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Mt. Diablo school board to discuss YVHS field improvements, solar projects and new appointments tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 at 4:09 pm in Education.

Cindy Walker speaks voices concerns about planned YVHS field project.

Cindy Walker voices concerns about planned YVHS field project.

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold its first meeting of the 2013-14 school year at 7:30 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. The board has decided to meet on Wednesdays, instead of Mondays, from now on. (This is the same day that the Contra Costa County Board of Education meets, as well as the same day the West Contra Costa County Board of Education meets.)

Here is the agenda for tonight’s meeting:

“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 pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54957.6 Designated District representatives: President Cheryl Hansen, Interim General Counsel Jayne Williams; Unrepresented employee: Superintendent Action

4.3 Public Employee Appointment pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54957 (b) (1): Superintendent Info

4.4 Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel regarding the initiation of litigation in one (1) matter pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54956.9 (c). Action

4.5 Potential litigation based on facts and circumstances (one matter) pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54956.9 (3)(c): Claim filed on behalf of J.Doe Info

5.0 Reconvene Open Session
5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info

6.0 Preliminary Business
6.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

7.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
7.1 Negotiations Action
7.2 Conference with Labor Negotiators Info
7.3 Public Employee Appointment – Superintendent Info
7.4 Anticipated Litigation Action
7.5 Potential Litigation Info

8.0 Consent Agenda Action

8.1 (Item #1) Items listed under Consent Agenda are considered routine and will be approved/adopted by a single motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items; however, any item may be removed from the consent agenda upon the request of any member of the Board and acted upon separately. Action

8.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action

8.3 (Item #3) Request to increase and decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 school year Action

8.4 (Item #4) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action

8.5 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase Positions Action

8.6 (Item #6) Education Code 44258.2 – BOARD AUTHORIZATIONS Action

8.7 (Item #7) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Requests Action

8.8 (Item #8) IFAS Vendor Warrant Report and IFAS Vendor Warrant Cancellations Report for the months of June and July 2013 Action

8.9 (Item #9) Approve adjustments to Special Education/Student Services contracts for the 2012-13 School Year for services rendered Action

8.10 (Item #10) Resolution Rendering Local Ordinances Inapplicable: Northgate High School Aquatics Center Project Action

8.11 (Item #11) Resolution, Disposition of Surplus Property Action

8.12 (Item #12) Ratification of Award of Summer Contract Action

8.13 (Item #13) Ratification of Award of Summer Contracts Action

8.14 (Item #14) Ratification of Award of Summer Contracts Action

8.15 (Item #15) Final Change Order for Bid #1618/Contract C-914 for Structured Cabling, Adding Ethernet Drops in Classrooms with Fiber Optic Backbone at various school sites. Action

8.16 (Item #16) Notice of Completion for Bid #1618/C-914 Action

8.17 (Item #17) Ratification of Award – Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract Action

8.18 (Item #18) Independent Contract for The Event Group. Action

8.19 (Item #19) Independent Contract for STAND! for Families Free of Violence. Action

8.20 (Item #20) 2013-14 Contract for Sierra Pacific Tours Action

8.21 (Item #21) 2012 Contract 2012-13 for Michaels Transportation Action

8.22 (Item #22) Williams Quarterly Summary Report Action

9.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

10.0 Public Comment
10.1 The public may address the Board regarding any item within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District that is not on this agenda. These presentation are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the three minute limit may be shortened. If there are multiple speakers on any one subject, the public comment period may be moved to the end of the meeting. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

11.0 Communications
11.1 District Organizations – At regular Board meetings, a single spokesperson of each recognized district organization may make a brief presentation following the Consent Agenda. Items are limited to those which are informational. Info

12.0 Reports/Information

13.0 Business/Action Items
13.1 Appointment of Principal, Elementary School Action

13.2 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School Action

13.3 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School Action

13.4 Appointment of Vice Principal, Middle School Action

13.5 Appointment of Administrator, Equity and Disproportionality Action

13.6 Appointment of Program Specialist, Categorical Programs, Site Based Action

13.7 Appointment of Program Specialist, Categorical Programs, Site Based Action

13.8 Appointment of Program Specialist, Special Education Action

13.9 Appointment of Program Specialist, Special Education Action
13.10 Appointment of Coordinator, Student/Community Services 9-12 Action

13.11 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Assistant Construction Manager Action

13.12 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Educational Consultant/Behavior Management Specialist Action

