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MDUSD expects to appoint superintendent, three vice principals on Wednesday

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 at 9:09 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school board will likely appoint Nellie Meyer, deputy superintendent of the San Diego school district, as its new superintendent on Wednesday. In addition, the board expects to appoint three high school vice principals and to extend for three months the contract of Interim General Counsel Jayne Williams. If the board approves Meyer’s contract, she will take the helm of the district Sept. 23.

A final Environmental Impact Report for proposed Ygnacio Valley High field improvements, expected to return to the board on Wednesday for approval, is not on the agenda.

Here is the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the district office board room at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info
2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment
3.1 The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during closed session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute 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: District Superintendent Action
4.3 Public Employee Appointment pursuant to Govt. Code Section 54957 (b) (1): District Superintendent 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 Report of Special Closed Session – August 21, 2013 Info
8.2 Negotiations Info
8.3 Conference with Labor Negotiators Info
8.4 Public Employee Appointment – District Superintendent Info

9.0 Consent Agenda Action
9.1 (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
9.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
9.3 (Item #3) Request to increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 school year Action
9.4 (Item #4) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Request Action
9.5 (Item #5) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
9.6 (Item #6) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Positions Action
9.7 (Item #7) Approve contract/purchase order with My Therapy Company for bilingual Speech and Language services at Meadow Homes Elementary for the 2013-14 School Year. Action
9.8 (Item #8) Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding between Seneca Center for Children & Families and Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) Action
9.9 (Item #9) Approval of master contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Progressus Therapy Services to provide District-Wide Occupational/Physical Therapy Services for the 2013-2014 school year and 2012-2013 Extended School Year Program. Action
9.10 (Item #10) Increase purchase order with Non Public Agency Ed Support Services Action
9.11 (Item #11) Contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Maxim Healthcare Services, Non Public Agency (NPA) for the 2013-2014 school year. Action
9.12 (Item #12) Alignment of Updated Editions/Copy Write Years of Currently Adopted Instructional Materials Action
9.13 (Item #13) Approve submission of the Cleveland Foundation grant to expand technology labs at El Dorado Middle School. Action
9.14 (Item #14) Approval of contracts with Exploring New Horizons (ENH) for Pleasant Hill Elementary School and Hidden Valley Elementary School Outdoor Ed Programs Action
9.15 (Item #15) Approve Contract with Marin County Office of Education (COE) Outdoor School of Walker Creek Ranch for Walnut Acres Elementary School Action

10.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

11.0 Recognitions

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 Superintendent’s Report

15.0 Business/Action Items

15.1 Approve Contract for District Superintendent Action

15.2 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School Action

15.3 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School Action

15.4 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School Action

15.5 Legal services contract with Meyers Nave to provide specialized litigation services Action

15.6 Extension of Legal Services Contract with Latisha McCray, Contract Attorney Action

15.7 Three month extension of contract with Meyers Nave to provide Interim General Counsel services Action

15.8 Independent Contract with Document Tracking Services for the 2013-2014 school year Action

15.9 Renewal of Independent Service Contract with David H. Costa for Courier Service for Food Services and site pick-up to financial institution. Action

15.10 Solar Renewable Energy Credits/Certificates (REC’s) Info

15.11 Mandated Costs Action

15.12 Meeting Extension Action

16.0 Future Agenda Items

17.0 Board Member Reports

17.1 Board reports Info

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

19.0 Adjournment
19.1 Adjourn Meeting”

What impact do you think a new superintendent will have on the district?

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111 Responses to “MDUSD expects to appoint superintendent, three vice principals on Wednesday”

  1. anon Says:

    Hmm, Gretchen Jacobs has resigned? Is this new, or did I just miss it earlier?

  2. g Says:

    anon: Resignation was most likely part of a personnel “deal.” I suspect that’s how districts, whenever possible, generally handle getting rid of problematic staff without formal arbitration or a court battle. Both parties agree that the offending employee will be transferred to a lower position while maintaining the higher pay, transferred to a ‘problem school’ that they will be happy to leave as soon as possible, or transfer to a ‘do little or nothing’ position; all in exchange for the employee agreeing to resign after they have received another full year of pay, with plenty of free time to seek new employment. My theory makes Gretchen Jacobs typical. (Think Mildred Browne. Think Sue Brothers last year in West Sac–as well as her last year here. Think SDUSD’s recent reassignment of Dana Shelburne. Think multiple transfers and the subsequent resignations/retirements after exactly one year in our district in just the last few years.)

    Keep track of the more questionable reassignments made so far for ’13-’14, and then compare my suspicions to the resignation/retirement lists next spring/summer.

  3. g Says:

    As to Theresa’s question; In this particular case, if handled well, we have a real opportunity to see a shake-up and improvment of the generally poor middle and high school performance history throughout most of the district. Although, I fear it won’t happen quickly enough to help those students currently on the road to failure. There will be sunshine and roses for a while as she works hard to ‘fit in’. Then I suspect there will eventually be even more head-butting at both Dent and with the board than we’ve seen in the past.

    Frankly, I don’t hold high expectations of her staying more than two years of her three year contract. But then of course, we all have to just wait and see.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    My predictions of Dr. Nellie’s impact on MDUSD:

    1. Significant reorganization of district high level management staff, new titles, and some missing faces, especially among those whose contracts expire on June 30.
    2. Admiral Bill will “consult” and remove the cloak of secrecy from Bryan’s hocus pocus accounting system — and help institute complete management restructuring at Dent, including a complete overhaul of SASS. Don’t be surprised to see new job titles, new job descriptions and less pay for Dent.
    3. By Christmas, there will be several principal reshuffles, all geared toward improving student achievement at underperforming schools.
    4. The disappointing API and AYP results [revealed tomorrow] at about a dozen schools will result in targeting those schools for immediate reform. As Admiral Bill would say: “General Quarters, all hands on deck”.
    5. Dr. Nellie will be offered a significant restructure of her contract in Jan 2015, which will keep her here until June 2018.

