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MDUSD superintendent informs community about Props. 30 and 38

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 6:09 pm in Education, Election, Mt. Diablo school district.

I have just received an email with the following “news update” from Mt. Diablo school district Superintendent Steven Lawrence. Since it is not yet posted on the district’s website, I am posting it below:

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
October 18, 2012

District staff and site administrators have been asked questions by parents and community members about the impact of Propositions 30 and 38. By-law district personnel cannot advocate for any Proposition or candidate utilizing district resources. However, in the case of a Proposition we can provide the facts about the Proposition and the impact it would have on our school district.

The following information about Proposition 30 and 38 is directly from the Official Title and Summary prepared by the Attorney General.

Overview of Proposition 30

State Taxes and Revenues

Increases sales tax rate by one-quarter cent for every dollar for four years.

Increases personal income tax rates on upper-income taxpayers for seven years.

Raises about $6 billion in additional annual state revenues from 2012-13 through 2016-17, with smaller amounts in 2011-12, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

State Spending

If approved by voters, additional revenues available to help balance state budget through 2018-19.

If rejected by voters, 2012-13 budget reduced by $6 billion. State revenues lower through 2018-19

Local Government Programs

Guarantees local governments receive tax revenues annually to fund program responsibilities transferred to them by the state in 2011.

Overview of Proposition 38

State Taxes and Revenues

Increases personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316 using sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million for twelve years.

During first four years, allocates 60% of revenues to K-12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenues to K-12 schools, 15% to early childhood programs.

Provides K-12 funds on school-specific, per-pupil basis, subject to local control, audits, and public input.

Prohibits state from directing new funds.

Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

Increase in state personal income tax revenues from 2013 through 2024. The increase would be roughly $10 billion in 2013-14, tending to increase over time. The 2012-13 increase would be about half this amount.

In each of the initial years, about $6 billion would be used for schools, $1 billion for child care and preschool, and $3 billion for state savings on debt payments. The 2013-14 amounts likely would be higher due to the additional distribution of funds raised in 2012-13.

From 2017-18 through 2024-25, the shares spent on schools, child care, and preschool would be higher the share spent on debt payments lower.

Two nonpartisan organizations California Budget Project and EdSource have each created a side by side analysis of the two propositions. You can view the California Budget Project analysis at , and the EdSource analysis is available at .

Under the current State budget that was signed by Governor Brown in July 2012, if Proposition 30 passes we will not see any additional funding; however, if it does not pass K-16 education funding will receive an immediate mid-year reduction. For most K-12 unified school districts the estimated amount of this reduction would be $440 per student. For Mt. Diablo Unified School District this would result in an on-going annual reduction of approximately $13.5 million. This type of reduction would be equivalent to permanently shortening the school year by fifteen days.

If Proposition 38 passes it will not prevent the mid-year reduction of state funds for K-16 education. However, it will provide significant new preK-12 funding that comes directly to local school districts. If you would like to get an estimate of the amount of funding that will be provide for the Mt. Diablo schools, please Google “Proposition 38 school funding calculator.”

If both Proposition 30 and 38 pass, the Proposition with the most votes will be implemented and the other Proposition would not take effect.

Another informative article by the California Budget Project that analyzes school funding in California and discusses the disinvestment in California schools is School Finance Facts, October 2011. This article can be found at .”

Do you support Props. 30 and/or 38?

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

84 Responses to “MDUSD superintendent informs community about Props. 30 and 38”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Watch out Steven, here comes Howard Jarvis rising from the grave to keep you from disguising your support for Props 30 & 38 !!

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lafayette Superintendent Fred Brill has also sent out a newsletter to his community that states: “While we are not legally allowed to advocate for candidates or political positions, we are allowed to provide factual information.” He then proceeds to lay out information similar to the information provided by Lawrence.
    He ended his message saying: “The quality of the education we are able to provide will be impacted by this election. On behalf of the Governing Board, teachers, support staff and students, I want to thank you for your ongoing support for our schools.”
    Brill’s message does not appear to be posted on the Lafayette district’s website.

  3. g Says:

    So, “By-law (sic) district personnel cannot advocate for any Proposition or candidate utilizing district resources.”

    Tell me. Is this a “neutral” information-only item, Mr. Lawrence? You list a web site and give two links to exhaustive Proponent sites. Where is a link to, or even mention of, the Opponents’ points of view?

    Lawrence and Brill are riding a razor’s edge legal line.

  4. District Parent Says:

    Does this mean the “support prop 30” poster in my school’s office should come down?

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brill does not provide any website links in his message.

    District Parent: I would think it should. During the election four years ago, I believe teachers were told they couldn’t put up campaign signs for Obama in their classrooms. It’s OK for district personnel to have campaign signs in their cars, but signs promoting a ballot measure or candidate should not be posted on district property.
    Four years ago, when many teachers had Eberhart and Whitmarsh signs in their cars, showing open opposition to then-incumbent April Treece, I believe they were told their cars could not be parked on district property, but could be parked on the street with those signs visible.

