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MDUSD on Monday to receive public input on strategic plan priorities, hear solar report and discuss November ballot initiatives

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, September 6th, 2012 at 9:10 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

For blog readers who are interested in commenting on Monday’s board meeting, I have posted the agenda below. Highlights include an early meeting to allow the public to prioritize the strategic plan, a special report on the district’s solar projects and the possible endorsement of Prop. 30 (Gov. Brown’s initiative, which is backed by teachers’ unions) or Prop. 38 (Molly Munger’s initiative, which is backed by the state PTA, including Trustee Linda Mayo):

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order. Info
1.2 Board Member Lynne Dennler will participate via teleconference from 27 Hui Drive, Lahaina, HI Info
2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment
3.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info
4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
4.1 Negotiations – The Board may discuss negotiations or provide direction to its representatives regarding represented employees, pursuant to EERA (Govt. Code Section 3549.1) Agency negotiators: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey. Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Action
4.2 Anticipated Litigation Info
4.3 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info

5.0 Community Meeting
5.1 Open Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Info
5.2 Public Priortization on Strategic Plan Info
5.3 Adjourn Community Input Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Info

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:00 p.m. Info
7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info
8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 Report of Closed Session September 10, 2012 Info
8.2 Negotiations Info
8.3 Anticipated litigation Info
8.4 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info

9.0 Consent Agenda
9.1 (Item #1) Items listed under Consent Agenda are considered routine and will be approved/adopted by a single motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items; however, any item may be removed from the consent agenda upon the request of any member of the Board and acted upon separately. Action
9.2 (Item #2) Minutes of the meeting of August 20, 2012 Action
9.3 Item #3) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
9.4 (Item #4) Request to increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2012-2013 school year. Action
9.5 (Item #5) Saint Mary’s College of California Student Placement Agreement with Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
9.6 (Item #6) California State University, Chico Internship Agreement with Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
9.7 (Item #7) Samuel Merritt University Student Teaching Agreement with Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
9.8 (Item #8) Approval of Provisional Intership Permit (PIP) Request Action
9.9 (Item #9) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
9.10 (Item #10) Classified Personnel: Create an Instructional Assistant-Computer Position for Mountain View Elementary School Action
9.11 (Item #11) Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract Action
9.12 (Item #12) Clayton Valley Charter High School: Measure C High School Project List Action
9.13 (Item #13) Final Change Order: Fix Painting Company: Exterior Painting of Ygnacio Valley High School Action
9.14 (Item #14) Notice of Completion for Bid #1607/C-911 Action
9.15 (Item #15) Contract Amendment: PHd Architects: Modification of Auto/Metal Shop at Northgate High School-‘Project Lead the Way’ Engineering Pathway Action
9.16 (Item #16) Contract Amendment: PHd Architects: Design Modifications Required to facilitate Use of District Pre-Checked (PC) Design as a Kindergarten Classroom. Action
9.17 (Item #17) Approve Independent Service Contract with Dr. Adria Klein for Staff Development in Literacy at Meadow Homes Elementary School Action
9.18 (Item #18) Award of Design Services Contract For Stadium Improvement Project at College Park High School Action
9.19 (Item #19) Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract for Interim Housing Installation at Mt. Diablo High School Action
9.20 (Item #20) Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract Action
9.21 (Item #21) Funding Source Correction: Award of Lease/Leaseback Agreement for Construction of New Chemistry Buildings Action
9.22 (Item #22) Approve contract/purchase order with Beyond the Words, Inc. for the services of Educational Interpreters for the Deaf for school year 2012-2013 Action
9.23 (Item #23) Approve contract increase to independent service contract with Kristin Obrinsky, Physical Therapist Action
9.24 (Item #24) Approval of master contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Progressus Therapy Services to provide District-Wide Occupational/Physical Therapy Services for the 2012-2013 school year and 2012-2013 Extended School Year Program. Action
9.25 (Item #25) Increase Contract between Mt. Diablo School District (MSUSD) and Maxim Services, Non Public Agency (NPA) for the 2012-2013 school year Action
9.26 (Item #26) Increase purchase order between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Speech Pathology Group for Speech and Language services for the 2012-2013 School Year Action
9.27 (Item #27) Contract with Center for Human Development (CHD) Action
9.28 (Item #28) Approval of Independent Service Contract with Dr. Cynthia Peterson Action

10.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

11.0 Public Comment

11.1 The public may address the Board regarding any item within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District that is not on this agenda. These presentation are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the three minute limit may be shortened. If there are multiple speakers on any one subject, the public comment period may be moved to the end of the meeting. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

12.0 Communications
12.1 District Organizations – At regular Board meetings, a single spokesperson of each recognized district organization may make a brief presentation following the Consent Agenda. Items are limited to those which are informational. Info

13.0 Reports/Information
13.1 Solar Project Progress Report – Bill Kelly Info

14.0 Superintendent’s Report
14.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

15.0 Business/Action Items
15.1 Appointment of Administrator, Necessary Small High School/Vice Principal Action
15.2 Appointment of Coordinator, Student/Community Services 9-12 Action
15.3 Appointment of Coordinator, Student/Community Services 9-12 Action
15.4 Appointment of Coordinator, Student Services 6-8 Action
15.5 Appointment of Program Specialist/Special Education Action
15.6 Certification of the District’s 2011-2012 Unaudited Actual Financial Report Action
15.7 Resolution # 12/13-05 Adopting the District’s 2011-2012 GANN Appropriations Limit Action
15.8 Approve 2012-2013 Interagency Agreement #74-371-3 between MDUSD and Contra Costa County Services, Mental Health Division Action
15.9 Approve Interagency agreement between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Contra Costa Health Services, Mental Health Division Action
15.10 Board Resolution in Support of Proposition 30 Action
15.11 Board Resolution in Support of Proposition 38 Action
15.12 2012-13 Mandate Block Grant Letter of Intent Action
15.13 Board Action Progress Report Info
15.14 Amendment to BP 2140(a) Evaluation of the Superintendent Info
15.15 Meeting Extension Action
16.0 Board Member Reports
16.1 Board reports – two minute time limit Info

17.0 Closed Session
17.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action
18.0 Adjournment
18.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

What do you think is the most interesting item on Monday’s agenda?

