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School districts seek parent input for spending plans

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 7:44 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, West Contra Costa school district.

MDUSD administrator leads parent discussion about engagement.

MDUSD administrator leads parent discussion about engagement.

Now that the state Board of Education has adopted emergency regulations and a template to help guide school districts in creating plans for spending their money, parents throughout the state should be hearing about community meetings asking for their opinions.

The Mt. Diablo and West Contra Costa districts started holding meetings in January to explain the state’s requirements for the plans, which must focus on eight priorities.

Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district, told parents during a Tuesday meeting at Ygnacio Valley High that the priorities fall into three basic categories: conditions of learning, student outcomes and engagement.

Conditions of learning include: proper teacher assignments and student access to instructional materials; implementation of the state’s new Common Core standards; and student access to a variety of courses.

Student outcomes are: pupil achievement and other measures of student success, such as reclassification of English learners as fluent.

Engagement includes: parental involvement, student engagement, and school climate indicators such as suspension and expulsion rates.

Based on these priorities, districts must decide how to divide their money in ways that will best serve their students. The money includes base grants that can be spent on districtwide needs, along with supplemental grants intended to help narrow the achievement gap for students who are English learners, low-income or foster youth.

Districts with more than 55 percent of students in these categories receive concentration grants for their additional disadvantaged students.

Mt. Diablo does not qualify for a concentration grant because its percentage of disadvantaged students is not high enough, Meyer said. However, she said some schools have a much higher percentage of disadvantaged students.

“In my humble opinion, the formula is flawed,” she said. “It should be by school.”

Parents at the meeting broke into three groups and offered suggestions for improvement in each of the three basic categories, such as ensuring high-quality staff, providing parents with more information about students’ progress and inviting families to fun activities on campus such as potlucks.

Meyer gave a similar presentation about the spending plan Wednesday to the school board. But some public speakers said the presentation included too much hard-to-understand education lingo, while leaving out information about how much money the district is receiving in base and supplemental grants.

Resident Willie Mims said the district needs to ensure that supplemental funding will help the students for whom it is intended.

The Mt. Diablo district will hold more meetings before finalizing its plan in June. Community meetings are at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Diablo View Middle School in Clayton, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Northgate High in Walnut Creek, at 6:30 p.m. March 18 at Concord High, and at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at Mt. Diablo High.

The West Contra Costa district held four community meetings in January and plans to establish a special committee comprised of parent representatives that will vote on its plan. The district has posted notes from its meetings online, including suggestions for programs or services that could help disadvantaged students.

Suggestions from El Cerrito High meeting participants included: better promotion of district resources, hiring certificated teachers for after-school programs, hiring writer coaches, reintroducing music and art, lowering class sizes at all grade levels, creating newcomer programs at schools, offering full-day kindergarten and early intervention preschool programs, eliminating classes with split grade levels, providing more alternatives to suspensions, offering writing support to English learners and additional reading and writing programs for all students, year-round schools, and more counselors.

How do you think districts should spend money earmarked for disadvantaged students?

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84 Responses to “School districts seek parent input for spending plans”

  1. g. de la verdad Says:

    Interesting that there were so many of the same recommendations from all three grade spans at WCCSD. Counselors, More counselors, Counselors at every grade level. Teacher Aides/Assistants. High School tutors for lower grades. Get parents involved, Spend money to get parents involved, Educate the parents too.
    It will be interesting to see how those guidelines/requests play out over the next few months.

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Ditto TH: “WCCUSD’s LCAP presentation is MUCH more in-depth than MDUSD’s and includes the kind of financial information Willie Mims was blasting MDUSD for omitting:
    Lets not forget that Willie Mims is an NAACP representative. His words have been echoing in my mind: the extra money should be spent on the high needs children that the LCFF provides additional funds for not for across the board raises. .

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Its a Tale of Two Cities, literally.

  4. g. de la verdad Says:

    And ‘extra’ money should not end up in the ‘litigation’ bucket either. The State will be watching. A large portion of the current Reserves is going to be eaten up by legal expenses over the next year or so.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    The Audit spells out the District’s liability limits and deductibles. The Board did not disclose any possibilities of liability over and above the insurance coverage, but I don’t believe that to be true.

