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Live blog of 5-6-13 MDUSD Board meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, May 6th, 2013 at 7:51 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

MDHS JROTC color guard presents flags for pledge of allegiance.

MDHS JROTC color guard presents flags for pledge of allegiance.

Tonight’s May 6, 2013 Mt. Diablo school board meeting has begun. Here is the agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info
1.2 Board Member Lynne Dennler will participate from: Paseo de la Marina Norte 585, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, JAL, Mexico Info
2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment
3.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info
4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
4.1 Negotiations – The Board may discuss negotiations or provide direction to its representatives regarding represented employees, pursuant to EERA (Govt. Code Section 3549.1) Agency negotiators: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey. Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Action
4.2 Conference with Labor Negotiators Action
4.3 Admission Action
4.4 Readmission Action
4.5 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Action
4.6 Anticipated Litigation Info
5.0 Reconvene Open Session
5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info
6.0 Preliminary Business
6.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info
7.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
7.1 Negotiations Info
7.2 Conference with Labor Negotiators Info
7.3 Admission Info
7.4 Readmission Info
7.5 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint Info
7.6 Anticipated Litigation Info
8.0 Consent Agenda
Action
8.1 (Item #1) Items listed under Consent Agenda are considered routine and will be approved/adopted by a single motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items; however, any item may be removed from the consent agenda upon the request of any member of the Board and acted upon separately. Action
8.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
8.3 (Item #3) Approval of Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) request Action
8.4 (Item #4) Request to increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 school year Action
8.5 (Item #5) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
8.6 (Item #6) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Positions Action
8.7 (Item #7) Creation of a New Job Description for Administrator of Equity and Disproportionality Action
8.8 (Item #8) Award of Request for Quotations for RFQ #1646: Schlage Lock Hardware Action
8.9 (Item #9) RFQ/RFP 1641 Approval of Preliminary Services Agreement for the Management, Coordination, Constructability Review, Value Engineering and Recommendations related to Remodel of the Science Center at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
8.10 (Item #13) Final Change Order: Hazardous Materials Testing and Field Observation Services Related to HVAC installation at Various Sites: Enviro-Safety, Training And Resources, Inc. Action
8.11 (Item #14) Notice of Completion for LLB #1604 Action
8.12 (Item #15) Approval of contract with MusicTrip.com and Mt. Diablo Unified School District for services provided for College Park High School band trip. Action
8.13 (Item #16) Professional Services Contract for Provision of Comprehensive Architectural/Engineering Services associated with Sports Medicine and Air Conditioning Modifications at Mt. Diablo High School Action
8.14 (Item #17) Increase total for Independent Services Contract for The Event Group Action
8.15 (Item #18) Approval of additional contract with Resource Development Associates, Inc. (RDA) to revise and administer the Title I Parent/Family Involvement Survey for the 13 Title I schools. Action
8.16 (Item #19) Resolution 12/13-43 Classified Employees’ Week Action
9.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion
9.1 (Item #10) RFQ/RFP 1632 Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to Taber Construction, Inc. for HVAC Modernization at Bancroft, Mountain View, Silverwood and Valle Verde Elementary Schools. Action
9.2 (Item #11) RFQ/RFP 1634 Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to Bell Products, Inc. for HVAC Modernization at Monte Gardens ES, El Monte ES, Shadelands, Sunrise and Westwood ES. Action
9.3 (Item #12) RFQ/RFP 1633 Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to Taber Construction, Inc. for HVAC Modernization at Gregory Gardens, Hidden Valley and Strandwood Elementary Schools. Action
10.0 Public Comment
10.1 The public may address the Board regarding any item within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District that is not on this agenda. These presentation are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the three minute limit may be shortened. If there are multiple speakers on any one subject, the public comment period may be moved to the end of the meeting. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info
11.0 Communications
11.1 District Organizations – At regular Board meetings, a single spokesperson of each recognized district organization may make a brief presentation following the Consent Agenda. Items are limited to those which are informational. Info
12.0 Business/Action Items
12.1 Appointment of Administrator, School Support Action
12.2 Opportunity for public response to the Initial Successor Agreement Proposals for Public Employees Union Local #1 Clerical, Secretarial and Technical Units (CST) and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
12.3 Opportunity for public response to the Initial Successor Agreement Proposals for Public Employees Union Local #1 Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities/Transportation/Landscape/Warehouse/Food and Nutrition Services/Technology and Information Services/Substitute Custodian and School Bus Driver Units (M&O) and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
12.4 Opportunity for public response to the District’s Initial Successor Agreement Proposal for California School Employees Association (CSEA) Action
12.5 Request to approve the proposed decision of the Administrative Law Judge and implement the certificated layoff. Action
12.6 Boundary Modification for Bay Point Elementary Schools Action
12.7 Approve Separation Agreement of Superintendent Action
12.8 Approve Separation Agreement of General Counsel Action
12.9 Ratify the appointment of Jayne Williams, of Meyers Nave, as Interim General Counsel from May 7, 2013- September 9, 2013 Action
12.10 Approve the Legal Services Contract of Jayne Williams, of Meyers Nave, as Interim General Counsel Action
12.11 Approve the Legal Services Contract of Latisha McCray, Contract Attorney Action
12.12 Meeting Extension Action
13.0 Future Agenda Items
13.1 Graduation Requirements Info
13.2 Board Goals 2013-2014 Info
13.3 Mt. Diablo High School Academies Info
14.0 Board Member Reports
14.1 Board reports Info
15.0 Closed Session
15.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action
16.0 Adjournment
16.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

MDHS JROTC color guard presented the flags for pledge of allegiance.

Hansen reported out closed session.

Tim Cody pulled items 8.10-8.12 from consent calendar. Board unanimously approved rest of consent calendar.

He presented slides that have not yet been posted and said project is over budget.
John Ferrante and John Parker both questioned why bids were so high and Parker said more bids should be solicited.

8.10 passed in a 3-2 vote, with Hansen and Lawrence voting against.

8.11 John Ferrante and John Parker again spoke against.
Passed in a 4-1 vote, with Lawrence against.

8.12 John Ferrante and John Parker again spoke against.
Passed in a 4-1 vote, with Lawrence against.

Public Comments:

1. Mike Langley urged the board to keep academies small.

2. Willie Mims urged teachers to file Williams complaints if there are problems at their schools. He also questioned where the last three special board meetings were adequately noticed and said the board’s decision to pay people to terminate their contracts and to pay other people to do their jobs gives the appearance that the district has a lot of money. He also spoke against lease-leasebacks.

12.1 Board unanimously appointed Ygnacio Valley Elem. Principal Christine Richardson as a SASS administrator to replace Susan Hukkanen, who left last year.

