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Acalanes district “sues” residents, warning court may decide against them without their being heard

The Acalanes Union High School District has published the following legal notice in the Contra Costa Times, warning residents that the Contra Costa County Superior Court could take action that would adversely affect them, unless they respond by Aug. 18 to a complaint seeking to validate the issuance of $15 million in current interest bonds that will exceed the tax rate of $35.58 promised in the 2008 Measure E ballot language:

“NOTICE! YOU HAVE BEEN SUED. THE COURT MAY DECIDE AGAINST YOU WITHOUT YOUR BEING HEARD UNLESS YOU RESPOND BY AUGUST 18, 2014. READ INFORMATION BELOW.

AVISO! USTED HA SIDO DEMANDADO. EL TRIBUNAL PUEDE DECIDER CONTRA USTED SIN AUDIENCIA A MENOS QUE USTED REPONDA ANTES DEL 18 DE AGOSTO DE 2014. POR FAVOR LEA LA INFORMACION QUE SIGUE.

SUMMONS

NOTICE TO DEFENDANTS:

ALL PERSONS INTERESTED IN THE MATTER OF THE ISSUANCE BY ACALANES UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE ELECTION OF 2008 GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS AS AUTHORIZED BY THE NOVEMBER 4, 2008 PROPOSITION 39 BOND MEASURE ELECTION APPROVING THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH BONDS IN BALLOT MEASURE E, THE ADOPTION OF A RESOLUTION OF ISSUANCE OF GOVERNMENT CODE BONDS, THE SALE OF SUCH BONDS, AND PROCEEDINGS AND MATTERS RELATED TO THE ABOVE

YOU ARE BEING SUED BY PLAINTIFF:

ACALANES UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

TO ALL PERSONS INTERESTED IN THE MATTER, PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that you may contest the legality or validity of the matter by appearing and filing a written answer to the Complaint not later than August 18, 2014.

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 861.1, any person who contests the legality or validity of the matter will not be subject to punitive action, such as wage garnishment or seizure of real or personal property.

YOU MAY SEEK THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY IN ANY MATTER CONNECTED WITH THE COMPLAINT OR THIS SUMMONS. SUCH ATTORNEY SHOULD BE CONSULTED PROMPTLY SO THAT YOUR PLEADING MAY BE FILED OR ENTERED WITHIN THE TIME REQUIRED BY THIS SUMMONS.

The Acalanes Union High School District has brought this action for the purpose of obtaining a judgment validating documents and processes relating to the issuance of bonds of the District (“District Bonds”) in an aggregate principal amount not-to-exceed $15,000,000 at a projected ad valorem tax rate of not more than $30.00 per $100,000 in assessed value which is projected to result in an ad valorem tax rate in excess of the initial projected tax rate for the issuance as originally projected in estimates included in Ballot Measure E, the November 2008 Proposition 39 Bond Measure Election approving the issuance of such bonds; the adoption of a Resolution Of Issuance Of Government Code Bonds; the execution of a Continuing Disclosure Certificate; and, the sale of such Bonds.

The purpose of the District Bonds is to raise money for the Acalanes Union High School District to fund projects to achieve energy-savings, for new and upgraded instructional facilities, and for needed repairs to school facilities, in addition to the other needs of the District as approved by the electorate voting on Measure E (which includes, to establish a ten-year technology fund, upgrade instructional classroom technology, replace worn, aging roofs, convert obsolete facilities into additional classroom space, upgrade electrical and energy management systems to improve efficiency and repair, construct, equip or upgrade school facilities), and, to pay all necessary legal, financial and contingent costs in connection with the issuance of the District Bonds.

CASE NO.: C14-01298

THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE COURT IS:

Contra Costa County Superior Court 725 Court Street Martinez, CA 94553

THE NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY IS: Sean B. Absher Jeremiah I. Nelson Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 4200 San Francisco, CA 94104 Telephone: (415) 283-2240 Facsimile: (415) 283-2255

DATE: July 14 , 2014 Clerk, by D. WAGNER, Deputy [Insert Name of Deputy Clerk]
CCT# 5241182 July 18, 24, 31, 2014″
Appeared in: Bay Area News Group on Friday, 07/18/2014

Here are links to the documents the district filed in court.

Complaint seeking court validation to issue $15 million in bonds that will exceed tax rate promised in ballot language:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceUmI4cmJqbHlKT1k/edit?usp=sharing

Exhibit A (July 2008 Board Resolution Authorizing $93 million construction bond measure election):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceMTUyT0VEZEtpZGc/edit?usp=sharing

Exhibit B (December 2008 Board Resolution certifying results of Nov. 8, 2008 Measure E bond election):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceNGJJdHozZDNGSGs/edit?usp=sharing

Exhibit C (June 2014 Board Resolution authorizing issuance of $15 million in current interest bonds and seeking court validation for the issuance):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceM3lOOEZ2RlRRSkE/edit?usp=sharing

Here is my most recent story about the validation issue, which includes some video clips from the June meeting where the board voted 4-1 to issue the bonds and seek court validation for their decision, since it will require property owners to pay more than the tax rate their were promised in the ballot language: http://www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_26162494/Acalanes-district-seeks-to-validate-bond-issuance-exceeding-promised-tax-rate

I have received phone calls and emails from several area residents who are concerned about this issue and have indicated they may look into filing an answer to the court complaint. However, they are also concerned about the possible filing fee and are unsure how to go about filing an answer. Some believe this case could set a precedent for other districts that may also exceed tax rates promised in their ballot language.

