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Live blog of MDUSD 6-17-13 meeting

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, June 17th, 2013 at 8:32 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board meeting is underway.

Here is the agenda:

“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 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 Expulsions Action
4.4 Readmissions Action
4.5 Existing Litigation Info
4.6 Anticipated Litigation Info
4.7 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54957 Approve final separation terms of General Counsel Action
4.8 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54957 Approve final separation terms of Superintendent Action
4.9 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Action
5.0 Closed Session Agenda
6.0 Reconvene Open Session

6.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info
7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info
8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 Negotiations Info
8.2 Conference with Labor Negotiators Info
8.3 Expulsions Info
8.4 Readmissions Info
8.5 Existing Litigation Info
8.6 Anticipated Litigation Info
8.7 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Info
8.8 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Info
8.9 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release Info
9.0 Expulsion Recommendations
9.1 Expulsion of Student #21-13 Action
9.2 Expulsion of Student #20-13 Action
10.0 Consent Agenda Action
10.1 (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
10.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
10.3 (Item #3) Request to increase and decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 school year Action
10.4 (Item #4) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Requests Action
10.5 (Item #6) Changes in status of the following classified employees. Action
10.6 (Item #7) Reclassification of Secretarial Position to a Senior Account Clerk Action
10.7 (Item #8) Fiscal Transactions for the month of May 2013. Action
10.8 (Item #9) Monthly Budget Transfer and/or Budget Increases/Decreases for the month of May 2013. Action
10.9 (Item #10) Board Bylaw 9012 – Board Member Electronic Communications Action
10.10 (Item #11) Resolution #12/13-48 for Authorization to Award Summer Contracts Action
10.11 (Item #13) Approve contract/purchase order with California Translating International for foreign language interpreting and translation services for school year 2013-2014 Action
10.12 (Item #14) Independent Contract for translating services between Evelina Villa and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
10.13 (Item #15) Approve contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and AccentCare Home Care Services, Non Public Agency (NPA), for the 2013-2014 school year Action
10.14 (Item #16) Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding with Spectrum Center for 2013/14 Collaborative Program Action
10.15 (Item #17) Execution of Non-Public School Contracts for the 2013-14 School Year Action
10.16 (Item #18) Increase to purchase order with Non-Public Agency Community Options for Families and Youth (C.O.F.Y.) for District Mental Health Services Action
10.17 (Item #19) Joint Use Lease Agreement Between Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Anova Center for Education Action
10.18 (Item #20) Approval of Non-Public School Adjustments Action
10.19 (Item #21) Food and Nutrition Services Purchases 2013 – 2014 Action
10.20 (Item #22) Food and Nutrition Services Purchase Order 2013 – 2014 Action
10.21 (Item #23) Approve contracts with Resource Development & Associates (RDA) for evaluation services for the School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools (Meadow Homes Elementary & Oak Grove Middle School) for the 2013-2014 school year. Action
10.22 (Item #24) Request to approve increase for Independent Service Contract for Events to the T, an event planning service. Action
10.23 (Item #25) Additional funding for the contract between Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Maxim Healthcare Services, Non Public Agency (NPA) for the 2012-2013 school year. Action
10.24 (Item #26) Real Property Lease Agreement Renewals for: County of Contra Costa County (Families First) at Mt. Diablo High and Walnut Acres Day Care Center, Inc. at Walnut Acres Elementary School Action
10.25 (Item #28) Award of Bid for Bid #1650 Action
10.26 (Item #29) Award of Project Inspector Contract to support RFQ/RFP 1642 – Remodel of Art Classroom at Northgate High School Action

11.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion
11.1 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Positions Action
11.2 (Item #12) Approve contract/purchase order with Beyond the Words, Inc. for the services of Educational Interpreters for the Deaf for school year 2013-2014 Action
11.3 (Item #27) Notice of Completion for Bid #1618/C-914 Action

12.0 Public Comment
12.1 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
13.0 Communications
13.1 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

14.0 Reports/Information
14.1 Update of Measure C 10 GB backbone and wireless deployments at secondary schools and Walnut Acres. Info

14.2 Annual Report of the 2002 Measure C Citizens Bond Oversight Committee Info

14.3 Community Advisory Committee Annual Report – Lorrie Davis, Chair Info

14.4 Board Bylaw 9000 – Role of the Board Info

14.5 Board Bylaw 9200 – Limits of Board Member Authority Info

14.6 Moving Regular Board Meeting Day of Week Action

15.0 Superintendent’s Report
15.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

16.0 Business/Action Items
16.1 Public Hearing Regarding Adoption of the 2013-2014 Budget. Action

16.2 Proposed Adoption of the 2013-14 Budget Action

16.3 Public Hearing for Resolution 12/13-51 Education Protection Account 2013-14 Action

16.4 Resolution 12/13-51 Education Protection Account 2013-14 Action

16.5 Appointment of Principal, Elementary School Action

16.6 Appointment of Principal, Elementary School Action

16.7 Appointment of Administrator of Equity and Disproportionality Action

16.8 Appointment of Administrator, School Support Action

16.9 Post Retirement Contract for Adult Education Administrator. Action

16.10 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Supervisor, Food & Nutrition Services Action

16.11 Approval of School Site Comprehensive School Safety Plans for 2013-2014. Action

16.12 Submission of the 2013-2014 Consolidated Application for Funding Action

16.13 Walnut Creek Sister Cities International Program Action

16.14 Final Change Order for Bid #1618; Contract #C-914 Measure-C Secondary schools technology improvements – Structured Cabling, Adding Ethernet Drops w/Fiber Backbone in Middle Schools and High schools, between MDUSD & Walker Telecomm. Inc. Action

16.15 Mt. Diablo Adult Education seeks approval for submission of a Vendor Application to the Regional Center of the East Bay. Action

16.16 Review Draft of MDUSD/CVCHS Facilities Use Agreement for 2013/14 Info

16.17 RFQ/RFP 1617 – Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to XL Construction, Inc. for S-Wing Modernization at Mt. Diablo High School. Action

16.18 RFQ/RFP 1642 – Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to E F Brett and Company, Inc. for Remodel of Art Classroom (Auto/Metal Shop) at Northgate High School. Action

16.19 Installation of Temporary Classroom at Eagle Peak for 2013 – 2014 School Year Action

16.20 Adoption of the revised/updated Environmental Science Course of Study Info

16.21 Adoption of Environmental Science Textbook Action

16.22 Adoption of Sports Medicine Course of Study Info

16.23 Meeting Extension Action

17.0 Future Agenda Items
17.1 Graduation Requirements Info
17.2 Board Governance Workshop and Board Goals Info

18.0 Board Member Reports
18.1 Board reports Info

19.0 Closed Session
19.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action
20.0 Adjournment
20.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

Board President Cheryl Hansen reported that trustees gave direction to staff regarding items 4.7 and 4.8. She said trustees would go back into closed session to discuss item 4.9.

The board recognized the Concord HS girl’s softball team.
Trustees also agreed to hold a special meeting June 24.

The board approved all consent calendar items.

There were five public speakers:

1. Debbie Hickey cited a negative experience she had with an El Dorado MS administrator.

2. Willie Mims commented on Hicks’ comments.

3. Several parents of former Delta View Elementary students who will now be attending Rio Vista due to board action changing the boundaries asked for bussing. Hansen asked staff to bring back a recommendation related to that.

4. Fiscal employee Sylvia Srmak complained about the work environment in her dept and said she has had to file a restraining order against one of her supervisors. She said an attorney hired by the district thre a pen at her and her attorney. She said the human resources dept was not adequately handling her complaints, so she has also filed a PERB complaint related to unpaid overtime, which other employees received.

5. PTA rep Mona Ricard introduced new rep.

No district organization reps spoke.

14.1 Joe Estrada presented a Powerpoint on Measure C backbone and wireless. He said he may ask for more employees to help with continued installation.

14.2 Measure C 2002 Annual Report Powerpoint presentation by 2010 Committee Chair

14.3 CAC Chairwoman Lorrie Davis gave annual report, ending with comments about her concerns about how budget cuts are affecting special ed students.

