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MDUSD board to hold Wednesday governance workshop and determine evaluation goals for new superintendent

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, October 21st, 2013 at 12:14 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Now that the Mt. Diablo school board has hired a new superintendent to try to remedy problems perceived under former district leadership, trustees are ready to sit down and hammer out goals for their hand-picked Superintendent Nellie Meyer.

The board will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday — before its regular Wednesday night meeting — that will include a Governance Workshop to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the board and superintendent, as well as possible performance goals for Meyer based on the district’s strategic plan.

Here is the agenda for the meeting, which will be held in the board room at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. The public is invited to comment on the superintendent’s evaluation goals before trustees go into closed session.

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. Info

2.0 Public Comment
2.1 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

3.0 Business/Action Items

3.1 Governance Workshop – The Board and Superintendent will participate in a governance workshop led by Dr. Sally Frazier, consultant with Leadership Associates. There are two major outcomes: 1. Gain a clear understanding of the Board and Superintendent Roles and Relationship. 2. Determine the Superintendent’s goals for 2013-14 in alignment with our District Strategic Plan. Action

4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session #1
4.1 Adjourn to Closed Session at 4:00 p.m. Action

4.2 Superintendent’s Evaluation – Based on the determination of the goals for 2013-14 that occurred in Open Session, the Board will develop criteria and expectations for the Superintendent’s performance evaluation. Action

5.0 Adjournment
5.1 Adjourn meeting at 5:00 p.m. Info”

What performance goals would you suggest the board use to evaluate Superintendent Nellie Meyer?

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  • Doctor J

    Something stinks about Mary Bacon’s “contract extension” [Item 11.12]. For last year 12/13 she had overspent her contract but did not seek an extension after she spent all night at a Board Meeting and didn’t speak. Now it is unveiled a secret undisclosed contract for $24,000, just under the $25,000 for Board approval, just for a faculty presentation in August — she spent it all on one “one hour” presentation ???? Are you kidding me ? Note that the contract having one signature of July 1, 2013 did not get Asst Supt’s Rose Lock and Julie B-M approval until Sept 4 and Oct 3 — something is amiss here. Now a $26,000 “extension” ? Is the district “adjusting” the contracts to pay for “past performance” that was not approved ? When you look at the activities for August, there is no way Mary Bacon could have spent $24,000 on those activities. I think there is some monkey business going on with the billings and contract which require a FULL AUDIT AND INVESTIGATION and full disclosure of the billing documents from Mary Bacon justifying these two contracts. Most notably the July 1 contract says the services were arranged by Jonathan Roselin — he didn’t even hold that position on July 1 !!!! How phoney is that !! Roselin submits a “change order” with NO JUSTIFICATION dated October 17. Lets see all the emails back and forth on these two agreements ! “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Lets air this one out ! Under Dr. Nellie, its not supposed to be “business as usual”.

  • Doctor J

    Did you see the long list of schools with “textbook insufficieny” ? Item 17.13 I can’t ever remember that. When and where were the “three public hearing ten day postings” identified in the resolution ? that is never disclosed. This is a public hearing. I don’t think they happened.

  • tmharrington

    Did you notice the addendum on Exhibit A, which is signed by Roselin, but not dated? It states that attendance at IEP meetings, report-writing and travel time do not constitute billable service hours: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=7611&mtgId=386

    Bacon is mandated to attend district meetings, write reports and travel without charge. This seems odd and give the impression that she may have charged the district $100 an hour previously for attending meetings and driving back and forth from Hillsborough.

  • g. de la verdad

    There does seem to be a HUGE discrepancy at a couple of schools between the SARC reports from last year and the ‘shortages’ this year. Did managemeent not realize that, for example, the students from 2nd grade last year would need 3rd grade books this year? Does no one plan ahead?

  • g. de la verdad

    Dr. J you are on spot! Mary Bacon, while being a wonderful advocate for minority students, hasn’t had anything new to say in many years. What she espoused then still holds true—however, all I can see is that she rearranges her powerpoints, rearranges her speeches, redates her her programs, and ends up saying the same thing–over and over!
    She has been on one contract or another with mdusd for years. Has our [in]equity or [dis]proportionality improved at all during that time–or has it actually gotten worse?
    Are the students she singles out and goes to battle for with all her ‘talking points’ actually improving their grades, their drop-out rates, their pregnancy rates, their suspension and expulsion rates?
    Shouldn’t all of these long standing contractors (Bacon certainly isn’t the only one pushing the same agenda—as long as the district has money for them) have to show that their program has actually provided benefits before they come back to the trough?
    And Jon Eyler–for $34K–Will his presentation be any different from what he gave at the Equity meeting just five months ago? Has he come up with a new miracle solution to pour into the trough?

  • tmharrington

    In the past, when there were numerous complaints, the excuse was that a person who had previously handled that duty was no longer working for the district. It’s unclear what the excuse is this year. However, I don’t recall the district being so transparent about the shortages before: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/d330096a-11d0-4885-a936-53eb79a985d3.pdf

    Previously, Trustee Lynne Dennler actually volunteered to drive the textbooks to the schools herself so teachers could get them in their hands!