Do you think district residents should contest the bond issuance?

Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Under: Acalanes school district, Education | 1 Comment »

How does your district’s accountability plan compare to others around the state?

Many school district officials are breathing sighs of relief this summer, after completing plans for the next three years that show how they will spend state money to benefit students.

The process was arduous and confusing to some, as they waited for details from the state Board of Education about how the plans should be created and what they should include.

Districts were supposed to ask parents, students and community members what their priorities were and to craft their plans based on the feedback they received. They were required to respond to comments and questions from the public in their final plans.

How well this process worked varied from one district to another. Some held community meetings, some created special advisory committees and a few wrote their own draft plans before ever meeting with parents or other stakeholders.

Now that the plans are done, the public can review them to determine whether they truly meet the needs of local students. Ultimately, the money is expected to improve student achievement, as well as school environments.

Local communities can hold districts accountable for following through on their promises by reading the plans on their district websites or comparing them to others on a site created by the nonprofit student advocacy group Education Trust-West in conjunction with more than 30 other organizations.

Called LCAP Watch, the site aims to compile every Local Control Accountability Plan in the state from 1,000 districts. Launched earlier this month, it can be found at http://lcapwatch.org.

You can review your district’s goals, planned actions and expenditures and find out how progress will be measured. After the next school year, districts must report how their actions have improved student outcomes, as part of requirements established under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF.

“Under LCFF, parents play an important role in deciding how their district spends state funds to serve all students, especially those who are low income, English learners, and foster youth,” said Valerie Cuevas, Interim Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, in a news release. “Every parent in California must have access to their district LCAP if LCFF is going to live up to its promise and full potential for our students.”

The site includes hundreds of LCAPs, including drafts and final versions. But Education Trust-West hopes to expand the database through crowd sourcing.

Visitors can see existing plans or add plans that have not yet been uploaded. These will be confirmed, then posted by an administrator.

The website also includes additional resources offering best practices for addressing state priority areas, including school climate and student engagement.

“We encourage parents, educators, and community stakeholders to view and share LCAPs,” said Carrie Hahnel, Director of Research and Policy Analysis at Education Trust-West. “We also urge them to engage with their local school districts to monitor and improve the plans over time as a way to ensure their schools meet the needs of all students.”

How does your plan compare to others in the state?

Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2014
Under: Education | 13 Comments »

Principal of Northgate High in Walnut Creek resigns

I have received the following message from the Northgate HS Parent Faculty Club in Walnut Creek from Principal John McMorris, announcing his resignation.

“Dear Northgate Community,

It is with great regret that I announce to you that I have resigned as principal of Northgate High School.

For six years, it has been my biggest honor and highest accomplishment to be your principal. Together, we have moved Northgate forward and created a strong, collaborative and supportive community between all the stakeholders of our school. We have transformed Northgate into a school that we can all be proud of — Bronco spirit pervades our community; test scores are up; AP classes have increased; football lights shine and a pool is being built; dedicated teachers have been empowered to create dynamic and collaborative professional learning communities; WASC commended us for our outstanding leadership and direction; our athletes perform at the highest levels; our performing arts continue to win awards and recognition; and our students are learning at high levels and are committed and involved in their school. We have a lot to be proud of.

There is still work to be done, and I am confident that the collaboration between students, teachers, staff, administrators and parents will continue to build on our past successes. I know you will continue to fight for the best education for all of the Northgate students.

I have too many people to thank to name them all here. And, frankly, every parent, student, and staff member who has walked through those doors over the last 6 years has helped make Northgate a better place, and I am forever indebted to everyone’s hard work, dedication, and support.

As I have said over the past six years, Northgate has the best students I have ever had the privilege to work with. I leave with countless memories of these amazing students. Your children give me great hope for our future!

It has been a great six years to be a Bronco!

Most sincerely,

John McMorris”

Posted on Monday, June 30th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Walnut Creek | 39 Comments »

Acalanes district residents seek transparency and accountability related to bond measure’s broken promise

In the Acalanes school district — which includes Acalanes, Campolindo, Las Lomas and Miramonte high schools — some residents are seeking greater accountability and transparency regarding bond measures and financing.

Several residents were alarmed Tuesday when they found they could not trust the 2008 Measure E ballot language promising not to raise their property tax rates for $93 million in new construction bonds.

The Acalanes board voted 4-1 that night to issue $15 million in current interest bonds authorized through Measure E. That ballot measure included language that promised tax rates would not increase above the $35.58 per $100,000 in assessed valuation property owners were paying for previous bond measure debt. The new debt pushes tax rates over that amount.

District officials said Tuesday that the tax rate promise is likely to be broken this year, regardless of whether trustees approved the new bonds. The additional $15 million just pushes it farther over the promised limit.

