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MDUSD board to hold special meeting Tuesday morning to discuss superintendent search

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, May 24th, 2013 at 7:16 pm in Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a special meeting Tuesday morning to discuss its search for a new superintendent. However, the agenda for the meeting is not posted on the district’s website because the former superintendent’s secretary has left the district and the only other person who knows how to post the agenda online is on vacation, said Board President Cheryl Hansen.

Instead, the interim superintendent’s substitute secretary emailed the agenda to me so that I could inform the community about the meeting. Also, the agenda has been posted in the required locations according to the Brown Act, Hansen said.

Here is the agenda:

1936 Carlotta Drive
Concord, California
(925) 682-8000

TYPE: Special Board Meeting
DATE: 5/28/2013 TIME: 9:00 AM
LOCATION: School District Board Room – 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord

1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order. Info

2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info

3.0 Public Comment
3.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time.

4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session
4.1 Discussion of Search for Superintendent Discussion
Pursuant to Gov’t Code §54957
Identification of potential candidates

4.2 Student Issues

4.3 Public Employee Discipline / Dismissal / Release / Complaint

4.4 Anticipated Litigation

5.0 Reconvene Open Session
5.1 Reconvene Open Session Info

5.2 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

6.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session

6.1 Discussion of Search for Superintendent Info

7.0 Public Comment
7.1 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 presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the here 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

8.1 Discussion of Search for Superintendent Discussion
Meet with search firm advisors, Leadership Associates, to discuss:
1) Overview of Search Process
2) Finalize Timeline
3) Desired Qualities and Characteristics of a Superintendent
4) Identification of Groups and Individuals for Community/Staff input

9.0 Closed Session
9.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this Closed Session. Action

10.0 Adjournment
10.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

Hansen told me that the board will first discuss the superintendent search with Leadership Associates in closed session for about 30 minutes, then meet in open session, then return to closed session to discuss the other closed session items. The agenda will be posted online Tuesday morning, she said.

Are you satisfied with the public notice the board is providing regarding this meeting?

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

79 Responses to “MDUSD board to hold special meeting Tuesday morning to discuss superintendent search”

  1. Teacher Says:

    Sounds like they are trying to get the public notice out. Why even start up something and invite more negativity by asking if people are satisfied?

  2. Doctor J Says:

    What about AB 1344 ?

  3. Doctor J Says:

  4. anon Says:

    Thanks for scheduling this meeting while most people are at work. Allowing the community an opportunity to participate just slows the process.

  5. Flippin' Tired Says:

    I finally get the chance to attend a meeting. Thank you, Board.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    I went to the CDE website and compared the 2011 with the new 2012 Statewide school ranks — Elementary only. We had 9 Elem schools improve their statewide rank by one point each. We had six Elem schools lose a total of 10 rank points; with three Elem schools losing two ranks each: Gregory Gardens,Silverwood, and Westwood. Regarding the 2012 Similar School ranks, only 12/29 ranked equal or better to their Statewide rank score. With all the millions spent in SASS and consultants, why aren’t we doing better ?

  7. Anon Says:

    That’s an excellent question to ask John Bernard, and any and all superintendent candidates. Is John Bernard answering Theresa’s phone calls?

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Mike Langley slammed Steven Lawrence’s leadership style in public comment. I hope Theresa will quote it.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Bernard answered my phone call when he was selected and provided me with his cell phone number. However, Steven Lawrence did the same thing when he was selected, then stopped picking up the phone or returning calls.
    I was very surprised that the agenda still wasn’t posted this morning and the board reversed the order of the closed session from what Hansen told me it would do. Also, trustees received and discussed a handout that was not given to the public or released with the agenda.
    Luckily, Joe Estrada was recording the proceedings. Since the backs of most trustees were facing the audience and they weren’t using microphones, it was very difficult to hear some of them.
    There were only three people in the audience, including Mike Langley and me. Langley spoke briefly during public comment and then the board talked about its timeline, desired superintendent qualifications and strengths and challenges in the district. The district also hopes to solicit input from stakeholders and the community during meetings and via a survey monkey.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    A list of qualities of a Supt was developed in 2009. Based on today’s discussion, it would be an interesting comparison. Anyone have it ?

