Part of the Bay Area News Group

MDUSD Board to approve new general counsel, Local 1 contract tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 6:48 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Tonight, the Mt. Diablo school board expects to appoint a new general counsel and to approve a bargaining agreement with the Local 1 Maintenance and Operations workers that appears to mirror the agreement with the Clerical, Secretarial and Technical unit.

Here is the agenda for tonight’s meeting, which is at 7:30 p.m. in the district office 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 The board may discuss or provide direction to its negotiators regarding unrepresented employee, pursuant to Government Code section 54957.6. Agency negotiator: Dr. Nellie Meyer. Unrepresented employee: General Counsel. Public Employment. Title: General Counsel. Action
4.3 Expulsion of student #02-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.4 Pending Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t Code Section 54956.9(1) in the matter of OAH Case #2013100126. Action

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 Report out of Closed Session Info

8.0 Organizational Meeting
8.1 Annual Board of Education Organizational Meeting Info
8.2 Elect Board President Action
8.3 Elect Vice President Action
8.4 Appoint Secretary Action

8.5 Establish Regular Meeting Dates, Time and Location Action
8.6 Adopt Certificate of Signatures Action

9.0 Student Representatives
9.1 Student representatives will report on activities at their schools. Info

10.0 Board Member Reports
10.1 Board Reports Info

11.0 Superintendent’s Report
11.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

12.0 Consent Agenda Action
12.1 (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
12.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
12.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 School Year Action
12.4 (Item #4) Community Engagement Memo of Understanding between Saint Mary’s College of California and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
12.5 (Item #5) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
12.6 (Item #6) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Positions Action
12.7 (Item #7) Independent Services Contract for Events to the “T” Inc. Action
12.8 (Item #8) Approve submission of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21stCCLC) and ASSETs grant for two high schools, one middle and five elementary schools. Action
12.9 (Item #9) Fiscal Transactions for the month of November 2013. Action
12.10 (Item #10) Budget Transfer and/or Budget Increases/Decreases for the month of October 2013 Action
12.11 (Item #11) Contract for Maintenance of District’s Phone Systems and Voice Mail Action
12.12 (Item #12) Request for Purchase Order for A to Z Bus Sales Action
12.13 (Item #13) Request to issue Purchase Order to Sabah International Action
12.14 (Item #14) Board Bylaw 9200 – Limits of Board Member Authority Action
12.15 (Item #15) Approval of increase to Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Ed Contract for Mt. Diablo Elementary School Action
12.16 (Item #16) Award of Bid #1652: South West Parking Lot Overlay Expansion Project at Clayton Valley Charter High School Action
12.17 (Item #17) Award of Lease/Lease-back Agreement with Taber Construction, Inc. to support RFQ/RFP 1664 – Middle School General Science Classroom Buildings 2014 Project Action
12.18 (Item #18) Design Service Contract Amendment Salas O’Brian – security system replacement Action
12.19 (Item #19) Design Service Contract amendments for Smith, Fause & McDonald(SFMI) – technology improvements de-scope of work Action
12.20 (Item #20) Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract for Aquatic Center Project at Northgate High School Action
12.21 (Item #21) Amendment to Cal-Air (Johnson Control) Phase 2 Energy Conservation Project Action
12.22 (Item #22) Notice of Completion for L/LB#1616: Construction and Finishes for 2013 Chemistry/Science Buildings at Concord High School and College Park High School Action
12.23 (Item #23) Notice of Completion for LLB #1626: Elementary and Pleasant Hill Middle School Technology Improvements Action
12.24 (Item #24) Notice of Completion for LLB 1640: Modernization of S Wing, Shop Building at YVHS Action
12.25 (Item #25) Notice of Completion for LLB #1641: Science Center Remodel, Building 100 at YVHS Action
12.26 (Item #26) Resolution#13-14/25 Authorization for submittal of Bus Retrofit Grant to Bay Area Air Quality Management District Action
13.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

14.0 Recognitions
14.1 Announcements/Awards Info

15.0 Public Comment
15.1 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

16.0 Communications
16.1 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

17.0 Reports/Information
17.1 Information Provided to Board and Community Info

18.0 Business/Action Item
18.1 Appointment of General Counsel and Resolution to designate specified position as senior management of the classified service, appoint an employee and set a salary Action

18.2 Appointment of Program Specialist, Special Education Action

18.3 Appointment of Social Work Specialist Action

18.4 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Educational Consultation and Behavior Management Specialist Action

18.5 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School – Concord High School Action

18.6 Appointment of Coordinator, Student Services 6-8 – Sequoia Middle School Action

18.7 Approval of Independent Service Contract with Center for Human Development for $50,000. Action

18.8 First Interim Report 2013-2014 Action

18.9 Budget Development Calendar 2014-2015 Action

18.10 Request to Approve Tentative Agreement between Public Employees Union Local 1 (M&O) and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) Action

