Controversy at Clayton Valley Charter High has prompted dozens of complaints to the Contra Costa County Office of Education, as well as several complaints to the County District Attorney’s Office. In response, both the District Attorney and County Superintendent of Schools have sent letters to the school seeking further information.
In addition, a group calling itself Stakeholders for Transparency has posted a petition on Change.org seeking the termination of the school’s Executive Director David Linzey and several teachers have voted no confidence in his leadership.
Through a Public Records Act request, I have received copies of some of the complaints sent to the County Office of Education. Everyone who writes to a public agency should be aware that your emails and letters are public records, which must be turned over to anyone who asks for them, even if you request that they be kept confidential.
I have decided not to post most of the emails and letters I received in part because they contain allegations that I cannot substantiate, or because they have asked that their information not be shared publicly. There were also some emails in favor of the Clayton Valley Charter High School Governing Board and Executive Director David Linzey, which contained allegations about the Stakeholders for Transparency group or others that I cannot substantiate.
However, I will post an email from Crystal Larke (with her permission), followed by en email I received from parent Sharon Degener about the complaints (with her permission), and an email I received from Board Chairman Ted Meriam about outreach the school is making to the staff and community in an effort to improve communications.
I am writing as a concerned present Clayton Valley Charter high school parent, community member, and taxpayer. I am requesting that in your oversight capacity pursuant to Education Code section 47607(d), you require the Clayton Valley Charter High School Board of Trustees to seat Bud Beemer as the retired teacher position, and prohibit the Clayton Valley Charter High School board from seeking any further candidate for that position.
Mr Beemer was vetted pursuant to Clayton Valley Charter High School Board bylaws and was interviewed at the board’s November meeting. Two weeks prior to the December board meeting, the other retired teacher candidate pulled out of the race, leaving Mr Beemer unopposed. Pursuant to the Clayton Valley Charter High School bylaws, the board should have seated Mr Beemer at the December board meeting.
However, on the day of the meeting, the board disseminated a letter from their attorney finding Mr. Beemer had a conflict of interest and disqualifying him from being seated on the board. Prior to the January meeting, Mr Beemer sent a letter to the board demonstrating that he, in fact, had no conflict of interest.
The failure to seat Mr. Beemer, despite his clear proof that he did not have a conflict of interest, is a material violation of the ‘standards and procedures set forth in the Charter.’ (Education Code section 47607(c)(1)(A).) It is patently obvious that the only reason Mr Beemer was disqualified from serving was because of his beliefs and statements regarding the Clayton Valley Charter High School administration. To exclude otherwise qualified candidates simply because of a dissenting viewpoint is not democracy, it is a dictatorship. And a dictatorship violates the charter’s mission ‘to unite our stakeholders, including students, teachers and staff, parents, and community members, in a common goal to diligently prepare all students for success the 21st Century.’(CVCHS Charter, p. 23)
Thank you for your time,
Here is a link to the letter from the Law Offices of Young, Minney & Corr regarding Beemer’s candidacy, which I obtained from the County Office of Education, along with Beemer’s response: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceNlNhQzkyWVJwUkU/view?usp=sharing
Here is Beemer’s response: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceeXdrX2RYQ1I3Q00/view?usp=sharing
“The petition to remove Linzey has been signed by over 500 people and there are over 700 people who have liked the (Stakeholders For Transparency) Facebook page. That is not a ‘few’ people. It may have been a few people back in May when Pat (Middendorf) was fired because many people were not aware of what was going on at the school. But as more and more people have experienced Linzey’s poor treatment, have seen the Board squash any dissenting voices, and watched as the Board completely ignored the vote of no confidence by the very teachers who started the charter, they have come to see that the leadership at Clayton Valley does not represent the interests of the stakeholders, nor does it represent the collaborative model of the original charter.
Also, the fact that the County and the DA are investigating shows that it is more than a PR problem. The county-wide agencies are not going to bother to investigate unsubstantiated complaints from a ‘few people.’
“A few references to items I mentioned today:
New Communication Channels to Share the Positive Impact of CVCHS:
o Charting the Future for Our Children – this is the Facebook group the school published in December, as a proactive channel to conduct Q&A with the public on educational issues facing our kids and the community.
o Coffee with Dave – a weekly podcast with Dave Linzey, featuring the likes of Congressman George Miller, Major David Shuey, CEO of CCSA Jed Wallace, etc.
o I Support CVCHS (Facebook Page) – while not operated by the school, a group of parents banded together to share positive news of CV in light of the negative PR.
o Increased volume of parent and community newsletters highlighting an exceptional student education.
o Dave conducting regular luncheons with teachers to discuss the issues in a more intimate setting.
Enrollment Stats for Next Year’s Freshman Class:
o Within the first four hours of opening enrollment, CVCHS received 159 applicants.
o That increased to almost 1,000 total applicants for the Freshman class.
o The school will admit about 500 freshmen, sadly turning away hundreds of other kids who desired a CVCHS education.
Executive Director Contract:
o The Board recently extended Dave’s contract to June 30, 2018 citing exceptional ED performance.
o Base comp is $204k with a 3 percent increase each year.
o Benefits include health insurance, vacation and sick leave, a $350/mo transportation allowance, and all other fringe benefits awarded to other CVCHS Administrators.
Hope this helps you.
Here is the message that the County Office of Education is sending to those who have sent in messages regarding Clayton Valley Charter High:
“Thank you for your inquiry. The Contra Costa County Office of Education is aware of recent complaints and allegations from community members regarding matters related to recent governance practices at Clayton Valley Charter High School. As the chartering authority for the Clayton Valley Charter High School, the County Office takes these concerns seriously and has begun a formal investigation into recent governance practices and operating procedures at CVCHS. Results of the investigation will be available once the investigation is concluded.”
At it’s Wednesday meeting, the board plans to interview former Contra Costa County Trustee Richard Asadoorian for the position of retired teacher. His application is on pages 62-66 of the agenda packet: http://www.claytonvalley.org/ourpages/board/meetings/—2015/02_February/Board%20Packet%202_11_15.pdf
Asadoorian, who was defeated in his run for re-election to the County Board in November, spoke in favor of the countywide Performing Arts charter that was recently denied. In his application for the Clayton Valley Charter High governing board, which is partially cut off in the copy attached to the agenda, he states: “There are detractors who are trying to tear down this structure o… (portion cut off) … they must be deterred.”
How do you think Clayton Valley Charter High School should resolve complaints about its governance and operations?