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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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Doctor J Says:

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

  8. 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.”

  9. 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.

  10. 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:

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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?

  15. Doctor J Says:

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

  16. @Doctor J Says:

    Why don’t you do it, Doctor J?

  17. Doctor J Says:

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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”

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. Gretchen Says:

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

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  25. 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.

  26. Anon Says:

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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 ?

  33. 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.

  34. g Says:

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

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