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

101 Responses to “MDUSD on Monday to receive public input on strategic plan priorities, hear solar report and discuss November ballot initiatives”

  1. Anon Says:

    Shouldn’t one of the items be figuring out why young disadvantaged children are being forced to walk to school in the wee hours of the morning, hiding out until adults arrive, and nearly freezing to death in the winter?

    Shouldn’t Rolen as director of transportation have this front and center?

    Also, it appears that the No On Whitmarsh blog picked up on this story.

  2. shakespeare Says:

    I think your next topic should be why the district ignored the calls of Shore Acres Elementary, Rio Vista, and River View when they were placed on lockdown following the shooting of the victim on 9/6/12. The students at Shore Acres Elementary were on lockdown until after 5pm this evening without proper emergency supplies. The district was called plenty of times and yet the district FAILED to call back. It was the employees and hard working staff of Shore Acres that dealt with the chaos of such a situation. Had this been Clayton Valley or Walnut Acres, I’m 100% confident in saying that the superintendent himself would have ran to their aid. It is sickening to see how much these students truly mean to the district; not just the students but the employees of MDUSD. The district has no excuse as to why they didn’t answer their phones; they simply DID NOT WANT TO. Had this been a natural disaster or, God forbid, an actual gunmen on campus; WHERE WOULD THE DISTRICT STAND THEN!? Would they let a madman just run around the campus and not give a damn? Every one was present at this time and all the staff came together to keep the students calm and relaxed. It is revolting to know that not one person from the district called or showed up to check on the students or staff; it is nauseating to know that in times of endangerment our schools , students, and staff are left to fend for themselves. The MDUSD is a disgusting excuse for a school district and does not care about its students or staff. Where is the superintendent who so eagerly begged for our votes!? NO WHERE TO BE FOUND.

  3. SP Says:

    Yes, Shakespeare.
    We hear you.
    Calling the district for help only to hear a deafening silence in response is horrifying, and it’s not an isolated incident, even if the calls for help are different in scope.
    Some district officials, particulary Julie Braun Martin and all of those in personnel hired to HELP employees, pick and choose their priorities, which means that certain people do not show up on their radar screens.
    Or, if they do show up, they are quickly wiped away.
    Theresa, in response to items that should be on the board’s agenda: Shakespeare’s experience is a good intro.
    What about putting the following devastating and ongoing problem on the agenda:
    HOW, specifically, does the district, more specifically, the personnel dept. respond to MDUSD employees when they seek protection due to workplace harassment at the hand of administrators? While there was some visibility of this issue recently, at a couple of sites, a more global discussion of how pervasive this issue is and what the impact is on our teachers is important.
    Moreover, it is critical to evaluate how the district handles these problems.
    The process of seeking help, legally, is supposed to be a confidential one, in order to keep employees safe until they decide to make a formal claim.
    Currently, however, this confidentiality is not always kept, and employees are then put at greater risk.
    It would be nice to see this issue finally come to light at a board meeting.
    Of course, Julie Braun Martin will deny that this problem exists, but what else is new?

  4. Anon Says:

    Shakespeare-Agreed. Meanwhile Dennler is in Hawaii again

  5. Recall Dennler Says:

    It is time to Recall Dennler. All she does is vote with Gary and Sherry, she has no interest in doing what is right for the children.

  6. Anon Says:

    1, 2 & 3 – go to the board meeting and bring up the topics. Get as many parents as you can who feel the same and show up. The line for the Public Comment should be out the door. If no one shows up, there is no issue.

    When my kids attended MDUSD when there was an issue, we showed up in force at the meetings.

    This is your chance. You have today and Monday to mobilize your fellow parents. It’s been done in the past and is very powerful in getting things done.

  7. Wait a Minute Says:

    Stevie Lawrence, Greg Rolen, etc are like that captain of the Italaian cruise liner who ran his ship aground showing off to his girlfriend and then abandoned the ship ahead of his charges.

    These people can’t even be relied upon in normal times much less when there is a real emergency.

    Tell all your friends to VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH!!!

  8. Anon Says:


    #4-better yet go over the heads of this hapless hopeless district. everyone should contact the elected officials who share responsibility for the safety of these children. email senator desaulnier, assemblyperson bonilla, county supervisors mitchoff and glover, and the county office of education which used to provide busing.

    honestly remember last year the busing scandals. this year they cut busing and it’s morphed into the walking scandals. immediately this must stop for the sake of the kids.

    aloha dennler!

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Board President Sherry Whitmarsh has also indicated in the past that she gives more weight to issues, if she receives emails about them — even if there is public comment.
    Email addresses for all board members except Trustee Gary Eberhart are at:

  10. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Emailing trustees is futile.

    Email sent on August 5, 2012 to one trustee has been ignored completely. No response what so ever.

