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MDUSD superintendent aims to reorganize central office to improve accountability and support

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, May 16th, 2014 at 4:49 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

MDUSD Superintendent Nellie Meyer has unveiled a plan to overhaul the district office administrative chain of command.

MDUSD Superintendent Nellie Meyer has unveiled a plan to overhaul the district office administrative chain of command.

Dramatic changes are on the horizon in the Mt. Diablo school district’s central office.

Superintendent Nellie Meyer, who came to the district from San Diego last September, unveiled a reorganization plan Wednesday that would abolish the current chief financial officer position, along with three assistant superintendent positions responsible for personnel, special education and student services, and Student Achievement and School Support, known as SASS.

Her report came two days after the board voted Monday in closed session not to renew contracts for the current administrators who hold those four positions: CFO Bryan Richards and assistant superintendents Julie Braun-Martin, Kerri Mills and Rose Lock.

“It is really a product of the first six months of my going to many different schools and looking at the organization and going through and asking a lot of questions about how things work and how things are organized,” Meyer said. “What I found, which is not atypical, is that after the series of years of budget cuts, there were gaps in the support. And then also there is the age-old perception or reality of central office versus site, which occurs often in very large districts.”

Meyer’s report cited “a strong perception of a disconnect between the students and schools, and the central office referred to as ‘DENT.” The district office’s official name is the James W. Dent Education Center.

“It was unclear who really was in charge of certain departments,” Meyer said. “It was unclear where a school might find support for different things.”

Meyer’s plan includes three new assistant superintendent positions: one each for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.

“This is the structure by which we will see direct, responsive, clear lines of authority and support,” according to Meyer’s report. “All structures rely on strong staff, and the development and training of staff to these new roles will be ongoing. Staff will be required to think creatively, to problem-solve and to focus on our like mission of serving students.”

The assistant superintendents will be accountable for all academic and operational needs at the schools they oversee.

“This position is responsible for sharing and developing best practices, as well as ensuring equity of service,” Meyer’s report states. “In addition, they will be the point of contact to support the principal and community when resolving conflicts. As we continue to restore student supports, they will be responsible for a smooth implementation.”

Meyer also proposed creating two executive directors — one for operations and one for school support. Along with the general counsel, Meyer wants the executive directors and assistant superintendents to make up her “cabinet.” Now, the general counsel, chief financial officer and current assistant superintendents make up the superintendent’s council.

In the proposal, 10 administrators would report directly to Meyer: three assistant superintendents, two executive directors and five directors — one each for budget and fiscal services; human resources; Measure C bond construction projects; special projects; and college, career and adult school.

Meyer’s report calls for several of these top administrators to “be responsible for ensuring prompt, responsive, direct service” to schools and/or employees and the community.

The complete proposal is at

Although the board appeared receptive to the plan, a special education parent expressed concerns about the elimination of an assistant superintendent level administrator overseeing special education services. Under the reorganization, a director of special education would report to the executive director of instructional support.

Meyer told the parent that she believes all directors should have direct access to the superintendent. She invited those with questions or concerns to e-mail her at

The board expects to vote on the plan May 28.

Do you agree with the proposal?

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

139 Responses to “MDUSD superintendent aims to reorganize central office to improve accountability and support”

  1. g. de la verdad Says:

    All this, and still…no Public Information Office for single-point contact.

  2. g. de la verdad Says:

    Heads up Nellie Meyer: “Here’s something they’ll probably never teach you in business school: The single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all of the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.”

    (A quick quote from Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” where it was found that only 30% of all employees are engaged and inspired in their job; 20% are disengaged and actively spread discontent; the remaining 50% are “just there”.)

    Dr. Meyer, (and board) are you certain you can tell the difference?

  3. Jim Says:

    By all means, Ms. Myer, go ahead and try to tackle the persistent dysfunction at Dent with another reorg. But as a parallel Plan B, how about trying something with a greater prospect for success — something that might help our students sooner, rather than later? How about ending the district’s historical antagonism and obstructionism toward public charters as your prior district, San Diego, did? You know, so that parents here have choices beyond the one-size-fits-all MDUSD monopoly? While you are tinkering at Dent, our children aren’t getting any younger. Go ahead, take another 20, 30 years to get things just right at MDUSD, using all of the tax dollars you can collect. But please, don’t stand in the way of parents who are just trying to find a decent education for their children.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Besides Jennifer Bernard Sachs, who were the other administrators that DA Mark Peterson considered filing criminal charges against for failure to mandate report Joseph Martin ?

  5. g. de la verdad Says:

    Peterson only works “criminal liability” cases. How about changing the word ‘psychologist’ to ‘mandated reporter’ for the “civil liability” cases going to court in the near future?
    The case here is failure to protect future students…”due care of others”


    “The situation is different in civil law where psychologists might be exposed to
    potential legal action for not reporting an offence, if it can be argued that the position
    in which they are employed or the nature of their contractual arrangements with
    clients requires them to exercise a duty of care, and that failure to report an offence is
    a dereliction of that duty.

    Failure by a psychologist to report an offence that results in future offences that cause
    harm to other parties may make the psychologist liable under civil law for failure to
    exercise due care for others, as required by his or her employment or contractual
    arrangements with clients.

    Psychologists should also bear in mind that information given to them in confidence
    by clients is not privileged information, and that they may be compelled at some point in future by a court of law to reveal that information.

  6. tmharrington Says:

    It looks like the Clayton Valley Charter HS governing board meeting could attract a crowd. They’re meeting in the multiuse room instead of the tiny library:—2014/05_May/CVCHS%20Board%20Agenda%205_21_14.pdf

    As previously mentioned, there’s an ominous “public employee/discipline/release” closed session agenda item, but no hint as to whom it might reference.