MAY 7 UPDATE: Since I did not finish summarizing the board actions last night, I am pasting the district’s “Board Action Summary” for the meeting below:

“Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Board Action Summary
Meeting of May 6, 2013
Retirements:
Certificated
Mildred Browne
Judith Cubillo
Barbara Donovan
Elaine Green
Nancy Hanebury
Valerie Lyles
Nancy Martini
Hellena Postrk
Calla Van Buskirk
Shirley Weiner

Classified:
Carolina Gow
Sandra Michels
Cecelia Swanson

1. Approved all consent agenda items.

2. Approved the appointment of Christine Richardson as School Support Administrator effective 2013-2014 school year.

3. Provided opportunity for public response to the successor agreement proposals for CST and Mt. Diablo Unified School District and formally adopted the proposals for formal negotiations.

4. Provided opportunity for public response to the successor agreement proposals for M&O and Mt. Diablo Unified School District and formally adopted the proposals for formal negotiations.

5. Provided opportunity for public response to the District’s successor agreement proposals to CSEA and formally adopted the proposals for formal negotiations.

6. Approved the decision of the Administrative Law Judge to eliminate 87.22203 FTE from MDEA membership, 2.10 FTE from School Psychologists, and 5.60 FTE from DMA membership and authorize the Superintendent/Designee to give appropriate notice on or before May 14, 2013 to the individuals named in or affected by the decision.

7. Approved boundary modification for Bay Point elementary schools.

8. Ratified the appointment of Jayne Williams, of Meyers Nave, as
Interim General Counsel from May 7, 2013- September 9, 2013.

9. Approved the legal services contract of Jayne Williams, of Meyers Nave, as Interim General Counsel.

10. Approved the legal services contract of Latisha McCray, contract attorney.”

MAY 13 UPDATE: In response to an informal Public Records Act request, I received a copy of the superintendent’s departure email to management staff and the district’s engagement letter with Meyers Nave, which spells out the following hourly rates the district has agreed to pay: $270 for principal attorneys, $240 for associate attorneys and $135 for paralegals.

Here is a google docs link to the documents: https://docs.google.com/file/d/17SfR6y4HRPwbbxLypW9wtVEUZRi8WM6ZseFjrbIkoqRb7gFVLpagAv9HoUBJ/edit?usp=sharing

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113 Responses to “Live blog of 5-6-13 MDUSD Board meeting”

  1. g Says:

    I believe two SASS people have left in the last month. One retired, one resigned. Correct? If so, are both going to be replaced? In light of the failures of both SASS and Department heads to react more quickly to five years of known Equity and Disproportionality, and the resultant consequence of a “must” expenditure mandate of 15% of already insufficient SpEd funds to hire an outside Consultant, plus 5+ people to ‘begin’ the process of repair—- we wonder; will those E&D jobs overlap SASS? Are all those people necessary to ‘begin’ a process at ‘target’ schools?

    Or are they more fodder for the district’s cash cow? Robbing today’s SpEd kids to ‘begin’ a multi-year process when management has already been paying Bacon et al and ‘studying’ the problem for two years is outrageous. Sure it has to be fixed. But let’s get it done internally by all the PhD’s already running around.

  2. anon Says:

    Who are the two SASS people that have left?

  3. g Says:

    Did I doze off and two items were passed over?

    anon: One retired on the last full agenda, one resigned on this week’s list. I was surprised to hear that this replacement was for Hukkanan. I though she was already replaced months ago.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Christine Richardson replaced Susan Hukkanen, who left last year. Hellena Postrk will retire un the summer, so there is another opening.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: They didn’t vote on the two settlement agreements because they still haven’t been finalized. They expect to have another special meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

  6. g Says:

    Linda Hutcherson was on the Retirement list a couple of weeks ago, so there are still two openings in SASS.

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about tonight’s meeting: http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_23187165/mt-diablo-trustees-finalize-agreement-interim-general-counsel

  8. Anon Says:

    Keep attorneys physically out of the Dent Center and have these managers actually fill out requests for time with the districts’ attorney. This way, the board can approve or disapprove request for legal consult, but would know how inert the managers are. Attorneys can be at another site or remain in their firm offices and report billable hours. Keep them from getting enmeshed with Napoleonic bullies currently roaming the halls. Keep them objective and focused. Any new attorney needs to escape what happened to Deb Cooksey: chasing down Teamsters, acting as some Personnel Interrogator, fighting so a managers’ boyfriend could come in 3 times a day and actually blaming employees for not wanting the disruption. At this point, Deb is so compromised and clearly has an allegiance to this little MUST GO group that she is ineffective. She will defend cronies but has not done what is right for the district. Coming to questionable decisions and using “I ran it past the attorney” now passes for some type of seal of approval. Why do these employees like Julie Braun Martin, Lois Peterson, and Bryan Richards et al need constant access to attorneys? I am appalled that the board seems to think only Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen were the problem. I would have gotten rid of Richards and Rolen first because if we don’t start cleaning up this convoluted system and improving morale, no changes will happen. These people will land somewhere but remember: not matter where you go, there you are. Think Swett would rehire him?

  9. anon Says:

    You left out a fairly important fact in your news story. You forgot to report the amount of money being spent to be able to call Jayne Williams our non-exclusive “general counsel”. She becomes the highest paid employee working in the school district.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I am planning to add that info into the updated version, which will be published tomorrow.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have started uploading video clips from the meeting to my YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa account.

  12. Anon Says:

    Theresa @4, what are the duties of the School Support Administrator? Do you know how Richardson obtained this appointment, and if she was recommended for this position by now departed employees?

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Basically, these administrators are supposed to coach principals to be better instructional leaders. It was unclear who specifically recommended Richardson, but Julie Braun-Martin praised her past eight years at Ygnacio Valley Elementary. Brian Lawrence also said he was very impressed with her relationships with the students when he visited her campus.

  14. Anon2 Says:

    T5, Why so long to approve the separation agreements???

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, I asked Trustee Linda Mayo after the meeting if she would be willing to comment on why she voted to retain the superintendent and to terminate the general counsel. She said she did not want to comment, since she had already commented on this in previous meetings. I said I didn’t recall her explaining her votes in the past, but she replied that she had. So, it’s a bit unclear specifically which meetings or comments to which she is referring.

    I will post the comments sent to me by Dennler shortly. Hansen, Oaks and Lawrence have stated the reasons for their votes publicly in recent meetings.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon2: I spoke to both Board President Cheryl Hansen and Trustee Brian Lawrence after the meeting about this (separately), but neither went into any detail. They both said they hoped to have had the contracts finalized for Monday’s meeting. Lawrence said he thought perhaps the contracts could be ready for approval Wednesday, but Hansen said she didn’t think that would be the case. Hansen said she definitely expects them to be ready by May 20. She mentioned during Monday’s meeting that there could be more special board meetings to come…

  17. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#15 Linda Mayo’s memory is defective — she forgot there are tape recordings of the meetings. She has not made any comments. Linda, its time to get an Excelon patch they advertise on TV.