13.13 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Interim Transportation Coordinator Action

13.14 Public Hearing and Adoption of Resolution Accepting Final Environmental Impact Report for the Ygnacio Valley High School Sports Field Lighting Project Info

13.15 Community Facilities District # 1 (Measure A) Action

13.16 Solar Energy Savings and District Cost Update Info

13.17 Department of Justice – Open Purchase Order Action

13.18 Diablo Valley Community College, Contra Costa Community College District, agreement for MDUSD high schools funding, effective July 1, 2013 to May 30, 2014. Action

13.19 Request to approve MDUSD/Solution Tree Marzano Research Lab Contract Action

13.20 Multi-Disciplinary Team for Equity and Disproportionality Action

13.21 Meeting Extension Action

14.0 Future Agenda Items

15.0 Board Member Reports
15.1 Board reports Info

16.0 Closed Session
16.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action

17.0 Adjournment
17.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

Although Trustee Brian Lawrence has repeatedly asked that the names of candidates be made public before board meetings, so the public can comment on the appointments before they are made, no names appear on the agenda reports. The district typically doesn’t name the candidates until the item comes up for a vote, when the name is announced by Julie Braun-Martin. This gives the public no opportunity to comment, since the public is left in the dark until the last minute.

Do you think the district and board should list the names of those to be appointed on staff reports or attach an addendum to the agenda the day of the meeting listing the names, so the public could have the opportunity to comment before the board votes?


Trustee Lynne Dennler is absent.

Hansen reported out of closed session that board discussed negotiations with an unrepresented employee and will continue those discussions after the meeting (regarding superintendent).

Board approved consent calendar.

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67 Responses to “Mt. Diablo school board to discuss YVHS field improvements, solar projects and new appointments tonight”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Lets put children first, for once. Children and parents two weeks before school deserve to know who their principals are and be functioning getting the schools ready to open. Especially Woodside needs to have continuity after the student abuse issues. Just two weeks before school, the district is advertising for two principals — Woodside and Sequoia MS. I presume those principals are up for promotions to administrators. Jenny Cronan only served one year as principal. I urge the Board to not approve “promotions” to SASS administrators when Principalships are still open two weeks before the start of school. For once, lets put students first.

  2. Michael Langley Says:

    @DR. J: At the risk of your sterling reputaion, I must agree with you. Additionally, let’s have the names of the potential new administrators in the published agenda.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    A previous blog commenter wrote that he or she thought Jenny Cronan was transferred to Oak Grove Middle School as an administrator (not principal). I have sent an email to Julie Braun-Martin asking if this is true.

    Here’s Cronan’s message to the Woodside community last fall:

    And on the subject of STAR tests, here are Rose Lock’s comments, from an email I received this afternoon:

    “As a district, we are focused on continuous improvement and it’s important to take note of the progress we have made over time. We are currently analyzing the results of the CSTs at the district as well as site levels. We will identify areas where we have to double our efforts to insure all of our students are achieving at high levels.

    Regarding the STAR breach of test security at our schools, CDE has determined that we followed all requirements and protocols in reporting and investigating the incidents.”

    Unfortunately, Lock did not explain the breaches, as I requested. It’s my understanding that CDE sent letters to each district about the breaches, so I will request a copy of the letter(s) MDUSD received.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    That is total jibberish from Rose. I heard this afternoon she has given principals access to the API estimated scores. Rose knows exactly how each school performed.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, what is the big crowd about ?

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    YVHS. 14 speaker cards.

  7. teacher Says:

    Will you publish names of new hires?

  8. Anon Says:

    Why are there only four board members?

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a rundown, but I can’t vouch for spelling:
    Cambridge Principal: Jose Espinoza (vp of YVHS)
    MDHS VP: Akila Bird
    MDHS VP: Christopher Bishell
    Admin. Equity and Disproportionality: Jonathan Roselin
    Program specialist, categorical programs at El Monte Elementary: Jennifer Molino
    Program specialist, categorical programs at Meadow Homes Elementary: Margot Peckam
    Program specialist, special education: Avrilio Moumoutjis
    Program specialist, special education: Cynthia Ramos
    MDHS SSC: Heather Borelli
    Assist. Construction Manager: Rhonda Abreu
    Educational consultant, behavior management: Karen Miller
    Interim Transportation Coordinator: Tom Bishop

  10. Teacher Says:

    Thank you

  11. Teacher Says:

    Did board appoint new superintendent?