  6. Clayton Mamma Says:

    Theresa, I’d like to keep up with what is going on at CVCHS, but they haven’t posted to their website any Governing Board minutes or any committee meeting minutes since June. They post agendas, but not minutes. They are worse than MDUSD. Can you give them a nudge?

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, I know they initially planned to try to post minutes, so I’ll ask what’s up.

  8. Anon Says:

    I’m going to write the board and demand they cease all this illegal prop 30 prop 38 campainging.

    If they don’t I will file a lawsuit.

  9. Clayton Mamma Says:

    Thanks, Theresa. :)

    I just took a look at the CVCHS board agenda for Oct. 24. Something jumped out at me. There is a proposal to amend the bylaws to prohibit Public officials from sitting on the governing board. Just a few weeks ago (Sept 18) the CC Times ran an article about Clayton councilmen David Shuey and Joe Medrano asking the town council to seek a second opinion from the CA District Attorney as to whether or not town councilmen can sit on the CVCHS board. The Clayton town attorney had previously ruled that it would be a conflict of interest. I don’t see how it could be a coincidence that the CVCHS board is considering a resolution to ban public officials from the board so soon after Shuey took steps to make it possible for Clayton councilmen to sit on the board. It seems like the proposal is aimed squarely at Shuey. Has there been a falling out between Shuey and the CVCHS board? He was so instrumental in getting the school off the ground.

    There’s one other thing I’m curious about. The CVCHS governing board held a special meeting on Sept. 17 to approve a settlement agreement for termination of its contract with ExED. ExED did their finances and other back room functions. I thought ExED was very impressive. What went wrong? Did CVCHS have to pay to get out of the contract?

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    These are very good questions, to which I don’t know the answers, but I’ll try to find out.
    I know that the County Office of Ed. decided not to have a rep on the charter governing boards, but you could be right that this could relate to councilmembers.

    I also was unaware of the ExEd. decision. CVCHS used its affiliation with ExEd as one of its major selling points in its charter application, saying that company had worked with many other successful charters.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Where is the missing campaign money ? Over $3000 of campagin money for Sherry Whitmarsh and Gary Eberhart remains unaccounted for according to CCC election records. Where is it ? Whitmarsh claimed a balance of $1475.11 as of June 30, 2012 and no campagin statement due Oct 5 was filed. Interestingly, her last campaign statement was filed on June 3, 2012, but appears to be signed a month later on July 2, 2012, reporting a balance as of June 30, 2012. Significant irregularities that need answers. Eberhart last reported on Jan 13, 2011 that as of Dec 31, 2010 he had a cash balance of $1637.46. What happened to the money ? What has it been spent on ? Registered voters need answers NOW as the ballots are being submitted.

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

    Clayton Mamma @6 and @9

    You will be happy to know that the agenda item is not anything related to a divide or issue between the clayton city council, me and the charter board. It may be worded imperfectly, but this is part of the Board’s due process and due diligence required under the Brown Act to prevent conflicts of interest from occurring. The City Council has already discussed this as part of our due diligence and we are working on a request for opinion from the Attorney General as to whether or not there is an actual conflict with serving on both the council and the board. This will take many months for a decision and it is not urgent on our side, but merely part of long range planning to know for future councils. From my perspective, this is not about me being on the Board but about the potential for future councils. I am extremely happy with the current Board and am merely looking long range.

    The Charter Board will be examining from their end whether or not they see a potential conflict and, if so, what should be done. This discussion has to occur to ensure they are doing their job. In fact, this is a great example of transparency in action which is lacking in other venues as one can see from this blog. :)

    I am still in constant contact with both the Administration and the Board as are other members of the Council. We have, in fact, been finding that our community and our school are bonding more than we ever hoped, with numerous community and parent volunteers donating time, energy and effort to help the school with a variety of tasks that are saving the school money and manpower. Conversely, the school has ensured that its kids and parents give back to the community and help us in our events. In short, the relationship is everything that the charter steering committee envisioned when this idea was first discussed.

    As far as the minutes, I spoke with the Board President and this was an oversight as to who was to post the minutes. The minutes have been kept and approved very well and now that you “nudged” them they will be posted shortly. Thanks for this “nudge.” In the future, you or anyone else should please feel free to contact me at if you have other items to “nudge” on and I will pass them on. :)

    Finally, I understand a press release will be out shortly on the ExEd situation and so will let the release speak to that issue, but I understand it is just a business decision for both sides and not an problem.

    Hope that answers your questions.


  13. Doctor J Says:

    Shoe, thanks for the Sunshine ! Always appreciate your frankness and openness. The truth can only help us be better.

  14. g Says:

    “Shoe”: I fail to see any real difference between you being on both Clayton City Council and your local CVCHS board, and Whitmarsh being on the MDUSD board while remaining on PTA, Site Council, etc of her kids’ schools.