Since Tuesday, I have received phone calls and e-mails from community members expressing concerns about the board action, which includes a decision to seek validation in Contra Costa County Superior Court regarding the legality of issuing bonds that contradict the ballot language.

The district is relying on the county counsel’s impartial analysis of the measure, which said the tax rate projections were only estimates, “which are not binding on the district,” and could fluctuate based on a variety of factors.

Although the board has discussed the likelihood of exceeding the promised tax rate for a year-and-a-half, it hadn’t yet gotten around to officially informing property owners. So, the news appeared to blindside many residents, including Michael Cochrane, of Lafayette, who questioned the district’s reasoning when it agreed to issue $68 million in Capital Appreciation Bonds, or CABs in 2010 and 2011 under the assumption that assessed property valuation in the district would climb 5.75 percent a year.

At that time, Cochrane said in a Friday phone interview, the state was in the midst of a recession and real estate values were growing more slowly than projected.

“At best it was negligent, assuming rates were going to go up that much, and at worst it was fraudulent,” he said. “They should have known this was one of the biggest recessions of all time. People could see it.”

Cochrane said trustees and financial advisers who relied on such rosy projections should be held accountable.

Trustees Kathy Coppersmith, Tom Mulvaney and Richard Whitmore were on the board in 2010 when $30 million in CABs were issued. Trustee Susie Epstein joined the trio when $38 million in CABs were approved in 2011. Trustee Nancy Kendzierski was not on the board when either CAB was issued.

But Tuesday, Kendzierski voted with the majority to approve the $15 million in new bonds, while Mulvaney was the lone dissenter. Whitmore expressed regret that Mulvaney, whom he called the king of the bond program, did not feel comfortable approving the additional $15 million.

Mulvaney said he struggled with his vote because he had personally assured voters in 2008 that their tax rates wouldn’t go up. But meeting minutes from 2010 show Mulvaney appeared eager to believe estimates provided by Keygent financial adviser Tony Hsieh, who persuaded the board that the 5.75 percent annual growth rate was reasonable.

“Mr. Mulvaney stated that the assumptions were very conservative,” according to the March 3, 2010 meeting minutes.

Yet, Hsieh cautioned that “recent weakness in the California real estate market may have an impact on the district’s bond program.” His report also showed that assessed valuation grew only 2.37 percent the previous year.

The minutes also show the board was keenly aware of the recession.

“Coppersmith opined there was irony as they prepare to sell bonds,” which could be used for facilities, but not for salaries or education programs, according to the minutes. Earlier in the meeting, the board approved layoffs, furloughs and praised staff for making sacrifices required by deep budget cuts.

“She was hopeful that in several years the economy would change,” the 2010 minutes state.

Do you think Acalanes district residents should contest the board’s decision to issue new bonds that will exceed the promised tax rate?

Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2014
Under: Education | 6 Comments »

Mt. Diablo school board to make appointments, approve accountability plan and budget

Here is the agenda for tonight’s MDUSD board meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info
2.0 Announcements

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 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Expulsion of Student # 10-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.2 (Item #2) Expulsion of Student #11-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.3 (Item #3) Expulsion of Student #12-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.4 (Item #4) Expulsion of Student #13-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.5 (Item #5) Readmission of Student # 24-12 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.6 (Item #6) Readmission of Student #20-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.7 (Item #7) Readmission of Student #21-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.8 (Item #8) Readmission of Student #2-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.9 (Item #9) Denial of Readmission of Student # C-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.10 (Item #10) Denial of readmission of Student #8-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.11 (Item #11) Denial of Readmission of Student #19-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.12 (Item #12) 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, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
4.13 (Item #13) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of Richard Heyer v. MDUSD, Case No. MSC11-01425 Info/Action
4.14 (Item #14) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of John Does 1-15 v. MDUSD, Case Nos. MSC14-00262, MSC14-00289, MSC14-00312 Info/Action
4.15 (Item #15) Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.9(b) Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
4.16 (Item #16) Conference with Negotiators; Unrepresented Employees; Diablo Managers Association and others. Negotiators: Dr. Nellie Meyer and Larry Schoenke, Interim General Counsel Info/Action
4.17 (Item #17) Superintendent’s Evaluation Info/Action
5.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
5.1 Adjourn to Closed Session Info

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info

7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 (Item #1) Expulsion of Student # 10-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.2 (Item #2) Expulsion of Student #11-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.3 (Item #3) Expulsion of Student #12-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.4 (Item #4) Expulsion of Student #13-14 from all regular schools of Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.5 (Item #5) Readmission of Student # 24-12 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.6 (Item #6) Readmission of Student #20-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.7 (Item #7) Readmission of Student #21-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.8 (Item #8) Readmission of Student #2-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.9 (Item #9) Denial of Readmission of Student # C-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.10 (Item #10) Denial of readmission of Student #8-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.11 (Item #11) Denial of Readmission of Student #19-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.12 (Item #12) 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, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
8.13 (Item #13) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of Richard Heyer v. MDUSD, Case No. MSC11-01425 Info/Action
8.14 (Item #14) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of John Does 1-15 v. MDUSD, Case Nos. MSC14-00262, MSC14-00289, MSC14-00312 Info/Action
8.15 (Item #15) Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.9(b) Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
8.16 (Item #16) Conference with Negotiators; Unrepresented Employees; Diablo Managers Association and others. Negotiators: Dr. Nellie Meyer and Larry Schoenke, Interim General Counsel Info/Action
8.17 (Item #17) Superintendent’s Evaluation Info/Action

