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MDUSD board identifies priority performance targets for superintendent

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 at 11:59 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

At the Jan. 28 board meeting, Board President Cheryl Hansen reported out some of the performance targets for Superintendent Steven Lawrence, which were discussed during his Jan. 18 closed session performance evaluation.

Since many people on this blog have expressed an interest in seeing those performance targets in writing, Hansen sent them to me in an e-mail today.

Here is what she wrote:

“On January 18, 2013, here is what the Board determined were some of the priority areas for the remainder of this school year based on the Superintendent’s performance targets, all of which he is still responsible for accomplishing:

1. High Quality and Effective Staff – Target 3: Climate Survey

· General Counsel completes and reports out his evaluation of any legal implications of conducting a climate survey (February 25 meeting).

· Create and actually conduct a district and school climate survey this school year, piloting it with at least one elementary, one middle, and one high school.

2. Supportive Family and Community Involvement – Target 2: External Communications

· Improve and update district and school web sites to be informative and current. Archive information and documents prior to August 2011.

· Create a Superintendent’s page with current messages and links to up-to-date communications, events, and reports.

3. High Schools – Target 4: Other Critical Measures (High School Rigor)

· Complete an assessment and present a recommendation regarding increasing graduation requirements and credits.

· Increase high school students’ completion of A-G requirements so graduates have more post-secondary opportunities.

4. All K-12 Students – Target 1A and 1B: English Proficiency

· Implement and monitor the English Learner Master Plan.

5. Middle Schools (and High Schools) – Target 1: API and Target 2: Mathematics

· Create more effective math pathways and successful course completion, particularly at the middle and high school levels.

· Evaluate and improve effectiveness of programs and intervention at Year 5 Program Improvement schools.”

Do you agree that these performance goals should be priorities for Superintendent Steven Lawrence?

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

  • g

    So, Steven–there ya go! The county was at one point in time willing to concede that you may be out some funds due to the conversion. Now, they suggest you may be a bit top heavy in administration and if you take care of that bloat no children suffer!

    So do the right thing. Start by giving us all some relief from the bloat at Dent. Get us some counselors and qualified teachers for the kids and send SASS down the road to enjoy their retirements. Balance your budget from the top down, not from the bottom up.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Dr. J: I have already sent a PRA.
    Also, I spoke to Neil McChesney and it turns out he never got the message that I had called on Tuesday. He said the district didn’t send the charter the FCMAT report. A parent saw it online and brought it to the attention of the charter administration and board, who then forwarded it to Ovick.

    We are still looking into the Big 5 legal counsel issue.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    The giant ball of string is finally unraveling …

  • Wait a Minute

    Follow the money folks because it will illustrate the depth of the corruption and lies being perpetrated by these dishonest and unethical people on our public payroll.

  • g

    Things we need to be able to find either aren’t posted on the district site at all, or they are so obscure it takes real determination to find.

    Too bad the board doesn’t insist on posting Dr. Ovick’s letter too.

    At least SOMEONE should publish it. It would make a nice “rebuttal” statement.

    If it were published, I wonder if FCMAT would carry it in their “Education Headlines” section.

  • Doctor J

    Has anyone wondered why Deb Cooksey did not step in for Greg Rolen the other night at the Board meeting ?

  • g

    Something about that charter analysis engagement letter kept eating at me, but…was it that the letter was dated Oct. 3rd, but Bridges from FCMAT was able to sign it on Sept. 5th–a month before it was even written . That’s pretty hot stuff, but was that it.

    Or was it that the study was scheduled the week of Sept. 24th! A week before it was even (supposedly) commissioned! Yeah, that’s hot too!

    Then I figured out that what bothered me the most wasn’t those stupid slip ups that are always made when you try too hard to cover up your deceat–and will, sooner or later, come back to bite you.

    The thing that bothers me most is the un-answered question that’s been going on for a year’s worth of studies—How does Lawrence get a government entity like FCMAT to cooperate and be complicate in his deceatful practices?

  • Wait a Minute

    Maybe Rolen has her in witness protection?