    The board also expects to approve 6 percent raises for staff retroactive to July, consider adopting complaint procedures, consider increasing school capacity beginning in the fall and to unveil its LCAP.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    I wonder if Sally Smith filed her Uniform Complaint against CVCHS for illegal student fees: academic classes, sports, and cheerleading ? Were these fees Lindsey’s idea or the Board’s idea ? How will this impact Lindsey ‘s future ? The Board’s future ? 6% raises ?

  8. tmharrington Says:

    Also on Wednesday, the WCCUSD Bond Oversight Committee will meet and receive a presentation on Measure H:

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Time is running out for Dr. Nellie on LCAP approvals — if she still intends on presenting the LCAP in regular Board meetings, which there are only 3 meetings left May 28, June 4 and 25. Note that the LCAP must be presented to several “advisory committees” — ALL require Brown Act 72 hour notice posting on the district website. Ed Code 52062 requires the LCAP be presented to: (1) Parent PAC (no public notice for the May 22 meeting) ; (2) EL PAC (posted agenda for May 20 only lists information, not approval, no public comment in agenda and the LCAP is still being written); (3) public can submit written comments — must be posted first and then allow the public to comment. Next the Board holds two public hearings, and the second one where the LCAP is adopted is the same meeting as the Budget is adopted. Looks like Nellie’s procrastination will require some special meetings with only 24 hour notice — that really helps the public involvement, eh ?

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Clayton Vice Mayor has taken sides in the dispute according to his comment on Claycord.

  11. tmharrington Says:

    It sounds like there could be public comment before the 5 p.m. closed session.

  12. tmharrington Says:

    I’m surprised no one pushed the board on this at the last meeting, when many major expenditures were approved with no LCAP.
    Meyer hinted at a plan for more counselors.
    Mayo hinted that she’d like to see elementary music and library hours restored.
    But no one said anything about when the plan would actually be made public (that I can recall).

  13. Doctor J Says:

    At public comment, it’s likely a member do the public will slip the names of the three musketeers for all to know ! Hope Theresa will be there for live coverage !!

  14. Doctor J Says:

    Nellie’s plan: Make everyone happy by giving massive raises, reclassifying job descriptions for invisible promotions, restore all prior cuts, and change all the job titles with higher salaries — sheezam, there is no money left over to argue about reforms in LCAP. Last meeting, everyone was so full of themselves “restoring” cuts they didn’t wait for the final bill.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    What does “meaningful participation” by stakeholders look like ? Take a look. MDUSD missed the boat.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    Suddenly, the Parent AC agenda shows up — ONLY 15 total minutes allowed for “public comment” !!! is this a joke ?? I think Theresa must have inquired where the Agenda was and so one was hastily posted just seconds before the 72 hour limit.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Another last minute posting today! SELPA annual budget and service plan set for hearing on June 4. Notice to be posted in EVERY school 15 days prior — check your local school. ” these plans must identify expected expenditures and include a description of services, the physical location of the services, and must demonstrate that all individuals with exceptional needs have access to services and instruction appropriate to meet their needs as specified in their individualized education program (IEP).” sorry but budget and plans don’t appear to be available yet as not on MDUSD website under special education. that’s a violation. the notice posted today says they are available. Are they really ?

  18. tmharrington Says:

    An ad about this public hearing also ran in our paper today. It says: “Copies of the plan are available for inspection at the district administrative office.”
    Phone number for more info is: 682-8000 ext. 4048. It ran in Spanish also.

  19. tmharrington Says:

    You’re right that the DELAC meeting does not appear to invite any public comment or feedback on the LCAP. Instead, it merely lists an LCAP report:

    This is not what the state had in mind when it said parent advisory groups should have input into the plan.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    She’s not available. Looks like it’s only available for inspection at Dent. They don’t give you a copy or provide a link on the web .

  21. tmharrington Says:

    Your link doesn’t appear to work. Here is the link to the agenda:

    It is unfortunate that the draft LCAP is not attached to the agenda and it has not been posted on the district’s LCAP website:

    Is the public really expected to provide meaningful input without seeing the plan ahead of time?

  22. Doctor J Says:

    A good question for you to ask the Supt. The reason my link doesn’t work is because they are already on version 2 !!! The draft LCAP is still being written. Better print the agenda and see how it changes day to day.

  23. Doctor J Says:

    They just added the DELAC to the Agenda — it’s a joint meeting. they must be reading this blog and Ed C. 52062 for the first time !!! combining two groups with separate interests — at 3:00 pm. How many parents are going to be able to attend during the work days ?? this is really patronizing to the parents. I am outraged.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    Someone needs to ring the bell of Lorie O’Brien that she didn’t post the combined PAC/DELAC agenda prior to 72 hours before the meeting and it’s therefore violating the Brown Act. another example of Lorie O’Brien not following the law.

  25. tmharrington Says:

    I did print the agendas. You’re right that 3 p.m. is not a convenient meeting time for any parent who has to pick up his or her child after school. Is the district offering childcare for this meeting?

  26. tmharrington Says:

    On a more pleasant note, the county and state can be very proud of the Academic Decathlon team from Campolindo HS in Moraga, which earned a National Championship Title for Medium-Sized schools in the competition! Here’s a blog post about that accomplishment:

  27. Doctor J Says:

    Agenda version 2 was posted 3:44 pm. sorry Lorie, you’re caught red handed this time. 44 minutes late, but it’s the law. are you going to try to ignore the facts and see if you can wiggle out of this ?? remember, your job has been eliminated. Have you been promised a new one ?

