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MDUSD board tonight to discuss crossing guards, disproportionate identification of black students for special education, budget and new law that prohibits districts from requiring fees for school supplies and field trips

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, January 28th, 2013 at 12:57 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Due to a special project I’m working on, along with a planned vacation, I will not be able to attend tonight’s board meeting. It’s possible that Trustee Brian Lawrence may livestream it at (I haven’t yet been able to reach him to confirm this.)

For those who want to comment on the topics to be discussed, I am posting the agenda below. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the district board room at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord:

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 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 Expulsion Info
4.3 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint – Four Certificated Employees Action
4.4 Readmissions Action
4.5 Anticipated Litigation – Two Potential Cases Info

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 Special Closed Session – January 18, 2013 Info

7.2 Report of Closed Session – January 28, 2013 Info
7.3 Negotiations Info
7.4 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info
7.5 Readmissions Info
7.6 Anticipated Litigation Info
8.0 Expulsion Recommendations
8.1 Expulsion Recommendation – Student #07-13 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 December 21, 2012 Action

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

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

9.5 (Item #5) Student Teaching Agreement between Cal Teach, Berkeley Science and Math Initiative and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action

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

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

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

9.9 (Item #9) Williams Quarterly Summary Report Action

9.10 (Item #10) Contract for Architectural services for Ball Wall replacement at Walnut Acres Elementary school Action

9.11 (Item #11) Increase purchase order with Independent Contractor Evelina Villa for Spanish language interpreting and document translations for the Special Education Dept. for School Year 2012-2013 Action

9.12 (Item #12) Award Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract Action

9.13 (Item #13) Contract for Architectural/Engineering Services for New Modular Gym and Multi-Use Room Modifications at Concord High School Action

9.14 (Item #14) Approval of Interagency Agreement Between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Contra Costa Health Services, Mental Health Division Action

9.15 (Item #15) Approve Adjustments to Non-Public School Contracts/Purchase Orders for Residential/Mental Health for 2012/13 School Year Action

9.16 (Item #16) Resolution #12/13-28 African American History Month Action

9.17 (Item #17) Committee Assignments 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 Superintendent’s Report

13.1 Update on School Crossing Guards Issue Info

13.2 Tomorrow’s Chef’s Culinary Competition Info

14.0 Business/Action Items

14.1 Walnut Creek Sister Cities International Program Action

14.2 2011-2012 Audit Report Action

14.3 Resolution #12/13-29 of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Authorizing the Issuance and Sale of its General Obligation Refunding Bonds, 2002 Election, 2013 Series C in an Aggregate Principal Amount not to exceed $60,000,000. Action

14.4 Budget Development Calendar 2013-2014 Action

14.5 Document Tracking Services Independent Contract Action

14.6 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Significant Disproportionality Coordinating Early Intervening Services (SD-CEIS) Plan Info

14.7 Governor’s Budget Update Info

14.8 Review of 2012-2013 Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) and the Academic Program Surveys (APS) Info

14.9 AB 1575 Requirements Info

14.10 Video System to Broadcast Board Meetings Info

14.11 Update on the Review Process for Administrators’ Contracts Info

14.12 Board Retreat 2013: February 23, 2013 Info

14.13 Public Input and Information Meetings Info

14.14 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”

On the consent calendar, the Christian Patz and Kerri Mills are asking the board to increase a translation services contract with Evelina Villa from $25,000 to $49,500. However, the board had previously asked staff to come back with contracts for four vendors: Villa, Victor Gomez, AIS and CTI. I have been told by Gomez that he subsequently received a contract for just under $25,000, which didn’t come before the board. General Counsel Greg Rolen announced that he has established an “ethical wall” between himself and AIS, due to a recent change in his marital status. Why has Gomez’ contract been extended without board review and why is Villa’s on the consent calendar, without the side-by-side comparison of all four vendors that the board requested?

Other hot topics include the crossing guard update, the district’s Significant Disproportionality Coordinating Early Intervening Services Plan, budget update, AB 1575, an upcoming Feb. 23 board retreat, and an update on the contract language for the superintendent, general counsel, CFO and two assistant superintendents.

For comparison purposes, here is the Pittsburg district’s PowerPoint on disproportionality:

And here is the Pittsburg district’s draft disproportionality plan:

What MDUSD topics interest you the most?

