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Governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula would create winners and losers, some say

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, February 22nd, 2013 at 6:02 pm in Contra Costa County, Education.

A new formula proposed by the governor to radically change the way school districts are funded is creating a buzz statewide, as officials look at projections released Wednesday that show some would get big revenue boosts, while others would receive far less per student.

The rationale for the funding overhaul is that disadvantaged students cost more to educate. So, districts that have a higher percentage of English learners and students who quality for free and reduced priced meals should get more money than those that don’t, the governor argues.

He would also do away with dozens of “categorical” funding streams that were created to funnel money into specific programs. Instead, the governor wants to give local control to school boards to decide how best to spend their dollars.

While most school officials praise the local control part of the proposal, some that would get less money under the plan are critical of the funding formula, which would provide supplemental grants equal to 35 percent of the base per student revenue for each English learner, economically disadvantaged student or foster youth.

Contra Costa County districts would see a wide variety of funding increases, ranging from a low of 12 percent growth in the tiny Canyon district to a high of nearly 71 percent in the Pittsburg district.

Although the state says Canyon has no English learners or low-income students, Superintendent Gloria Faircloth said that’s a mistake and she estimates about 12 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunches. In Pittsburg, 80 percent of students are low-income and 32 percent don’t speak English fluently.

Officials in these and other districts said they are waiting to see what the final outcome will be.

“It should change a little bit, but it still doesn’t look good for us,” said Faircloth, whose district educates about 66 K-8 students. “We’re so small, but with our operating costs, there’s a lot of things we have to do, so we’re not crazy about the new funding method. I understand why the governor wants to do this. It seems equitable for other districts, but we were all low, so it would be nice if we could go up (more).”

Canyon’s funding would rise by $857 per student, from $6,945 in 2011-12 to $7,802 when the plan is fully implemented. Pittsburg’s per student funding, on the other hand, would grow by $4,813 per student, rising from $6,799 in 2011-12 to $11,612 with full implementation.

Enrique Palacios, Pittsburg’s Deputy Superintendent of Business Services, said more money will mean more accountability.

“The challenge is, OK, we’re getting all this money,” he said, “but now the expectation is we have to bring the performance of students up and the decisions are going to be left to the local level.”

For districts that believe they will need more money, Palacios said the governor is also proposing to lower the threshold for passing a parcel tax from two-thirds voter approval to 55 percent.

The San Ramon Valley Unified District, which currently receives about $6.6 million a year through a parcel tax, would get a funding increase of about 39 percent under the local funding formula, based on a relatively low number of needy students, including 4.5 percent English learners and 2.5 percent who qualify for free and reduced price meals.

“The concept of local control is something that I think all school districts have wanted back for a long, long time,” said district spokesman Terry Koehne. “But, the devil’s in the details. That comes with a certain level of disparity. It’s going to mean that our district will most likely not receive as much money as other districts, so it’s a double-edged sword.”

Orinda Union Elementary would see a bump of about $2,027 per student when the formula is fully implemented, going from about $5,753 in 2011-12 to $7,780 per student, or a 35 percent increase.

“We’re very disappointed in the formula,” said Orinda Superintendent Joe Jaconette, “There shouldn’t really be winners and losers.”

Moraga Superintendent Bruce Burns agreed, saying the state should strive to raise all districts to the national average.

“There’s going to be some push-back from communities like Lamorinda,” he said. “They pay higher property taxes and income taxes and would expect a return on their tax dollar investment.”

A breakdown of all the projections is at www.dof.ca.gov/reports_and_periodicals/district_estimate/view.php.

Do you support the governor’s funding proposal?

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

118 Responses to “Governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula would create winners and losers, some say”

  1. Giorgio C. Says:

    It’s my understanding that this will lead to drastically reduced funding for the WCCUSD Adult School program. I am still trying to understand why an agency tasked with the responsibility of k-12 education has taken on the stewardship of adult schools. The WCCUSD has been spending over $1million dollars yearly on this program, while at the same time cutting AP classes and SROs for our children. How can this be justified?

    The Adult School program needs to lobby for support just as any other community service must. Lumping it in with a k-12 program approaches the realm of deceptive. I am a proponent of the Adult School program, but it must not take resources from our kids.

  2. vindex Says:

    I find this formula to be fantastic. Local control, no more categorical funds, and more understandable. A no-brainer. Liberals and Conservatives can find much to like in this funding model.

  3. soooo frustrated Says:

    Why wasn’t anything written regarding 2/25 MDUSD board meeting?

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Now that it is livestreamed, I thought there was less of a need to live blog.
    But, I will try to do a short recap with video clips.
    Now, I’m off to the Willard Daggett event at MDHS.

  5. Teacher Says:

    Where is it live streamed?

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The livestream was at: http://www.livestream.com/mtdiablounifiedschooldistrict

    But, unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be archived. I have posted video clips from the meeting at YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa and Qik.com/tharrington.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Its archived on the District website under the agenda tab.

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. Here’s the link to the archived video: http://www.livestream.com/mtdiablounifiedschooldistrict/video?clipId=flv_e7d4a0e0-32e8-4595-9fa2-e9ca29d69aeb

    Unfortunately, it looks like it’s impossible to get rid of the ads at the bottom of the screen. But, I appreciate the service. Do you know how soon after the meeting the video was posted?

  9. Wendy Lack Says:

    Dan Walters in today’s Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/15swW5S):

    “Brown’s multiyear budget plan ignores ever-growing unfunded liabilities for retirees’ pensions and health care.

    “The State Teachers’ Retirement System says it needs $4.5 billion more a year to remain solvent, and a new report released by Controller John Chiang says the state faces an unfunded liability for health care of as much as $64 billion.

    “Dealing with just those two items, rather than ignoring them, would absorb all of the money generated by the [Prop 30] tax increase.”

  10. vindex Says:

    @ Wendy and @ Theresa
    I haven’t seen this reported.. This is shocking.
    This just came to my attention about Susan Bonilla, the former teacher and local education advocate, and has not been reported in the local press. How can she bemoan the state of education and take thousands of dollars in Special interest accomodations from a Special Interest group during a trip to Maui. Appalling. Sacramento Bee broke the story. Here it is http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/05/5236199/special-interests-treated-17-california.html#storylink=omni_popular

    “Five lawmakers attended a separate November public policy conference, also in Maui, that was sponsored by the Pacific Policy Research Foundation, a group led in part by former Assemblyman Tom Bordonaro Jr. and Sherry Leonard, wife of Bill Leonard, former legislator and Board of Equalization member.
    Conference attendees included Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who accepted accommodations totaling $2,416;”

  11. Doctor J Says:

    @Vindex#10 This is exactly why reporters read the FPPC Form 700’s. Someone ought to be reading the ones on File of the BIG5.

