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MDUSD board to act on two “Cure and Correct” Brown Act allegations, review district safety plans Monday

By Theresa Harrington
Saturday, January 12th, 2013 at 1:01 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board’s Monday meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord promises to be very interesting, with several hot topics on the agenda including: action on two Cure and Correct Brown Act violation allegations related to contract extensions for the superintendent, general counsel, CFO and two assistant superintendents; superintendent reports regarding the theft of the CFO’s laptop that contained confidential information related to 18,000 MDUSD and Berkeley district employees or former employees and a review of the district’s school safety and security procedures in the wake of recent school shootings; discussion around how to videotape and archive board meetings (which was discontinued after former Trustee Paul Strange left the board and former Trustee Gary Eberhart took down their blog, which contained the archived videos); a board retreat and crossing guards.

In light of recent school bus accidents, it’s possible the board may want to also discuss consent calendar item 8.15 – replacement of a district school bus. Will more bus replacements be needed as a result of the recent accidents? And more importantly – why are these accidents happening and what can the board do to improve bus maintenance and school bus driver employment practices to ensure the safety of students?

The public can comment on any item on the agenda, including closed session and consent calendar items, as well as topics to be discussed during the superintendent’s report. Board President Cheryl Hansen pointed told me she has included the topics to be discussed by superintendent on the agenda to be more transparent. Previously, the superintendent often reported on items of general interest to the community, without any advance public notice.

Here is the complete agenda:

“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 5:00 p.m.

4.1 Superintendent’s Performance Evaluation Info

4.2 Readmissions Action

4.3 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Action

4.4 Anticipated Litigation Info

4.5 Request for second extension of District Administrative Panel Hearing Action

4.6 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

5.0 Reconvene Open Session

5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 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 Report of Closed Session January 14, 2013 Info

7.2 Superintendent’s Performance Evaluation Info

7.3 Readmissions Info

7.4 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info

7.5 Anticipated Litigation Info

7.6 Request for second extension of District Administrative Panel Hearing Info

7.7 Negotiations Info

8.0 Consent Agenda Action

8.1 (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

8.2 (Item #2) Minutes of the meeting of December 10, 2012 Action

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

8.4 (Item #4) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Requests Action

8.5 (Item #5) Request to increase and decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2012-2013 school year Action

8.6 (Item #6) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action

8.7 (Item #7) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Positions Action

8.8 (Item #8) Resolution 12/13-27 regarding accounting of development fees for the 2011-2012 fiscal year in the Capital Facilities Fund pursuant to Government Code Sections 66001(d) & 66006 (b) Action

8.9 (Item #9) Approval of Contract with Marin County Office of Education Outdoor School at Walker Creek Ranch for Valhalla Elementary School Action

8.10 (Item #10) Approval of Contracts with The YMCA at Camp Arroyo for Meadow Homes Elementary and Rio Vista Elementary Action

8.11 (Item #11) Approval of contract with Exploring New Horizons for Silverwood Elementary School Action

8.12 (Item #12) Contract for Architectural/Engineering Services for New Modular Gym and Multi-Use Room Modifications at Concord High School Action

8.13 (Item #13) Approve contracts with Resource Development & Associates (RDA) for evaluation services for the School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools for the 2012-2013 school year Action

8.14 (Item #14) Membership Recommendation for Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Action

8.15 (Item #15) Purchase of Replacement Special Education School Bus Action

9.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

10.0 Student Representatives

10.1 Student representatives will report on activities at their schools. Info

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 Superintendent’s Report

13.1 School Site Safety Plan Info

13.2 Security Update – Computer Theft Info

13.3 Graduation Requirements Committee update Info

14.0 Business/Action Items

14.1 Membership Recommendations for 2010 Measure C Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee Action

14.2 Brown Act and Cure and Correct General Overview: Namita Browne Info

14.3 Consideration of Two Cure and Correct Demands a) Consideration of Wendy Lack’s Cure and Correct Demand b) Consideration of Alicia Minyen’s Cure and Correct Demand Action

14.4 Board Committee Assignments & Descriptions Action

14.5 Graduation Schedule – Board Assignments Info

14.6 Broadcasting and Archiving Board Meetings Info

14.7 Public Input and Informational Meetings Info

14.8 Board Retreat 2013 Info

14.9 Crossing Guards Info

14.10 Meeting Extension Action

15.0 Future Agenda Items

15.1 Future Agenda Items Info

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”

Trustee Brian Lawrence has promised to try livestream the meeting. I also plan to try to videotape portions of the meeting.

Which items interest you the most?

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  • Theresa Harrington

    FYI, the agenda for Friday’s meeting has been taken down so another item could be added, according to the superintendent’s secretary. She said it should be reposted by 3 p.m., since that’s the time the meeting will start on Friday.