  28. tmharrington Says:

    And here’s a new story about the County Superintendent of Schools race:

  29. g. de la verdad Says:

    Wait– did I miss something? We have a PAC again? Really? Did Meyer recruit or hand pick, based on her vast experience and knowledge of all possible interested parents–many of whom have been held out of inner circles by old school leadership cliques? I tried the ‘PAC May 22 Meeting Agenda’ link from the LCAP home page. It does not work.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    It got changed at 3:44 pm but Lorie forgot to cover her tracks and change it on the LCAP home page.

  31. Doctor J Says:

    BANG hearing tomorrow. Theresa can you please post the order of mandate filed May 13 and the supplemental opposition filed April 23 ?

  32. g. de la verdad Says:

    Cheryl was very critical of “too many administrators” back in 2010. How does she feel about adding 4 or 5 more in this reorganization? That means, at least, 4-5 more clerical staff and wages/benefits as well. Will there be any money left for students? Will Cody be wanting to use Measure C money to remodel at the Dent center to accomidate the growth? Will bleeding the future taxpayers dry ever end?

  33. Doctor J Says:

    Tentative ruling is posted on BANG v MDSd

  34. tmharrington Says:

    I don’t recall seeing any announcement recruiting parents for this committee. The membership of this committee should be listed on the LCAP website, but it isn’t.
    And you’re right, the link doesn’t work on the website either. I found the agenda on the home page calendar:

  35. tmharrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post about the CVCHS board meeting tomorrow and speculation that a closed session agenda item related to discipline, dismissal or release could be related to Executive Director David Linzey:

  36. Doctor J Says:

    I posted on your blog about a week or 10 days ago how the committee was being selected. I heard that Lorie O’Brien was the point person for the names and it appear she is the one who was supposed to have the notice of the meeting timely posted, which it was not.

  37. tmharrington Says:

    As you have pointed out, it’s not a true Parent Advisory Committee if the members are hand-picked. Again, this is reminding me of Steven Lawrence’s hand-picked parent committees.
    I have heard that there is a move to eliminate school site ELACs and that the DELAC is concerned about that. Fewer parent voices is the opposite of what the LCAP is supposed to be promoting.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    Administrators are unhappy with the evening meetings of advisory committees and therefore we are seeing more of these meetings scheduled during afternoons. Administrators don’t like parent/community ideas that don’t fit into what the administrators want to do. Besides administrators have generally ignored existing fed and state regs requiring parent/community advisory groups without adverse consequences. Just like Rose Lock ignoring the SIG requirements and stated SIG plans once they had the grants. Most administrators think these meetings are just to satisfy helicopter parents. Most School Site Councils are just in name only and rubber stamp what the principal wants. In the next month you will see safety plans, Single Plan for Student Achievement, all supposed to be drafted and approved with help of SSC. If a survey could be taken about 90% are bogus plans! all drafted by Principals on templates provided by Dent. How can they even complete these before the LCAP and budgets are approved ? If you can get ahold of the SSC minutes by PRA and interview those voting, most haven’t read the plans or are even given a copy of them to read prior to the meeting. So districts like MDUSD that have this bogus approval culture don’t adapt well to the LCAP regulations. So you see the LCAP PAC only allowing 15 minutes and breaking up into groups with specific and narrow subjects. Absolutely no training on how to read school budgets or knowing what is spent on what. Bryan Richards is the master of PowerPoint babble.

  39. Doctor J Says:

    Board Member Pat Middendorf published the details with serious charges against Linzey — see Claycord comment 54 — and Shoe replies at comment 77 and 95 and 100. It’s a bloodbath.

  40. Giorgio C Says:

    This Thursday, I will be at the WCCUSD district office auditing the SSC agendas (minutes at a later date) for all WCCUSD schools. There are parallels with the LCAP committee process, that you have a committee that is supposed to be representative of your schools that is responsible for drafting and implementing a plan. The LCAP is supposed to be consistent with the SPSA, so LCAP and SSC should have some continuity. I believe the WCCUSD has completely undermined the SSC process and I intend to prove this with my audit. The meetings should be held as often as necessary to meet the SSC objectives. The SSC meetings should be held at a time when parents can attend. The SSC councils should be well-promoted so recruiting is not an issue, including advertising the SSC meetings on the school website. Currently, the WCCUSD has no problem promoting PTA meetings and functions, but when it comes to the SSC, you get excuses such as “new principals are not comfortable with these meetings” or “we need someone to help with the school website.” The SSC, if done right, can be used to organize the parents in a way that the union has organized teachers. I believe administrators (including principals) know this and fear it. And let’s not forget that every SSC meeting has a public comment period that is supposed to be advertised on the agenda. Pretty scary stuff, giving people a voice. Someone should audit the MDUSD SSCs. Are agendas and minutes posted on the websites? How many meetings yearly? I’ll let you know how the WCCUSD audit goes.

  41. tmharrington Says:

    Despite the flaws you point out, WCCUSD is ahead of MDUSD in the LCAP process, having already released the draft plan and publicly recruiting and appointing members of it’s LCAP advisory committee.

  42. tmharrington Says:

    I have also received Middendorf’s letter to the Clayton Council and may post it, so readers of this blog can comment on it.

  43. tmharrington Says:

    I hear that the LCAP was merely mentioned at the DELAC meeting, but the major part of the meeting was spent discussing concerns about the elimination of funding for site ELACs. I also hear the ELAC parents may not go quietly into oblivion.

  44. Giorgio C Says:

    At the LCAP meetings, one of the biggest complaints was that documents translated in Spanish were not ready in a timely manner. The Latino population felt slighted, not fully included in the process. They are often not included in the SSC process either.