    Previously a series of emails sent to all five trustees during the school closure fiasco resulted in a what appeared to be an auto-response. No indication in the reply from the ONE trustee who responded that they even knew what the emails where about. Basically a “Thanks for emailing” with no follow up after that.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    While emailing may not result in action, it does let trustees know that people are concerned enough to write. So, it could help put issues on their radar.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    I suggest you TEXT GARY — especially during Board meetings since he admits he reads them during the meetings ! (925) 304-1546

  13. Jim Says:

    Theresa — Sherry prefers emails because they are easier to ignore. Public comments are tedious because she has to listen to things that she cannot comprehend or that are unpleasant to hear (perhaps while mentally plugging her ears and singing “La, la, la…” to herself). Plus, during a public comment, she has to keep her eye on the clock for a full two minutes, so that she can jump in at the (in)appropriate time to remind the speaker to “Wrap it up!”

  14. g Says:

    Gary’s most recent ‘known’ email address:

    Not that he cares about anything except himself, but you can at least get it on the record–emails can be subpoenaed….

    Sherry does not give more weight to emails. In three years she has never responded to a single one I’ve sent—even the polite ones–(and they have my name on them). She may read them (to see if they’re complimentary of her), she may even count them (to weigh her popularity).

    Other than that, she just uses the lack of emails as an excuse.

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an analysis of Prop. 38 by the California Budget Project, which raises questions about the idea of earmarking funds for specific programs, while the state could reduce funds in other areas, which could result in no more money to spend overall:

  16. Jim Says:

    @15 — Thank you, Theresa, for that excellent summary of Prop 38. The requirement for districts to report funding and spending by school site would be welcome, but as we learned during the CVCHS debate, that is something that has proved impossible for MDUSD to do. (MDUSD officials may want to be careful what they wish for in supporting this measure…)

    As far as curing that long-standing Sacramento habit of using new “dedicated” funds to reduce general fund support for schools (yielding higher taxes, but no net gain in school funding), I would not be optimistic that Prop 38 will close that spending loophole. It looks as if there are plenty of ways to use Prop 38 money to replace existing funding (depending how “the courts decide”). And of course, with Prop 38 funding available, the legislature can avoid the normal increases in education spending that would otherwise occur over time with inflation and the (eventual) recovery of the state’s economy. Like the “dedicated” lottery money that was supposed to save our schools, Prop 38 will just free up funds that legislators can then spend on other things closer to their hearts (and re-election campaigns).

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Do Board trustees receive cell phone stipends from the district like other management does ?

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry, I meant to post this under the Strategic Plan topic: Lawrence, Eberhart & Whitmarsh wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars by not implementing the travel ban, cell phone ban, and trinket ban as I called for two years ago. Gov. Brown set the example and it paid off. Instead Lawrence had his contract extended with illegal automatic pay increases, and Eberhart and Whitmarsh continued their FULL FAMILY medical dental and vision benefits by being on the Board while cutting employees time and benefits.

  19. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe Whitmarsh said she doesn’t receive full benefits. Eberhart and Mayo do, as I recall.

  20. Terri Says:

    Changing the subject. Does anyone out there care about buses for general ed students. We live near Cowell and Ygnacio Vlly Rd. and getting to Valle Verde and Foothill and Northgate is crazy. We had buses we paid for a few years ago. NHTSA finds bus travel is the safest way to transport kids to school.Why doesn’t the MDUSD care about our kids safety!!

  21. Doctor J Says:

    The entire Board is eligible for FULL FAMILY MDV benefits at PUBLIC TAXPAYER expense.

  22. g Says:

    It seems to me that those big 5/4 contract extensions with their automatic increases are still just as illegal as they were the day the board voted for them.

    When are they going to correct the provisions on the contracts and provide updated copies to the public?

  23. Doctor J Says:

    How can they change the terms of the contracts that were approved ? If they are illegal, they are invalid.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    Seth’s Law went into effect July 1, 2012 — two months ago. When is Rolen going to get the district in compliance ? Wow, the Board actually has to adopt a procedure. Check it out at:

  25. g Says:

    You are correct Dr. J. Those contracts are illegal, which automatically makes them invalid. Without a revocation, rewrite and re-vote leaving out the automatic increase provisions I don’t see how they could be upheld.

    The question is, who is going to do anything about it? Ahhh, the new board will be able to declare the contracts invalid at about the same time we voters declare Whitmarsh incompetent.

  26. soooo frustrated Says:

    Doctor J and G: Do you really think you are doing anything positive with your blog comments? As has been mentioned before, there has been talk of the district being transparent and you pontificate on it when they are not. Yet in all the time you have been writing, you have not had the guts to say who you really are. Blogs seem to be just a way for unknown people to spout their ideas.

    Just wondering if either of you have jobs and/or families and whether your employer or family members mind that you spend such a significant amount of time tearing down MDUSD.

  27. SP Says:

    #6 Anon,
    Sorry, but you clearly are unaware of the gravity of this issue and how it impacts those who are affected.
    MDUSD employees who are traumatized by daily harassment from their administrators and who are retaliated against when they speak out will have a very difficult time telling their story in a public forum, especially when they will be potentially subjected to more attacks and intimidation from MDUSD officials or others who do not believe them or who want to silence them. This does not even address the fact that they would have to face their tormentors at their school sites the next day, only to bear the brunt of more retaliation.
    To say that these people should organize parents themselves and then “if no one shows up, there is no issue” is naive. Staff members know parents who are aware that this is occurring, but these parents are unwilling to speak up, because they do not want their children to be negatively impacted by administrators that they know to be vindictive.
    In order for this issue to come to light, someone needs to care enough to investigate it and uncover the ugly underbelly of our administrations and district office. The board is aware that this is taking place, but they will not act until it is exposed, most likely from an outside entity, like a newspaper willing to do the footwork.
    MDEA is aware of it, but they too have let our leaders off the hook.