  5. anon Says:

    OMG. How long will this district have to suffer with Julie Braun Martin and her horrific management staff? Well, I did not get paid for my overtime and if my check is wrong again I will go to the police, nobody can make this many errors with the same person. Somebody needs to go out of there in handcuffs – I absolutely agree. Julie Braun Martin shut down the payroll department to target an employee for pursuing a restraining order against an employee who has only lasted this long because of Julie BM. She told the employee she better not involve anyone – even us people who would have testified how out of control things are in that department. Julie then excused the entire department to go after this poor woman -coincidentally the same woman who spoke at a meeting and was thrown off the property the next day! Cheryl Hansen has been blamed in meetings, for instructing Personnel to retaliate for her complaining about Payroll. Now Julie Braun Martin is no longer concerned with keeping the fight out of the sites. This employee – and I use that term loosely – has issues with a capital “I” and Julie does nothing but run interference for her. This employee who Julie allowed to shut down a tax-payer paid department to target a trusted employee, is now going all over the district demanding recommendation letters and using her work days to prepare for some hearing. Do it on your own time and for Gods sake, let us take our Payroll to the county or outsource it altogether. LEAVE US OUT OF IT JULIE!!!!!!

  6. Doctor J Says:

    Cindy Dean, well respected teacher from MDUSD, had $500 worth of her teaching materials thrown out by custodians the day after school was out, and despite multiple emails, NO RESPONSE from Rose Lock or any other administrator. No wonder she feels disrespected.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    YVHS neighbors have retained legal counsel and submitted a letter to the District to cancel the Stadium Lighting Project because it is an improper use of Measure C funds. About time.

  8. Anon Says:

    Well, there goes ” Sherry Whitmarsh Stadium”

  9. Doctor J Says:

    GROWTH — COLLABORATION — NEW FOCUS those are Dr. Nellie’s focus. What a wonderful selection by the Board !

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Hooray for Brian Lawrence abstaining from voting on the new vice-principals since no background information is provided prior to the Board meeting.

  11. Teacher Says:

    Did Cindy Dean address the board?

  12. Doctor J Says:

    @Teach#10 Not only did she address the Board, and name names, but Dr. Bernard was furiously writing notes. It was powerful.

    Did I hear correctly there will be a recovery of attorney fees spent under the Rolen regime of more than $90,000 ?

  13. Teacher Says:

    Good for her!

  14. Doctor J Says:

    Wasn’t this the same Cindy that worked in SASS a couple of years ago ? And she couldn’t even get an email acknowledgement from Rose Lock, her former boss ? How disrespectful !

  15. g Says:

    Dr. J. #11: That’s not quite what I heard. 1) Jayne Williams original 4 month contract amount is roughly $30K/mo. This contract is also approx. $30K/mo.

    As to “saving” that amount due to Rolen’s buddy firms, Cheryl seems to have let a cat at least get one paw out of the bag–a bit early.

    Based on her comments tonight there are back room conversations happening around reducing the burgeoning numbers of outside legal companies hired under Rolen’s tenure. About time!

    Last meeting there was a closed session item termed “possible initiation of litigation.” That certainly sounds like the district is/was considering sueing someone. Perhaps, and I can only speculate, the board is considering litigation to recover funds erroneously billed and paid by one or more of Rolen’s good-buddy outside legal firms.

    If so, hopefully they will start with Juhl-Darlington, and then look closely at Peter Bonis’ court performances of the last few years.

    In addition, I would like to point out to the board that they can talk all night, but what good is it if they then just “unanimously” approve a 3 mo. “Special Litigation” contract with Myers Nave that does not in any document indicate what the billable hours amounts are.

    The documents presented refer to those amounts being included in the “Engagement Letter” but NO Engagement letter was provided for public scrutiny.

    At least when slippery Rolen posted a legal contract it showed exact billable amounts and terms.

    The “special litigation” they speak of will probably drag out for years. This 3 month agreement is a farce. I have no problem with Myers Nave being chosen, even for a long term deal, but let’s call the whole thing what it is, and give the public a wide-scope picture, instead of a jigsaw puzzle of expen$e expectation$ to have to piece together every 3-4 months.

    In addition to a couple of ‘older’ cases that will go to trial within a few months, this district has been sued 7 times in just 8 months. Subtracting one or two that are motor vehicle related, and will probably be settled fairly quickly, that leaves FIVE major Tort claims the district will end up in court over — and could drag out for years of preliminaries, and revisions and appeals, and so on.

    We don’t want to forget that we not only have the John Doe/Martin molestation cases(s-s-s-s) that will plague us for years, but there is also the Jane Doe/Cottrell molestation case.

    Additionally there are three more that, at first glance, appear to be discrimination related, etc. And we don’t get to just ask people to “Please stop suing the district because we are very busy now.”

    I would suggest that they get honest with the public about what that current annual legal budget of $940K will cover, and then revise that number to fit the current facts, circumstances, and contract ‘deals’ being made.

    Then I suggest they get honest about how much legal costs could and should impact employee negotiations.

    I suspect, between Richards fast talk and state funding delays and unions negotiating for their buck ‘first’, the reality is that this district is in financial quicksand.

  16. g Says:

    Sorry, mistake in my comment. The Myers Nave Special Litigation contract with no “Engagement Letter” or amounts is for a full year.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The interim general counsel told me after the meeting that Meyers Nave has been retained to handle the Joe Martin abuse case.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#17 That is what I understood in a very convoluted exchange — MDUSD’s insurance company made the selection for the Martin civil case and will be paying the legal bills for that case — as Dr. Bernard said “We had no choice. They [the insurance company] dictated to us” or words to that effect.

  19. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I don’t think he said the district had no choice. But, he or the interim general counsel did say that the insurance company independently recommended Meyers Nave for this case because of its expertise in this area. I don’t believe they mentioned the case.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#19 While it wasn’t mentioned by name, Dr. Bernard referred to it as a “very serious” case or words to that effect. The video is on line and one can advance easily to that exchange using your mouse.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    Any explanation of why he YVHS Stadium lighting EIR issue was not on the Agenda? @TH, Did you get a copy of letter by the neighbor’s attorney ? Dr. Bernard was sure you got your copy of the NEA article on the MDUSD teacher. :-) I presume that Dr. Nellie hung around for the rest of the meeting — did she seem surprised by any of the issues ?