  45. Giorgio C Says:

    Some schools have compromised, holding their SSC meetings at 4:00 instead of 2:00.

  46. Giorgio C Says:

    If the WCCUSD didn’t fully include the Latino community, then what was gained from winning the race? As it is, there will be no more WCCUSD LCAP meetings until September.

  47. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    At the site council for YVHS, we spent several hours developing our vision in one meeting. Then there were two more meetings reviewing everything and making updates. Additionally we did have non site council members attend two of the meetings. The goals were also discussed at PTSA in the principals report. Believe me there was lots of animated discussion at the site council meetings. For the safety plan, we received a draft during one meeting, met to discuss and change at another, received an electronic version and then spent another meeting approving.

    By the way, the president of site council is a teacher not the president.

  48. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    During the LCAP community meetings, attendees could indicate their interest to be part of the district committee on the feedback form. I so indicated that I was interested and I was given the info for tomorrow’s meeting.

  49. Doctor J Says:

    sherry, kudos to your principal and SSC. but the question remains how do you know what to plug in for Budget and the LCAP since they haven’t been completed yet ?? and I don’t quite understand your last sentence. Obviously a typo.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    Dr. Nellie better curb that wild spending spree she is on — the bailout to the teacher’s pension plan is going to cost districts big bucks. spending will have to be curbed big time for next year.

  51. Doctor J Says:

    I hope you post the BANG supplemental opposition (April 23) and the Order of Mandate (May 13) before Pat’s letter. Hope someone is covering the hearing this morning

  52. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    Updated my last statement. We only budgeted the amount we were given and stated in some instances what was suppose to fund the item, eg equity and disproportionality. We also agreed that when we know the actual numbers we will go back and update the plan.

  53. Doctor J Says:

    Sherry, thanks for the update. Having a teacher as SSC president, when the teacher is subject to oversight by the principal, is not exactly the definition of independent. I believe administrators were told to use last years numbers knowing that they would be cut for this year. but again, I applaud the efforts of your school. Unfortunately it is the exception rather than the rule.

  54. g. de la verdad Says:

    Exactly how concernd is the DELAC? Read
    Ed Code says if they already have a committee of similar type, they do not have to create a new committee. Ergo, the handpicked DELAC displaces the required ELPAC, and gets control. The article then states that on May 22 a new PAC [hand picked behind closed doors, apparently] will begin its work providing a forum….

    Note that left hand column. Community Input “coming soon” but it is late May already, and the Draft Plan is……..?

  55. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a fun project going on at Northgate:

  56. Meg Honey Says:

    Thank you for sharing our event information, Theresa! The students have met with former faculty members (including Northgate’s first Principal, Bill Hansen), analyzed incredible primary and secondary sources, and are actively applying their historical knowledge and skills…project based learning at its best! Go Broncos!

  57. tmharrington Says:

    Sounds like Common Core!

  58. Doctor J Says:

    So what happened today at the BANG hearing ?

  59. Doctor J Says:

    @Sherry, the information you posted on Claycord about challenges to restore music to MDUSD is invaluable. would you mind reporting it here so readers might understand why sports is restored and music is not.

  60. Doctor J Says:

    Local community leaders demand specifics in LCAP instead of generalities. MDUSD should pay attention. I haven’t seen any outreach in the LCAP formation to community leaders.

  61. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    Here it is.

    For those asking about 4th&5th grade music.

    I’ve had conversations with several board members and district staff. They want to bring it back but there are challenges. In the past this was a pull out method which was disruptive to the class and to the teacher. For example, 3 trumpet players leave at 1:00 for music and miss part of the social studies lesson. When they return at 1:30, 5 clarinet players leave and miss the math lesson. On days when there was a test, the band/orchestra students couldn’t attend the class because they had to finish the test. Teachers, admin, and staff are trying to figure out how to do this.

    Also funding using local control funding formula (LCFF) to bring back cut items have to defined as how this will increase education. For high school sports, the education increase is that more students will stay in school to play sports. Also to play sports you must maintain a 2.0. This does work because I’ve seen students with a low GPA pull it up during their sport because they wanted to make sure they could play. Trying to tie elementary music to increased learning is more difficult. I know that music increases math scores but having to prove it to the state is another matter.

    Finally there is the concern of AB1575 which states parents cannot be required to pay a fee or make a purchase for a class, etc. This means that the district cannot rent the instrument to parents as they did in the past. If there are 30 students at an elementary school who want to play the saxophone, how will the district fund the instruments and the reeds for the students?

    I am confident that all parties will develop and proposal that will be successful and bring back elementary music in the next 1 -2 years.

  62. Giorgio C Says:

    Hi Sherry,
    Does your SSC alternate with parents and community members for the position of SSC chair? The principal should not be the chair, but parents should have an equal opportunity to chair these meetings. If not, then this is a problem.

  63. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    The site council elected the chair and secretary at our first meeting. The chair is a teacher and the secretary is a parent.

  64. Doctor J Says:

    As usual the CDE has some good primers for SSC’s and also preparation of the SPSA. Here is one. There are others.

  65. Giorgio C Says:

    Regarding SSC protocol, I just picked up $21.00 worth of agendas from the WCCUSD office and am reviewing them now. One BIG glaring omission on many (most?) agendas is “public comment.” So, these meetings are barely advertised, and when they are, the public has not been informed of their right to participate.

