Part of the Bay Area News Group

MDUSD 9-10-12

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 6:48 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Strategic Planning input session got underway a bit late.
Board President Sherry Whitmarsh invited public and staff to vote to prioritize items on the draft strategic plan using red dots.
Participants include board candidate Debra Mason, John Parker, a member of the Pleasant Hill Education Commission, a parent, Felicia Stuckey-Smith, Carolyn Patton and Jonathan Roselin.
Whitmarsh said the CAC will have the opportunity to place dots on the draft at its Oct. 2 meeting.
Each person gets 15 dots to place three under each of the five areas of the strategic plan.

Regular meeting has begun

Board unanimously adopted consent agenda

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148 Responses to “MDUSD 9-10-12”

  1. John Q Says:

    how can dennler see the red dots from hawaii ?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No one looked at the red dots or had any discussion about the “input.” In fact, Superintendent Lawrence suggested that Dennler hang up and he called her back after the few members of the public and staff affixed their red dots to the draft strategic plan and the regular meeting was set to begin.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Most amazingly, Lawrence has finally released the FCMAT transportation report, which is dated Sept. 4:
    He told me he’s still not sure when the special ed report will be released.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT still has not released the MDUSD Sept 4 report althought its site shows an Imperial County report of September 4. Shame, shame, shame. The integrity of FCMAT has been compromised again.
    Of note on the Sept 4 Imperial Special Education Report is that one of the report writers is none other than Kerri Mills, listed still as with Santa Barbara. Now how does that compromise the integrity of the MDUSD Special Education report that has not been released ?

  5. g Says:

    Who is “Director of facilities, operations and energy conservation?”

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe that is Jeff McDaniel

  7. Doctor J Says:

    TH, have you got a copy of the most recent email correspondence on this report from FCMAT ? Can you do a “document compare” to see what has changed between the original draft and this so called “final” ?

  8. Doctor J Says:

    I didn’t know the Board changed Jeff McDaniel’s title or duties.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I could be wrong, but I thought he got that promotion around the same time Greg Rolen got his salary increase.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    On May 24, 2011 The Board minutes refer to Jeff McDaniel as “Jeff McDaniel, Director of Maintenance and Operations”.

  11. g Says:

    Page 15: “In addition, the director of facilities, operations and energy conservation spends very little time overseeing transportation.”

    It would appear to be so!

  12. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, quoting your blog of August 27, 2010: “Pete Pedersen, who oversaw transportation as the assistant superintendent for administrative services, is retiring in four days. According to a board-approved restructuring, his position is being eliminated and his transportation duties have been assigned to general counsel Greg Rolen. Jeff McDaniel, whose job was recently upgraded to director of facilities, operations and resource conservation, is directly responsible for transportation, Browne said.”
    I suspect that the restructuring was on the board agenda about May or June 2010, about the same time that Lawrence also created the SASS hydra.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, and I think McDaniel was one of the five people who got a raise.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    @G#11 No kidding ! Don’t you remember when the going got tough on transportation a year ago, Jeff too a month off — he couldn’t handle the pressure !

  15. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#13 Yes, Jeff McDaniel was one of the Gang of Five that got raises while the Board was at the same time reducing other’s hours, benefits, and all the rest of the district personnel were being required to assume additional duties at no increase in pay. The memo and discussion are in the Nov 17, 2009 minutes, item 9.3. “The plan is summarized in a memo and includes the following actions: General Counsel: Increase salary to $190,000 including education and longevity, total $27,998; Director Budget & Fiscal Svcs: Reclassify as Chief Financial Officer and increase salary to $140,000 total $8,114; Director Certificated Personnel: Increase range from 29 to 32 to $5,989; Facilities & Ops Project Mgr: Increase range from 12 to 25 total $11,136; Admin Secty To Supt Conf: Increase range of position from 536 to 576 total $1,792; Associate Superintendent: Reclassify position as Assistant Superintendent total (14,913); Adm. Asst To Assoc Supt of Ed: Y – Rate. Grand Total $40,115.”

  16. Wait a Minute Says:

    And its so nice to know that despite these unwarranted raises, which are in reality PAYOLA, the MDUSD still has to spend tens of thousands of dollars on highly paid “Consultants” in order to do their jobs for them!

  17. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT is highly critical of the ‘transportation dept’ organizational situation. Let’s remember back on Nov 17, 2009 when the Gang of Five raises were granted for the “reorganization” which included making Gen Counsel Rolen over transportation as well as McDaniel over Facilities & Ops taking on transportation, which Board member took “credit” for working out the business organization ? First hint: he claims to have a degree in Business Management that the alleged university will not verify, and he has listed a couple of different years when he claims it was awarded. From the Nov 17, 2009 Board minutes: “Gary Eberhart said that he worked on this plan and supported bringing it forward at this time.” Interestingly FCMAT does not mention Greg Rolen’s role as the head of Transportation, and misstates the title of Jeff McDaniel’s position when in fact he is “Director of Maintenance and Operations” which includes transportation. The FCMAT report says: “The department is administered by the director of facilities, operations and energy conservation. On site is a transportation services coordinator who tends to the day-to-day operations. The district should consider creating a director of transportation position supported by an operations manager. Several years ago, the shop supervisor position was eliminated. That position should be reinstituted.” Probably if they understood a Board member created the organizational chart, they might have understood the state of confusion a little more. Indeed FCMAT was confused about how or why the Special Education dept was controlling the bus drivers.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT is guessing — it states as fact something that is unsupported by data, and then arrives at a conclusion based on supposition not fact. FCMAT’s credibility is now toast. Here is the language previously the subject of questioning by Theresa, and hopefully the public will attack it at the public meeting. If they have data, produce it, but they don’t. “Approximately 26% of the special education student population receives specialized transportation. In most school districts that FCMAT has reviewed, approximately 10 percent of special education students receive specialized transportation. Mt. Diablo Unified provides school transportation to a significantly higher percentage of special education students than most school districts in California.”