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the district’s video of the entire meeting is online, here’s my clip of Meyer’s comments to the board and public:

  23. g Says:

    It would be nice if we could see an actual copy of the district’s Certificate of General Liability Insurance coverage. It might help in identifying potential costs.

    It seems if the people are paying, they should be able to see what they are buying.

    Who was our insurer when the first allegations against Martin occurred? Would they be the responsible insurer? Or, since we just added General Liability coverage to our CSAC Excess Insurance Policies as recently as July 1, 2013–does that mean we are covered retroactively–or only for claims occuring after 7/1/13?

    In either case, what is the maximum, umbrella, total occurance, etc. coverage limit? What is our deductable/retention/up-front cost?

  24. g Says:

    This will make your eyes glaze over — just as it says at one point. It is all centered on Texas cases but I doubt if insurance policies and law are all that different from CA. In any case, it is an excellent turorial for attorneys in advising their district clients about buying Professional Liability Coverage. Those attorneys could potentially be held liable by the district for not giving them adequate/correct advice.

    Most interesting to me is that the district says it (first) “became aware” of the claims against Martin April 25, and relieved him of duty. He was arrested on June 29. One day later, on July 1 the district suddenly had a new policy with a new company for Liability Coverage.

    But did/does the district have the ‘correct’ coverage?

    Did the prior policy not cover sexual misconduct? Does the new policy cover sexual misconduct? Will it fully cover us if they determine that the district only added the coverage AFTER it realized it would need that specific certificate of coverage (in which case the new insurer could refuse to cover the Martin case and claim fraud against the district for not disclosing a current/potential claim?)

    It’s a really dirty mess from all sides.

    We need to see the old Professional Liability policies from 2006 – 2013 AND the new policy. We’re paying for it.

    We need to see the Engagement Letter for Meyers Nave. We need to know if the insurance co did, in fact, dictate who we should hire for counsel–this issue is addressed at length in the article cited. Will MN be paid by the district or the insurance co.? Will the amount of their cost to defend cut into the amount of coverage insurance available to either settle or pay for loss in the law suit(s)?

    We really have a right to know. And shouldn’t have to wait for the years it might actually take to finalize this case.

    Speaking of settlements and final costs—I am not aware of any PRA requests for this type of record, however the amount spent each year (in total) should be a separate line item in the cost accounts and budgets of the district.

    At $30K a month, ($100K per year more than we paid Rockin’ Rolen) it seems we should be able to get a decent legal department AUDIT out of Ms. Williams and her employer.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    If district leadership had knowledge of potential claims for several years, each policy may be invalid for failure to disclose potential claims. You can’t get into an auto accident and then run over to the insurance agent and get insurance to cover the crash !

  26. g Says:

    Here’s a good example. It wasn’t about child molestation, but rather about a school board trying to cover-up a little bit of theft ($250K), over a number of years, by an Asst Supt/business manager. By the time it was exposed, and five insurers refused to pay “due to delay of reporting potential claims”, the district discovered the loss was really over $11 million and involved a half dozen people in cahoots–including their Audit firm and their well loved, long time Supt. Fun read:

  27. g Says:

    And the follow up– Part of the plea deal was testifying against family that hadn’t been known to be involved. Namely the Asst. Supt’s son, whom she had given a District Credit Card!

    Does our current board or district staff have anything they might want to disclose about the prior board, the Supt. the Gen Counsel, prior Asst. Supt., validation of suspicions reported by staff? Hmmmmm.

  28. anonymous Says:

    G @15, you write “If so, hopefully they will start with Juhl-Darlington, and then look closely at Peter Bonis’ court performances of the last few years”

    In reference to M J-D, you might find this interesting reading:

  29. anonymous Says:

    G@15, and here’s what is pending in special education litigation:

    No district can avoid special ed litigation, but according to the decision above, there are deficiencies in the sped deparmtent requiring mediation.

  30. anonymous Says:

    Link in @29 doesn’t work: 7 cases in litigation:

    1. Case Number : 2013070007 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Castillo, Peter-Paul
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 01, 2013 9:30 AM

    2. Case Number : 2013080533 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Unassigned
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 03, 2013 9:30 AM

    3.Case Number : 2013080668 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Unassigned
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 10, 2013 9:30 AM

    4. Case Number : 2013080665 Hearing Type : Hearing

    Case Number : 2013080176 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Unassigned
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 14, 2013 1:30 PM

    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 15, 2013 9:00 AM

    5. Case Number : 2013080695 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Unassigned
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 15, 2013 9:30 AM

    6. Case Number : 2013020784 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Johnson, Deidre L.
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 22, 2013 9:30 AM

    7. Case Number : 2013070360 Hearing Type : Hearing
    Agency Name : Department of Education – Special Education Division
    Case Name : Student Judge Assigned to Hearing : Broussard, Margaret
    School District : Mt. Diablo Unified S.D.
    Assigned Office : Sacramento (SE) Date : Oct 29, 2013 9:30 AM

