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MDUSD 10-2-12 special education Community Advisory Committee meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 at 7:33 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Here is the agenda for tonight’s meeting:

DATE: October 2, 2012
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
PLACE: Dent Center – Board Room

1. Call to Order 7:00

2. Introductions (7:02 – 7:05)
Please notify the audience during introductions if you are recording the meeting
Please let us know if this is your first time attending a CAC meeting

3. Adoption of Minutes – September 4, 2012 (7:05 – 7:10)

4. Presentation – Presence Telecare (7:10 – 7:25)

5. FCMAT Transportation Report Discussion – Carolyn Patton will answer Q&As (7:25 – 7:55)

6. Chairperson’s Report – CAC Goal Planning: Lorrie Davis (7:55 – 8:00)

7. Old Business (8:00 – 8:15)

7.1 Assistant Superintendent’s Report – Felicia Stuckey-Smith

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

7.3 Board of Education Comments – Denise Lambert and Audra McDonald

7.4 Parent Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li and Dorothy Weisenberger

7.5 Budget Advisory Committee Report – Tricia Tamura-Li

7.6 Equity Advisory Team – Dorothy Weisenberger


8. New Business (8:25 – 8:45)

8.1 Nurses’ Report

8.2 QIAT Committee – Christian Patz

8.3 Extended School Year – Samantha Espinosa

8.4 Parent Liaison – Hilary Shen

8.5 Sub-Committee Updates

Parent & Community Education Committee – Julie Nibblett

Membership & Publicity Committee – Vi Ibarra

Legislative Committee – Denise Lambert

Blog Committee – Autumn Green

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

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


Live blog:

7:25 p.m. Unfortunately, I missed the candidate’s forum before tonight’s meeting. Hopefully, the CAC blog will provide a recap.

The CAC adopted its Sept. 4 minutes.

7:30 p.m. The CAC is now watching an interactive online demo of Presence Telecare, which provides virtual speech language pathogist services. The district is considering using this for some students, due to the shortage of speech language pathologists. The company reps passed out Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Here is the intro: “PresenceLearning is the leading provider of live online speech therapy services (also known as ‘telepractice’) for K-12 students. We offer schools anytime, anywhere access to a nationwide network of highly qualified speech-language pathologists (SLPs), who work directly with students via web-based videoconferencing and evidence-based therapeutic activities.”

Reps said the online SLPs would participate in IEPs online and would also try to work with the teacher and participate in staff development. It is not a program. It is not software. It is all live.

NOV. 5 UPDATE: Here is a link to FCMAT’s Ocean View school district transportation report, which states on page 18 that the district transports about 25 percent of its special ed students:
When I perused this report briefly, I didn’t see any recommendations regarding clustering or any assertions that this is a much higher rate of transporting special education students than “most” districts in the state.

NOV. 15 UPDATE: The CAC blog has posted an update with details from FCMAT about the vague assertions made in the Transportation Review:

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

47 Responses to “MDUSD 10-2-12 special education Community Advisory Committee meeting”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Did anyone mention AB 2608 expanding home-to-school transportation funds available to the district ?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, but I see the governor has signed that bill. I wonder if that relieves the need to cut transportation costs?

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Funny how no one has commented on the Candidate’s Forum. No one attended ?

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I mentioned, I arrived late, due to another assignment.
    However, there were several CAC members there and I saw three of the candidates outside the board room afterwards. It’s possible I missed the other one.
    I’m hoping the CAC will post details about the forum on their blog. They had someone taking notes during the FCMAT discussion and Lorrie Davis said those notes would be distributed to CAC members.
    Sherry Whitmarsh stayed on for the first part of the CAC meeting, since board reps Gary Eberhart and Lynne Dennler were not there.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Out of the blue, I received the following email from Bill Gillaspie of FCMAT:

    “Eureka City Schools Revised 10/9/12

    Scope of Study:

    1. Perform a fiscal review of the cost of special education services and assist the district in determining which costs are causing the encroachment on the general fund to exceed the statewide average encroachment and make recommendations for greater efficiency.

    2. Review the resource allocations and usage of nonpublic agencies and make recommendations for greater efficiency.

    3. Analyze the costs of county operated programs and determine if it would be more cost effective if operated by the district.

    4. Examine the administrative staffing and support ratio for special education and make recommendations for greater efficiency if necessary.

    5. Review the policy, procedure and usage of 1-1 instructional aides and make recommendations for more cost effective measures to remain effect and increase efficiency.

    6. Examine the identification rate and determine if the district exceeds the statewide average identification for students with disabilities.

    Study Team

    Bill Gillaspie

    JoAnn Murphy

    Anne Stone

    Field work January 22, 23, 24, 2013

    Orientation 9 am January 22, 2013

    Exit January 24 1 pm

    Cost estimate $15,000”

    In an email, I thanked him and asked if he might have sent that by mistake. He said he had. I also asked why the MDUSD Transportation Review wasn’t yet posted on FCMAT’s website, but received no response.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    Have you asked for the emails on why the MDUSD “final report” hasn’t been posted as he promised ?