  6. g. de la verdad Says:

    Ah, but they have to report those “possibilities” to the insurance JPA. If I understand it correctly, claims sent to the JPA are not reportable on the District’s budget — only the deductable costs.
    On the other hand, the “possibility” that a claim might turn out to be large enough to cause a payout by the JPA Fund must be reported at the very BEGINNING of a legal case.
    I wonder if MDUSD has advised the various JPAs? I’d be surprised if they don’t get kicked out, or have coverage denied — for their seven year COVER-UP of potential liabilities.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    It would be fascinating if the JPA’s are reporting it on their audits ?

  8. g. de la verdad Says:

    Speaking of ‘dark holes’ that just suck up everything around it, you’ll never get a look at the taxpayer monies spent to be a member of, and share in all members’ ‘excess funds’ and ‘liabilities’ of an insurance JPA.

  9. g. de la verdad Says:

    If not already done, MDUSD needs to drop its Haight, Brown & Bonesteel legal services contract–Pronto!

  10. Doctor J Says:

    This poppycock will make you sick: “Greg’s additional expertise in governance, personnel, and litigation ensures
    peace of mind for our clients.” The only experience they left out was his ability to muck up bus transportation !

  11. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD — “parent universities” under LCFF ?? Its an idea that is over 30 years successful — maybe its time to consider it ??

  12. Doctor J Says:

    Did Greg Rolen just invite himself to be a defendant in the Martin cases ? “Created and presented employment investigation protocol.” –Did that protocol result in in 13 children being molested ?

  13. g. de la verdad Says:

    It is my contention that during her tenure as interim legal counsel, Jayne Williams did an audit of, or at least portions of, outside legal counsel contracts and expenditures under those contracts, with an emphasis on case management. That audit resulted in multiple cases of what could be deemed as, at a minimum unethical, and very possibly illegal actions with regards to outside counsel’s legal standards and billing, very likely with either the full cooperation, and/or negligence-of-duty by Greg Rolen and possibly Deborah Cooksey as well. For that audit, I thank her.

    If I surmise correctly, it would appear that, with the cooperation of this sitting board, information she uncovered regarding the unethical/illegal activities and the monies spent in those unethical/illegal pursuits has been “swept under the table” and hidden from the taxpayers. The board has decided to simply let the taxpayers “eat it” and not pursue any recompense for what likely amounts to many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years.

    While it is true that it would likely cost even more to pursue – lawyers fighting lawyers – and perhaps should not be pursued, I believe the public has a right to know the findings of her audits.

    I would also suggest that it was, at a minimum, unethical for Jayne Williams to advise hiring the legal firm with which she is associated to take over the management of case(s) where she found faults in handling and/or billing.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    Local transparency is the battle cry for LCFF — but there is no way I can look at the posted financial statements to compare expenditures for the various years. Using “g”‘s example, I cannot see the amounts paid to various lawfirms, I cannot see the amounts paid for various settlements, and I cannot see the amounts paid for liability insurance and compare them year after year. So far, the battle cry is just a lone voice in the wilderness.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Speed Limit signs without cops or radar guns are useless. EdVoice charges that LCFF emergency regs violate the enacting legislation and must be redone ! Fasten your seatbelt for this roller coaster ride. Office of Administrative Law may not approve them, and require immediate correction to prevent LCFF ” billions of extra dollars meant to enhance the educations of poor and “English learner” students” to be spent on teacher raises. Watch out MDUSD Board, you could be bargaining with money you don’t have.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    CC Times posts school suspension data base. How is your school doing compared to other MDUSD schools ?

  17. 2busymom Says:

    I find it odd that Foothill Middle had 41 suspensions, and Diablo View Middle had zero.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Odd or dishonest reporting ? Ask Rose Lock why none of these schools reported any suspensions. Rose Lock signed off on the report to the CDE of ZERO suspensions for 22 schools: Diablo View Middle, Mt. Diablo Elementary, Woodside Elementary, Monte Gardens Elementary, Meadow Homes Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Nueva Vista High, Silverwood Elementary, Crossroads High, Cambridge Elementary, Ayers Elementary, Highlands Elementary, Delta View Elementary, Strandwood Elementary, Prospect High, Valhalla Elementary, Fair Oaks Elementary, Horizons Alternative, Gregory Gardens Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary, Valle Verde Elementary, Bancroft Elementary. Just another example of the dishonesty of district and school administrators. Why does Dr. Nellie put up with such dishonesty ?