  28. Jim Says:

    #26 Sooo — What business is it of yours whether someone else is spending too much time writing on this blog? Why wonder? Don’t visit if it bothers you. The only ones “tearing down the district” are a small number of breathtakingly incompetent people in the Dent Center and on the Board.

    No one needs to “tear down” this distict. It is “falling down” quite well enough on its own, thank you. We are witnessing a civic disaster in MDUSD, and all of us who have children in these schools, and pay for these schools, ought to be darned concerned about it.

  29. SP Says:

    Just because there “has been talk of the district being transparent” does not make it so.
    Unless you want to shove things under the rug too, why would it be a problem that Doctor J and G are shedding the light on what is really going on? Attacking them for trying to make a difference in an area that is important to them is troubling.
    That is what forums like these are for.

  30. g Says:

    @26 Sooo: Yes! While there is a very long way to go, and it is all up-hill in this flailing district, a lot of issues have been brought out into the bright lights.

    Few may blog, but many read! Thanks to Theresa and what we have brought out here, there is one stalwart board member standing up for the causes we’ve brought to bear.

    Hopefully, come November, there will be two new board members! I feel certain that we have influenced the decision of one dictator to forego this election!

    Under new control and without the back-room partnership of Eberhart/Rolen, perhaps the directions given and the entire leaning of staff will be reshaped.

    We can continue to hope!

    As to spending so much time to “tear down” the district–think about it.

    Corruption, ignorance, waste and neglect caused this district to decay from the inside out.

    When the foundation has turned to rubble and the roof has already caved in, the only recourse is to “tear down” and rebuild from the ground up.

    We are the wrecking crew.

    We are calling for a strong NEW leadership to rebuild.

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J and G: Trustee Cheryl Hansen pointed out that the contracts were not updated and asked to see the new contracts before voting, but the rest of the board apparently didn’t think that was necessary. The last time I asked the superintendent’s secretary about the contracts, she said they still had not been updated.
    So, technically, the board never approved the new contracts. They just approved contract extensions, without discussing the specifics.
    If the district is truly interested in transparency, it should bring the new contracts back to the board for approval and public discussion, when they are finally updated.

  32. g Says:

    What are the chances that no one on the Board, nor the Superintendent, nor General Council have seen the Nov. 2011 bulletin from one of their own contracted legal firms? I would say that chance is highly unlikely.

    What are the chances they thought the public would not see that bulletin, or read AB1344 for themselves, and so would never realize that the Board vote for those “extensions” is completely invalid? Very likely.

    Rolen, Lawrence and clan–they are working under the same contracts they had six months ago–and they expire June 30, 2013–Period

  33. soooo frustrated Says:

    What’s interesting to me is how several years ago bloggers were trying to get rid of the previous board members and were positive getting rid of some of the previous board members and the superintendent were the answer to everything. Then it was Gary and Sherry were the answer to everything. I’d like to know what makes the few who blog here experts, and some people will never be happpy no matter who serves on the board.

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Soooo frustrated: What frustrates many people is lack of transparency in MDUSD. If the board and district administrators released information 72 hours in advance of meetings and shared everything with the public that is shared with the board, and publicly noticed meetings such as the CAC and the elusive facilities subcommittee 72 hours in advance online with staff reports attached — there would be less frustration with the decision-making process.
    If the superintendent and board president continue to quash some items from ever showing up on the agenda and the general counsel refuses to allow the board to discuss them because they’re not on the agenda, then some items never see the light of day and the public is left with the impression that the superintendent, board president, general counsel and a few other trustees and administrators are making decisions without public disclosure or input.
    Also, I have heard concerns about personnel issues that are not resolved by the personnel department. But, employees are afraid to speak on the record about these things.
    Jessica Preciado said she spoke up in the hopes that the culture in MDUSD would change and become more supportive of staff and students.

  35. Anon Says:

    Soooo frustrated

    This blog is not about bloggers or complainers. This blog is about kids and their education and safety. Can we do better for the kids? This year the answer is yes.

    And P.S. you should have read that it seems unanimous we are happy with Cheryl Hansen on the board.

  36. Anon Says:

    @ SP 27 – Comments were directed at comments on busing and the lack of concern from the District on 9/6.

    Your comments were in agreement with 1 & 2. The rest of your comments lead me to believe the unions are not there representing their employees. So teachers don’t have much choice but to go to the board. If I were a teacher, I would ask what is my union doing for me and my situation?

    Sherry publicly made the comment that since she did not receive an email on a specific issue, there was no issue according to her, and I believe Eberhart agreed. This is how this board operates, they do not do what is best for for the students. It now appears the district does not treat employees with compassion or fairness.

    Parents need to mobilize and bring the issues to the board. Unfortunately, it may also be the only way for teachers/employees to bring their issues forward due to the lack of representation by their unions. Not sure, but I always thought, growing up in a union family, that the point of a union is to protect their members?

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: The union is working to help Preciado, but Guy Moore and Executive Director Mark York told me they had hit a brick wall with Bryan Richards and Julie Braun-Martin until Preciado took her case to the board. Since then, Preciado said Superintendent Steven Lawrence has also visited her to try to find out what happened at MDHS. A union rep will be meeting with Preciado and Bryan Richards on Monday, I believe.

  38. Anon Says:

    Thanks, Theresa. What a class act we have at MDUSD.

  39. anonymous 5 Says:

    At MDHS there has been a turnover of administrators (3). Were they tired of having to toe the McClatchy line? Most recently the principal blamed the teachers who disagreed with her with lower CST scores. Likewise, she said that staff development time that should have been used to improve teaching was wasted on communication sessions. These sessions would not have been necessary if she provided positive leadership and listened to concerns. Jessica Preciado is just one example of the poorly teated teachers.