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Based on my recollection, many of the qualities were the same, ie. leadership ability, consensus-building, team-building, communications skills, etc.
    But today there was a strong emphasis on cultural responsiveness, special education and classroom experience – which I don’t remember being at the forefront last time. There was also discussion this time that a doctorate degree is not necessary or even preferable.
    Trustee Linda Mayo is the only hold-over from the board that developed the previous list of qualifications. Since her back was to the audience and she spoke quietly, I had trouble hearing what she said this time around.

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the archived video started after Mike Langley’s public comment. Luckily, I recorded his comments and will upload the clip to

    In looking closer at the online video, it looks like it didn’t start until more than 15 minutes into the meeting, when the board was discussing an online survey. I also recorded the first part of the discussion and uploaded it to my YouTube account, as Superintendent Search, parts 1, 2 and 3, so you can see what is missing from the district’s video.

  13. Jim Says:

    @10 DJ — Many districts seem to use the same type of “wish list” qualifications in Supe searches. Which isn’t surprising, since many of the same issues face almost any large diverse district like MDUSD. So no, I don’t think we’ll find answers by comparing the various definitions of qualifications.

    The problem is that so many people in the ed world (including the search firms) don’t command much useful experience in organization management, so they have no way of recognizing if someone actually has any of those awesome leadership qualities that we all seek. The proof comes with the pudding, and then it is often too late. Also, unfortunately, many school board members have no experience in managing large organizations, planning large budgets, leading turnarounds or in any of the other kinds of leadership experience that are so necessary. So when they know what to look for, they often have a hard time recognizing it. Yet we cling to this government-run model for our large school districts, in the absence of almost any evidence of success, hoping that the next supe will bring a miracle. Clearly, MDUSD deserves better than Lawrence and Rolen, but will we get anyone better? Statistically speaking, yeah, probably, but I guess we’ll just have to see.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    Citizen Langley remarks are now posted under “recovered” at about 5:45. Worth listening to. Yes, the audio is difficult.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Words that stick out to me used today are: Team Builder, Consensus builder, communicator, collaboration. The gentleman from the recruiter made a great point: He asked the Board what the first question a candidate wants to know about the job — is it how much will I make ? NO ! He or she wants to know how well the board “gets along in governance”.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is my video of Langley’s comments:

    The audio on my video of Langley is pretty clear. But, as I mentioned, the audio of Trustees Barbara Oaks and Linda Mayo is very difficult to hear.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The board admitted it has been split in the past, but said it wants to work together going forward. The man, whose name was Michael Escalante, said that was very important.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    The one subject I didn’t hear today was “organizational management”. Perhaps I just missed it. The district’s “recovered” section has excellent video and audio of Mike Langley’s public comment. Hope this link works. Or you can go to the district website and get it.

  19. anon Says:

    Dr. j #15, you hit the nail on the head. Which is exactly why ms. Hansen’s style of bombastic petulant leadership is not helping this district. Will mdusd be able to attract good candidates? Probably a few. Will they stay? They will not. They will view mdusd as a stepping stone and they will move on in 2-3 years unless Hansen isn’t on the board after the 2014 elections. I know many of you love to see the tumult which as been the standard since Hansen has arrived and you will all attack my words as being somehow aligned with the last board. So have at it. Why not use that energy to try to help.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Trustee Linda Mayo said she would like to find someone who would be willing to commit to staying for at least five years, since that’s how long it could take to turn things around. She said that was “code” for someone who’s not near retirement.
    Board President Cheryl Hansen said she wants a superintendent who understands governance and knows how to draw boundaries so trustees don’t micromanage.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#20 Others said that a Supt coming from a small district that was not diverse would have a hard time getting their arms around the problems at MDUSD. There are very few Supts who have large district experience that are not near retirement age. Mr. Escalante even brought up the recent San Diego situation where the Board hired a Principal to be the new Supt. I think everyone was in agreement that they needed a Supt with a “track record” of success.