  12. Wendy Lack Says:

    Hmmm. I wonder how this is working in Arizona:

    http://www.arizonaschoolchoice.com/EDU_ESA.html

  13. Wendy Lack Says:

    More on AZ plan here. Intriguing.

    I believe this is something new.

    http://askamomaz.com/

  14. Wendy Lack Says:

    Laughing all the way to the bank, at taxpayer expense. http://on.mktw.net/W5kwhC

  15. Doctor J Says:

    @Wendy#14 I would love to see the list of “huge crew of sub-contractors”. After all there aren’t that many sub-contractors who have “training” in solar. I imagine the list should be part of the contract identifying the sub-contractors and thus be a public record. Might be interesting to see whose name shows up on the list.

  16. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ DJ #15:

    Yes, I would expect whatever was paid for with public money is a public record.

    “So many alligators, so little time.” It’s becoming increasingly evident that the swamp needs to be drained.

  17. g Says:

    At least one contractor filed Chapter 11 a few months ago. SatCon, with whom we have (only) a 10year Warranty on the Solar Inverters filed in Oct. I believe we paid a bundle for that ‘extended warranty’ pass through contract SunPower. So…

    The question is, do we still have a warranty?

    Someone really should check.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Database for Capital Appreciation Bonds. Is the MDUSD data correct ? http://www.mydesert.com/interactive/article/20130302/NEWS04/130301003/Database-Capital-appreciation-bonds

  19. g Says:

    Dr. J: It’s hard to tell since the district combined two issues and then duplicated its Official Statement on those two issues so that no Official Statement shows up for the third issue, and failed to even file an Official Statement on a fourth issue.

    See 9/30/10: http://emma.msrb.org/IssuerView/IssuerDetails.aspx?cusip=621196

  20. g Says:

    Main SunPower Solar Subcontractor list: ATI Architects, QKA and Engio Consultants, Taber Construction (of course!), Del Monte Elec., SatCon, (In chapter 11, agreed to a short term–to 3/13 credit deal with their China manufacturer of the inverters.)

    It would be good to find out if SunPower paid SatCon the ($20million or so?) that we paid SunPower for inverters and warranty subcontractor.

  21. g Says:

    And let us not forget Alisha Jensen, the “no bid” Inspector of Record on every construction project for the last two-three years.

    Costs total well into the hundred of thousands of dollars.

    Can’t help but wonder why we only use one “no bid” person when there are about 17 qualified inspectors in this county alone.

    Of course, if asked, the answer is: “because she is familiar with our projects and sites, and…” Of course, no one else has been given a chance to become “familiar with our projects”!

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Related to today’s budget study session, School Services of CA gave a budget presentation to district managers in January that said the following related to collective bargaining: sequestration and the Local Control formula add uncertainty to the budget; classified layoff timeline had increased from 45 days to 60 days; current law allows districts to reduce the school year by five days through 2014-15; for districts that are deficit-spending, previous cuts may not be able to be restored — “our advice is to be as open about restoration as you were about the need for concessions – a dialog, not a monolog, is called for”; elimination of “restricted” funds “is clearly an opportunity for discussion and collaboration”; early retirement incentives may still make sense and “the effect of hiring virtually no new teachers for five years creates future workforce management issues.”

  23. g Says:

    The district could use a closer look at teacher absences on the annual budget. How much does a Sub cost per day?

    How can you expect students to give you a 95% attendance quota to get adequate ADA, but let teachers slip by on as little as 84 to 90% of actual in-the-classroom time?

    2011-12 facts per district records:

    1448 regular teachers. (X) 180 teaching days + 3 non-teach days = 260,640 total teacher classroom days.

    16,548 regular teacher ‘sick’ days.

    6,287 absent teacher days in ‘conferences’ or ‘other business’.

    total teacher absent from classroom days = 22,835

    22,835 / 260,640 = average teacher attendance 87.6%

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Where did you find that information?

  25. g Says:

    E-mail.

  26. Doctor J Says:

    @G#23 Here is the link to the substitute pay schedule. As you can see if varies from $97 to $179, depending on experience and the school. I don’t know how detailed the information you have is so you could calculate it accurately, but if you just took an average of $140 that would mean for all teacher absenses it costs the district about $3.2 million. Just the days that teachers are in conference [data analysis]or on “district business” the cost is about $880,000. I wonder how the substitutes are tracking this year compared to last year ? I don’t know why Bryan Richards and Julie B-M have not calculated the cost — and where is it in the budget ? http://www.mdusd.org/personnel/Documents/Salary%20Schedules/substitute-teacher-daily-rate-sheet.pdf

  27. Doctor J Says:

    It is significant that about 27% of all teacher absenses are due to “absent teacher days in ‘conferences’ or ‘other business’. “Not only is this costing the district a ton of money, but it also must detract from learning.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    @TH — I am sure you could get this information in PRA request, with the actual costs. If Bryan and Julie don’t know this information, there is something rotten in Denmark. But as Wendy said, there are so many alligator in the swamp, its time to drain the swamp.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#22 Didn’t Steven Lawrence already promise full restoration ? Probably a little premature. But Steven is impulsive.

  30. g Says:

    Dr. J @28, Your average is about right. Whether they got $100 or the $179 premium for SIG schools, the point is that teacher absences not only cost the loss of proper education, but they cost enough to have kept shuttered schools open, AND more than funds lost on the CV charter combined!

    I don’t want to hear much about MDEA protections or teacher dedication with absentee numbers like I’ve seen for our worst performing schools.

  31. Doctor J Says:

    Even sick days seem high. It would be interesting to see if the sick days spike on Fridays and Mondays.

  32. Jim Says:

    @17 G — Warranty beneficiaries usually join the other unsecured creditors in a bankruptcy. Some bk judges try to get those who are buying the defunct company’s assets to take on the warranties, and sometimes that works if the acquiror wants to continue an ongoing product line and maintain the brand’s image. But there have been so many bankruptcies among solar companies, and the business is so depressed, they probably had a hard time finding anyone to buy the solar-specific assets. In which case, the warranty is worthless. SatCon’s board voted on Feb 4 to liquidate, so I’m guessing there wasn’t much interest in their assets, except as piecemeal pickings for the junkyard dogs.

  33. g Says:

    Even more, I’d like to know exactly how many missed for “stress” at MDHS, Oak Grove and Sun Terrace–known hot spots last year!

  34. g Says:

    Jim: Thanks for the info. The inverters were made in China, and the best SatCon got from China in January was a month or two reprieve on the $30million they owed them. Not enough!