14.4 and 14.5 Board Bylaws 9000-9200 Role of the Board and Limits of Board Member Authority – Bernard tightened up previous bylaws. He said board only supervises one employee – him (and the general counsel, unless Bernard intends to recommend a change in that reporting structure). He said trustees can tell him what they want to include in his evaluations of contract employees so he can let them know.
Willie Mims said he likes the revisions and reminded trustees that they shouldn’t overstep their boundaries, which he has seen trustees do in the past. These will be brought back for a vote in August.

14.6 Moving Regular Board Meeting Day of Week
Board voted 3-2 to move meeting days to Wednesdays starting in August.
Dennler and Lawrence voted against, saying they often have conflicts on those days.

15.1 Superintendent’s Report:
Bernard talked about a graduation requirements proposal he plans to bring forward in August, phasing back up to 230 units required.

16.1 Public hearing regarding adoption of the 2013-14 budget
Richards gave a short oral report with no PowerPoint. Public hearing was tabled to Monday special meeting.

16.2 Proposed adoption of 2013-14 budget.
Tabled to Monday special meeting.

16.3 Public hearing for Education Protection Account 2013-14
Tabled to Monday special meeting.

16.4 Resolution for Education Protection Act 2013-14
Tabled to Monday special meeting.

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170 Responses to “Live blog of MDUSD 6-17-13 meeting”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Theresa, on item # 10.11 and 10.12, wasn’t the AIS Padilla contract supposed to come back up for consideration? Or has the board decided not to consider renewal of the AIS contract?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Good question.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Disappearing agenda items: On Friday at 5:12 pm I post some of the “interesting” agenda items, the first of which was “Tim Cody seeks carte blanche authority to enter into 25 construction contracts totaling appx. $8,000,000 without prior board review — only ratification. What happens if the Board doesn’t ratify ?” When did that item disappear off the agenda ?

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Really nice to see Dr. Bernard step up to the plate on the Eagle Peak portable building mess. Read the agenda item, and it was scheduled to last 5 years — except Cody didn’t know that it could only be a “temporary” building 2 years. A pretty expensive project for only two years of use — the return on investment will be in the negative for the district. We are also still seeing lots of last minute “rushes” like the science curriculum — this district really needs to get ahead of the curve.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Good question about the agenda. I hadn’t printed it out on Friday, so I didn’t see that item. But, I’m wondering why Bernard didn’t report his observations about the organization like he told me he intended to do.

  6. g Says:

    While it may not be a legal conflict of interest, it seems to me it isn’t quite ethical for Tina Segrove to be serving both on the board of directors (President) of a “Public Benefit Corporation” which IS Eagle Peak, AND (since the beginning of time in 2002) sitting on the CBOCs pushing for bond funds and approvals for Eagle Peak and requesting Measure C management time, salary and money for, first the original school, and now additional construction.

    Eagle Peak is ‘trying’ to raise enough funds for the temporary portable, but they are asking the entire district to pay to “facilitate” it and then build a permanent building so that they can “retain” 5th moving to 6th grade students.

    Their desire to “retain” 25-35 students (and their ADA $) is not exactly beneficial to students or taxpayers of the entire district.

    While no one can argue the fact that they do run a nice little school for about 200 hand picked ‘charter’ kids, we should not forget that we just closed a nice little ‘public’ school of 400 kids because the board refused to even consider letting them ‘retain’ almost a hundred 6th graders as the parents requested–which left the school “under-populated.”

    At all other district schools, including CVCHS, students living within certain boundaries get the first seats available. Next available seats go to intra district transfer requests (or NCLB). That is not the case with Eagle Peak, where current board, past board, teachers and staff get their kids in first (regardless or residence), then upcoming siblings, then if there happen to be seats left available, a lottery is drawn where, by some miracle of the draw, they end up with less than 3% low income (while the districtwide percentage is 38%) and they have an even lower percentage of SpEd and ELL students. Those percentages are so low in fact, the State doesn’t even try to calculate or include them.

    Of course, it also benefits your high performance numbers and the lottery when you eliminate poorer/SpEd/ELL populations by “requiring” parents to be able to afford to participate/donate 40hrs of work per year — or, I wonder; can they “buy” their way out of that obligation?

    On the other hand, playing devil’s advocate — maybe they are just trying to keep their kids out of the district’s middle school system for as long as possible. If that’s the case, who can blame them. I think most parents would prefer that their 6th graders stay in elementary one more year.

  7. g Says:

    Dr. J: The slippery Cody Summer Contracts item slid right through under 10.10 of the Consent Agenda. No idea why Brian Lawrence didn’t pull it like he did the last time. Maybe he was too busy to read the whole thing.

  8. Brian Lawrence Says:

    @7 You are right- I goofed and should have pulled it. I’m going to see what can be done to remedy it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Brian, Have it put on for reconsideration for next Monday.

  10. g Says:

    One problem is, now that Cody has Cheryl on board, these bids, whether presented alone or in a group will all get passed. It hardly seems worth the trouble to question them.

    I take blame for one of those outrageous summer jobs. I wrote a couple months ago about how they were apparently ignoring one state construction requirement, and now, $uddenly, after dozens upon dozens of modular installations, Cody brings up $25K!! for (probably his best gal Alicia Jensen) to go to Stockton to watch and examine the Glu-lam process on Mehleis’ plywood materials.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I also pointed out to Cody after the meeting that there is no contact information for the Measure C Dept. on the district’s “Department” page (or the Measure C site):

    He and Mitchell Stark also aren’t included in the district’s voicemail employee directory. His department appears to work under the radar. He seemed pretty surprised when Bernard actually questioned him about the Eagle Peak agreement.

  12. g Says:

    Then of course, after Jensen spends approximately 294(!!!) hours of watching them glue the plywood, Jensen gets another $20K = 234 hours(!!!) to watch them build up the foundation and set the modular down on it.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about Monday’s meeting:

  14. Anon Says:

    TH@13, your article says that after closed session, Hansen announced the board “gave direction to staff” regarding the final separation agreements. Do you know what that means, and if separation agreements were actually approved?

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, I don’t know what that means. I think the final agreements have to be approved at a public meeting.

  16. Anon Says:

    As far as can be determined, these agreements have not been approved. Do you intend to look into what is going on? There has been a lot of delay. Also, it is interesting that a “reassignment” of an employee (not classified or certificated) follows these two closed session agenda items.

  17. anon Says:

    Theresa, I am going to call you. There is an employee you really need to speak with ASAP. She was tossed off the property by Oedipus Rex, excuse me, Oedipus WRECK. I told her to go bright and early to law enforcement tomorrow. She spoke at a board meeting and Julie Braun Martin and Bryan Richards went after her. I think she needs to go to the FBI and see what direction they can give. I will say this, if they have done nothing about horrific anti-Semitic remarks and nothing about theft, it seems a little too odd that as soon as she opened her mouth the “squad” jumped into action. That woman from Fiscal was practically spitting her food out she was so full of hatred towards Israel, its right to exist, Jewish persons. I left the lunchroom. Sorry but these people should have been let go. Bryan Richards should have been FIRED for losing all that personal information – FOR TWO DISTRICTS – and Julie Braun Martin has been having problems since she was a principal. Just wrong. I obviously will not post her contact information here but she was told Bryan was “walking her off the premises”. Our bright, shiny, new era superintendent, of course, made no attempt to speak with the icky, untouchable, employee. Already going along to get along. I want you to speak with her and make sure her managers have explained HIPAA law THOROUGHLY to her, as an employee, and if she has been given written parameters. HIPAA law knowledge is not on this test and is not a job requirement so if La Richards fell down on the job…..well let’s just say he will have problems finding another district to let him “lose” all this personal info, overpay him for keeping us in desperate straits, and harassing employees.

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I just spoke to to Dr. Bernard and he said the settlement agreements will have to come back before the board for public approval, but there are no plans to finalize them by Monday.

    Regarding the reassignment, I stayed until the end of the meeting and videotaped the report out. Here’s what Board President Cheryl Hansen said:

    Also, Bernard told me he forgot to comment on his observations of the organization during his superintendent report. So, he plans to speak about that on Monday. Stay tuned!