  31. Doctor J Says:

    Deficiencies in SPED ? Here is the Judge’s description of Dr. Carolyn Patton & Company: “As established by Factual Findings 5 through 102, and Legal Conclusions 4 through 25, the failure of District’s staff to know, understand and apply the special education laws applicable to the special education assessment timelines, including the timely holding of an IEP team meeting to review the assessment, were significant in this case.”
    The Judge did not mince words about Dr. Carolyn Patton’s staff: “Here, District’s special education staff, including administrators, have overall
    displayed a significant lack of knowledge of the laws pertaining to a special education assessment and the applicable timelines for holding an IEP team meeting to review the assessment. Mr. Cassin gave no thought to the applicable requirements, failed to schedule
    deadlines, and failed to explain the deadlines to the special education school site personnel who took over Student’s case and should have scheduled Student’s IEP team meeting. Even the RSP management staff thought starting over with an SST meeting was appropriate. Staff ignored the requirements to convene an IEP team meeting by making unilateral decisions predetermining, in the absence of an IEP team meeting, to seek further information. Their use of a PWN to refuse to convene an IEP team meeting until Parent agreed to a new assessment plan was egregious.”
    Besides the District being required to reimburse the parent a ton of money, here is what the Judge also ordered our esteemed SPED department to do:
    “5. As a further equitable remedy, District shall fund and provide at least four
    hours of mandatory training to all special education and ADR administrators on the legal
    requirements and timelines for scheduling and delivering assessment plans and scheduling
    and holding IEP team meetings to review the assessments. This training shall be completed
    within 60 school days of the date of this Decision. In addition, District may fund and provide this training to appropriate special education staff. District shall provide written proof of compliance with this training order to Student on request.”
    Then look at the long line of cases pending against the district [post 29] — no wonder we spend so much in attorney fees to Rolen’s buddies.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    The Judge calling SPED staff’s actions “egregious”. What are Bryan Cassin’s job descriptions: “Administrator, Special
    Education – Dispute
    Local Mediation
    California Department of
    Education (CDE) Compliance
    Non Public School (NPS)
    Non Public Agencies (NPA)”

  33. anonymous Says:

    @32, Cassin is in charge of all the NPS placements. You can let you mind fill in some gaps, as I am limited to what I can say here, but there is much more about Bryan Cassin and his shenanigans that should be reviewed from a personnel perspective. He was deeply involved with “the departed” and was complict in the nasty departure of Mildred Browne. Hopefully Dr. Nellie will take a look at him and others.

  34. anonymous Says:

    @32, I am limited on what I can say here, but, Cassin is responsible as the IEP team case manager for offering nonpublic school placements to the district’s special education students who cannot be served in District programs based on their needs. You will have to fill in the blanks on this based on previous blogs complaining about nps placements. Based on what I know I believe Cassin was complicit in Browne’s nasty departure. I believe he should be removed as a program manager for many unethical actions I cannot discuss in this forum, but which I believe should be reviewed as a personnel matter. I hope the new superintendent will be looking more closely at all departments, including what has gone in special education.

  35. anonymous Says:

    @32, sorry for the double post-but as you are close follower of the goings on at Dent, I think you get my drift…

  36. Doctor J Says:

    The Judge’s comment about Cassin was an indictment of his lack of competence or intentional violation of the student’s rights. “Mr. Cassin gave no thought to the applicable requirements, failed to schedule deadlines, and failed to explain the deadlines to the special education school site personnel who took over Student’s case and should have scheduled Student’s IEP team meeting.” Why can’t I find any listing for Carolyn Patton on the Special Education page ?

  37. Anontoo Says:

    @32, Bryan Cassin is in charge of placing MDUSD special education students in nonpublic schools. In other words, he decides what students get to go to a nonpublic school, and which one’s don’t. (As a close follower of what has gone on in special ed at Dent for the last two years, I think you get my drift…..) He has a lot of power. He close to Lawrence/Rolen and I believe he was involved in the nasty departure of Mildred Browne. His conduct should be reviewed as a personnel matter. Hopefully Dr. Meyer will take a close look at his job performance and that of others.

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Something odd is going with the website today; submitted posts show as not posted, and then later show as posted….odd

  39. Anonymous Says:

    @36, she was listed previoulsy:

    Special Education Transportation:

    Carolyn Patton, Administrator

    From the current organization chart online it looks like her position is vacant.

  40. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I had a lengthy interview with Dr. Meyer today and mentioned that many people have left the special ed dept. She expressed an interest in attending as many CAC meetings as possible.

  41. Doctor J Says:

    @#39 If Carolyn Patton has left the district, her name does not show up on any Board agenda as “resigned” or any other designation. JBM may be holding out on us again like she did with MB.

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like she’s in Benicia now:

  43. Doctor J Says:

    From the Benicia Herald June 16: “The other new hire, Dr. Carolyn Patton, replaces Dr. Linda Cole, who recently retired from her position as director of special services.
    Patton comes from Mt. Diablo Unified School District, where she was administrator of special education.
    “Dr. Patton also comes with glowing recommendations,” Adams said. “The people that she works with don’t want her to leave.”
    Patton said when Adams called to offer her the position, “I told her, ‘You just offered me my dream job.’”
    Though she appreciated her time in the Mt. Diablo district, which is much larger than the Vacaville district she formerly worked at, “what I missed the most was the connection with the community,” Patton said. “I am looking forward to being back in a smaller district, and in a district that values education.”’

  44. Doctor J Says:

    I rechecked all the agenda items from June forward, and her name does not appear under certificated personnel action.

  45. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#40 When are you going to share ? :-)

  46. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I’m hoping to write a story next week. For tomorrow, I’m just doing a story about the Wednesday meeting.

    Regarding Patton, here’s what Julie Braun-Martin wrote in an e-mail:

    “Yes, she resigned over the summer and it went to the board.”

    I asked when it went to the board, but haven’t heard back.

  47. Wait a Minute Says:


    It looks to me like JBM is straight up lying.

    I wonder if Dr Nellie is going to tolerate this kind of dishonesty from JBM and others in the Dent?

  48. g Says:

    Is there any question of mere coincidence?: Lawrence/Rolen/Board ask for FCMAT to do a study on SpEd and Transportation at the same time–with an eye to slashing both–and no question there was a bit of bickering over the final document; with that report quickly followed by a questionable (perhaps even nefarious) shake-up in SpEd leadership; re-re-reboundary studies; refusal of PRA requests; secret, expensive termination deals; hiring of a new SpEd leader who had just very successfully completed a slash and burn assignment down south; massive turnover in SpEd; hiring of a new transportation (interim) who also managed slash and burn tactics at his last two jobs; all this while SpEd and IEP oversight personnel showed their real talent for — incompetence.