  22. Doctor J Says:

    @#19 Your description of Cheryl Hansen’s leadership is not factually correct; insistence on following the law and the District By-laws is important. If you listened to yesterdays recording of Mike Langley you would have heard his indictment of Steven Lawrence’s refusal to communicate, failure to be inclusive of the stakeholders, and last minute disclosures with no input from stakeholders, including the public. You are right that the average tenure of Supts in California has fallen to two to three years, on the average. The fact is that a district can do little to prevent a great Supt from moving on to a better job — read the contract. One way to keep them around longer is to give them financial incentives based on various factors, including significant increases in API and getting schools out of Program Improvement — I think they call that increased learning.

  23. Wait a Minute Says:

    Anon#19 is so obviously one of the Rolen, Stevie Lawrence, EberMarsh, Pederson groupies.

    Keep on whining about Ms Hansen by all means since she is the person most reponsible for successful resistance to your departed buddies who left under a huge cloud of scandal and suspicion and that you so obviously had personal loyalty to instead of the kids and taxpayers as the real owners of this district.

    Now at last the conditions have been set for a much needed fumigation of the stench of these leaches and their replacement by competent and ethical people and a turnaround of this trainwreck left by your buddies!

  24. Doctor J Says:

    There are two basic types of monetary incentives that can induce Supts to “stick around”; (1) performance or merit based incentives based on measurable accomplishment of goals; (2) longevity incentives that do not accrue until the end of the contract — if the Supt quits before the end he doesn’t get the incentive. Here is an interesting article from Oregon which I don’t necessarily endorse.

    Here is a quote from an article in Indianapolis posted on May 1, 2013. “”We define it as a performance incentive,” said Katrina Hockemeyer, vice president of the Hamilton Southeastern school board. “There’s an expectation from the public to maintain that high performance.”
    According to documents obtained by Kenney, Smith earned $50,000 in performance-based pay each year for 2010, 2011 and 2012, for a total of $150,000.
    Per his contract, Smith can only receive the $150,000 if he continues to be employed as superintendent through June 30, 2013.
    “It ensured a four-year window of stability for our district,” Hockemeyer said. “You have to remain the entire four years to earn any of the performance incentive for any of those years, so until we’re done with the fourth year, that money would not be available to him.”
    Smith joined HSE in 2009 at a base salary of $160,000 after serving 11 years at the Metropolitan School District of Southwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne.”
    I wonder if Linda Mayo or other trustees would be willing to give these types of incentives to keep a Supt in place for many years.

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Leadership Associates has a form for the candidates to fill out that includes contract parameters and must-haves. So far, it’s boilerplate. But, the board could consider adding longevity incentives that go beyond the incentives received by Lawrence.

    Regarding a track record, Trustee Brian Lawrence seemed the most willing to think out of the box in terms of looking at candidates who may not have previous superintendent experience, but might still have potential, based on other experiences.

    It sounded like the board did not want to immediately rule anyone out based on somewhat arbitrary requirements, such as doctorate degrees, being bilingual, having been a superintendent, etc. Trustees appeared to want to encourage anyone who is interested to apply.

  26. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#25 Perhaps when the district advertises the position, it might include that the district is willing to negotiate longevity and performance based financial incentives.

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The job announcement has to be finalized by Monday to be posted June 10, so anyone who thinks that should be done should speak up at Monday’s board meeting – or sooner.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    Interesting article on school district / construction corruption.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    How to get schools out of Program Improvement ? So far MDUSD has only done it by closing the school. Here is how one district got two schools off of PI.

  30. Wait a Minute Says:

    Dr J@28,
    Its to bad that the people of CCC don’t have a DA worth a crap or we would see some of the same types of inquiries/prosecutions regarding Measure C insider fraud.

  31. Jim Says:

    I wonder if the MDUSD board has had any contacts with the Broad Center Academy. Not all of their graduates have worked out, but they seem to be one of the few institutions that tackles superintendent training in a structured, creative manner. They seem to “get” the challenges that supes face, and they aren’t afraid to question Edworld orthodoxy when necessary.

    Of course, it was founded by one of those wicked “billionaires”, which taints it in many eyes.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    It took a little sleuthing, but on May 20, 2009 that Board of Education selected Leadership Associates. At a Special Meeting called to meet the same night as a regular Board Meeting for June 16, 2009 the Board, similar to the other morning, gave input on qualities it would like to see in a Supt. Here is a summary of the 2009 input: the board was asked to list the qualities they would like to see in a Superintendent candidate. Here are their responses. Please note that they all may have supported certain attributes but were asked not to repeat what another board member had suggested.