  19. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT claimed it would only make “factual changes” — not so — I wonder why Lawrence asked for this change — a good question for Theresa to ask him. In the July Draft report, FCMAT suggests that district could achieve more efficient bus routing and scheduling by alternating school bell times by one hour for half the schools with approximately half the schools began at 7:45 a.m., and the other half at 8:45 a.m., the Transportation Department could signifcantly reduce the overall number of buses and drivers. The final Sept report reduces that to 45 minutes, presumably at Lawrence’s request, and now states “if approximately half the schools began at 7:45 a.m., and the other half at 8:30 a.m., the Transportation Department could significantly reduce the overall number of buses and drivers.” HEY STEVE, PSST. DID YOU ASK THE WORKING MOMS ? Oh, yeah I forgot, your wife is like Ann Romney, working “at home”. Well news for you Senor Steve, working moms outside the home, still have to do the “work at home” when they get home at night, and before they leave in the morning. Now maybe you also forgot to consult with the SIG schools — 3 in Bay Point that saved your bacon on the API scores by INCREASED INSTRUCTIONAL TIME, and two more SIG schools this year: Meadow Homes and Oak Grove. They don’t start and stop like normal schools.
    But I have to tell you Steve I love the FCMAT report explanation for why all the schools start and stop now at the same time increasing the costs of busing: “The department had much greater input into school bell times in years past, however, in the past two years, the schools have had broad authority to change their bell times without that input. This has resulted in bell times that are similar throughout the district.” Let’s see who has been the Supt the last two years ?? Oh, yeah, its you: Steven Lawrence, PhD. with a degree in applied mathmatics. You have increased the transportation costs by allowing the schools free reign to change their bell schedules. Now you are trying to cover your tracks by making kids walk 5 miles to school, having late starts at schools, and doing defacto boundary changes by reducing teachers at certain schools and forcing “overflows” to other schools where you have increased the FTE’s. Slick, but not transparent. Before I let you get back to supervising Greg over transportation, have you got your six mile walk to school in yet ? Better hurry, the weather is going to change and you don’t want to do it when its raining. And be sure to carry your district paid cell phone, because when you get that blister about 3 miles down the road, you might want to call your wife for a ride — I guess she could let you off a block away so no one would know the truth.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the CAC meeting, parent Denise Lambert specifically asked Carolyn Patton to provide the CAC with the comparable districts referenced by FCMAT. At the time, Patton could only name Poway, but she appeared to understand that Lambert was asking for a list. Lambert said she had spent hours looking at reports on FCMAT’s website and still couldn’t figure out which districts were considered “comparable.”
    Last night, Lawrence told me there will be a public presentation of the FCMAT report, after the CAC has had time to look it over. I wonder if FCMAT reps will show up to explain which comparable districts they meant.
    Also, no one has revealed which district was referenced in the parent letter, when it said: “The FCMAT team found that the district has an inordinately high number of parents who receive reimbursement in lieu of transportation services. One similarly sized district has only two parents who are paid in lieu while we reimburse 144 parents.”
    As I previously reported, Bill Gillaspie said FCMAT did not know which district the letter was referencing and he told me I should ask the district. But Patton never responded to that question. Hopefully, she will respond if the CAC asks the same question.
    Regarding the emails, Gillsapie did not produce emails related to the draft corrections, saying the draft was not a public document.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    I hope you ask Lawrence why he asked for the change I pointed out in #19. FCMAT said they were only going to make changes the district asked for.

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about the meeting:

  23. g Says:

    I take it “director of facilities, operations and Energy Conservation” means McDaniels is also being given a sneaky little bite out of Measure C money. I’d love to see the cost center breakdown on his and a dozen others’ salaries.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    @G – NO ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES of Measure C. What a lie in MDUSD. Open the books Lawrence. FCMAT has already caught you in another lie.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    Cheating new teachers out of two days pay, making 1st graders walk 5 miles to school, but Lawrence can pay consultants $2500 a day to do what he said SASS would do — What’s the next below the belt punch for Lawrence to deliver ?

  26. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT still refusing to publish the MDUSD report in violation of their own policies — why ? The Imperial report also dated Sept 4 has been published for over a week.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    As usual, MDUSD is way behind the curve on training and especially EVALUATION of teachers something I have been speaking up about for well over a year. The California Department of Education on Monday released a comprehensive new report calling for sweeping reforms in the way teachers are recruited, trained, mentored and evaluated. Long Beach Unified
    School District Superintendent Chris Steinhauser, who co-chaired the task force along with Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University, said collaboration is key to developing the best forms of teacher evaluation. When teachers and MDEA call the Supt and the Board “cheaters” for not paying new teachers for mandatory two day training, that doesn’t bode well for developing collaboration.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    Poway hires ex-FBI agent to investigate Bond transactions — should MDUSD do the same ?

  29. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As has been previously pointed out, Poway used the same bond underwriters as MDUSD, so was likely receiving the same level of advice and likely paying similar fees.
    Also, as previously pointed out, Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Trustee Gary Eberhart have asserted that the practice of paying those fees with bond premium is perfectly acceptable — despite the attorney general’s letter warning the Poway district it was illegal.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, TOILETGATE II is in progress, according to credible “sources”, that “only 1 bathroom in use at Diablo View”. “there are bathrooms in the gym and in each wing but they are locked and cannot be used by students.” Students are limited to “15 bathroom passes a quarter”. Principal Patti Bannister really knows how to impress a campus, doesn’t she ? If you don’t think the Board and Lawrence reads this blog, just watch how fast this problem is “flushed” — so Patti, what’s your explanation ? Hopefully there will be Williams complaints and Uniform complaints that make it to the board agenda !

  31. Anon Says:

    Dr. J., How and where do you file Williams act complaints?

  32. Doctor J Says:

    Since MDUSD does not make its Williams Act complaints easily accessible on the website — another violation — I suggest you use the California Dept of Education Sample Notice to Parents that is supposed to be posted in every classroom — is it ? You can hit the link to the complaint form and send it to Lawrence. His email is: or call his extension for his fax. I suggest two complaints: one about the issue you have, and the second about the lack of availability of the Williams Complaint form and Uniform Complaint form on the district website.
    Annonymous complaints can be filed, but if you are not satisfied with the response, you can appeal it to the State Board of Education.

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Has anyone seen the Uniform Complaint letter required to be sent out every year to all parents ? Here is the CDE sample:

  34. Doctor J Says:

    And I just love this form — it spells it out so clearly.

  35. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Somewhat related to STAR scores, the National Merit Scholarship Program announced more than 100 semifinalists in Contra Costa County today, including four Northgate HS students:

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC is being given much more advance notice about its opportunity to weigh in on the draft strategic plan than the general public received for the sudden Sept. 10 input session:

  37. Jim Says:

    This “Draft Strategic Plan” is not a “plan” in any conventional sense. It is just a verbose list of lofty goals, many of which MDUSD already routinely ignores in its daily practices. This pitful document contains almost no text about executional considerations, steps to implementation, tangible milestones, or timelines. It purports to cover “2010-2015”, yet here we are approaching the end of 2012, and they are not even finished soliciting feedback (which, based on CAC’s comments dated 16 MONTHS ago, appears to be systematically ignored in any case). Anyone who has ever done planning — at least with any ACCOUNTABILITY for the result — would be embarrassed by this whole charade.

    Now Sherry is meeting with people and collecting red dots. How DO these people face themselves in the mirror each morning? Really! How DO they do it?

  38. Back Row Says:

    Payback Whitmarsh and Eberhart Style – At Monday’s board meeting MDEA president Guy Moore, spoke in support on Prop. 30, the governor’s initiative for raising tax revenues and supported by CTA. After his presentation, Whitmarsh asked for a motion on Prop. 30 and got nothing. Immediately, she sought a motion to support Prop. 38, the PTA initiative,and got a motion from Mayo and a second from Eberhart. Almost without discussion, since it’s doubtful that Whitmarsh or Eberhart had ever read either proposition, it was passed 3-1-1 supported by the usual board majority of Whitmarsh, Eberhart, and Mayo.
    Consider carefully. Both Whitmarsh and Eberhart are at odds with MDEA because MDEA has been very critical of their work as board members and told them early on that MDEA would not support them if they chose to run again. So, their lack of support was based less on principle and more on political payback. That was more apparent when the ” next agenda item”, Proposition 38 was brought to the floor. Linda Mayo, who has been a good soldier and reliable third vote for Sherry and Gary on school closure, charter school denial, contract extensions, and delaying strategic planning, was rewarded for her service by the majority voting to support Prop. 38 which is Linda’s pet project for PTA.
    These two issues were so carefully choreographed that it would require a willing suspension of disbelief to think it other than predetermined. Given that predetermination, it would mean that a majority of board members would have had to discuss it prior to the actual vote. In everyday parlance, that is a violation of The Brown Act. The only question left is what restaurant did the three meet at when this was decided.