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’m wondering if maybe she is referring to her comments last April, when the board initially voted to extend the contracts and she made a motion to remove the general counsel’s contract. At that meeting, she said she didn’t think new board members would have enough knowledge and experience to make a decision about whether or not to retain the superintendent. She did not say why she wanted to exclude the general counsel, but I think at that time she referred to comments (on which she did not elaborate) that she had made at previous meetings, which she said were not recorded in the minutes (and may not have been videotaped). So, it appears she may be the only one who knows for sure what comments she made in the past that could explain her votes.

  19. Anon2 Says:

    T16, so do both Lawrence and Rolen get paid leave until the agreements are signed, and then their buy out pay after that, or, does the paid leave include the buyout pay? If its the former, seems like they have an incentive not to sign.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t know the answer for sure, but Hansen previously told me that the board was acting according to the early termination without cause language in the contract. So, it’s my impression that their jobs ended May 1 and whatever pay they are now receiving corresponds to the buyout language. I’m not sure what the holdup is. Hansen had told me there was “something else” that the board might seek to include. Of course, it’s also likely there could be other things that Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen are seeking to include. Perhaps this is being discussed as “anticipated litigation,” since the separation agreements weren’t listed on the closed session agenda Monday. As we now know, Mildred Browne’s separation agreement was discussed under “anticipated litigation” in the past.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that the district has posted a “board action summary” from May 6 (which I will also paste into my blog post above): http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/action/2013/05-06-13.pdf

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=410

    It looks like they expect to approve the settlement agreements tomorrow, after all.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for tonight’s CAC meeting, which includes anticipated program changes for 2013-14 in the assistant superintendent’s report: http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/Attachments/335/cac-agenda-050713.pdf

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a blog post with the CAC agenda, in case anyone wants to comment on it: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/05/07/mdusd-community-advisory-committee-meeting-tonight/

  25. Jim Says:

    There has been a lot of concern on this blog for salaries, particularly around severance agreements and paid leave for people who are being asked to leave. Some of the amounts are large, and it is never pleasant to spend that kind of money for a necessary transition. But let’s remember that about 83% of MDUSD’s budget goes to salaries and benefits — well over $4 million PER WEEK. Schools are ALL about people, and when people are poorly led, the waste is enormous. That’s why, when you have poor leadership, you MUST spend what it takes to get rid of the poor leaders and find the right people. Yes, it sticks in the craw to pay someone like Rolen to go away. But the biggest waste of all is to pay millions every week to thousands of educators and staff, only to waste their efforts through disorganization and poor decision-making at the top.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post with the agenda for tomorrow’s closed session, in case people want to comment on that: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/05/07/mdusd-board-to-meet-in-closed-session-wednesday-regarding-settlement-agreements-with-former-superintendent-and-general-counsel/

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the district sunshined union proposals on Monday, there was no public comment about them. Here’s MDEA’s bargaining update released today: http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102938290270-269/Bargaining+Update+%232+-+2013-14.pdf

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those interested in the statewide education picture, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan will address this topic Saturday in Lafayette: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/05/07/assemblywoman-joan-buchanan-to-speak-about-education-saturday-in-lafayette/

  29. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    How nice the District is in negotiations with MDEA no has said one word to us about negotiations. I guess they need to see what’s left over. Yes, I know the May budget is not in.

  30. Theresa Harrington Says:

    [PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN CORRECTED TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT HANSEN IS NOT ON THE DISTRICT TEAM NEGOTIATING WITH UNIONS]

    Annie, Hansen said that she is now on the team that will negotiate with the interim superintendent, along with the new interim general counsel. Now that the interim general counsel is in place, perhaps the district will be ready to start negotiations with CSEA as well.

  31. Anon Says:

    Hansen is now on the negotiations team? Bwahahahaha. You’ve got to be kidding!!! Hansen isn’t qualified to be at the table and it is likely a violation of current district policy. Things are very much headed in the wrong direction in this district.

  32. Theresa Harrington Says:

    [PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN CORRECTED TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT HANSEN IS NOT ON THE DISTRICT TEAM NEGOTIATING WITH UNIONS]

    Anon: Hansen is on the team that will negotiate with the interim superintendent.

  33. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    We have never had a Supt on the team. You feel like you’re buying a car with all the running back and forth they do. It reminds me of the movie Fargo and the sealer on the car. Back in the day it was just us and the district then they decided they needed lawyers. One came from down south. We always made comments that there’s a lawyer on every corner up here. He told us he stay with his brother up here. I doubt that changed the fee. One of their members use to doze off during talks. To this day if we see them we call them sleepy. It’s always nice to know they are interested in what you have to say. I think I need another cup of coffee.

  34. Management Clean up Says:

    The test is applying the same template to other workers to see how preposterous the current management structure carries on. Imagine the workers refusing to do their jobs, unable to make even menial decisions, needing 24/7 access to attorneys, targeting people with no consequence, acting like little gangs, rude condescension and general dislike for the staff, abusive towards staff, lying to staff and the board, not responding to the board, bestowing titles and ridiculous salaries on their buddies..…… now transfer this to a custodian or a secretary. Almost laughable, right? First, they have too much class and talent to act like this but you see what they now have from the highest, overpaid, “management” the district has chosen to keep. For me, personally, haughty Julie Braun Martin should have been the first one out the door. They have no trust or respect and there is no superintendent in the world that will give them either. It always has been a question of how to work around them so they don’t mess things up. Julie should be moved off of certificated duty and put somewhere else………

  35. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    Well, let me re-state team. They start out with 5 or more and end up with 3 and one of them is the lawyer. I guess they lose interest some where along the line. I don’t care how many great teachers you have you can not run a district without classified. They are leaving too.

  36. anon Says:

    From Board Bylaw 9280-

    Since the Governing Board itself will not negotiate with any employee organization directly, the Board designates the Superintendent or designee to represent it in negotiations with employee organizations. Expert consultants in the field of negotiations may be contracted to assist in the process of negotiations.

    The Board’s role in negotiations will be:

    1. To assess, to the best of its ability, the needs of its employees

    2. To set priorities for the total educational program in the best interests of students, the district and the public in general

    3. To translate educational priorities and employee needs into a realistic budget

    4. To maintain the Board’s position of authority and control as provided by law

    If you look into the advice given by most authorities in what are good practices for board members around negotiations, wisdom would side with keeping board members away from the actual negotiations table. Board members, especially board member hansen, will inhibit normal communications that must flow freely at the table. There is a very real possibility that hansen will confuse the process and bargaining team members are likely to be confused as to who the authority in the room is, the negotiations team or hansen. Keep in mind that hansen has no authority whatsoever at the bargaining table, not as a single board member and not as president of the board. Only the board as a whole has any authority.

    Is hansen going to be at every bargaining session for every bargaining unit?

    For hansen to even suggest that she is there in place of the superintendent is ridiculous.