18.11 Approval of Textbook Adoption for AP Physics, Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics, Pearson, 4th edition by Douglas C. Giancoli Action

18.12 Independent Services Contract with Pivot Learning Partners Action

18.13 Sole Source Authorization and Consent Form– APPLE, INC. Action

18.14 New and Revised Technology Policies – BP 3513, BP/AR 4040, BP 6162.7 Action

18.15 Award of Contract with DecoTech Systems for the Middle School Laptop Order, through the 2010 Measure C Facility Improvement Program, as part of the Classroom Technology Enhancements Project. Action

18.16 Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract for MDUSD Project 1663 Portable Replacements & MDUSD Project 1664 MS General Science Buildings. Action

18.17 Award of Lease/Lease-back Agreement with Taber Construction, Inc. to support RFQ/RFP 1663 – Portable Classroom Replacement 2014. Action

18.18 Award of Lease-Leaseback Agreement to Kenridge Builders, Inc. Construction of New Aquatics Center at Northgate High School Action

18.19 Final Change Order for LLB #1616 – Taber Construction Inc. for Chemistry Classrooms 2013 at Concord/Nueva Vista and College Park High School. Action

18.20 Contract Amendment: Salas O’Brien Engineers, Inc. Ygnacio Valley High School Stadium Lighting Project Action

18.21 Final Change Order for LLB #1641 – Landmark Construction, Inc. for Modernization of Science Center, building 100, at Ygnacio Valley High School Action

18.22 Final Change Order for LLB #1640 – Landmark Construction, Inc. for Modernization of S-Wing, Shop Building 1300, at Ygnacio Valley High School Action

18.23 Meeting Extension Action

19.0 Future Agenda Items

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

Due to a greater emphasis on regional stories at Bay Area News Group, I will not be attending tonight’s meeting. However, I will try to watch portions of it online and will report on the general counsel appointment, Local 1 agreement and reorganization.

Do you agree with the recommendation that the general counsel be designated as senior management of the classified service?

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

116 Responses to “MDUSD Board to approve new general counsel, Local 1 contract tonight”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    I hope someone will tell us the book Alicia Minyen gave to the Board members. Well said, Alicia. However, I think Cheryl missed the part where there is much work to do !

  2. Doctor J Says:

    In a surprise move, new Board president nominated Lynne Dennler as Vice-P, and she declined, instead nominating Brian Lawrence as Vice-President which was seconded by Linda Mayo. Not sure I have that political move figured out, but apparently Lynne and Linda were prepared for it.

  3. Wendy McKeever Lack Says:

    @ Dr. J:

    Wendy Lack here.

    I’m the one who spoke this evening regarding the continuing need for the District to build solid, trusting relationships within the organization, with the community and the press.

    The book I gave them– it’s a booklet, actually — is “Making Ethical Decisions” by Michael Josephson of the Josephson Ethics Institute (

    I was moved to speak tonight, as the Board does its annual reorganization, to acknowledge and reflect on the fact that it was only one year ago the District was in great turmoil with the former supt and chief attorney.

    During the past year, I’ve noticed some improvement in District transparency on routine items (e.g., handling of meeting agendas seem to be more timely, complete). And, of course, there is a new supt in place and the appointment of a new chief legal counsel is on tonight’s agenda.

    I think it’s fitting to pause and reflect on where the District has been, as we chart the course for where it’s going — especially as we move into the 2014 election season with three Board seats expiring (

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Wendy, my apologies to you — what was I thinking ? :-) My edit has been made above ! Great job. Yes, November will be here before we know it !

  5. Doctor J Says:

    LaptopGATE raised by retiree tonight — No accountability for Bryan Richards gross negligence one year later.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    BusGATE again . . . not enough drivers, not enough buses, SSDD. Parents are being patronized.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    ChemicalGATE — parent says MDUSD not in compliance for ten years plus.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    CAC President says less students being transported but more problems — she’s tired of excuses. Tom Bishop comes to CAC and gives the same answers to same questions. No improvement.

  9. g. de la verdad Says:

    That same parent, and many others, would swollow their tongue if they knew that “thousands” of children (and that’s a direct quote from Stuckey-Smith) are not in compliance yet on their vaccinations, nearly 4 months into the school year.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    “Thousands” of unvaccinated children is a breeding ground for epidemic; so much for transparency with Felicia SS keeping that under wraps for many months — I think there was only a 10 day grace period from the start of school, but that might not be totally correct.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    G de la verdad, you blew item 18.10 wide open with your question today responded to by Brian Lawrence. Apparently the Board feels they got swindled by their own bargaining team.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    18.16 was pulled — Inspector Alicia Jensen’s contract for $173,000; 6 of 7 pages of contract missing; Exhibits not attached; and no comparison of offers.