    I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few pertinent things that have happened in the last year. Feel free to add some — or set me straight.

  49. g Says:

    WAM @47; don’t forget there were a ton of closed session ‘dismissal/release’ items in May (and before and after) that had nothing to do with Lawrence/Rolen or normal attrition.

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story on Wednesday’s MDUSD meeting:

  51. Neglected spedparent Says:

    @48, I can add that Cassin gave out NPS placements like candy to a few, and you can guess who the few were. M J-D had to clean up certain people’s messes. Someone should evaluate the files. What went on was wrong.

  52. Anon Says:

    I have to say, knowing some of the special Ed department. Mildred needed to go. Dr mills is aweful. Carolyn Patton wants nothing to do with community unless you kiss the ground she walks on. NPS placements were being given away before Cassin. Cassin really cares about the kids he serves and has his hands tied to not place even if it is the right fit. The program specialists that QUIT last minute needed to leave. Is there a way of knowing who filed the above due process ? The district filed on children to force into the wrong placement because of the vindictive nature of the departed program specialists and dr mills.
    Carolyn will be a huge disappointment to Benicia, I feel sorry for them.
    I might add that the whole bus realignment was Carolyn’s pet project along with moving special Ed kids to different placements without an IEP or consent of the parents.

  53. Anon Says:

    Oh and M J D could not clean up anything since he himself is messy!

  54. anonymous Says:

    @52, you are right that NPS placements were given away before Cassin by Ken Ferro based on internal nepotism. However, I’ve seen Cassin continue Ferro’s nepotism and promote, encourage and predetermine NPS placements. I’ve seen him allow a district staff member bully parents and a student an IEP meeting and take no steps whatsoever to intervene, which was absolutely shameful. At a minimum he’s ineffective, at worst he is unethical, either way he puts himself first, and not the kids, in my experience. MJD-what can I say-he does the District’s bidding even when its wrong because he gets paid a lot for it.

  55. g Says:

    The district’s list of contracted outside legal teams has rocketed to 10 firms (plus the three on staff)! All of them have contracts through 6/14. Interestingly, with the exception of Meyers Nave, we have seen all of their billing rates and, for most, Letters of Engagement. As far as I know, none of them have any “guarantee” that they will be engaged for any “minimum” amounts or number of cases. None are exclusive to us, and they simply have open contracts.

    The recently added (7/1/13) Liability Certificate with one of our insurance carriers in particular, may have been on the advice of a Meyers Nave employee. Then that same insurance company may have “pushed” to have us use Meyers Nave for the Martin case.

    Whether or not that is the case, the people need to know what the insurance policy says. Planning for Reserves, and personnel contracts being negotiated, hiring and spending have to be considered IN ADVANCE.

    We do not want to end up having to use a huge chunk of our new unrestricted LCFF for legal expenses for the most expensive Legal Firm in California — who is, in effect, trying to serve and satisfy two masters!

    Having the insurance co contract indicate that it will “pay to defend” does NOT necessarily mean that they WILL pay.

    If, anywhere in the policy, it states: “except for intentional acts,” (and most liability certificates DO) we could go through all phases of a trial and at the moment of summary judgement or verdict, when/if the person is found guilty of “intentional acts,” the insurance co can simply say “Oops, you’re not covered for that.” And the taxpayers of the district are on the hook for the whole legal bill, settlement, restitution–whatever!

    The people need to know what our board is doing and exactly what they have gotten us into.

  56. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#46 I hope Julie B-M knows we have already printed the Personnel attachments to the Board agendas so if she or someone else tries to “make an addition” we will have caught her.

  57. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD could generate a ton of revenue doing this:

  58. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Speaking of revenues, MDUSD will get more than $6.3 million to implement Common Core, with Eagle Peak Montessori Charter getting an additional $38,400 and Clayton Valley Charter getting an additional $371,600.
    Interestingly, when I interviewed incoming Superintendent Nellie Meyer, she said that she oversaw charter schools in the San Diego district and they actually collaborated on Professional Development. Could that happen in MDUSD with CVCHS? She’s open to it and said she’d like to visit CVCHS to see what kinds of new programs they’ve implemented there. Previously, the CVCHS administration has said it would welcome visits and collaborative efforts from MDUSD. Now that there’s a superintendent coming in who’s not anti-charter, it will be interesting to see if the wounds from the charter conversion can begin to heal.

  59. Doctor J Says:

    Yeah, what about Saturday school so opposed by Rose Lock ? Presumably Dr. Nellie’s resignation will be accepted tonight at the SDUSD Board Meeting — will she become “unofficially involved” in MDUSD before Sept 23 ?

  60. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Meyer told me she would be at the district office this week.

  61. Doctor J Says:

    I imagine she will make some “cameo” appearances at Principal’s meetings, Supt cabinet, and the like. Has she been reading the blogs yet ? :-)

  62. Theresa Harrington Says:

    We did not specifically discuss the blog, but she did say that she had been reading my archived stories to find out what has gone on in the district. She is VERY curious about the history here.

  63. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#62 And where is the easiest place to find the “archives” ? “On Assignment” which is the blog !

  64. Doctor J Says:

    What does Dr. Nellie think of the YVHS Stadium Lighting project that has been questioned by the lawyers for the neighbors as violating the law as declared in Taxpayers v. San Diego USD ?

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Meyer said she wanted to find out more about the lighting project. She was very familiar with the San Diego case.

    While MDUSD has seen upheaval in its superintendent position, WCCUSD’s Superintendent has consistently been sending out messages to his community each month since 2011: In fact, his September message has been virtually the same for the past three years, emphasizing three “crucial” messages: “This is important. You can do it. I won’t give up on you.”

    These messages are crucial in any district. It will be interesting to see if Meyer will begin communicating regularly with the district and community.