9.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
9.1 Recognition of 2014 High School Valedictorians and Salutatorians Info

9.2 Recognition of MDUSD’s District English Learners Advisory Council (DELAC) Info

10.0 Board Member Reports
10.1 Board Member Reports Info
11.0 Superintendent’s Report

11.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

12.0 Reports/Information
12.1 Community Advisory Committee Annual Report Info

12.2 PULLED BY STAFF: Presentation by the Pleasant Hill “Green Team” Info

13.0 Public Employee Appointment
13.1 Appointment of Principal, High School – Concord High School Action
13.2 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Vice Principal, High School – Concord High School Action
13.3 Appointment of Principal, Middle School – Riverview Middle School Action
13.4 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Principal, Middle School – Oak Grove Middle School Action
13.5 Appointment of Director, School Support and Accountability Action
13.6 Appointment of Administrator, Equity & Disproportionality Action
13.7 Revise Job Description for School Support Administrator Action
13.8 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
13.9 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
13.10 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
13.11 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
13.12 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
13.13 Appointment of Director, Facilities, Operations and Resource Conservation Action
13.14 Appointment of Interim Manager, Building & Grounds Action
13.15 PULLED BY STAFF: Classified Personnel: Appointment of Occupational Therapist Action
13.16 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Occupational Therapist Action

14.0 Consent Agenda Action
14.1 (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
14.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
14.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
14.4 (Item #4) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Request Action
14.5 (Item #5) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
14.6 (Item #6) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and Change Funding for the 2014-15 School Year Action
14.7 (Item #7) Revision of Administrative Regulation 4317.1 Action
14.8 (Item #8) Fiscal Transactions for the month of May 2014. Action
14.9 (Item #9) Request to Approve Independent Services Contract with Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Solution Tree, Inc. Action
14.10 (Item #10) Approval of School Site Comprehensive School Safety Plans for 2014-15 Action
14.11 (Item #11) Approve Increase to Contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Paradigm HealthCare Services, Inc. for the 2013-14 Fiscal Year Action
14.12 (Item #12) Increase of Independent Services Contract with Martha Pollock, LCSW at Ygnacio Valley High School. Action
14.13 (Item #13) Approve contract increase to independent service contract with Kristin Obrinsky, Physical Therapist Action
14.14 (Item #14) Adjustments to Non Public Agency Ed Support Services for the 2013-14 school year for services rendered Action
14.15 (Item #15) Approve Master Contract/Purchase Order with Non-Public Agency Ed Support Services for the 2014-15 School Year Action
14.16 (Item #16) Execution of Master Contracts/Purchase Orders for Non-Public Schools for the 2014-15 school year Action
14.17 (Item #17) Approval of Master Contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Speech Pathology Group for Speech and Language services for the 2014 Extended School Year Program and the 2014-15 school year. Action
14.18 (Item #18) Approve contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and AccentCare Home Care Services, Non Public Agency (NPA), for the 2014-2015 school year Action
14.19 (Item #19) Memorandum of Understanding between Mt. Diablo Unified School District and the Contra Costa County Probation Department Action
14.20 (Item #20) Approve Independent Service Contract between Mt. Diablo CARES After School Program and Bay Area Community Resources (BACR) Action
14.21 (Item #21) Approve Independent Service Contract between Mt. Diablo CARES After School Program and Resource Development Associates (RDA) Action
14.22 (Item #22) Renewal of Independent Service Contract with David H. Costa for Courier Service for Food Services and site pick-up to financial institution. Action
14.23 (Item #23) Resolution #13/14-54 for Authorization to Award Summer Contracts Action
14.24 (Item #24) PULLED BY STAFF: Award of RFQ #1683: Supplemental Student Transportation Services Action
14.25 (Item #25) Food and Nutrition Services Purchase order 2014-2015 Action
14.26 (Item #26) Food and Nutrition Services Purchases 2014-2015 Action
14.27 (Item #27) Revise Environmental Course of Study Action
14.28 (Item #28) Approve 2014-2015 Single Plans for Student Achievement Action
14.29 (Item #29) Approval of Final (deductive) Change Order to Taber Construction, Inc. for LLB #1644 – New Chemistry Classroom Building at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
14.30 (Item #30) Award Design Services Contract to Verde Design, Inc. for Athletic Facility Improvements at Mt. Diablo High School Action
14.31 (Item #31) Notice of Completion for Lease Leaseback #1644: New Chemistry Classroom Building at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
14.32 (Item #32) Increase to Independent Services Contract with AA Medtrans Action
14.33 (Item #33) Request to increase Purchase Order for VeCare Health Services. Action
14.34 (Item #34) Minutes for the Board of Education Special Meeting held on August 21, 2013 Action
14.35 (Item #35) Minutes for the Board of Education Special Meeting held on August 5, 2013 Action
14.36 (Item #36) Minutes for the Board of Education Special Meeting held on July 31, 2013 Action
15.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