    Regarding the two employees who spoke during public comment, Dr. Bernard said those are personnel issues and he couldn’t discuss them. However, he said one was already being dealt with.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    I guess the one remaining elementary principal to be named will be at Ayers.

  20. Hide the ball Says:

    If you call the GC office recording says “Greg Rolen is not in.” Not same for Lawrence because Lorene J. answers. Someone needs to ask why MDUSD is still presenting Rolen as an employee on website and phone and has not reached agreement with either of these two men. There’s a backstory here that isn’t being told.

  21. anon Says:

    time for fresh undies. I am now hearing that Richards went and hid in a mom-agers office while – as usual- somebody else did the managerial work. Do you have a transcript of whatever made these two have a managerial sized temper tantrum. Gosh, Julie, when will it be over with you. It goes back to actually before she was a principal.

  22. Anontoo@20 Says:

    you have no idea how large the need is for fresh undies. How about the YV principal being promoted after having an affair with a married administrator with kids in the district? That’s pretty unprofessional. This whole district rots as far as I’m concerned. Gross.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    HTB: It’s very hard to get the back story when it’s a personnel issue, people don’t want to talk about it and the tentative agreements restrict what can be said. Until the agreements are signed, Rolen and Lawrence are still district employees. However, despite the fact that their phone messages and the district website reflect that, it is widely known that they are no longer working for the district.

  24. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are links to the documents Dr. Bernard passed out to the board regarding graduation requirements:

    Graduation requirements phase-in:

    Graduation requirements comparison to other districts:

  25. Doctor J Says:

    @#22 If it gave the candidate a boost in getting the promotion, the other candidates may have a very serious claim of sexual harassment against the district.

  26. g Says:

    Problem is, considering the activity in this district we don’t know which affair(s) 22 is talking about, and what time frame they’re talking about. Promotions this year, last year or a couple years ago? All are possibilities.

  27. Doctor J Says:

    What if one of the persons has supervisory responsibilities over the other or was on the interview panel for the promotion ?

  28. Tired of affairs Says:

    Affairs are common place in this district. Look at board member Hansen’s significant other. He was a long time administrator in the district and dated the YV principal at the time. He was the principal at college park where Hansen was a vice principal I believe and he is dating her now. So administrators get around for sure. It’s a bit troubling.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Bernard said that the Board only employs one person: the Supt. However, I thought back in 2008/9 that the Grand Jury said the General Counsel also reported directly to the Board.

  30. Anon Says:

    J, I think the organizational chart for MDUSD shows the GC reports to the board and the Sup.

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, the board changed the reporting structure so the general counsel can go over the superintendent’s head. Perhaps Bernard was not aware of this.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon #30 I think that is because Rolen was also the Director of Transportation and thus had a dual role.

  33. Anon Says:

    Tired@28, I think the post refers to an affair between the YV elementary principal who was just promoted (Christine Richardson) and Greg Rolen. Some don’t care about affairs, but if it’s done on work time, that is a problem. I also think it’s a problem to be an educator who cares about kids, yet is disrupting the marriage of another administrator with kids in that administrator’s district. Bryan Richards sounds like a huge ethical disaster. Don’t know much about Hansen’s husband. I think it raises problems with potential adverse employment claims too.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#33 Doesn’t fit with Anontoo’s description of “an administrator” since Rolen was the General Counsel, not an administrator.

  35. CTBASM Says:

    Anontoo thought the GC position was an administrative position because Rolen was always referred to as “one of the big five.” BTW, figure out the name and you have your answer.

  36. Doctor J Says:

    New Superintendent Job Description posted. Easier to qualify to be Superman. :-)

  37. Michael Langley Says:

    The announcement emphasized experience with diverse populations and the ability to communicate. Not the buzzword “communicate” but the communicate that requires listening skills. Superman? No. We are looking for an educator to lead this district. I must be naïve to believe that we would pay an annual salary close to a quarter of a million dollars and expect something better than mediocre candidates. As a comparison, the MDUSD Superintendent makes the salary approximate to that of General Daniel B. Allyn, the current commander of United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). He is the leader of 750,000 soldiers. FORSCOM is somewhat more complicated than MDUSD, including budgets, facilities and training. By the way, the $234,683.64 yearly salary for a four star General with over forty years of service is only considered for retirement purposes. Military pay is capped at $179,700 while on active duty. Do you think that Gen. Allyn could make more money outside a military career? Do we expect less of him because he chose public service over wealth?

    The MDUSD Superintendent must understand the required skill set of his employees and how to help them accomplish the mission of educating students. He must lead by example and take responsibility for what occurs on his watch. That means he must hire and promote those administrators who also possess leadership skills. He must understand how children learn and he must have the integrity to support meaningful progress rather than the appearance of progress.

    The culture of MDUSD discourages free exchange of ideas, marginalizes the personnel who work directly with the students, and rewards sycophants, brass polishers and BFF’s who confuse self promotion with educational outcomes. Superintendent Lawrence was not the first to buy into this, nor, I fear, will he be the last. Many are so used to this culture that they believe it is the way MDUSD should operate. It is their new normal.

    Our Interim Superintendent wants the governing board to stop handling complaints and let the district administration do its job. All well if the administrators were capable. Parents, employees and students often go to board members as a last resort. A parent asked me how to solve a problem with a school policy that was harmful to her child. After the parent talked to the classroom teacher, she found out that the teacher was bound by the Principal’s directive. The Principal told the parent it was district policy. The parent contacted Dent administration and was told that it was site policy. The principal then was overheard claiming the parent was making trouble. Only after the parent contacted a board member did the policy get resolved. The parent did not want to use this channel. The board member only got involved because there was a total breakdown in common sense and understanding of the school’s mission.

    It is going to take time and effort to reform this district. A new superintendent must earn the trust and respect of all stakeholders. We don’t need Superman. We need an educator willing to do what is right for our community, our children.

  38. Anon Says:

    A good leader needs to have the ability to attract good leaders. A superintendent shouldn’t be in the position of micromanaging everything that goes on. Every person at the district level should be possible superintendents themselves. Can you name any Asst Supts and/or Directors in the District who would be good candidates to be a superintendent anywhere? You can’t? Didn’t think you could. A good superintendent, a good leader, would recognize leadership qualities in people and nurture them in their development. When that happens, you have growth.Right now, a new superintendent is going to have to come in and clear the chaff before he/she can get started moving ahead.

  39. Tired Says:

    The community is going to have to replace the board as well. Until there is a new superintendent and new board, this community will suffer. We have one board member with kids in school. These people have no idea what is actually happening on sites.

  40. anon Says:

    Can we take another year of these losers? Mike Langley, bless you, you said it so well! I was appalled to learn that an employee felt so abandoned by this bottom feeder management, she felt legal action was her only remedy. How can this district take bullying seriously when the small minded management are the kids with the rocks? The details are available and appalling. After speaking with another employee about the bullying, she verified that this employee is bad news but Julie Braun Martin keeps her as some type of “bouncer”. She makes the environment bad so, whoever Julie is after this week – leaves. She also said while her decision to leave that department after years was mostly about Mary Meadows, the Payroll Manager, ill treatment, this employee was definitely one of the reasons she saw the department as chaotic and hostile to anyone wanting to do the right thing. She went to law enforcement and hopes somebody goes out of there in handcuffs. She also said this employee had serious behavioral issues and extremely poor work performance that was disregarded. This employee bragged about how many write-ups she had and how Julie Braun Martin would “never” fire her. Another employee arrogantly showed up to put her two cents in while using the workplace to make anti-Semitic remarks. Pretty bold or pretty stupid. Certainly not scared of the district. This staff must be in charge of Richards, not the other way around. I have heard enough. Give us the EXACT reasons to keep these managers because every other district has weathered the financial storms but we have this “angel of death” thing going on here. Richards creates the problems then “saves” us from financial doom? The blog on MDUSD Extends Hours about Richards keeping a stuffed animal to hold at meetings is true. Just bizarre. Hopefully, keeping anti-Semitic employees on staff will cost them federal funding and maybe, just maybe, they will take the bullying seriously.
    We need Sigmund Freud, not an auditor.