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Taking a cue from Steven Lawrence —

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    So far, I haven’t heard of anyone suggesting cutting back on Extended School Year summer school for special ed.

  9. g Says:

    Theresa, you may have missed the cross-reference point Dr J was making. Lawrence is trying to ‘mess with’ Special Ed IEP process and busing.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I did not miss that reference. However, I thought it was important to point out that MDUSD is looking at cutting what Patton calls a “related service.” It is not (at this point) looking at cutting the actual service of Extended School Year. Patton has said the district is trying to maintain special education services by cutting non-classroom costs. However, you are right that both cost-cutting measures require IEPs. Patton has also acknowledged this.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Didn’t the district learn anything after Sun Terrace? I have just heard another harrowing tale from a parent at a different district elementary school whose teacher ignored a child’s complaints of pain to the detriment of the child. Doesn’t the district have a policy that parents should be notified immediately when a child complains of pain? If not, why not?

  12. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @ 11 – that is the rub … This district administration – and some of the trustees – will not / refuses to learn anything from past transgressions, preferring instead to sweep issues under the rug or into a dark corner, thinking most of the General Public will forget about, not know about, or be so consumed with all the other crap happening that the lessons to be learned just pile up somewhere until a parent sues the district.

    Yet another reason for a documented running list of issues showing start/end dates, discussions, resolution agreements and responsible parties.

    After reading your posts about Sun Terrace last school year, I can’t wait to read your story on the latest child in pain issue once you get more details from the school in question.

  13. g Says:

    “Duties and Responsibilities of Classroom Teacher:

    …4. to report promptly to the principal (or an individual designated by the principal) any serious accident or illness affecting students.”

    I guess determining “serious” is left up to the mood of the teacher at the time. I could find NO further details in any handbook or teacher guidelines.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    So what happened to Dr. Mills and her “signed” contract ? What happened to the “signed contracts” of the BIG5 ? What happened to Mildred and her “leave of absence” while she jet sets around the country giving lectures and collecting fees while on the District payroll ? Who gets the money ?

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Yes, and in this case, apparently the child’s medical history wasn’t taken into account. It’s unclear why a teacher would try to second-guess a student and fail to consult the parent promptly.

  16. Really? Says:

    A teacher might not believe a student if the child is constantly crying wolf. If teachers believed every child who said their stomach hurt, there would be no one left in the classroom to teach. If the child has a history, then the parent should have asked for a nurse to be on-site full time instead of relying on laypeople to know if the child was truly in need of medical attention.

  17. Anon Says:

    Gary I mean Really@#16?,

    Good to see you posting again. Who are you supporting in the election?

  18. Anon Says:


    in this district how do you get a nurse on-site full time?

  19. g Says:

    “crying wolf.” “nurse on site full time.” “…laypeople.” – ??? – Really?

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s my understanding that there was a staff member on site who has nursing qualifications, but that no call was made to the parent until the end of the school day.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    Its time for the full story — nursing qualifications ? RN ? Less ? Was there an IEP that required a nurse on site ?

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Sorry, I need to talk to the school and district administrators before I get into too much detail. But, I don’t believe there was an IEP.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district is inviting special ed parents to give input Nov. 1 regarding its special ed self-review, including a survey:

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Kerri Mills has officially replaced Mildred Browne as the head of special ed and student services:

  25. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#24 And her signed contract you requested weeks ago is where ?

  26. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#24 The website still lists Mildred as the Asst. Supt — the document you reference is just a signature authorization.

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I didn’t request her contract. I have requested the contracts of the superintendent, general counsel, Rose Lock, Julie Braun-Martin and Bryan Richards. Those, apparently, still haven’t been finalized — even though the board approved them in April based on their old contracts.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, but she is replacing Browne as an assistant superintendent authorized to sign district documents.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    There has been no board action approving Mildred’s so called “leave of absence”.

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The state Board of Ed. is seeking applicants for its Advisory Commission on Special Ed:
    Deadline has been extended to Nov. 30.

  31. William M Cooke Says:

    With reference to your article regarding the Bay Point master plan for the use of Measure C Bond funds in the Contra Costa Times on Sunday 10/28/2012
    I would like to advise you that we in the Peppertree development are faced with exactly the same situation at Vygnacio Valley High School who are presently having experts prepare an EIR without any of the neighbors comments on the Mitigated Declaration having being addressed. We would appreciate if you could cover this issue also.
    Bill Cooke

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    WC: I emailed Pete Pedersen about this in July and here is his July 12 emailed response:

    “We are still reviewing the project scope and hope to have a meeting with the neighbors soon.