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was also very surprised that there was no motion on Prop. 30. Most school boards across the state are endorsing both measures.
    Since the trigger cuts will automatically go into effect if Prop. 30 fails, the board could be faced with massive budget cuts. Even Superintendent Lawrence recommended endorsing the measure.
    Also, Prop. 30 is the only measure that helps higher education.
    Prop. 38 will not stop the trigger cuts and it will not provide any money to schools in 12-13, as I understand it.
    MDUSD may be the only school board in the state not to endorse Prop. 30, while endorsing Prop. 38.
    I also don’t believe Hansen stated why she opposed Prop. 38. I was curious about that, as well.

  40. Anon Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete an offensive remark.]

    ButterCupGateII in full effect.

    Knowing the three involved though, they probably went really high class and charged it to the district.

  41. Doctor J Says:

    FCMAT still not publishing MDUSD report TEN DAYS after it was released. WHY ?

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to County Board minutes (Legislative Update), Supt. Joe Ovick supports Prop. 30 and opposes Prop. 38:

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Just saw this announcement that the Inglewood school district (led by former MDUSD Supt. Gary McHenry) is facing state takeover:

  44. Anon Says:

    I’m with Ovick. Prop. 38 is a regressive tax, imposing income tax for those below the poverty line. MD should be ashamed of the school board endorsement.

  45. Anon Says:

    I’ve asked my kids at Diablo View about bathrooms.
    They told me “the gym isn’t school property”. As for
    Wing bathrooms, they are for the teachers, they tell me.
    The student bathroom near the MUR has around 10 stalls
    in it and is cleaned well. The bathroom situation hasn’t
    been a problem for my kids at Diablo View.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    This is what a State takeover of a school district looks like:
    Lawrence wants to avoid it because it is a career ender.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    TWO WEEKS later FCMAT still violating their own principles by not publishing the FCMAT report on MT. Diablo transportation released Sept 4. Why not ?

  48. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence is refusing to authorize FCMAT to publish the report — I called FCMAT and asked. So WHY ? Is the true report different from the one posted on the District Website ? If not, authorize FCMAT to publish. Or is Lawrence looking to protect his bacon for a new job ? I hope Theresa gets to the bottom of this.

  49. Jim Says:

    @43 Theresa — That’s right. With McHenry at the helm, Inglewood USD is now bankrupt. It’s interesting that if you go to their district site, it is virtually impossible to find ANY financial information. No district budget, no multiyear financial projections. Nothing.

    Warning to all taxpayers (and to Sherry Whitmarsh, who often struggles with the concept of transparency): If district administrators make it difficult to figure out what they are spending, and how much revenue they are taking in, they may have reasons for being so secretive. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Speaking of lack of transparency and hiding financial information, items 15.6 and 15.7 — which were pulled from the Sept. 10 agenda — now don’t even show up at all.
    Instead, they have been seamlessly replaced by the other items:
    So, the agenda that was originally posted — which included items through 15.15 — now only shows items up to 15.13.
    Shouldn’t the original agenda still be posted, showing the items that were removed?
    Those items were: 15.6 Certification of the District’s 2011-2012 Unaudited Actual Financial Report and; 15.7 Resolution adopting the district’s 2011-12 GANN Appropriations limit.
    Luckily, the audio is there, in which Board President Sherry Whitmarsh says these items have been pulled (about 1:19 into the meeting):
    Hopefully, the minutes will reflect the removal of these items as well.

  51. Jim Says:

    @50 — Oh, the silly hijinks at MDUSD — deleting items from the agenda of a public meeting, a week AFTER the meeting was held. Is the Board taking their governance lessons from the Central Party Committee in Beijing? Or do they just think no one will notice as they play hide-and-seek with +$260 million in taxpayer funds?

    Well, if anyone wonders why some of us don’t feel comfortable putting such “officials” in charge of public education, this provides a good example.

  52. Doctor J Says:

    I guess its time for Theresa to do a surprise on site inspection of the Board Minute Book to see if it is being kept according to the Board By-laws — most likely its not, and that would be a good story, since the Board Secretary — Steven Lawrence — is notoriously sloppy and his personal secretary was one of the Gang of Five raises for her “additional duties”. And its probably appropriate for Theresa to request in writing on behalf of the Times, under the Brown Act, a paper copy of each notice, agenda, and supporting documentation be mailed to the Times. I think those letters are good for a whole year. No longer can the electronic versions be relied upon when time after time they are monkeyed with by unknown persons having access to the electronic bulletin board system even though un AB1344 they became office “notices” and required to be kept in tact. It will take a lawsuit to get Rolen to comply.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    Everyone is entitled to request a paper copy of the notices, agendas and supporting documents and here is how to do it right out of the Brown Act — make sure your request is “good for a year”. Might be interesting someday to actually compare the “approved budget” and the agenda items when they say the cost is included in the “approved budget”. I remember one time Byron Richards slipping and saying that “we transfered those funds” from another approved budget item which was not in the approved budget. Anyway here is your reference to Govt Code Section 54954.1 so you can get your “hard copy” of the agenda and supporting documents mailed to you.

    “Any person may request that a copy of the agenda, or a
    copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet, of any meeting of a legislative body be mailed to that person. If requested, the agenda and documents in the agenda packet shall be made available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with a
    disability, as required by Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132), and the federal rules and regulations adopted in implementation thereof. Upon receipt
    of the written request, the legislative body or its designee shall cause the requested materials to be mailed at the time the agenda is posted pursuant to Section 54954.2 and 54956 or upon distribution to
    all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body, whichever occurs first. Any request for mailed copies of agendas or agenda packets shall be valid for the calendar year in which it is filed, and must be renewed following January 1 of each year. The legislative body may establish a fee for mailing the agenda or agenda packet, which fee shall not exceed the cost of providing the service. Failure of the requesting person to receive the agenda or
    agenda packet pursuant to this section shall not constitute grounds for invalidation of the actions of the legislative body taken at the meeting for which the agenda or agenda packet was not received.”

    So when the Agenda is posted on Thursday afternoon, your copies should also be in the mail. Watch the postmark — Monday morning you will likely need to make a phone call to ext 4000 ! Lorene is going to regret that paltry raise she got when Rolen got $27,000. She might be stuffing 100 extra envelopes twice a month because “someone” keeps monkeying with the electronic records.

  54. Doctor J Says:

    Steven Lawrence and Sherry Whitmarsh violate the Brown Act Govt Code 54954.2 (a)(2)when they ignore Cheryl Hansen’s request for an Agenda item. “Furthermore, a member of a legislative body [that would be Cheryl Hansen or any Board member], . . . may provide a
    reference to staff or other resources for factual information, request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.”