    Perhaps someone could point out the difference, as they see it.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    How much is the MDEA endorsement “worth” ? Based on the Oct 5 candidate filings, Brian Lawrence has received from MDEA $2450 monetary contributions and non-moneytary contributions of approx $3675.00 consisting of Lawn Signs, Phone Bank, and Food for workers, for a TOTAL of $6105. Barbara Oaks has received from MDEA no monetary contributions, but non-monetary contributions of lawn signs, phone banking, and food, for a total of $7350. Perhaps there is more to come from MDEA.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Barbara Oaks did not pay for a ballot statement because she thought it cost too much. I believe she made that decision before she knew she would be endorsed by MDEA.

    I have just finished sitting in on the CCT editorial board (Dan Borenstein) interview with the MDUSD candidates. It should be posted later on the CCT website. Discussion focused on candidate’s policy credentials and top three priorities, district’s financial challenges and successes, Measure C, lessons learned from the Clayton Valley Charter HS movement, transparency, the superintendent’s job performance and teacher evaluation. Brian Lawrence participated via telephone. Sherry Whitmarsh had to leave early, saying she hadn’t been told how long the interview would last. As previously noted, I am not a member of the editorial board and I have no input into whatever endorsement(s) may be made. I was invited to help clarify some of Borenstein’s questions and see if anything newsworthy came out of the interview. I would say most of the discussion mirrored what has been said in the CCTV and Pleasant Hill forums. But, Borenstein did put Whitmarsh on the hot seat a little more than reporter Lisa V. did, since Whitmarsh was the only incumbent.

  17. g Says:

    “hot seat” = “I have to leave now!”

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Whitmarsh announced before the interview began that she would have to leave after 50 mins. I think she may have actually stayed a bit longer than that. The only question she missed was the one about teacher evaluations, which I think was also asked at the PH Forum (I don’t know if Borenstein watched that).

  19. Clayton Mamma Says:

    Thanks, again, Theresa.

    I thought ExED’s involvement with CVCHS was one of the big selling points for the school. ExED looked like a top notch, experienced organization that could be counted on to take care of the finances and business side of running the school. Parting ways with ExEd after just a few months concerns me. I tried to find information on the company they hired to replace ExEd but I couldn’t find them online. Maybe my search skills aren’t up to snuff.

    Here’s another thing that worries me a bit, Theresa. Looking at the documents posted for the September Governing board meetings, I saw a very detailed five page document detailing behavior guidelines for board members, plus a document for each member to sign agreeing that if they couldn’t behave according to these guidelines, they would resign. They were so specific and detailed that I suspect they must be addressing specific incidents that have occurred. It wasn’t a generic document that they found somewhere. Do you know anything about conflict between the board and the executive director and between individual board members? What issues are they disagreeing about? Conflict between MDUSD board members has been such a problem. I wonder if the same thing is occurring on the CVCHS board.

    Thanks to you,too, “Shoe”, for trying get the minutes posted. Maybe the minutes will answer these questions. Other schools are looking at CVCHS to see if converting to a charter is a good idea. It’s hard to understand what’s going on if the don’t post their meeting minutes.

    G, as I understand it, the attorney for Clayton gave his legal opinion that it would violate state law for a councilman to also sit on the CVCHS board because it could be a conflict of interest. Being the PTA president isn’t considered an elected public official so it wouldn’t fall under the same law.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Whitmarsh on the “hot seat” ? She has to answer for her “performance” and “non-performance” during her four years — if that makes her uncomfortable, I can understand why since I have a very low opinion of her performance, and refusal to tell the truth.

  21. Wait a Minute Says:

    Even more enlightening about Sherry IMHO is why is she refusing to file the required campaign finance statements and what individuals have given her campaign money?

  22. Been Down That Road.... Says:

    @Clayton Mamma–From everything I’ve seen and heard, there doesn’t seem to be anything like the conflicts you’re alluding to. I’ve been to several meetings and they’ve all been conducted with professionalism and good humor. You might want to go to a couple of the meetings as it might answer a lot of your questions and concerns firsthand vs. trying to stir the pot unnecessarily on a public blog.

  23. Anon Says:

    In my OPINION,

    Clayton Mamma is either Whitmarsh or Sue Berg trying to make their candle brighter by blowing out someone elses.

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Clayton Momma: I was speaking to the parent who oversees volunteers (regarding that topic) and I asked her about your blog comments. She was unaware of any sort of conflicts, but said she hasn’t been to any meetings since early September. However, she said more than 200 parents have signed up to volunteer for the school and that they feel liberated and encouraged to come to the campus — much more than they did when it was in MDUSD.

    Dr. J: The editorial board interviews are very different from the candidate forums. One of the most interesting questions Borenstein asked was about the “secret” meetings the superintendent had with Chevron reps at his home. Whitmarsh said she didn’t see anything wrong with them, but the other candidates all said the superintendent should have avoided any appearance of impropriety and should not have been secretly meeting with a potential bond vendor.