    Sherry Whitmarsh
    Open and honest communicator
    Works with bargaining units
    Able to work with diverse cultures
    Ability to analyze data
    Understands schools
    Experience moving schools out of program improvement
    Technology competent

    Linda Mayo
    Understands instructional leadership, policies and practices
    Has a financial background
    Ability to achieve acceptance of all parents
    Values each employee
    Promote parent engagement
    Able to analyze assessment data
    Understands curriculum development and training
    Inclusion – awareness of outreach to improve student performance
    Meet with students, listen to student input
    Experience with facilities and maintenance
    Experience with collective bargaining and negotiations

    Gary Eberhart
    Visionary leader
    Has a great presence
    Track record and success in strategic planning
    Understands business systems
    Proven track record for fiscal
    Open and Honest – full explanations / transparency
    Understands customer service skills
    Proven track record in important areas
    Consistent and high quality evaluation of staff
    Bridge builder
    No status quo excuses – “that is how it has always been done”
    Lives in the community

    Paul Strange
    Would consider non-traditional Administrator who possess leadership skills
    Work with the board as a team
    Analyze organizational structure and make recommendations
    Active and engaged with the sites, has the disposition to be visible
    Truly cares about students and the district
    Bilingual good but should not be required
    Values technology as a learning tool

    Dick Allen
    Ability to facilitate consensus building amongst the staff
    Possesses the ability to foster strong community relations in a diverse community
    Strength and character when relating to the board
    Experience with Parcel Tax elections
    Develop relationships with community service organizations
    Strong oral and written skills

    Although the comments on Tuesday morning were not as long as these lists, they have great similarity, but yet you heard Mike Langley’s criticism. The million dollar [literally] question is, what needs to be done differently to find a competent and successful Supt that can turn around the district to success ?

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    One interesting thing brought up on Tuesday by Trustee Linda Mayo was the question about the general counsel being involved in the interviews. That can be eliminated this time around. Also, the search team said the board could bring its administrative team to meet the administrative team of the top candidate. To my knowledge, that didn’t happen last time. Still, Steven Lawrence’s top administrators in West Sac told the board they were very happy with him.

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    On another note: Congrats to the four County Teacher of the Year finalists, including one from MDUSD, two from SRVUSD and one from WCCUSD:

  35. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#33 It would be worth it to have an employment private investigator interview some of the rank and file. Also, MDEA ought to be contacting its counterparts of the finalists to get the low down on the candidates relationships with the union.

  36. anon Says:

    I hope the board is going to follow through with their promise of transparency and allow the public to be involved with the entire process. We should see the names of the finalists so that we can vet each and every candidate who is considered for the position. We as a whole can provide much better investigative work than the board can alone. I’d like to see each board member commit to that.

  37. Start a Dialogue! Says:

    This interim superintendent needs to 1)leave the office and speak to the workers and 2) take a sharp look at the management. The difference between MDUSD and other districts is very apparent. Speak with the subs working in various districts. Ask the subs about the differences between San Ramon and MDUSD. Top down leadership and recognized contributions from the staff: top to bottom. I don’t mean Ms. Congeniality recognition, they hold their management to much higher performance standards. There is just a pall over MDUSD right now, hard to explain. I, too, have had my issues with Payroll and had the counter person get defensive with me. If you deal with the Julie B.Martin counterparts, there is no comparison between what I consider to be someone of low knowledge mixed with a genuine dislike of those she serves. Petty treatment and blacklisting don’t produce enough fog to fool anybody. If I want answers, I call another district. Talk to the subs and get a 360. The issues with Julie Braun Martin go way back with several differently populated boards looking the other way. I do not depend on them for my medical or I would be stuck, too.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#36 If you watch the meeting with the recruiters, they were very emphatic that the process must be confidential because many of the candidates will return to work in their districts and it would be uncomfortable for them to have their boards and staffs know they are looking to make a move. I wish it could be more transparent too.