  55. Doctor J Says:

    3 weeks of school and Lawrence’s busing folly is already a failure. While there may be a few less children receiving bus transport, how many routes have saved ? How much money is being saved at the cost of tiny children walking sometimes 5 miles or more to school across dangerously busy streets ? Rumor has it that Lawrence’s Folly hasn’t even saved the costs of his own raise let along the raises to the BIG5.

  56. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, MDUSD plans to participate in a 2012 Contra Costa Latino Education Summit on Sept. 29 at DVC:

  57. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Heard on police scanner that a substitute teacher in MDUSD is refusing to leave. Didn’t catch which campus. Anyone else heard anything about this?

  58. Anon Says:

    Just got a call from Steve Lawrence, asking for Strategic Plan input so they can finalize the strategic plan in the next board meeting.

    First – Nice planning Steve! Giving parents a whole four days to line up child care.

    Second – Is this Steve’s attempt at polishing up the resume prior to losing his job once the new board is voted in after the November election?

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the link to the superintendent’s message:
    He says the board will finalize the plan in October.

  60. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence and Whitmarsh are as phoney as a $3 Bill.

  61. Anon Says:

    Is Steven Lawrence moonlighting as Sherry Whitmarsh’s campaign manager?

  62. Anon Says:

    Ann # 61,

    That has to be the reason this is suddenly on his radar screen.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    Do Steven Lawrence and Sherry Whitmarsh really think a lousy and phoney “Strategic Plan” will make up for disasterously poor API scores ?

  64. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The real question will be whether or not the superintendent and board will make decisions based on the strategic plan after it is adopted. It provides the public with another measure of accountability — in addition to API scores. This is why Trustee Cheryl Hansen said the superintendent’s performance evaluation goals should be directly tied to the district’s strategic plan. The rest of the board, however, did not seem to agree with that.

  65. Anon Says:


    This gala SP event is “drop by the district office” that means we can take our children. It’s 6:00-7:30 allowing a 1-1/2 hour window of time precisely when most families should be eating dinner together. And it’s a few miles from most of our homes. Did they ever consider a “drop by your local high school” event instead?

  66. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, since the board did not discuss this meeting in open session, despite Hansen’s repeated requests that dates be established after the board agreed to hold “community meetings.” Originally, the community meetings were supposed to be out in the community and local high schools had been discussed.
    At the last meeting, Hansen also asked Whitmarsh why there was no board discussion about the process.
    Based on the size of the large sheets of paper, there may not be enough room for the public to place dots next to their favorite goals if there is a large turnout, since they are allowed to place all three dots on one goal under each focus area. Or, perhaps there will be a different process this time. Lawrence’s message did not explain how the “dropin” input session would work. Will there be opportunity for public comment or board discussion? What will happen to the input?

  67. Doctor J Says:

    @#64 Eberhart taunted Hansen during the last Board meeting, by sarcastically asking, “What Strategic Plan ?” Of course Gary, you thwarted the SP by using Sherry as your puppet. Seven months of the proposed SP sitting on the shelf without action, and now suddenly the election looming with Lawrence’s arse in the sling and we see a desperate move by Lawrence. Lawrence knows his career is now doomed and he is walking around Dent with his head between his legs. What Whitmarsh is claiming is a SP, really isn’t, it doesn’t meet the definition of a Strategic Plan. Hansen is right, a properly developed SP should be the basis for all decisions in the district, including the goals for the Supt to accomplish the SP. Steven, your deception for the last two and a half years has caught up to you — I only feel sorry for the embarassment you are causing to your family.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    Disecting Lawrence’s telephone blast, who is “we” ? How can he say what the Board process is when it has not been agreed upon, nor even discussed, by the Board ? It is obviously evidence of a secret plan, violating the Brown Act, in order to support Sherry’s floundering re-election campaign. Why isn’t the District Attorney Peterson investigating this ?

  69. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In an hour, the board candidates will participate in a taped CCTV forum, which I’ll be attending. I’ll let blog readers know if the strategic plan comes up.
    It will be interesting to see if the candidates show up to the input session. Debra Mason and Board President Sherry Whitmarsh were the only ones who attended the last session. Brian Lawrence was out of town and I haven’t had a chance to ask the other candidates why they weren’t there.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    @#69 No wonder Lawrence sent out his voicemail blast — so Sherry could have some “good news” to discuss at the candidate forum. Lets get the emails between Lawrence and all board members in the last 30 days.

  71. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    This is clearly an attempt by Lawrence and Whitmarsh to swing the election.

    Check out the blog from the No On Whitmarsh folks


  72. Doctor J Says:

    I guess that would be Sherry’s campaign “commerical”, eh ?

  73. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Dr. J. @ 72,

    That video is awesome. I laugh out loud every time I am reminded to watch it.

    I wish Mt. Diablo Jester would do another one, but something of that quality takes alot of time I would think.

  74. Doctor J Says:

    Need a good laugh ? Read Sherry’s campaign statement: “I have championed strategic planning . . .” Are you kidding me ? Read and laugh at the rest of her campaign statement. Such a farce and she is getting Lawrence to do her begging. @page 42.

  75. Jim Says:

    @72 — I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this video was made by a student. Some of them understand this district better than many of the adults do. If so, there’s hope for the next generation.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    What happened to Sherry’s job at Chevron ? She now lists herself as a “Business Consultant” in 2012 whereas in 2008 she listed herself on the Campaign Statement as a “Competency Development Consultant” while employed at Chevron. Compare the 2012 and 2008 Candidate Statements.

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The candidates did discuss the strategic plan, as well as Props. 30 and 38 (as well as valuing staff, board relations and pension/healthcare costs).
    Board President Sherry Whitmarsh told me after the forum that the PAC held a strategic plan input session in May.
    Also, she said she supports both Props. 30 and 38. But, according to Robert’s Rules, the president should not make a motion, so she didn’t think it would be appropriate for her to move to endorse Prop. 30. And when no one else made that motion, she wasn’t sure if she would get a second, even if she did make the motion.
    She said she could understand why Trustee Linda Mayo didn’t move to endorse it (since Mayo was pushing to endorse Prop. 38), but was surprised that neither Trustees Cheryl Hansen nor Lynne Dennler moved to endorse Prop. 30.
    Brian Lawrence pointed out that MDUSD may be the only district in the state that endorsed Prop. 38, but failed to endorse Prop. 30.
    Regarding valuing staff, Whitmarsh told me the board voted in closed session on how to handle employees who were on leaves during the 2011-12 school year (specifically referencing Jessica Preciado’s complaint that the district refused to give her the 3 percent bonus in June, even on a pro-rated basis calculated on her actual earnings before she took her leave.)
    When I asked if that vote should have been reported out of closed session, Whitmarsh said she didn’t think so, since it was related to negotiations. But she said she’d try to find out if she could give me the information, saying it was “good news.”

  78. Anon Says:

    TH-What time will the forum be broadcast ?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    Sounds like District Attorney Peterson should investigate Sherry for leaking information out of “closed session”, eh ? BTW, if something is voted as a part of “negotiations” it is not final until an agreement is reached with MDEA and then voted upon in open session. Any vote in closed session must be reported out, even if only generically. As for the alleged PAC strategic plan input session in May, it was not Brown Act noticed and therefore any reliance on such a meeting could invalidate the entire Strategic Plan input since the Parents Advisory Committee is a Board authorized committee.