  66. Jim Says:

    @58 — Ms. Meyer’s previous district, San Diego Unified, has had a MUCH more productive relationship with charter schools than MDUSD has had, with its history of stonewalling and undermining charters at almost every opportunity. As a result, SDUSD offers far more public school choices than MDUSD (with its single token charter):

    The High Tech High Charter is one of the most innovative and imitated high schools in the country, and one of the most impressive high schools — public or private — that I have ever visited. Yes, it has benefited from unusual outside support, but those companies and foundations have supported that school, in part, BECAUSE the school and the district have cultivated such a healthy relationship over the years. There are many other charter success stories in SDUSD — schools I would be delighted to have my children attend. I hope Ms. Meyer’s leadership can offer the Dent Center charter-phobes an enlightened perspective on what increased school choice can do for student achievement — and for public SUPPORT for public education as a whole.

  67. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I told Meyer that if she visited CVCHS I would want to have a photographer there and write about it. She said she didn’t see why that would even be newsworthy. Perhaps the wall between MDUSD and CVCHS can be dismantled under Meyer.

  68. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Contra Costa Community College District Board President Sheila Grilli has died:

  69. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#65 Any word on why the YVHS Stadium Lighting Project did not appear on the Aug 28 agenda as Cheryl Hansen previously indicated ?

  70. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, here’s what Tim Cody wrote in an e-mail:

    “Interim General Counsel recommended pulling the final draft to accommodate additional review by an attorney who specializes in the CEQA process. At this time, we anticipate requesting Board action on the final draft in September.”

  71. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#67 Chuckle, chuckle. “Dr. Nellie, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL ! ” Dr. Nellie hasn’t yet run into the Eberhart/Whitmarsh education “wood-chipper” machine. This was seen last week on the Claycord thread about her — a very few posts under different names but common themes about calling names to posters who support the CV charter, who oppose the YVHS field lighting project, and want to tear down the Eberhart silos. My guess is that we will see the three blind mice of Eberhart, Strange and Whitmarsh push to capture the three Board seats up for election next year. To do that they will start to undermine EVERYTHING Dr. Nellie does to improve education in MDUSD — typical of the bullying style of leadership we saw exhibited before by this trio. My guess is that Linda Mayo is becoming increasingly distressed as she learns how badly she was misled by the lawyers for the “machine” and in which she swallowed “hook, line and sinker.” I believe that Linda will be fully supportive of Dr. Nellie but have to swallow some of her pride in voting contrary to her previous votes.

  72. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I also spoke to Meyer about healing wounds on the board.
    When we were discussing past lack of transparency in the district, I mentioned the Measure C bond measure.
    “That’s a pretty big example!” she said, very surprised.

  73. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#70 I wonder if Tim Cody left out the part where the Interim Gen Counsel had tachycardia when she read the letter from the neighbor’s attorney and then read the April decision of Taxpayers v. San Diego USD which the Calif Supreme Court approved of last month. One thing this Hansen led Board is learning — you can’t trust the “advisors” hired by the last regime. Anymore on Hansen’s comment at the Board meeting on recovering attorney fees paid out previously ?

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, but Meyer said she was very interested in that discussion.

  75. Doctor J Says:

    Any word from Julie B-M on Post#46 ? I imagine there have been a lot of Spec Ed cases that fell through the cracks over the summer with her absence being “hidden”. New job posting today for Administrator — Special Education. Appears to be Carolyn Patton’s job with the posted job description approved in 2011 and probably posted today since Theresa “outed” the vacancy in her blog. Woodside Elem and Sequoia MS principalships still unfilled a month after being vacant. Here is the job description for Carolyn Patton’s job — if the link doesn’t work, go to the district home page, employment, and then limit the search to “certificated–management”.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    It took 2 1/2 months to get Carolyn Patton’s job posted ? That is really obscene. Was Dr. Mills trying to fill it without posting ? Or is this just another “personnel department” SNAFU ? By the way, SNAFU is a military coined term that Admiral Bill would understand. Did Dr. Nellie mention if she might have Admiral Bill “consult” for MDUSD ? Here is the printable version of SNAFU: SITUATION NORMAL, ALL ‘fouled’ UP.

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No, perhaps I’ll check in with Deb Cooksey.

  78. Anon Says:

    Who is this ” Admiral Bill”?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon #78 Please meet Admiral Bill — I sure hope that Dr. Nellie uses him to consult on restructuring the MDUSD organization and also getting a financial system that is understandable by the public. Take a peek at SDUSD monthly financials and one actually can see what is happening.

  80. anon Says:

    Dr J. @76, don’t I get some credit (@39) for bringing the whole situation to light before Theresa confirmed her position was vacant?

    Geez, that was a lot of research on my part-give a blogger a little bit of credit.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    Until you adopt your own handle, we can’t tell the difference between Anonymous #39 and Anon #80. :-)

  82. Sue Berg Says:

    Dr J, in following your link to “Admiral Bill,” SDUSD’s Superintendent from 2010 to his retirement in June 2013, I came across an article about principal vacancies in that district:

    MDUSD is not the only district with interim administrators. It’s reassuring that Dr. Meyer is familiar with this situation.

  83. Anon Says:

    @81, point well taken! I’ll have to think on that one :)

  84. Doctor J Says:

    @SB#82 Yes, both districts have interims — but the motive for having interims is vastly different. The new SDUSD Supt is cleaning house and only wants the best principals. Just like the Carolyn Patton vacancy is there for nearly 3 months before it is advertised. The Sequoia MS vacancy is not posted until weeks after MDUSD knows the principal is leaving. Same with the involuntary transfer of the Woodside principal. I am just saying that the MDUSD interim’s ought to expect to work until their money expires — both are capable and qualified. I wonder how they will do in leading the data analysis of their schools at the end of Sept ? Have they been trained in that ? I don’t think so as I don’t recall them attending any of the district training sessions last year.

  85. Sue Berg Says:

    Dr J #84, my comment about interims (as a result of principal vacancies) was in response to your hoping Dr. Meyer enlists the advice of recently retired SDUSD Superintendent “Admiral Bill,” as you call him in her leadership of MDUSD. My point: MDUSD is not the only district to have administrative vacancies filled by interims; SDUSD has them, and Dr. Meyer has experience in dealing with them.

