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MDUSD to swear in two new board members Monday

By Theresa Harrington
Sunday, December 9th, 2012 at 2:56 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

For the first time in more than a decade, four members of the Mt. Diablo school board will be relative newcomers after two newly elected trustees are sworn in Monday. Trustee Linda Mayo, who was elected in 1997, will be the trustee with the most experience on the board, followed by Trustees Cheryl Hansen and Lynne Dennler — who were elected just two years ago.

Newly elected trustees Brian Lawrence and Barbara Oaks — who promised to usher in a new era of transparency — will join the board as newcomers. Longtime Trustee Gary Eberhart has stepped down and Board President Sherry Whitmarsh — who was elected as the first-place finisher four years ago — was soundly defeated in her re-election bid.

Below is the agenda for Monday’s meeting. Please note that the regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. Trustees will be sworn in twice — once at 6 p.m. before they go into closed session, and again at 7 p.m., in a more ceremonial swearing in, to include the public at the regular meeting.

Agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order

1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info

1.2 6:00 p.m. Oath of Office – Brian Lawrence and Barbara Oaks 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 Negotiations – The Board may discuss negotiations or provide direction to its representatives regarding represented employees, pursuant to EERA (Govt. Code Section 3549.1) Agency negotiators: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey. Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Action

4.2 Anticipated Litigation Info

5.0 Reconvene Open Session

5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:00 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 Report of Closed Session – November 5, 2012 Info

7.2 Report of Closed Session – December 10, 2012 Info

8.0 Organizational Meeting

8.1 Oath of Office – Brian Lawrence and Barbara Oaks Info

8.2 Annual Board of Education Organizational Meeting Info

8.3 Elect Board President Action

8.4 Elect Vice President Action

8.5 Appoint Secretary Action

8.6 Establish Regular Meeting Dates, Time and Location Action

8.7 Adopt Certificate of Signatures Action

9.0 Consent Agenda

Action

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) Minutes of the meeting of November 5, 2012 Action

9.3 (Item #3) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action

9.4 (Item #4) Request to increase and decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2012-2013 school year. Action

9.5 (Item #5) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action

9.6 (Item #6) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Positions Action

9.7 (Item #7) Fiscal Transactions for the month of October 2012 Action

9.8 (Item #8) Fiscal Transactions for the month of November 2012 Action

9.9 (Item #9) Monthly Budget Transfer and/or Budget Increases/Decreases for the Month of October 2012 Action

9.10 (Item #10) Memorandum of Understanding between ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action

9.11 (Item #11) Increase contract/purchase order with My Therapy Company for bilingual Speech and Language services at the Assessment Center and Meadow Homes Elementary for the 2012-13 School Year Action

9.12 (Item #12) Aligning Categorical Funding in the Student Achievement and School Support (SASS) Department with the Positions Performing the Related Work Action

9.13 (Item #13) Final/Deductive Change Order: SunPower Corporation, Systems Action

9.14 (Item #14) Final Change Order: Taber Construction, Inc. Action

9.15 (Item #15) Approval of Contract with Exploring New Horizons (ENH) for Bancroft Elementary and Mt. Diablo Elementary Outdoor Ed Program Action

9.16 (Item #16) Resolution Regarding Applications For Funding Under State Facility Program That Are Received Beyond Bond Authority Action

9.17 (Item #17) Notice of Completion for Bid #1601/Contract C-905 to provide HVAC Renovations at Sun Terrace Elementary, Sequoia Elementary and Valley View Middle School Action

9.18 (Item #18) Notice of Completion for Solar Power Design/Build Contract with SunPower Corporation, Systems Action

9.19 (Item #19) Award of Professional Services Contract for the Provision of Requisite Environmental Consultation Services Related to the Proposed Athletic Facilities Improvements at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Action

9.20 (Item #20) Contract for Architectural/Engineering Services for Skylight System Removal-Infill at Strandwood Elementary School Action

9.21 (Item #21) Procurement and Installation of New Synthetic Turf on Stadium Field at Clayton Valley Charter High School Action

9.22 (Item #22) Approve Independent Service Contract with Kevin Clark Consulting for services provided at Rio Vista Elementary Action

9.23 (Item #23) Approve submission of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant for Mt. Diablo High and Concord High School. Action

9.24 (Item #24) Manufacture, Fabrication/Assembly and Deliver Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning Equipment Action

9.25 (Item #25) Board Action Progress Report Action

9.26 (Item #26) Approve contract between Talk Solutions and Mt. Diablo CARES After School Program Action

9.27 (Item #27) Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to S and H Construction, Inc. for Interior Renovations for the International Hospitality and Tourism Academy (IHTA) at Mt. Diablo High School Action