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I also just sat in on the editorial board’s interview with WCCUSD candidates, which was quite different from the MDUSD interview. It focused on the same first question (policy qualifications and top three priorities), the district’s bond and parcel tax measures on the November ballot, low teacher pay and high teacher turnover, and the need to improve student achievement.

  26. anon Says:

    Sherry works for Chevron….why would she think anything wrong about Lawrence meeting with Chevron reps secretly?

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    She said the meeting could not be held on district property, since it dealt with the Measure C campaign. She also said that Chevron has a high code of ethics that has to be agreed to by every employee.

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The district’s October “Good Newsletter” is out:

    Although it mentions each feeder pattern, there is no report about what was discussed at the recent quasi-secret feeder pattern meetings with the superintendent. Interestingly, Sun Terrace Elementary is included in the MDHS feeder pattern in the Good Newsletter, even though it was left out of this feeder pattern for the superintendent meetings.

    Although Delta View was privileged to receive volunteer work from 80 Discovery Homes employees and a check for $5,000 from Albert Seeno himself, MDHS does not appear to have any good news to share.

    Coincidentally, I received an email today that said money is so scarce at MDHS that there is no money to purchase and provide books or even basic school supplies either for the students or the teachers. In fact, there was so little money set aside for copies that some teachers are already forbidden to make more because they are over budget, according to the email. Many teachers spend their own money for such basic supplies, the email said. The person who wrote to me asked that I help raise awareness in the community about the dire straits at MDHS, hoping community members or companies might be inspired to help purchase supplies for the school.

    Meanwhile, students at Walnut Acres are enjoying ipads.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#24 ROFLMAO…so Whitmarsh didn’t see anything “wrong” with Lawrence having Chevron over to his house for drinks eh [not supposed to drink on school grounds either] — so why does Whitmarsh refuse to deny she was at the illegal ButtercupGATE meeting ? I am sorry but I believe that Sherry Whitmarsh sold her soul and lost her moral compass — like so many politicians. What a sad situation for a woman who portends to be a practicing Christian.

  30. Anon Says:

    At a feeder pattern meeting Superintendent Lawrence said CVCHS cost the district $3.7 million

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s my understanding that the district and/or CVCHS have agreed to ask FCMAT to document the actual costs. Did the superintendent have any handouts that substantiated this claim?
    As I have mentioned, the County Office of Ed. has disputed the district’s earlier, lower estimates for the financial impact.

  32. Anon Says:

    substantiated by MDUSD average teacher salaries-elementary $78, middle $72, and high school $68-then do the math according to Lawrence

  33. Anon Says:

    salaries are in thousands

  34. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#30 Sounds like it just jumped 2 million — not out of character for Lawrence — check out what he told the State Board of Education on his “waiver”, which I believe was $1.7 million.

  35. Theresa Harrington Says:

    He should do the math and share it with the public. I still don’t understand why he’s using average salaries. The district knows exactly how much it spent on CVCHS salaries and how much it’s saving by not having to pay those salaries any longer.
    So, it sounds like he’s saying the district isn’t getting enough in ADA to cover the higher salaries it’s paying elementary and middle school teachers. In today’s CCT editorial interview of MDUSD candidates, Brian Lawrence said that with that logic, it would be a wash if all the CVCHS feeder pattern schools also went charter.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just happened to be cleaning out some old emails and came across this from reporter Matt Krupnick in 2010, who was poring through emails he received from MDUSD regarding the Chevron meetings:

    “From an e-mail from Lawrence to Eberhart, regarding an upcoming meeting with Chevron: ‘…if you can just drop by for a quick beer that would be great.'”

    During today’s interview, Whitmarsh said she never knew about the meetings at the time. And after she found out, she never delved into them to find out what occurred. This suggests that these meetings may have never even come up during the superintendent’s performance evaluations.

  37. Anon Says:

    Well, I guess Diablo View and Pine Hollow didn’t have any good news since the district didn’t put it in their letter…..Way to go Diablo View on increasing your scores!

  38. Flippin' Tired Says:

    TH, I know you weren’t able to attend last night’s board meeting. Can you start a thread anyway, so those who attended can fill us in on what happened?

  39. g Says:

    Theresa #36: Please check the date on that Lawrence/Eberhart email.

    Did we even have a Measure C at that time?

  40. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, it was August, 2010. Voters approved Measure C in June. So, actually, that meeting would not have been campaign-related, since the campaign was already over.

    FT: Yes, thanks for the suggestion! Here’s the post:

  41. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Theresa at 36,

    If that email is legit, then that is the smoking gun that illegal meetings were taking place.

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t think they were illegal, but they certainly weren’t publicly noticed.