    Sun Power should have to refund to us any monies not yet sent to SatCon.

    It was bad enough that we jumped on this deal at the solar high-dollar mark. Kind of like my 401K investments in Spring 2007 :(

    We knew, and discussed here in 2010 that the warranty was too costly and not reliable even with SunPower supposedly doubling the term on it.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    I am hoping Wendy, as a former HR manager, will weigh in on the absences.

  36. Doctor J Says:

    I can’t wait until Lynne Dennler brings up the projector bulbs again when the district is attempting to cut millions. Here is a free online workshop on Fiscal Solvency for School Districts producted jointly by School Services, Inc and FCMAT. Its worth watching. http://www.sscal.com/workshops/player.cfm?workshop=424&v=0

  37. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim#32 I wasn’t paying that much attention to the warranties — didn’t the district pay some insurance company to handle the warranty much like you do with an extended warranty on a car ?
    And I also thought that SunPower had agreed to provide the overall warranty — do they back up the subs if the subs fail ?

  38. Doctor J Says:

    A real tragedy. “The 2010 assault was captured by video camera on the school bus. The girl, 8 at the time of the assault, had the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. She was alone on the bus with driver Richard Evans, now 61, in 2010 while on her way to elementary school.Evans was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Before his hire, Evans had been convicted of having sex with a prostitute while driving a potato chip delivery truck. The child’s attorney hopes the settlement will force school districts to better check bus drivers’ backgrounds, and that it will prompt a state investigation.”
    What ever happened to the bus driver who slammed on her brakes and caused the injury of 40 children ?
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_22725025/record-settlement-mentally-disabled-girl-sexually-abused-school

  39. Wendy Lack Says:

    The same happy-talk Del Monte press release keeps getting reprinted, retelling the sweetness-and-light version of MDUSD’s solar project again and again.

    http://bit.ly/ZixNRB

    Well, I suppose everybody has to make a living.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    @Wendy, Its just money laundering — converting bond funds into general funds. Wendy, I do hope you will weigh in on the absence issue.

  41. Jim Says:

    @40 Dr. J — “Money laundering” may be a bit harsh. There is nothing wrong with making a capital investment to realize savings on operating costs (electricity in this case). Successful companies do it all the time, even if they have to borrow the capital. The problem with MDUSD’s solar was borrowing money for 42 years to purchase an asset that might last 20 years, at best, but counting (and exaggerating) 42 years of electricity savings to justify the investment. That simply reflected financial ignorance.

    @34, 37 — If the district received insurance on the warranties from a viable insurer, or from Sun Power, then SatCon’s bankruptcy may not hurt the district. The devil’s in the details, when it comes to assuming long-term warranty obligations.

  42. Wendy Lack Says:

    DJ #40:

    As a rule, I prefer to focus on root causes rather than symptoms.

    When people work in a high performance organizations that reward excellence and integrity, they’re happy to come to work. Attendance and related issues (such as leave abuse, malingering and workers’ comp fraud) seldom are found in high-performing organizations in which everyone is held accountable for excellence.

    Creating this kind of organization is my focus.

    We can do better.

  43. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ Jim #41:

    While “money laundering” may be a bit harsh, attributing MDUSD’s mistakes to “financial ignorance” is rather light IMO.

    Eventually the truth will out, re who profited from MDUSD’s solar fiasco.

    Regrettably, these bond-funded school solar projects are fleecing taxpayers throughout California.

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Wendy, the same goes for student absences. When I visited Meadow Homes Elementary yesterday to see how the SIG is being implemented, I was very impressed by what I saw. Principal Mary Louise Newling is putting in place the kinds of “futuristic” ideas that Willard Daggett was espousing, even though she didn’t attend his talk. She intuitively gets it.
    While I was touring the campus with her, one teacher came up to her and said she is the best principal she has ever had. She said: “Thank you for making it such a pleasure to work here!” When Newling humbly dismissed the compliment, the teacher said emphatically: “I MEAN IT!”
    Newling has implemented a schedule that includes art, science, computers and instrumental music. She said one student who used to act up last year is now happily leading the drummers in music and she hasn’t seen him in the office at all this year. She said English learners need lots of hands-on activities to keep them interested and engaged. She said attendance is up because no students want to miss their art, music and computer lessons.
    The parents at the school are also VERY engaged, with nearly 50 signing up to volunteer for the new “walking school bus” program and many participating in Zumba classes aimed at encouraging fitness and healthy living.
    Anon asked earlier if public schools can operate like charters. Newling is showing that it can be done. She and her staff have carefully evaluated research-based educational materials that are being used successfully — many in charter schools in San Jose and Los Angeles – and Newling believes they are on the way to replicating those successes at Meadow Homes.
    In this case, a federal funding grant is allowing Meadow Homes to have the flexibility to go “outside the box” of the district’s one-size fits all approach and really experiment with new and innovative ideas.
    She also has a math coach whom she was praising for the use of hands-on manipulatives, which help students understand the concepts. This, of course, has been going on for nearly a Century in Montessori schools. But, the public education world is finally starting to see that Maria Montessori’s ideas about differentiated learning and hands-on teaching strategies really work.

  45. Wendy Lack Says:

    @TH #44:

    Encouraging news, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

    What you describe at Meadow Homes Elementary can be replicated, with the right leadership. Indeed, with the right leadership our entire MDUS District can become a place in which students, parents and employees (certificated and classified) alike can be “high” on achievement, innovation and the fun of learning.

    We can do better.

    We must do better.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Well,lets see how she does this year. Last year she had 6 API points gain == the year before Toby had 56 points gain. The proof is in the pudding.

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Daggett said it takes three years for true reform to take hold. Part of that has to do with getting teachers on board. He said generally: one-third of a school’s staff is eager to try new ideas; one-third is hesitant at first, but will jump on the bandwagon after seeing their colleagues having success with new innovations; and one-third has to be nudged along or be left behind.
    At Meadow Homes, the SIG is paying for collaboration time with teachers at the same grade levels, who also observe each other teaching lessons, focusing especially on students’ reactions.
    On the subject of subs, Newling said it’s difficult for her staff to attend outside professional development trainings or off-site meetings, because the school is so large she often can’t get subs for every teacher at the same grade level. For example, she said she has NINE first grade teachers. It doesn’t make sense to only send those for whom she can get subs to outside meetings or trainings, she said.