  66. Giorgio C Says:

    Hi Sherry,

    Just wondering, did your SSC end up batching the meetings for 2013/2014? I was looking at the SSC website and I only see meetings from March onward, and they were held every two weeks. Did you have meetings prior to March? I’m not putting you on the spot. I’m trying to figure out what folks are doing, what works best, and what suggestions I can make to our own school board at WCCUSD. Thanks, Sherry.

    SSC website

  67. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    Hi Giorgio,
    The website for minutes started in March. Prior to that the meeting minutes were emailed to the site council members, MDUSD district office, and copies were made available at the meeting.
    For transparency I think they should go on the website and this weekend, I’ll send my past copies of the minutes to the website administrator and get them uploaded.
    I will say our site council has alot of discussion and different opinions on topics. It’s a healthy dialogues with predominately parents, admin, and teachers but the students jump in on occasion with good ideas.

  68. Giorgio C Says:

    Thanks, Sherry. You folks are doing a good job just by having the website and also including “public input” on your agendas. That’s good stuff! I asked if the meetings were batched because your total number of meetings in March, April, and May exceeds the 2013/2014 total for some WCCUSD schools. Although the Ed Code does not spell out a requirement for number of SSC meetings, monthly seems reasonable for meeting the legally intended objectives of the SSC, with the additional benefit of promoting the SSC. Few meetings equals less awareness of these meetings and less buy-in, resulting in difficulty filling positions on future councils. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

  69. Sherry Whitmarsh Says:

    We do meet monthly at a minimum. For the Single plan and safety plan we have had input/development sessions prior to having the meeting for final review and approval.

  70. g. de la verdad Says:

    MDUSD: Snapshot of a Google search is worth a thousand words.

    Mt. Diablo Unified School District
    JAMES W DENT EDUCATION CENTER i936 Carlotta Drive. Concord, California 94519, 1358. (925) 6828000. OFFICE OF. STUDENTACHEEVEMENT
    I’m embarrassed to even share a zip code with them.

  71. g. de la verdad Says:

    Dr. Meyer, Why would we need to “drop the title ‘Interim’ from Director of Measure C,” when we have never had, nor has the board ever approved a “Director of Measure C” position, much less assign an ‘Interim’ ?
    Pedersen talked himself into the title of Project Manager of Measure C as a “contracted” employee on post-retirement. When Pedersen finally did retire, Cody not only took his job, he created a new title for himself — Interim Director.

  72. g. de la verdad Says:

    Why did the ‘Interim’ Dictator of Measure C stop posting RFQ/RFP/Bid Documents on the Measure C site? Where are the Board Reps? Why do Mayo and Lawrence shirk their duty to the taxpayers? Why do the Board President and Superintendent think this is OK?

  73. tmharrington Says:

    Special MDUSD board meeting at 6 pm. TONIGHT to discuss Northgate Unified School District plan:

  74. tmharrington Says:

    Per Joe Estrada, meeting will be livestreamed and archived at:

  75. tmharrington Says:

    Hot items on Wednesday agenda include bringing back instrumental music in fifth-grade, psych contract and anti-harassment policies:

  76. g. de la verdad Says:

    There is also a 2014-15 Budget Hearing set for 6/4. Not posted yet; no budget ready for inspection until (at least) 6/2; no LCFF Draft posted yet….

  77. Doctor J Says:

    Why are some loose lipped administrators privately bragging they have been promised some of the positions on the re-organization ? either the board knows from improper communications or the board is being duped once again. All of these jobs should be put out for interview for “all comers”.

  78. tmharrington Says:

    Linda Loza agreed to post Northgate USD powerpoint on group’s website at:

    Barbara Oaks asked Supt. Meyer to evaluate the proposal, especially the budget. Meyer agreed. Oaks and Hansen said they need more time to evaluate proposal. Lawrence said he’d like to continue looking for ways to improve education throughout the district, including in the Northgate area, even if this plan moves forward. New district could not likely be formed until 2016-17, Loza said. Dennler did not ask any questions or make any comment. Public comment included residents for and against, along with MDEA reps against.

  79. Doctor J Says:

    There is NO plan on what 5th grade music will look like — it just another “rubber stamp” for the board to approve and we will figure it out later.
    Ask the Supt – what are the specifics ? a lot to consider if there really will be a whole new slate of administrators — unless the reorganization is just a ruse to give hidden raises with new titles.

  80. g. de la verdad Says:

    “…’unless’ the reorganization is just a ruse to give hidden raises with new titles.” ??? ROFBNLVM. (Rolling on floor, but not laughing very much.)

    How many of those “new” positions do you think will start out at the starting pay grade, versus those that will start at level 5? Calling boiled cabbage a rose won’t make it smell any better — and that stink lasts a long time.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    Evidence of confusion and disarray : June 4 or 11 ? Listed as both in different places on website. Dr. Nellie does not have control over her district. Poor communication. PPPPPP. Nellie is shooting from the hip just like adding 5th grade music in with no plan. What is the cost ? she has no idea ! if you don’t know the model, how can you project the costs at $296,000 ? That only includes teacher salaries, not costs of instruments under AB 1575. Let’s do this the right way. propose the model, cost out the model, and present to the Board in one package, not a bandaid approach to Linda Mayo’s offhand comment.

  82. g. de la verdad Says:

    Kind of like the agreement with the MDSPA on board for Wed. — Says it is being presented on 5/28, but also says it was already presented and approved by the board on 3/26. Did you see that million dollar raise in two years (for less than 50 employees) fly by? Beam me up Scotty!

    “Total Cost” isn’t Total Cost, it’s the cost of the increase.

