ? What does she say about the CAC By-laws [approved 10-12-10 by the BOE] requiring adherence to the Brown Act ?

  23. Anon Says:

    Now that Sue Berg has been exposed yet again, she will go underground for 6 months or so just like last time. Interestingly, after getting caught redhanded “Long Time Board Watcher” has never been heard from again.

    Sue you are an absolute riot. I tell you people you can’t pay for entertainment this funny.

    As for Lorrie Davis, if she doesn’t understand what the rules are, she doesn’t belong in the position.

  24. Anon Says:

    The bus drivers that are refusing to pick up children should be FIRED on the spot! I am so affraid that this district will never recover. The children that are being bussed are our most disabled children. They and their parents do not deserve to be treated like second class.
    Did Patton minimize the “hot spots” or was she honest about how many there are?

  25. Wait a Minute Says:

    Don’t forget who is the “Director of Transportation” at an additional $27,000/year on top of his “General Counsel” pay.

    Considering that transportation has been in chaos ever since Rolen engineered its takeover away from the well-run CC County Office of Ed’s Durham Transportation it never ceases to amaze me why Rolen hasn’t been fired.

    At the very least, we the public should get our money back!

  26. Anon Says:

    Don’t forget who is the superintendent presiding over the pay increases and contract extensions, and which board members voted to implement this boondoggle.

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Trustees Cheryl Hansen and Lynne Dennler attended last night’s CAC meeting, along with candidate Brian Lawrence. The CAC agreed to hold a candidate’s forum similar to the one held two years ago. Davis said that was the most-read item on the CAC blog.
    When Davis said the CAC wants to be sure its voice is reflected in the district’s strategic plan, Hansen kind of laughed, reflecting her frustration about the fact that the strategic plan seems to have stalled indefinitely.
    As usual, neither Lawrence nor Rolen attended the meeting. Browne was also absent, due to a family issue. Eberhart sent his regrets, according to Davis.
    It appears that Patton is trying to work directly with Angie Goakey to solve transportation problems, bypassing Rolen.
    No, Patton didn’t minimize the “hot spots.” You can see her report in four clips at:
    I also videotaped using my Flip cam and will upload those videos to YouTube/tunedtotheresa shortly.
    Regarding Davis, she said the CAC is not REQUIRED to comply with the Brown Act, but it has CHOSEN to for its regular business meetings. The bylaws reference business meetings during the school year, but don’t mention a summer meeting. So, it appears that’s where the gray area is.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added four CAC videos to YouTube/tunedtotheresa.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Did Carolyn Patton give you an explanation why she did NOT return your call ?

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, I didn’t put her on the spot by asking that.
    I waited to speak to her during the break, while she was speaking to others. The meeting was about to start when I finally got to ask her about the FCMAT reports and PowerPoint, which she said she would send me.
    She did mention that she thought she had my email address (most likely from the list of questions I sent her, which she never answered).

  31. Doctor J Says:

    Rolen is no longer afraid of the Times requests for PRA since the Times is all bark [not much either] and no bite.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    Lorrie Davis is either uninformed or brainwashed. Every SELPA is required by law to have a CAC — and the CAC is by law subject to the Brown Act. Lorrie, read the CAC by-laws and instructions.

  33. Anon Says:

    If Lorrie Davis can’t be trusted to follow the law, she needs to step down immediately.

  34. Anon Says:

    Everyone in charge needs to step down. It is time for some serious reform in education.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    Once the Consent Decreee expired, its a Lawrence free-for-all. I think we can see now why Mildred was “forced out” with Lawrence’s Number 14.

  36. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Anon, #33, you going to get off your tushie and head up the CAC? You keep calling for people to step down. How about you step up?

  37. Anon Says:

    Hey Flippen , I mean Paul. Good to see you posting. Are you going to campaign for Sherry this year?

  38. Jim Says:

    @36 FT — The problem with questions like that — which essentially ask, “If things are so bad, why don’t YOU pitch in?” — is that it presumes that the basic dysfunctions of the system exist solely because people aren’t “stepping up”. I often hear that criticism of parents who actually devote considerable time and money to their school’s success. The whole premise is absurd. It’s like the captain of the sinking Titanic saying to a passenger, “Oh, so you don’t like icebergs? Fine, why don’t YOU take the wheel?”

    The CAC exists so that we can all pretend that parents have input into the decision-making processes of the MDUSD monopoly and so that MDUSD can pretend that they are being attentive and responsive to parent concerns. In fact, the parents have NO substative choice about their child’s instruction, curriculum, school of attendance, etc. Why should anyone “step up” to be part of such a charade?