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s another example of kids getting really excited about learning during the Disney “Science Rocks!” program at El Monte Elementary in Concord: http://www.contracostatimes.com/concord/ci_22731414/science-rocks-pilot-program-at-el-monte-elementary

  49. g Says:

    True, Dr. Newling has, by far, the largest elementary school teaching staff due to cramming in of students by a district with no foresight when it came to school site reorganization. The district chose to close a school first, pack half of the shuttered school students into a school that would have been a good choice for ‘true’ overflow, and THEN look at where to overflow the most crowded schools in the district.

    On the other hand, Dr. Newling’s assertion that she has a hard time finding subs begs the question of how then did we find the funds to cover over a thousand days of teacher absences at Meadow Homes, with nearly half of those days dedicated to ‘conference or other school business’ – by far the highest ‘conference, etc’ absences.

    Only three elementary schools had lower teacher attendance percentages.

    While SIG promotes teacher training, the greater emphasis of those funds should be spent in the classroom.

    For the children’s sake, let’s hope test scores prove she has spent her money wisely.

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Hmm…that’s interesting, because Newling also told me: “With subs, the instruction is not always where it should be.”
    So, she acknowledges it’s not always in students’ best interests to take their teachers out of the classroom.
    But, I believe the SIGs stress professional development to improve the overall capacity of teachers to use best-practices to educate students and to work collaboratively schoolwide.
    However, Newling is using a lot of the money for educational supplies, resources and additional teachers, including a dance teacher.
    Also, as Daggett recommended, these teachers are integrating literacy into all classes.

  51. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#49 Dance intstruction is a part of SIG instruction ?

  52. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, Newling said this is one of the activities that gets kids excited about school. She said she had tons of applicants for the dance and art teacher positions because there are so few opportunities statewide to provide this kind of instruction. Adding literacy to the lessons helps make learning fun, especially for ELL students, she said.
    When I visited, kindergartners were dancing and jumping around with huge smiles on their faces as they played “freeze” dance, stopping at verbal cues. Then, they sat down on the carpet to begin the literacy portion of the lesson. This is in addition, to PE, Newling said.
    So, it also fits in with the school’s fitness emphasis.
    Perhaps the extended day provides more opportunities for these types of classes. Newling said students will get bored and turned off to school if they are constantly drilled in English and math.
    But, she was also very excited about a new computer math program and Benchmark literacy program, with reading materials that include both fiction and nonfiction stories focusing on two dogs named Belle and Rosie.
    She said teachers are already embracing Common Core Curriculum strategies, such as asking students to explain the rationale behind their comments, even at the kindergarten level.
    “I’m jazzed about this!” she said.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    Is dance instruction what the data says will improve instruction ? Or does it just make children have fun ?

  54. Doctor J Says:

    Is dance instruction what the data says will improve instruction ? Or does it just make children have fun ? I don’t think that’s what Arne Duncan thinks or the data supports.

  55. g Says:

    At the high school level, I think things like dance, music, sports probably do contribute to school attendance and better grades. That means offering and giving attention to more than the cheerleader clique club or intramural competition.

    It would mean offering basic, fun, optional opportunities for basic kids. Outside of restricted academies at certain schools, there certainly isn’t enough of that being spread around.

    In elementary school? Not so sure if it does much more than give them exercise.

    It would be interesting to know if all the kids get dance class–or just certain grades, and do they have to earn dance class with through scholastic achievement.

  56. Anon Says:

    A kindergarten teacher could not play “freeze” with students to teach a lesson without receiving additional funds? Not sure, but some of this seems so basic it is raising more questions than answers. What is actually going on in our schools?

    Activity, aka sports/music/art, do put excitement in school and kids then want to go and learn. Most likely every student can fall into one of the categories and get more enjoyment out of learning. Bring back sports/music/art to the classrooms, reduce Dent spending/costs.

  57. Wendy Lack Says:

    Dr. J:

    Here’s a disturbing article about the “absence culture” that exists in U.S. schools. It appears that leave abuse plagues schools, since “everybody does it.”

    (Sidebar: To manage leave abuse, I favor a single, all-purpose leave bank of compensable leave time, combined with an annual leave buy-back program, which incentivizes employees to conserve leave. Some companies have no leave banks at all, to avoid the leave entitlement attitude, which works by granting paid leave on a case-by-case basis — though this would be challenging to administer in a public agency setting typically characterized by a low-accountability culture.)

    Excerpts:

    – The Education Department reports that 5.3 percent of U.S. teachers are absent on any given day, but what counts as an absence varies from school to school and district to district.

    – In Camden, New Jersey, the school board said that it needed to find substitutes for 40 percent of its teachers each day, and a subsequent report by Brown University’s Urban Education and Policy program verified that teachers took an average of 21 days off per school year.

    – Nationally, 36 percent of teachers are absent more than 10 days per year.

    – Two studies concluded that teachers in bigger schools were absent more often than in smaller schools, elementary school teachers were absent more often than high school teachers, tenured teachers took off 3.7 more days than those without tenure, female teachers under age 35 averaged 3.2 more absences than did men and teachers who have a master’s degree took off less time than those who didn’t.

    – Teachers claim that they are absent so often because they are exposed to an increased amount of germs, but researchers point out that teachers are frequently absent because of generous leave provisions in their contracts.

    – According to the National Council and Teacher Quality, 113 large school districts’ collective bargaining agreements provide an average of 13.5 sick days and personal leave per school year.

    – A Harvard University study indicates that most days taken off are “personal illness” days but only last one or two days because most districts require a doctor’s note on the third day of illness.

    – Substitutes are not required to have a teaching certification, teaching education classes, and in some districts, nothing more than a high school GED.

    – Substitutes who are qualified are often required to administer busy work or babysit the class instead of utilizing their skills.

  58. Wendy Lack Says:

    Re: #57

    Link to article here: http://cbsloc.al/XtvPkL

  59. Anon Says:

    Missing the Second Interim Report attached to the agenda, to explain the proposed reduction of 27 elementary teachers, 9 middle & high school English teachers for a start. March 15 will be Pink Friday . . .

  60. Doctor J Says:

    Interesting item in Closed session: “5.6 Board discussion concerning response to Uniform Complaint” and its an action item. I wonder what that means ?

  61. g Says:

    Missing on the agenda is reference to Brian Lawrence’s request for a ‘five year accounting’ of legal expenses. I suppose that could require more time to compile due to Rolen’s ‘illness’.

    Under the Professional Services Agreement for General Legal Services, Item 11 states that: “District legal counsel shall maintain detailed time and expense records which detail the date, time and nature of the services rendered to the district….”

    As a matter of general procedure, the board should be given this information on at least an annual basis as part of General Counsel’s Performance Review, with a “summary” then presented in open session.

    Unless Rolen needs extra time to be ‘creative’ with his records, presenting these records to the board should not be much of a time consuming process, as redaction of private information is not necessary for board review.