  39. Doctor J Says:

    More specifics on the NCLB waiver by the Calif coalition of 9 districts — never even considered by Steven Lawrence.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    Agenda for Monday still not available.

  41. brenda aaron Says:

    I do think that having someone investigate the staff and those of rank and file.
    May 2nd a student at Sun Terrace Elem. climbed on top of the roof at school and wanted to kill herself. She was taken by police to the psych. ward and held for 5 days. This is what BULLYING looks like. Nothing has changed since removal of principal and now Lawrence. She is the only girl in her class with 8 boys in the counseling enrich program. The administration has failed the child and her family and you want her to return to school. WHY!!!

  42. brenda aaron Says:

    How transparent do you have to be? even a blind dog can smell a rat. Too many blind dogs. or is it blind eye DEAF EARS!

  43. fog a spoon Says:

    Dear Brenda,
    Several employees have been to various law enforcement agencies after reporting possible cases of employee malfeasance or outright theft. The management, because they do not know the processed themselves, cannot run the departments and so they are permanently under “investigation”. We would love to see a federal prosecutor walk through the door! I do believe before this is over we will see some of these managers in trouble. They must get over the idea that not one person but Bryan Richards can do the accounting. Very sad that they let Julie BM sit there and ply them for yet more money for the little tontine. Where do employees go from here?

  44. brenda aaron Says:

    Let’s talk education, lessons to be learned from all of this vs. what do we do now moving forward, when a child is out of school due to a suicide attempt on campus at the same school that she attends, how much $$$$ does the district receive for that empty seat?
    Failure to provide a safe, nurturing eviroment, healthy learning atmosphere and API scores higher than a failing school, cost the parent and child how much in $$$ & cents (sense)
    on who’s WATCH did this take place?

  45. Doctor J Says:

    SELPA Public Hearing Notice. Not sure if it needed 10 day notice. The California State Department of Education has recently informed all of the SELPAs in the state that they need to conduct a public hearing on their Annual Budget Plan, Certification of the Annual Service Plan, California Special Education Management Information System (CASEMIS) Service
    Descriptions, and Service Plan Forms, adopt them, and submit them to the Department of Education. This public hearing enables the Mt. Diablo Unified School District to comply with that instruction. I could not find on line the Special Education Local Plan Area
    (SELPA) Annual Service Plan and Annual Budget Plan. Doesn’t look like its on the CAC Blog.

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Agenda is posted. Selpa documents posted. Lots of new Measure C projects — unsure how they pass the requirements of that new court decision but I guess that’s why the Board gets to make the decision after getting legal advice from their new attorney.

  47. anon Says:

    Have they officially released Rolen yet? If not why not?

  48. Vindex Says:

    Dr. J…. You are correct. How to make sure you are getting someone with the qualities you want. The answer in my opinion is incredible, non-traditional research. I recently applied for a job and the company went WAY beyond my references. They were incredibly interested in who I was, not just who my résumé or references said I was. The interview was amazingly hard. It took hours. I could have sworn that they were asking me provocative questions to see how I react under different circumstances. I was exhausted. I got the job…. Thankfully. After all that, I really wanted to work for them. I was impressed with their non-traditional and through way to find the right fit. That’s what this board needs to do. Really go off the grid and go beyond the traditional way to find someone. Character, the key ingredient in a superintendent. The rest can be learned

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, I am on vacation and will not attend Monday’s meeting. Also, it may take me longer than usual to monitor comments.

  50. Jim Says:

    @48 Vindex — Warren Buffett once said that the job qualification that matters more than anything else is integrity. “Without that,” he said, “all other talents are actually detrimental.”

    I think we’ve seen that in MDUSD.

    Congrats on your new job.