    Your comment in #84 that the new SDUSD Superintendent “is cleaning house and only wants the best principals” makes me wonder why you think Dr. Meyer should consult “Admiral Bill” about “restructuring the MDUSD organization” when the team he oversaw is so quickly being changed.

    Based on what I’ve read and heard, Dr. Meyer has enough experience in all aspects of public school district administration to assess MDUSD’s organization and make her own recommendations. How ’bout you take a break from your constant carping and give her time to talk to people throughout the MDUSD community as she conducts that assessment?

  86. Doctor J Says:

    @SH#85 I guess you missed Theresa’s posts of her interview with Dr. Nellie — and some of the big surprises she is seeing. Frankly, I don’t know and you don’t know, what Dr. Nellie’s experience in filling school principalships with interim leaders in the vast sum that SDUSD’s new Supt has created all in one summer — 39 + ?? And you are wrong — the organizational structure created by Admiral Bill has not vastly changed — maybe some titles, but it is essentially intact. Please show me one time I have “carped” against Dr. Nellie ? An interesting term for you to use, when you used to multiple post not only under your own name, but at the same time with psuedonames of “Long-time Board Watcher” and “Nellie Blye” in order to support your own discussion points until one Saturday evening you accidentally outed yourself !

  87. Doctor J Says:

    Re#77&76 Theresa, are you getting stonewalled again by Julie B-M and Deb Cooksey ?

  88. Doctor J Says:

    Everyone is waiting for the principals to return from this mornings meeting — Dr. Nellie took the first half hour and Dr. Bernard the second half. What were the messages ? What will change in MDUSD ?

  89. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the secondary level, Meyer told me she is very interested in learning more about how Student Services Coordinators fulfill the roles usually provided by academic counselors. In her PhD research, she found that tracking students’ progress closely, catching them quickly when they begin to fall behind, providing strong interventions and developing caring relationships was key to preventing dropouts.

  90. Doctor J Says:

    When Cindy Dean speaks, the Board listens. She spoke at 8pm and by 8am the issue since June that her former boss Rose Lock had ignored , Jeff McDaniel had ignored, and even her principal couldn’t get an answer to, was quickly solved. Shame on the administrators ! Dr. Bernard listened and took notes furiously [Rose Lock and Jeff McDaniel took the 5th and remained silent] I would bet that Dr. Bernard chewed some rear ends after the meeting ! Did you see the disgust on his face as Cindy lambasted the MDUSD administration ? From the MDEA website: “”I was pleased and surprised by the quick response I received once I spoke to the Board.” Cindy Dean, a second grade teacher at Delta View Elementary commented on the results she has received to the plea that she made at the School Board meeting last Wednesday (August 28). It all started back in June as she was packing up her classroom. She put some materials in a big plastic tub.
    When she returned the next day, the tub was empty and the materials were
    nowhere to be found. She spoke with several administrators and emailed several others, but no one would help her get the materials (valued at $500) replaced. In a final attempt to get help, she explained her concerns to the school board during the public comment portion of the meeting. Before school began the next morning, the materials had been reordered and would be paid for from a maintenance account designated for such situations (Cindy had purchased some the materials with her own money and some with money from a grant she had written). She also received several apologies from administrators for the difficulties she had encountered.”

  91. anon Says:

    The district office is very good at remaining silent when they know the answer is not going to make them look good.

  92. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s an excerpt of my conversation with Superintendent Nellie Meyer about some of the challenges she faces in the district:

  93. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#92 I guess Dr. Nellie will be surprised to learn that her “Personnel Dept” [the archaic version of “Human Rsources”] isn’t even in charge of mandatory reporting training ! Wait until she learns that classified employees weren’t even being trained !! Love the quote from Dr. Nellie: “Every single employee needs to know that they are required to report, if they have a suspicion. I’m going to be working with our Human Resources department to see what we currently have in place and to see if there are any gaps we need to fill.” Dr. Nellie, meet Student Services in the Special Ed dept — they seem to be in charge of mandatory reporting training of certificated employees — I am still not sure who is in charge of training of certificated employees.

  94. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Nellie is right on: “I really strongly support principal coaching and believe the principal is the key with respect to school improvement.” Rose Lock cut out of SASS the “principal coaching” model after the first year — hence the disasters that have rocked the district: think Sun Terrace, Oak Grove, Woodside, etc. Take a look at SDUSD’s “principal coaching” and that’s what we can expect, not the paper pushing SASS we have.

  95. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, I worry that you are getting stonewalled on your several requests since we haven’t seen any answers: 1. Any reply to posts #75-77 ? 2. Did you get a copy of the neighbor’s attorney letter given to the Board on Aug 28 ? If so, can you post it ? 3. Any word from the principals meeting ? 4. What happened at the CAC meeting on Sept 3 ?

  96. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Please understand that my job mainly involves writing stories for the broad reader audience of the Contra Costa Times and Bay Area News Group. While I monitor this blog, I cannot often drop everything to get answers to every question to pops up here. As time allows, I try to get answers if I believe the questions are of interest to the broader audience of blog readers. However, I don’t always have time to immediately provide the answers, if I am working on important stories.

    Here’s what Julie Braun-Martin wrote to me in a Sept. 4 e-mail about Patton:

    “Carolyn accepted a position in another district over the summer and resigned from Mt. Diablo. The listing of her resignation will be on the September 2013 board meeting.”

    No, Meyer did not mention anything about the possibility of hiring “Admiral Bill” to consult for the district.

    Yes, I did get a copy of the letter submitted by the neighbors and will post it on Google Drive.

    No, I have not heard any word on the principal’s meeting.

    I don’t know what happened at the CAC meeting, since I was unable to attend. Here is the agenda: Interestingly, it looks like Mary-Ann Tucker is back.