  41. Enough! Says:

    Is this “new” superintendent some friend of Cheryl Hansens? Nothing personal but this old dogma of employee wrong, management right is an antiquated old boys network that never serves the organization. I think go right to the search and thank this guy for his service. Why pay more money to have another person act as Richards errand boy? Why wasn’t it disclosed that this was just another board member bringing their friends to the trough of taxpayer money? I cannot remember the string but there was a comment that it was too far gone here. I don’t think any board will do more than take for themselves. I think this might be some political stepping stone and this interim super sees an opportunity to make gobs of cash and leave before anyone can see he exactly the same as the last guy in many respects. I would really have liked to have the board work with Lawrence to give him more direction. I now see the reason, if this is some personal friend of Hansens’ that she wanted Lawrence gone. It’s the management, stupid!

  42. Enough! Says:

    Sorry, and another thing….
    IS there any way we can get rid of the board altogether? I am not reducing any other unit’s loss but it seems like MDEA members have been hit the hardest from this fiscal maelstrom.
    Only the players have changed.

  43. Enough! Says:

    #36 Dr. J,
    It is not who they hire. It is that they will not self-police when people do not work out. They just keep protecting each other despite any cost to the taxpayer or district reputation.
    Anyone for collecting cab fare for Richards and dropping him off at Swett, ringing the doorbell, and running?

  44. Fisher Price School of Law Says:

    Be a lawyer – or just look like one. Let me clarify some things Deb Cooksey doesn’t know. The District may NOT refuse employees a union rep in a meeting. That dumb woman who thought this was still American and she had free speech had her rights taken away. Your current union will do nothing. They should have immediatley filed a PERB complaint. 2nd: this Julie Braun Martin and anyone else who is a party to a complaint CANNOT oversee the adjudication of the complaint. The mdusd profile cannot honestly think that a manager at the heart of the complaint can pick the moderator and ostensibly, their own punishment. That is, if they find THEMSELVES inept. I realize you have an interim super but his not doing an interim job. He is just a figurehead to keep the status quo until they hire someone. I recvd a call – out of the blue- and if 1/10th are remotely accurate, this district is in crisis. Deb Cooksey was, at BEST, a non-presence in Oakland and I see she is still not advocating on behalf of the taxpayers. It must be her advice to keep these law-suit Larry’s in management and start a first amendment rights war. It must also be her advice to start a legal battle over a couple of hours of overtime, which the employee will absolutely get in the end. Did she, or Brian Richards, sign off on paying Greg Rolen’s friend $4,000 in overtime some months? These analysts are correct: they should be given equal funds for not being offered the “work” that was so lucrative and went to Greg Rolen’s friend.These employees were at the same job level and perfectly capable of doing the work or splitting the available overtime. The payroll manager needs to understand that a staff does not understand that they are excluded from all that overtime due to their lack of “friendship” with Greg Rolen. She should have reported her concerns to her supervisors, not kvetch with the staff. All the work done by this employee, who now a manager, should be scrutinized byt this federal prosecutor to see if she could have even worked that many hours without collapsing. If these girls make about $40 an hour and some of it is straight time, that is a lot of hours. It figures I was not at the last meeting but it is a little too coincidental that this woman speaks up and is kicked out the next day. MDUSD management is so corrupt and your poor district should not be seen as REHAB or reinvention for failed principals or lotto-winning managers.

  45. Teacher Says:

    #38. The district office was much more like what you described under Gary McHenry. Good work was rewarded, teachers could become VPs and then move into principal jobs. Trainings pwere held and the district promoted from within. Now there is no loyalty shown for current employees and turnover is very high. When people come in, as they did after McHenry, money/budget is the only thing that seems to matter. Behind every cost is person. When I started in this district, it felt more like a family. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but most employees today do not feel any connection to district office personnel. How can things be better when there is such a high turnover rate with the people in charge

  46. Doctor J Says:

    Only 11 more days [7 business days] to apply for Supt in MDUSD. Not much lead time.

  47. anon4 Says:

    Having seen various high schools in MDUSD, nothing is as sad as the morale of the teachers at Mt. Diablo High School. With such poor leadership, it is a wonder that more teachers have not left.

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Agenda for Monday meeting is posted, including early termination letters for Greg Rolen and Steven Lawrence, release of another employee:

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the supt job description:

  50. anon Says:

    Th @48, I’m guessing further negotiation on the separation agreements was going to be futile, and these early termination letters are the result. I wonder if we’ll ever know why the board didn’t approve the proposed separation agreements?

  51. Doctor J Says:

    @#50 My guess is that the “letters of recommendation” were so bogus that the Board could not agree to them with a straight face. Also, I wonder if it had to do with an automatic increase on July 1 ? Since we have no minutes, didn’t the Board terminate them as a April 30 ?

  52. Doctor J Says:

    Agenda observations: No principal for Ayers yet, but they keep appointing SASS administrators who historically have come from the ranks of principals. Does that mean that there will be another principal opening in addition to Ayers ? I guess Bryan did not get his reconsideration of the Meas C Tim Cody carte blanche contract authority.

  53. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Enough @#42, are you for real? MDEA members gave away their medical coverage for more money in their paycheck. They recently got money to put towards medical with no corresponding money taken from their paycheck – in other words, MDEA got a raise.

    CSEA and CST members have had their time cut, and nothing has been restored. Many of those people have to work a second job. Schools have to wait months for a simple ballast to be replaced because M&O has cut their staff to the bone.

    MDEA got a raise. Everyone else got shafted.

  54. Tired Says:

    After reading the termination letters I am surprised. The last contract that I read was the one for Gary McHenry and his contract allowed for an 18 month payoff if he was let go. When was the contract language improved? Why didn’t the board do this months ago? They just can’t make a good move, can they?

  55. Teacher Says:

    #53. I am a MDEA member md would like to know WHAT RAISE you are talking about

  56. fog a spoon Says:

    #43 I think Swett would prefer the flaming bag of poo. Seriously, this interim superintendent is just behind the times and provided nothing more than continuity of the same old, same old. He will be a management apologist and work to preserve employment for the very people everyone knows have to go before any healing starts. Julie Braun Martin should have been returned to the classroom to learn humanity, humility, and get an accurate picture of who she really is. Instead, they let her retain her belief that “those” people are dumb, uneducated, and beneath her. Incapable of introspection. Mean is one thing, people can be mean but still be honest and do their jobs. Julie has never performed her job function and her tactics have been suspect for some time. Nobody dealing with her should blame themselves. Her problems predate Personnel by years. She needed to get away from the parents and staff who would have ultimately purged her. She needs to feel elitist. She needed an elitist school so she could bar anyone “under” her specifications, instead of working to up the curric for every student. Julie needs to be insular and superior and she does this by projecting her own failures onto others. A good superintendent would have seen she is a bad fit and moved her to SASS or somewhere she couldn’t do any harm. But, this is the land of made-up credentials. She has discovered what works for her but those negative qualities do not work for the employees or the district. Again, I think MDEA has more eye rolling rights when it comes to Jules. She revels in giving bad news and there always seems to be some angry undercurrent with her. Not a good match working with people. TH, is this interim a personal friend of Hansens????

  57. Doctor J Says:

    Hayward hires Interim Supt WITHOUT a credential ! Rotary President says that “doctorate” Supts lead the district “to last place in the county in test scores.” Very interesting article as the Board considers candidates for Supt.

  58. g Says:

    Unfortunately, sometimes an advanced degree simply means a person knew they were better at ‘being in school’ than they would be out in the real world using what they had already learned. Eventually, they have to get a job.

    I’d guess that a Navy Commander is probably capable of sailing Hayward’s ship if given the chance. Steven Lawrence was, at best, more akin to a Lt. who had stayed in school too long — all theory and very little practice.

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s interesting that Hayward had five candidates for interim supt. and that one with no administrative credential was considered most qualified. I wonder about the caliber of the other applicants. Like MDUSD, Hayward is a low-performing district with some campuses that are receiving School Improvement Grants. It will be interesting to see what caliber of applicants MDUSD will attract.