  83. Doctor J Says:

    It’s NOT a reduction in personnel — it’s 17 occupied positions for 17 occupied positions at a HIGHER cost. The $88,000 savings is for an unoccupied position that was previously filled for about $115,000. funny how the prior version of the org chart has now erased the position titles. let’s compare the actual 2012/13 salaries and costs with the projected salaries and costs with increased step raises for 2014/15. It’s a significant raise.

  84. Doctor J Says:

    Job openings just posted for principals (high, middle, elem), vice principals elementary. No schools listed. Seems very late for posting. Most other districts gave been posting. Does this mean there is an exodus ? Was the prior search for Concord High Principlal unsuccessful ?

  85. Doctor J Says:

    On for action ! Who are these unrepresented employees ?? “Recommendation: Discussion of salary increases for all Classified and Certificated Employees not Represented by a Bargaining Unit.”

  86. g. de la verdad Says:

    Look at Item 18.3 of the agenda for 5/14/14— It seems this Item was either overlooked or didn’t make it to a vote on the 14th.

  87. Doctor J Says:

    In the draft minutes for May 14 on for approval tonight at 17.13, it says May 14 item 18.3 pulled and to be brought back at a later date for information. Instead it was placed on tonight’s closed session secret agenda. The report out in open session says no action was taken only information. Sounds suspicious.

  88. g. de la verdad Says:

    Could it be the board actually asked to see “how many” and “exactly how much” instead of rubber stamping on the comment that these folks were included in previous amounts? I’d be very encouraged if I knew that was the case—otherwise, not so much. They need to tell us why it went back to closed session, if this is indeed the same issue/item.

  89. g. de la verdad Says:

    Wow, Mount students expose district’s continued failure to comply with SB1413 three years after issuance of Resolution No. 10/11-66, and the subsequent promise to correct that failure. Mayo excuse–no electrical power for water coolers—–! Can you say Measure CCCCCCC????

  90. Doctor J Says:

    I say to Linda Mayo — Balderdash !!

  91. Doctor J Says:

    Raises for the Transportation directors ? ROTFLMAO If Mount has these problems, so do most of the schools. Everyone needs to call the Supts office when there is a transportation issue with buses being late — its the only way to get it fixed !

  92. Doctor J Says:

    So what is the final cost of the “reorganization” ? It was never clearly stated — probably because it results in more raises for administrators. Hopefully, Theresa can give us a “final” number.

  93. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post listing National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners, including one from Northgate High:

  94. Doctor J Says:

    No posting of new jobs after reorg approval ? Why ? Were all of the positions pre-promised ?? Sure sounds like it.

  95. Doctor J Says:

    Is BANG suppressing posting of the 4/23 supp opposition and 5/13 order that Theresa said she would post in the public records suit against MDUSD ? It’s been a long time.

  96. Anon Says:

    Guess you don’t know everything after all. Jobs are posted. Not everything happens in a Star Trek instant.

  97. Doctor J Says:

    Hey annon, only a few jobs posted. Only ONE asst supt and it says only one job open. that is not what was approved by the Board. Description is supervises K-12 which is inconsistent with having three Asst Supt’s, one over high, one over middle and one over elementary. Lots of holes in other places. all new postings are dated today, we’ll after my posting.

  98. Giorgio C Says:

    I am almost done with my audit of WCCUSD Site Councils for the 2013/2014 school year. I am seeing many schools that have only held one or two meetings. The high seems to be 6 to 7 meetings as of last month. Our local middle school has not held any. I’d think the ACLU might be interested in this, yes?

  99. tmharrington Says:

    The first stops are the superintendent and school board. If they’re not responsive, then it makes sense to seek outside assistance.

  100. tmharrington Says:

    No, I’m sorry, I’ve been swamped with WCCUSD bond coverage.

  101. tmharrington Says:

    FYI, I have received an anonymous letter alleging low morale at PHMS (which I believe, based on the content, is Pleasant Hill MS, not Pine Hollow MS). I am not comfortable listing the allegations, since I don’t know whether or not they are true.
    The two-page letter ends by saying: “Parents, staff and community members have gone to the district in the past for help and very little, if anything, seems to have happened. Staff has been hesitant to go to district leadership in the past for fear of reprisal by the principal. Teachers are leaving, and will continue to leave…..(edited out alleged reason). The new district leadership must investigate these issues and help to get PHMS back on the right track.”

    It’s unclear whether this letter was also sent to the new district leadership. These kinds of allegations are very difficult for me to investigate. So, I urge whoever wrote this to send the letter to Superintendent Meyer and the board, who are best suited to follow up. Dr. Meyer specifically stated that she expected the reorganization – with an assistant supt. for middle schools – to be able to respond quickly to problems. But, in the meantime, Meyer is the one to go to.

  102. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s the board action summary for the May 28 MDUSD board meeting, including the restoration of 5th grade instrumental music:

  103. tmharrington Says:

    It looks like many of the holes will be filled on Wednesday, when the board expects to appoint two assistant supts and many other positions:

  104. tmharrington Says:

    The assistant supt position description doesn’t state the grade level it will oversee. The district is also seeking a director of personnel and a director of special ed:

  105. tmharrington Says:

    Speaking of special ed, I just received a phone call from a divorced father of an autistic student who said the district is refusing to pick his son at one parent’s house and drop him off at the other parent’s house, saying it can only pick up and drop off at one address. I recall this being discussed at a previous CAC meeting. I know this Dad is not alone, since there are many divorced parents of special ed children who share custody. This Dad says his son won’t be able to go to summer school if the district won’t reconsider. Is this one of the left-over cost-cutting measures instituted by Rolen? Can’t the district get into legal trouble if it refuses to provide special ed transportation that best serves the student’s needs? Does this adhere to the district’s supposed motto of putting students first? It sounds more like it’s putting the transportation dept. first.