  80. anon Says:

    Hansen has questioned the status of the strategic plan at almost every board meeting and was ignored and as an annoyance by lawrence and whitmarsh. With November approaching, all of a sudden, Lawrence and Whitmarsh find the strategic plan of utmost importance and in need of attention. With the exception of Hansen, what a bunch of phonies. Voters should no that their vote is more powerful by voting for just ONE candidate, and that candidate SHOULD NOT BE WHITMARSH.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    And Theresa, which Agenda were the “negotiations” listed that Sherry was referencing ? Information or action item ?

  82. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Forum will be broadcast on Concord TV beginning 9/29, on CCTV beginning Oct. 4 and on Walnut Creek TV beginning Oct. 7. It will also be available on our CCT website (but I’m not sure how soon).
    Dr. J: I don’t know which closed session. But, since Preciado spoke Aug. 27, I would guess it would have been the Sept. 10 closed session.
    Whitmarsh said during the CCTV forum that the board had voted to “pass a resolution” dealing with Preciado’s issue (without naming her or the issue). Since I didn’t recall any such board-approved resolution, I asked Whitmarsh about it afterwards. She didn’t explain what she was talking about in the videotaped forum.

  83. Doctor J Says:

    @TH You caught Sherry in a bold face lie: The Sept 10 audio Sherry says: “discussed negotiations” and does NOT report out any action or vote as required by the Brown Act. “All actions taken and all votes in closed session must be publicly reported orally or in writing within 24 hours (§ 54957.1(b)), and copies of any contracts or settlements approved must be made available promptly (§ 54957.1(b),(c)).”

  84. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Well, it’s possible it was a different closed session, since Preciado has been asking this question for months.

  85. Doctor J Says:

    Show me the minutes where it was reported. Signed, Doubting Thomas.

  86. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Whitmarsh is on tape saying the board voted on a resolution. Now, the district should produce the resolution.

  87. Doctor J Says:

    They are not going to produce it until you ask.

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have just added a Sept. 20 update to my CAC blog post, in which Lorrie Davis expresses concerns about Superintendent Lawrence’s statement to her that staff will make the decision about clustering, not the board — and that parents will be informed, but will not have input:

  89. The Observer Says:

    @Theresa 77
    Sherry is ignorant of procedure- as usual- because it is possible for the chair to make a motion or even second a motion. The chair doesn’t lose any rights by being the chair. For that matter the chair doesn’t have extra autnority such as censoring agenda items submitted by other board members which Sherry, in her ignorance and arrogance,does regularly.

    In this particular case on Prop. 30 and 38. it’s an open secret that Sherry, Gary, and Linda were slapping MDEA around because MDEA would not endorse Gary or Sherry this election cycle and didn’t endorse Linda two years ago. The three of them worked the vote out ahead of time. Someone has noted before on this thread and suggested that this would be a violation of the Brown Act. Very likely.

    When it comes to manipulation, half truths, innuendo,attempted intimidation and bullying,,and obstruction, Sherry has become Gary on steroids. Her recent foray into pushing the strategic plan through without board discussion or approval of a process is typical. She has actively delayed and derailed any discussion of the strategic plan for over a year and now she wants to say that she was the one who got a strategic plan passed.In point of fact, it has been Trustee Cheryl Hansen who has been pushing it since February 2011 and has tried to have it placed on the agenda for board discussion, planning, and approval. It was even on the list of agenda items several sessions ago that Sherry passed over quickly and concluded that no one was interested in discussing them.

    What is really pathetic is that Sherry never produces anything to back up her assertions. She never produces documents or anything in writing. It’s always “conversation in closed session” or “Greg told me in closed session” or “we talked about it last February”.

    Sherry also doesn’t realize that Gary and Paul left her holding the bag as the fall person when it finally hits the fan in the district and it will hit the fan. Everyone, except Sherry, sees that bus coming and she continues to look the other way.

    Come November the community will elect new leadership on the board. It will be a time for the new board majority to come in a clean the Aegean stables that is now Dent Center.

  90. SR Says:

    Here is an excerpt from the California Department of Education Parent Rights/Procedural Safeguards( part of CA Ed code and Federal Ed Code). The full link is….

    Please note the second sentence….. Parents must CONSENT to any changes in their child’s special education program as defined in the IEP. This INCLUDES supports and services like Transportation.

    Parents have the right:

    “To Consent
    Parents must provide informed, written consent before their child is assessed or provided with any special education services. Parental consent must also be provided before any change in special education services may occur. The district must ensure that parents understand proceedings of the IEP team meeting including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or those whose native language is other than English.

    So sorry, Dr. Lawrence, the manner in which transportation is provided is NOT an administrative decision. It is an IEP TEAM decision.

  91. Anon Says:

    I heard rumors of lots of talk in Dent today about what to do with the parents that put up a fight against this.

    Parents need to unite and be loud, and let the board know WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS KIND IF TREATMENT.

  92. Anon Says:

    So, after reading the agenda and hearing the superintendent’s voice mail the idea is that we all meet at Dent Center, meander around for 90 minutes, put round dots on a piece of paper,and go home.We don’t even get stale cookies or tepid coffee. No discussion, no direction, no followup on Monday night.My 7th grade daughter organizes better activities. Maybe Sherry and Steven should ask her how to do this.Here’s my strategic plan: I’m voting for anyone except Sherry and Gary’s twin brother, Brian Lawrence.

  93. Anon Says:

    @89 sr. I have been sayin this all along. Special Ed kids are being picked up at6:30 dropped at school at 7:20 and expected to sit in a mur until school starts at 8:15.
    Transportation is a related service that should be on the IEP therefore they need to hold an IEP to change it. Oh and then there are the kids that are still supposed to have bussing and the bus never shows up.
    From what I understand there was a consent decree about how much time a child can be on a bus? Children are on a bus for an hour or more…..remember these are our most fragile children they are doing this to.
    Can’t wait til Lawrence and Rolen are gone and they can take Patton with them.

  94. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I saw Guy Moore at the Teacher of the Year awards and he said the board and MDEA had signed an MOU that affected about 15 employees — including some who are not MDEA members. The district will pay those who were on leave 3 percent of their earnings on a pro-rated basis, including sick time, he said.

    But, the issue of Preciado’s pay is still unresolved, he said. After the back and forth, it appears that the district charged her the maximum rate for her subs, which is not standard procedure. Moore said it appeared to be retaliatory, because she spoke out. So, MDEA is still in discussions with the district about this, he said.

    By the way, the County Teacher of the Year is Rona Zollinger, who teaches at the Vicente Martinez Continuation School in Martinez. I’ll post a story about the awards dinner tomorrow. There was a big MDUSD contingent present to honor MDUSD Teacher of the Year Mona Lisa Ricard, who teaches at Sequoia Elementary. Congrats to all the district Teachers of the Year!

  95. Anon Says:

    Sorry that was a bit disjointed. I am sooooo p.o. About this!

  96. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Interesting that the emailed message I received from the CAC blog with Davis’ second update has still not been posted on the CAC blog:

    However, Patton’s PowerPoint is there, along with a link to the new “specialized transportation needs assessment form,” which the district will use to decide who is elible for busing.