  97. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry Theresa, I know you have your hands full — and we do appreciate your investigative efforts — I thought maybe you were just getting ignored again. Very interesting that although Carolyn Patton was appointed to the Benicia job in early June [the timing suggests she must have applied in May and been selected soon thereafter], Julie B-M originally told you the Board had been advised over the summer, and now it looks like it wasn’t since it will be on today’s posted agenda for Wed Sept 11. Also significant is that Patton’s job was not posted until Sept 3 — nearly 3 months after Patton accepted the Benicia position. And now another post retirement annuitant gets some more vacation money. Why wasn’t Julie B-M on top of this in May or June so a qualified applicant could have been found before the start of the new year ? BTW, since you have your plate overflowing, I won’t open the can of worms on student transfers that are being handled exclusively out of Rose Lock’s “student transfer shell game” — when parents get notified from Rose’s office that there is no room at the inn for their children, the parents actually have the gall to call the school and are told there “is room” — and then call back to Rose’s office as to why they are denied admission. The continued “shell games” from Rose’s office — certainly don’t exude trust when the parents figure it out ! You have to wonder why an Assistant Supt has to “micromanage” the whole overflow process ????

  98. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Why is SASS overseeing student transfers? I thought that was the job of the Student Services Dept, which is under Kerri Mills.

  99. Anon Says:

    I heard Mary Ann Tucker was brought back to fill in ms. Paton’s position until filled.
    My question is why wasn’t ms patons resignation on the earlier agenda since she has been gone since June? Did they wait on purpose because they didn’t want special Ed parents to know? Remember it was Carolyn Patton that moved locations of special Ed classes to better cluster and screwed up the bussing that led schools this year to adjust school start and stop times to allow special Ed students to be bussed. Geez that was a mouthful

  100. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#98 Its called “organizational chaos” — same reason “Personnel” doesn’t train “mandatory reporters”. We need an Admiral Bill overhaul of the organizational lines. Interesting that both these chaotic organizational SNAFU’s involve Student Services and Felicia Stuckey-Smith.

  101. Heather Says:

    @Doctor J #97

    I think you did just open the can of worms regarding student transfers. Is the district just leaving a little wiggle room at the schools for appeals and for new students who might move into the area of attendance? Are the parents who complain about being denied transfers getting anywhere with the district? You would think the district would want to grant as many transfers as possible, esp. at the high school level, to prevent students from going to the charter instead.

  102. Phoenix Says:

    TH@ 92, thank you for posting your interview summary with Dr. Meyer. My favorite answer was: “You build trust by being someone who shows concern about what’s going on.” This is such a simple concept, yet some of those in positions of power have forgotten the basic tenets of leadership: honesty, integrity, compassion, communication, and courage. We are a district in great need of change and Dr. Meyer appears to be up to the task.

  103. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You’re welcome. I am also doing a follow-up blog post with more details from my interview with Meyer, which I couldn’t fit into today’s excerpt.
    Notably, she says parent and budget advisory groups should actually give advice to the district, instead of merely listening to presentations by staff, which has been the norm in the recent past.

  104. Doctor J Says:

    Make no mistake about it — Steven Lawrence sank the Parent Advisory Committee because there were too many questions being asked that he did not want public — and he was way too condescending to ever think that parents could give advice to the district. Reminds me when he did not like the recommendations of the community school closure committee — he was verbally abusive to staff when the committee rejected his proposed plan — so he had Rose Lock take a “secret ballot” vote on a Brown Act committee. He then orchestrated a thinly veiled Board coup to close Holbrook, losing millions of dollars in SIG grants. Steven Lawrence hated it when his committees were subject to the Brown Act and public scrutiny. I agree with Phoenix — Dr. Nellie is up to the task to lead this district from the ashes.

  105. Carroll Says:

    Doctor J #97,

    I am a parent of a student who was denied an interdistrict transfer, and I did have a lot of questions and concerns, some of which I brought up with Felicia. We were denied the transfer, but overall the process seemed transparent and Felicia seemed forthcoming in responding to my questions and concerns. Not sure if I missed something, but it did not seem like a shell game to me.

  106. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my follow-up blog post focusing on Meyer’s views about funding priorities, community involvement and charter schools:

  107. g Says:

    Carroll, 105: Did Felicia give you an idea of true attendance criteria? I could be wrong, and would like to know if I am.

    I believe this is how it breaks down (in reality–
    even though perhaps, secretly):

    1) Kids who live in the school zone.
    2) Kids of district employees who want their kid(s) to go to a specific school.
    3) Kids qualifying for NCLB transfers (who should
    place ahead of employee’s kids—but don’t.
    4) Kids who may luck into the school they prefer if
    there are still seats available.

  108. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    G 107 & Carroll 105:

    Would also be interested in what grade level interdistrict transfer denials are happening, and reasons denied (one assumes the school is at / over capacity).


    Each school has a capacity (number of “seats” x number of classrooms) limit. However, with principal and teacher vacancies in MDUSD, wonder if that could be a reason as well. Also with new bell schedules and transportation (or lack of), is that a factor?

  109. Carroll Says:

    G #107,

    Felicia did share the priority for transfers, however I don’t have it in writing so I’m not sure I remember it exactly. To the best of my recollection, it was:

    #1 Kids who live in attendance area.
    #2 NCLB transfers
    #3 SBX5 transfers (persistently low performing schools)
    #4 Siblings of students who already attend a school
    #5 School Choice

    The lottery was done publicly to assign numbers based on the priorities above. It “seemed” above board, but I guess it would be hard to tell if it wasn’t or if they granted admission to someone not based solely on the lottery numbers. I was initially concerned that this was the case when my child received a decent lottery number but was denied the transfer, but I was told exactly how many students were admitted to the choice school, and it was smaller than our lottery number.

  110. Carroll Says:

    Hell Freezing Over #108:

    I would like to know the statistics and reasons as well. I tried to request the statistics from past years before I submitted my student’s transfer application to maximize our chances of getting a better school, but I did not get anywhere with my request at the district.

    I was also told that the district had changed their M.O. from past years and was trying to accommodate as many student transfers as possible by shuffling teachers and staff to the requested schools. However, the number of student transfers granted to our choice school was not all that high and was much lower than the school capacity I had seen listed.

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