  43. anon Says:

    Sherry didn’t know that these meetings were taking place? She has Eberhart on her speed dial and hers on his…If Eberhart got invited for a beer you know damn well Whitmarsh was too. After all it was only two board members so there wouldn’t be any violation of the Brown Act, right? For her to claim she knew nothing about these meetings stretches the boundaries of a willing suspension of disbelief to the nth degree.
    Whitmarsh has spent so much time dissembling she knows not the difference any longer between truth or fiction; as a result, much of what she says is suspect and she has proven that consistently.

    As we all know, you can agree to something but living it is something quite different.So much for the Chevron ethics progams.

  44. g Says:

    Gee. It almost makes me think Sherry let another cat out of the bag–sounds like she meant the ‘other’ secret campaign meeting(s)… you know, the kind where you strike a deal to get false-info forms filled out to get money from the Feds.

  45. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Anon #43,

    You bring up an important point, but please be aware we already know a certain third STRANGE board member was in attendance.

    No wonder Chevron backed away from this hot potato when it came to light. We are talking high crimes here people.


  46. Doctor J Says:

    TH blogged on August 4, 2010: “…Chevron gave $10,000 to the campaign June 12 and SolarWorld Corp. — which sometimes provides solar panels for Chevron projects — gave $5,000 the same day.” Its no surprise, Chevron wants to know what it “bought” with its $15,000. Drinks at Steven Lawrence’s doesn’t leave a paper trail to wreck careers in light of Chevron’s “ethics policy”. Maybe Chevron was starting to feel a little double crossed, eh ? Maybe that’s why Eberhart was trying to avoid the meeting ? Lots of scenarios. Lawrence has only been on the job six months by August. When did Lawrence and Chevron have drinks at that high end Oakland restaurant ? And when was GolfGATE ? TH, there may be more in those emails from 2010 than you thought.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    @G#44 — When did Chevron sign those forms ? They were for the rebates, right ?

  48. Doctor J Says:

    An editorial on Aug 25, 2010 outlines Krupnick’s outing of Steven Lawrence’s drinks with Chevron at upscale Oliveto in Oakland and GolfGATE. Unfortunately the references to CCT are no longer available unless TH can pull them up on the CCT database.

  49. g Says:

    Dr J #47: On 10/8/10 Theresa published the Newsletter from Lawrence where he says:

    “The District was able to qualify for the CREBs program because it applied early, over a year ago.”

    That means Chevron did the application sometime prior to Oct, 2009! That was the big stink at that time. They told the Feds we Already Had The Funds to pay for the items listed to qualify for the CREBS. We had voted down a Parcel Tax, and had no idea they were in the “back room” cooking up plans for a ‘measure c’!

    I recall Theresa either publishing the application or providing a link to it, but I cannot find it now.

    Theresa, maybe you have the file available still?

  50. Wait a Minute Says:

    IMHO, it was all a conspiracy by all the players involved.

    “Chevron” Sherry was going to get her employeer a lucrative, no-bid contract for the solar which Chevron profits from.

    “The Gary” Eberhart was going to and did get a job at Schreder Construction as a “VP” of Solar!

    The Schreder family empire would continue to get multiple lucrative MDUSD contracts that together total well into the 5 figures.

    Stevie Lawrence would continue to keep his new job and recieve BS good evaluations not to mention he gets wined and dined by Chevron. I also wonder if he got a fill-up-for-free Chevron gas card?

    IMHO, Greg Rolen is the criminal mastermind/facilitator of most of the illegalities that have been going on in the MDUSD and of course he got a $20,000 raise to ostensibly run transportation and as we all know all he has done is run it into the ground.
    It is important to note that Greg also has been able to assure that the MDUSD has given lucrative contracts to his buddies including attorney Matt Juhl-Darlington gets the Bond Counsel contract even though he has no experience in Bonds and has to hire a cheaper attorney to actually do the work.
    And of course, in the ultimate example of nepotism/conflict of interest Greg got his then girlfriend the MDUSD’s translation contract which has now exceeded 5 figures!

    The MDUSD, “Where corrupt and unethical administrators and board members come first”!!!

  51. anon Says:

    Board candidate Brian Lawrence also has a long history of political connections with the players – Whtimarsh, Eberhart, and Strange- even receiving a campaign contribution from Matt Juhl-Darlington. Is he the stealth candidate?

  52. Doctor J Says:

    My concerns with Brian Lawrence — he talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk, as they say in sports. In the Pleasant Hill forum, he talks “Doctor J” almost quoting me verbatim on many issues. Yet, he won’t sunshine his list of “friends” on Facebook, which we already to know include Eberhart, Strange and Whitmarsh. I don’t, as Doctor J, endorse candidates, but so far I cannot trust what he says, when what he does is inconsistent. I thought Mason and Oaks shined in the PH forum. Whitmarsh was a complete disaster.

  53. Theresa Harrington Says:

    During the Pleasant Hill candidate’s forum, Brian Lawrence differentiated himself from Sherry Whitmarsh quite a bit, questioning her comments and disagreeing with them.