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 Public Comment
17.1 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 presentations 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

18.0 Business/Action Items

18.1 Walnut Creek Sister City International Program Info/Action

18.2 Authorization to proceed with execution of a short-term agreement with YMCA of the Central Bay Area for temporary facilities at the Strandwood site. Info/Action

18.3 Public presentation of an additional proposal to sunshine from Teamsters Local 856. Info

18.4 Opportunity for public response to the additional proposal to sunshine from Teamsters Local 856. Action

18.5 Meeting Extension Action

18.6 Update to the Local Education Plan: Title III Action

18.7 Approve the Submission of the 2014-2015 Consolidated Application for Funding. Action

18.8 Adoption of Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Action

18.9 Public Hearing and Adoption of the 2014-2015 Budget Action

18.10 Public Hearing for Resolution 13/14-42 to Utilize Flexibility of SBX3 4 and SB70 Action

18.11 Resolution 13/14-42 to Utilize Flexibility Authorized by SBX3 4 and SB70 Action

18.12 Application for Vendorization for Mt. Diablo Adult Education, Adults with Disabilities TOPS program to the Regional Center of the East Bay. Action

18.13 PULLED BY STAFF: Request authorization to submit the 2014-2017 Technology Plan to California Department of Education Action

18.14 Addition of Monthly Board Meeting Action

18.15 Second Meeting Extension Action

18.16 Resolution No. 13/14-55 in the matter of employment of retired classified employee Lawrence M. Schoenke. Action

18.17 Legal Services Contract with Latisha McCray, Contract Attorney Action

18.18 Post Retirement Contract for Adult Education Administrator. Action

18.19 Approval of School Counselor Position and Creation of Six School Counselor Positions Info/Action

18.20 Authorize the Superintendent to Make Interim Appointments to Administrative Positions Action

18.21 Independent Services Agreement with Total School Solutions for Consulting Services Action

18.22 Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Concord for the Restoration of School Resource Officers at 3 MDUSD High Schools Action

18.23 Minutes for the Board of Education Special Meeting held on May 27, 2014 Action

18.24 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on May 28, 2014 Action

19.0 Future Agenda Items
19.1 Future Agenda Items Info

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
22.0 Reconvene Open Session
22.1 Reconvene Open Session Info”

What items interest you?

Posted on Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 77 Comments »

What will your kids learn this summer?

Now that students are on summer vacation, children’s advocates including first lady Michelle Obama are reminding parents, educators and community leaders about the need to make sure kids keep learning during breaks from school.

Kids who sit around watching TV all day or playing noneducational video games can suffer “summer learning loss,” which can put them behind their classmates when they head back to school in the fall.

To highlight quality programs and research that shows what can happen to kids who won’t use their brains over the next few months, Obama and other children’s advocates across the state and country celebrated National Summer Learning Day on Friday. Obama spoke to more than 200 youth and education leaders at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., where she also found out about some of the programs in which they were involved.

She praised summer programs that allowed kids to have fun while learning by creating a game about heroes like Jackie Robinson, cooking healthy foods, building houses and Lego cities, and dissecting things like frogs, sheep’s eyes and flowers. The best way to get a head start on fulfilling lifelong dreams to go to college and eventually land a great job, she said, is to make the most of summer.

Athletes, musicians, entertainers and teachers all spend time during the summer practicing their crafts, Obama said. Similarly, she said students should make summer plans that can help steer them toward their goals.

Here is some of Obama’s excerpted summer advice:

“ … if you want to be an engineer or a doctor, for example, think about signing up for a science camp or asking your science teacher what you can do to get ahead in physics or biology over the summer. If you want to perform on stage, maybe you can join a community theater or sign up for an acting class at your Boys and Girls Clubs in your community. If you fell behind in your classes, well, now is the time to buckle down and work to catch up over the summer.

And no matter what you do, every single one of you should read, read, read. That’s what the President tells our daughters. Libraries all across the country are hosting outstanding summer reading programs every single year. So you all have got to go in and pick up some of those new books, maybe on some subjects you don’t know much about. Because reading might be the most important thing you can do for your future. And you can never do enough of it. I know your parents tell you this, and we struggle in our own household to get our kids to turn off the screens and pick up books. But truly, reading is going to do so much for you. So pick up those books and really get into it.

But here’s the thing: Summer isn’t just about building new skills and gaining new experiences; it’s also about keeping your minds fresh. Research shows that if you just sit around and you don’t work out your brain all summer, you not only miss out on new information and skills, you can actually lose up to three months’ worth of knowledge from the previous year. That’s a lot. So in some instances, you can actually go backward.

So if you’re not picking up a book, and all you’re doing all summer long is sitting on the couch and catching up on TV shows, then I guarantee that you’re going to lose some ground next year in school. And that won’t just make a difference this fall, it can show up in the years ahead. Because once you begin applying to colleges — which all of you are going to do, right? You’re going to be competing against kids who are already making the most of their summers.