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Jim, At the CAC meeting, when Lorrie Davis brought up the Strategic Plan, Trustee Cheryl Hansen laughed out loud — in what appeared to be an indication that the whole strategic planning process is starting to look like a charade.

  40. g Says:

    Jim, your description of CAC reminded me so much of the Measure C “after-sight” committee.

    Ask Alicia Menyan. If you buck up against the district’s unfettered and blatant control of that committee, loaded with the district’s handful of well-chosen “habitual” committee ‘yes-master’ types, you don’t have a chance at
    anything even resembling “over-sight.”

  41. Theresa Harrington Says:

    During the CAC goals discussion, Lorrie Davis said the committee wants to re-examine its role as an advisory committee to the board.
    One committee member specifically asked Carolyn Patton to give the CAC the names of comparable districts that FCMAT referenced in its transportation report. The only one Patton named was Poway. It will be interesting to see if the district gives the CAC the information it has requested. If not, it will be difficult for the CAC to respond to the elusive FCMAT report.
    Interstingly, Patton said the FCMAT draft transportation report “is available,” but she didn’t say where. I assume she meant on my blog.

  42. g Says:

    Patton, Poway, ‘available’ Draft Report. Theresa, we all know the only place Patton got Poway as a reference to comparable districts was from your email exchange with FCMAT that was posted right here on this blog.

    Nowhere in that Draft Report does FCMAT mention Poway.

  43. Flippin' Tired Says:

    So, Anon and Jim, your answer is, “no, it’s impossible, so I won’t try, I’ll just whine about it.”

    Still not Paul, still just a parent of kids in the district, one of whom has an IEP, and never did campaign for any sitting board members. But keep on making stuff up, it makes me laugh.

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Monday’s agenda is posted and there’s a Community Meeting before the regular meeting for public prioritization of the strategic plan:

    Hukkanen’s resignation shows up:

  45. Jim Says:

    @43 FT — So what do YOU do that you have found to be so successful at turning around MDUSD? (Almost by definition, anyone posting on this blog is probably “whining” a bit.) I, too, have been an MDUSD parent for many years, and our younger son had an IEP for five of those years. Regretably, I have seen substantial deterioration in the district over those years. What has been your secret for avoiding what the rest of us have been living through? Reading your past posts does not lead one to conclude that you are all that happy with the district. Maybe you have been hiding some of your more delightful experiences?

    My grim prognosis for MDUSD is based on years working with teachers, schools and districts across the U.S. During that time, I could count on the fingers of one hand — with fingers left over — the number of large districts where I would ever consider enrolling my own child. There are lots of good small districts. The ones that are well-funded, with relatively homogenous populations, can focus on just a few things that matter the most and do a good job. The leadership in small districts also tends to be more responsive to the small electorates that they serve. But they have it relatively easy. Once a district gets to 15, 25, 35 thousand students, things become a LOT more difficult. The diverse student needs in a typical large district make the one-size-fits-all, top-down system unworkable at that scale. And all the data suggest that those large districts do NOT, in fact, do a good job educating their students. Some are not as comically disorganized and dysfunctional as MDUSD, but really, almost NONE of them do a decent job. So before you criticize people for saying the job is “impossible” (which, btw, I did not) are you aware of the odds that large districts face?

    The problem isn’t just the people. I’d welcome four new board members at MDUSD, as they just might rescue us from our current predicament as the laughing stock of public education in N. California. But there are limits to what any board can do with a public monopoly that has almost NO accountability to anyone, at ANY level. It is a SYSTEM that is almost designed for failure.

    BTW, I have never thought you were Paul Strange or any other current or former MDUSD official. Your comments usually seemed like those one might expect from one of the tired, frustrated and cynical employees that districts like MDUSD tend to have in abundance. I’m glad, for your sake, that you don’t depend on the district for a living. The misfortune of having one’s children in MDUSD schools ought to be enough for any person to bear.

  46. Anon Says:

    Is it customary to do a new hire on someone that is already teaching at the school? Why would they not have taken care of that business at the last meeting?

  47. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Theresa, did you see the new sign up in front of Holbrook Elementary? Looks like Anova is moving in.

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FT: No, I have not seen the new sign. But, the board approved the Anova contract, so it’s no surprise that they would be moving in.
    Anon: What new hire are you referencing? It’s possible the person was a temporary, part-time or sub before and is now being hired as a full-time teacher. Although many new hires were approved at the last meeting, there are new resignations at this meeting whose positions need to be filled.

  49. Anon Says:

    The French / Spanish teacher at diablo view. Arens

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have added a new blog post with the agenda for Monday’s meeting:

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