  106. Doctor J Says:

    Hypocrisy and concealment at its worst: 13 pre-ordained appointments “candidates have been selected” ???? Selected from what ? NO advertisement of their positions. NO interviews. NO application process. several say “title change” — so why the raises in salary ?? What a total farce and it looks like the board was secretly advised of all of this without a proper Brown Act agenda.

  107. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post with the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting:

  108. tmharrington Says:

    Contrary to what the CAC blog calendar says, there is no CAC meeting tomorrow night, according to Kerri Mills’ secretary:

  109. Giorgio C Says:

    When I first raised this matter regarding SSC protocol with a district official, they told me it is left up to the individual principals, that some principals are not comfortable with the SSC process. It’s the law. I work in a highly regulated environment and sometimes it gets uncomfortable. If I don’t like it, I can find a job elsewhere. WCCUSD parents are intentionally being shut out of this very important process and Dr. Harter is the reason.

  110. tmharrington Says:

    If a principal is “uncomfortable” with the SSC process, that principal should look for a new job. The district should tell principals they must abide by SSC rules.

  111. Giorgio C Says:

    In addition to the rules, the WCCUSD principals must abide by the LAWS, which they clearly are not.
    Did you get to view the Excel spreadsheet I sent you with the WCCUSD SSC data? I really believe the data warrants a complaint to the ACLU. Also, for Hercules Middle School, not one SSC meeting was held, or at least zero agendas were provided upon my request. Yet, the SPSA document submitted March 2014, states that a properly constituted SSC exists, implying that they reviewed, revised, and approved the recently submitted SPSA document. Yet zero evidence of even one SSC meeting this school year.

  112. tmharrington Says:

    Giorgio: It definitely appears the district was hoping no one was paying attention. Hopefully, the bond election results will prompt the district to rethink its lack of transparency and accountability. Also, hopefully trustees will start asking tough questions instead of sitting by silently while the district staff stonewalls the public.

  113. billy gallagher Says:

    MY SONS SCHOOL run by DR. WALKER. FAILED TO INITIATE THE PROGRAM THAT CREATES THE SCHOOL YEARBOOK. SO, we received A MASSIVE amount of communication from the school in the form of voicemail, outlining the need to raise money in every form from book fairs, to fund raisers, to after school events, etc…


    let’s be clear, if Rose Lock’s child was in first grade at Pleasant Hill Elementary school, i bet there would have been a year book..

    The excuse given, the company they hired to do the yearbook should have told us back in March that there was no volunteers for the book, so instead, the school decided to tell us during the last week,,

    interestingly enough, i have offered to have my company Dj Boy complete the year book and pay for it,

    but Julianna has said “i just don’t know what is possible at this point”

    my response. “Julianna, we have put a man on the moon and send people to space, we have been to the bottom of the ocean, please don’t tell me you don’t know what is and is not possible about printing picture in binded-form. it’s stupid to do so.”

    WAKE UP. our schools suck because they want money more than helping kids.

  114. tmharrington Says:

    Starting tomorrow, Julie Braun-Martin is assistant superintendent for elementary education and Rose Lock is assistant superintendent for middle schools. If you believe Pleasant Hill Elementary should have communicated with you sooner about this, perhaps you may want to contact Braun-Martin.

  115. tmharrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post about Northgate HS Principal John McMorris’ resignation:

  116. tmharrington Says:

    It looks like the Acalanes district has hired Jon Campopiano away from MDUSD as an associate principal:

  117. Doctor J Says:

    Just thank the sweet Lord she didn’t get the Concord High principalship !

  118. tmharrington Says:

    Former MDHS vice principal Julie Parks, who was VP of SRVHS this past year, has been hired as principal of Miramonte HS. With no assistant supt. of high schools or director of personnel in place, MDUSD will have to work fast to bring in a principal for Northgate HS.

  119. tmharrington Says:

    Like the WCCUSD superintendent, the SRVUSD superintendent appears to post monthly updates on the district’s website:

    The MDUSD supt., on the other hand, has sent out very few messages to the community. The board held a special meeting today to discuss her evaluation: Will monthly messages to the community be required in the future? Hopefully, she’ll let us know who she appoints over the summer.

  120. Doctor J Says:

    They have been advertising for a principal “pool” since May 27. Nellie got carte Blanche to hire new administrators last Wednesday — she is undergoing a continued special evaluation at this very moment, sans Brian Lawrence.

  121. Doctor J Says:

    Julie Parks will best be remembered for her helping Lorie O’Brien in the immaculate creation of a new attendance list that saved the QEIA funds — nothing short of a rabbit out of a hat !!!

  122. tmharrington Says:

    Wasn’t she one of the “new” administrators whom McClatchy and O’Brien claimed was unfamiliar with master scheduling and QEIA requirements? It seemed that the MDHS QEIA waiver was partially based on the new formula O’Brien decided to use (which probably included the list you reference) along with the less-than-stellar argument that nobody knew what they were doing due to staff turnover in the district office (with the loss of Jen Sachs) and new admins at MDHS.

  123. tmharrington Says:

    Yes, but I would imagine that she would rely heavily on Julie Braun-Martin and Rose Lock to fill elementary and middle school vacancies. But whose expertise can she rely on to fill important high school posts? It was noted by a Concord HS parent that one vp position had been vacant for nearly a year, which hurt students, such as her son.