  51. Doctor J Says:

    Measure C raises its ugly head again this week — and it could cost the district a fortune. All because of the Taxpayers v. SDUSD case I linked in post #46. The Appeal justices unanimously decided that SDUSD’s Prop S [similar to our Meas C] did NOT specifically list a project in the ballot measure and therefore Bond funds were not authorized to use be used for the construction — it was built so presumably the district will have to pay millions back to the bond fund. I will be giving a link at the end to all of the legal papers of the Taxpayers case. Our Meas C did not have a list, by school, of specific projects BUT Prop S did. The Justices decided that in order to qualify for bond payment, a project must be specifically “tethered” to a “listed project expressly authorized elsewhere in Proposition S.” That becomes a real problem for MDUSD’s Meas C’s. Back on June 28, 2011 the Eberhart led Board set up a “High School Enhancement Program” funding it with about $6.5 million of Meas C money. Each school got to choose its own projects. Tues night is the public comment on the YVHS Environmental Impact report for its football stadium enhancements including lighting — so similar to the Taxpayers v. SDUSD case its eerie. No mention in Meas C of football stadium improvements or field lighting. Tomorrow night’s [Monday] Board meeting agenda is full of Meas C issues. Item 11.1 is the annual Meas C report — which ironically reports the High School Enhancement Program has been increased to $40 million but the powerpoint doesn’t list the projects. Items 13.10, 13.11, 13.12, 13.13 list various projects: install skylights [never mentioned in Meas C] & reroof Strandlewood; convert YVHS shop building into a sports weight room, sports medicine room, ceramics studio, outdoor kiln installation [none of these projects mentioned in Meas C]; science classroom improvements at MDHS & YVHS [science labs are generally, not specifically, mentioned in Meas C but not to construct them]. Since Meas C did not have any specific project list tied to any specific school, will that invalidate Meas C ? Will all projects not specifically mentioned in Meas C be found to be illegal ? How would the district afford to pay back Meas C. Take a look at the June 28, 2011 agenda, item 15.14 for a list of Board approved high school enhancement projects — many of the subjects are not even mentioned in Meas C; e.g. bleachers at Northgate HS; stadium improvements at CPHS; bleachers at baseball field for YVHS. As for the balance of the $34 million increase, not sure where that list is. Building a new school is clearly not in Meas C.
    Here is the link to the website for Taxpayers For Accountable School Bond Spending and their lawsuit against SDUSD. Read the lawsuit and all the papers, but DON’T MISS THIS: 09 Aug 2011 – City Attorney Memo on Vote to Render City’s Zoning Ordinances Inapplicable. I can’t ever remember this issue come up for YVHS stadium lights or for the solar panels.

  52. Doctor J Says:

    Impressive interview with elementary principal appointed Supt of 132,000 student district — second largest in California.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    CLOSED SESSION BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Bernard just asked the Board to add to the closed session agenda 3 items all dealing with “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release” for two fiscal employees, 1 classified employee, and 1 certificated employee. The Board approved 4-0 Brian Lawrence is probably not participating in closed session. Dr. Bernard’s explanation was that there ended up, due to operator error of the Electronic School Board system two agendas — a private one for the Board that included these matters and the public agenda that did not and he apologized. They have a 3 1/2 hour closed session planned. That is a long time. I expect the opening to be posted within the next hour.

  54. Doctor J Says:

    District has posted a public notice for community input on qualities for a new supt for June 6 and 11 at rather inconvenient times, but also are allowing fax input, email input or telephone input.

  55. Alicia Says:

    @51 Any citizen that pays Measure C taxes can seek an injuction against the district under Education Code 15284 to put a stop to any project that was not explicitly disclosed in the projects list.

  56. Doctor J Says:

    @Alicia#55 The Board didn’t seem too concerned about these major undisclosed projects [never even discussed prior to the election] like the Northgate Aquatic Center or the YVHS Stadium Lights or even the little projects. I think someone is actually going to have to file for the injunction to get their attention. Cheryl Hansen said in her trip to Northgate High last week they don’t even know where this aquatic center will be located. Yet on August 20, 2012, nearly a year ago, the Board approved a ‘not to exceed’ contract in the amount of $614,516.00 to Arch Pac Aquatics for the provision of comprehensive engineering and design services necessary for the satisfactory completion of this project. A month later on Sept 24, 2012 the Board approved $150,580.00 for doing the Environmental Studies. All Measure C money. I wonder if anyone will raise these issues, along with the Taxpayers v. SDUSD case recently decided that prohibits non specifically disclosed projects on 55% Bonds.