  12. Anon Says:

    Ok, I see Dennler is absent.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    The California Supreme Court refused to hear and reconsider the opinion in Taxpayers v. San Diego USD on July 31.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    Link to #13

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Teacher: No, in the report out of closed session, Hansen said trustees will go back into closed session after this meeting to continue discussion of the unrepresented employee (which is the superintendent).

    Anon: Yes, Dennler is absent and is not participating from off-site.

    Dr. J: The YVHS residents threatened to bring a suit similar to the one brought in San Diego. One mentioned that the new (incoming) superintendent should be very familiar with that case.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    Did I hear Bryan correctly that the district estimated an annual savings of $3 Million a year savings on the solar project ? I thought Eberhart said it was going to be $7 million a year.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Richards said the district is realizing $3 million a year in solar savings and $3 million a year in CSI credits. Cody said he will bring back “something coherent” about CSI credits Aug. 28.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    I thought the neighbors — except for one — did a very nice job of presenting their concerns on the Stadium project at YVHS. I do think that Board was troubled by the district and site not being a good neighbor. If I read the tea leaves correctly, the Board will approve the EIR but with significant variation in the project and use restrictions, which might not happen at the next meeting.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    I think I noticed a distinct change in staff tactics during Board meetings; whenever Cheryl Hansen invited them to make a short staff report, the response was “I will answer any questions.” I never had seen much of that before.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, it was odd that the report wasn’t presented before the public comments.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my quick online atory about the meeting:

    Also, here’s a Tout video of Jose Espinoza’s appointment:

    And although Trustee Lynne Dennler wasn’t in attendance, it appears that she now has a Twitter account, since I received a notification that @lbdennler “favorited” my tweet: “Full house at #MDUSD meeting, where board will hold public hearing about planned controversial YVHS field improvements.”

    She hasn’t tweeted anything herself yet and is only following Ronn Owens from KGO and me. I’m her first follower. @btlawrence hasn’t tweeted anything since June and @CherylJHansen hasn’t tweeted since last October. I found an account for a Linda Mayo and an account for a Barbara Oaks, but there is no indication that they are the same people as the MDUSD trustees.

  22. g Says:


  23. Doctor J Says:

    @G#22 More than interesting. SUSPICIOUS.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    It was pretty clear last night that the Board had just become a rubber stamp for administrative hires — Linda Mayo reading off of her cheat sheet the names as she made motion after motion. Then Brian Lawrence ends the meeting with indicating he will be bringing forth a policy change that the names be publically vetted before the meeting. Stuff like #22 should be questioned and explained.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    It was “radio silence” last night on the STAR test results — not a single word mentioned about them. Usually, the district tries to put spin on the good parts — there aren’t any ? The leaks are starting to come out today. Apparently Sun Terrace has one of the largest drops of API scores in MDUSD history. So why is the principal still there ? Why not move one of the long time successful principals to Sun Terrace to “fix it”. I heard, but cannot verify, that in the last two years Sun Terrace has lost over 100 API points.

  26. Doctor J Says:

    “The victory extends well beyond Hoover High, however, with the Court of Appeal prohibiting the “District from using Proposition S bond proceeds to pay for field lighting at Hoover’s stadium and any other high school stadium for which Proposition S did not specifically list field lighting as part of their projects.” (Taxpayers v. SD Unified, supra, at 1066-67.) Permanent stadium lighting is expected to exceed $450K per field.” As pointed out last night by a neighbor, “field lighting” is not mentioned in Measure C. Here is the full “press release” referenced by the neighbor.

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    On another note, Rose Lock said she would get me the information I asked for regarding the STAR breaches, but it’s been a very busy time. Dr. Bernard is on vacation, so Lock has been essentially acting interim supt. in his absence and Hansen said Lock handled the agenda prep.

    Lock also confirmed that former Woodside Principal Jenny Cronan was transferred to Oak Grove MS as a site-based categorical program specialist focusing on curriculum.

    FYI, I have started uploading video clips from the meeting to my account.

  28. g Says:

    As I see it, the problem with comparing field lighting in SDUSD and MDUSD is that SD actually listed some specific schools/projects in its bond measure (but not field lighting). MD, on the other hand, very cleverly said they didn’t have time to actually list ANY specific projects on the ballot so they just generalized a bucket list “replace, equip, modernize….” wording that mirrored the 2002 bond promises and threw in a ‘mention’ of solar.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#27 Cronan’s sudden transfer 2 1/2 weeks before school starts could easily be interpreted as a demotion — whether it is related to the student abuse investigation or the STAR test results remains to be discovered. The significance of the Woodside principal job posting the day after the public release of the star results and probably after Rose saw the API estimates, cannot be understated.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    In my own mind, after reviewing the STAR test results, which appear decent with some improvement, I have eliminated those as a cause of the apparent demotion.