  19. g. de la verdad Says:

    I was far more surprised at the high number of “out” suspensions v. zero “in” suspensions, and the outrageous numbers at all high schools except Mount. What is it? Zero tolerance or zero understanding of student differences and needs. Something plays wrong about a lot of the numbers.

  20. tmharrington Says:

    WCCUSD has also started reinvesting in elementary music education. Although one parent specifically mentioned this idea for MDUSD at the YVHS LCAP meeting, I don’t believe it was written down on the list compiled by staff.

    Students in MDUSD’s middle school instrumental music programs did not have the benefit of district-funded elementary music instruction, which some music educators fear will end up having an adverse effect on the overall quality of (and enrollment in) the district’s middle and high school music programs.

    Still, two MDUSD high schools are sending jazz bands and combos to the upcoming Campana Jazz Fest at Amador Valley HS in Pleasanton — Concord HS and Northgate HS:

  21. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, is this a case of fraudulent reporting or pure incompetence? Why did MDUSD report to the CDE that 22 schools did NOT have ANY suspensions ? Why would Rose Lock sign off on that report ?

  22. tmharrington Says:

    WCCUSD also formatted its small group discussions completely differently than MDUSD. MDUSD focused on the three areas (or buckets) of priorities, but didn’t ask any questions specifically related to disadvantaged children (as far as I could tell). WCCUSD asked these four questions:
    1. The LCFF requires that we target new resources to low income students, English language learners and foster youth. What services or programs could we provide and how could we provide them as academic support?
    2. What services or programs could we provide and how might we provide them as socio-emotional support?
    3. What other wrap around services – e.g. health, vision, attendance, parent engagement for non-English speaking parents, special services for foster youth – should we be considering?
    4. What kinds of support should we provide to our school staff, especially teachers, to improve outcomes for low income students, English language learners and foster youth?

  23. Doctor J Says:

    Hey parents — your children are being sacrificed like lambs for raises to administrators, to teachers and all unions. Just ask Dr. Nellie or Guy Moore — there will be no class size reductions in K-3 as called for in LCFF. Why ? Because neither MDEA nor the District want to negotiate the Art. 6 class sizes which exceed the class size reductions of the LCFF. The union loophole in the LCFF is that CSR does not have to be implemented if there is an agreement with the union. And don’t forget, whatever the unions negotiate, Dent and site administrators have an illegal “me too” agreement to match those union raises.

  24. g. de la verdad Says:

    I would be a lot more in favor of ‘some’ raises if I knew that MDUSD had joined in or at lease sent a letter in support of Vergara in Vergara v. CA.
    Whether a teacher lands in the top 5% of their graduating class, OR the bottom 5%, they all get to hang the SAME certificate!
    Let’s fix that and then pay our teachers what they ‘prove’ they are worth.

  25. Doctor J Says:

    Watch Jonathan Raymond testify about “Last In First Out” layoff policies. LIFO is wrong for our children but endorsed by MDEA and the CTA.

  26. tmharrington Says:

    Our database producer is trying to get answers from MDUSD about the numbers.

  27. g. de la verdad Says:

    Speaking of raises. Should McMorris be getting $7K “Principal’s” Fund pocket money from the PFC, when some schools don’t even have an active PTA or PFC, but quite likely have much better Principals making far less salary? Are other principals also getting kick-backs from PFCs? Does it buy better deals for ‘some’ kids?
    And what about that $20K cookie jar fund that he voted to give himself?

  28. Doctor J Says:

    What vote ? PFC minutes do NOT show any vote for $20,000 to be given to McM. Does McM as principal feel justified in taking the PFC money without a vote ? What keeps ringing in my ears are Cheryl Hansen’s prophetic words during the audit discussion: The fastest way to get fired as a principal is the PFC money. Did she know in advance that Guy Moore would rat out McM ? What a Brown Act blunder by not asking for public comment on the approval of the Northgate New York trip for 12 students — Guy Moore’s public comment after the vote had the board mumbling to themselves. I hope someone asks for a Brown Act “cure and correct”. Wendy L. where are you ?