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a new blog post with the regular meeting agenda, in case anyone wants to comment on it: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/d330096a-11d0-4885-a936-53eb79a985d3.pdf

  • tmharrington

    By the way, I attended the tail end of the Northgate HS aquatics meeting last night and posted a couple of videos to: YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa. Unfortunately, however, Tim Cody did not have a microphone like he did at the YVHS meetings, so it was very difficult to hear what was being said.

  • Doctor J

    The last textbook book sufficiency report I found attached to the agenda was in 2010. Its required by the California law. Before, the Board just voted blind.

  • Doctor J

    Perhaps the time is ripe for a PRA request on her billings, eh ?

  • Doctor J

    With declining enrollments, and no new textbook adoptions, HOW CAN WE HAVE TEXTBOOK SHORTAGES ?This kind of caca could easily be solved if the Board would require the principals with “shortages” to stand before the Board explain why and answer Board questions — instead we will get some mumbo jumbo that they now have two more months to fix the shortages of textbooks — the year will be half gone. That simply means half the learning time will have gone by without the textbooks. As the Marines say, and Mike Langley will probably tell us what the Army says: PPPPPP.

  • Doctor J

    Interestingly I heard Rose Lock will miss the Board meeting — vacation. She won’t have to answer any questions about these contracts. Maybe the Board should just table them until she gets back ? Is it just coincidence that both Rose and Lynne are in the 50th state at the same time ? Perhaps time to check those Form 700′s again — gifts, including lodging, must be disclosed by both.

  • tmharrington

    I notice there were no shortages at Sequoia Elementary this year. Previously, a Sequoia Elementary teacher was very vocal about the detrimental affects the shortages were having on students.

  • tmharrington

    Yes, I was wondering how the board knew what was missing when it didn’t have any sort of report showing what was still on back order.

  • tmharrington

    Eyler’s contract requires him to produce one annual data analysis and six monthly data reports starting this month. These reports should be posted online so the public can see whether his professional development and technical assistance is making a difference.

  • Doctor J

    I wonder if the verbal reports in 2011 and 2012 said anything or if it just went unquestioned ?

  • Doctor J

    August and September should already be available — I guess someone needs to ask for them. But I agree, it would be nice if they were just posted on the District website without having to ask. Why is it the public always has to pull teeth to get documents that tell us how the district is doing ?

  • tmharrington

    The “Good News” Letter is out: http://www.mdusd.org/superintendent/Documents/good-news/october-2013-english.pdf

    Top story: The district plans to launch a Facebook page by the end of the month!

  • tmharrington

    I have requested Bacon’s billing and the names of the schools with which Eyler is working.

  • g. de la verdad

    Thanks Theresa! Eyler is spending a total of 12 days on his contract. That may or may not include his progress reports and annual data recap.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to see reports similar to that for Mary Bacon? How about all of the RTI contracts. Some progress reports–some data driven proof that the district even actually USES what the teachers, principals and staff have been trained on—some even claim “certification” in RTI on their resume’ bios.
    Experts at the trough!
    As Dr. J. quotes: “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

  • Doctor J

    Found this agenda by accident under the Equity tab on the MDUSD web page — anyone know about this meeting ? I don’t think its posting met the requirements of the Brown Act. Where are the minutes ? http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/Attachments/379/equity-advisory-team-agenda-10-03-13.pdf

  • Doctor J

    Having the Equity Meeting at 3:00 pm DISCOURAGES parent involvement contrary to the Board’s stated purpose and vision set forth in the Parent Handbook at page 7: “Supporting parents as participating decision-makers and encouraging their leadership in governing,advising and advocacy roles.”

  • g. de la verdad

    Item 4: Update of six pilot schools. Maybe we’ll find out these are the Eyler 6? Then again, maybe not–since there is no Equity meeting report to the board on tomorrow’s agenda.

  • tmharrington

    FYI, I have been informed that the governance workshop will be videotaped and webcast from 2-4 p.m. I won’t be able to attend, but will try to monitor it from my desk.

  • tmharrington

    The governance workshop is now webcasting live at: http://www.livestream.com/mtdiablounifiedschooldistrict

    Meyer has asked that staff actually make recommendations instead of merely presenting open-ended options to the board without advocating for any particular outcome.

  • Doctor J

    Interesting discussion starting about 43 minutes in about the future, if any, of the office of General Counsel.

  • Doctor J

    Dr. Nellie thinks Strategic Plan is “overwhelming” as in too big, and needs to be prioritized. Discussion starts around 1:06

  • tmharrington

    Yes, Board President Cheryl Hanse pointed out that the interim general counsel’s contract expires next month.
    I was surprised when they were talking about designating the Board President as the spokesperson for the board and Hansen said there aren’t any bad headlines about the district these days. Really? What about the Martin case and BANG lawsuit?