Let me just share this with you — there are kids who are really serious about getting into college, and they work on this with the help of parents and tutors, and they’re prepping for their SATs already. They’re completing phenomenal internships. They’re doing everything they can to improve their chances of getting into college. And so you don’t want to fall behind just because you took the summer off …”

How will your kids exercise their brains this summer?

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014
Under: Education, Summer Learning | No Comments »

Proposal to rename Portola Middle School generates controversy

Some El Cerrito residents are raising questions about a proposal to rename Portola Middle School in El Cerrito after Fred J. Korematsu, the late Japanese American civil rights activist.

Supporters faced off against opponents Tuesday at the second of four community meetings focused on the proposal, according to a story by correspondent Rick Radin.

Several Japanese-Americans spoke in favor of the name change at the Fairmont Elementary School meeting, while some other residents favored keeping the current name or renaming the school after El Cerrito benefactor Sundar Shadi or Spanish pioneer Don Victor Castro. The new Portola Middle School is being built on the site of the former Castro Elementary School.

District resident Ray Dennen called our newspaper to elaborate on concerns he expressed at the meeting. He questioned the neutrality of a committee evaluating the proposal, which includes Board President Charles Ramsey, a strong supporter of the name change.

Ramsey suggested the name change and the board voted to refer the proposal to a three-person committee on May 14. The board could vote on the proposal next month.

But Dennen said he and some others who think the district is moving too fast may ask the board on July 25 to postpone the decision until the fall, since many area residents are on vacation during the summer.

District spokesman Marcus Walton said Ramsey supports the proposal to educate students about standing up to injustice. But Dennen says he’s not satisfied that the district has made a compelling case to rename the school. And, if there is a community consensus to rename the school, he said the community should be able to choose between several options, instead of just one.

Portola is currently housed in portable classrooms on the site of the original 61-year-old campus, which was torn down in 2012. It is bordered by Navellier Street, Portola Drive and Moeser Lane. The new school will be located at 7125 Donal Ave. in El Cerrito.

You can weigh in at two remaining community meetings: at 7 p.m. June 26 at Harding Elementary, 7230 Fairmount Ave. in El Cerrito; and at 7 p.m. July 1 at Stege Elementary, 4949 Cypress Ave. in Richmond.

More information is available by calling 510-231-1151 or by visiting http://www.wccusd.net/Page/4506. The district has posted 26 pages of comments received so far, but omitted those without names, due to the abusive nature of some calls.

Do you think Portola MS should be renamed for Korematsu?

Correspondent Rick Radin contributed to this report.

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014
Under: Education, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek School District | 3 Comments »

Northgate High senior projects help others

After reading about group research projects presented by eighth-graders at Foothill Middle School in Walnut Creek, Northgate High parent Mark Hearn contacted me to spread the word about intensive senior projects presented each year by students at that Mt. Diablo district school.

Here is what he wrote in an e-mail:

“As a local parent of three kids all in the Mt. Diablo system, Valle Verde, Foothill and Northgate, I cannot begin to express how valuable and special the Northgate Senior project is. For the past 15 years (as I understand) Northgate seniors have been required in their second semester to participate in this event as part of their English class.

“Not only have all three of my kids participated but thousands of other students and yes, us parents get sucked into this amazing process. Each student is required to ask a question, and then over the course of the semester write a paper and develop a project around their question with a final conclusion.

These range from how to raise awareness of human sex trafficking in young girls to why do doctors only want to medicate kids with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) versus using cognitive psychology.

“I am proud that our son Kyle raised over $4,750 for the Agape International Mission, whose charter is to prevent, rescue, restore and re-integrate those affected by sex trafficking. He not only spoke at the local St. Matthew church, but also Walnut Creek Presbyterian, and was recognized at Industrial Light and Magic’s (Lucas Films) recent screening of ‘The Pink Room’ — an Emmy-nominated documentary about this horrific yet huge issue.

“Right in our own backyard on Monument Boulevard is one of the largest hubs in Northern California and California is one of the largest regions in the U.S.,” Kyle stated during his presentation to the congregation.

“I mention all of this because for the fourth year in a row I judged with other parents, businessmen and even (Walnut Creek) Councilman Bob Simmons to hear some great presentations and thought you might want to raise awareness of this great program.”

More information about Agape International and The Pink Room is at agapewebsite.org.

I have previously written about Northgate senior Anna Waletzko, whose senior project was to put on a benefit concert to raise money for the Mt. Diablo Education Foundation. She and other music advocates spoke passionately to the school board about the need to reinstate elementary music, which was cut several years ago.

Based partially on this advocacy, the school board has decided to bring back instrumental music instruction in the fifth grade.

I also attended a benefit concert put on by another senior to raise money for The Eliminate Project, sponsored by Kiwanis International, to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide by providing vaccines. The sale of concert tickets and related merchandise raised $1,806.

“That ends up being a total of 1,000 mothers and their future children that we’ve saved,” said the student, while the audience stood and cheered.