  13. g. de la verdad Says:

    The 3% retro for pay and overtime is reasonable, but high with COLA and CPI sitting at well under 2% for 2013 and 2014. The “gift” of 2% is not reasonable considering they got a 3% ‘gift’ just a year ago.
    The idea of paying the entire 6 month retro amount out in one lump sum is outrageous! It should be prorated out over, at minimum, the next 6 months.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD stands to loose millions in ADA because of its failure to enforce immunization requirements for admission to school and at the 7th Grade. I hear a letter is being sent out to the thousands out of compliance telling them they cannot attend school if this is not corrected by Jan 6. As usual, MDUSD does not pay attention to legal requirements until it costs them money. There is a new form for exemptions that has been available since October. The requirements aren’t that complicated — who has been minding the store ? Is Felicia SS going to throw the school office managers under the bus ? Or is this another matter that Student Services just turns their head and plays ignorant ?

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Who is Larry Schoenke, new Interim Gen Counsel ? “Schoenke retired from San Diego Unified in June [2013] after a little more than two years at the district. His LinkedIn profile says he is still working as an adviser for the district (we’ve requested his contract and invoices), and he’s currently working for the law firm Dannis Woliver Kelly in San Francisco.
    Schoenke led the district through some tricky legal times. He advised the board throughout the last couple of years of tough labor negotiations and helped defend the district from a big lawsuit against its use of bond money (the district lost and is considering an appeal)” From Voice of San Diego published Oct 28 2013.

  16. g. de la verdad Says:

    It would have saved us some grief if the agenda had correctly stated appoint “interim” GC. In essence we have hired another firm (DWK) to provide us an attorney, not unlike the agreement we had with Meyers Nave for Jayne Williams (or stand-in). The difference here is that we have not been given a copy of the contract nor a time frame for the ‘interim’ job.
    The lawsuit DWK lost on appeal for San Diego is the big fight over undeclared stadium lights on their bond.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    At last nights meeting, they said Schoenke would be an employee.

  18. g. de la verdad Says:

    As the Principals and Office Managers began reporting the non-compliance at their schools, someone at Dent made the decision to “ignore Ed Code” and keep the kids in school “so we don’t lose ADA. Dent is replete with employees suffering from a “Scarlet O’Hara Syndrome.”
    “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

  19. g. de la verdad Says:

    The gaping hole in that is the question: Has Shoenke severed ties with DWK, or is his job merely an extension of the contract the district signed when it added DWK to the long list of representative legal firms in Sept?

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Ignoring the law is typical at Dent — like when Rose Lock ignored the SIG grants to “save money” and instead the Feds and State audited and cut off the money until a “CORRECTIVE ACTION PLAN” was in place and operating.

  21. tmharrington Says:

    Wendy, One glaring transparency problem that continues is the district’s failure to create comprehensive meeting minutes. Although the videos and board summaries are nice, no one would ever know you spoke last night unless they happened to see that portion of the video:

    If the district refuses to provide the public with minutes, the board action summaries should at least include the names of members of the public who spoke.

  22. tmharrington Says:

    Bryan Richards mentioned that the district is waiting for the SBE to complete the LCAP template so it can start planning for its budget. Yet, I don’t think he mentioned that a revised template was posted yesterday:

    The district does not need to wait for the final approved template before starting this planning.

  23. Doctor J Says:

    Just as bad, is that there is no record certain actions were “pulled” by staff or a motion to table until January was not reported. What is the explanation as to why no minutes are taken and approved ?

  24. Doctor J Says:

    So ironic that Bryan Richards apologized for not getting his report on time or his PowerPoint posted ahead of time — has he ever been on time ? There was nothing in the PowerPoint that needed to await the end of the First Interim report. Bryan didn’t notice that the new template was posted since he was still working on his reports AND reading your blog Theresa !!

  25. g. de la verdad Says:

    Video of meetings doesn’t do much for the hearing impaired. Minutes should be available online. Speaking of which — Measure C Oversight committee has not posted minutes for a full year. Interesting to read what the comments were at the 12/12 meeting and trying to tie them to some of the work and practices in the past year. I would have contacted the Committee Chair — but who knows who that might be — since there’s no record of updated members or orginization.

  26. g. de la verdad Says:

    A “must watch” video example of Common Core text for a 6 yr old.
    Toward the end of the video there is another link to an interview discussing it.
    At the risk of ridicule — I wonder, is this (Common Core) UN21 agenda propaganda?

  27. guest Says:

    I believe he leaves DWK and becomes an employee of MDUSD.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    What is Local 1’s response to the Contract being pulled from consideration at the Board meeting last night ?

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Ventura Unified only paid a 2% raise. Most wise districts are seeing how LCFF plays out.

  30. Wendy McKeever Lack Says:

    Do you have a list of the numbers of unvaccinated children at each campus in the District?

  31. Wendy McKeever Lack Says:

    We suffer from a similar problem in the City of Pleasant Hill, whose City Clerk has produced NO Council meeting minutes for the past year.