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101 Responses to “MDUSD board tonight to discuss crossing guards, disproportionate identification of black students for special education, budget and new law that prohibits districts from requiring fees for school supplies and field trips”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Signif Disproportionality: my lengthy comment got deleted. It sounds like a xerox copy of SASS — that didn’t work. It is not sustainable financially. who are all these people they are going to hire on July 1 ? They are going to impliment this for the start of school in August ? Who is kidding who ? I thought they needed board approval by Jan 31 — its only on for “information”. I think the board should tell them they have some concerns and get consultant Dr. Mary Bacon opinion’s on it. I can’t believe she wants her name on it.

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a separate blog post about the crossing guard issue, including emails between an Ayers Elementary parent, the district and the school’s office manager: #MDUSD appears wary of accepting liability for volunteer crossing guards:

  3. g Says:

    The old ambiguous Closed session is one of my favorites. Sometime, somewhere, whether it be a new agenda category, or an Easy to Find definitive item in interim budget reports, or whatever, we have a right to know, and they have an obligation to tell us what our actual legal costs are.

    Why does it seem that every single one of the 5,450 or so employees are accountable to someone right down to how much they spend on paperclips — Except Gregory J. Rolen? When the board ‘reviews’ his ‘performance’ does he give them this information?

    We want to know:

    Not just what Rolen’s ‘budget’ and expenditures were (although he should be required to openly report that out annually), nor just what the hourly rate is for the SEVEN outside legal firms, we see what that is ‘supposed’ to be at contract renewal every two years.

    But, REALLY! What did he SPEND?

    I know they can’t come right out of closed session and say we have agreed to offer Mr. “B” $10,000.00 to settle his law suit, and Rolen certainly would rather not say “and I spent $23,000.00 for attorney’s to litigate it, or (whatever) case, and the total cost for that case was $$$$.

    They hold all those closed sessions (thankfully not many on “active litigation”) but that seems to be where they fall down some mysterious deep, dark well.

    I would like to see this in a new category under Closed Session, reported at least quarterly, titled something like:

    “Cleared Litigation Items”

    Report: Prior Litigation of xxx case resulted in settlement/judgement FOR or (AGAINST) the district in the amount of $$$$, which was received (or paid out) on whatever date. Attorney fees totalled $$$$. After expenses we Netted $$$$ (or) total expenses were $$$$.

    It’s our money!

  4. g Says:

    Dr J: For what they paid Dr Bacon just this past month alone, she should brag about having her name on it!

    As I read that report I only see 3 new hires to carry out the plans, but 6-7 ‘others’ to garner the most in funds, and direct the parade.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    And as I have pointed out, no money is being spent to bring back Resource Assistants that used to provide the type of Tier 2 support that is now lacking.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    As we learned with SIG and how Rose Lock got caught red handed not doing what she promised — the feds and state cut off the money until there was implemented a “Corrective Action Plan” that really required “additional instructional time”. What if the funds were only paid if there were “results” ?

  7. Doctor J Says:

    @G#4 The word on the street is that she is very unhappy about the proposal. She doesn’t think it will work nor is it sustainable.

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As previously mentioned, when compared to Pittsburg’s plan, MDUSD’s appears heavy on behavior interventions, but seems to place less emphasis on mental health and academic help for students.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    To refresh everyone’s memory about the board’s previous decision to cut the hours of special ed assistants who helped out resource teachers, here’s my blog post from that time:

    Unfortunately, the video clips that were embedded disappeared when I corrected a typo. However, the video clips can still be viewed at

    Do you think these predictions came true?

    As it turned out, the money saved from reducing the hours ended up being added to huge reserve funds that were eventually used to pay everyone a 3 percent bonus for three furlough days they took.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For comparison purposes, here is the draft plan that was presented to the Equity Advisory Team:

    I have marked items that were discussed. At a glance, it doesn’t look like very many revisions were made as a result of the Equity Advisory Team’s input.

    FYI, Trustee Brian Lawrence has tweeted that he does intend to broadcast the meeting tonight at

  11. g Says:

    Unfortunately, once again the sound on Brian’s video is great while they settle in and then goes out completely as the meeting is called to order. Pout.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, eight items pulled from the consent agenda. I can’t remember that many being pulled before.