  • g

    does deceit look misspelled? :)

  • Anon

    Dr Ovick’s statement that his request was ignored puts him in the same camp as many of us who have asked to be involved in district manners. Welcome, Dr. Ovick, we, who are ignored, salute you.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Dr. J: Regarding Cooksey, I copied her on my PRA (since Rolen is out all week) and got this response:

    “I am out of the office, I will return on Monday, March 4. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Greg Rolen, General Counsel, at roleng@mdusd.org. Please copy his assistant Lori Amenta at amental@mdusd.org. Both Greg and Lori can be reached at (925) 682-8000, ext. 4001.”

    Apparently, she didn’t know that Rolen would also be out of the office while she was gone. So, it looks like the district is without any legal counsel this week.

    g: Regarding the FCMAT letter, as I previously noted, a FCMAT rep told me the draft agreement had been sent Sept. 5 and she forgot to change the date next to Bridges’ signature on the final agreement. But, yes, I also thought it was odd that the interviews had already taken place by the time Lawrence signed the agreement on Oct. 8.

    Also, McChesney said the charter would have wanted to have been included in the interviews, if they had known the interviews were taking place. Obviously, they could have told FCMAT how many special education students they have and what types of services they are receiving. But, it seems FCMAT didn’t want to know those actual facts, instead it just wanted to hypothesize about what might be going on at CVCHS.

    Regarding FCMAT ignoring Ovick, it will be interesting to see what the new board majority thinks of that. Did Mayo and Whitmarsh know that Ovick wanted to be included and did they approve of the decision not to include him or the county analysis in the report?

  • Wendy Lack

    @TH #261:

    We need to keep our eyes on the Governor’s budget proposal that makes disturbing changes to Public Records Act requirements. This article by Terry Francke of Californians Aware asks:

    “What if California government agencies no longer had to let you know within 10 days how much of the public record information you’d asked for would be provided, if any? Or tell you what law allowed them to withhold it?”

    Read it all at: http://bit.ly/Z2YkC4

    Make no mistake: Government prefers citizens to be disengaged (as long as taxes are paid, of course). Public/press scrutiny is inconvenient and annoying to those who hold government power, thus government officials often find excuses to avoid disclosure. Citizen rights to information about what government is doing must be actively defended, as these rights are perennially in jeopardy.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Teachers’ unions are also looking at the budget proposal, with many asking for increases to pay and/or benefits. Alameda just reached a tentative agreement: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_22697864/alameda-teachers-and-school-district-reach-tentative-contract

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Before discussing any benefits increases, we ought to consider how much of the Prop 30 tax increase must already go to the underfunded CA State Teachers Retirement System. As Dan Borenstein of the CC Times has extensively reported, the much-ballyhooed 2012 “pension reforms” did little to reform anything. Instead, they did what CA does best — kicked the can down the road. Now, this week, a new report from Calstrs is telling us, essentially, that the Prop 30 money may be needed to shore up teacher pensions:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324590904578292333185982210.html

  • Wendy Lack

    @ Jim #264:

    Prop 30 never had anything to do with education. Prop 30 was all about kicking the public pension cost can down the road a bit further. Thus the WSJ commentary comes as no surprise to anyone informed of the facts that expose the Yes on 30 campaign as pure hype.

    Sacramento has an insatiable appetite for tax revenues, in large part due to skyrocketing pension costs. Without significant pension reform and spending restraint (e.g., axe HSR), Californians face a future filled with a steady barrage of state and local tax increases.

    Runaway pension costs are taking more than their fair share of budgets intended for local government services, as illustrated by such developments as closed Contra Costa fire stations.

    Some timely analysis about California’s pension problem is available here: http://bit.ly/ZNSRSb

  • g

    Which might explain the step-sister budget plan to give the ‘extra’ money to the poor (spelled ELL) districts—but let them spend it however/wherever they want—not necessarily on either education or the poor.

    At least that’s how I read it. Am I right?

  • Wendy Lack

    @ G #266:

    I think you’re right. Regardless, all California government agencies are hurling headlong into the pension “wall of debt.” It’s just a matter of time. So many local agencies already are effectively bankrupt. (Though those agencies that have done reform, such as San Jose and San Diego, have bought themselves a bit more time.)