    “Transparency” is given lipservice by so many agencies . . . . .

  32. Doctor J Says:

    The district has such a list — apparently nearly every campus is affected — as individual letters are being sent to every parent of every child who is not properly vaccinated telling them they will be banned from school, sports, and all activities unless it rectified by January 6. It really shows what poor management there has been in oversight of making sure this was being taken care of back in August and September. I believe reports are required to be sent to the County Health and State Health departments which probably triggered the response at the Supt’s level.

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Shoenke started work at MDUSD over a week ago !!! Take a look at the Agenda for the Dec 11 meeting POSTED ON Dec 6 — many of the Consent Agenda items were approved by “Larry Shoenke – none”. How could this be ? There is something rotten in Denmark.

  34. Wendy McKeever Lack Says:

    I’m just trying to ascertain the facts. Sounds like more info from the District is necessary to fully understand what’s happening and why.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    “so we don’t lose ADA” is the quote from Felicia SS. G de la Verdad said it was disclosed in an Office Manager’s meeting. The district’s main concern is not the health of the children — its money. Its tragic that this problem can go on for four months and no one is concerned until there is a threat to lose money because of poor management by MDUSD. MDUSD’s motto: “Where kids come first” is just propaganda.

  36. Wendy McKeever Lack Says:

    Safety and money are both important (and related, as the District’s legal expense budget reflects) — and your point is well-taken that safety comes first.

  37. Doctor J Says:

    Wendy, Senate Bill 751 partially to the rescue — requires the individual votes of board members to be reported out. Amends the Brown Act.

  38. g. de la verdad Says:

    Just one more law to ignore. They’ve always been supposed to disclose the closed session votes by number of yes/no and give some description of what they were voting on.
    “The board gave direction to staff” does not cut it.

  39. g. de la verdad Says:

    Does anyone know when MDUSD voted to ignore Ed Code 35163?

  40. Doctor J Says:

    Special Board meeting Monday — two QEIA waivers. Mount again, and Oak Grove. Didn’t meet class size reductions again. Application is misleading in that does not mention prior waiver for MDHS. . Where is required ten day Public Hearing publication notice ?

  41. Doctor J Says:

    Does Dan Reynolds agree with this statement in the Mount waiver application ? “Enrollment in the World Academy is growing at rates we were not able to predict. While the district could add additional sections, the school is experiencing difficulty finding highly qualified teachers to teach the plethora of specialized tiny (one or two sections per course) part-time jobs that would be created by adding these sections.”

  42. tmharrington Says:

    It looks like Dr. Meyer is ready to start communicating with the community. She has issued a response to the Colorado shooting:

    and a December Newsletter:

  43. g. de la verdad Says:

    And borrowed words are beter than no words….

  44. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for tonight’s special meeting:

    When the district decided to create the World Academies at two QEIA sites, it should have anticipated that these programs would draw new students to the schools. I hope trustees ask staff what growth rate was predicted compared to what growth rate is being experienced at both sites. These waiver applications are missing this key information, which would show whether the district planned ahead appropriately for these programs or not.

  45. g. de la verdad Says:

    In May they said:

    “We are very excited to serve our EL students and families and anticipate that the academy will enroll 50 students in grades 9-12 next year.”

    But that was May. With this crew, 6 months is not long enough to “plan” anything.

  46. tmharrington Says:

    Of course, there was also a turnover in administration at MDHS. Last spring, former Principal Kate McClatchy actually suggested that I write about the World Academy, which she was very excited about! Now, I may have to follow up on her request with the new principal.

  47. Doctor J Says:

    She left off the very valuable link to the National Association of School Psychologists on how to deal with national tragedies. I wonder why she just blocked and copied Admiral Bill’s statement on Sandy Hook ?

  48. Doctor J Says:

    Why did Lorie O’Brien stall until December 11 to raise this issue — so it requires a “Special Meeting” ? Isn’t that the same problem she had before ? Who in the district is supposed to be monitoring those numbers to meet the QEIA requirements ? Shouldn’t this have been apparent in August ?

  49. g. de la verdad Says:

    “For high school students the connection can be a tipping point for involvement in co-curricular or extra- curricular activities. Moving students outside of their community school can impede parent involvement.”

    MDUSD needs to face facts. Bay Point students don’t have a “Home School” where most parents could be involved. Of course, that falls under the catagory of how Bond Funds and Developer Fees ‘Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’ been spent.

    We’ve all been paying for two poorly planned Bay Point land purchases, both of inadequat size, for pushing 10 years. In the meantime we’ve replaced dozens of portables — some that were only 5-10 years old, HVAC that’s 3-5 years old, bused students out of their neighborhoods for decades, and learned nothing about seeing into the future needs of anyone but the employees and consultants.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    Here is the blog from the Dec 2011 Mount QEIA waiver fiasco with links to the all the “promises” of systems to be put into place to prevent tonight’s disaster — Why didn’t Rose Lock follow through with what she and Lorie O’Brien said they would do ? All talk, no action.

