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MDUSD 10-22-12

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 at 7:37 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

I was unable to attend Monday’s board meeting, but am posting the agenda below, in case anyone who was there would like to comment on what happened:

1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info


2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment
3.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info
4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
4.1 Expulsion Info
4.2 Anticipated Litigation Info
4.3 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info
5.0 Reconvene Open Session
5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 6:30 p.m. Info
6.0 Preliminary Business
6.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info
7.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
7.1 Anticipated Litigation Info
7.2 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info
8.0 Expulsion Recommendations
8.1 Expulsion Recommendation – Student #06-13 Action
9.0 Consent Agenda
9.1 (Item #1) Items listed under Consent Agenda are considered routine and will be approved/adopted by a single motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items; however, any item may be removed from the consent agenda upon the request of any member of the Board and acted upon separately. Action
9.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
9.3 (Item #3) Request to increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2012-2013 school year Action
9.4 (Item #4) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
9.5 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Create Positions for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Action
9.6 (Item #6) Fiscal Transactions for the month of September 2012 Action
9.7 (Item #7) Final Change Order: Bid #1599-HVAC Renovations at Ayers Elementary, Mt. Diablo Elementary and Foothill Middle Schools Action
9.8 (Item #8) Final Change Order: Bid #1600-HVAC Renovations at Loma Vista Adult and Concord High School Action
9.9 (Item #9) Notice of Completion for Bid #1599/Contract C-903, HVAC Renovations at Ayers Elementary, Mt. Diablo Elementary and Foothill Middle School Action
9.10 (Item #10) Notice of Completion for Bid #1600/Contract C-904, HVAC Renovation at Loma Vista Adult Center and Concord High School Action
9.11 (Item #11) Notice of Completion for Bid #1613/C-912, Asphalt Paving Play Yard Improvements at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary, Meadow Homes Elementary and Cambridge Elementary Action
9.12 (Item #12) Award of Design Services Contract: Renovation of Science Wing at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
9.13 (Item #13) Award of Design Services Contract: Renovation of Shop 1300 Wing at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
9.14 (Item #14) Filing of Amended Certificate of Signatures Action
9.15 (Item #15) Approval of Contract with Exploring New Horizons (ENH for Strandwood Elementary School) Action
9.16 (Item #16) Clayton Valley High School Attendance Area Action
9.17 (Item #17) Approval of Resolution #12/13-16: Native American Heritage Month Action
10.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion
11.0 Student Representatives
11.1 Student representatives will report on activities at their schools. Info
12.0 Recognitions
12.1 School Improvement Grant (SIG) – Cohort 1 Report Info
12.2 Recognition of Improvement on the Academic Performance Index (API) Info
13.0 Public Comment
13.1 The public may address the Board regarding any item within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District that is not on this agenda. These presentation are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the three minute limit may be shortened. If there are multiple speakers on any one subject, the public comment period may be moved to the end of the meeting. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info
14.0 Communications
14.1 District Organizations – At regular Board meetings, a single spokesperson of each recognized district organization may make a brief presentation following the Consent Agenda. Items are limited to those which are informational. Info
15.0 Superintendent’s Report
15.1 Superintendent’s Report Info
16.0 Business/Action Items
16.1 Approval of Adult Education Course Titles for 2012-2013 Action
16.2 College Park Attendance Area Action
16.3 Meeting Extension Action
17.0 Board Member Reports
17.1 Board reports – two minute time limit Info
18.0 Closed Session
18.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action
19.0 Adjournment
19.1 Adjourn Meeting Info

What was most interesting about this meeting?