    Any environmental report, along with the comments and responses must be placed on a public agenda, posted in compliance with Brown Act requirements and must be acted upon by the Board. Individuals or groups/entities who submit comments are not provided personal responses. Rather, the responses are incorporated into the final, posted document. There is no ‘deadline’ associated with this process.”

    When I followed up asking if he knew when the EIR would be completed, he responded:

    No, I don’t.

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was unable to attend the special ed meeting tonight. If any blog readers attended, please share what happened at the meeting. Thanks!

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a Nov. 5 update to this blog post, which includes a link to FCMAT’s transportation review for the Ocean View district, which transports about 25 percent of its special ed students.

  35. The Observer Says:

    What Does This Board Election Mean?

    It means that if you elect both Oaks and Mason the odds are very good that the current superintendent and his lieutenants will be leaving very soon. If you elect either of the other two you will guarantee yourselves at least two more years of the same inept and secretive leadership you’ve seen for the last four years.

    The choice is yours. Elections do have consequences.

  36. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:


  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a new blog post regarding tonight’s meeting, during which the board expects to approve a new contract with Greg Rolen’s wife on the consent calendar:

  38. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a shocking story about the abuse of an autistic boy on a bus in another state:

    Although I have never heard of anything like this happening in MDUSD, I did note that the end of this story mentions that the district has also had ongoing problems picking up students and dropping them off on time. That, unfortunately, does sound familiar.

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a Nov. 15 update to this blog post with a link to a FCMAT transportation update on the CAC blog.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    I see that Kerri Mills and FCMAT conveniently left out Ocean View report Oct 8, 2012 which transports about 25% of Special Education. Were there others they conveniently “forgot” about ?

  41. g Says:

    Mills could not use Oct 2012 material because to fit Prevarication tab A into Equivocation slot A she had to base her statements only only on data prior to this year.

    Why are these comparisons suddenly available to Mills? It isn’t sudden. She has had a couple of months to research, find a handful of districts that appear to back-up the district’s “injected” comparison statements.

    Remember the fiasco in July? Theresa posted the proof that FCMAT relied on NO comparative data from its own files in its reports. At that time, Gillaspie indicated that they had not actually looked back in their files for “comparisons.” When prodded by Theresa, (and trying to not through Lawrence under the bus) he could only suggest that Poway was about 10%. I suspect that was the only “comparison” and was probably based solely on having the Poway Transportation Director on his panel.

    The district injected the comparison statement per Gillaspie’s responses to Theresa and only now, under district orders, Mills has created “back-up.”

  42. Doctor J Says:

    @G Perhaps the FCMAT reports she cites should be reviewed to substantiate the claim ?

  43. g Says:

    If I’m reading her responses to CAC inquiries correctly, she is merely citing study examples given to her by FCMAT, at her request—unless of course, that line; “Below is a list of examples of special education transportation percentages in districts reviewed by FCMAT in the last few years.” was actually HER statement, and should not have appeared to be part of the FCMAT response to her inquiry.

    I believe Gilaspie suggested to Theresa (in July) that if she wanted comparisons she should go find past FCMAT studies herself. Maybe he told Mills to do the same?

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, Gillaspie said that when the report was published, it would speak for itself and that any questions about it should be directed to the district. So, CAC is appropriately asking questions of the district.

    You make a good point that FCMAT has omitted reports that do not agree with its overly broad finding. And its response only includes seven districts that it can point to to substantiate its claims about “most districts.” Some of FCMAT’s claims specified “most districts reviewed by FCMAT,” but others did not, leading readers to believe that dozens or even hundreds of districts were being referenced.

    Even if FCMAT has only reviewed 50 districts, seven would not constitute “most” of them. For FCMAT’s statement to be accurate, it would have to admit that it has only reviewed about 10 districts. This is nowhere near the kind of comprehensive analysis that FCMAT’s vague language appears to imply occurred. How reliable is such a small sampling? Is it reliable enough for MDUSD to made radical changes to its transportation practices, without a more comprehensive survey of districts?

    And why is there still no answer to the extremely relevant question: What other districts cluster special education students?

  45. g Says:

    Even if we try to ignore the “10%” runaround, we still see the statement:

    “Mt. Diablo Unified provides school transportation to a significantly higher percentage of special education studentsthan most school districts in California.”

    That one doesn’t even elude to the “districts reviewed by FCMAT.” It suggests that FCMAT has surveyed ALL school districts in the State in order to know what “most” of them do.

    I’m trying to decide if they do sloppy reviews, or sloppy reporting. Or, is it just sloppy cover-up after their backs are against the wall.

  46. g Says:

    –allude– darn it! Although elude fits many of the involved pretty well too 😉

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that the National Center For Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is hosting a twitter chat at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. Pacific Time) regarding dyslexia:

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