    On another note, here’s a story about a Montana district that is requiring three years of math for graduation:

  60. g Says:

    This article may leave little doubt why Dobbs left San Diego after such a short time. Can we find another Dobbs for MDUSD:

  61. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an interesting paragraph in that story: “…And remember, diverting federal lunch funding is not the only dubious way the district is ‘providing relief’ for its operating budget. Funds from bonds paid back over 30 years are being used for short-lived teaching tools, such as nearly 100,000 laptops and iPads, and for the most basic of maintenance. In 2010, the need for immediate cash led San Diego Unified to engage in another bond abuse: issuing $164 million in insanely expensive capital appreciation bonds that will cost nearly $1.2 billion because payments on their balance don’t begin for decades….”

    MDUSD is also planning to use bond funds to purchase technology that may not last as long as the taxpayers will be paying for it, as part of its Technology Plan. And MDUSD has also issued CABs. I know that the district also talked about using bond money for maintenance, but I’m not sure if that has been done.

  62. g Says:

    There was also one very telling Q/A in the interview referenced in the article.

    Q: “How can you have transparency when the budget is so complicated?

    Nobody’s ever shown me a budget document I understand at this district. Is that doable?”

    A: “It’s totally doable.

    There was probably a strategic plan in the past to have a convoluted budget where you can’t follow the money because it’s part of your defensive strategy.

    …I made a statement that if I had to put a kiosk in the mall, with a keyboard and a terminal, where you can walk up and pull up the special ed budget and expenses or whatever budget, for people to understand that we want transparency, that’s what I’m willing to do.

    …It is public money. You have the right to know about every dime and where it’s spent.”

  63. Richards - what a fool Says:

    What a dumb, dumb, dumb, move by this superintendent. I will relate somehting that shows what the Dent has become. We have an employee, saved from firing, from a much-needed drug test, and possible prosecution, and we have a manager who lost custody of her own child and possibly sees this employee as needing mothering or protection. Some ersatz daughter. Unbelievably this manager actually refused to call paramedics when this employee was having a seizure and forbade her staff to call medical help until she could contact a family member. MGr may have known, or thought she knew, what the origin of the condition. The predious posters ref to Sigmund Freud is not so far off. This is called Transference and is most certainly a red flag. This employee is not a replacement or second chance at parenting, nor should this employee be allowed to take advantage of a managers inability to clearly assess the employer-employee relationship. NO manager should make medical decisions or deny critical medical care. I hope this manager understands that cardiac, embolism, shock, seizures, et are very, very serious and time sensitive. Oxygen deprivation to the brain has a very limited window. Patients can be in excruciating pain and not be able to communicate. Conditions can go from serious to death. Death. Knowing the cause of a seizure does not mean you can control it. I would not work in an environment where I could have permanenet brain damage or die because of a managers decision to play dysfunctional parent and hide something. What if one of these employees has some type of an attack and the decision is made to let it go? Thisis, by far, one of the worst examples of dangerous, incompetant, heartless, decision-making I have ever heard of. I was appalled to hear about this and the fact that they left this employee, seizing, and gave her over to her young daughter to then assess the medical needs. My God. Dear employee: hope there were no lingering affects. It does not matter if you refused help. The person having the seizure is not in charge of the situation. I am past appalled at this district. Mr. Richards better learn some legalese such as “depraved heart” or “depraved indifference”. I just had to blog about this.

  64. g Says:

    Speaking of budgets and WTH expenditures: Can someone explain why, on 5/2, Measure A (Mello Roos) was used to pay Urban Futures, AKA ‘good-buddy’ John Isom $2,662.50 for “General Obligation Bonds.”

    On the same day, they were paid $1,331.25 from 2010 Measure C for “General Obligation Bonds.”

    On the same day, they were paid another $1,331.25 from 2002 Measure C with the explanation for all three as “Annual Review of District’s (line cut off) ?Bonds?

    We haven’t had a bond transaction in many months–and can’t have another one for at least another 2+years-(legally)

    Certainly not a cent of the 25 yr old Measure A should be considered (or co-mingled) with expenditures of “General Obligation Bonds.”

    So, WTH? We pay him ‘annually’ to look at the books? What does Richards do? What does Christy White do? What does the entire overinflated Dent accounting department do?

    Who got the kick-back?

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC has posted its annual report:

    The notes from the interview with FCMAT at the end are particularly enlightening. Some parents assert that budget cuts have actually resulted in the district spending MORE money.

  66. Jim Says:

    @60 — People who like to defend our school district monopolies often say, “Oh, districts ARE accountable — to the voters. You can re-elect a new board.” That article from San Diego provides yet another example of why things don’t quite work out that way. The adults in the system who have so much to gain (unions, but also the contractors, lawyers, vendors etc.) are intensely focused on those elections, as well as every little administrative deci$ion that follows. The rest of the world that has grown so weary of our hopelessly dysfunctional schools — not so much. Caught in between are the students and families whom the system is supposed to serve.

    Borrowing money on a 30-year bond to purchase iPads? Spending 92 cents on the dollar for personnel costs (while STILL leaving their pensions underfunded for a future generation of taxpayers to cover). Why not?

  67. g Says:

    Jim. You want to know what is even more egregeous than spending bond funds on iPads and other equipment that will be outdated in 2-5 years? I’ve been harping about it for two years.

    Spending $1,200 to $1,500 per month from bond funds for the gas and electricity to heat/cool the Measure C staff offices–.

    That’s outdated the day it’s used!!!

  68. Con Says:

    MDEA got a raise? Someone please show me a paystub…. I haven’t seen it. Yes, support staff hours have been cut. Teachers are working more hours with less and less pay, and still more is demanded of them. You see, the number of teachers needed is directly proportional to the number of students. Support staff, on the other hand, can be cut and their jobs can simply be added on to the classroom teachers duties. Take for example elementary librarians. They cut out the job of media assistants, so librarians had to add on that job to their own. Did librarians get a raise? Of course not.
    In the end, teachers provide the main service of this school district, but are treated the worst. They suffer, but even worse….students suffer.

  69. #63: tip of the iceberg Says:

    this forbidding employees to call paramedics on Julie’s little best buddy has happened MANY times. They have also put out false medical diagnoses for this employee, telling co-workers she had ADHD then diabetes. Mary Meadows has said she has attention deficit disorder but when pushed, she admitted that was her diagnoses and she had nothing from a physician. She used to have “Friday” attacks but she has been on the floor of her cubicle with her eyes rolling back in her head and we were not allowed to call for help. How Mary Meadows is allowed to conjecture or give out medical information is beyond me but she does. This woman’s child is the age of majority and Mary had no right giving medical information to her, either. Employees are not required to know HIPAA law and this chasing of a employee is just another attempt to oust her from her job due to her ethnic origin. Segregation is what you are watching and hopefully the ADL, NAACP, and LaRaza, will get to the bottom of it. It is retaliation and racism. Why won’t they let this employee speak to an investigator from their insurance company? All I can say is “murder will out” and eventually when you push someone, they will defend themselves. The good news is she now has every reason to find out who was right!

  70. #63: tip of the iceberg Says:

    Let her say whatever she has to say to the insurance company and if they feel Bryan withheld facts, let Bryan man up and take a lie detector test.

  71. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an interesting commentary by the president of Duke University about the importance of strong humanities and social sciences programs, in addition to STEM, to prepare students to compete in the global workforce:

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post about the spending plans districts will be required to prepare under the new CA budget:

    This will require MDUSD to target money received through its supplemental grants directly for disadvantaged students.