    This is what our board has brought to this district. A district with no superintendent. There is no one there to make the professional decisions that are necessary every single day. To place the superintendent on administrative leave without a plan for his replacement was the most irresponsible move this board could have made. I get it that hansen is trying to move the district in the wrong direction, but how can the rest of the board follow her blindly? Where is the questioning and oversight? We need a board that will act professionally at all times. I thought we were going to see positive changes and all we see is a district circling the drain. The board should be ashamed.

  37. Anon Says:

    Sounds like the Unions are having trouble embracing the change to new leadership at MDUSD. Perhaps they are truly part of the problem. I’ve been giving them the benefit of the doubt, but all of the posts are proving my gut feeling has been right. They may be part of the problem.

    The $5,000 for the academy awards may be the tip of the iceberg as to what they receive from the District. Wonder what else will be uncovered with this new change in leadership.

  38. Brian Lawrence Says:

    The Board appointed our new interim General Counsel and President Hansen to represent the Board in contract negotiations with the Interim Superintendent when we identify that person. The Board has not approved any changes to our negotiating team with the various bargaining units.

    Annie, I believe that the District has responded to the various bargaining units when they have approached the District to start negotiations. I believe that MDEA is happening first because they were the first bargaining unit to approach the District. I will confirm this. We certainly need great classified employees as well as great teachers.

    The Board is meeting tonight to finalize a timeline for the appointment of the Interim Superintendent. We’ll be sharing that timeline with the public and all District staff.

    In his departure email, Superintendent Lawrence detailed who to contact for each area of responsibility. Rose Lock, Julie Braun Martin, Bryan Richards and Kerri Mills have been working together and informing the Board during the transition.

    As a member of staff mentioned to me, it really is the same process as when a Superintendent goes on vacation. If the District fell apart in two weeks because of a Superintendent’s departure, that certainly would not reflect well on the departed Superintendent. I don’t believe that is the current case.

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian, Thanks for this clarification. I misunderstood what Hansen meant when she said she was on the negotiating team. I didn’t realize she was referring specifically to negotiations with the Interim Superintendent and not with unions. I will correct my previous comments to reflect that.

  40. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    I have no problem with change. I truly hope its for the better. Its not always the Unions.

  41. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an Education Week blog about the economy’s impact on teacher salaries: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2013/05/report_teacher_pay_raises_slowed_during_recession.html

    I hear the SRVUSD teachers are protesting today regarding their stalled union negotiations.

  42. Wait a Minute Says:

    Anon#36 and his/her multiple other posts claiming that the sky is falling is almost certainly a member of Rolen’s or Stevie Lawrence’s cabal.

    As such he/she is simply repeatedly whining about Hansen and the much needed changes currently occuring.

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those interested in the state budget, here’s a video that explains the governor’s LCFF plan and shows how it would affect MDUSD: http://fairshare4kids.org/?utm_source=Weighted+Formula&utm_campaign=7a4ff31b21-Fair_Share_for_kids5_7_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_99001c1015-7a4ff31b21-29008477

  44. Parent Says:

    Theresa,

    When do you think we will see a “clear” cost impact to the MDUSD for the replacement of these two employees?

    It appears that cost related to appear to at least $ 500,000 to date.

    Would Brian Lawrence or any Board member be willing to disclose what the Board’s estimate of what these costs may be or is this information only available in the many “closed sessions?”

  45. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The costs won’t be known for sure until the settlement agreements are finalized and made public, an interim superintendent is hired and a new superintendent is hired.

  46. g Says:

    I would suggest again that much of the districts problems started with hiring in-house general counsel. That move alone might not have been the problem, but the person hired certainly became a problem. What we got from Rolen could best be described as ‘inbreeding’ due to his immediate infusion of the ‘best-buddy’ hiring of several of his past associates, either via the firms they had moved to, or thanks to a HUGE infusion of district contract promises, firms they had opened independently.

    While I believe there is a need for one on-staff specialist in the fields of Risk Management and Special Education as well as day-to-day operations, I would suggest that one major contract with a firm (like Meyers Nave), with wide-ranging attorney expertise and internal cooperation among those attorneys — instead of disparate opinions and competition between individual attorneys/firms might better serve the district’s needs.

    Certainly keeping our attorneys in the Bay Area would cut down on what I suspect have been outrageous “travel time” charges over the last several years. Travel time can be a budget breaker, and any Bay Area firm hired should be willing to have “travel time” charges specifically excluded in their contract.

    Inside/local-only counsel should be required to handle IEPs. Have we been paying 2-4-6-8 hours of travel time at $200/ph for IEP meetings or negotiations? I believe we have been.

    Seeing the district’s legal costs/budget double in the last several years argues in the favor of rethinking the entire process.

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian Lawrence has asked the interim general counsel to put together an analysis of legal costs over the past five years as she develops recommendations for how to streamline legal services in the future. Travel time for attorneys should certainly be considered.

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Reminder that Monday is the deadline to order tickets for the First Annual “Academy Awards” to take place May 17: http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102938290270-271/Academy+Award+Ticket+Form.pdf

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those who are interested in WCCUSD, the State Board of Ed is considering its waiver request to increase its bond indebtedness later today (Item W-29): http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/sbelivestream.asp

  50. anon Says:

    TH#47,

    Brian Lawrence asked the new interim GC to provide an analysis of 5 years of legal fees? Is that an action that the board took or can a single member of the board encumber the district for thousands of dollars of legal fees trying to dig up the past. When is this board going to start work on the future of students in this district? How much is the attorney from Myers Nave charging the district for that. That attorney must earn at least $200/hour. The contract that the board entered into with Myers Nave indicated that the hourly fees charged by the attorney are included in the engagement letter. Have you requested a copy of that engagement letter? I didn’t see one attached to the agenda.

  51. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, I have requested it. And, in the interest of transparency, it should have been attached to Monday’s agenda.

  52. g Says:

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that in-house counsel was asked for a 5-yr summary of legal expenses. His reply as I recall it was something to the effect of “I suppose I could do that.” The reply was NOT, “Yes, I will do that.”

    Had that information been forthcoming – preferably as part of Interim Reports, or even annually – or at the very least when specifically asked for it, we wouldn’t be paying outside counsel to do it now.

  53. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Bryan Richards can do that quite easily, at least in summary form. The district doesn’t need to pay an outside attorney to pull up invoices and payments and total them. Richards should also be able to sort them by law firm and types of services rendered. And, he should be able to report how much of those payments were for actual work versus for travel.

  54. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, I just spoke to Board President Cheryl Hansen and she said she does not expect the board to finalize the settlement agreements with Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen today after all. She said she put those items on the agenda as placeholders, “just in case.” She said she expects to report out of closed session around 6 pm.
    I will not attend the meeting, but Joe Estrada told me he plans to post the audio right away.
    Hansen said she hopes to report a date for another closed session meeting, if the agreements aren’t finalized today. She wants to get this done before May 20, she said.