  13. g Says:

    eight out of nine “routine” items–record! LOL

  14. Anon Says:

    I think Greg Rolen is somehow turning off the sound.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Ohhhh. Brian votes NO on interpreting contract.

  16. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Dr J – you have sound on UStream?

  17. Doctor J Says:

    No, I am doing my best impersonation of Ronald Reagan play by play via box scores teletype — watching the video, have the agenda up and refreshing it when there is a vote.

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    KVHS Radio has sound at 90.5 FM

  19. Doctor J Says:

    the state certified building inspector looks too much like a sales exec. He is getting grilled for his $255,000

  20. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Lol Dr J – thanks.

    TH – thanks, completely forgot about KVHS as a way to follow 🙂

  21. Doctor J Says:

    Another Measure C contract — I think the Board is catching onto this racquet.

  22. Doctor J Says:

    wow, listening to the sound and watching the video is much more fun !

  23. g Says:

    Lawrence trying to defend HIS committees, saying HIS boundary study meetings…. Why isn’t that study an integral part of the Facilities Committee?

  24. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, this is like the Thrilla in Manilla — where is Howard Cosell when you need him to narrate this slugfest ?

  25. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Linda Mayo and Steve Lawrence are completely out of their minds regarding committees.

    Long live the constitutional right to freedom of the press.

  26. g Says:

    Mary Bacon may have just earned some of her pay. Lawrence says the Equity Team is not mandated–he just decided to create it. Bacon says the CDE required it. They should have discussed that point a bit more. Hmmm.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    As usual, as Dr. Bacon points out, MDUSD did not follow the instructions on the Significant Disproportionality designation and organize two separate committees. Congrats to transparency prevailing.

  28. Anon Says:

    Some crazy lady was just disparaging TH.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Bacon really slam dunked Steven Lawrence — essentially pointed out either his incompetence or dishonesty. Its one or the other.

  30. Anon Says:

    I go with dishonesty where Steveo is concerned.

  31. Doctor J Says:

    wowsa, it took until 9:30 to get through the “consent agenda”.

  32. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    How does anyone know who the Press is? Interesting to me the speaker points out Theresa and her blog.

    But if I walked in and sat down with my iPad or iPhone and started typing away ro videoing, would anyone in the room know if I was a press member? Or a blogger? Or just someone who likes to take notes?

    How is a press member identified and do they have identify themselves as a member of the press or a blogger?

  33. g Says:

    Unfortunately, KVHS used to cut out around 10pm, and may do so again. We may have to wait for the audio to post to hear the Equity report.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    Its good news to see Dr. Mary Bacon present — I would be surprised to see her pull any punches. We may miss her tonight. I do wish the camera was rotated a little to the left so we can watch Steven Lawrence get figetty.

  35. anon Says:

    @TH – I’m out of range for radio and streaming isn’t good; what is going on? Any big moves?

  36. Doctor J Says:

    Is that Facebook page open on Julie B-M’s computer ?

  37. Doctor J Says:

    Dog n pony show in progress. Fluff — no substance. Just reading the PowerPoint.

  38. Tom Says:

    Dr. J I think you need to … go into the meetings they were talking about the equity advisory comitee not being board sanctioned so she was not bagging on Dr.Lawrence they were pointing out that the board cannot give press permission to attend a closed meeting that has problem specific events, press is not entitled to learn or print specific case material that is being presented.

    [This comment has been edited to delete an offensive remark.]

  39. Tom Says:

    #29 Anon that crazy woman was pointing out that the very person that called for transparency is try back door tactics, sure she has a few valid points but politics being what they are she has a ton of hidden agenda why else would she try to have all the contracts revoked after they were agreed on…. Oh yea the previous board extended them so they have to be bad huh. Speaking of transparency. Anon really….

    [This comment has been edited to delete an offensive remark.]

  40. Tom Says:

    NOTE: [This comment has been edited to delete offensive comments]

    Anon … see reply # 38 the press should Identify themselves so being sneaky into a meeting just to Try and dig up some dirt. They can’t people know who they are so no big deal. Again … go into a board meeting and speak your mind there.