A Kiwanis rep said UNICEF started Project Eliminate in 2000, when 59 countries were facing epidemics of neonatal tetanus.

“A baby is dying every nine minutes from this dreaded disease,” the rep said. “We don’t hear about it in the United States.”

He thanked the Northgate High community for helping to solve this global problem.

“Tonight, all of you who are here and bought a ticket saved three-and-a-half or four-and-a-half lives,” he said. “And as Kiwanian, I salute all of you.”

How are students in your community making a difference?

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | No Comments »

Did your school district seek your input into its accountability plan?

WCCUSD parents hold signs asking trustees to listen to their concerns.

WCCUSD parents hold signs asking trustees to listen to their concerns.

Time is running out for local school districts to adopt new plans for the future showing the public how they will spend state money to meet student goals. School boards must adopt the plans by July 1.

This month, districts throughout the state are holding public hearings to review their draft plans before finalizing them. School districts were required to seek input from parents, staff and community members regarding their priorities for meeting the needs of students, especially low-income students, English learners and foster youth.

Now is the time to look for your districts plan on its website and to e-mail your superintendent and school board if you have questions or suggestions. You can also attend school board meetings where your plans will be discussed and speak directly to trustees about your concerns.

Every plan must address eight state priorities. These are:

1. Basic services: Including appropriately assigned and credentialed teachers, availability of appropriate instructional materials, facilities in good repair.

2. Common Core standards: Implementation for all students including English learners.

3. Parental involvement: Including seeking input and improving parent participation.

4. Student achievement: Including test scores, English learner reclassification rates to proficiency, college-readiness and Advance Placement courses taken.

5. Student engagement: Including attendance, absenteeism, dropout and graduation rates.

6. School climate: Including suspensions, expulsions and other data.

7. Broad course of study: Including student access to all required curriculum areas.

8. Course of study outcomes: Other indicators of student performance

The Education Trust-West student advocacy group has developed a Local Control and Accountability Plan Evaluation Checklist to help parents and other community members review their district’s plans to be sure they meet legal requirements and clearly communicate district goals and plans for achieving those goals.

It includes guiding questions aimed at ensuring your district is developing its plan in a transparent and coherent way.

Here are some sample questions from the checklist, broken into categories required to be included in the plans:

1: Stakeholder engagement

Legal requirements

— Is a parent advisory committee reviewing the draft plan and providing written comments? Is the superintendent answering in writing?

— Did the district consult with parents, students, teachers, principals, administrators, other school employees and local bargaining units?

Beyond minimum requirements

— Did the district explain how it planned to incorporate community input into the plan?

— Are the advisory committees comprised primarily of parents?

2: Goals and progress

Legal requirements

— Did the district specify to which student groups each goal applies (e.g. all students, English learners, etc.)

— Did the district incorporate school-specific goals from school site plans?

Beyond the minimum

— Are the goals specific enough that the district can measure progress toward achieving them?

— Does the district have a clearly stated vision for how it plans to improve student success?

3: Goals, actions and expenditures

Legal requirements

— Is it clear how much money has been budgeted for each action? Does the amount seem reasonable?

— Did the district describe how it arrived at the amount of spending it is required to use to increase and improve services to high-need students?

Beyond the minimum

— Are the proposed actions likely to help the district achieve the related goals?

— Are the listed actions or services specific enough to convey exactly what the district will be doing or implementing?

The entire checklist is available by visiting http://fairshare4kids.org/toolkit. Click on “View Checklist.”

How do you rate your district’s plan according to the check list?

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2014
Under: California, Education | 63 Comments »

MDUSD board on Wednesday to appoint new administrators, unveil Local Control Accountability Plan

Now that the Mt. Diablo school board has approved a reorganization plan presented by Superintendent Nellie Meyer, it is ready to start appointing people to fill the newly created positions. On Wednesday, the board expects to appoint two new assistant superintendents, an executive director of operations, interim director of budget and fiscal services, director of College/Career/Adult School, director of Measure C, director of School Support and Accountability, director of special projects and five school support administrators.

Here is the complete agenda for the meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the district board room:

“TYPE: Regular Board Meeting
DATE: 6/4/2014 TIME: 7:30 PM CODE:
LOCATION: School District Board Room-1936 Carlotta Drive, Co

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 Adjourn to Closed Session Info

5.0 Closed Session Agenda
5.1 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, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
5.2 Conference with Negotiators – Unrepresented Employees – Diablo Managers Association. Negotiators: Dr. Nellie Meyer and Larry Schoenke, Interim General Counsel Info/Action
5.3 Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.9(b) Significant Exposure to Litigation: 1 case Info/Action

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info

7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 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, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
8.2 Conference with Negotiators – Unrepresented Employees – Diablo Managers Association. Negotiators: Dr. Nellie Meyer and Larry Schoenke, Interim General Counsel Info/Action
8.3 Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.9(b) Significant Exposure to Litigation: 1 case Info/Action

9.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
9.1 Recognition of the Northgate High School Jazz Band Info