  40. anonymous 5 Says:

    #39 “treated” teachers

  41. Doctor J Says:

    Why pay more taxes when schools waste tax money by the hundreds of thousands ? Tonight, another $62,000 consultant for Meadow Homes [9.17], are you kidding me ? Lawrence is dripping these consultant contracts out one per meeting so they don’t look “too big” and we don’t realize they are really what we hired the SASS staffers to do — interestingly they are all done about the same time, but split up into various contracts instead of being presented as a package. Back on June 25 we paid $250,000 plus to hire consultants from Solution Tree to “train” SASS to teach principals and staffs. On August 27 [Agenda 9.8], we hired a $60,000 consultant for Meadown Homes to teach the staff, what we just hired a consultant to train SASS staffers to teach to Meadow Homes staff — government redundancy at its worst. Now tonight, Sept 10, another $62,000 consultant to train Meadow Homes staff to do more of what we paid Solution Tree to teach to SASS so SASS could teach the schools ? What ever happened to the original proposal back in May 2010 of SASS being composed of successful principals who could coach and teach schools to be successful ? How many more consultants are there going to be ? Everyone of these consultants is paid with TAXPAYER dollars. Why would any sane taxpayer just keep voting more tax dollars for schools when the tax dollars are wasted on consultant after consultant ? Don’t our administrators already know how to be successful ?

  42. Wait a Minute Says:

    The answer to that Dr J is no when it comes to Stevie Lawrence or Greg Rolen and their select group of adminstrators thye protect and promote (think Bill Morones, Kate McClatchy, etc–all people with NO HISTORY OF SUCCESS ANYWHERE!

    Why does Stevie and Greg do this, because they back up his asinine policies and look the other way at their corruption.

    Tell your friends, VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH!!!

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: This Meadow Homes contract is for $2,500 per day — making the contract for $900 a day approved last time a bargain:

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like SunPower is hoping to attract homeowners to purchase their solar panels by offering to donate $500 back to MDUSD — $250 to UMDAF and $250 to Project Lead the Way:

  45. Doctor J Says:

    Gary was more interested last night in the Raider’s score than the so-called “strategic plan”. At least the Raider’s kept it interesting for 15 minutes. How anyone will think this is a “Strategic Plan” when it was dropped 7 months ago and just picked up — handing colored dots out to the public and mostly staff to “prioritize” the goals. Where is the tough back and forth discussions from “all stakeholders” that a strategic plan formation requires ? What a joke. And then Lawrence found a way that the agenda does not reflect the board votes last night so everyone is in the dark the morning after.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Morning after quiz for Sherry: What successful company says this about their “Strategic Plan” ? “Our Strategic Plan sets direction, aligns our organization, and differentiates us from the competition. It guides our actions to successfully manage risk and deliver shareholder value.” [I know you are unfamiliar with this company’s strategic plan based on your lack of knowledge and understanding of what a Strategic Plan really is as shown by your comments.]
    Perhaps this next clue will help you: ask yourself, could any of these type VALUES be included in the MDUSD Strategic Plan ?
    Enterprise Strategies
    Invest in people to strengthen organizational capability and develop a talented global workforce that gets results the right way
    Execute with excellence through rigorous application of our operational excellence and capital stewardship systems and disciplined cost management
    Grow profitably by using our competitive advantages to maximize value from existing assets and capture new opportunities
    Major Business Strategies
    Grow profitably in core areas and build new legacy positions
    Gas and Midstream
    Commercialize our equity gas resource base while growing a high-impact global gas business
    Downstream and Chemicals
    Improve returns and grow earnings across the value chain
    Differentiate performance through technology
    Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
    Invest in profitable renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions
    Sorry Sherry, “Beulah the Buzzer” just sounded. You lost. I am talking about the Chevron Strategic Plan — no wonder you didn’t recognize it — you work for them ! You might learn something from Strategic Plans by reading them — because from last night it doesn’t appear you have.

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe the votes aren’t showing up because they did roll call votes, since Dennler was in Hawaii.
    Nearly everything passed unanimously. The only exceptions were: There was no motion on Prop. 30 and the board split its vote to endorse Prop. 38 3-1-1 with Hansen voting no and Dennler abstaining.
    Also, items 15.6 and 15.7 were pulled from the agenda and not discussed.
    The only controversial item was the superintendent’s evaluation item 15.14, with Hansen and Eberhart at loggerheads.

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a California Budget Project analysis of Prop. 30:

  49. SR Says:

    Anyone going to the CAC meeting to put their “dots” on the strategic plan?

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Another question is what will the board do with the dots after they are received? At the Monday community session, there was zero discussion of the “input.”

  51. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC will also hold a candidate’s forum on Oct. 2:
    Perhaps the draft strategic plan will come up during that discussion.

  52. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have just received word that the Pleasant Hill Education Commission will hold an MDUSD candidate’s forum from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 in the Pleasant Hill City Council Chambers.

  53. John Q Says:

    Will there be any other candidate forums open to the public ?

  54. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Both the CAC and Pleasant Hill forums are open to the general public. As usual, the Times and CCTV will also host televised candidate forums, which can be viewed by the public. MDUSD’s will be taped Thursday, Sept. 20. I will let you know if I hear of any other candidate forums. Often, CAPA also hosts such forums.

  55. John Q Says:

    is pleasant hill the only mdusd city that sponsors an education commission ?