  41. Doctor J Says:

    The CDE gives each district a roadmap on how to correct disproportionality — its not rocket science. Last night’s presentation demonstrated the district really hadn’t spent the time with the CDE resources on developing the plan “using the stakeholders”. Dr. Mary Bacon was very frustrated with the Supt’s lack of understanding of the process of inclusion of the stakeholders. Yet she said the other two districts she works with, follow the model. Read for yourself and compare what was presented.

  42. Doctor J Says:

    I know I was scoffed at when I said AB 1575 was a “big deal” and Deb Cooksey’s presentation last night showed it. Apparently now she has watched the FFF webinar on 1575 — she was much more definitive than in her attachements to the Board agenda. Watch it again — its a huge impact.

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon, I was unable to attend the meeting so I’m sorry that I can’t report what happened.

  44. g Says:

    Not to worry Theresa, it was two hours of meeting folded gently into three hours of patronizing the little folks.

  45. Brian Lawrence Says:

    I’m a bit perplexed about the audio. It works initially and then konks out. I thought it might be related to the wireless connection but I hardwired the computer last night and still had the same issues. I’ll keep at it and will do some more testing prior to the next Board meeting. I’ll also look at alternatives such as if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Brian, we appreciate your efforts. Turn your camera to the left a little so we can get all the players and not the first row of the audience. Once I got clued into listening the the student radio station, it worked quite well. I think your simple set up you are going to purchase, just needs two stationary cameras, ceiling mounted: one pointed at the speaker and one pointed at the Board. The analog speaker system — that’s a problem. I would suggest that you contact a significant church group that has all of their churches wired and they might have excess equipment for donation. I heard that every few years they donate the excess carpet, etc. to charity. They are based two states to the east.

  47. Tom Says:

    So what your saying is because hey didn’t call it stakeholders committee instead opting for equity and disproportionality your saying they didn’t follow CDE guide, so the sups hiding something. Nice try to deflect but the real debate is if you actually know anything.The guidelines are followed the superintendent is trying to keep confidentiality for the students you remember them the end users that this all affects. You arm chair politicians shouting at your TV whenever it suits you even though you can’t throw a ball. Read the material over its the same different in title only. The original bark you spouted was for transparency. There is sensitive material being presented media should not be part of that. Figure it out, it like you going to your recent colonoscopy with a film crew to document, they document it and tell whatever ther see. The world only needed to know your constipated but they publish the ulcers,the polyps,the lack of tone and the constipation.see it is unnessary and your privacy is invaded,the committee discusses everything in a mutually discrete forum they don’t dish out names but it is very sensitive look at the list of invitees then try to pull transparency into it why don’t y ou ask the NAACP for their opinion.

  48. SR Says:

    And this is exactly why I stopped posting and visiting this blog for a while…. too toxic. Nothing solved. I’d rather put my energy into doing something constructive to fix things.

  49. g Says:

    SR: Maybe that’s because it is a personal opinion Blog with ideas born out of press reported activity by the district–we are not a standing Board Advisory Committee (although advising the board is frequently our motive.)

    Some bloggers do a ton of research. We can’t always stand before the board and present our work in 3 minutes, just to get a polite “Thank you.” At least with this new board there is at least a “Thank you.”

    Some information brought here, like Dr. J’s informing of AB 1344 that became law 1/1/12, but paid legal counsel for the district did not even mention it as criteria for renewing contracts, and AB 1575 that is greatly going to affect budgets and the kids. No sign or mention of it at board level until a board member read about it here and then asked to have it explained.

    Unlike those who just come here to slam Theresa and the contributing bloggers, with no contribution of their own, please stay, join us, contribute, tell us when we’re wrong on facts and give us the straight scoop. But don’t chide us for our opinions.

    Opinions, both good and bad, when put into action, is what makes this country what it is; mostly good.

  50. g Says:

    This is an excellent opinion article out of Chicago Law Review about IDEA. Well worth contemplating. I have on occasion complained about special ed getting all the bucks and attention while GATE gets so little. But then, having both special ed and very gifted kids in my immediate family, I feel guilty. After all, if I had to break it down to a 1 to 1, which kid would I choose to get extra money. And Why.

    But, if we didn’t have the wrong kids in SpEd to start with, my kids could EACH have more….

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