  29. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, can you please post copies of the 3 documents filed by BANG on Feb 3 in MDUSD lawsuit ? Decl. of Duffy Carolan, Mem. of Points and Authorities, and Request for in Camera Review of Withheld documents. Thanks. These documents should give us a good idea of what our elected leaders are withholding and why.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    EdSource has article today on the federal investigation prompted by the MDUSD Martin case at Woodside.

  31. tmharrington Says:

    She emailed two of them, but her declaration was too large. So, I can post the other two.

  32. Doctor J Says:

    The January 15 minutes are posted — but unsigned. I believe Roberts Rules of Order require signed minutes by the Secretary in order to make them official to be placed into the Minute Book.

  33. k. saint Says:

    Hi all you College Park readers; Just want to add that the district is set to visit CP on May 20th for community input.

  34. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s another reminder about the upcoming MDUSD community LCAP meetings, along with a last-minute reminder about the Las Trampas PTA’s Legislative Advocacy Day tomorrow:

  35. Doctor J Says:

    Any word why 22 MDUSD schools show zero suspensions for 2012-2013 ?

  36. Doctor J Says:

    Another failure to report suspected child abuse — with a twist. Could this happen in MDUSD ?,0,7490494.story#axzz2sZeGC8Mk

  37. g. de la verdad Says:

    Theresa, Which district was represented at ‘your table’ at the PTA meeting today? Did they take their district rep to task over not including them in the LCAP draft plans?

  38. tmharrington Says:

    They were parents from Lafayette. It turns out the district rep was the new Lafayette superintendent! No, actually one parent said she would rather comment on something that is already drafted than try to help come up with the ideas first.
    The Lafayette superintendent was not on the panel. All the superintendents on the panel said they have begun to meet with parents. After hearing that, perhaps the Lafayette parents will start to demand more input.
    Also, the state PTA rep said if districts don’t start asking parents for input, the community may begin to think the district has something to hide.

  39. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post about a controversy brewing on the County Board of Education, where it appears that three trustees want to ask voters to convert the County Superintendent from an elected to an appointed position:

  40. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s my story on the SRV-Las Trampas PTA event today in San Ramon:

  41. g. de la verdad Says:

    Am I not seeing this correctly? 2/12 – Agenda Item 13.6 Something just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    The State has barely formulated what they “think” they are looking for with LCAP for LCFF, and MDUSD hasn’t even knocked the dust off of requirements yet, nor compiled stakeholder input, much less presented a Draft of LCAP-LCFF plans to the Board and public. We know we are getting a Base Grant, and will also have “targeted” funds for EL, Low Income, Foster Youth.

    Wednsday staff plans to do what seems to me to be jumping the gun on LCAP-LCFF. They will backdate $8million of hours/salary adjustments to 7/2013 using Restricted/Partially Restricted funds (mostly Tier 3), which seems to me will skew the books in favor of general fund operations for the 2013-14 school year.
    It also appears that MUCH of the money is being transferred to budgets that have nothing to do with EL, Low Income, Foster Youth.

    My question is: Is it proper to ‘back-date’ and rob the very kitty that currently funds EL, Low Income, Foster Youth, and leave that bucket drained before we even start formulating the base LCFF and “Target Funding” in 2014-15?

    Won’t Target Funds still be Restricted Funds?

  42. ClarenceW2 Says:

    I found the WCCUSD format odd because it included teachers and parents in small breakout groups together. I thought the feedback was supposed to be from parents and community members. Also, the questions were poorly designed. The questions were geared towards education experts, those knowledgeable of potential solutions. Much of our breakout group discussion consisted of dialogue with teachers and administrators who spoke using acronyms that the layman parent or community member was ignorant of. I think the questions should have been written from the voice of the parents of the impacted student groups, asking them such questions as “What are the obstacles you see to these children succeeding? What are your complaints? What are examples of what is not working?” and then take it from there. Let me tell you what I think is wrong, then you tell me what you are going to do about it, and I’ll tell you if I think that is an acceptable solution. It is the experts who should provide solution options as they are better informed than we are.

  43. g. de la verdad Says:

    Long Beach videotapes their meetings. Parents and teachers alike let it be known that the whole LCAP process is much like voter polls. The questions drive the answers, and the outcome will be what management wants, regardless of how many meetings are held.

  44. Doctor J Says:

    Hi Theresa, please don’t forget about posting these !