9.28 (Item #28) Contract Amendment: PHd Architects: Modification to Incorporate Chemistry Laboratory Classrooms at Ygnacio Valley High School Action

9.29 (Item #29) Approval of Preliminary Services Agreement for the Site Adaption and Development of Chemistry Laboratory Classroom facility at Ygnacio Valley High School Action

9.30 (Item #30) Approve Adjustments to Non-Public School Purchase Order/Contracts for the 2012/13 School Year Action

9.31 (Item #31) Contract for Maintenance of District’s Phone Systems and Voice Mail Action

10.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

11.0 Public Comment

11.1 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

12.0 Communications

12.1 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

13.0 Reports/Information

13.1 AB 790 Linked Learning Pilot Grant – Bill Morones and Joanne Durkee Info

13.2 District English Learner Advisory Committee – Ernie DeTrinidad Info

14.0 Superintendent’s Report

14.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

15.0 Business/Action Items

15.1 Appointment of Database Administrator Action

15.2 Appointment of Construction Manager I Action

15.3 First Interim Report 2012-2013 Action

15.4 Resolution: Delegation of Authority to Superintendent or His Designee to Approve Agreements Pursuant to Education Code Section 17604 and 17605 Action

15.5 Public Hearing and Resolution of Dedication of Easement: College Park High School Action

15.6 Public Hearing and Resolution of Dedication of Easement: Sun Terrace Elementary School Action

15.7 Sungard Bi-Tech Upgrade to 7.9.7 Action

15.8 Request to approve MDUSD/Solution Tree – Mike Mattos Contract for RtI Professional Development Day, January 31, 2013 Action

15.9 Appointment to California School Board’s Association (CSBA) Action

15.10 Call for Nominations for California School Board’s Association (CSBA) Delegate Assembly Action

15.11 Revise Job Descriptions for Child Attendant I and Child Attendant II and Increase Salary for Positions Info

15.12 Meeting Extension Action

16.0 Board Member Reports

16.1 Board reports Info

17.0 Closed Session

17.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action

18.0 Adjournment

18.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

It will be interesting to see who is elected president and vice president, given the vast gap in experience between Mayo and the remaining trustees.

Since Brian Lawerence and Barbara Oaks promised transparency in decision-making, it will be interesting to see if they grant the superintendent the authority to enter into contracts without prior board approval during the holiday break (item 15.4). The stated reason for this abdication of board authority is because there are no meetings more meetings scheduled in December. However, the board could easily call special meetings to approve contracts. This would be the transparent way to conduct business. Will the new board insist on this?

The board should also question why the district plans to enter into lease-leaseback agreements instead of regular construction contracts. Pete Pedersen has previously told the Bond Oversight Committee that the district enters into these types of agreements to circumvent the law that requires public agencies to hire the lowest bidder. The board should question Pedersen about why the district wants to circumvent this law. Failure to hire the lowest bidder could give the appearance of favoritism. And allowing the superintendent to enter into these contracts without board oversight could add to the appearance of deals being made behind closed doors.

Do you think the board should agree to allow the superintendent to enter into lease-leaseback contracts without prior approval?

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  • g

    Since there will (hopefully) be public speakers wanting to bring up the issue of organization elections, I would hope some of them might also speak before the closed session regarding the many, many unexplained “Anticipated Litigation” issues.

    We have two or three of those every single meeting, but it seems very little ever comes of them. Do those problems just never really mature, or are we bribing people to just go away by giving them some (or all) of what they’re after?

    Should the public know the answers? Is the squeaky wheel getting the grease, while others who may be entitled to the same thing do without? I wonder….

    And what about those civil litigations that are ongoing and likely headed to a jury? I believe (at least) one of those has NEVER been reported out, nor the name even published in agenda or minutes.

  • Doctor J

    Failure to allow public comment prior to Closed Session is a violation of the Brown Act.

  • anon

    The board has always allowed public comment prior to closed session.

  • Wait a Minute

    I believe that this attempt to go straight into closed session and pick officers of the board (with Mayo as president) is just another thinly disguised attempt by the Greg Rolen, Stevie Lawrence, The Gary and “Chevron Sherry” mafia to sideline Cheryl and protect the mafia’s status quo.

    I guess we shall see just where Brian Lawrence is by how he votes in this matter. Hopefully he and Barbara will partner with Cheryl and her professional education experience to bring positive change at last to this district which has been dysfunctional for far too long.

  • Anon

    Officers, by law, are nominated and elected in open session. They can’t have the elections in closed session.

  • anon

    WAM,

    Officers are always nominated and voted on in open session. Cheryl has “sidelined” herself with her caustic character and inability to understand and follow board policy.