Here is a link to audio of the meeting:

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

120 Responses to “MDUSD 10-22-12”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Huge protest about firing of NHS Soccer Coach Cristina Ballard — 7 students, 1 parent and 1 teacher spoke against the firing. Students have a Facebook page “We Want Ballard Back” that has 1400 followers. Only one “teacher-coach” left at Northgate. Athletic Director fired her on a Monday morning, and began immediately interviewing potential new coaches.!/groups/434370506621201/?fref=ts

  2. Prof Says:

    I was there… those folks were pretty passionate about her. So what’s the story about why she was fired as coach? I’m surprised I haven’t seen this in the paper. Theresa, what does the AD have to say about it? Seems the best way to protest is not to play.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have forwarded information about this to our women’s prep sports reporter Stephanie Hammon and to our Walnut Creek Journal editor Sam Richards.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    One word that kept popping up, and I don’t know, but it was “organization”. Did McMorris feel she was “disorganized” ? McMorris is her “instructional leader” — has he not been working with her on that if he thought that was significant ? Remember its not just a soccer coach, but the whole team of basketball coaches, etc. Lots of turmoil in that school that is kept under wraps.

  5. Anon Says:

    In my OPINION,

    Ballard didn’t get behind the “shoot down the CVCHS charter” initiative. Therefore the bully McMorris is voting her off the island.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added an Oct. 24 update to this blog post with a link to audio of the meeting.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Monday’s Board meeting was mostly a dog and pony show.

  8. Wait a Minute Says:

    ALL of Stevie Lawrence’s board meetings are mostly dog and pony shows IMHO.

    Its all he believes in (besides his narcissistic self).

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to the meeting yet. Was there any discussion of the district’s Program Improvement status and failure to meet AYP?
    Note that the Martinez school board had a thorough report about their PI status:

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Mildred Browne still listed as Asst. Supt. No mention of Keri Mills. Who is in charge ?

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Two days left to apply: Will Steven Lawrence be one of the top contenders ? He has not denied that he has applied.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    CVCHS part of Charter school increase.

  13. g Says:

    Dr. J: Did you notice a couple of your posts tie together?

    Kerri Mills signed the Agenda for the CVHS/CVCHS attendance boundary Item 9.16. I couldn’t help but wonder what SpecEd had to do with an “open boundary” decision for the Charter (since applying there is the student’s choice–not the District’s.

    Well, there is ONE reason to declare that particular boundary as open—try to bleed even more students off of CVCHS and into Northgate!

  14. Doctor J Says:

    The BOARD still has not taken any action on approving Mildred’s phony “leave of absence” — and the website still lists her as Asst. Supt and no reference to Kerri Mills as “Interim Asst. Supt.”. ZI hope that TH requests her “signed contract” which I thought had been requested, but apparently not. The date of the signature will be informative.

  15. Anon Says:

    When you call the district office and ask for Kerri the VMail is still Mildred’s at least it was yesterday

  16. g Says:

    I don’t think Mildred’s speaking tour begins until next month. “You’ll recognize me. I’ll be the one wearing ‘Cardinal’ Red.”

  17. anon Says:

    #5 It sounds as if there are other bullies out ther besides the MDHS prncipal

  18. Doctor J Says:

    I think Linda had begun her “paid vacation” already. 🙂

  19. Anon Says:

    Will there be a specific gift list for Mildred’s last day like there was for her birthday a few years back. It was hilarious when the details made it onto Claycord .

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Substitute teacher costs and absenses are out of control in MDUSD. Candidate Debra Mason raised a huge issue during the PH Candidate Forum on Oct 18 — the enormous amount of substitutes used while classroom teachers are being trained or doing district business during INSTRUCTIONAL TIME ! I have raised this in the past, but am learning from my sources some interesting numbers — Steven Lawrence could save between $1 and $2 million dollars a year by cancelling all teacher training and teachers out of the classroom during instructional time for district or other school business. I am told that nearly 40% of all teacher substitutes are for non-sickness related matters such as instruction, data analysis, professional development, school business and district business. Incredibly, that accounts for over 6,000 instructional days by substitutes, instead of the regular classroom teachers. As Debra Mason points out, every time a substitute takes the place of a regular teacher,it impacts the quality and quantity of instruction, plus the continuity of the instruction. Apparently, Julie B-M has gone back over last year, and identified all substitutes by school, and separated out the various reasons for absences. The result is earth shaking to the public but seems to be of little concern to Steven Lawrence, Rose Lock and SASS. And they wonder why API only increases a few points ? Get a clue. Train the teachers on the minimum days AFTER childen have left the school.