  • g

    If President Hansen, members of the board and the Supt. continue with this high level of agenda preparation and public disclosure I may find myself out of a ‘watchdog’ job.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, this agenda is very thorough: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=394

    Most notably, the board plans to act on the cure and correct demands at 7:30 p.m. Friday!

  • Doctor J

    @TH#53 Can’t wait for your live blogging on a Friday night !

  • Frank

    I’m a resident in PH and a teacher in the MDUSD. I’ve been very critical of the board and superintendent in the past and I continue to be since I do not believe the superintendent or board counsel should be retained because the superintendent is, candidly, not up to the job and the board counsel is both ethically challenged because of his conflicts of interest and his lack of due diligence in overseeing district legal matters.

    The new board is faced with many challenges, not of their making, but ones they inherited from the previous board. Unfortunately, there is still one member, Linda Mayo, who was an integral figure as part of a former board majority that routinely ignored board policy and violated the Brown Act. She has acted and still acts as a district employee representing the interests of the superintendent and board counsel rather representing the interests of the public that elected her. I regret having voted for her in the past; now I would support her recall as, in the past two years, I consider her to be the most divisive and destructive board member in recent memory, far more than both the unremarkable the unlamented Eberhart and Whitmarsh as she always, without exception, was their reliable third vote but did so hiding behind them. By herself, she is an argument for term limits.
    I’m hoping that this new board with two new members show the political courage to do the right thing. This district, the district I and members of my family have put many years into, is in trouble and we need leadership that is open, courageous, and willing to make tough choices. I followed my union’s endorsement and voted for Oaks and Lawrence. I now expect to see action, not words,from them. The campaign is over, time to produce.
    I applaud the efforts that the new board leadership under Ms. Hansen, is taking on the employment contract extensions the previous board, Mayo and Dennler among them, so arrogantly and hurriedly approved without public comment or notice.IN this matter, I’m hoping, like many of my colleagues ,that Oaks and Lawrence do the right,and not the easy,thing.

    I also thank the CCT for their ongoing coverage of the MDUSD and reporting out to the public and community. Perhaps, the Times might want to do an in depth investigation of the district’s personnel and business practices. It would prove very enlightening.

  • Alicia

    The board should read the newly effective Brown Act enforcement bill, SB 1003, which now extends the time to submit a complaint to within nine months of the alleged Brown Act Violation.

    http://www.cnpa.com/legislative_and_legal/legislative_bulletin/article_9fe259bc-ee36-11e1-b4a3-0019bb30f31a.html

    Within nine months of an alleged violation, SB 1003 would allow a district attorney or interested person to submit a letter to an agency setting forth the circumstances of the violation. The agency would have thirty days to issue a commitment letter stating that it would cease its conduct that gave rise to the allegation. If the agency continues the conduct after the issuance of the letter, or if the agency refuses to issue a commitment letter, the interested person would have 60 days to file an action in court for declaratory relief or a writ to enforce the law for the past violation.

  • g

    Right on Alicia. As of Jan 1, instead of “Cure & Correct” with its short time frame, this bill’s requirement is to send a “Cease & Desist” letter and allows up to 9 months to find and act against questionable issues.

    The Gov signed it and here is full text for those like myself who love this stuff:

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB1003

  • g

    Frank: Welcome to the club! Well said. Your last sentence seemed like a hint to go above what we’ve already been doing here. Can you give a bit more of your hint without getting censored?

  • anon

    @55 Well said

  • anon

    Thank you, Alicia, for that information. I’m sure the board can look forward to a number of new demands based upon the clock starting December 6 with release of the written contracts to the CCT. That really is the first time the public knew the contracts existed. The CCT could file the complaint as part of their demanding an investigation of MDUSD practices through the DAs office. The Brown Act does not limit who may make a demand of a public agency.

  • g

    anon: Close, but, acts committed prior to 1/1/13 still fall under the original Cure & Correct protocol. Cease and Desist is not retroactive. It may be that unless they trip up really something awful, this board will not have many claims.

  • Doctor J

    Looks like the Supt better get all of the standing committees that Linda Mayo so aptly identified in the motion to approve the committee assignments to start obeying the Brown Act, specifically the agenda posting requirements. Hello CAC. The Board can issue its unconditional committment letter within 30 days on an “open session” but that’s not much time. And I don’t see any reason why the “cease and decist” letter cannot be sent by email to any of the Board members or the Supt. G, thanks for the nice pick up on the Brown Act changes, and this should prove very powerful for citizens against bully governmental agencies.

  • Anon

    Does anyone know what happened to the special Ed FCMAT report? As I recall it was being done around the same time as the transportation one. If the public paid for it why can’t we see it?

  • Doctor J

    @#63 Do a PRA request to both MDUSD and FCMAT as they are both public agencies. Ten days and you should have it.

  • Wait a Minute

    Very well said Frank@55!