  62. Doctor J Says:

    Fascinating request in Item 15.13 — asking the Board to waive its 2 meeting posting required by AR 9311 for adoption of new Board policies on Uniform Complaint that were required to be in place by March 1. The reason given was that CSBA didn’t release its recommended change until Feb 12. Staff says the proposed changes were posted on the district website since Feb 14 [lightning speed] — I wonder where on the website because they didn’t show up in the “District News” until Feb 22 and are posted in the “newsroom”. Wonder if Theresa saw them before Feb 22 since she regularly checks the newsroom ? So if they were posted on the website Feb 14, why didn’t they make it on the Feb 25 Board agenda ? One little omission in the staff report — they are only asking for waiver of the AR 9311 — they also need waiver of Board By-law 9311. Wonder of that is a Brown Act problem ?

  63. Wait a Minute Says:

    G, I have a feeling that our General Counsel hasn’t been keeping detailed records of what he does.

    Afterall, he has 7 (and would like to make it 9) outside firms doing all his work for him.

  64. g Says:

    Dr. J: Since all Uniform Complaints don’t require closed session consideration, it would seem a closed session agenda item should give reference to the legal standard which allows them to review it in Closed Session, ie. Ed Code #, CR Title 5 #, US Code Title 20 #.

    Prior to closed session, I’m looking forward to what they have to say about Rolen’s two-month PRA delay game with Daniel Borenstein, and hope the discussion reaches far beyond just his request.

  65. g Says:

    Dr. J @ 62: Nice observation, especially since the posted “Red Lined” copy of the changes indicate (bottom of page) that they were “Revised February 25, 2013″ which would make it difficult to have posted them by Feb 14. 😉

  66. Doctor J Says:

    @G#64 Wow, I didn’t catch that early item — another wonder why its so early ? Its only listed as “info” so I don’t think the Board can vote on it. I guess we might hear about the District’s December check and invoice of Greg McCoy, the attorney representing the Big5.

  67. g Says:

    It would be nice to hear Rolen explain why he thought it appropriate to charge the public for the Big 5’s personal attorney!

  68. Doctor J Says:

    @G#67 I suspect Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen wanted it early before the “broadcast” so the viewing audience won’t know exactly what they say.

    @G#65 On Feb 21 I posted that the Board agenda did not have anything in it about adopting the policy required to be in place on March 1 — the next day I posted that the AR suddenly appeared on the website [under District News]. Theresa pointed out the adoption date as Feb 25 but it wasn’t listed on the agenda. My guess is that whenever it was prepared, it was supposed to be on the Agenda for Feb 25 but someone dropped the ball and it didn’t get on the Agenda. Yet Steven Lawrence could have set a special meeting before March 1 but didn’t.

    @G#67

  69. g Says:

    I don’t really care when they finalized the policy revision or even whether it was posted within some legal time frame—but I care greatly that they feel it is OK to lie about the date on an agenda that becomes public record.

  70. Wait a Minute Says:

    Well Dr J,
    I hope Brian Lawrence reads this and insists that this explanation be broadcast because Rolen and Lawrence have some “splainen” to do.

  71. g Says:

    Noted on the 6/13 cuts: DMA-MGMT ASUPSPASGN ASST SUPT SPEC ASSIGNMENT (1.00000) 010181536 1300 Dent Center (189,717)

    Who would that be? Mildred Browne? I don’t remember the creation of a position called Asst Supt Spec Assignment…. Is that how they covered paying for two people to do what had been one job–Kerri Mills AND Mildred Browne?

    Also noted the SIG schools in Bay Point are losing funding for instruction and a ton of the ‘extra hours’ that may have been their saving grace last year. Too bad we’ll have to wait till 2014 and a whole new class of kids to find out what the effect was.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, what is the “state tax penalty and assessment” payment for $56,621.33 on Feb 7 ?

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s Dan Borenstein’s column about item 2.0 on Monday’s agenda: http://bit.ly/WzAsv1

  74. g Says:

    Good article, but I would have liked to see the actual 1/31 Rolen-to-Borenstein ‘snail mail’ letter too.

    Carefully read CA ED CODE 35031.

    What does the law say about writing contracts or extensions that go beyond the legal limit of 4 years? As I read it, original 4 yr term contracts should end (period) at the 4 yr mark, and entirely new contracts should be written for a new term of 1-4 years.

    How does writing an extension addendum change the law?

  75. g Says:

    Dr.J @72, It looks like they screwed up state payroll tax withholding-or reporting, but I suspect this isn’t the first time.

  76. g Says:

    And—look at those ‘secret’ contract extensions that were originally signed by Mayo, Eberhart and Whitmarsh. Look at the Term dates and where they were altered to go to June 30, 2014.

    Sloppy work even for that board. Not sloppy enough?

    Now look at what is being presented Monday. See…the Term dates have been changed BACK to ONLY go through June 30, 2013, because FFF at least knew not to put out a contract longer than 4 years–(see my above post #74).

    BUT THE ORIGINAL DAMN SIGNATURES were left in place–on contracts altered (again) after two of those board members had been gone for months!

    How much did we pay the dip/s from FFF to rewrite or alter these pieces of doo. What is legal about altering the signed contracts and leaving the old board’s signatures there? They certainly did NOT sign what is being presented Monday.

    Rolen says he “looked at them for accuracy” or some such bull.

    Good one Greg! Keeping up with business as usual!

  77. Doctor J Says:

    @G#75 EDD charges a 10% penalty plus daily interest. That would make it well over $5000 in penalties and interest. From EDD “A 10% penalty and interest will be charged on late Next-Day, Semiweekly, Monthly, and Quarterly deposit payment(s).
    Penalty and interest will be charged on the UI and ETT Contributions, and the SDI and PIT Withholdings. For
    calculating interest, the daily interest factor for January 1, 2013, through June 30, 2013, is .000082*.”

  78. g Says:

    Dr J: Makes you want to go back and find out how often Payroll has cost us penalties like this.

    Obviously I’m more upset about the Big 5 contracts. First, they say Lack’s and Minyen’s Cure and Correct letters lacked merit, but then go right ahead and throw out those ‘secret’ contracts that were the very basis of the Cure and Correct. Now, they give us the original 2009-10 contracts that were invalid when they were ‘extended’ without corrections on 4/23.

    But we’re supposed to accept that invalid vote and just let addenda fix everything so this board can simply, in effect, ratify the 4/23 invalid vote.