  21. Anon Says:

    Time to reform the substitute policy and central services accounting. Time to stop penalizing teachers like Jessica Precaido. Kudos to Debra Mason for leading on this issue. Attention CCT editors: endorse Mason!

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian Lawrence also spoke about the high cost of the district’s data analysis requirements during the PH Forum, talking about a second-grade teacher who was pulled out of her class on the 13th day of school for training, leaving her 7-year-old students in the hands of a sub.

    Regarding Preciado, I have heard that the board has agreed to standards that will be equitable for everyone, so some employees don’t feel they are being treated unfairly.

  23. Doctor J Says:

    Both Preciado and Guy Moore spoke in public comment about this “agreement” done once again in secret and not approved by the Board, at least publicly.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    @#22 Yes, Brian did, and it was compelling. Like I said, Brian “talks the talk” but unsure if he will “walk the walk” since I still haven’t seen him reveal his 721 plus Facebook friends [which we already know include Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Strange] where he lists his occupation as “politician”. And there is that pesky thing about his ballot identification as “educator”, and then listing himself with a computer occupation in his recent Oct 5 financial disclosure. someone said he wanted to protect his children’s privacy — well he posted a pic of one of his children as his chief campaigner — cute picture.

  25. g Says:

    Total absentee numbers and substitute costs would be “shocking” to the public if they saw them.

    Why would Lawrence allow his staff to keep mummmm abut the shocking numbers? Why would the President of the Board apparently turn a blind eye and allow any school, let alone the very worst performing schools, to have a teacher absence rate of 12% to 20% for whatever cause?

    Why hasn’t Whitmarsh [“I’m the only board member who actually has kids in district schools”] stood up at board meetings to bring to light the outrageous absentee/substitute numbers–especially since ‘her’ local schools Oak Grove and YVHS are among the worst offenders–AND worst performers? As YVHS’s perennial PTA ‘leader’ she should not need a report from district staff to know how bad things are at her school.

    What corporation (even if they didn’t have to hire outside coverage) would sit back and ignore the fact that their employees, on average, miss work one out of every 5-10 days?

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yet, I recall a few years ago, when many pink-slipped teachers wanted to attend mandatory layoff hearings, the district discouraged them from doing so, saying it would cost too much money for subs.

    I think I recall Eberhart asking for more data on subs after the Sun Terrace revolving door of subs — and corresponding lack of learning in classrooms — came to light, when parents complained to the board. However, it’s possible this information may be given to him privately, instead of at a public board meeting. Still, any such information given to a board member is public information. But if no board member ever mentions receiving it, it’s pretty hard for the public to know to ask for it.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    Why are taxpayers tired of school overspending and won’t pass 30 or 38 ? 40% of teacher substitutes for non-illness reasons is over the top and is one example of many finance irresponsibility. Having a substitute in a class is almost as bad as a furlough day as far as the students are concerned. Lisa Boje put it nicely at the Board meeting when she said the SIG schools are concerned how they are going to maintain the improvements when the SIG Grants end in June. There will be no more “increased instructional time” every day REQUIRED by the SIG grants — Lawrence will take it away [he has to cover his raise and the BIG5]. SASS has expanded like a helium balloon from 9 employees to 31 in just 27 months and now occupies two buildings when Lawrence said it would save $50,000. What a joke that was. Now we learn that 40% of substitutes are used so teachers can be out of the classroom at other activities ? Taxpayers are FED UP and I can’t blame them. Unfortunately when the Props don’t pass — Lawrence won’t recommend rescinding the BIG5 raises that impact their retirements, he won’t recommend eliminating SASS, he won’t sell the schools now used for Pete Pedersen or Willow Creek. Instead, he will recommend cuts that affect the classroom. Maybe they should give themselves 30 furlough days and hire substitutes to teach the children while they are furloughed — it would be cheaper.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    Sun Terrace was a different issue. Began with hiring a principal with a horrible track record from outside the district without proper background investigation, the SASS instructional coach was asleep at the switch, but got promoted to an Asst Supt elsewhere, SASS is not properly supervised by the Asst. Supt, Personnel ignored the substitute problem, and thus “no one” — yet everyone — knew about the problems but just ignored them until it was too late. The only people who suffered were the children — all the adults are still employed.