  55. g Says:

    Theresa, I agree. Richards ‘could’ do that. We have to keep in mind though that even the friendly Christy White spoke negatively about the ‘routine, last minute creation of invoices’ to match checks being written. She did not specify which department did that.

    Regardless of who puts a report together, invoiced hours should be double checked with ‘other parties’ on the case. For instance, does our attorney routinely and in actuallity spend over 30-50 hours working on ONE SpEd student issue?

  56. Anon Says:

    I’d like to give some “neutral” input on the issue of hiring in-house legal counsel. I am not in anyone’s “camp.” When you have one firm providing legal services, you pay that firm the rate they charge per contract agreement, like the agreement now with Meyers Nave. The rate is generally in the area of $200. per hour or more, depending on the type of service being delivered, and whether it is done by a partner or associate. The individual attorney is not making the contracted amount-the firm is making that amount. The cost goes to pay the attorney’s salary (generally receiving about 1/3 of the hourly amount in the contract if you break down their salary to a per hour calculation), the legal firm’s overhead, malpractice insurance, etc. So Jayne Williams is getting paid her regular Meyers Nave partner salary, however it is calculated, and Meyers Nave is getting the $200. per hour paid by MDUSD, or whatever the hourly rate is for Ms. Williams’ services. Having in-house counsel is cheaper in that you can have the general counsel do a lot of the work you send out at $200. or more per hour, for a hourly rate under $100. Good firms do not waive travel costs in their contracts, unless they would not like to make any money off their contract. Please realize these details when you start arguing about in-house vs. outside counsel. LA Unified, SF Unified, and many other large districts have gone to the in-house counsel model because it is more cost efficient.

  57. g Says:

    Yes, a law ‘firm’ is like an employment ‘agency’. They take on all costs for the employee beyond ‘hourly wage’.

    At your $100/hr in-house guesstimate, Rolen worked 2,530 hours last year. Frankly, I doubt he was even awake, much less at work that many hours.

  58. Wait a Minute Says:

    Are you suggesting that “Once a Cheater, Always a CHEATER” Rolen was spending alot of time in bed?

  59. Annie V.P. CSEA Says:

    There is no they when the District hands out money. I don’t know anything about the Academy Awards Party except what I saw in the paper. I do know that CSEA has our on party twice a year to thank our members for their hard work and it’s a salad pot luck in the spring. We supply the drinks and table ware. Two of our members make quilts and another lady brings wonderful baskets to raffle off. At Christmas we do the same thing and Mt. Diablo Foster Youth receive the money the last two years. The spring get together and raffle always goes to the Armed Services,like Blue Star Moms
    or last year and this year it will go to Wounded Warriors. Our members pick who we give to. We give out door prizes also. So, if any one would like to donate something for the raffle or door prizes we would appreciate it. Last year we had a speaker from Wounded Warriors and one of the wounded that the money helps. It was very heart warming and makes you want to do more.

  60. Stinkin' Badges Says:

    Annie: LOL on the Fargo comment. True Coat. Yes, smarmy man-children… Difference is the “true coat”, for better term, isn’t selling too well here. I, personally, refuse to be shellacked again. I am going to say the Fargo guy had more panache than Fauntleroy. It is always better to stay with the honest people and despite the bottom feeders willing to do “favors”, it is unfair to other employees without those connections. Your head is screwed on right and that is a good thing. We do owe the taxpayers to keep things honest. I believe the board is trying their best to make that happen. Given the fact that several employees have skipped over the army of “we don’t need no stinkin’ badges” district management in favor of law enforcement, it is always better to distance yourself from the bottom feeders, tweaks, dirtbags, of this crazy world of ours and not take favors, even if offered. I believe you do fight for your team and I thank you for the laugh. Guts. I like it.

  61. g Says:

    Audio Part 2 = Failure

  62. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was able to open it on my ipad but not on my desktop computer. Here’s what Hansen said:
    The board discussed one case of public complaint and received advice from counsel.
    Trustees discussed consideration of the process for hiring the interim supt. That process will be forthcoming to the public. There will be invitations going out regarding the process to consider and approve the interim supt.
    We did not have the separation agreements with the general counsel or supt, so those were postponed to another meeting. (She did not say when.)
    We did discuss Craig Blyeth v. MDUSD and we did receive counsel regarding that existing litigation. We did also give direction to counsel regarding that existing litigation.

    Although Hansen said she would call me after the meeting concluded, I haven’t heard from her yet, so I’ll give her a call to get more clarification on these items.

  63. g Says:

    Thanks Theresa. Although they did not expect to finalize the separation agreements, it’s unfortunate they didn’t even have copies of them discussion. That was short sighted.

    In my opinion, if either person is refusing to ‘deal’ within the confines of the board’s offer, the board should just rescind the offer, and change it to a Terminated for Cause action. Let three years worth of everybody’s dirty laundry fly.

  64. Theresa Harrington Says:

    We still don’t know if the board believed it could successfully terminate either the superintendent or the general counsel for cause. But, of course, the board could certainly change its mind if the superintendent and general counsel aren’t willing to accept the early termination without cause terms.
    I also agree that the draft agreements should be made public, so we can see what the holdup is.
    And, as anon previously pointed out, the district should attach the interim general counsel engagement letter to Monday’s agenda docket. There is a high public expectation for transparency and it’s not being met.

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just spoke to Hansen and she said the board has narrowed down the list of candidates to two and hopes to have a closed session next Wednesday to meet with them, along with a stakeholder “conversation” that would likely be public, but she needs to speak to the interim general counsel about this. She also hopes the board will be able to approve the settlement agreements with Lawrence and Rolen in closed session next Wednesday. She said there’s no working draft because it keeps changing. She also said she would ask to have the engagement letter attached to Monday’s agenda. I also pointed out that Tim Cody’s Powerpoint doesn’t appear to be posted and she said she’d check into that as well.

    Also, Estrada said the audio for part 2 is an mp3 file just like the audio for part 1, so he’s not sure why it wasn’t working on my PC.

  66. g Says:

    Considering that this ‘current’ board, in office only a few months, has just recently been (at least partially) apprised of the Browne issue, Padilla matters, back door FCMAT work and now Blyeth issues as well as some other valid personnel and legal expense claims that have been shuttered from not only public view–but even board view, they can probably build a good case of For Cause.

    If I understand it correctly, even if the board ended up losing (which is doubtful) they would not have to pay out a cent of salary settlement until a ‘For Cause’ case was decided.

  67. g Says:

    Theresa, maybe you could send this to Estrada for us:

    http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/audio/2013/05082013part1.mp3 (works fine)

    part two properties URL is: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Pages/boe-sam.aspx

    and it comes up as a .aup instead of .mp3

    It’s important we have this available, since there are no printed minutes of Closed sessions.

  68. g Says:

    Never mind–he has fixed it.

  69. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Will do. Thanks! But, there should also be minutes of the report out.

  70. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Oh, too late, I already sent him your note!