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Actually, the agenda doesn’t even mention the Strategic Planning input session, so it’s unclear what the process is:
    The agenda says the closed session is at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. It’s surprising there is no written agenda or Superintendent’s Message on the district website about the Strategic Plan meeting.

  98. anon Says:

    @SR #90: good for you for knowing your Parental Rights; transportation IS an IEP team decision. And, it is difficult to feel sympathy for parents of students with IEPs if they don’t attend the CAC meetings and loudly voice that transportation is decided by the IEP team, and NOT by Lawrence and his unethical cronies. AND…there’s a phone number in the Parental Safeguards that parents can call the state and voice their concerns. If your child has an IEP: don’t sign the IEP if you and the IEP team do not agree with the lack of transportation that is being forced on you-that way your child’s transportation will be continue in what is called a “stay put” status, call the state regarding your concerns (using the phone number provided in your Parental Safeguards), and inform other parents that there is a HUGE effort being made by this superintendent to take away transportation from your disabled child.

  99. Anon Says:

    Item 13.2 is a report but there’s no report attachment. Item 15.4 delineates September 2012 meetings with only 6 days remaining in the month. Is this supposed to be funny and am I supposed to be ROFLOL ?

  100. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence is trying to manipulate the IEP process by trying to set up “standards” for bus transportation that are very restrictive and give the district more options than most completed IEP’s do now. Remember the retaliation against the CAC, and Mildred Browne, began on the night of ButtercupGATE in the Spring of 2010 when a parent put down Eberhart publicly — Lawrence, and the present Board members retreated to Buttercup joined by another Board member, and the infamous ButtercupGATE was born. I am still having doubts that Kerri Mills is really coming — I don’t think she “signed” the MDUSD agreement. Theresa, can you ask for a signed copy ?

  101. Wait a Minute Says:

    Could you please post the Ca Dpt Ed phone number here that you reference regarding Spc Ed Safeguards that people should call when “Team Lawrence/Rolen” tries to drop the mandated transportation for their vulnerable Spc Ed qualified children?

    If “Team Lawrence/Rolen” ckeeps this up I could see a new Spc Ed Consent Decree happening!

  102. SR Says:

    @ Anon #98. Agreed! I will make my best effort to attend CAC meetings as I agree that until SPED parents begin to show up in force, the District will continue to do what it wants and the CAC will remain powerless without more support from it’s own community. The rub is that many SPED parents have a myriad of issues to deal with in order to attend a meeting (child care, other obligations, and sometimes just too tired!). Not to mention the number of parents I have run across who just don’t want to “rock the boat”. How do we get the word out and rally SPED parents? How do we get significant numbers of parents involved in the CAC and make it meaningful and a powerful influence with the District? I hope that once people get fired up, they will join in and the District will have to acknowledge the concerns of the Special Ed Community. As mentioned, I too fear retaliation by the district in terms of my children’s placements and services (They are both at NPS schools due to District’s inability to meet their educational needs). Beyond transportation, there are soooo many issues within the SPED department that need parent input(and could also save the District $$ if they would listen to the parents!)

  103. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Parents could also show up at the Monday Strategic Plan meeting and board meeting to weigh in on top district priorities and comment on the FCMAT report, which is item 13.2 on the agenda:

  104. SR Says:

    @Wait A Minute #101:

    California Department of Education
    Special Education Division
    Procedural Safeguards Referral Service
    1430 N Street, Suite 2401
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Telephone: 800-926-0648
    Fax: 916-327-3704

    Or Alternately DREDF will take on a class action law suit if there are enough parents willing to file together:

    All questions and requests for information about DREDF can be directed to our main office in California:

    Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
    3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
    Berkeley, CA 94703

    510.644.2555 v
    510-841-8645 fax/tty

  105. Wait a Minute Says:

    Thanks SR!

    There you go Spc Ed parents. Please call both the Dpt of Ed and DREDF and lets Rock This Boat!

    I think this info should also be put on the VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH! website.

  106. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#103 Where is the FCMAT report on Special Education ? That is just the report on Transportation, and is just part of the contract.

  107. Doctor J Says:

    CAP Bonds, promoted by Eberhart and Whitmarsh, to be banned by legislature.

  108. Doctor J Says:

    How close are Brian Lawrence, Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh ? Just check out who are “facebook friends” ! Just saying. Start with Sherry — her page is less restricted.

  109. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Supt. Lawrence has not yet announced when he will release the special ed. report. Hopefully, he will reveal that during the transportation presentation.
    I’m a little unclear on what you mean by “just the report on transportation.” Since this is the first time this has ever been publicly presented, this is the public’s first opportunity to hear from Lawrence about the district’s transportation plans and to comment on them.

  110. Anon Says:

    Sherry did not have a good day on Thursday.

    First, she revealed she had no idea of Robert’s Rules of Order when she claimed she couldn’t make a motion to support Prop. 30. Robert’s Rules makes allowances for the chair to debate and make motions in boards of less than 12. Even if the board were larger the chair could relinquish the gavel and put forward a motion. She didn’t want to support Prop. 30 so she made up an excuse.

    Second. she tacitly admitted to violating the Brown Act when she talked about voting on Prop. 30 and 38. By saying she was surprised that Dennler and Hansen didn’t move to support it she didn’t admit to any surprise that Linda and Gary were not. She already knew that Linda and Gary were not going to support the Prop. 30 resolution. Oops, serial communication.

    Thirdly, she revealed she failed to appropriately report out a vote taken by the board in close session. That was compounded when she revealed the name of an employee and the employee’s issue discussed in that same close session in violation of that employee’s right to confidentiality.

  111. Doctor J Says:

    The Minutes of Sept 10 to be approved do NOT MATCH with the posted Sept 10 Agenda as to items 15.6 and 15.7. Impossible. “Pulling” an item from a posted agenda does not “erase” the item. It just means it was not discussed or acted upon.

  112. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#109 The alleged FCMAT report on Transportation was publicly posted by the district, but Lawrence instructed FCMAT not to post the report, in violation of their protocal. You previously reported that FCMAT would post the report on its website when the report was “final” — which it states, but it still is not posted. Why not ? Please ask FCMAT and the person that gave you that information.

  113. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#110. Please ask District Attorney Peterson why he is not investigation that closed session leaks, as he did when he directed his minions to investigate Cheryl Hansen.

  114. Anon Says:

    I sent in a request to have DA Mark Peterson invetigate Sherry Whitmarsh for revelaing closed session information.

    I also sent a request to MDEA to file a grievance for having a board member reveal personnel information to the public.

  115. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Whitmarsh has shown in the past that she was willing to make a motion, even when no one else was willing to second it. She moved to extend the contracts for the superintendent and other administrators through June, 2015 on April 23:
    This motion died for lack of a second. So, she appears to have known all along that she was allowed to make a motion.

    Whitmarsh told me that — contrary to what some people think — she does not communicate with other board members in violation of the Brown Act. However, I did note that she did not mention any surprise about Eberhart not moving to endorse Prop. 30. She said she had not spoken to Mayo about Prop. 30, but understood why Mayo may have not wanted to endorse it. So, she did not tacitly admit to violating the Brown Act, since she did not know that Mayo wouldn’t vote for it and she didn’t say anything about Eberhart.