  124. Doctor J Says:

    McMorris’ name has been removed already from NHS website — yet McAdams name has not been deleted from CHS. Wondering whether the fact that NHS had a field audit along with 16 other schools in early May, followed by the sudden demise of CFO Bryan Richards on May 28 being escorted off Dent premises, have any relation with Big John’s lightening fast resignation, especially since he seems to,have annually discharged groups of coaches ? and don’t forget the PFC $40,000 payments for the New York boondoggle — perhaps some income tax issues ?? I’m sure speculation will abound about the truth behind the rumors.

  125. Doctor J Says:

    Noteworthy that the Northgate High principalship was not mentioned as one of the vacant administrative positions at last Wednesday’s Board meeting. Perhaps getting a dated copy of McMorris’ resignation letter is appropriate.

  126. Doctor J Says:

    It’s not money — it’s working for the same old gang. Administrator’s fleeing the sinking ship despite the 2% raise retro to last July 31, and the upcoming 4% raise in Jan 2015. Nellie had a chance to bring sweeping personnel changes at Dent — she didn’t. Willie Mims said “disappointed” ; “disconnected” ; Deborah Mason said “disservice to community” ; “wasn’t a reorganization — Nellie just change titles and moved people around, giving them raises” . Nellie then clapped for
    Deborah Mason — that’s how disconnected Nellie is — clapping for someone who just criticizes you.

  127. Doctor J Says:

    Looks like Dr. Angela Hotchkiss Walker may have violated her MDUSD contract by spreading herself too thin — but when you profess to know it all, there is no reason to doubt yourself.

  128. Proud NHS Parent Says:

    Dr. J,

    There is no scandal. There is no investigation. John McMorris was the
    best thing to happen to NHS. If you don’t think so you didn’t look at
    Northgate very closely back before 2008.

    Let me tell you what the behind the scene story really is:

    The President of MDEA comes from Northgate. He now has the ear of our
    new Superintendent and he had a posse at Northgate including members of
    his executive cabinet. The MUN money was approved by McMorris’ boss and
    voted on by the PFC. At the prompting of MDEA, Meyer, as the new
    Superintendent, asked McMorris not to continue with MUN and he agreed.
    All was fine. McMorris wasn’t approached by the Superintendent again
    until parents in the NHS community began to organize their efforts to
    create their own school district. McMorris is a casualty of this power
    play. MDEA was threatened by a potential loss of membership and the Superintendent
    thought that threatening to relocate McMorris would neutralize the community
    movement. This is pure retaliation against a community who approached
    the District in good faith. Now I guess we will have to see how well
    that plan works.

  129. Doctor J Says:

    @Proud, interesting take but several holes. Even if Steven Lawrence authorized Big John to receive the PFC money, the failure to account for it as income is serious with significant consequences. Regardless of the failure of the agenda and minutes to support your theory, it shows bad judgment by McM in taking such a large amount in a semi secret manner, especially after he spoke out against CVCHS — it gives the appearance of a payoff. Also remember that DR’s transfer to NHS was involuntary and in retaliation for his outspokenness against KMcC. DR only is getting back to Mount because he sued and embarrassed the Board twice a month in public comment. Last but not least, if Nellie threatened to transfer him, research would show her threats are hollow. McM could easily have called her bluff, and if she followed through, then submit his resignation. The abruptness of his resignation does not match rational behavior as you suggest. A year ago, Rose Lock engineered the involuntary transfer of several administrators, all of whom ended up in lower paying positions but the district was required to pay them at the higher rate of their former positions for a whole year because insufficient notice was given.

  130. Proud NHS Parent Says:

    It’s not “even if” Lawrence approved it, Lawrence did approve it. You have got to be kidding, payoff for what? (Hummm seems I have seen this idea in a private email). It is irrelevant why DR was at NHS (or is it) he is still a member of MDEA’s executive posse. You are clearly indicating that transferring employees has been a common form of retaliation in MDUSD. Well let me assure you the practice continues. This is a calculated move by the Superintendent to neutralize a community that came to her in good faith.

  131. Doctor J Says:

    Until I see the original dated approval, I can’t recognize it. SL has left a trail of unverifiable claims in his last three districts. If there are other retaliatory transfers out of NHS, now is the time to put them into the equation. The Board is on a 57 day break unless they become concerned enough to convene. But your post ignores the central question — why wouldn’t Big John hold his resignation until after his involuntary transfer ?

  132. Doctor J Says:

    @Proud, I. Guess you forgot about McMorris’ scare tactics endorsed by Steven Lawrence to oppose Clayton Valley Charter.

  133. Proud NHS Parent Says:

    JM can choose to support or not support whatever position he is compelled to believe regarding CVCHS. If you remember correctly his position was the more popular position among non CVCHS communities and he was not alone with his concerns.. At the same time do not forget that it was NHS parents who spoke out publicly in support of CVCHS. As far as I know NHS parents were the lone public non CV parent support for the charter. Your generalities are meaningless and irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  134. tmharrington Says:

    On another note, the proposed sustainable farm on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District land – which could provide produce for local schools and the food bank — has received approval to move forward:

  135. tmharrington Says:

    On another note, the proposed sustainable farm on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District land – which could provide produce for local schools and the food bank — has received approval to move forward:

  136. tmharrington Says:

    Speaking of retirements, longtime Contra Costa County Office of Ed. PIO Peggy Marshburn has retired, along with Youth Development Services Director Catherine Giacalone.

  137. Doctor J Says:

    Please don’t forget to post the April and May documents from BANG v MDUSD. Thank you.

  138. k. saint Says:

    Does anyone know if MDUSD has found a new assistant superintendent for high schools yet?

  139. Doctor J Says:

    Everyone knows. Three months after approval and constant advertising several key “reorg” spots remain unfilled including Asst. Supt’s. HS and Exec Director Curiculum. Why ? It’s MONEY !

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