  56. Theresa Harrington Says:

    JQ: Yes, I believe Pleasant Hill is the only MDUSD city with an education commission. However, at the one meeting I attended, there was no district liaison. So, a lot of parents and some staff members in the audience were talking about what they thought was going on in the district, without any corroboration from the district or collaboration with it.
    It might behoove the commission to ask a district staffer to attend the meetings to answer questions, if they come up.
    WAM: Walnut Creek is not a unified district, since it doesn’t include high schools. So, it’s WCSD.
    Jim: I agree there seems to be no plan and no accountability regarding the strategic plan. In fact, Trustee Cheryl Hansen raised several points of order about this at the beginning of the community meeting, pointing out that she has been asking the board to publicly schedule two strategic planning community meetings, but the rest of the board has not seemed to be very interested in moving forward with it. This meeting, on the other hand, was planned by Whitmarsh without Hansen’s knowledge — and apparently without the knowledge of the community. There was no superintendent message inviting the community to weigh in. And, as I pointed out, more staffers than public placed red dots on the plans. Also, there was no announcement regarding what would happen to the input or when the plan would be completed.
    Anon: Hansen has retired from her position at the County Office of Education, I believe.

  57. David "Shoe" Shuey - Clayton City Council Says:

    John Q – The City of Clayton does not have an education commission but did attempt to reach out to the MDUSD Board and establish, along with other cities, a joint subcommittee of the Board and city elected officials. This proposal was not well received by the Board at the time but we are hopeful that following the election it will be revisited.

  58. Anon Says:

    Whitmarsh made the decision that such meetings were not needed.

  59. No On Whitmarsh Says:

    It is time to vote Whitmarsh out. She must go.

    Visit our blog and show your support at

  60. Wait a Minute Says:

    Shoe & Anon @57&58

    This is why it is essential to defeat Whitmarsh and replace her with someone who is competent, collaborative, and caring because she has not demonstrated these attributes through her so-called “leadership”.

    Please tell everyone you know to VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH!!!

  61. John Q Says:

    Shoe-that’s good news, don’t give up!

  62. Doctor J Says:

    Hey Shoe, why doesn’t the City just establish the committee, and invite ALL the Board members and see who shows up. Just make sure its Brown Act noticed, and there should be no problem. Sherry can’t stop another Board member from showing up.

  63. John Q Says:

    Doctor J-Contra Costa Times reported Clayton Mayor Howard Geller said of a Mt. Diablo school board member “I wanted to get up and strangle her. But I didn’t.” (Eye on The East Bay, 8/26/12). Hmmm who could it be? Shoe, can you say?


  64. Anon Says:

    Tom Torlakson’s saying tech is important for 21st century learning and his new initiative is called “no child left offline.”

    You gotta wonder where is the funding. You gotta wonder when every mt. d kid will have a computer and internet connection at school.

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: When I visited Mt. Diablo HS to write about the visit from the US Ambassador to Mexico, I was very surprised to learn that the school does not have WiFi. They said they are supposed to get it, but don’t have it yet.
    In other districts, such as Acalanes and San Ramon Valley, students are being issued ipads. The disparity between neighboring districts is vast.
    The MDUSD technology committee is supposed to be coming up with a list of new technology that could be purchased with Measure C funds. But, that seems to be a low priority in terms of the Measure C timeline.
    First, the board wants to finish the solar projects.

    John Q: I asked our Clayton reporter which trustee Geller was referencing. The reporter said he couldn’t remember for sure, but he didn’t think it was Whitmarsh. I asked if it was Linda Mayo and he said he thought that sounded more like what he remembered.
    Both Whitmarsh and Mayo said they attended a Mayor’s event recently where they spoke to all of the mayors about whether or not they would like a “Mayoral Conference.”
    Our Clayton reporter said the Clayton City Council plans to send a letter to the district asking for some sort of system for regular communications between the district and the city. But, I’m not sure if that has been sent yet.

  66. Anon Says:

    Here’s hoping mt. d gets 21st century learning by the 23rd century.

    You gotta wonder why city of concord isn’t leading the charge on city-district relations. Kudos to antioch showing the world that the greater community can turnaround the neediest students.

    In the likely event that Whitmarsh is defeated, city of concord may have no-zero-zilch resident school board members.

  67. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Dennler is a Concord resident.

    Regarding helping some of the neediest students get revved up for school, check out this blog post about a master hip hop class at YVHS:

    YVHS is also the only MDUSD school I know that has a twitter account:

    Here’s what one student tweeted after the Friday rally: “Our school may not be a perfect 4.0 or higher school, (but) family atmosphere, and spirit definitely makes us better than any other school.”

  68. Anon Says:

    Somehow I thought Dennler lives in Clayton, or Hawaii

  69. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Since she and her husband are both retired, they travel often.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    I think Denler has resigtered to vote in hawaii ?

  71. MD Educator Says:

    When is the truth going to come out about Brian Lawrence trying to pass himself off as an educator? He is the political opportunist who two years ago ran with the endorsement of Paul Strange, Gary Eberhart, and Sherry Whitmarsh and lost! Now, he labels himself as an educator and attaches himself to the coat tails of a true educator, Barbara Oaks, who is known widely for her expertise, experience, and personal integrity.
    Lawrence should either prove his claim for being an educator- credentials held, professional experience, number of years and dates employed as an educator, schools taught at and references from evaluators – or he should withdraw.
    MDEA got burned with Eberhart and Whitmarsh four years ago. Now,how are they going to explain they are using the dues money of their credentialed, dedicated, experienced, and professional teachers to support the candidacy of a person whom, under different circumstances, they would fight vociferously to keep out of the classroom for lack of experience and training?