  45. Doctor J Says:

    Big 4 Administrators Choose to Terminate Contracts. Rose Lock, Julie B-M, Bryan Richards and Kerri Mills all chose not to deliver the required notice to the Superintendent by February 1, and according to their contracts, each contract will automatically terminate on June 30, 2014 say rumors, If true, the district should immediately begin posting Job Openings for the three Assistant Superintendents, and Chief Financial Officer. If any of them attempt to backdate notices and now submit them to the Superintendent, safeguards are now in place to bring such conduct to light — which would give an opportunity to terminate for cause immediately.

  46. ClarenceW2 Says:

    With the WCCUSD format, you listened to a presentation by the Superintendent, then you were sent directly to a breakout group and immediately you jumped into the 4 questions. There was no opportunity for parents to simply raise questions or to comment about the presentation or the process we were now part of. Even better if we could have raised the questions in the larger primary group. We were rushed out of there pronto! Seriously, our administrator told us “That’s all the time for question #1, next question.” Why were we hurried? Aren’t the administrators exempt employees, so the time clock was not an issue? Or were the teachers in attendance getting paid to be there? The wCCUSD says they want parent involvement, so we show up, then they tell us to hurry up! What gives, WCCUSD? Add to the fact that teachers in our discussion group chewed up much of the allotted time, how much “community” input was really received?

  47. g. de la verdad Says:

    Please, let it be true!

  48. Tk Says:

    Theresa….do you any knowledge of this? Those are four very high positions in the district to be playing around with the rules on that type of thing.
    I’m interested to see what happens here, or if this story is true.

  49. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Nellie now has a huge opportunity to “select her own staff” as former Sacramento City Supt Jonathan Raymond says is so important for a new Supt. “Looking back, Raymond said that he would have spent more time early on developing a deep leadership team. “Who you recruit and develop and retain is absolutely critical,” he said. “People make or break you in this business.” Dr. Nellie is savy and knows the Big 4 really hamper her ability to produce reform and she does not want to be plagued with the same disease that Steven Lawrence had. Perhaps more importantly, it would give Dr. Nellie the unique opportunity to restructure the top tier of administration in a district declining in enrollment, reduced the bloated administration overhead by reducing the number of Assistant Supts by one, and maybe two, and perhaps their inflated salaries. After all, FCMAT recommended that the Special Education Asst. Supt. be reduced to a “Director” [former position of Kerri Mills in her previous district]. The Board would welcome the overhead cuts for budgetary reasons. The board also has become increasingly disenchanted with Bryan Richards, and his continually late presentations, plus they lack confidence in his projections, recently hiring outside analysis of the financial situation during union contract negotiations. Richards keeps his financial cards close to the vest — opposite of what the LCAP is supposed to require.
    And TK, all you need to do is go back and read the contracts of the BIG 4 — they all have the same language about February 1.

  50. Guest Says:

    I wonder if the writing is on the wall, they know their contracts will not be renewed, and they want to avoid professional embarrassment. Re Kerry Mills, because Mt. Diablo is its own SELPA, I don’t see that position being reduced to director of special ed, and believe it will remain as an assistant superintendent position.

  51. Tk Says:

    I would be overjoyed at the idea of some new blood at our district office. I know some of these people personally, and even though I like and even respect them in different ways, they represent a culture of old school attitude. Their jobs are maintaining the “that’s just how it’s always been done here” way of the district.

    That just isn’t good enough anymore. For me, for teachers, students, and the community. Hopefully not for Dr. Nellie either.

  52. tmharrington Says:

    The WCCUSD board plans to create a “Director of Accountability/Chief Data Officer” to oversee the comprehensive data needs related to LCFF and LCAP (Item C.6):

    Who will oversee this for MDUSD?

  53. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s info from Children Now on an LCFF Twitter chat set to begin at 11 a.m.:

    “Join the Community Engagement Tweet Chat at 11 AM

    As a reminder, Children Now will be hosting a tweet chat today at 11 a.m. on local community engagement processes to implement the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This tweet chat will give an opportunity for school leaders, community organizers and other interested parties to engage each other and exchange ideas and strategies for local LCFF efforts. School district leaders and education groups from across the state will be participating to share their ideas on new and effective strategies to meet the goals of LCFF.

    You can follow @ChildrenNow or search #LCFFEngage on twitter to follow the conversation.”