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the YVHS EIR Powerpoint, which wasn’t presented until AFTER the public comment, when many people had already left:

    Although the presenters said the Powerpoint would merely review information already presented at the community meeting at YVHS, that was not entirely true. The Powerpoint also addressed the district’s responses to the EIR comments received. If the presenter had said that, it’s possible more of the YVHS neighbors might have stayed to hear the updated presentation. They also might have wanted to comment on what the presenters said.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    Is this the same Tom Bishop we just hired as Transportation Director ? “Bishop came to the district about a year ago [2012]. Since then, the school system has implemented a transportation policy that resulted in students arriving late to school. Parents have repeatedly complained that the late arrivals were not only inconvenient but were having a negative impact on their children’s academic performance. Some school officials were forced to adjust their school days.” As Yogi Berra said: ” It’s deja vu all over again”.

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Oops. forgot the link:

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like there’s a high likelihood it’s the same Tom Bishop, since Julie Braun-Martin said he had previously worked in Washington and Maryland.

    Prince Georges County Public Schools is in Maryland:

    Last year, there were many busing problems. I haven’t heard of any special education problems over the summer. The board also approved contracts with Sierra Pacific Tours and Michael’s Transportation last night. It remains to be seen if all will go smoothly in two weeks.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#34 Looks like he bailed out of Seattle when the transportation state funding dried up — moved onto Prince Georges in Maryland for a year and quit 5 months ago under pressure. Just two weeks to get the transportation mess solved.

  36. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Speaking of new hires, although many in the YVHS community were very pleased to hear about Jose Espinoza’s new opportunity to be promoted to a principal position, I have received a comment on Twitter from one teacher who is worried about how that will affect the school’s stability as school starts. ‏

    @TeacherCarissa tweeted: “I’m happy for Jose Espinoza but concerned for YV not having admins to set cohesive tone at beginning of year.”

    The same could be said for Woodside Elementary and Sequoia MS, which are both missing principals:

    (Not to mention the district, which still hasn’t confirmed its supt. selection.)

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the Board Action Summary from last night’s meeting:

    As I have previously pointed out, since the district appears to have completely abandoned the creation of minutes in favor of these summaries, the names of people who spoke during public comment and on specific agenda items should be included in these reports.
    Although it’s nice to highlight the names of those who are retiring, these retirees were not even mentioned during the meeting.
    Those who actually came and spoke deserve to have some mention of their participation in the only official record that exists right now. The videos are a good backup, but no one should have to watch the entire video to find out who spoke.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#37 School Boards are REQUIRED to keep written minutes of open sessions of the Board. EC 35163
    “Every official action taken by the governing board of every school district shall be affirmed by a formal vote of the members of the board, and the governing board of every school district shall keep minutes of its meetings, and shall maintain a journal of its proceedings in which shall be recorded every official act taken.”

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Board Action summaries also fail to mention the reports out of closed session, which need to be officially recorded for posterity (aside from the videos).

  40. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Video of Part 1 of the meeting included comments from classified and MDEA union reps blasting the district’s bargaining team over stalled negotiations:

  41. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post explaining the leadership transition underway at Woodside Elementary and recapping allegations about molestation by a fifth-grade teacher there, along with allegations that school and district administrators failed to report suspected abuse to police and CPS:

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an interesting bit of news related to YVHS: Our prep sports reporter just told me all their home games are scheduled at night. Isn’t this putting the cart before the horse, since the board hasn’t approved the lights yet?

    I’ve also heard that the school has adjusted its schedule to start LATER and end LATER in the day:

    This is very surprising, since students, parents and staff said students already have to miss classes and after-school programs for afternoon games and practices. Again, it appears the schedule assumes there will be night games. Otherwise, this schedule will cause students to miss even more class time and after-school programs, if games and practices continue to be held at the same times they have been held in the past.

  43. Doctor J Says:

    @#42 I guess Sherry Whitmarsh figures she has the Board “dialed in” for approval of the EIR and construction contract — which probably accounts for the dearth of community leaders speaking at the last Board meeting. I hope that the Board doesn’t feel “boxed in” by the school’s brazen actions. Its pure chutzpah on behalf of the YVHS administration.