  73. Judge Julie Says:

    OMG. Julie Braun Martin is now judge, jury, and executioner? Spoke with a rep who has an employee accused of breaking HIPAA law. Where did either Bryan or Julie (OR DEB ) get their law degrees? Even murderers get a day in court. Julie and Bryan cannot interpret federal law and then make a decision as to if it was broken and then assess the punishment!!!!! R U Kidding me? This is a woman who needs someone to bolster her every decision because she lacks knowledge and self-confidence. District personnel are not used in place of a federal court. Talk about over stretching you authority. Can Julie be part of the complaints and decide her own punishment? There are however laws, Miss Julie, about reporting crimes. You have a duty to report this crime. It is my understanding that the police were there, at the employees request, but oddly they never reported this heinous crime. Why? Julie MUST report this crime to the proper authorities. It is not fodder to niggle employees. IT is a federal crime and must be reported to the authorities. You do it or I will do it because I think you have gone too far Bryan and Julie. Bryan needs to take control of his department and stop hiding behind skirts or return to Boys Town!

  74. OMG Says:

    Sorry, little behind on the blogs. District bullying is a top-down institutionalized behavior. People like Julie Braun Martin feel more empathy and “likeness” with the bullies. Managers like Bryan Richards wasting hours pouring over work to “catch” hated employees while the district goes to financial hell. What happened to training and mentoring? With a 67% turnover on Payroll, losing good employees who knew anything about STRS etc. If the grown ups go unopposed in their childish behavior, why be hard on nine-year-olds? Julie B Martins current fresh steak is being chased out of her job regarding her complaints about racial remarks and anti-Semitic remarks. Literally treating employees like thieves and you know Julie just savors mistreatment of employees. This employee needs to call Willie Mims and see if they can get to the bottom of things. By the way, this employee, who is accused of breaking a Federal LAW needs to get her day in court just like any other US CITIZEN. This is the same employee she interfered with in a civil proceeding previously. The boards should see she has an axe to grind and give everything over to the CCC BOE. Charge her with a crime or apologize and let her do her job, vindictive Julie. BTW, everyone remember the baskets on the counters in Fiscal? Apparently they had to be removed because they were breaking HIPAA law. Remember for years anybody could through those baskets and grab anything they wanted: TSA’s, direct deposit, timesheets, doctors notes. They told us we could pull our work back to change things, too, They also let me take not only my timesheet, but another employees timesheet down to the copy room to make copies. They had no idea what I was grabbing, it could have been someones direct deposit infor. Little late for admitting there was a 4 year long breach of private information. Thank you Bryan Richards.

  75. OMG Says:

    By the way, HIPAA law is FEDERAL and under CIVIL RIGHTS so we would love to hear what they think of Julie’s testing and hiring practices.
    These people are NOT attorneys or judges and may not take the place of a Federal judge. JUlie Braun Martin, by not reporting a possible federal crime may have broken some law. We shall see.
    By the way, instead of attacking (always a female) worker, why doesnt Bryan Richards check under his law degree for the 5,000,000 bucks? That’s where it must be.

  76. g Says:

    Copies of the Draft Separation Agreements were posted one month ago. Where did those copies go? Why was that agenda altered after it was published? It’s one thing to make updates or changes to those Draft copies prior to dissimenating and publicly approving the Final Agreements — It’s another matter altogether to just “make the Drafts disappear” from published public records.

    Isn’t one of the reasons we are in the process of replacing those two supposed to stop cover-ups and “disappearing acts” like that from continuing?

    To confirm, read the first several comments from:

  77. Teacher Says:

    What law was broken and/or what crime took place?

  78. anon Says:

    @76, if they were drafts the board decided not to vote on, I don’t see why they have to bring them back. The drafts are out. They were just that-drafts. They are no longer subject to board approval. I’m glad the board decided to write the release letters instead. When previous posts asked Theresa what was going on with the drafts, her response was that Hansen said they were going back and forth with Lawrence/Rolen. Perhaps the negotiations hit a brick wall (big surprise given the prior hold hostage mentality that partially lead to their dismissal in the first place) and the board decided to be done with that, and wrote the release letters instead. In that instance, I don’t think they have to repost draft separation agreements that are no longer subject to approval.

  79. g Says:

    Reading comprehension 101– I did not suggest that the Draft Separation Agreements needed to be brought back on a new agenda, for any purpose.

    I said they were published on the agenda of a month ago. THAT published agenda has been altered, and those drafts have been deleted. Altering an agenda after it has been published is the issue. Just because an agreement or vote on an agenda item failed to materialize, doesn’t justify deleting evidence of it on a public record.

  80. Doctor J Says:

    @G#79 Those draft agreements became public documents once they were published. Board members should be demanding they be restored.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    Tim Cody’s title should be changed to CEO of the Measure C 2010 Employment Agency. Why didn’t the Board insist that bids be taken ? They could have rejected the bids if more costly than hiring internally.

  82. anon Says:

    @79, ok g you pompous ass, cite me the section of the Brown Act that says so.

  83. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#82 Name calling, eh ? That’s “professional” ? Anyways, its the Public Records Act, not the Brown Act.

  84. anon Says:

    Dr. J @83, sorry, I forgot, you are better at researching Amazon book reviews and posting their irrelevant details. Please review the Public Records Act (hint: it is in the Government Code) and please tell me what section says a board cannot remove or add an item to a board agenda that was not acted on.

  85. anon Says:

    @84, let me add, “J”, records under the CPRA are regularly subject to redaction prior to release. However, the Brown Act controls the removal of an item from a board agenda, not the CPRA. You are much better at researching the salacious details of others’ lives that accurately citing the law. Stick to your area of expertise, which is generally reading and citing facts with no interpretation or understanding, and you will do better.

  86. g Says:

    ouch. Thanks Dr J. 😉 Once a public record, always a public record– That’s why they call it a “Record” and not a “Hint”. Brown Act covers Deleting Records? Not so much. Pull for discussion or decision to not act on it? Yes. Erase from Record? No.

    As ‘drafts’ the documents may have been legally exempt from publishing. But once they were, …yep, Public Record. There’s that little thing in the Act about once something has been disclosed, it loses it’s right to be exempt from disclosure.

    “…redaction prior to release.” Ya got that right anon! Emphisis on “prior to.”

    anon must not have read that book review. It would make a pretty good book itself–final chapters being lived out right now.

  87. Fog a spoon Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete unsubstantiated allegations about specific employees]

    #77 …I think they need to do an all-call and ask anyone who has had something “lost” by fiscal services if they have also had an ID theft. …I don’t understand why other districts have weathered their storms but we still have more and more layers of admin when the last layer did not work, and more blah, blah, blah. …We should be in the black by now. …

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although I appreciate the Board Action Summaries, I am surprised they don’t list the public speakers or even mention public comment. Since the minutes don’t seem to be coming any time soon, it would be nice if the Board Action summaries included at least a list of the people who spoke. Then, anyone who wanted to hear what they had to say could refer to the videotape of the meeting. Without that, there is currently no written record of public comments, which is a disservice to the community. It’s especially surprising since the retirements are prominently displayed at the top of each summary, even though these are consent calendar items that are not even publicly discussed.

  89. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I see that the Palo Alto district has developed THREE different surveys to help guide its strategic plan, one for parents, one for students and one for the community:

    I still don’t understand why Greg Rolen and Steven Lawrence thought there could be some sort of legal obstacles to conducting such surveys, which seem to be commonplace in other districts.

  90. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about last night’s meeting:

  91. Anon Says:

    G@24, you do not know the law and I find it humorous that you think you do. The Public records act has numerous categories of records that are exempt from disclosure. That is irrelevant, because the Brown Act is the specific statutory scheme that controls adding items or deleting items from a board agenda. True to form, neither you nor J ever cited the specific statutory provision that states a board agenda cannot be modified after being publicly posted. Perhaps someday, you and J will find a more meaningful hobby than massaging your egos on this blog. As for me, I read the review and I know exactly how the story ended 😉

  92. Anonstaff Says:

    I just received a robo-call from the district about there being a new Principal at Mt. Diablo High (Liane Cismowski).

  93. anon Says:

    Susan Peterson just appointed to the principal position at Ayers.

  94. Job Opening Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete unsubstantiated allegations about specific employees]

    Monte Gardens can have Julie Braun Martin back? YES!
    Wendy Lack, PLEASE come and give our district some actual Personnel smarts. … We desperately need actual Personnel people. Some of these managers have had literal break-downs and are left on the job. … We can always blame the underlings.