  • tmharrington

    Meyer may be trying to narrow down which priorities she’ll be evaluated on. The Superintendent’s Council tried to prioritize the goals, but I don’t think the board actually ever voted on any prioritization.
    It’s interesting to compare MDUSD’s lackluster attempt to create a strategic plan to WCCUSD’s more focused effort, which is being funded by Chevron and facilitated by an outside consultant.

  • tmharrington

    The Equity team doesn’t like the press attending either, with some saying it could stifle frank discussions. This is called accountability. MDUSD needs to get used to it.

  • Doctor J

    Dent staff shudders when they hear the word “accountability” — This is why on July 1, 2014 you will see many new faces at Dent.

  • Doctor J

    The Equity team better worry about “serial meetings” via email, a violation of the Brown Act that could send them to jail. Just wait until CCT springs their first “all emails” between Equity Team members Public Records Act request ! There will be a run on Imodium by the Equity Team [I apologize in advance for the bad pun].

  • tmharrington

    FYI, I am uploading selected segments of the meeting to YouTube.com/tunedtotheresa.

  • Doctor J

    Should MDUSD have longer school days when the SIG grants run out ? Fresno Unified thinks so. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/26/3573826/fusd-superintendent-wants-longer.html

  • tmharrington

    MDEA says the board plans a special meeting Nov. 4 to discuss negotiations: http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102938290270-348/MDEA+Bargaining+Update+%2310.pdf

    However, no Nov. 4 meeting is yet listed on the district’s board calendar: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/

  • Doctor J

    The combined financial pressures of MartinGATE and Common Core have stalled the MDEA contract negotiations. After months of gum flapping back and forth, the District says it will “…take bold steps in crafting a new offer to meet both parties respective needs.” I can’t wait to see that parade. MDEA takes a simplistic look at the Medical/Dental/Vision cost and % raises– not looking down the road at the added costs each year. MDEA also ignores the MartinGATE projected costs and Common Core readiness costs: (1) conflict with district insurance company over undisclosed potential claims which might invalidate the policy; (2) if the insurance policy is invalidated, then the district would have to pay BOTH the lawyers and expenses to defend the lawsuits AND also pay any settlements. Settlement costs could reach as high as $30 million [see Penn State article] and attorney costs could be around $5 million; (3) Common Core readiness costs are enormous — sure the state has provided a pot of money, but MDUSD must pour in millions of additional money since it has failed to prepare — remember that plan SASS spent a year preparing — How’s it working for you, Rose ? NOT. MDUSD’s projected construction schedule will only be 30% complete by the Spring when Common Core testing begins — inadequate to handle the limited testing this year. Rose Lock recently did a U turn and is “organizing” groups of unorganized symposiums being led by untrained teachers to teach others how to do common core — the blind leading the blind — with no common curriculum. Its a typical Rose Lock concept of putting lipstick on a pig, hold hands and sing Kumbaya — Rose will use fancy words to describe chaos, and later wonder why it didn’t work. Meanwhile, in the classroom [an oft forgotten word in this district] more substitute after substitute teacher and the quality of classroom instruction continues to deteriorate. Meanwhile, remember the comprehensive plans for English Learners and Disproportionality we spent millions on ? I think Jeanne Duarte-Armas and Jonathan Roselin are now following the horses in this parade with shovels and buckets. The buckets are already full and the parade is just starting.

  • Doctor J

    FPPC finds 205 local officials failed to report gifts — some educators received gifts and meals from Bond companies — have MDUSD Board members and administrators been properly reporting gifts and meals on their annual Statement of Economic Interest [Form 700] ? http://www.fppc.ca.gov/agendas/11-13/Pro-Active%20Gift%20Non-Reporting%20Cases.%20Agenda%20Items%2028-113.pdf

  • Doctor J

    “The FPPC is still investigating another 18 people for unreported gifts,” Who at MDUSD? “More than half the 86 individuals represent school districts. . . . The gifts mostly involved meals, but some officials received baseball tickets and rounds of golf.” Reminds me of ChevronGATE.
    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/05/5880722/fppc-seven-sacramento-area-school.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region#storylink=cpy

  • g. de la verdad

    Does MDUSD require everyone who should file to actually do that? Do they even send Form 700 to FPPC, or do they keep them in-house?

  • Doctor J
  • g. de la verdad

    Great Reminder link! With old comments now in the ether, I think it’s past time to look into this again — with a reminder that Designated Reporters includes not only board and management staff, but also: all Department Directors/Managers/Principals; all Board Advisory Committee members; all consultants whose advice and work product greatly influences board approval of purchases of products, books, software, etc. from which that consultant may receive monatary gain (think Bacon, Eylor, Lozano)…. And speaking of Measure C — un-huh, We haven’t had minutes updated in 11 months, nor has the list of Committee members been updated in even longer than that! Does this board even care?

  • tmharrington

    Actually, Cooksey did follow up, but I still need to go to the district office to get the records. I noticed that Trustee Linda Mayo was very meticulous about reporting gifts, including lunches from people affiliated with the bond measure. Very few people who filed Form 700s listed anything at all.

  • tmharrington

    MDUSD kept the forms in-house in a very haphazard manner and also sent duplicates to the county.