    Will this board be just as chicken-s and afraid to stand up for what’s right for the students when they have to negotiate with the unions?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @G#76 Well at least Exhibit A surfaced. My understanding is that the contracts attached to the April 23, 2012 agenda are attached [I didn’t verify them] and then the newly drafted extensions, which also include other provisions not specifically discussed back in April 2012. There is no discussion about the automatic increases, which may violate AB 1344 “prohibit an employment contract for a local agency executive, as defined, from providing an automatic renewal of a contract that provides for an automatic compensation increase in excess of a
    cost-of-living adjustment”

  80. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Small progress – each of the big5 contracts at least are now presented as a stand-alone agenda item, not lumped together as one.

    Step backwards – requests for 2 more legal firm additions have no information to explain why we need 2 more firms bringing the total contracted up to 9 firms – what is their expertise? Are there so many lawsuits against us “we” can’t keep up? WHY are more law firms needed?

  81. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ HFO #80: Agree that considering each discrete contract individually is a step forward.

    Speaking of administrative overhead:

    A new study shows that non-teachers outnumber teachers in 25 states, including California (which has 103.3 co-called “educrats” for every teacher). This staffing bloat is a change from the past; sixty years ago there were 237 public school teachers for every 100 non-teaching staff.

    “As the share of non-instructional staffing has grown at US public schools, per-pupil expenditures in constant dollars have also grown significantly, from $1,708 in 1949-50 to $11,339 in 2008-09 (most recent year available. That’s a 564% and more than six-fold increase in real spending per pupil! It’s been well-documented that educational outcomes (e.g. test scores) have been flat for many decades, so we’re not getting any observable increase in quality for the six-fold increase in real spending per pupil.”

    Link to summary article and study here: http://bit.ly/Y2OsuG

  82. Doctor J Says:

    The Big5 contracts are only on for information, not for action.

  83. Doctor J Says:

    @G#74 At the bottom of Borenstein column: To read our records requests and Rolen’s responses, go to contracostatimes.com/daniel-borenstein.

  84. Wendy Lack Says:

    @DJ #83:

    After reading the blow-by-blow records at http://www.contracostatimes.com/daniel-borenstein, I’m incredulous.

    Trustees must come clean or face recall.

    The stonewalling is unacceptable.

  85. Doctor J Says:

    @Wendy, did you see the $5000 plus penalty and interest for not filing the payroll taxes on time ? Bryan Richards has cost this district well over $100,000 with his carelessness in leaving his laptop out on a Friday, and now not filing the Calif payroll taxes on time by Jan 31. There needs to be some accountability.

  86. Wendy Lack Says:

    @DJ #85:

    Trustees must hold the Superintendent accountable or show him the door.

    I remain hopeful that the Trustees will do the latter, in order for the District to have the leadership it DESERVES.

    MDUSD needs to hire a new Superintendent that, in turn, will recruit a leadership team with integrity and that is innovative, competent and capable of doing the job that needs doing — including building trusting relationships with all stakeholders.

    The steady stream of financial irregularities coming from Richards’ office — including ongoing payroll complaints — are unmistakeable red flags and wholly intolerable. (I expect we’ll learn the full extent of the problem only after an ethical leadership team is in place.)

    Change is needed. Now.

    We cannot go on like this.

  87. Jim Says:

    @84 — Rolen’s misuse of “attorney-client” privilege has cropped up again and again. Here he treats it as if the confidentiality belongs to the administrators, when, in fact, he was (supposed to be) representing the district and the board, which never asserted its attorney-client privilege. Either he doesn’t understand the concept — incredible for an attorney with his experience — or he is intentionally mis-stating his motivation to hide impermissible practices.

    MDUSD has been the laughing stock of N. CA school districts for far too long. Will we ever have a district that doesn’t generate eye-rolling at the mere mention of its name?

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Now that the board has had a retreat focusing on the Brown Act and Public Records Act, trustees should understand that Rolen cannot speak for them and he cannot withhold documents, if trustees believe it’s in the public’s best interests to release them.
    At a previous board meeting, Superintendent Lawrence said he didn’t direct his secretary to alter his contract or Bryan Richards’ contract. He only directed her to change the expiration dates, which is what the board voted on.
    Lawrence’s secretary would not have deleted a clause in the superintendent’s contract and renumbered all the remaining clauses without direction from someone. She told me she was waiting for Rolen to review the contracts before she typed up the final versions. It’s likely that there were emails exchanged between the superintendent’s secretary and Rolen regarding the new contracts. Trustees should release those emails so the public can see who directed her to make the changes.
    And trustees should ask Rolen point blank during the public board meeting if he directed the superintendent’s secretary to alter Lawrence’s contract.
    And speaking of stonewalling, I submitted PRAs to MDUSD, FCMAT and the COE for all correspondence related to the CVCHS study. FCMAT and the COE responded immediately, letting me know that they received my request and were working on it. They have both already complied, giving me the documents electronically at no cost.
    Although my PRA to MDUSD was addressed to the superintendent, Rolen, Deb Cooksey and Bryan Richards, I have not heard back from any of them. It appears that district staff wasn’t taking to heart what the FFF attorney told them about the need to be responsive.
    Like Borenstein, I may also be compelled to forward my PRA directly to trustees in order to get a timely response.
    It is Rolen’s common practice to use snail mail to respond to PRAs, even though my requests always specifically ask for emailed responses. The board could direct him to respond electronically, in the interest of expediency and to quell suspicions that he uses snail mail as a delaying tactic.

  89. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @88 – when you were engaged in emailing with the secretary, did you ask the her who (other than Lawrence telling the to change the expiration dates) directed her to make the updates on the contracts? I find it amazing that his secretary would take direction from anyone else without his knowledge. If he didn’t review her work, and ask her why she made those changes if he didnt tell her to, he’s at fault.

    It seems Lawrence always points a finger at someone else then walks away, without offering to find out why something he should have been aware of / was under his direct control of position had not been done correctly, or was not done at all when “it” should have been. If he’s so inept at managing staff, has no control or knowledge of actions his staff makes, why are we paying him so much and extending his contract?

  90. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You are correct that Lawrence should have noticed that his contract was a changed and asked who directed the change, since it was not board-approved. He also shouldn’t have asked trustees to sign it. And, of course, the trustees who signed it also should have noticed that it was altered and refused to sign it, since the change was not board-approved. Apparently, no one bothered to read it, or they hoped no one would find out.

  91. Teacher Says:

    To Wendy re #86. MDUSD DID have a superintendent and staff with integrity under McHenry. The people who write on this blog, the same people who fought so hard to get rid of Gary and his staff will find fault with the next group. If the didn’t, how would they fill their time?

  92. g Says:

    Brian Lawrence said he would like to see 5 years of Rolen’s legal expense/budget logs. I’d like to see them back to when he started in 2005!