  57. Anon too Says:

    It would be nice if the board took a little more interest in making every local high school equal in their facilities. Some cannot even practice their sports on their own fields, yet some have it all and are getting more. How is that fair. I’ll probably hear the same answer, the schools chose how to spend their money. Yes, some put it into the classrooms, while some are putting it all into facilities, and one has a dwindling population but will have state of the art facilities. It seems to be a very inadequate process to place funding where it is really neede at each site.

  58. Anon Says:

    Anon #57-

    Get your facts straight, every high school got exactly the same funding. Stop your whining. Stop acting like a victim. And stop blaming Northgate.

  59. Anon Says:

    Just wondering Anon #57

    Every high school got $6.7 mil last year. Tell me, do you think one school should get $12mil while this school with dwindling enrollment gets nothing? Where do you draw this “fair” line you speak of?

    Tell me how much do you think each high school should get? Start with $40,000,000.

    College Park
    Mt. Diablo

    Who should get the most?

    Do you know where this money comes from? It comes from EVERY school community.

    I no longer understand the definition of fair. When I was a kid, fair was splitting something equally.

  60. Still Waiting Says:

    Its the management, unenlightened one.
    Getting rid of rank and file while the managers who were supposed to stop whatever was happening are safe. Unreal how teflon they are and how they stick together. Keeping the same core group and blaming the little guy. Well, I will leave it to the forces that be to figure out that it must be a top-down change. I, myself, would like to deal with anyone other than Julie Braun Martin who has a palpable dislike of the certificated staff, probably all staff. This is a paycheck only for her but she is not fulfilling those requirements, either. When, oh when, can I sing the Rogers & Hammerstein Sound of Music song:
    So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night I hate to go and leave this pretty sight So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu Adieu, adieu

  61. 2busymom Says:

    Fair has many definitions, it all depends on the situation. Fair can also mean everyone getting what they need, and that is not always equal portions.
    Just a different perspective.

    I am personally happy that the board went with Tech plan B. Each school will not get the same amount of money, but will get enough to put them all on an equal playing field.

    Our students are not getting an equal education. Schools with low income, and/or low test scores get more funding. Schools with higher socio-economic attendees get more in donations. Schools in the middle of the road get screwed. That is the unfortunate reality.

  62. Anon Says:

    Be careful what you wish for. Start distributing bond funds based on an unequal distribution and it may be the last bond or parcel tax measure ever passed in this district.

  63. anontwo Says:

    What is the status of the approval of the separation agreements of Superintendent Lawrence and Counsel Rolen? Approval isn’t reflected in the board action summary.

  64. Anon too Says:

    And maybe it should be the last until the District can manage and account for all of their spending.

    Every student in the District should have equal opportunity at every school. Example I will use is track. Why should some schools have a track that meets NCS standards and others not. All should have the same opportunities. Once all are offered the same opportunities, then you can begin to offer additional opportunities for all students.

  65. Anon too Says:

    Not blaming Northgate for anything, didn’t reference them. So why are you so offended? All schools should give students the same opportunities. The District is responsible to make sure their facilities provide those opportunities. MDUSD has failed here for the last 20 years. Schools in lower economic areas have better facilities than many here, and they don’t have huge parent clubs to fund improvements. It’s time to step up and get it right.

    My high school, not in this area, built in the 1940’s has and still has better facilities than the newer schools in MDUSD. Why build more schools when MDUSD can’t even maintain what we have in MDUSD? Why is Measure C money going towards maintenance? Where is the maintenance budget going? The high schools deserve more than the $6.7 million they received. They have been underfunded for years which the CVCHS process identified.

    Why don’t you want all students to have the opportunities that Northgate students have? Is it too much to ask, or do you enjoy keeping other students down and disadvantaged?

  66. Anon Says:

    Anon Too,

    Don’t play these holier than thou games. You didn’t say Northgate but your dwindling enrollment comment certainly implied that.

    The Northgate feeder pattern has been singled out in conversations regarding equity for as long as I can remember. Your last sentence says it all, what a sad world you must see through your eyes.

    I would want every student, in every school, in every city, in this country to have everything they need to have a 1st rate high school experience. In fact why stop there, I would want it worldwide. So don’t blame and envy those who try to make things better, go really do something about it.