  72. Doctor J Says:

    Hmmm.. . . . .maybe she doesn’t qualify to vote or hold office in MDUSD?

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have already posted once in response to a similar comment that Brian Lawrence is teaching students at a barber school how to create financial plans and to decide whether it makes sense for them to go into business themselves or work for someone else. This is not his full-time job, though. He is a technology executive, which is the second part of his ballot designation: “Educator/Technology Executive.”
    On his ballot statement, Lawrence has left the line for his “occupation” blank.

  74. Anon Says:

    I’d take Lawrence over Whitmarsh every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

  75. The Observer Says:

    Understand from sources that it won’t be pretty when API comes out soon…anyone have any info?

  76. Brian Lawrence Says:

    Theresa, thanks for again sharing the info in your #73 comment.

    @ 71, yes, it is true that Gary Eberhart, Sherry Whitmarsh and Paul Strange supported me two years ago. 25,000+ other people were also kind enough to support me and I appreciate each of them. That doesn’t mean that any of those 25,000 people speak for me.

    Over the past two years, I have had significant differences with the current Board on multiple issues. Here is a brief sampling:

    – School Closure
    – Proposed three year extension for the Superintendent and top administrators
    – Measure C bond structure
    – Clayton Valley Charter process
    – Evaluation of the Superintendent
    – Strategic planning process
    – Community meetings (or lack thereof)
    – Communication with the public and sharing of information

    I’m looking forward to the debates and forums where the candidates will be discussing these and other issues. Perhaps Theresa will also provide a forum for the candidates to answer questions online- I’d be happy to participate.

    If you’d like to observe me in a classroom setting, I am teaching tomorrow morning. You can call me at 925-525-5354 or email me at and I’d be happy to arrange for you to attend.

    Thank you.

  77. Brian Lawrence Says:

    Typo- number to reach me at is 925-526-5354. I’m happy to answer any questions or discuss concerns via phone or email or in-person. Thanks.

  78. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian, Thanks for suggesting an online forum for questions. I’ll try to get that set up.
    Also, there are several upcoming candidate forums, including the CCTV forum to be taped Thursday morning, the Oct. 2 CAC forum at Dent Center and an Oct. 18 Pleasant Hill Education Commission forum in the Pleasant Hill City Council chambers. Both the CAC and Pleasant Hill forums are open to the public. The Times will archive the CCTV forum online and I will cover it.

    I have one question for you: Why didn’t you attend the strategic input session Monday and what was your impression of the district’s communication with the public about it? As I have mentioned, Debra Mason and Board President Sherry Whitmarsh were the only candidates in attendance.

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @Observer#75 It will be UGLY — suspect Lawrence is desperately job searching [hold FCMAT report off the FCMAT site] since the Sacramento Gig bombed. Actually you might see a API jump of one hand full of points, but once you remove the 3 SIG monumental jumps from that, you realize that the district really FELL by 25 plus points in API. All of this two years into his “plan” of creation of SASS to duplicate the success of Delta View under Susan Petersen after she took over for the disasterous prinicpal by the name of Julie Braun-Martin, who we all know is now the Asst Suppt of Personnel. How we promote such incompetence is beyond me, but rooted in the “good ole’ boy system” that does apply to woment too. Look at all of the incompetent principals that Rose Lock has protected to the benefit of their retirements and the detriment of the students.

  80. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    I am hearing from credible “inside” sources that the API numbers will force the board’s hand.

    Hearing to BOLO for end of SASS and massive cleanout of DENT. Hope everyone has their resumes polished.

  81. Brian Lawrence Says:

    @Theresa, I was in Denver last Monday.

    In order to be effective, strategic planning has to involve the whole community. This was the first meeting that I remember in the past year or so- it is very difficult to build momentum with such a long hiatus.

    I appreciate that Cheryl and Sherry went out in the community for input sessions last year. I’d hope that the entire Board and the Superintendent would full-heartedly support this process.

    If it is a top-down driven process, it is doomed to failure. It will consist of meaningless buzzwords and platitudes.

    I’ve spoken several times in support of Cheryl Hansen’s idea to have Board meetings out in the community. That’s one of the ways to help bring people in to the process. The excuse I’ve heard for not doing this is that it is difficult to create an agenda that complies with the Brown Act. The Board should instruct the General Counsel to to find a way to make sure of compliance instead of skipping these meetings altogether.

  82. Doctor J Says:

    Did these high school principals demonstrate high success to qualify them for “promotions” ? 2012 API results [est]
    YVHS — Bill Morones promoted to SASS Director Secondary: -1 API
    CVHS — Sue Brothers promoted to YVHS Principal -6 API
    MDHS — Kate McClatchy author of ToiletGATE -7 API

    And check out these:
    Oak Grove Middle School -38
    Valley View Middle -19
    Riverview Middle -8
    Foothill Middle -8

    And just some of the worst Elementary:
    Westwood E -33 Princ was Jennifer Vargus
    Sun Terrace E -39 Princ was Gretchen Jacobs who got promoted to Director of something.
    Silverwood E -22 Princ is Nancy Villa
    Gregory Gards -23 Princ was Cheryl Kolano

    Cambridge -9 Marie Schirmer was principal and promoted to SASS “Coach”.

  83. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a story about how Oakland is tackling the issue of bullying:
    It includes information I provided about what MDUSD is doing, including the bullying incidents reported at Oak Grove MS last year. The whistle-blower teachers said lack of consistent discipline and lack of a clear anti-bullying policy on campus contributed to a chaotic environment that was detrimental to student learning.