    If Rolen is ‘remembered’ for nothing else when he finally leaves, he should be remembered for Every Legal question, from simple email advice to court proceedings costing us much more than they should have. AND for making everything he touches a ‘fight to the finish’ — where, when challenged, he almost invariably LOSES — and on more than one occasion has been reamed by the judge for his behavior and handling of a case!
    —–
    I would especially like to see the accounting of one of the cases he started for us when he was still with Miller Brown & Dannis in 2005; at almost the exact same time he was hired to come in as our first ever General Counsel,(Thanks to Pedersen’s in-house construction management oversight a lot of Measure C sh-tuff was hitting the legal fan!)

    No doubt Rolen convinced that board he could not only save us money, but ‘win the cases’ if we hired him.

    The Bottom Line for the “Heathorn v. MDUSD” case? Who Knows?

    Although the 5yr ‘Heathorn’ court case was first filed in June 2005 AND was Lost, then went to Appeal, BUT was finally settled in Oct 2010, I do not believe the combined/full costs have ever been reported.

    I’m confident making one guarantee, though.

    With Rolen pulling in Peter Bonis to take over for him, when the going got rough, (and his personal kinky lifestyle was really getting in the way) — and then when he and Bonis lost ‘BIG’, another LA attorney, Brown & Bonesteel, was brought in to handle the Appeal.

    My guarantee– His bungling of the Heathorn case alone ate up well more than three years worth of Rolen’s entire annual legal budgets!

    Did measure C pay the ‘original’ construction debt?

    I also want to know if ANY Bond measure account was charged for the “extra” $million-plus PENALTIES that we lost in the legal battle!!!!

    Hints of legal bungling not enough?

    Heathorn offered to settle for just what they were owed, plus attorney fees, just ONE year after the case began, which was FOUR years before Rolen/Bonis dragged it out to a jury and cost us more than DOUBLE what they offered to settle for!

    The court Judge said (my emphasis): “…In making this award the Court is not unaware, in any manner, of the large economic effect that this penalty award will have upon the children attending the various schools of the Mt. Diablo District. From recent news accounts it appears that not only will class sizes be increased due to teacher layoffs but the entire high school athletics and other after-school programs may be at risk of being discontinued in whole or substantial part.
    It should not go unnoticed that this penalty, which the Court has no option but to award, OCCURS ONLY BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPETENT AND ARROGANT MANNER IN WHICH THE SCHOOL BOARD AND ITS REPRESENTATIVES MANAGED THIS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. In reality, the cost to the District of this mismanagement was considerably greater. This Court has been told by the district that it incurred a cost of some $800,000 to bring in temporary classrooms when the school was not completed prior to the school term.
    The jury concluded, in what seems to be well supported by the evidence, that this delay was almost entirely attributable to the conduct of the District and its representatives~1.”

    “~1. The delay in opening was found to be comprised of 137 days unrelated to weather, with 125 of them attributed to the District”
    —–

    (did Pedersen need to give ‘portable temporary housing’ deals to his favorite contractors back then too?)
    —–

    Heathorn built Delta View, but he can’t be blamed for the poor choice of site, the weird financing deals (or the many thousands we’re now paying to get rid of MOLD in an almost new school.)

  93. g Says:

    Oops. It didn’t feel like a book when I was writing it 😉

  94. Doctor J Says:

    Back on January 18, at a Special Meeting, Supt Steven Lawrence initially said he didn’t know who changed the contracts. Apparently since then his memory has gotten better.

  95. Theresa Harrington Says:

    What are you referring to regarding his memory getting better?

  96. Doctor J Says:

    His more recent statements.

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    What more recent statements?

  98. Doctor J Says:

    That his secretary modified them.

  99. Doctor J Says:

    Loved Wendy’s comment on Borenstein’s column: “March 10-16 is national Sunshine Week, which promotes government transparency. When it comes to ironic coincidences, the timing of the Board’s consideration of these matters is pretty tough to top.” It will be interesting to hear the interchange, if its broadcast, but not sure what will happen since its on for info only. Its also unbelieveable there are no emails about the subject — the district server should be searched for all emails — the laptops of current and former Board members should be searched. Rolen did admit he was in possession of memoranda to the Board but refused to produce it. He failed to specify the other records.

  100. Doctor J Says:

    Rolen had a conflict of interest as an attorney responding to Borenstein’s PRA — he was covering up his own contract extension with the others. I suspect there are email between Rolen, Steven Lawrence and Gary Eberhart that are being covered up by Rolen’s response. Maybe even add Sherry Whitmarsh to that list.

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the very least, there must be emails between Lawrence’s secretary and Rolen. I do not believe that she would have modified them without direction from Rolen or Lawrence, since she specifically told me she was waiting for direction. It’s possible no one noticed that Richard’s vacation accrual had been manually changed, so that may have been a sloppy oversight. But, the removal of the clause from the superintendent’s contract was obviously intentional.

  102. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Mt. Diablo’s veracity is also questioned in this story about mandated reporter training: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_22749690/school-abuse-reporting-training-murky-despite-horrifying-cases

    Although Felicia Stuckey-Smith and Julie Braun-Martin assured me that MDUSD trains ALL of its employees in mandated reporting, they were unable to verify this after I told them that Annie Nolen surveyed her members and that very few ever remembered receiving any such training. Nolen told me that out of about 200 responses from CSEA members, only a handful ever recalled receiving such training — and that was several years ago. Nolen is pushing for online training offered by the state, but so far, the district has been slow to respond to her suggestion. I spoke to Board President Cheryl Hansen about this and she said she believes the district needs to ENSURE that this training is taking place, not just hope that it is.

  103. Doctor J Says:

    Tom Torlakson sent this letter to all District Supts about who needs to be trained in mandatory reporting. http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr13ltr0214.asp

  104. Doctor J Says:

    National Sunshine Week began today. “Join us in a nationwide discussion about the importance of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. Sunshine Week, March 10-16, 2013″ http://www.sunshineweek.org/

  105. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#102 Did Felicia Stuckey-Smith or Julie B-M provide the training ? I don’t think so. Board Regulation 5141.4 says: “Training Training of mandated reporters shall include child abuse identification and reporting. All employees receiving such training shall receive written notice of state reporting requirements and employees’ confidentiality rights. (Penal Code 11165.7) Training shall also include guidance in the appropriate discipline of students, physical contact with students, and maintenance of ethical relationships with students to avoid actions that may be misinterpreted as child abuse.” Here is another provision of that regulation: “The Superintendent or designee shall give persons hired by the district a statement informing them that they are mandated by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect, inform them of their reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166, and provide a copy of Penal Code 11165.7 and 11166. Before beginning employment, employees shall sign the statement indicating that they have knowledge of the reporting obligations under Penal Code 11166 and that they will comply with those provisions. The signed statements shall be retained by the Superintendent or designee. (Penal Code 11166.5)” Julie, are you really doing this ? I don’t think so.