  51. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, has there been a notice of public hearing published in the CCT for tonight’s hearing ?

  52. tmharrington Says:

    I have sent an email to Dr. Meyer asking if she copied Kowba’s statement.

  53. tmharrington Says:

    Yes, it’s ridiculous to say they just found out due to the county’s monitoring. As we found out last time, the school and district were supposed to be monitoring this themselves. Last time, they blamed staff turnover. This time, they can’t use that excuse.

  54. tmharrington Says:

    I don’t know, but will ask O’Brien.

  55. g. de la verdad Says:

    Of course they can. As is shown in the post by Dr. J from your blog 1/3/12, no matter who you ask for clarification, the answer is always “It’s somebody elses job, responsibility, fault. We didn’t know. No one told us. We didn’t get an invitation — Geesh! …and on and on.”

  56. tmharrington Says:

    Meyer called and said she was part of a team that wrote the San Diego letter and she had it in a file of “form letters” that she draws from when the need arises.

  57. tmharrington Says:

    I just spoke to Meyer and she said one reason there are more students than anticipated is because more 8th graders are moving onto ninth-grade instead of leaving. She said the district wants to comply with the law, but it just can’t predict how many students there will be.

  58. Doctor J Says:

    Double talk — balderdash ! Students have been enrolled since August ! They could have hired more teachers but they weren’t paying attention . . .as usual.

  59. g. de la verdad Says:

    I’m sure Dr. Meyer really wants to believe what staff tells her. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been around quite long enough to see the pattern.
    They could have said that they are on track to suspend 20 fewer students than has been the case in the past, and World Academy is one reason for that. They could provide actual numbers of how many El Dorado, Oak Grove eighth graders who ‘could have’ chosen to go to Concord High or YV chose instead to go to Mount “all because of the World Academy.”
    But I’d bet they don’t have numbers for things like that.
    Mayby by the time they have to go before the decision makers they’ll put some of those numbers together to punch up their case and make their plea to “forgive” them just one more time…for being asleep at the wheel.

  60. Doctor J Says:

    Gee whiz, I had not seem any Ed Join position notices for these specialized part-time jobs. Julie B-M ought to be able to verify that.

  61. tmharrington Says:

    In the past, it seems like they need to rely on Schrader to figure out this type of information, although you’re right that district staff should have the data.

  62. tmharrington Says:

    Congrats to Northgate HS teacher Rachel Hallquist and Meadow Homes Elem. teacher Theresa Mejia for attaining National Board Certification this year:

    The WCCUSD board recognizes its NCBT teachers on its agenda. I hope MDUSD will do the same. I happen to know both of these teachers and know how committed they are to their students! :)

  63. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s the official list of WCCUSD National Board Certified Teachers, which includes Beth Levine, who was a County Teacher of the Year:

  64. Doctor J Says:

    What was Lorie O’Brien’s response ?

  65. Doctor J Says:

    How embarrassing to MDUSD — only 12 National Board Certified Teachers and WCCUSD has 27 ! You can’t blame that on salary schedules !

  66. tmharrington Says:

    There is no board action summary from last night’s meeting yet:

  67. tmharrington Says:

    O’Brien wrote in an email: “The legal notices were posted in accordance with the Brown Act.”

  68. tmharrington Says:

    Speaking of salary schedules, WCCUSD teachers plan to vote on a tentative agreement Wednesday, which the board expects to approve on Thursday:

  69. Doctor J Says:

    A Public Hearing requires 10 days notice and PUBLISHED, not the 24 hours for a Special Board Meeting, posting and internet.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    O’Brien handed out to the Board a printed copy of the filled in electronic Waiver Application — did you get a copy of it ? The old printed version said this about the “Public Hearing” requirement: “A public hearing is not simply a board meeting, but a properly noticed public hearing held during a board meeting at which time the public may testify on the
    waiver proposal. Distribution of local board agenda does not constitute notice of a public hearing. Acceptable ways to advertise include: (1) print a notice that includes the time, date, location, and subject of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation;”
    Another egregious violation was allowing Lynne Dennler to miss the “public hearing” [tardy again] and then vote on the waiver.

  71. Guest Says:

    A new round in a very old fight.

  72. g. de la verdad Says:

    They didn’t even make the 24 hours!