    Based on my conversation with Guy Moore last night, he said the board voted to approve the MOU on Sept. 10. So, I will follow up with Whitmarsh about why she did not report that out. In looking at my notes, she did not use Preciado’s name. She said: “The board had to vote about how to handle teachers on leave.” However, Brian Lawrence mentioned Preciado’s name during the forum.

  116. Brian Lawrence Says:

    Theresa- I was the one who mentioned Jessica Preciado by name, but I was not there when she spoke to the Board. I saw the video of her remarks and have spoken to several people to learn more about her situation. When the online video of the forum appears, I’ll check to make sure I did not state something incorrectly.

    I’m not aware of any Board action that has been taken to rectify Jessica Preciado’s situation. From everything I have seen and heard, the District has handled this situation ineptly. Treating employees with respect and dignity is paramount. Many of the teachers I have spoken to say they understand pay raises are hard to come by right now, but what matters even more to them is how they are treated.

    Dr. J, if you’d like to be Facebook friends, just send me a request!

  117. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian, I will amend my comment to reflect that you were not at the board meeting when she spoke. I don’t think you stated anything incorrectly. My notes had a few gaps in them, since I was trying to write quickly and I wasn’t using my laptop.

    Were you surprised when Whitmarsh mentioned the resolution?

  118. Theresa Harrington Says:

    CAC is urging parents to show up at FCMAT presentation:

    Also, I understand that MDEA is hosting a press conference tomorrow officially announcing its endorsement of Brian Lawrence and Barbara Oaks.

  119. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As an aside, MDHS is seeking a temporary French teacher until the permanent teacher returns:

    I wonder if there will be adequate French materials, after the Williams Complaint that was filed.

  120. anon Says:

    @SR #103: there’s nothing that prohibits you from passing out flyers in front of any MDUSD school (as long as you’re on the sidewalk) that make parents aware of how Lawrence/Rolen are interfering with their Parental Rights in regards to transportation. While passing out these flyers, ask each parent to share with 5 other parents the ramifications if they do not call the state and report that their parental rights are being taken from them. Grass roots causes are VERY effective; parents at school sites talk, and if even one parent shares that they’ve contacted the state regarding forced dismissal of transportation and gets just one more parent to call, there will be at least 100 calls to the state in regards to this cause. You might even consider blowing off the CAC Meeting (where have these meetings been helpful?), and go straight to the state.

  121. Theresa Harrington Says:

    One value of the CAC meetings is that district administrators and board members are there to hear and respond to concerns raised by parents. It’s not like a board meeting, where no one responds to questions. The CAC is more of a round table and questions are actually answered.

  122. anon Says:

    @SR: #103-I agree with anon #102: the superintendent assumes that parents of Special Ed students are stupid. DON’T ATTEND THE CAC MEETING (as Dr. Phil says: “how’s that working for you?”), instead, CALL THE STATE.

  123. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, the CBOC agenda and quarterly reports have been posted on the Measure C website:
    Also, FYI, I won’t be able to attend.

  124. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my county Teacher of the Year awards story:

  125. soooo frustrated Says:

    Re: #118 MDEA also supported Eberhart/Whitmarsh

  126. Anon Says:

    So Frus,

    You’re right but Brian Lawrence can’t be any worse than Eberhart and Whitmarsh.

  127. Doctor J Says:

    @Theresa, so who was the big MDUSD contingent at the Teacher of the Year awards ? Was the Supt there ?

  128. Anon Says:

    Regarding the CAC…..Here is the Rub. People are afraid of retaliation for going against the grain. Who attends the CAC? District officials that report back to Lawrence if he himslf is not there.
    Also, Was it not the CAC members that stood up against the Charter and said something like all the IEP’s would be gone? Who in their right mind could sit in a room with the very people who don’t know how it works or were just going along with what Lawrence told them to say?

    As for me, I did attend a CAC meeting when my child was first diagnoised. My opinion was not good. I felt like I was in a room with people who were all insiders and I was an outsider. I did not feel welcome. It very well could have been just me but I think I have a pretty good radar when it comes to this.

    I have also filed a State complaint. Complaints do get handeled but it takes time. There are many many complaints with the state and I would suggest that people keep filing. I am not sure if anything will come of it but we should keep using what we have.

    One last thing. If anyone wants to organize a meeting of parents about SP. ED. and/or Bussing I would be there. I just cant organize it. If that person that does the organizing gives their information to Theresa to release to me I will put them in touch with a great attorney that is gearing up for Class Actions all over the state.

  129. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: I don’t know how long ago you attended a CAC meeting, but my impression is that the group is currently very welcoming of parents. In fact, they have a committee that is actively going to schools and passing out fliers to let parents know about the group.
    Yes, some CAC members did express concerns about the charter. I have also heard from Pat Middendorf that the district sent two different sets of letters to parents regarding the charter. The one for regular ed students encouraged parents to enroll their children in other district schools, Middendorf said. The one for special ed parents, on the other hand, encouraged parents to enroll their students in the charter, she said. So, it appears that the district intentionally tried to steer special ed students to the charter while discouraging regular ed students from attending the charter.
    I was surprised that there was not more direct communication between the charter and the CAC.

    Dr. J: The MDUSD contingent was very spread out. MDUSD Teacher of the Year Mona Lisa Ricard had a table of supporters from Sequoia Elementary. I also saw a former MDUSD Teacher of the Year Mrs. Moore, who is a retired Sequoia MS science teacher.
    Next to Ricard’s table, Superintendent Steven Lawrence and assistant supts. Rose Lock and Julie Braun-Martin were sitting with some other people (I couldn’t see everyone). Trustee Cheryl Hansen was sitting at the adjacent table with Contra Costa County Office of Ed. people.
    Board President Sherry Whitmarsh was on the other side of the room sitting next to Sue Berg at a table with other people I didn’t recognize (or couldn’t see from where I was sitting).
    I was at a table with one of the WCCUSD teachers of the year. Although MDUSD also could have selected two teachers of the year (like WCCUSD and San Ramon), it only chose one this year.
    Lawrence parked across the street instead of utilizing the valet parking, saving district taxpayers $8. The dinner cost $45.
    One amusing moment came when County Supt. Joe Ovick asked all supts and administrators to stand, so the rest of the room could applaud. Afterwards, he joked: “Wasn’t that nice?” He said superintendents are not used to receiving applause. He then told about one of his own doctor’s visits where he was told that superintendents don’t have hearts.

  130. Doctor J Says:

    HOw interesting that Sue Berg and Sherry Whitmarsh were together ? Birds of a feather stay together.

  131. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t know how the seating assignments were determined.

    Here is a blog post about upcoming election forums in MDUSD and WCCUSD:

  132. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @131:
    The Teacher of the Year Awards Dinner (a gala affair according to the cccoe site) states the Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc. sponsors the dinner, and the cost of the dinner for each of the TOY and three (3) of their guests.

    You stated Lawrence parking across the street ended up “saving district taxpayers $8”. Did we pay for his and other MDUSD attendees $45 meals? Did we pay their milage? How many MDUSD staff / board members other than Lawrence & Whitmarsh attended?