  106. Jim Says:

    It is so characteristic that State Supe Torlakson and Assemblywoman Buchanan would suggest that we need to “tighten and clarify regulations”, as if the law is not already perfectly clear about what constitutes abuse, who MUST report it, and TO WHOM. The only thing the law does not mandate is a specific training regimen, and even there it clearly recommends training. In fact, the law says that any district that does not provide training MUST submit a waiver to the state, and according to the CC Times reporter, NOT ONE district has EVER submitted such a waiver. So even though the law is clear, and even though in-person and online training is available FOR FREE to any school district employee in the state, lapses and downright incompetence are all too frequent.

    Clearly, the problem is NOT that the laws are inadequate. And the old saw of “not enough funding” does not pertain. The problem is that district personnel are not being held accountable for following the laws that ALREADY EXIST. Once again, our officials want to exhibit a suitable buzz of activity (at least until this particular education scandal blows over), while ignoring the fundamental problem that plagues our public school districts — accountability. In the end, almost no public figure wants to force that issue regarding ANY of the serious failures facing our tradition public schools.

  107. Wendy Lack Says:

    @ Jim #106:

    Agreed. This lapse isn’t solely a training issue. It’s a character issue, a matter of ethics, and likely incompetence, too, as you point out. Character is tested under fire. Those individuals we’re reading about in the CC Times failed in performing their clear duties for fear of bad PR, etc. — they didn’t want to pay the price for doing the right thing.

    This is precisely why private (esp. parochial) schools have waiting lists and homeschooling families are on the rise. Why should parents entrust their precious ones to public schools that can’t keep kids safe? Why take the risk?

    We teach our kids the importance of personal responsibility, trustworthiness and other ground rules of ethics through “Character Counts” programs. Sounds like school administrators and staff are the ones who need the ethics refresher (http://bit.ly/dEYOzO).

    I wonder about the thoroughness of school hiring practices, as well. “Personnel is policy” and public schools should be doing thorough background checks, etc. to ensure only those of good character are placed on the payroll. It’s not a matter of merely checking criminal histories — it’s a matter of striving to hire only those individuals whose character is unimpeachable. Don’t our kids deserve at least as much?

  108. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: No, Felicia and Julie didn’t say they provided the training. They said they assumed that principals provided the training to their staffs. But, Annie points out that since the board slashed the hours of instructional assistants, they are not often included in site meetings. Neither are custodians,secretaries and bus drivers. Julie sent an email saying that Felicia should have a record of the training. But when I sent a follow-up email to Felicia asking when the training s occurred, I got no response.
    In fact, Felicia responded in the survey that MDUSD has no reporting and training policy. Yet, the AR you cite is the same one that many other districts pointed to as their policies. Does this mean Felicia was unaware that the district had that in place?
    Jim: I agree that the law is being largely ignored and I’m not sure Buchanan’s proposed changes will make much of a difference, since even districts with policies are ignoring them. And she is specifically being vague about what she means by “reviewing” the policy. Nolen’s suggestion of online training is much more comprehensive than what Buchanan wants to require.

  109. Doctor J Says:

    No wonder lawyers are having a field day and getting large awards and settlements against districts — they just ask for the “signed statements” as required by the CSBA model regulations and when the districts can’t produce them: GUILTY AS CHARGED. Julie saying Felicia should have a record of the trainings and Felicia not having any kind of record is so typical of the dysfunction in the district. Now Julie and Felicia pawn off the district’s responsibility for training in mandatory reporting to the principals ? What a joke. Greg Rolen, as the Risk Manager, should be appalled.

  110. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim#106 I believe the state law does state some elements that must be in the training regimin as outlined in my post #105 based on MDUSD Board Administrative Regulation 5141.4. Since neither Felicia Stuckey-Smith [a lawyer BTW] and Asst Supt Julie B-M were apparently aware of their own Board regulations, MDUSD is ripe for huge payout on an abuse lawsuit. Clearly the CEO of MDUSD, Steven Lawrence, has no idea of how to manage a District this large and ensure ACCOUNTABILITY.

  111. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, perhaps you can do a PRA for the “form” new hires are supposed to sign under Administrative Regulation 5141.4. I don’t think it exists.

  112. Doctor J Says:

    Has Steven Lawrence made a “designee” ? “The Superintendent or designee shall provide training regarding the reporting duties of district employees mandated by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.” Board Policy AND Administrative Regulation 5141.4. http://gamutonline.net/DisplayPolicy/374328/5

  113. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Nolen showed me the form. But, she points out that many people don’t read the documentation that comes with the form, which is why she believes it is imperative to have actual training.
    It is surprising that neither Stuckey-Smith nor Braun-Martin appear to have been aware of the board policy that already exists regarding mandated reporter training. Clearly, just having a policy is not enough. It must actually be reviewed by all staff to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities.

  114. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#113 The Board sets the policy and the Supt sets the implementation along with accountability to ensure full implementation. Otherwise a school board will end up writing a check for $4.75 million like this one. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_22725025/record-settlement-mentally-disabled-girl-sexually-abused-school

  115. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, I just learned that CSBA recommended in November that 38 different Board policies and By-laws be amended, but in MDUSD not a single one has been presented to the Board until the AB 1575 changes tonight. 5 months delay ? Why ?

  116. g Says:

    Dr J.@112: As noted, the board is remiss in updating Board Policies. Is it in fact the Supt’s responsibility to assure legal compliance? Read through the almost magical appearance of an Appendix A for Rolen’s contract.

    Also look at when the Board designated a broad range of duties to the General Counsel. “…5. Training for all employees of applicable laws, safety procedures, loss prevention, etc.”

    Legal Counsel duties: See minutes of Item 10.6 of 12-09-08.
    Legal Counsel Budget: See Item 5.3 of minutes of 12-16-08.

    Then, a year later, Rolen said he’d take charge of ‘even more’ departments—if he got a new contract, AND the money was right!

    Of course, no matter how many jobs may be ‘designated’, the buck should stop at the big man’s desk.

  117. g Says:

    I’m also looking forward to board discussion and decision on allowing Eagle Peak to draw even more students away from district control. Will ‘up to 35′ sixth grade students mean subsequent bumping and yet more Certificated lay-offs.

  118. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my own PRA response from Rolen, along with my response to him and the board: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/03/11/mdusd-board-to-discuss-public-records-act-request/

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