The Mt. Diablo school board heard four public comments before going into closed session to act on employee discipline, dismissal, release or complaint.
Here is a recap of the public comments:
1. Sherry Whitmarsh, YVHS parent and former MDUSD trustee:
“Board members, I’m here as an extremely concerned parent. Once again, this board spends time harassing employees instead of working on issues that help students succeed. It’s obvious that you don’t value parents’ input because of the lack of notice afforded parents about this meeting. As a matter of fact, the print version in the Times today was very different than the version that appeared on the Electronic School Board at this point in time.
It also appears that many of you are reading the nameless blogs that are out there. Well, I’m here to show you that there are parents who are concerned and are willing to state our names and talk to you in person. Dr. Lawrence worked with the CUES group, including Kish Rajan, to pass Measure C, which reduced the PG&E bill to our district, brought air conditioning to our schools, gave science labs to our high schools and provided various improvements. Very vocal against this was the taxpayer groups and the Contra Costa Times – two of the vocal groups against Dr. Lawrence. Dr. Lawrence also allows principals to run schools based upon the communities they serve. Parents appreciate this. He meets with feeder patterns, gives us honest feedback, and engages us in meaningful dialogue – unlike this board. He respects us and cares about our children.
Mr. Rolen is also being questioned by you. Think back to the money that you could have spent on outside fees. Mr. Rolen brought in Deb Cooksey and reduced millions of dollars for her ability in negotiations and investigations. As a matter of fact, the board violated the Brown Act by voting on an informational item at the March 11 meeting. Now, if you are being swayed by the article in the Times against Mr. Rolen and Ms. Padilla, I think that you should be aware of the facts. CTI lost three major clients in 2008 and laid off Ms. Padilla. She formed her own company, AIS, in 2009, and was provided the translation services to major law firms and an insurance company. AIS was hired by our special ed department in 2010. The contract was reviewed by the general counsel, but this contract was done by the special ed department. No concerns were voiced from Wing D at the time. In 2012, she and Mr. Rolen were married and he announced it at the first board meeting since the wedding took place.
Please note: your agenda tonight has one employee, not plural, it doesn’t say employees. It says employee. There is no employee number. You have no counsel here to assist you in legal issues for closed session for public employee dismissal complaint. I ask that you please stop this harassment of these two staff members and stop introducing legal risk into this district and focus on educating our students. Thank you.”
2. Ilana Samuels, YVHS parent:
“My name is Ilana Samuels. Hello, Mt. Diablo school board members. I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to you this evening. My understanding is that tonight you are going to consider tonight letting go of some key district staff, including our superintendent. How can you do that without hearing from as many of the stakeholders in this district as you possibly can? As elected officials, are you confident that this is what our community wants? I don’t believe it is. I find it ironic that for a board who claims to care so much about transparency, that you would make a decision like this with so little notice or information to the community. Today, I wrote you all an email. Within a few hours, I had the permission of 33 constituents to add their names….”
3. Mary Gray, CPHS and Sequoia MS and Sequoia Elem. parent: spoke in support of superintendent.
4. John Parker: MDHS area resident: Asked board to carefully consider decisions.
At about 10:30 p.m., Hansen reported that the board agreed to give direction to staff. After her announcement, she said the board would continue discussing the same two employees during another closed session Tuesday, April 16. She said she hopes to post that agenda Friday.
I will post the videos in about half an hour.
Do you agree with the public speaker comments?