  71. g Says:

    :) But those minutes may take months…too.

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about today’s meeting: http://www.contracostatimes.com/concord/ci_23203531/mt-diablo-school-board-unveil-interim-superintendent-candidates

  73. anon Says:

    This board is in violation of the brown act relative to their discussions and decisions about how the hiring of the interim superintendent process will work. They can discuss who the candidates are and what the terms of the employment contracts will be, but they can deliberate the process in closed session. These repeated brown act violations should be corrected if this board wants support from its community. It also appears that they are poised to make a decision on who the interim superintendent will be without input from the public.

  74. No In-House Says:

    #25 Jim. So true. It is actually a cost saving to get rid of them. It is the only “eviction” notice they will respond to. These people are incapable of any type of introspection. I am very fiscally conservative but I would have signed the checks. We must weigh types of costs. What price on getting the focus back on education? What price, or better yet, what cost is low morale? Trust. Leadership. Management. Open interaction with the community. Solid partnership with the community. We are servants in the truest sense. These are our clients. We are here for THEM. This group that swirls around Bryan Richards ushered in a dark, oppressive, era. They don’t like good guys and depend on their “bouncers” to give them what little back-bone they have. From here forward though, I would not pay any of these pikers a penny. Let people like Richards sue. That will give district employees a place to tell their stories!
    #56 Good points, all, and normally I would agree. The problem at the district is this exclusive little gang. Somewhere it crossed to corporate incest. This group must incorporate you or attack you. We have become a bad employee factory, keeping the bad employees safe and attacking or forcing out anyone who complains. This attorney needs to represent the District, not the cronies, and there would be so much pressure for this person to “get in line” that we will have another Cooksey. She will become a protector and public relations person, defending people she should be recommending for dismissal. This attorney needs to stay focused on the district and not used for phony interrogations to intimidate employees on behalf of the IMPERSONNEL department. District managers never needed daily access to an attorney and hiring the in-house was a bad idea. There was not really enough work for one, let alone two, and they start these ersatz managerial positions with other departments out of boredom. People like Julie Braun Martin should have to request an attorney consult via the board so we keep our costs down and see who needs all the help.

  75. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: I don’t recall the previous board asking for input from the public when it appointed Dick Nicoll as interim superintendent.

  76. g Says:

    We can list the public’s preference on qualifications (for any job) on one hand. They do not change. Anyone asking for any job knows exactly what to say, what accomplishments to brag about, what opinions or negatives to avoid or hide.

    Headhunters, like applicants, know exactly what to leave out of their reports and recommendations. No one they can recommend will have ‘recovery’ experience in a district of this particular size or demographic.

    The only thing that would improve the hiring in any management position would be to list the prospects early and let the public to the veting.

    That will never happen. So just hire someone already!

    And please–any multi year “first” contract (or employment agreement) must have a firm “probation” and “did not fit” escape clause. All contracts must have a maximum 6 month “without-cause” buyout clause.

    My opinion on any position below Superintendent: Nearly all are “promotions” for either internal or external applicants. This is NOT a “for profit, frofit sharing corporation” and having a title does not mean you have to have a multi-year contract. You either want the job and pay — for as long as you do well on the job — or you don’t. Period.

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I agree that the without cause terms should be diminished. When the previous board hired Supt. Lawrence, Gary Eberhart said the new contract was substantially better than the previous superintendent’s contract in terms of allowing the district to dismiss the superintendent without cause early. But, it still seems like a lot of money for doing nothing.

  78. anon Says:

    I would say if they hiring someone already known to the community, like a Dick Nicoll, that would be one thing and I would have expected the board to have already made that decision, actually prior to placing the current superintendent on leave with pay. If the interim superintendent is someone new to the district or someone who hasn’t been here for a while, I would expect that they be named so that, as was pointed out by “G”, the community could vet them. There is no way to defend what this current board has done. Placed two administrators on leave with pay with no separation agreements in place and no interim superintendent in place. If this had been done by the last board and if it had been led by the last board president, Theresa and this blog would have been going nuts.

  79. Anon Says:

    #74, I understand your arguments about pressure on in house counsel from management. However, the same pressures exist for outside counsel, perhaps even greater, because outside counsel is obtaining work from the sup. and assistant sups, and has a strong incentive to keep these major players happy in order to keep getting the legal work. There is always pressure and bias, whether its contract legal counsel or in-house counsel. An argument can be made that in-house counsel has more independence and less inherent pressure because s/he receive a salary, and doesn’t have the same pressure of doing what the “client” wants in order to maintain their contract with the district. Just something to consider. I think the issue has more to do with the quality of person hired as in-house counsel, than whether you use in-house or outside counsel.

  80. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In the absence of General Counsel Greg Rolen and Superintendent Steven Lawrence, callers about today’s bomb threat at MDHS are being referred to Julie Braun-Martin. Students have been evacuated and will be released for the rest of the day, according to their emergency cards, Braun-Martin told me.

  81. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my short story on the bomb scare: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_23208663/concord-mt-diablo-high-school-evacuated-after-bomb

  82. Jim Says:

    @78 Anon — You don’t appear to understand how these things are done. Once you begin discussing a separation agreement with any employee, that person knows his/her time is up and s/he can begin all sorts of mischief. You put such people on leave FIRST, to isolate them from all of their responsibilities and organizational involvements. I suspect some board members had specific ideas of candidates for interim superintendent, but again, there is no way to discuss those in public, or even with other board members, before there is a vote to terminate the predecessor. A single manager in a company can look for a replacement before terminating an employee, but it doesn’t usually work that way with a public board (unless they, or a majority of them, operate off-the-record as a private little cabal — which of course we have experienced with prior MDUSD boards).

    I know certain of the “Anons” on this blog would like to continue to rationalize, and apologize for, the prior regime, but really, these kinds of criticisms just show how little credibility those supporters have.

  83. Anon Says:

    Jim,

    Sometimes you come off as credible and as someone who cares about the system. This is not one of those cases. There is no justification for leaving this district without a leader. I have never said that the superintendent or general counsel should have been kept on. I said that there should have been a plan in place to ensure that a leader was in place as soon as the superintendent was placed on paid leave. There is no corporation whose board would fire the CEO without a solid succession plan in place. Your support for bad business practices undermines every argument that you’ve ever made.

  84. Jim Says:

    @83 — “There is no corporation whose board would fire the CEO without a solid succession plan in place.” Sorry, Anon, but plenty of corporations have fired their CEO without a firm succession plan. Sometimes a surprised subordinate, or even a board member, has to step up suddenly to fill in, but that doesn’t mean there was a “plan”. Regardless, if the CEO needs to go, s/he goes! However, you’re missing the larger point here. Publicly elected boards are NOT like private corporate boards in that respect, and school districts often do NOT have a deep bench of talented people to “step in” — absolutely not in the case of MDUSD. It’s great to armchair quarterback and say “there should’ve been a plan”. Have you been paying attention during the last 10 years? Now, suddenly, from THIS district, you want a PLAN?!?