    Why are the taxpayers paying for valet parking (and possibly food, milage) for district staff/board members to attend this event?

  133. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I would guess that the taxpayers will foot the bill for the $45 meals for Lawrence and the other admins that attended. I believe Lawrence’s contract states that he is not reimbursed for mileage within a 75-mile radius of the district.
    I don’t know if Whitmarsh and Hansen will seek reimbursement. Former Trustee Dick Allen has told me in the past that he used his monthly stipend to pay for such events.
    This is an event that superintendents are expected to attend to represent their districts and show support for their district teachers of the year. It appeared that the teachers of the year used their guest dinners for family members.
    I don’t know who decides who else gets to attend at the taxpayers’ expense. In the past, Trustee Gary Eberhart suggested cutting down on these types of expenses to save money, but the board never followed through on the idea of limiting expenses for conferences, dinners, etc.
    Many district representatives also routinely attend annual Mayors’ luncheons at the district’s expense, I believe.
    If Prop. 30 fails, perhaps the board may reconsider limiting these expenses.
    Speaking of which, the fallout from MDUSD’s failure to endorse Prop. 30 is continuing. Guy Moore said he is hoping to get it back on the agenda because board members now appear to realize it was politically unwise not to endorse it. Plus, it hurts students and parents who will be scramling to find daycare, if they are faced with the loss of 11 days of instruction, he said.
    Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, who is hosting a Prop. 30 rally in Todos Santos Plaza with MDEA, said she wouldn’t comment on the board’s decision to endorse Prop. 38, but not Prop. 30.
    Moore said he could understand that since Dennler was in Hawaii, she may not have felt comfortable making the motion to endorse Prop. 30. But, he was stunned when no one else moved to support it.
    At the MDEA rally for Brian Lawrence and Barbara Oaks this morning, Mike Noce said Board President Sherry Whitmarsh’s failure to move to support Prop. 30 showed lack of leadership. Some members of the public do not appear to be persuaded by her rationale that she didn’t think it was appropriate for her to make the motion, since she was president, under Roberts Rules of Order.

  134. Doctor J Says:

    Lets see, Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Lawrence have taken the position that once on the agenda, it cannot be on the agenda again. That makes another Prop 30 vote impossbile. Will they violate their principles for votes ?

  135. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: That’s a good point. In fact, that’s the reason Whitmarsh and Lawrence have refused to bring back some of Hansen’s proposed agenda items, including revisiting board benefits. If they bring back Prop. 30, they should also bring back board benefits.

  136. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Re: agenda items only being allowed to show up once.

    Incredibly asinine and petty policy on the part of a few bullies on the board and staff.

    An agenda item addresses real or perceived issues. Those issues don’t go away after one discussion (or lack of). Instead of addressing the issue at hand, and discussing it like knowledgable adults, these grown ups act like 5 year olds who dont like what another has to say at the expense of our students, teachers and community. Shameful.

  137. g Says:

    Theresa–#123: I am not able to check in much lately, as ‘life happens’ when we least expect it, but a couple of items need to be delved into by someone.

    Page 15 of the CBOC quarterly report:

    1. Addition of $116,342.67 in interest revenue allocated in Program 000, object code 8660, interest.
    Interest revenue includes all interest up to June 30, 2012.
    2. Deduction of $853,110.68 for the Bond Issuance cost from Program 000, object code 5871,
    Escalation & Estimating Contingency and added to Program 000, object code 5449, Bond

    The questions: 1) Program Code 000 is for ‘What exactly?’

    2) Object Codes 8660, 5871 and 5449 are (now) for what exactly?’

    5871, for example, currently states it is “Contracted Parent Transportation.”

    MDUSD chart of accounts has not been updated in YEARS, and much of the money shifting is impossible to properly trace.

    NEXT question: Why does the Program Contingency and Escalation Report (pg24) STILL not give a running total for how much the MDUSD Program Staff cost is???? They want us to run our own totals from two or three separate project reports on 55 or so individual site reports???

    Don’t we pay that cabal enough to have them give us a summary total every 3-4 months???

  138. Anon Says:


    What you are missing is that John Ferrante and Pete Pedersen are as much willing participants in the cabal as are Eberhart and Whitmarsh.

    They care nothing of students only the lining of their own pockets.

  139. Seriously... Says:

    Speaking of school bonds, a huge story broke this morning about Poway Unified’s misuse of bond premium to pay cost of issuance and prior debt. Poway Unified failed to provide any evidence or documentation showing that their use of bond premium was legitimate. If Poway can’t produce such evidence, what exactly did our Board obtain that would justify MDUSD’s use of bond premium to pay cost of issuance? See this story at:

  140. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It appears that Poway felt justified because the attorney general didn’t sue the district. Maybe that’s what MDUSD is waiting for, as well.

  141. Wait a Minute Says:

    I say we don’t wait on the MDUSD board majority and “Team Lawrence/Rolen” to screw up this district anymore then they already have and THROW THE BUMS OUT!

    Please tell all your friends to VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH!

  142. Seriously... Says:

    @140 Theresa…I completely agree. As long as there are no consequences, MDUSD and other school districts like Poway will employ unethical and possibly illegal schemes to extract/extort cash at the expense of taxpayers. Schools must realize that although they may not have their day in court…they WILL have their day at election time suffering the consequences of a failed Prop. 30, a failed Prop. 38, and failed bond ballot measures.

  143. Anon Says:

    As far as I can tell the MDUSD board is suggesting we vote NO on Prop 30, given that they refused to endorse it.

  144. Theresa Harrington Says:

    That is certainly the way it appears, especially since they endorsed Prop. 38 and the one with the most votes wins.
    Does this hurt Whitmarsh’s credibility when she says she supports both propositions?
    I wonder if MDUSD board members have been invited to Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s “Yes on 30” rally Oct. 10 in Todos Santos Plaza, featuring former MDUSD teacher-turned-state-Supt. Tom Torlakson:
    MDEA’s invitation to the event states: “All students and teachers will take 11 furlough days this school year if Prop 30 does not pass.”
    Curious that a board that purports to put “students first” would not take a position on a proposition that could prevent the loss of up to 11 school days.

  145. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    My read on the whole Prop 30 refusal was that Hansen outsmarted Ebermarsh and Mayo.

    I suspect the cabal of Eberhart, Whimarsh, and Mayo were going to refuse to vote yes on a Hansen motion to support Prop 30, as a way of publically humiliating her.

    When Hansen didn’t make a motion, the three dumbos of the board didn’t know what to do (hence the stammering lie by Whitmarsh, “well as board president I thought I couldn’t make a motion”).

    Point Hansen!


  146. Theresa Harrington Says:

    But why wouldn’t Hansen support it? Aren’t trustees supposed to be making decisions based on what’s best for students?

  147. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    TH #146,

    “Aren’t trustees supposed to be making decisions based on what’s best for students?”

    Theresa that is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen on your blog. I suspect that you typed it with tonuge firmly in cheek.

    This board doesn’t give a moments care to what would be best for students.

  148. Doctor J Says:

    Here are the Standards establish by the CSBA for School District Board members to govern their districts by. How is MDUSD doing ?

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