  67. Doctor J Says:

    Posts57-66: I think all of you are missing the point of the problem with some of the Measure C projects. In order to pass a school bond with only 55% of the vote instead of 66 2/3%, certain specific requirements must be met under the California Constitution, as amended by Prop 39 years ago. One of those requirements to qualify for the reduced 55% vote is: “This paragraph shall apply only if the proposition approved by the voters and resulting in the bonded indebtedness includes all of the following accountability requirements:
    . . . .
    “(B) A list of the specific school facilities projects to be funded and certification that the school district board . . . has evaluated safety, class size reduction, and information technology needs in developing that list.”
    Measure C was REQUIRED to list the specific projects in the text of the ballot measure to qualify for the 55% reduced vote of Prop 39. I have not found one person who can find a specific project to build a new aquatic center for Northgate High nor stadium field lights for YVHS. And there are other projects too, but these two examples are easy.
    All board trustees and district employees swear an oath to uphold the California Constitution and Prop 39 became part of the Constitution. The district is not authorized to hand out $42 million of Measure C projects to the high schools and say they can use it for whatever project they want — the “list of the specific school facilities projects” must be published in the voter pamphlet to meet the Constitutional requirements. I invite you to read the Court of Appeal decision TAXPAYERS FOR ACCOUNTABLE SCHOOL BOND SPENDING v. SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT and the link is
    Then please go read the full text of Measure C and tell me where a Northgate Aquatics Center and YVHS stadium field lights are identified as “specific projects” in the ballot.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    The full text of Measure C 2010 can be found under “Local Measures” pp. 8-19.
    Again, please tell me where a Northgate Aquatics Center and YVHS stadium field lights are identified as “specific projects” in the ballot pamphlet.

  69. Anon too Says:

    Unfortunately, you stop at your local school has it, so that is all that matters.


  70. Doctor J Says:

    @69 I am all for parity in facilities of all schools in MDUSD — but Meas C was not designed to do that and did not meet the Constitutional requirements of identifying specific projects that now want to be built. If you were told that, tell us who said that to you, and lets hold them accountable.

  71. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Just because Northgate parents are willing to step up and open their pocketbooks for Northgate doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get their fair share of the Measure C money.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    There were 68 candidates for the San Leandro Unified School District Supt job. Pay $215,000. 8800 students. 900 employees.

  73. Fog a Spoon Says:

    #48 Vindex. You mention personnel staff taking time, asking in-depth questions, and doing their best for both their employer and the candidate. We don’t have those people on the “asking” side here. We have a staff openly hostile to empoyees, breaking any rule they please, bestowing favors with taxpayer dollars, and retaliating at will. These are not the people who care and feel they owe their employer to do their jobs. It is all personal feelings first. You cannot “make” them do the right thing and though they have forfeited their right to work at the district, the board will show them leniency and “respect” by letting them work out their contracts. This is a bad example to all staff and shows disrespect to the taxpayers and the district. If they were honest, they would have done the right thing. One thing I don’t think anyone will stand for is a bag of excuses if we can ever get a prosecutor to take this seriously or get CCC D.A. office to recuse itself. I was in disbelief when yet more money was given to a “chief accountant” whose credentials are a secret when her expanded duties came from Brian Richards supposedly abandoning his office and moving across the hall! Why aren’t you taking those funds from Richards salary? What new things are being done? These are the people you are comparing to a personnel department who has behavior parameters and went into personnel as a choice, not trying to reinvent themselves.

  74. Anon Says:

    Anon too,

    What makes you so sure of that?

  75. Sue Berg Says:

    It is great to see a schedule of meetings seeking input from staff, parents, students, and community members regarding the superintendent search and other timely information are posted on the MDUSD webpage:

  76. Anon Says:

    The best option, especially for us getting off work, is to send in an email. I found that I could expand on my thoughts rather than being under time restraint with other people around.
    Good idea.

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Sue, Yes, it’s also nice to see the Spanish translation right there with the announcement, such as this one welcoming the interim superintendent:

    However, many other district communications, including the Board Action Summaries, are not translated:

  78. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a very cool student-produced video about MDUSD’s Linked Learning programs:

  79. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Since I’m returning from vacation, I have just posted a new blog entry about the Tuesday community input meeting related to the superintendent search, as well as a link to the online survey:

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