    “The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education

    The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education will hold a PUBLIC HEARING Monday, December 16, 7:30 p.m. MDUSD Dent Center 1936 Carlotta Avenue, Concord, CA Topic: Public Hearing for Quality Investment Education Act (QEIA) Grade Level Core Class Size Averages Class Size Reduction (CSR) General Waiver Applications – Mt. Diablo High School and Oak Grove Middle School On December 16 the Board will consider approving two QEIA CSR Waivers for submission to the State Board of Education to increase the grade level core content class size averages. The public is invited to comment on this issue before the Board makes its decision.
    CCT# 5052769 Dec. 16, 2013 Appeared in: Bay Area News Group on Monday, 12/16/2013

  73. Doctor J Says:

    How deceptive ! I can only assume Lorie O’Brien was behind this ! You know they read the blogs, but when they read them on a Saturday, they can’t publish until Monday !

  74. Doctor J Says:

    How many teachers opt out from MDEA for the political dues portion to save hundreds of dollars a year ? From the article: “To actually opt out as a teacher in California, you must first request, in a specifically worded letter, to be designated as an “agency fee payer.” This means you are no longer part of the union, despite paying collective bargaining dues, and have access to the rebate. As an agency fee payer — demonized by the unions as a freeloader — you must then send annual letters to the California Teachers Association between September 1 and November 15 requesting a rebate. If the letter is stamped outside of those dates, your rebate request will be denied. ” Anyone around here ever done this ?

  75. Doctor J Says:

    Bracco — is it true he was passed over by MDUSD ? He sounds like another Jaime Escalante.

  76. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s the deal WCCUSD teachers have negotiated:

    It includes a 1 percent raise in January, a 3 percent raise in July, increased hourly rate from $31 to $32, stipends increased by 1 percent and 3 percent on the same dates, an increase of $1,000 for National Board Certification from $1,000 to $2,000, and the following health care contributions: $673/mo single party, $1,190/mo two-party, and $1,545/mo family.
    Effective Jan. 2015, new contributions will be set at 80/20, with an assumed increased cost to the district of 10 percent. However, employees hired after July 1, 2016 must attain 15 years of service to qualify for minimum CalPers Health care program.
    The cost of this contract is $1.5 million this year and $4.2 million next year.

  77. g. de la verdad Says:

    Is their Jan. 1% retroactive to last July, and if so, also covers all overtime retroactive too?

  78. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a very nice tribute by WCCUSD to retired teacher Karen Mason, for whom the English language arts building at DeAnza HS was named on Saturday:

    I will be featuring Mason as a Hometown Hero next month.

  79. Doctor J Says:

    BUT . . .WCCUSD gets more money per pupil under LCFF because it is well over the 55% threshold for ELL’s and Low Socio-economic. Has anyone taken a look at the 6 guiding questions being proposed for stakeholder involvement in the “developing, reviewing, and supporting implementation” of the LCAP ? This would be a major retooling of MDUSD and the timeline they just adopted last week.

  80. Doctor J Says:

    Lisa Boje jumps ship — did you know that “at Mount Diablo Unified, where she coached administrators and worked to turn around the district’s most underperforming schools.” ??? I would be interested to know which schools she turned around.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    TUDA scores show Dr. Nellie knows what it takes to improve academically — but does she have a team in MDUSD that can do it ? Today Principals across MDUSD are mocking the Asst Supt of SASS for wasting their time yesterday in a K-12 principals meeting — first giving them an Alphabet Soup “test” of educational acronyms and then the highlight of the meeting being food and See’s Candies. Taking all the principals away from their campuses and spending taxpayer’s money like that ? No wonder SASS had to increase the number of secretaries — without increasing the support staff at school sites. Read the EdSource article on the TUDA scores.

  82. Doctor J Says:

    Extra: Dr. Nellie likely to be recruited to San Juan Supt. opening in suburban Sacramento. 47,000 students and much lower cost of living. After the TUDA scores came out shining San Diego’s academic progress, Dr. Nellie will be in high demand.

  83. Doctor J Says:

    Extra: Dr. Nellie likely to be recruited for new Supt opening at San Juan in suburban Sacramento: 47,000 students and much lower cost of living. Her success at San Diego in raising academic scores as shown by the TUDA scores, will put her in great demand. What will keep Dr. Nellie in MDUSD ?

  84. Doctor J Says:

    Hints for Dr. Nellie: “Who you recruit and develop and retain is absolutely critical,” he said. “People make or break you in this business.” “Looking back, Jonathan Raymond said that he would have spent more time early on developing a deep leadership team.” Fensterwald’s analysis of Jonathan Raymond’s turnaround of Sacramento City Unified in 4 1/2 years. Raymond’s “Priority Schools” was successful — “Raymond hand-picked the principals for the schools, gave them full hiring authority, created positions for additional teacher coaches and site administrators, provided extra training and time for collaboration, and gave the schools more latitude to choose their curriculum. ” Along with increased attendance and declines in suspensions, API scores in four years rose significantly – 180 points in one case – in six of the seven schools.

  85. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post excerpting part of an end-of-the-year interview I did with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, which focuses on his plan to run for re-election and his plan to focus more attention on student absenteeism and career technical education:

    Clearly, disproportionality is on his radar. Is MDUSD providing the kinds of interventions he recommends?