  54. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lawrence told me he has protected his Facebook page for privacy, at his wife’s request, since it includes photos of his children.

  55. Doctor J Says:

    @TH #54 Ha Ha. On Facebook, you can protect your photos without protecting your “friends”. Come on Brian, you are a computer expert. You know better than that.

  56. g Says:

    More importantly, he is the “Democrat” stealth candidate. He can say he isn’t running “against anyone” because he is running “for” Eberhart’s big swivel-rocker.

    Remember his party pledge “contest every election; do anything to make sure a Democrat is elected in every race.”

    I don’t care much how a candidate votes–if he is truly voting his conscience–but I sure as hell care if a candidate brings his party politics to what should be an Apolitical School Board.

  57. Doctor J Says:

    I agree with G — Brian Lawrence has an agenda greater than the children of MDUSD.

  58. Theresa Harrington Says:

    To refresh everyone’s memory, here is an Aug. 30, 2010 Times’ editorial regarding the Chevron meetings, which is based on Matt Krupnick’s stories:

    “Editorial: Another ethical breach in MDUSD solar contract

    WHEN PUBLIC officials spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, they must behave like professionals, leaving no doubt decisions are based on merit rather than personal friendships.

    For that reason, we are stunned by the continuing revelations about the relationship between Mt. Diablo School District Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Chevron, which is vying for the district’s $70 million solar installation. It leads us to question his judgment on district policy and on the awarding of lucrative contracts.

    In the spring, Lawrence championed the district’s successful Measure C campaign to issue $348 million of bonds for school construction and upgrade projects. Unfortunately, Lawrence didn’t seem to care how much the bond repayment would cost property owners.

    It wasn’t until we insisted on the numbers that they were produced, revealing an exceptionally pricey repayment schedule. The shocking total cost — $1.87 billion in principal and interest, or more than five times the amount borrowed — was never included in information provided to voters.

    It should have been. The superintendent had an ethical responsibility to distribute the numbers to the school board and the public before the bond was placed on the ballot — and to the voters before they made their decisions. He never did. It seemed at the time that Lawrence was an administrator too deeply enmeshed in the politics to provide the objective analysis central to his job.

    Now, however, it seems that there might be more at play.

    A key selling point for the bond measure was the solar program, which is supposed to reduce the district’s energy costs. The savings are to be diverted to the general fund rather than used to pay off the bond debt. After the election, the district seemed headed toward awarding the contract to Chevron without competitive bidding until Bay Area News Group started asking questions.

    It turns out, as education writer Matt Krupnick previously reported, that Lawrence had private meetings at his home before the election with Chevron officials. Now we learn from Krupnick that Chevron also took Lawrence for drinks at Oliveto, a high-end Oakland restaurant. And Lawrence solicited golf discounts in Lake Tahoe for his friends from Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions.

    The discounts were worth nearly $200. The drinks, assuming it wasn’t Dom Perignon and that Lawrence isn’t a lush, also probably weren’t worth a lot. That’s not the point. The point is that it crosses ethical boundaries. Lawrence must maintain an arm’s-length relationship with prospective district contractors. Receiving them at his home and accepting drinks from them at fancy restaurants suggests a too-cozy relationship. Soliciting financial favors from them is inexcusable.

    We expect better from a school superintendent. Lawrence owes the community an apology. He should recuse himself from participation in the bidding process for the solar project. And Mt. Diablo trustees need to establish a set of ethics guidelines that remove any hint of impropriety from district business practices.”

  59. anon Says:

    Dr. J. – Brian Lawrence is hiding behind his children again just like he did two years ago when questioned about how his son magically jumped ahead on the waiting list for Monte Gardens. He claimed concerns about privacy and security. This from a man who was handing out postcards at BART with his wife’s and children’s picture on it! Now, he’s hiding behind them again.

    He continues to lie about his work. His ballot designation says “Educator” yet aside from speaking to a group of barbers two hours per week he has no credible background or experience in any accepted educational setting. I’ve been told by a deep MDEA insider that Lawrence did not present himself as anyone but someone in the technology field when interviewed by MDEA. So, Lawrence waited until filing to declare himself an “Educator” in a calculated manner to mislead people into voting for him after he was endorsed by MDEA. Why MDEA hasn’t come forward and rescinded their endorsement is a question still unanswered.

    As for disagreeing with Whitmarsh, Lawrence tests the winds constantly and speaks in talking points. He would be hard pressed to articulate his platform outside of “electing a democrat to every office”. Disagreeing with Whitmarsh at this moment is a self serving ploy not principled position She’s sinking like a rock and he will claim that he tied the anchor to her. It was just a short two years ago that he said he was proud to have the endorsements of Paul Strange, Gary Eberhart, and Sherry Whitmarsh.

    The MDUSD doesn’t need a political wannabe who wants to use a board position to jump start his own political career.
    Hopefully, the CCT Editorial Board has seen through his charade and regards him as the cynical politician that he is.