    Great, you explain how a publicly elected board LEGALLY agrees to terminate a current superintendent and search for a new one while keeping the whole affair under wraps. And let’s not forget the people (more “Anons”) who want “public input” to the process. You want to get all those ducks in a row before firing these incompetent administrators? Please. You know it can’t work that way.

    Predictably, the people who liked Lawrence, Rolen and some of those sad excuses for board members we had are going to pick apart this board’s decision. It’s called sour grapes. But make no mistake: most people understand that Hansen, Brian Lawrence and Oaks did the right thing. And not a moment too soon. For years and years, this district’s leadership has been incompetent and even toxic. Let’s not make perfect become the enemy of good when progress is finally being made.

  85. Fog a Spoon Says:

    #84 Resp to Jim. These people had over-stayed and were harming the district in every sense. We are not without “leadership”: we are without incompetent, detached leadership. This is also the person who over puffed Richards’ job and cared not that Richards abandoned his and moved across the hall to play superintendent. He was doing Julie’s job and I guess that saved us at least one attorney fee. No matter how bad Payroll is, Richards stayed across the hall, playing superintendent. Richards wanted that power more than he wanted a clean running department. Power hunger is a real problem at the district. Unrestricted pursuit of power is another. That is a lack of leadership, present or not. These employees feel free to move people into made-up, high paying “managerial” position, move people from department to department, place the attorneys over district departments in a clear miss-use of their function. The sad thing is they start believing that because they were given this power, they actually know anything about running the Foods department. Private sectors would have surgically removed these people and the attorneys who missed recommending release. Private sector will fire not only the CEO’s but the guy who invented the whatchamacallit and built the company! Maybe we need to go reality show and get Trump in here. How many times do you think endless Payroll errors or Bryan’s refusal to respond to questions would keep happening? After a CEO is fired, private sector people come in and do their jobs like there is leadership. Their Personnel departments don’t stop, either, and they don’t have an attorney in the closet. Employees are clear on what is expected of them and know the new guy will not tolerate opportunism and chaos.

  86. g Says:

    Someone really does need to do an audit of payroll for the last 3 years. Some favored people at Dent and especially M&O/Measure-C got really hefty base-pay raises between 2010 and 2011. Raises well beyond anything that might have been on their contracts as Cola “plus %” or even “plus longevity” etc. Job titles didn’t change. Raises in the 8-10% range, and maybe more.

    All this while TAs were being cut to the bone and teachers and Local 1 folks were being threatened with furlough and while schools were closed and busing was being pared.

    When the $quawking started–Management agreed to distribute a 3% booty from hoarded reserves to the rank & file to buy their $ilence for another year–But of course–Management was first in line for their piece.

    When the 2012 payroll is published I expect comparing 2010 to 2012 for some of those same folks will be a major shock to every taxpayer’s system.

  87. Jim Says:

    @86 G — Perhaps you are thinking of something like the CA legislature’s “proposal to ‘zero-out’ the PUC’s $1.4 billion budget for the state’s 2014-15 budget — a process in which every expenditure would be reviewed and justified through audits by the Department of Finance and the state auditor, allowing legislators to go over staffing, program and other decisions.” Evidently, that San Bruno fireball was big enough to singe even the hineys in Sac’to.

    I know they’d never consider this for our untouchable school district monopolies, but really, doesn’t it give ya the itch?

    http://www.mercurynews.com/california-budget/ci_23202146/legislators-take-steps-rein-california-public-utilities-commission

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post with Dennler’s explanation of her votes against terminating the contracts of the superintendent and general counsel: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/05/10/mdusd-trustee-lynne-dennler-comments-on-her-votes-to-retain-the-superintendent-and-general-counsel/

  89. Doctor J Says:

    Nine women complaining about mistreatment by a Sacramento Supt. Mostly administrators it says. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/09/5406426/san-juan-school-district-to-investigate.html

  90. g Says:

    Where is Cody’s promised public posting of his “tonnage” powerpoint? Yes, board–he is smirking again. It looks like he plans to lather-up his personal “C” attorney by having him present it AGAIN at $200+expenses/hr at next week’s CBOC meeting. WTH, it’s only money, and someone else’s at that. Of course, if it’s shown at the CBOC, the public gets to wait 4-6 months longer to see it. Cool!

    When honest, straight faced justification of proceedures gets tough, Cody grabs his mouthpiece.

    Did I mention he’s added another handful of L/LBs to the “invitation only” RFQs?

  91. g Says:

    Jim 87: At the time I read it, I didn’t equate that idea to the district but that certainly has merit.

    Some words should never be used alone. Furlough, Qualified Budget, Teacher Layoff, should have “Management Pay Freeze and layoff” in the same sentence

    Cutting costs by Shortened School Year, Lowered Graduation Requirement, Walk an extra couple miles, should be “Forbidden” until matching projected savings is first weed-whacked from the budget–from the Top-Down and right through the core of the ‘all-talk no-proof consultants’. Only then, should we look at cutting into “education.” And then, before cutting into education–they should take a second whack at management.

    Nearly everyone bemoans being in the 48-50% of districts’ pay scales statewide. Where are their voices about their students’ success rates being in the bottom 20%?

  92. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Here is Cody’s promised PowerPoint: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/10768379-1f01-4733-9b36-9be510ffeaa9.pdf

    Also, I attended the CalBOC annual meeting in Sacramento yesterday, where Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan talked about her proposed bill to limit CABs, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer talked about his opposition to CABs and an attorney who has questioned the legality of lease-leasebacks gave an extensive presentation. Portions of all three of these presentations are posted at YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa. Unfortunately, I ran out of storage space on my ipad, so was unable to record the entire presentations.

    Interestingly, the attorney said that school boards are supposed to adopt resolutions declaring their intent to enter into lease-leaseback contracts BEFORE soliciting bids or RFQs. MDUSD has never done this, to my knowledge.

    Also, John Parker told the board last Monday that he heard Measure C staff tell contractors that lease-leasebacks are the new way of doing business in MDUSD. Yet, Parker pointed out that the board has never declared this as its new way of doing business. Who is in charge?

  93. g Says:

    Wellll, although the board would like to deny it– for a very-very long time, Pedersen was solely in charge of about a billion dollars in bond funds. Apparently before he left he “ordained” Cody.

    I also never saw ratification by the board of that knighthood being bestowed on Cody. Pedersen simply said “It shall be” and it was….

  94. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: The board did publicly appoint Cody to take over for Pedersen after he left.

    I will be interested to see whether he brings someone in to explain lease-leasebacks to the CBOC as he promised he would. At the last meeting, one new member questioned how a general contractor was able to present a lower bid than an HVAC specialist.

    During the attorney’s CalBOC presentation yesterday, it was noted that a correlation has been found in other districts between contributions to bond campaigns and construction contracts. Taber Construction did contribute to MDUSD’s bond campaign, although it wasn’t a huge amount, as I recall.