  86. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s more on the WCCUSD teacher contract:

  87. tmharrington Says:

    Here is a guest blog post from g. expressing concerns about the Bond Oversight Committee:

  88. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a story about changes coming to the GED test in 2014 and how MDUSD’s adult ed program is preparing students:

  89. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s an interesting article about coaching of CEOs, which points out that some CEOs request coaching in areas their boards don’t think are weaknesses:

    How closely is the MDUSD board overseeing the coaching that Supt. Meyer is receiving?

  90. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a nice story about the Diablo Community Day School garden:

  91. Vindex Says:

    Yikes!!! Great catch

  92. Vindex Says:

    Yikes again. That’s pretty pitiful

  93. tmharrington Says:

    Although it’s somewhat surprising that she would reuse the previous letter practically verbatim, at least she also participated in writing the first letter, so it’s not actually plagiarism, per se. Also, I was impressed by Meyer’s responsiveness. After I sent her an email questioning the letter, she called to discuss it with me. The previous superintendent, on the other hand, had a habit of completely ignoring emails or sending very defensive responses.

  94. Vindex Says:

    Theresa. That’s wonderful about her responsiveness. That is a positive thing. I hope she learns not to just reuse letters. It smacks of laziness on a topic that required her attention. I hope she grows from this and her lack of being defensive is a great start

  95. tmharrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post featuring excerpts from an interview I did with a remarkable retired De Anza HS teacher who died on New Year’s Eve. Her commitment to her students and her community inspired those who knew her:

  96. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD should abandon “COLA” adjustments in management contracts.

  97. tmharrington Says:

    I’ve heard some retired Contra Costa County special ed teachers are upset that the new COE contract only applies to current employees, even though it’s retroactive to 2010-11. Do MDUSD’s retroactive proposals apply to people who have retired?

  98. tmharrington Says:

    I have heard from a Hidden Valley Elem. parent that no announcement was made today about an interim principal. The school’s website still lists Sandy Bruketta as principal. I have left a message for Julie Braun-Martin asking for an update.

  99. tmharrington Says:

    Five East Bay districts have each received $50,000 to help provide advanced learning opportunities in high schools:

    MDUSD is not among them. In Contra Costa County, John Swett, Liberty Union and WCCUSD are getting the money.

  100. Doctor J Says:

    Job was posted on December 5. One month has passed and not filled. No job posting for Lisa Boje’s position — retired SASS Hellena Postrk is now double dipping as a retired annuitant — that will delay hiring for about six months.

  101. Doctor J Says:

    I wonder why MDUSD missed the filing deadline of October 18 ?? “The 67 grantees may use the funds for programs that provide high school students with advanced learning opportunities in a variety of subjects. These subjects include English-language arts, mathematics, science, history and social science, foreign language, and visual performing arts, among other subjects. These programs may include Linked Learning pathways, career academies, and arts-integrated models. The programs must be rich in content, models for providing instruction based on California’s standards, and use varied instructional methods.”

  102. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s what Julie Braun-Martin wrote in an email regarding the leadership of Hidden Valley Elementary:

    “We will be using our successful retiree principals to cover Hidden Valley for the next few weeks. Sandy Brickell and Ava Suddeth will be assisting the campus.
    We have shared that information with the staff and parents.”

    However, a parent has contacted me to say that Michelle Batesole is slated to take over as interim principal in February. I have not yet received confirmation of this from the district. But, if this is true, it’s very surprising that the district would place Batesole in a leadership position at a school while she is facing allegations that she may have failed in her mandated reporting duties at Woodside Elementary when she was principal overseeing accused child molester Joseph Martin, and she is also facing allegations that she may have failed to adequately enforce the disciplinary action plan that was created for Martin after complaints about him first arose in 2006.

  103. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s what Braun-Martin wrote in an email in response to my inquiry about Batesole:

    “Michele Batesole is another substitute principal that we can use when we have a vacancy.
    It is possible that she will assist with coverage in February if the District has not yet named a principal for Hidden Valley.”

    This appears to mean Batesole could be assigned to any school with a vacancy.

  104. tmharrington Says:

    I see that the district has updated its Board of Education website with meeting dates for 2014. Interestingly, the heading says: “Agenda and MINUTES (my emphasis) for 2014”

    Does this mean the district actually plans to produce minutes for the meetings? We can only hope…

  105. Doctor J Says:

    Julie B-M has buffaloed Dr. Nellie once again. “Very Surprising” ? “successful retiree principals to cover Hidden Valley ” ?? And Julie B-M thinks Michelle Batesole is a “successful retiree principal” ? Hello Julie, how can you link “successful” with Joseph Martin — you yourself failed to supervise his actions towards teachers.

  106. Doctor J Says:

    You and Ozzie Osborn could sing “Dreamer” together !