  54. tmharrington Says:

    Speaking of worthwhile programs, here’s some great news from speech and debate coach Dan Leahy regarding #MDUSD and Las Lomas students who will be going to a national tournament in Chicago:

    As you may recall, Leahy spoke at the last MDUSD board meeting, saying he’d like to expand his program to all MDUSD schools.

  55. tmharrington Says:

    And here’s the latest bargaining update from MDEA, which says the district has admitted it’s financial picture has improved under the new state funding plan:

  56. g. de la verdad Says:

    In November MDEA said “A major stumbling block to settlement has been the District’s … (CFO)”

    They also said they thought the district had gone over [Richard’s] head.
    Now they speak about the “respective school finance experts”

    Are they talking about Richards? Did the board approve hiring an outside “finance expert?”

  57. Tk Says:

    The word ‘admitted’ says it all. It encompasses the general feeling that MDEA has towards the district. That they would have to ‘admit’ such a thing. Why isn’t the district happy to see that it can now afford to pay its employees the salary they deserve? That they can move towards becoming competitive again with other districts?

  58. tmharrington Says:

    And kudos to YVHS for keeping its community informed about the school through its blog:

  59. g. de la verdad Says:

    Some might argue the difference between ‘admit’ and ‘acknowledge’ is very subtle, and should be taken in context. Perhaps, just as they said, MDEA meant acknowledge, and not admit. The subtlety: Acknowledge says, “Yes, this is true.” Admit says, “I didn’t tell the truth before, but I have now.”

    The same can be said for “…move toward becoming competitive again with other districts.” Surely you don’t mean to be speaking of “salaries.”
    If so, a good look at!bottom=/_layouts/EdDataClassic/fiscal/TeacherSalary.asp?tab=0&level=06&ReportNumber=4096&County=7&fyr=1112&District=61754

    although it is a bit outdated, would require you to ‘admit’ MDEA is barking up the wrong tree. If you are talking about competitive healthcare allowances, I ‘acknowledge’ you are correct.

  60. tmharrington Says:

    I heard from Pat Middendorf that UMDAF is disbanding because the district is taking back on costs for after-school athletics (and CVCHS is taking on its share). I don’t recall this coming up at any board meetings.

  61. g. de la verdad Says:

    Which goes to my complaint that the board’s eyes glaze over during budget reports. They rubber stamp. They don’t understand enough to ask a question–because they do not study or try to understand.
    One item on the LCFF presentation by Richards, lasting just seconds, indicated CVCHS will not have their budget come through by way of the District as it has in the past. I would guess that must encompass everything. But no one asked, so it is a ‘guess.’
    Maybe someone will ask tonight for a deeper explanation. And ask about the million$ in Position Transfers — here today, gone tomorrow — must be back-filled in the future. So it should not be made to look like it’s a boon to the General Fund.
    Of course, some have the benefit of knowing what goes on in BAC meetings. The public is kept in the dark without comprehensive minutes to go by.

  62. Doctor J Says:

    Hasn’t UMDAF’s fundraising diminished the last few years ? Perhaps the district will just up the “mandatory contribution” for each student athlete ?

  63. tmharrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post with the agenda for tonight’s meeting for those who wish to comment on it:

  64. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new letter the district has sent out, encouraging parents to give input into the Local Control Accountability Plan:

  65. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    When did you get this letter? I received nothing via email or the postal service?

  66. tmharrington Says:

    It was sent out by the Northgate HS PFC, along with a letter from Principal McMorris inviting parents to attend the Northgate meeting.
    That’s interesting that YVHS didn’t send it out to parents, since parents at the first LCAP meeting at YVHS specifically suggested that emails, letters and phone calls to parents would help boost attendance and parent engagement in the LCAP meetings.

  67. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a story about the rise in charters in California, including Clayton Valley Charter HS, where students, parents and staff members said they have been able to make many positive changes now that they are free from MDUSD’s bureacracy:

  68. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Nellie is relying on Principals and staffs to send out the letters — which is why Sherry did not get it — typical difference between the administrative styles of Northgate principal and YVHS principal — remember YVHS had a serious communication break on the stadium lights issue.