  60. Theresa Harrington Says:

    On the subject of solar, it looks like LA is equipping 26 schools with solar though a power-purchase agreement, which doesn’t require the large capital outlay that MDUSD took on:

  61. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In response to a previous question, Chevron signed the CREBS applications in August, 2009, before Lawrence was even hired. They were also signed by Brad Hunter, Pete Pedersen and interim Superintendent Dick Nicoll.
    These were never presented to the board for approval or even discussed at any board meetings, to my knowledge.

  62. Wait a Minute Says:

    IMHO, Stevie Lawrence was recruited and hired to execute these nefarious schemes and of course he was glad to go along. I also believe that because Stevie’s wife is from the area that the connection was made between Stevie Lawrence and Rolen, Eberhart, etc.

  63. Wait a Minute Says:

    IMHO “Chevron” Sherry was absolutely involved in getting her employeer to sign off on the CREBS and in setting up Stevie Lawrence’s secret meetings with Chevron along with their Chevron-paid gratuties for Stevie and his friends.

    The corruption and conflicts of interest here run very deep my friends.

    Please tell everyone you know to please VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH and help end the corruption so the MDUSD can once again concentrate on the kids!

  64. Clayton Mamma Says:

    Theresa, funny you should mention feeling welcome to visit the CVCHS. One of the things in the rules for CVCHS trustees is that they need to check in with the Executive Director when they come on campus so he can accompany them on their visit.

    One of the things I thought was really odd in the rules was that trustees are discouraged from talking to the press. They are supposed to refer reporters to the board president or Executive Director when possible. If they do talk to the press, They are supposed to send an email to the rest of the board ASAP to tell them what they said. There is also a rule that all Personal emails, blogs, websites and social media posts will reflect board policies and priorities. All verbal and written communication from a board member is supposed to reflect governing board policies and priorities and respect current school policy.

    Can you imagine what would happen if MDUSD tried to muzzle trustees like that? Part of MDUSD’s problem is that they are not as open as they should be. CVCHS was supposed to be different. If a CVCHS trustee has something to say, I want to hear it. Especially if it doesn’t go along with the official line. This is a public school paid for with tax dollars. Some of those trustees are supposed to represent the community. I don’t want the trustees to agree to say nothing to the press or anyone else unless it goes along with the official line and makes the school look good. The CVCHS board is a public entity and is responsible to the public. The board members should be speaking out about both the schools success and problems. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    Any word on when the board minutes will be posted?

  65. Doctor J Says:

    Fair Political Practrices Complaint filed against Davis Unified. Will someone file against MDUSD?

  66. @Doctor J Says:

    Why don’t you do it, Doctor J?

  67. Doctor J Says:

    Doctor J is psudeoname, and does not endorse candidates nor file complaints — that is left to individuals.

  68. Been Down That Road.... Says:

    @Clayton Mamma–Once again I am left wondering why you feel the need to stir the pot with regard to CVCHS. All of your questions and “concerns” can be easily overcome simply by taking yourself OFF the computer for a minute and trucking down to a CVCHS Governing Board meeting. I think you will see that most meetings consist of lively debate between Board members. They don’t appear to be “muzzled” in the least, and, contrary to any meeting at the MDUSD, actually seem to engage and include audience members in the debate if appropriate. However, I’m guessing that you’re not a “Clayton Mamma” at all but, rather, a disgruntled District employee, and showing up at a meeting might expose that.

  69. Doctor J Says:

    Prop 30 support dips to 48% and Prop 38 drops to 39%. Time to start cutting Dent salaries, INCLUDING the BIG 5, CUT SASS, sell Willow Creek, and any other properties not being used 100% for student education ! Two weeks from today, Steven Lawrence should tender his resignation effective immediately.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    Steven Lawrence’s newest claim that the CVCHS charter costs the district 3.7 MILLION a year is bogus. On Feb 23, 2012 he said under oath to the State Board of Education that the loss to MDUSD was only $1.74 million a year: “This creates a loss of approximately $1.74M annually”

  71. Anon Says:

    I voted no on 38 because I dont’ trust Mollie Munger.

    I voted no on 30 because that is what the board told me to do by not endorsing prop 30.

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: The board eventually did endorse Prop. 30 in a 4-1 vote, with Mayo against. However, you are correct that the first time it was recommended for endorsement by the superintendent, no one even made a motion to support it. Afterwards, Whitmarsh said she didn’t think it was appropriate for her to make the motion, according to Roberts Rules of Order. Hansen said she was waiting for someone else to step up and take action. I don’t know why Eberhart and Dennler failed to say anything, although Dennler was participating by speakerphone from Hawaii and may have also been waiting for someone else to make the motion.
    Mayo has consistently argued in favor of Prop. 38, while failing to support Prop. 30, saying Prop. 38 would eventually bring more money to individual schools. However, she doesn’t appear to be overly concerned about the dramatic loss of funds that will occur this school year, if Prop. 30 fails.
    Although I have heard that the superintendent and MDEA may be working on some sort of joint commentary in favor of Prop. 30, I have not seen it yet and time is running out.