  95. Doctor J Says:

    Wow, what a demotion.

  96. mika Says:

    I just got a robocall from interim supt that Yvhs has a new principal. Steve Brady from northgate no details. Where did sue brothers go?

  97. fog a spoon Says:

    DR. J: The district NEVER gets rid of management. They make is someone else’s problem. She has not been successful at Monte Gardens and they still do not have their distinguished school sign out. MDUSD never weeds management, they only add more. Job performance does not matter, if you are in the club, you are in for life and ability is not a consideration. Something not working? They beat up the workers and skip over any responsibility the management should have.

  98. anon Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete unsubstantiated allegations related to a specific employee]

    Back to basics. Get to the truth of the laptop “theft” and THEN get past it. … This is not over … Where is the board? Still complaining they get a pass because they can only fire the superintendent but wait, they actually have no power, due to a contract that has no performance or ethics clause and if it did, it wouldn’t matter because they are afraid of law suits? Let’s all just go home. … Have you ever seen this much muck in one organization and the board doing everything to protect anyone with MGR after their names? Higher standards for the assistants making $13 bucks an hour than the GROSSLY overpaid management? Look at May 2011 Occupational and Employment Wages for Human Resources Managers and Human Resources Assistants. The annual mean for Manager is $93,320 and with even a 15% Bay Area differential it comes to $107,318. Much, much lower than our pricey staff. Human resources assistants however make an annual mean of $39,780. With a 15% Bay area differential: $45,747. We make much, much lower wages. Why does this district continue to overindulge the management and mistreat the staff?

  99. Michael Langley Says:

    Just curious, has there been any change at MDHS?

  100. Doctor J Says:

    @Fog#95 You have your Susan’s mixed up. Susan Peters is at Monte Gardens and Susan Petersen was the Director of Elementary in SASS, and now is the principal at Ayers. I would guess that is about a $20,000 cut in pay.

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Mike, I just moderated a comment that had been on hold, saying there was a robocall announcing Liane Cismowski is principal at MDHS. I have not confirmed this yet, however.

  102. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I have requested a list of new principal assignments from Dr. Bernard.

  103. John Ferrante Says:

    Mike – Robocall last night from John Bernard – Kate is gone and replaced by Leanne Sysmowski (sp?)

  104. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the list of new principal assignments, including two that were board-approved and three that were internal moves:

    Susan Petersen, Ayers Elementary (former Director of Elementary Education, previously principal of Delta View Elementary)
    Liane Cismowski, Mt. Diablo High (former Cambridge Elem. principal, previously MDHS vice principal and Olympic HS teacher; she is also a National Board Certified teacher and has served on the National Certification board)
    Cathy Chan, Shore Acres Elementary (board-appointed, previously held another position at Shore Acres)
    Linn Kissinger, Ygnacio Valley Elementary (board-appointed, former El Monte Elem. teacher)
    Stephen Brady, Ygnacio Valley High (former Northgate HS vice principal, previously YVHS vice principal)

  105. Doctor J Says:

    What about changes in SASS ?

  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I am following up with Julie Braun-Martin to ask about that.

  107. Doctor J Says:

    Did either Sue Brothers or Kate McClatchy get new assignments in the district ? It doesn’t look like the district has posted any new job openings for Credentialed Management.

  108. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the emailed response I received from Braun-Martin:

    “No new director of elementary education has been named. We are still in the process of confirming assignments for all administrators in the district.”

  109. Fog a Spoon Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete unsubstantiated allegations related to specific employees]

    Dr. J, right you are! Thank you. I am hoping there will be some stability with a new superintendent and thankful this is being done via an agency. I am hearing new info regarding this laptop regarding how many entities were involved. I am now hearing it was the City of Berkeley and West Contra Costa??? … TH how many public entities lost information? … Why won’t the board have an open Q&A with the investigating officers? Did the insurance company have to buy credit protection for West contra Costa, too? For me it not about the “lost” laptop but the fact that …thousands and thousands of employees who had a right to know immediately. … answer if the district now has access to our credit reports, as this is their account with CreditWatch. The taxpayers pay for the insurance. Why can’t we see what the claim stated?

  110. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FAS: I did not hear that WCCUSD was affected. We were only told that MDUSD and Berkeley were affected. But, I can ask.

  111. Anonstaff Says:

    McClatchy to Crossroads was the information given to MDHS staff this morning.

  112. Doctor J Says:

    Musical chairs. I guess there is an opening at Cambridge Elementary.

  113. Doctor J Says:

    @Theresa, when is Dr. Bernard going to share with the public the thoughts he asked you not to publish ? Next Board meeting is end of August.

  114. Theresa Harrington Says:

    That’s a good question. Maybe I’ll ask him if I can print what he told me. Otherwise, I guess we’ll have to wait until August. I noted that he didn’t do a superintendent’s report on Monday.

    FAS: I spoke to CFO Bryan Richards today and he said WCCUSD was not affected by the laptop theft. He said the district had already reported on the districts affected (namely MDUSD and Berkeley).

    Regarding the musical chairs, yes there should now be an opening at Cambridge, which means that school will get its third principal in three years.

    There is an opening at Crossroads, since Pam Neudecker retired. The administrator who takes over there will be following in the footsteps of an administrator who was very nurturing both to students and to the staff, which includes teacher Jessica Preciado, who spoke to the school board about feeling ignored by McClatchy at MDHS when she requested a change in her schedule. She subsequently got the job at Crossroads.

    Also, of course, there is a VP opening at Northgate HS and a director of elementary schools opening in SASS.

  115. Doctor J Says:

    Only 5 more calendar days to apply for Supt. On Tuesday will it be announced how many applicants there are for Supt ? Since there is such a short window since the posting of the job description, there should be a concern of a possible lack of notice. I wonder if the Board would have to meet to extend the application time frame ?

  116. Doctor J Says:

    Another opening is Administrator of Equity and Disproportionality which was posted on June 19 and closes on July 12. It pays about $10,000 more than an elementary principal.

  117. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Regarding the superintendent opening, Board President Cheryl Hansen told me trustees plan to hold a special closed session meeting on July 3 to look over the resumes. She said Leadership Associates has told her there was a lot of interest. In addition, the response to the survey was also encouraging, she said.

    [Please note: Hansen later told me the closed session is scheduled for July 31, not July 3]

  118. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those interested in following the School Improvement Grants, the US Dept. of Ed. released new data today for the 2010-11 school year:

    The SIGs for Bel Air, Rio Vista and Shore Acres have expired. So, it will be interesting to see if the district is able to sustain the gains made there. The grants for Meadow Homes and Oak Grove are still underway. Again, it will be interesting to see if there is improvement this year, with the influx of money.

  119. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#118 Remember that Rose Lock and Steven Lawrence got caught by the Feds not implementing the SIG grants by surprise audit in the first year of the requirement of increased instructional time. The feds withheld the funding of the grants until a Corrective Action Plan was filed which increased instructional time. Once the increased instructional time was implemented, massive API gains were achieved. Will those increased instructional times be continued for 2013/14 ?? A good question for Rose Lock.

  120. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those interested in the work of the Equity Advisory Team around trying to create consistent discipline guidelines districtwide, here’s an interesting story about a Pittsburgh school board approving a new code of conduct related to its definition of “disorderly conduct”:

    Does MDUSD have such a code of conduct?

  121. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my news brief on the principal assignments:

  122. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an interesting story about using science to teach ELL skills:

  123. Doctor J Says:

    Principals at MDHS & YVHS are being listed as “interim”. Why ?

  124. soooo frustrated Says:


    Any chance of starting a new topic?

  125. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, I’ll try to do that later tonight.

  126. Anon AND fed up Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete references to specific employees]

    Getting fed up with the way employees are treated and mgmt who are clearly not performing are left in place. Changing employees like socks will not make someone magically have management skills. … I made the decision to leave the district …. I did not say this because I did not want to “burn bridges” but I am surprised the … team is still in place – or maybe I am not really surprised. … I was uncomfortable and felt this was not necessary. …Good bye!!!!