  84. David "Shoe" Shuey - Clayton City Council Says:

    BL @81 – As an elected official it is offensive to hear anyone use the Brown Act as a reason not to have community input or outreach. The Brown Act was designed prevent back door dealings without transparency. Now, some use it as a shield to keep things behind closed doors. There is nothing to stop any elected body from having public meetings and complying with the Brown Act in effectuating that is not rocket science.

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a story about Clayton Councilman David Shuey’s desire to serve on both the council and the CVCHS governing board:

    Dr. J: ok

  86. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Councilman Shuey: When I asked Concord Mayor Ron Leone what he thought of Trustee Cheryl Hansen’s idea of having a “Mayoral Council,” he said he didn’t like the idea of having structured public meetings. My impression was that he was more in favor of informal behind-the-scenes kind of communications. What would you prefer in terms of communications between Clayton and the MDUSD board?

  87. Brian Lawrence Says:

    Shoe: Complete agreement. I’m not aware of any official being prosecuted under the Brown Act for being part of an elected body that shared too much information with the public.

  88. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Mr. Brian and Shoe,

    Good points but this is the EberMarsh juggernaut we are dealing with. They care only of themselves and lining the pockets of their good friends.

  89. Doctor J Says:

    @Brian Lawrence#87 Perhaps you are not aware of the great intimidation attempt on Cheryl Hansen when one of District Attorney Mark Peterson’s minions interrogated her about alleged leaks that provided information to the public. Some believe the investigation was initiated directly with Mr. Peterson by either the Supt or one or two Board members. Cheryl surprised all of them by going public with the investigation during a Board meeting. Shortly after this Steven Lawrence put on the agenda, his own and several others, including Rolen, contract extensions. Noticably absent was a contract extension for Mildred Browne. Julie B-M has confirmed Mildred’s request for a leave of absence — although never publicly discussed during a Board meeting nor approved by the Board as required by the By-laws — and a new Asst Supt has been hired before the FCMAT report has been completed or released.

  90. MD Educator Says:

    Still waiting to hear from Brian Lawrence:
    1) Credential (s) held
    2) Schools currently working
    3) First year of teaching and number of years of experience
    4) Grade levels
    5) Subject areas
    6) Number of student contacts per day.

    Sorry, Brian, talking to barbers about creating a financial plan and deciding on their business future may make you a financial planner – though I believe you need licensing for that, too – but unless you can answer questions 1-6 with specificity then you are not an educator, no way, no how. Bu, what you have done is reveal to the public the lengths you will go for your own political ends. Which, as we’ve all seen the past 4 years is exactly what Whitmarsh and Eberhart have done. The fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

  91. Anon Says:

    MD Educator #90,

    I see what you are saying, kind of like Gary claiming he has a degree from St. Mary’s.

    I however beleive that anyone would be better than Whitmarsh. Hell a trained monkey would be better than Whitmarsh at this point.


  92. Doctor J Says:

    Has Kerri Mills resigned from Santa Barbara USD yet ? I just checked the SBUSD agendas through Sept 11 and don’t see her name on the personnel action. In light of no MDUSD Board action on Mildred Browne, I am wondering if something is going on behind the scenes ?

  93. Jim Says:

    @92 — Kerri Mills is still listed in the SBUSD online directory, although it hasn’t been modified since 8/23. While frowned upon in the private sector, double-dipping is not all that unusual in public school districts. As in so many areas, ethical practices in public education tend to be a bit more “flexible”.

  94. David "Shoe" Shuey - Clayton City Council Says:


    Following the charter approval, councilmember Medrano and I approached the District about forming a subcommitte of the District Board and the respective city councils which would meet regularly but informally to discuss issues of mutual concern. However, to me, if the desire was public meetings then that would be welcome as well. My issue is that there is little or no communication, formal or informal, between the cities and MDUSD. It makes no sense. The important thing is opening lines of communication to better help our kids.

  95. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim#93 We already know Mills is double dipping with FCMAT consulting — how much influence is she having on the MDUSD report ? Was she paid for it while negotiating with MDUSD ? Lots of conflict of interest questions — some of which the Fair Political Practices commission may be interested in.

  96. Anon Says:

    Reliable rumors saying Lawrence is still fighting hard to keep the FCMAT report under wraps. Weird given how it is released already although not on the official FCMAT site.

    Wonder if there are “interesting” differences between teh released version and the official version?

  97. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#96 Since its now “final”, but not posted as promised by FCMAT, Theresa probably could do a PRA request for the official version of the report. I don’t understand why the Times never followed up on its prior PRA requests when Theresa reported the Times would not take “NO” for an answer.

  98. Doctor J Says:

    Here is what Investigative Reporters find when they bulldog PRA requests for emails and don’t give up ! I wish the Times was more supportive of Theresa.

  99. Doctor J Says:

    It appears that FCMAT consultants may be in violation of the FCMAT Conflict of Interest Code by accepting honorariums and failing to disclose the same. The FCMAT code was approved by the FCMAT Board in June 2011, and by the FPPC on March 1, 2012. With the FPPC approval, FCMAT consultants had 30 days to file their financial disclosures. It does not appear FCMAT required that. The public is entitled to see the financial disclosures of any consultant — and that would include those who worked on the MDUSD projects and of course, Kerri Mills. Where are the Financial Disclosures ?

  100. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Our Oakland reporter is writing about that city’s “Mayor¹s Education Cabinet,” which is launching a new campaign aimed at keeping kids in school.
    Concord Mayor Ron Leone told me he wants to launch a character program similar to the “Do the Right Thing” campaign in Clayton. But, with no vehicle for district-city communications, it’s unclear how much input or buy-in Concord will get from the district.

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, WCCUSD includes its Uniform Complaint form in its Parent-Student handbook:

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