    Wouldn’t it be a refreshing change if all Districts transformed schools into coveted, high-performance campuses, such as this: http://bit.ly/Z36k6n

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, Neil McChesney told me CVCHS also did a lottery, with about 700 applicants for around 525 spots. He said the enrollment has also been increased to about 2,000. Yet, he said the school’s efforts to reach out to the feeder middle schools have been largely ignored. He said it hurts the students when the district tries to operate as if the charter doesn’t exist. The district, he said, should recognize that Diablo View and Pine Hollow middle schools feed into the charter and work to make that transition as smooth and collaborative as possible.
    Rose Lock said the district is working to improve math instruction in middle and high schools as part of its Common Core plan. Are they also reaching out to CVCHS in this effort?
    It has been nice to see, however, that district sports and music programs include CVCHS.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Please note that the board plans to hold a budget study session March 6:http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=396

    I don’t recall anyone mentioning this at the last board meeting.

  • Wendy Lack

    @TH #269:

    The agenda doesn’t look like a “study session” in the true sense of the word — that is, review and Board discussion of substantive issues brought forward by staff (such as preliminary budget). Since there are no materials available to the Board in advance, it doesn’t qualify as a “study session” in my book.

    This appears to simply be a talk-talk presentation by the Prez of SSC (http://www.sscal.com/index.cfm). Which begs the question: What is nature and history of SSC’s relationship with MDUSD?

    Other questions:

    - Will the SSC speaker make his powerpoint slides or other handout materials available to the Board and the public, preferably in advance of the meeting?

    - How will this SSC presentation be used to inform the budget process?

    - What is the District’s budget prep calendar and what are the key public meeting dates at which budget issues will be discussed?

  • g

    The minute you go to an “education” web site and see the word “products” and “fiscal report available to members only” you can pretty much bet it isn’t high on anyone’s list of favorite charities, and it’s charging a pretty penny to have its people come to town to read aloud (again) and explain what the Supt and Richards just presented to us on 1/28 (Item 14.7) “Significant elements of Governor Brown’s proposed 2013-14 budget and its effect on the district’s budget planning for next year.”

    The schtick for their 1/28 presentation was produced by SSC. What the —-? Did Dent buy a money printing machine too?

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Why should the district reach out to the charter? They took their marbles, and a $1.7 million district marbles, and put in a new football field. How the hell does that give students higher test scores?

    The teachers already got a benefit increase. They got money to put towards benefits, that didn’t come out of their take-home pay. How about restoring time to the Special Ed assistants and secretaries first? Why do the teachers always feed at the trough first, and classified has to take the meager leftovers?

  • Doctor J

    @FT Wasn’t that Meas C money for the football field ? There is more money for staff because there isn’t a Dent overhead expense. The only administrative expenses are local in the school. The “teacher trigger” is a powerful weapon against a tyranical district administration. Sue Brothers as Principal of CVHS lost 4 API points — I predict that after the STAR tests coming up you will see at least a double digit gain. The fact that registration is expanding means that parents are delighted with what is going on in the school. When district attendance drops below 30,000 [which might happen next year] the district reserves will have to be increased and that will decrease what is available to the classroom. But the real robber barons from the classroom are the increasing salaries of the BIG5 while enrollment is decreasing.

  • Doctor J

    Take a look at the declining enrollment graph — its compelling. Then realize what has been happening with the Dent salaries. Its nausiating. http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/DQ/EnrTimeRpt.aspx?Level=District&cYear=2011-12&cname=MT.%20DIABLO%20UNIFIED&cCode=0761754

  • Wait a Minute

    Oh please, flipped.

    I guess you will be even more bitter when the CVCHS test scores come out!

  • anon

    The letter from Dr. Ovick is about the most unprofessional communications that I’ve seen in a long while. Aside from the fact that there is not $1.5 m to reduce in central office staff due to the millions that have already been reduced there, it is just unprofessional to criticize a colleague in that manner. Ovick is attempting to make it seem as though MDUSD will not suffer a negative financial impact due to the charter school because he doesn’t want to be the bad guy for chartering a district school and depriving the remaining students of much needed revenue. There is no positive value in the letter written by Ovick and only serves to highlight the fact that he has been in office way too long. If you are all so giddy about his letter and his idea to make $1.5 m in reductions to the central office, why don’t you provide specifics. Please share with us all what cuts you would make to the central office and what the impacts would be.