  • Doctor J

    @Anon#6 – Name calling has resurfaced by “anon” — sounds familiar. As for Board By-laws and Board policy, forget the generalities, and name specific by-laws and policy and meetings so we can verify. From my observations, Cheryl ran circles around Sherry Whitmarsh, Gary Eberhart and Greg Rolen about Board By-laws and Board policies. And lets not forget Robert’s Rules of Order when Sherry didn’t even know what to do when a “Point of Order” was raised.

  • Anon

    @Anon 6
    Welcome back Sherry…haven’t heard from you or Gary for awhile. Of course, you and Gary always understood and followed board policy to the letter. Of course, Gary and you were always the most congenial board members, never a harsh word, glower, attempt at intimidation, or ongoing lectures about other board members. And now, of course, you are both old news, irrelevant, and, thankfully, gone,

  • g

    The Supt (or his “Designate”) already has the ability to approve contracts (and other payouts) UP TO $25K without board approval, but only if it does not push that particular contractor’s “combined” amount of contracts for the year OVER $25K.

    It’s the “Designates” and the “other payouts” you have to watch out for.

    “Designate” nearly always equals Rolen and/or Pedersen; each of whom, with board approval, have made some of their favorite people very wealthy off the backs of the taxpayers.

    We have the ability, finally, to have true board oversight and honest scrutiny.

    I hope Mayo doesn’t throw that (her votes) away just because she doesn’t like Hansen’s style.

    And a word to Ms. Hansen: Please, make your point — most people out here agree with you. Reiterate clearly if it seems absolutely necessary. But do not beat a dead horse with every argument. It’s the droning on (and on) that becomes irritating, and I believe you may have lost some arguments that you might otherwise have won.

    When overly irritated, some people may sometimes vote against what would normally be their choice simply out of petty spite (think Eberhart/Whitmarsh), or those with short attention spans – prone to flip-flop, (think Mayo/Dennler) may have just lost sight of the pros and cons.

  • anon

    Oh My God G, you hit the nail on the head. It’s the droning on and on that loses everyone. By the time the horse is dead I have no idea what she was first advocating. It’s clear that she reads this blog. Hopefully she understands and can take constructive criticism.

  • Theresa Harrington

    As a general rule, I have noticed that many politicians fall into the trap of repeating themselves over and over again, appearing to believe that if they say the same thing enough times, the audience will get what they are trying to say (I’m talking about city council members and other elected officials, as well as school board members). It is good for all elected officials to be short, succinct and to the point.

  • Doctor J

    My biggest criticism of Linda Mayo is that she says she “asked” staff member X and received a reply so she is satisfied — without ever explaining what the question was nor what the answer was so the public cannot hold the MDUSD staff accountable nor understand what issue Linda Mayo had that prompted the question. As their Board “training” emphasized: Board members do it in public, not in private. As Shoe said in his post yesterday, lets usher in a new era of transparency and accountability. He believes Cheryl Hansen can do that best. I don’t disagree.

  • g

    Do you suppose the board members know that when/if they need clarification on an Agenda Item, they may question any ‘staff member’ present at a board meeting?

    “With the Chair’s permission, I would like to ask Mr. X to detail/explain/clarify Issue Y,” and then go right ahead and ask the question without waiting for the Chair to respond.

    It is up to the board President to jump in (quickly) and object and explain why they object, if they see a problem–but it is NOT up to the chair to try to answer (or put their spin on) the question that was posed to the staff.

    It would be really refreshing to see the Brown Act and Roberts Rules given a fair chance at district meetings.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Following up on what Dr. J wrote, it is better to err on the side of saying more than necessary than to say nothing at all before voting, especially on controversial items. For example, we have no idea why Trustee Lynne Dennler flip-flopped on whether or not to allow AIS to stay in the running for new translation contracts. Similarly, Mayo did not say why she wanted to exclude General Counsel Greg Rolen’s contract from the extensions that were approved. And outgoing Board President Sherry Whitmarsh didn’t explain why Mildred Browne’s contract was not offered for extension with all the others. Whitmarsh and outgoing Trustee Gary Eberhart also said nothing before voting to deny the Clayton Valley Charter High conversion. The public deserves to know why a trustee is voting a certain way or making a certain motion.

    Also, as g points out, Trustees can raise questions to staff during board meetings. Often, staff members do respond to such questions. It would be enlightening if a trustee would ask Pete Pedersen to explain his rationale for lease-leasebacks tonight (instead of asking ahead of time, then leaving the public in the dark about the answer). And when trustees do get answers ahead of time, which they consider for their votes, they should tell the public what their questions and answers consisted of (as Dr. J states).