  29. g Says:

    Theresa: It was at the April 23 board meeting. “Trustee Gary Eberhart asked Superintendent Steven Lawrence to report back to the board about the issues raised…” by the parents and staff at Sun Terrace.

    That report has never been made to the board-or to the public! But it may be about to punch another hole in the sinking ship.

    For four l-o-n-g years, the public has simply been given right-face-left-face lip service by Eberhart and Whitmarsh’s blowhard promises and requests–and Lawrence knows it!

    Why are these publicly-made board requests just ignored for months and months, or, in many cases, just never heard of again? Did Rolen tell Lawrence where the bodies are?

  30. Doctor J Says:

    Steven Lawrence may have boxed himself into a wet paper bag with Sun Terrace’s being named a Program Improvement school and his tinkering with all the FTE’s at the other sites that he won’t be able to box himself out of. Soon a letter will go to ALL parents at Sun Terrace giving them the NCLB choice of moving schools to a non-PI school WITH TRANSPORTATION PAID BY THE DISTRICT. Based on the horrible track record at ST, many parents may opt to go to one of the better elementary schools since transportation is paid for. This may develop into an overcrowding situation at the other schools and leave ST with half empty classes or worse classes that are 20% down. If a lot of parents choose the better schools, which I expect they might, it will be a whale of a mess for Lawrence, Rose Lock and Transportation. Another sideshow at the MDUSD circus.

  31. g Says:

    He did worse than that! He added weight to his own wet paper bag when, instead of getting rid of Jacobs, he protected–and then promoted her to a dusty little shelf at Dent!

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Similarly, Oak Grove MS also saw a huge decline (and has been in PI for years).
    An issue that I learned from the whistle-blowers was that the district often hires subs who don’t have teaching credentials. They can only work 60 days, I believe.
    So, at schools like Oak Grove, where it is difficult to attract highly qualified teachers, some classes are taught by a string of subs all year long because they don’t have all their positions filled when the school year starts. Obviously, it’s difficult for students to learn in that type of environment.
    This issue was also raised at the last CAC meeting regarding the extended school year. Sometimes, teachers without credentials are hired at the last-minute and don’t have time to adequately prepare lessons. This is due to NCLB, which requires the district to look for highly qualified teachers until school starts, according to staff. Then, when no highly qualified teachers can be found, the district can hire those without credentials.

  33. g Says:

    Theresa, if that is true, and non-qualified subs can work 60 out of 183 days—the kids don’t even have real teachers up to 30% of the time! No wonder we’ve sunken to near bottom of the state academically.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    Isn’t that a Williams Act violation ?

  35. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe “emergency” subs are only required to have a bachelor’s degree and to pass a pretty basic math and English test.

  36. g Says:

    So when Lawrence and (one example) McClatchy reply to a Williams Act review they can just say: “We couldn’t help it; our teachers get sick A LOT, so we had about 1800 “emergency” days this past school year!

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As Preciado pointed out, subs at these challenging schools get paid more than subs at higher-performing schools. The district took that differential out of Preciado’s paycheck. But, apparently, it won’t do that anymore.
    So, now the district will have to pay more money out of its general fund for subs at its poorest performing schools. One solution to this would be to improve the schools, to attract and retain more highly qualified teachers willing to work full-time in the district.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    MDEA had its teachers give up their MDV benefits and that really hurts MDUSD’s ability to retain qualified teachers since benefits are now so expensive.