  69. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    Actually Dr J we did receive a phone call from Dr Meyer about the meeting at YVHS on Feb 11. I was wondering why people had not received the email referenced here…it was a Northgate email. As an FYI there was great attendance at the second YV meeting also. I spoke with parent from Woodside, Oak Grove, and YV.

  70. Doctor J Says:

    Sherry, YVHS & its feeder pattern did a very poor job of publicity for the first meeting — hence Dr. Nellie ordered a second meeting. The letter flyer for the 2nd meeting you DID NOT receive was supposed to be sent out to all parents by the schools — obviously YVHS and its feeder pattern did a poor job again. Dr. Meyer had to resort to using the robo-call to advertise the meeting. Northgate followed the protocols and got the email letter out. Here are the instructions: “I am
    attaching in English and Spanish, a notice about the upcoming LCAP Community
    Meetings which Dr. Meyer would like included in your next school newsletter as
    an article and/or distributed to students as a flyer.” You mention parents being in attendance — did you have any plain old “community members” ? They were supposed to be invited too. One last option: “You can also provide input during our School Site Council meetings or by sending an email to” Lastly, Dr. Meyer is obviously worried that schools will not follow the instructions. Here is how she is ensuring schools follow the protocols: “Lastly,
    please send via pony or email, a copy of your newsletter in which this article
    was published or a brief note documenting when a flyer was sent home with
    students. This information will be included in documentation of our LCAP
    conversations with Mt. Diablo Unified School District stake-holders.” So we as the public will get to see what each school says they did to publicize the meetings. I guess Sherry that you didn’t even know about the first meeting.

  71. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    I did know about the first meeting as I was there also. For YVHS there is no parent newsletter. Because of our population, phone calls work best. If Michael Langley counts as a community member, then yes we did.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD’s plan to buy computers with Meas C money and use Common core testing money for administrator and teacher raises will soon be banned under emergency legislation.

  73. tmharrington Says:

    Reminder: LCAP meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Diablo View MS in Clayton:

  74. tmharrington Says:

    PH Ed. Commission meeting is next Wednesday – the same night as the next board meeting:

  75. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new guide from the CA PTA to help strengthen parent engagement in schools:

  76. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s an EdSource report on the power of parent engagement:

  77. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a lot of information about parent engagement for the LCAP on the Riverside COE website:

  78. tmharrington Says:

    I’m hearing from our Antioch reporter that teachers at Dozzier Libbey Medical High have filed a charter petition. That is the district’s star high school. CVCHS may have started a trend. It’s not only low-performing high schools that seek autonomy from district bureaucracy.

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @TH lots of resources but NO ACTION ! The “Family Engagement Framework” published by CDE in 2011 remains unread by MDUSD administrators — instead they have bonding parties, white out faces for Halloween in SASS (racism alive and well at SASS), and spend time in principal meetings guessing about little known quirks of their colleagues. Please Rose lead us in a round of Kumbaya while holding hands. Now the is visionary — unless like MDUSD you really don’t want true parental involvement telling Bryan Richards and Rose Lock where parents want to spend tax money — Not on raises for administrators !

  80. Doctor J Says:

    Gary McAdam retires ! When will Rose, Julie, Bryan, and Kerri announce theirs ? They failed to comply with the Feb 1 deadline and sought no relief for their oversight. I was thinking that if dr? Nellie doesn’t have the stomach to fire McMorris, with his fundraising abilities he might be a good fit at Crossroads and Kate Mcclatchy would really “fire up” the parents at Northgate !

  81. tmharrington Says:

    Former Woodside Elem. Principal Michelle Batesole (who is named in molestation lawsuits) is also retiring after her leave of absence:

  82. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting:

  83. tmharrington Says:

    It looks like teachers are getting closer to a strike:

  84. Doctor J Says:

    Balderdash ! If Guy Moore only has the gumption to call McMorris’ taking $40,000 a “mistake” any of us could make, Moore doesn’t have the stomach for a real strike. Moore is just posturing. Remember the gift that Gov. Arnold gave to Senate Pro temp Steinburg during budget negotiations a few years ago ? Guy could use the same. BTW Guy, how do you feel that the approved minutes for the January 29th meeting show you gave public comment BEFORE the UN trip vote ? Why haven’t you spoke up about such a blatant falsehood ? don’t you believe in accurate minutes for public meetings ? John McMorris apparently doesn’t. He is now suppressing the NHS PFC minutes.

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