  95. g Says:

    Theresa, I only remember the announcement that Cody would take over, and the board said “welcome.” Did they actually vote on it?

    Also, the Agenda for the CBOC meeting indicates that Cody is going to pay the attorney to come in to give the same L/LB push he gave to the board a few weeks ago. Expensive waste of money for redundant information. Surely the CBOC watches the board meeting recordings!

  96. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: I thought they voted, but I’ll have to double-check.

    Regarding the presentation, it is only a waste if no one asks any questions. Hopefully, the CBOC does watch board meetings, but many members may not. This will give them a chance to ask questions directly to a person who should be able to answer them. In preparation, I hope they also watch the lease-leaseback CalBOC presentation (parts 1 and 2) at http://www.youtube.com/tunedtotheresa.

    Since John Ferrante and John Parker are both on the committee, I wouldn’t be surprised if they also question the discrepancies between the engineer’s estimates and the bids. Also, since Cody told the board the over-budget projects may mean cutbacks in planned modernization, someone should ask what won’t be done to accommodate the higher-than-anticipated HVAC costs.

  97. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    TH @ 94 – here is the link to your post that included who contributed what for Measure C 2010:

    http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=taber+construction+measure+c+2010+contributions&d=4927509566262328&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=-2F6bHWUTuXAxfUq4bC_Rgm8_7Ybm21L

    Taber contributed $9500.00 (two separate entries – $5000.00 + $4500.00)

  98. g Says:

    Theresa, here is your youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaSsme2da3Q

    Lawrence announced Pete’s time had run out and Cody would “take over” in setting the agenda items, etc.

  99. g Says:

    Maybe it’s about time for the board to look for a new Measure C, A, C, Prop 55 Project Director who believes in honesty and fairness in bidding Public Projects.

  100. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Thanks for that link. I recalled that the announcement was made at the same time the board was voting on something related to Measure C, but I didn’t recall that the board didn’t actually approve his appointment. It is surprising that the board and district would allow Cody to simply slide into that position without any interview and appointment process. As you point out, he is in charge of millions of dollars in construction. And as Parker pointed out, he has apparently been making claims on behalf of the board and district, which the board and district have never actually officially declared — namely that the new way of doing business in MDUSD is lease-leasebacks. Hopefully, the CBOC will ask Cody when the board decided that was the new way of doing things. And if he can’t point to a board decision, he should recant his previous statements to anyone who believed he had the authority to make that declaration.

    On another note, I have added a May 13 update to this blog post with links to the superintendent’s departure email and the Meyers Nave engagement letter.

  101. g Says:

    If there is any question of Cody arbitrarily making L/LB the “standard operating procedure” of the district, one only has to look at the Plan Room.

    http://169.199.90.240/index.html

    A “rush” to replace HVAC that’s only a few years old, and could have easily waited for a year or a few,
    was rediculous, but NOW he plans to– ‘rent’ the bleeping paint –for the exterior of schools!

    This board may be gullible–but surely they aren’t stupid???

    He is trying to get ALL the money spent with favored contractors and without open bidding on L/LBs –BEFORE any legal opinions come down on the various law suits against this abuse of of L/LB law.

  102. Wait a Minute Says:

    So G,

    Who do you think is giving Cody this advice???

  103. g Says:

    I believe he inherited it. Those who play, stay, and get promoted. When the board was asked to approve ‘new’ but previously suggested measure C positions, they didn’t even realise that some already on payroll were being ‘promoted’ into those positions, which left the door open to hire more into already ‘budgeted’ positions without asking.

    The scam goes wide and deep.

  104. Wait a Minute Says:

    OK, then who is it that came up with the strategy to lock up all the money now in L/LB?

  105. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to a Powerpoint presented to the CalBOC by attorney Kevin Carlin, Education Code Section 17417 requires a school board to FIRST adopt a resolution declaring its intention to enter into a lease agreement, adopt a resolution stating the minimum yearly rental it would agree to lease its property, adopt a resolution stating the maximum number of years for which the district will lease the project back, adopt a resolution stating the amount of the rental and terms, and adopt a resolution “fixing a time, not less than three weeks thereafter for a public meeting of the governing board to be held at its regular place of meeting, at which sealed proposals to enter a lease or agreement with the school district will be received from any person, firm, or corporation and considered by the governing board.”

    I do not recall the MDUSD governing board following this procedure with its 2010 Measure C. Hopefully, the lawyer who will speak to the CBOC on Thursday can explain why the district hasn’t been doing this.

  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a message from the WCCUSD superintendent in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week: http://www.wccusd.net/cms/lib03/CA01001466/Centricity/domain/77/messages/2012-2013/Appreciating%20Our%20Teachers%205-2013.pdf

    Hopefully, the MDUSD board will choose a new superintendent with a proven track record of communicating regularly with the community, in ways such as this.

  107. Curious Says:

    Anyone aware of this contract? Was it on board agenda?

    http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/95d56e74-5598-4fb4-b7a0-fc3305314200.pdf

  108. g Says:

    Unfortunately this particular “C” attorney is one who considers Carlin’s opinion that 17417 cannot be ignored, does not hold weight, but also apparently is advising, or going along with “let’s get these deals done before the courts decide who is correct.”

    In the mean time, the State Allocations Board and the Uniform Construction Accounting Commission, which both agree there is great concern over the improper use of L/LB has been sitting on their thumbs since 2003 waiting for, but apparently not vigorously fighting to get legislation passed that would clear up the questions or possible loopholes. In the mean time, a hellofalot of campaign donations have been made.

    It seems legislatures would rather be reelected, and let the courts take another decade to decide.

  109. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As the school year winds down (classes end in MDUSD in one month), many schools and districts will be announcing scholarship winners. Here’s the list of Ed Fund Scholarship finalists in WCCUSD: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2013/05/13/west-contra-costa-public-education-fund-scholarship-finalists-announced/

  110. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for the WCCUSD board meeting Wednesday, where trustees will consider restoring instrumental music to some elementary schools and relocating the Community Day School to the County: http://www.wccusd.net/cms/lib03/CA01001466/Centricity/domain/16/agenda/2012-2013/20130515_BOE_Agenda.pdf

    MDUSD still has no district-funded instrumental music programs in elementary schools. Although Hansen has suggested the idea of turning over the Community Day School to the county, former Superintendent Steven Lawrence did not support that idea.

  111. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 5 p.m., although the agenda hasn’t yet been posted: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/

    However, this means it should be posted within the next hour.

  112. g Says:

    Theresa, were any of our BOC members at the CALBOC meeting? How about board reps, Brian or Linda? I only saw a couple of familiar faces on your video.

  113. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Alicia Minyen was there, along with Jack Weir, Debra Mason and Kris Hunt. I didn’t see anyone else from the local CBOC, but I could have missed them.

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