  39. g Says:

    But how do you “improve” a school that has a 12.5% teacher absentee rate, causing over 1900 days of sub/sub-standard teaching days?

  40. Doctor J Says:

    @G#39 New quality administration; financial incentives to be “present”.

  41. Anon Says:


    You improve our district by VOTING NO ON WHITMARSH.

    As soon as the election is over the recall Mayo and Dennler campaign will commence.


  42. anon Says:

    #40 wholeheartedly agree; administrators whose actions show that they do appreciate and respect the teachers, enough lipservice

  43. Flippin' Tired Says:

    So, “Doctor” J @20, you’d like to “Train the teachers on the minimum days AFTER childen (sic) have left the school.”

    Say the kids leave by 1pm, the kindergarten kids at 1:30. Then the teachers travel to the training spot, so they start at 2pm. They leave at 3:30. What do you think they’ll learn in 90 minutes?

    Are you going to pay for the mileage they’ll all claim? Or do you want the trainers to travel to all 50+ school sites? When will teachers have site staff meetings?

    The district could have teachers begin a week before students report, and do some intensive training then. But that might be logical. MDEA would never go along with it – but then, this was the group that gave away its own benefits and now mewls how badly they’re being treated.

  44. Doctor J Says:

    @FT, did you forget the Principals are supposed to be the “instructional leader” ? Perhaps you ignored that part of the memo. No travel necessary. That way you would really find out which Principals are really up to “owning” the instructional improvement at their sites. Right now, who is holding the principals accountable for their required “instructional observations” of individual teachers ? Remind us FT, how many times a year is that supposed to be happening ?

  45. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry FT, pushed the button too soon. And how many hours PER WEEK of personalized instruction and coaching are each principal getting from their SASS coach ? That was the whole purpose of SASS when Lawrence formed it. Its not happening as we saw the last two years with Sun Terrace. This year the brand new Principals [recruited from other districts] are flopping like fish in a boat because their SASS coaches are no where to be seen.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Hey FT, where is the “Annual Evaluation” of SASS members based on the Supt’s proposed and Board adopted criteria ? Not a single person in SASS has been held accountable. Here is what Steven Lawrence proposed and the Board adopted in May 2010 — no Board approved changes since then. “The members of this new department will be annually evaluated based on criteria that also include:
    1. Whether or not the schools they support meet or exceed the growth targets identified by the State for school-wide and subgroup API data;
    2. Whether or not the EL students in the schools they support make annual progress on the CELDT. Our goal is that all EL students are redesignated English proficient within six years of entering our schools.
    3. Whether or not all students are making measurable gains on district benchmark assessments that measure students’ progress toward mastery of the State standards;
    4. Whether or not our high schools are increasing the graduation rate, increasing the number of students completing CTE pathways, increasing the percentage of students taking AP classes and achieving a 3 or better on the end of course assessments, increasing the percentage of students taking the SAT/ACT, and increasing the SAT/ACT scores for all subgroups of students on an annual basis.
    5. Annual principal surveys that focus on whether or not principals feel supported in moving their schools forward.”
    Who was held accountable for coaching Sun Terrace for two years into Program Improvement ? What about Westwood’s drop in API ? And the rest ? And who in SASS should be congratulated for the massive gains of the SIG schools due to the increased instructional time ? I didn’t see any recognition of their SASS coaches at the District Board meeting.

  47. g Says:

    Did I miss the Times interview of candidates? I keep checking. Not posted yet?

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Maybe they’re waiting until they announce their endorsements. I am hoping to post something about both the Pleasant Hill forum and CCT editorial board interviews soon.

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDUSD is hiring an assistant cashier 3.5 hours a day (I believe that means the person won’t get benefits):

  50. anon Says:

    I hope the CCT has sense enough not to endorse Whitmarsh or Lawrence

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