  • Wendy Lack

    I’d be interested to see the District create a zero-based budget — to truly start from scratch and build a budget from the ground up.

    When you put aside all the assumptions and “givens” it can be surprising what becomes possible.

  • g

    I am so anxiously awaiting the Willis/Peele public employees data base for this year. Between the 2010-11 year and 2011-12 year MDUSD only dropped 5 total employees — but closed two schools. Unfortunately in 2010 there was no breakdown of how many employees there were at Dent, M&O etc. In 2012 it was 176 at Dent and 82 at M&O.

    52.6% at Dent and 57.3% at M&O have a COE of over $75K! Several really know how to work the OT clock.

  • g

    Anon @276, did I mention that in 2012, no less than 90 people at Dent make over $100K, and you could fill a banquet hall with the ones that can’t spell or do math above an 8th grade level.

  • Anon

    Doctor J @274, MDUSD enrollment is plummeting to the 30,000 barrier where the district will need to increase reserves. Are Dent and the Board ready for that?

  • MDUSD Board Watcher

    Anon #276,

    Gary is that you? Good to hear from you.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anon: Hopefully, someone will ask that question at the March 6 study session. But, Wendy correctly points out this looks more like a presentation than a study session — much like the Brown Act/CPRA presentation at the beginning of the Board Retreat. SSC is an outside company that advises management in matters related to budgets and union negotiations.

    In contrast, the second half of the retreat was a true study session, with lots of back and forth between trustees and staff about the strategic plan.

    When I spoke to WCCUSD Trustee Charles Ramsey recently, he asked how MDUSD was doing with its budget and how many pink slips it would be sending out. At that time, there was no board study session scheduled, so I told him the district appeared to be cutting it close with its budget, since it wasn’t discussed at all at the Feb. 25th meeting and the next board meeting wasn’t scheduled until March 11 — just four days before the layoff notice deadline. However, the board on Feb. 25 did approve a preliminary resolution regarding seniority: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=6278&mtgId=372

    g: I know that MDUSD has already submitted its 2012 salary and benefits information to Bay Area News Group, since I received an email from Bryan Richards asking which email address to send it to more than a week ago. Kudos to the district for not dragging its heels on this PRA request. I also got a call from a new charter school in San Jose that was surprised it would have to give out that information. Charters are public schools too. So, I assume we’ll be getting that information for July-December 2012 from CVCHS as well.

    FT: The money for the fields came from Measure C, which CVCHS residents are paying for on their property tax bills, so they are entitled to receive benefits from it. Regarding the need to reach out to CVCHS, it would behoove the district to find out what CVCHS expects incoming freshmen to know. Last fall, I heard there was some controversy about placement in math (which coincidentally, is the exact weakness that Lock is honing in on). CVCHS offers remediation over the summer for incoming freshmen. When CVCHS began, Rep. George Mlller and others suggested that charters could be considered pilot programs for new ideas. Instead of ignoring the charter, MDUSD might benefit from actually finding out if what the charter is doing is helping students and whether the rest of the district might benefit from replicating some of the charter’s successful strategies.

    At the last board meeting, several students and staff from the Eagle Peak Montessori charter school thanked the district for approving its charter and providing facilities. They also talked about the amazingly successful and innovative teaching and learning strategies used at that school. Instead of merely providing facilities, it might also behoove MDUSD to actually take a look at how children are taught there to see if there are some good ideas that could be replicated throughout the district.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Particularly telling in @276′s comment is the phrase noting how “unprofessional it is to criticize a colleague in that manner”. For years, the top members of the education establishment have tended to circle the wagons in the face of ANY criticism from outside their bizzaro parallel universe. They’ve defended the school district monopolies, in particular, since that structure underpins the educrats’ entire ecosystem — the “guaranteed” tax funding “for the kids”, the pension benefits, the job security, the cozy contracts with friends and family, and the general freedom from accountability of any sort.