  127. g Says:

    Speaking of the $100K++ Club at Dent; any idea Theresa when the Peele and Willis new data will be published?

  128. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s up.

  129. g Says:

    Thanks Theresa. I found it.

  130. Anon Says:

    Just heard on the news that a wood side elm. Teacher was arrested. Investigation started in April and he is now in jail. Did I miss a story on this? Was he removed from the classroom in April? He was arrested for touching children in the classroom.

  131. Teacher Says:

    Article on

  132. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post about the new science standards coming to California and some interesting comments from a lead science teacher at Foothill MS about the lack of in-depth science instruction in MDUSD:

    Regarding the Woodside Elementary teacher, I was unaware of that. I will pass the info along to our cops and court reporter and see what they can find out.

  133. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Sorry, I hadn’t checked our website before I wrote the previous comment. Here’s our story on the arrest:

    We have received a statement from Dr. Bernard, which I will post shortly.

  134. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a blog post with Dr. Bernard’s statement about the arrest:

  135. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Board President Cheryl Hansen has informed me that the special meeting to review resumes will be held July 31 and she does not yet know how many applications have been submitted since the position is still open.

  136. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s some interesting data related to MDUSD’s declining enrollment:

    In 2012-13, MDUSD had 32,001 students, followed closely by SRVUSD with 30,757 and WCCUSD with 30,398.

  137. Theresa Harrington Says:

    This assessment news from Contra Costa County is good for MDUSD’s Measure C bond program, but bleak for WCCUSD’s bond construction:

  138. anon Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete references to specific employees]

    Dear TH,
    Although the recent teacher arrest may not have been something anyone saw coming, there are, in general many, many dangerous situations at the district. There are complaints that background checks can be “optional” and concerns about how many people have access to the children, some prior to any background check. …We had someone working at our site before she had her check done.
    I would also like to re-run a comment from another string if that would be ok?
    I do not think the district is very safety minded for employees, either.
    Can I copy/paste, because this issue continues to date.

  139. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, you can copy and paste comments from one thread into another, if you believe it’s relevant. But, please note that you are doing that.

  140. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Will your family benefit from the new Middle Class Scholarship that offers CSU and UC tuition reductions to families with incomes between $80,000 and $150,000 starting in 2014-15? If so, higher education reporter Katy Murphy and I would like to interview you for a story. Here’s more info:

  141. Like Dogs..... Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete references to specific employees]

    Dear TH,
    We are VERY upset to learn that our favorite Payroll person is being forced out due to “whistle-blowing” and yet more aggression by the manager…. Who is gone? The complainer. they did the same thing they always do, look for any little thing – or nothing – decide it is now wrong and harass, harass, harass. …

  142. Like Dogs..... Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete a reference to specific employee]

    Hey Supe! If this person was caught doing something wrong, call the police. I know, after hearing this, I called the Dept of Ed and spoke to someone in L.A. I am sick of our assistants not being paid correctly and feel so bad that they would publicly humiliate this woman because she stood up to this wacky manager. … Small world unless you have to paint it!!!!

  143. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDUSD is nearly at the top of the list of security breaches in California last year, due to the laptop theft:

  144. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#108 Have any more administrative assignments been made ? I note there are no new job postings for open positions, such as Director of Elementary Support in SASS.

  145. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I haven’t heard of any more administrative appointments, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been made. I’ll try to find out.

  146. Doctor J Says:

    Any word on how many applications for Supt were received by the July 1 deadline ?

  147. Value for the MONEY Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete unsubstantiated allegations about to specific employees]

    I looked at some stats and cannot figure out why Mt Diablo pays these made-up administrators such lavish salaries. Poster is correct, workers are well under funded and management is frequently grossly overpaid and grossly under credentialed. … Oakland Unified School District Finance Manager: $5632.95 to $7189.20 monthly AND must be able to “write grant financial proposals”, “work productively both in the office and in the field”, “work independently”, “establish and maintain effective working relationships with district personnel and the public”, “manage and oversee all budgeting, financial, and grant…” you get the idea. Are we getting our moneys’ worth or just a pack of troublemakers trying to cling to overpaid, under required jobs? New super or old. … Amazing.

  148. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I haven’t heard. Working on another story today related to Martin arrest.

  149. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s what Julie Braun-Martin wrote about administrative assignments in an email this morning:

    “…No more administrative appointments have been made. Here is a response to your questions.

    There is no one chosen for Director of Elementary. The position at Cambridge has not been filled at this time. The position at Northgate has not been filled.

    Ms. Brothers would be with one of the alternative high school sites, Gateway.”

  150. Doctor J Says:

    This is the first we have heard about Sue Brothers reassignment.

  151. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You are correct. The last time I asked Braun-Martin about Brothers’ employment status, she wrote June 26: “We are still in the process of confirming assignments for all administrators in the district.”

    So, it looks like there could be additional reassignments that have been “confirmed,” which she appears to be differentiating from “appointments.”

  152. Value for the MONEY Says:

    TH, was there a closed session on June 17th with the board and select employees re fiscal operations?

  153. Doctor J Says:

    Why is the Board waiting until July 31 to review the applications when they were due July 1 ? Seems like a very long time.

  154. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Board President Cheryl Hansen told me the board wanted to give Leadership Associates time to review them first.

  155. Doctor J Says:

    I guess it depends on how many they have to review. Is it 10 or is it 50 ? I wish they would disclose how many applications were turned in — a large number would be comforting to the public. When they don’t reveal the raw number, it tends to indicate they got just a few.

  156. Theresa Harrington Says:

    VftM: The only item on the June 17 closed session agenda that looks like it could have been related to fiscal was 4.9 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release — Notice of Possible Reassignment:

  157. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, the Livermore school district has hired a new special ed director. Here’s a portion of the press release:

    “The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Director of Special Education, Ms. MaryAnn Frates, who began her official duties July 1, 2013. Mr. George Anich, former Director for Special Education, will assume the role of Special Education Director and SELPA Director for Vallejo City Unified School District. Mr. Anich says, ‘It has been a pleasure serving Livermore’s special needs community. I will always cherish the memories of the wonderful families I have known and the outstanding District staff that helped us to support our students.’

    MaryAnn Frates comes to the District with an extensive background in special education, professionally and in her own educational growth. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration, a Multiple Subject teaching credential, and an Education Specialist Instruction credential. In addition, she is in the process of completing her EdD for Educational Leadership. She is coming to LVJUSD from Castro Valley Unified School District where, for the past three years, she served as Coordinator of Special Education. Prior to that she was in Fremont Unified School District where she worked as a Program Specialist, SDC Teacher, RSP Teacher, and Extended School Year administrator. In addition, she spent a few years working with local non-public schools as an instructional aide, teacher, and administrator…”

  158. Doctor J Says:

    Job posting for Principal at Cambridge Elementary has been posted for both internal and external candidates and closes July 22.

  159. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#136 Look at the bar chart on the new data on declining enrollment ! Its a huge drop off !

  160. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, MDUSD Trustee Linda Mayo is the new parliamentarian for the state PTA:

  161. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#162 — I hope Linda Mayo gets some training ! Wasn’t she a Vice-President last year ?

  162. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In the past she was a VP for Communications, but I’m not sure if that was last year.

  163. Doctor J Says:

    Still no new postings for Director of Elementary. Is Rose bringing her friend in again on a part time basis ?

  164. anon Says:

    The district lost 1858 to the charter.

  165. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Responses to comments on YVHS field project EIR have been posted:

    Board may vote on project Aug. 14.

  166. Doctor J Says:

    I am surprised the neighbors haven’t organized to oppose the project that it was not covered under Measure C based on the new case published on April 25, 2013.

  167. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The neighbors are organizing to oppose the project. Apparently, one of them went on a bid walk through. Interesting that the district went ahead with bidding before the board even approved the EIR!

  168. Doctor J Says:

    Tim Cody has Sherry nipping at his heels. They want it done before October.

  169. Anon Says:

    Sherry who?

  170. Doctor J Says:

    The MDUSD Board is now delinquent on its two Grand Jury responses which as elected officials were due within 60 days. Maybe a report next week might be in order about the responses.

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