  107. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s what one person on twitter said about Batesole’s leadership at Woodside: “Complaints about any teacher were handled the same way. Kids liked her, but resolutions never happened.”

  108. tmharrington Says:

    MDEA is asking teachers to rally on Monday, with the threat of a possible strike looming:

  109. tmharrington Says:

    This sounds familiar — no meeting minutes. In the city of Pleasant Hill, the city clerk hasn’t gotten around to doing the minutes for a whole year:

    In just two months, MDUSD may be able to make the same claim, with its last minutes produced for the March 25, 2013 meeting:

    Of course, MDUSD does produce Board Action Reports, which show votes taken. But, as I have pointed out, there is NO written record of who spoke during public comment in these documents.

    Regarding the Pleasant Hill situation, Terry Francke suggests: “It appears that this mandatory duty could be enforced by an action in Superior Court, and might also be the basis for a taxpayer’s suit against the city.”

    Perhaps taxpayers could sue MDUSD while they’re at it.

  110. Doctor J Says:

    David Durrant is right on about a lack of official minutes: “It’s not good government, it’s not open and transparent,” Councilman David Durant said before this week’s meeting, where building frustration with Lehmkuhl burst into public. “It makes the public’s job of staying informed too hard.” Hey BOARD, wake up. Where is the transparency you promised ? Where is the “open” government ? Get a bid from a professional to catch them up. What happened with the vote on the Local 1 contract ? Without minutes, the public won’t know — Board action reports are not approved by the Board.

  111. g. de la verdad Says:

    Remember 1/14/13 when new board Pres. Hansen fought like a pitbull to have committees designated either Policy, Advisory, or Laison — for the purpose of determining which committees had to follow the Brown Act, including providing timely Agendas AND Minutes? Um-huh. How’s that doing a year later? A year ago that pitbull gave us hope. Today I call it exactly what it was — a whistling into the wind publicity stunt.

    Board members were assigned their posts and duties to those committees. How many actually even attended their meetings. They think we won’t notice or point out their total derilection of duties. But they think wrong.

  112. Doctor J Says:

    Funny how Bryan Richards suddenly had a revelation from above about LCAP on Dec 18, just after the Board meetings: “Work on the LCAP template will reflect the Board’s goals. Stakeholders will participate in groups to give
    input to the LCAP advisory committee. Revenue for CVHS Charter will no longer flow through the district.
    The charter pays only a minimal amount for facility use. The county will review CV HS Charter’s LCAP.
    MDUSD reviews Eagle Peak’s LCAP. Reviewers may not have authority to reject plans for charter schools.
    Common Core operating budget is expected to be established by 1/31/14.”

  113. Doctor J Says:

    Since Bryan Richards only handed out the “First Interim” to the Board a few minutes before the Board approved it without reviewing it, it seems to raise some interesting issues. “S-1 Have any known or contingent liabilities (e.g., financial or program audits, litigation, state compliance reviews) occurred since budget adoption that may impact the budget? NO.” Why aren’t the Martin lawsuits included since there are disputes with the insurance companies on extent of coverage and defense costs, with 13 minor victims ? And I couldn’t find out where these settlements were previously budgeted for that I pointed out a month ago in my post: Expenditures Nov 2013: $549,735 & $549,735 [Total $1,099,470.] for “Deductible Liability Loss” to Caspar, Meadows & Swartz on Nov 26 [there appear to be two payments in the same amount on the same day: warrant #AP987361 (Acct: 000-2616-53-5868 and AP#987151 (Acct: 000-2616-53-5868). What case or cases are these ? $250,265.00 for “Deductible Liability Loss” to New York Life Insurance Co on Nov 26 — which case is this ? $7,000 for deductible liability loss” to Liberty Mutual Ins. on Nov 26. What case is this ? What is total cost to district to date of Martin case ?

  114. g. de la verdad Says:

    Wouldn’t you think the board would question some of these things they rubber stamp. They can always go back and look later.
    The Dec 11 Fiscal report has a payment from Measure C in the amount of $11,219.05 to Meyers Nave. What does Meyers Nave have to do with Measure C?

  115. g. de la verdad Says:

    How can MDUSD go through union contract proposals, present costs (using minimum pay as a basis) without also looking at the effect those increases will have on true long-term costs of retirement/MDV? There hasn’t been (as far as anyone can see) an Actuarial Study since 2008.
    Note the recommendations from that study!
    Bryan Richards did call for an RFP for a new study 15 months ago. So what happened to that RFP? Lost?
    Looking at the union offers on the table in 2014—where is the part about the effect of Long Term Obligations?
    On another note: I hope Nellie Meyers stands over Richards desk until a new “independent” auditor is selected and GAAP is inforced. No more “randomly selected” items based on what the district hand picked for the auditor to look at.

  116. tmharrington Says:

    Intra-district transfer deadline in MDUSD is Wednesday: Here’s Felicia Stuckey-Smith’s message to parents:

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