    The new and vastly improved board majority needs to take advantage of the old board majority and Rolen’s failure to comply with the applicable laws on the Big 5′s illegal (and immoral) contract extensions and tell Rolen and Stevie Lawrence–NO THANKS–go be incompetent and unethical somewhere else on someone else’s dime.

    As far as the old board majority holdovers, they each have a vote and I am sure they will vote to protect the imcompetent, unethical, secretive, and plain wrong decision making of the past against the interests of the children, taxpayers and true stakeholders of this district.

    Hopefully the new board majority after doing their due diligence will seize this opportunity to bring positive change to the district.

    Let the healing begin!

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is Brian Lawrence’s tweet about the meeting, which he will again attempt to livestream: “‏@briantlawrence
    #MDUSD will have special mtg at 7:30 tomorrow to resolve Brown act allegations. I am webcasting at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/briantlawrence

    Here’s my news brief about the meeting: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_22398027/mt-diablo-school-board-act-friday-brown-act

  • anon

    Thought this might be helpful – from the preamble to the Brown Act.

    The nature of the Brown Act is fundamentally political. It is about nothing more or less than self-government. Its purposes are to ensure the accountability of government officers and to enable citizens’ oversight of government agencies by keeping official decision-making processes as open as possible to public knowledge and participation. As stated in the Act’s preamble:

    In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. (Government Code § 54950)

    Any questions?

  • Theresa Harrington

    When the board holds its retreat and discusses the Brown Act, I hope they keep this in mind when discussing PRA requests: “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.”

    This gets at the heart of the issues many people have with Greg Rolen. He has decided that it is up to him to determine what to share with the public and what to tell the board is “privileged” information. Why did the board discuss Grand Jury responses in closed session instead of in open meetings, like most other districts? Why does he insist on withholding the Poway analysis, while the superintendent cites it as the reason the district is sure it’s okay to pay bond cost of issuance with the premium? Why did he crack down on FCMAT when they were ready to turn over the “third party analysis,” since the district had given it to them without any restrictions?

    It’s pretty clear that Rolen is trying to adapt, however. At one point Monday, Board President Cheryl Hansen said: “I don’t want to put you on the spot, Mr. Rolen.” He replied eagerly: “I’m happy to be on the spot, Madame President!”

    What would he say if the board told him to release the documents he’s been steadfastly withholding from the public?

  • Doctor J

    @TH#68 Its not the documents he has been holding back that put him on the “spot” — its the truth about Marisol P. that he has been concealing.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Hansen was putting him on the spot regarding the laptop theft, I believe.

    But, you’re right that he has refused to respond to any questions regarding his relationship with Padilla.

    I found out that one of the translation vendors discussed by the board has received a contract for just under $25,000 – without the issue ever coming back to the board. I thought the board had asked that all of the vendor information be brought back before new contracts were signed.

  • g

    More importantly, Eberhart (who voted on the “losing” side in the first translator motion) was allowed, by Cooksie-who was sitting in, to make a second (invalid) motion to reconsider, and allow Padilla-Rolen to resubmit a new bid. Cooksie sat there and allowed a second vote–although she did mumble: “Your’re right back where you started.”

    Let’s reexamine Robert’s Rules while we’re at spending money on this legal shtuff!

  • Doctor J

    @TH Its scrabble: C O R R U P T I O N

  • g

    This is only Jan 18, 2013. Maybe we’ll have the Nov. 5, 2012 minutes published ‘sometime’ soon.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    Appears another break in happened …

    Reported: weds 01/16/13 – 0646
    case #: 1300752
    Class: 459s
    Description: burglary / school institution
    Address: xx34 Concord Blvd

  • g

    HFO–not certain, but I think that was at the church/school where our Concord City Council member, Dan Grayson is pastor.

  • g

    Sorry, it’s Tim Grayson.

  • Doctor J

    The big new — so far — of the week, thanks to Linda Mayo and Cheryl Hansen, are that the approved Board Committees are now subject to the Brown Act: attention CAC and the Equity Advisory Team, with the new Brown Act requirements you will immediately need to be in compliance or face “action” under the new Brown Act requirements.

  • Doctor J

    The big news — so far — of the week, thanks to Linda Mayo and Cheryl Hansen, are that the approved Board Committees are now subject to the Brown Act: attention CAC and the Equity Advisory Team, with the new Brown Act requirements you will immediately need to be in compliance or face “action” under the new Brown Act requirements.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    G @75 – appears so.

    Concord Patch is reporting it is Calvary Christian Preschool.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a new blog post about Mayo’s admonition to the rest of the board not to communicate with the press or the public via social media: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/01/18/mdusd-trustee-urges-rest-of-board-not-to-talk-to-press-or-public-via-social-media/

  • Anon

    Theresa, do not be duped by Rolen. He is not adapting, he is calculating. He only cares about projecting am image of being receptive toward Hansen. In ttruth, he despises her. Everything Rolen does is self-serving.