    Now, cracks are beginning to emerge, as more and more people lose faith in this antiquated system. Some of the more principled members of the education elite find that they can no longer defend the indefensible. Perhaps they see articles like this — where students are turned away from better educational opportunities and, because of their home address, left to the vagaries of a dysfunctional unresponsive district — and decide that they can no longer stand in the way of educating the next generation:

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/west-county-times/ci_22698576/high-performing-richmond-charter-school-sees-big-demand

  • Theresa Harrington

    Jim, the community in San Pablo is so frustrated by the low performance of Helms Middle School that it is actually launching a Community Schools Initiative to help, similar to what the Pleasant Hill Mayor wants to do.
    At a Social Safety Net forum I attended yesterday, I heard that the San Francisco Foundation is giving money to the Bay Point community to help foster leaders who can work to address issues there. It will be interesting to see if MDUSD partners in this effort.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Theresa, if this, or any Community Schools Initiative focuses on increasing school choice for their community by genuinely changing the system, then it is a welcome development. Too often, these initiatives focus on trying to “reform” their local schools, without disturbing the district’s iron hand control and service monopoly. Once the community leaders recognize how resistent most districts are to change, the community initiative turns into a more conventional lobbying effort to make sure the district machine gives them their “fair share”. This can easily become a zero-sum game, where the most organized (and often more affluent) communities get more, and the others are left with whatever dregs the district serves up.

    In most cases, the answer is NOT in trying to reform these retrograde districts. People have been trying to do that for at least 30 years, with astonishingly little impact. The answer for these underserved communities begins with reforming the STRUCTURE of school control to provide more school choice options for everyone in the district.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Jim, At “futurist” Willard Daggett’s presentation, he talked a lot about restructuring the way schools are configured, such as “looping” 8th and 9th grade teachers, so they teach for two years during those critical years, giving students a better chance at building relationships. He also mentioned the idea of creating “integrated” chairpersons at the high school level instead of having a chair of English, math, history, etc., who don’t integrate the curriculum. He also pushed for more technology.
    But, he didn’t really address the kinds of overhauls you are talking about.

  • g

    Theresa, yes, Bay Point got a 5 yr $300k Koshner grant to help those who help others, etc. The Koshner memorial group is well known for their protections of open space, watersheds, culture and religious diversity causes.

    But if SSF/Koshner looked closely under the sheets at Bay Point Community, would they see a Seeno toe sticking out. If they did, would they still donate.

    The 2/13 article in the CCTimes names all of the organizations that have “come together” to help residents, but it leaves one name out. The name of the “for profit developer.”

    Is that name Seeno?

    Did Bay Point sell its soul to the devil?

    No longer available (although archives were supposedly reinstated) is the Nov 3 article about Seeno buying what was promised to newer residents would be “open space.”

    So now, to shut them up, Suddenly, the newly formed Bay Point Community organization is going to receive “a percentage of the profits from the un-named ‘for profit’ developer.”

    Can we get the name the developer? How much will Bay Point get for its soul?

    No matter how they list it under charities on their many many tax forms—Seeno gives nothing – for nothing. The strings will always be there.

  • Wendy Lack

    This short article is a reminder that we must not succumb to complacent acceptance of immorality, when it comes to the health safety of our children and other vulnerable individuals:

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Moral-Numbness

    It’s chilling to consider how many abuse cases have been in the news in only the past couple of months. And how many Brentwoods and Moragas are there, that are yet unreported?

    There is no excuse for abuse. Zero tolerance must be the universal policy and practice.

    Ditto for fraud, waste and abuse. Zero tolerance is the only policy that makes sense.

    I’m reminded of the code of conduct in place at a successful high school I know of: “I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” If this one fundamental rule were universally adopted for our schools — including staff and parent organizations — how much trouble (and litigation) could be avoided?

    These are questions important for any CEO to ponder.

  • Wait a Minute

    I couldn’t agree more Wendy.

    Everyone must always be vigilant for abusers.

    I think your following statement here shows just how far the MDUSD has fallen under some past and present so-called “management”.
    “Ditto for fraud, waste and abuse. Zero tolerance is the only policy that makes sense.

    I’m reminded of the code of conduct in place at a successful high school I know of: “I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” If this one fundamental rule were universally adopted for our schools — including staff and parent organizations — how much trouble (and litigation) could be avoided?”

    These statements have people like Greg Rolen, Gary and Sherry, and Stevie Lawrence pegged for who they are in my opinion!