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was very surprised by the large number of YVHS supporters who attended the meeting, but didn’t speak. At the Northgate field hearings, streams of people spoke in support of the project. Maybe the YVHS people are waiting to speak on the project itself, instead of on the EIR.

    Back on the subject of SASS, I looked up the staff report where Supt. Lawrence proposed the reorg:

    It states:

    “The members of this new department will be annually evaluated based on criteria that also include:

    1. Whether or not the schools they support meet or exceed the growth targets identified by the State for school-wide and subgroup API data;

    2. Whether or not the EL students in the schools they support make annual progress on the CELDT. Our goal is that all EL students are redesignated English proficient within six years of entering our schools.

    3. Whether or not all students are making measurable gains on district benchmark assessments that measure students’ progress toward mastery of the State standards;

    4. Whether or not our high schools are increasing the graduation rate, increasing the number of students completing CTE pathways, increasing the percentage of students taking AP classes and achieving a 3 or better on the end of course assessments, increasing the percentage of students taking the SAT/ACT, and increasing the SAT/ACT scores for all subgroups of students on an annual basis.

    5. Annual principal surveys that focus on whether or not principals feel supported in moving their schools forward.”

    What happens if SASS doesn’t meet these goals?

  45. Doctor J Says:

    @#44 It hasn’t met these goals and nothing happened, except hire more people.

  46. g Says:

    The problem with putting that cart before the horse is how unbelievably unfair it is to North Coast and all the other schools who have based their schedules on YV’s schedule.

    YV is scheduled to host its first non-league game in exactly 3 weeks–at 7:00pm. They will have about 25 minutes of twilight, leading in to a moonless night. Even if the board had already broken out the rubber stamp (which they will do-in a couple weeks), I wouldn’t anticipate permanent lights for several weeks—bids for the entire project, with multiple addendum(s) were just due to be opened this week–and work cannot start nor be (legally) approved by the board until the scheduled next meeting.

    Two questions: Will YV have to renege on its schedule plans with other schools? How much will it cost us for the portable lights they’ll have to rent for this year’s games?

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the YVHS community meeting, Whitmarsh said the school could just continue to use portable lights and a portable sound system with no restrictions, if the board didn’t approve the project. It appeared that she was attempting to convince neighbors that it would be preferable for them to have permanent lighting and sound systems with specific restrictions on glare and decibels, than to have to worry about erratic portable lighting and sound systems. I was surprised that Whitmarsh didn’t speak Wednesday. In fact, I didn’t even see her in the audience.

    And if the school has to go back to daylight games, the 2013-14 class scheduling change would be unfair to students, who would have to make choices between missing classes or after-school tutoring, or missing practices or games.

  48. Doctor J Says:

    I wonder if YVHS is using Measure C funds to rent portable lights and sound systems — what a violation of the law that would be.

  49. Anon Says:

    Well, like or not Its good thst the district isn’t meeting to figure out how to clip $6m from the district budget. Thanks to solar and mr eberharts efforts. Go green.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    AB 1575, effective 1-1-13, is still not being followed in many MDUSD schools. Example: YVHS is still requiring students to purchase “official PE uniform” and “locks” in order to participate — new student orientation on Wednesday. Although Stephen Brady is listed on Website, violations of AB 1575 have not been.
    1.Students are expected to attend class on time everyday dressed in full PE uniform and participate to the best of their abilities.
    3.To be able to participate in class activities, student must dress in full required PE uniform.
    5. Students are required to have a journal and pencil in locker and required to bring them to class on assigned days. Journals will be used for portfolio and contain course syllabus, assignments, tests, record charts, handouts and paper for notes (PE-9 & Personal Fitness).”

    1.Students (Boys and Girls) are required to purchase a lock from the PE Department at the beginning of the year. The cost of the lock is $5.00. Students may not use any lock except the one issued to them from the school. Non-school locks will be cut off. ”

    The purpose of the dress-out policy is to ensure the highest level of safety and productivity for Ygnacio Valley students during Physical Education classes. The YV uniform (T-shirt/shorts) is available at a cost of $25.00. The YV sweatpants and sweatshirts are optional and may be purchased at the student store.
    1.Uniforms are required daily and are to be worn in PE class only. To be able to participate in class activities, student must dress in full required PE uniform.
    2.PE-9 students must wear YVHS PE shirt and shorts.”

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