    Dr. J: Lawrence should substantiate his claims about the cost of CVCHS to the board. When he makes such comments in passing at feeder pattern meetings where no minutes are being taken, he is expecting those present to trust him and take his word for it. This deserves attention as an agenda item, with a comprehensive presentation that shows how Lawrence is arriving at his newest estimate, contrasted with the COE estimate.

  73. Gretchen Says:

    Do we know that Lawrence actually said $3.7 million? Is it possible the person posting that was mistaken?

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Good point. This is one reason it would be helpful if minutes were taken at the meetings.

  75. Wait a Minute Says:

    Stevie Lawrence CANNOT substantiate his lies regarding costs of CVHS because they are lies and he is now trapped in them IMHO.

    The sooner we are rid of him and the people who hired him and their lies and corruption the better off the MDUSD will be.

  76. Anon Says:

    Not mistaken. Lawrence said it more than doubled to $3.7 million.

  77. Doctor J Says:

    Well Theresa, I guess you can ask Steven to document how it increased from $1.74 million in February to $3.7 million in October, just 8 months.

  78. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education is taking school funding partially into its own hands, with Sunday-Monday night football fundraisers at Magoos in Pleasant Hill, including the chance to meet former 49er coach Dan Colchico on Monday:

    Although some have suggested that MDUSD try to form a districtwide education foundation, that idea has not taken off. Instead, FPHE funds Pleasant Hill schools, PEAK funds Walnut Creek schools, the Martinez Education Foundation funds Martinez schools, UMDAF funds sports, MDEF funds music and the CBCA supports schools attended by Clayton students. Meanwhile, Bay Point and Concord students who don’t play sports or musical instruments appear to be left to fend for themselves.

  79. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Moody’s warns it may downgrade school districts with bonds, if they have weak finances and Props. 30 and 38 fail:–PR_258471

    Unfortunately, Moody’s doesn’t name the districts in question, but based on MDUSD’s furlough day projections, MDUSD could be one of them. How would this affect the district’s anticipated 2015 bond issues?

  80. Doctor J Says:

    With the almost certain doom of Props 30 & 38, Steven Lawrence should be signing along with Willie Nelson: “Turn out the lights the party’s over they say that all good things must end, Let’s call it a night the party’s over. . . ” Lets all join in, because next Tuesday night should be Steven Lawrence’s last curtain call.

  81. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a news release I received today in support of Prop. 38:

    Los Angeles, CA – Joe Kapp, the athlete and coach once billed by Sports Illustrated as “The Toughest Chicano,” today announced his endorsement and support of the California PTA’s YES on 38 Campaign.
    ‘I am very proud to join the YES on 38 team of underdogs,’ said Kapp from his home in Los Gatos. ‘After all, my life story is being on the underdog team and fighting for the win.’
    ‘Molly Munger and the YES on 38 team are ‘going long’ for our children and I am proud to be with them. I am 38!’
    Munger, Chair of the Yes on 38 Campaign, eagerly welcomed Kapp’s support.
    ‘We are so pleased to add all-time greats like Joe Kapp to the growing movement of influential Californians who agree education must be our state’s priority.’
    Kapp was quarterback for the last Cal team to play in the Rose Bowl. He is also the last NFL player to throw for seven touchdowns in a league game. Kapp also played for the Minnesota
    Vikings in the Super Bowl and for a Canadian League Championship. Kapp graced the cover of
    Sports Illustrated in July 1970 entitled ‘The Toughest Chicano.’ In addition to a great career as a player, Kapp went on to coach for the California Golden Bears. And he credits his education for
    much of his success. Kapp grew up in the Salinas Valley attending public schools before heading to Santa Clarita and then Berkeley. He says the state’s education system is now letting our young
    people down, particularly Latino and African-American youth.
    ‘Proposition 38 makes all the right calls for our children to be successful in school and life,’ said Kapp. ‘I stood up for professional football players to have better salaries and protections. I believe education is a civil right and that is why as a Latino Republican I am standing up for children and that is why I am 38!'”

    Do you think “celebrity” endorsements such as this are persuasive to voters?

  82. Doctor J Says:

    Joe Kapp’s endorsement “persuasive” ? After last November he punched a fellow former player over a 1963 dispute ? He would have been better off saying, vote for 38 or I’ll punch you too ! Did he even graduate from Cal ?

  83. Anon Says:

    Never have figured out why endorsements are important. Why would an athlete’s opinion be any better than the typical teacher’s? Fame does not bring wisdom nor judgement. As far as show business types, if Lady Gaga endorses someone? She has the mind of a minnow with apologies to minnows everywhere.

  84. g Says:

    Perhaps what he says/does would better serve as an endorsement for better helmet design.

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