  • Wendy Lack

    My latest article deals with reduced government transparency under Governor Brown’s 2013/14 budget proposal: http://bit.ly/105sxXo

    The proposed change is antithetical to good governance and will water down one of the few tools Californians have to hold public officials accountable.

    This is a step in the wrong direction for California. It’s naive to believe that legal requirements such as the Public Records Act can be removed without consequence.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s my story about the letter from County Superintendent Joseph Ovick to MDUSD Superintendent Steven Lawrence: http://bit.ly/13BnNtn

  • Theresa Harrington

    This could explain why MDUSD is holding a budget study session on Wednesday: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_22716784/nine-bay-area-school-districts-reported-financial-difficulties

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    @291 — Well, now the wider community can read about this and decide who was being reasonable and who was not — the County Office that had already studied the matter and offered valuable input, or the MDUSD leadership, who apparently wanted a report that conformed to their existing propaganda and would be untainted by any third party information from the County, or even from the administrators who would be operating the school that was the subject of the fiscal report.

    I would caution Supt Lawrence and General Counsel Rolen not to COMPLETELY ruin their reputations in the world of education. But alas, this sort of embarrassing flap seldom matters in the end. There’s always a job somewhere, for everybody, in the ed biz.

  • g

    Correspondence between FCMAT and Dr. Ovick would be interesting. How did County offices hear about MDUSD’s secret request to have their own slanted calculations memorialized?

    Commissioning the letter may have been cooked up in secret, without asking the full board, but FCMAT needs to learn that WE, THE PEOPLE, are their client—NOT Lawrence/Rolen.

  • Wendy Lack

    @ Jim #293:

    “I would caution Supt Lawrence and General Counsel Rolen not to COMPLETELY ruin their reputations in the world of education. But alas, this sort of embarrassing flap seldom matters in the end. There’s always a job somewhere, for everybody, in the ed biz.”

    Merciful Lord. One can only hope so.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#291 So has Steven Lawrence responded to Dr. Ovick’s letter from Thursday ? Any followup on the district paying for the BIG5 legal expenses ?

  • g

    When my nearly duplicate posts show up—I’m not drunk–I thought I may not have hit submit. I guess the link threw me into moderation.

    I don’t think I’ve had to stand with my nose in the moderation corner since I called last year’s board President a dolt.

  • Anon

    The Dent Center gives us a continuous menu of newsworthy distractions but the big tamale is the qualified budget. Someone with time to spare should list all the cost-saving measures they have built to nowhere — closing school sites, SASS, outsourcing, insourcing the general counsel… But it’s the same old story — the budget is going down and who’s at the helm ?

  • Anon

    CVCHS – I understand and think the District would greatly benefit from learning what works at local charter schools. The issue I see, and perhaps I have wrong information, is that charter schools do not have to abide by the same rules. Example, the free education bill, they can ask for fees for classrooms, extracurricular activities, supplies, and fundraise at school without the same restrictions that MDUSD schools must adhere too. They can also make parent volunteer mandatory, pay athletic coaches, music teachers what they want to retain them. Parents joining a booster club if student participates in certain activities, or PTA can be mandatory as part of a students attendance. MDUSD schools cannot do this. This is where Charter shools have an advantage. How can you implement what they can do with more dollars, more volunteers, and different rules? In participating in the Athletic & Music Foundations that have been set-up for MDUSD district shools, doesn’t this take more from the district schools who cannot fundraise the same as the charter?

    Your answers would be appreciated and could probably help the divide within the community on the Charter vs. District School funding inequities that many feel are unfair.

  • Been Down That Road….

    Anon #299–Charter school proponents and supporters of school reform in general might argue that some of those reasons you state are why a school would convert in the first place. The core of a charter school is less bureaucracy (California Ed Code rules largely don’t apply)and more control over spending (most funds are not “categorical” but, rather, general). In return, a charter school must be financially sound and show academic improvement in the form of raised test scores and student achievement in all areas including sub-groups. Don’t we all want that? One of the biggest advantages CVCHS is additionally experiencing is the ability to make decisions and “turn on a dime” when changes need to happen. Losing an entire generation of students as District “decides” a new curricular philosophy and gets their house in order wasn’t acceptable to me as a parent. Are you willing to sacrifice your child’s education for that? If not, you might start researching how to make these changes for yourself and YOUR school community.