10.0 Board Member Reports
10.1 Board Member Reports Info

11.0 Superintendent’s Report
11.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

12.0 Reports/Information
12.1 Annual Report of the 2010 Measure C Citizens Bond Oversight Committee Info

12.2 Final Report – 2002 Measure C Citizens Bond Oversight Committee Info

13.0 Public Employee Appointment
13.1 Appointment of Assistant Superintendents (2) Action

13.2 Appointment of Executive Director, Operations Action

13.3 Appointment of Interim Director of Budget and Fiscal Services. Action

13.4 Appointment of Director of College/Career/Adult School Action

13.5 Appointment of Director, Measure C. Action

13.6 Appointment of Director, School Support and Accountability Action

13.7 Appointment of Director, Special Projects Action

13.8 Appointment of School Support Administrator, – 5 Positions Action

14.0 Consent Agenda Action
14.1 (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
14.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
14.3 (Item #3) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
14.4 (Item #4) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 School Year Action
14.5 (Item #5) Declaration of Need for Fully Qualified Educators Action
14.6 (Item #6) Approval of Variable Term Waiver for CBEST Request for 30-Day Substitute Teacher Permits for the 2014-2015 school year. Action
14.7 (Item #7) CIF North Coast Representative for MDUSD High Schools 2014-2015 Action
14.8 (Item #8) Adjustments to NPS Contracts/Purchase Orders Action
14.9 (Item #9) Approve Increase to Purchase Order for Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) to Provide Temporary One-to-One Assistants for Special Education Students during the 2013-2014 School Year Action
14.10 Item #10) Request approval of independent service contract with Laurie Gulutzan, MFT, to provide counseling services to the students at Crossroads High School Action
14.11 (Item #11) Approve contracts with DataWorks Educational Research for services provided at Bel Air Elementary during June and July 2014. Action
14.12 (Item #12) Approval of new text for Economics course, “Economics: Concepts and Choices”, Holt McDougal Action
14.13 (Item #13) Procurement of Technology upgrades, Installation and Wiring for Bel Air Elementary Action
14.14 (Item #14) Award of Bid #1676: Theatre Audio Equipment at College Park High School Action
14.15 (Item #15) Award of Bid #1677: Theatre Drapes and Curtains at College Park High School Action
14.16 (Item #16) Award of Bid #1678: Theatre Lighting Fixtures and Controls for College Park High School Action
14.17 (Item #17) Notice of Completion for Bid #1645: Sports Field Lighting at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
14.18 (Item #18) Approval of Final (deductive) Change Order to Taber Construction, Inc. for Bid 1645 – Sports Field Lighting at Ygnacio Valley High School Action
14.19 (Item #19) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on August 14, 2013 Action
14.20 (Item #20) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on August 21, 2013 Action

15.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

16.0 Public Comment
16.1 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

17.0 Communications
17.1 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

18.0 Business/Action Items
18.1 Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Info

18.2 Public Hearing on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Info

18.3 Request to Approve Tentative Agreement between Public Employees Union Local I (CST) and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD)Regarding Articles 41 and 42. Action

18.4 Salary Increase for all Classified and Certificated Employees not Represented by a Bargaining Unit Action

18.5 (Item #8) Increase purchase order with Speech Pathology Group. Action

18.6 Mt. Diablo Adult Education Memorandum of Understanding with Contra Costa Community College District. Action

18.7 Mt. Diablo Adult Education Memorandum of Understanding with Monument Impact. Action

18.8 CAC Membership Renewal Recommendation for Community Advisory Committee (CAC). Action

18.9 Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department contract with Mt. Diablo Adult Education. Action

18.10 Approval of the Course of Study for AP Physics C: Mechanics Info/Action

18.11 Public presentation of an additional proposal to sunshine from Teamsters Local 856. Info

18.12 MDUSD Graduation Requirement Board Policy & Administrative Regulation Info/Action

18.13 Meeting Extension Action

18.14 Adoption of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Annual Budget Plan and Annual Service Plan for the 2014-2015 School Year. Action

18.15 Adoption of Multimedia I Course of Study Info

18.16 Adoption of Multimedia II Course of Study Info

18.17 Adoption of Multimedia III Course of Study Info

18.18 Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Concord for the Restoration of School Resource Officers at 3 MDUSD High Schools Info

18.19 Revision of BP 5141.32 Child Health and Disability Prevention Program Info

18.20 Revision of BP 5141.31 Immunizations and AR 5141.31 Immunizations Info

18.21 2014-2015 Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) Info

18.22 Title I Schoolwide – Diablo Community Day, Sunrise Elementary, El Dorado Middle, Mt. Diablo HS, Ygnacio Valley HS, , Gateway Continuation High, Crossroads Continuation High and Olympic Continuation High. Info

18.23 Public Hearing for the Adoption of the 2014-15 Proposed Budget. Info

19.0 Future Agenda Items
19.1 Future Agenda Items Info

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 Reconvene Open Session
21.1 Reconvene Open Session Info

22.0 Adjournment
22.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

The district is currently advertising to fill the third new assistant superintendent position, along with the director of personnel and director of special ed positions. Do you believe this reorganization will improve the district?

Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 56 Comments »