Monday, December 15, 2008

Tuesday's Important MDUSD Board Meeting 12/16

From Gary McHenry's Monday Memo:

For more than a month the Board of Education has been discussing and hearing comments about and suggestions for budget reductions. At a special meeting on Tuesday, December 16, the Board may consider not only some initial recommendations for budget cuts but also a proposal for a major revenue enhancement: a parcel tax initiative to be placed on the June 2009 ballot. The meeting will be held in the Little Theater at Northgate High beginning at 7 p.m. The most up-to-date list of proposed budget reductions can be viewed on the District web site,, at two locations accessible from the home page 1) by clicking on "Board of Education" and then "Current Agenda" (see Item 5.4) or 2) by clicking on "MDUSD Budget Reductions in the box titled "Budget Reduction Info" and then on the pdf file "MDUSD Budget Reduction List."

If you are concerned with the budget cuts and how they will impact your students and your school(s) - it will be important to attend. If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming initiative to place a parcel tax on June 2009's ballot - its important to attend.

NOTE the location is different. This meeting will be held at Northgate High School's Little Theater and begins at 7pm. Don't forget to check for a live broadcast of this special board meeting if you are not able to attend.

Also note you can find the most recent list of possible cuts on the district site: For the list updated 12/16/08. You can get the agenda for the meeting at:

Please note they are voting to approve some of the reductions at this meeting. Please note item 5.4 on the agenda at the link above. They include such items as:

21. Reduce contributions to summer school.
24. Reduce budget for Student Information System by $420,00 one time
27. Eliminate one vacant occupational therapy assistant
29a. Shift the cost of the Administrative Secretary's position . . . (read more at budget)
33. Shift funding for one FTE senior account clerk . . . (read more at budget)
58. Reduce one FTE staffing assigned to Mt. Diablo High School
70. Implement a "just in time" delivery program for ordering core items (read more at budget)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Updated MDUSD Meeting List

On the right sidebar are some important dates to know. Board Meetings, Advisory Council Meetings, Budget Committee Meetings and Public Hearings - all coming in the next month.

The December 9th Board Meeting is the meeting that starts our new board and when Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh begin their new terms as MDUSD Board Members.

You may have also read in the Times that the NAACP plans to attend this December 9th meeting to make their position known on some of the proposed cuts, as some of the people occupying the top level positions on the lists are African American.

I also noticed that Sue Berg's position is on the list (she's the Senior Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Communications Specialist for the District). There are many positions on these lists. There are many programs too. How did race even become an issue? The Times says:

CONCORD — The addition of three black Mt. Diablo school district administrators to a list of cuts trustees are considering as they try to reduce their 2009-10 budget by $6.6 million has sparked racial controversy in the community.

Several speakers at the school board's Tuesday night meeting questioned the inclusion of Associate Superintendent Alan Young, Assistant Superintendent Mildred Browne and Director of Classified Personnel Dorothy Eppstein on the list of cuts, noting that the administrators are all African American. Joseph Adebayo, president-elect of the East Bay chapter of the NAACP, said his organization plans to announce a position about the proposed cuts at the board's Dec. 9 meeting.

Does anyone know the opinion of the three mentioned in the Times article clip above?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Devastating NEW Budget Cuts proposed to the MDUSD

Things aren't getting any better on the budget front for MDUSD and for school districts around the state. Check out the latest memo from Superintendent McHenry. Please keep your ears open for community meetings near you - they are coming. We all need to pull together and work for the good of this district, and of greatest importance, our children, their education and teachers.

I'm thankful we have a new board majority as we move into this unsure time, and next round of budget cuts. We will likely have to band together to demand our Sacramento representatives stop the cuts to our schools. Doesn't seem likely we can withstand these kinds of cuts without devastating wide-felt damage

The district is near crisis with these cuts. Take note, this is now MORE than the original 6.6 million projected - it is now closer to 17 million dollars! These next cuts could devastate every part of our district. Read on:

I can not find this memo posted on the district website yet, if you want a copy of the email, please email: and I'll forward you a copy of the above.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council Meeting tonight (Weds)

First, a big congratulations are in order for Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for their huge wins for MDUSD School board.

Secondly, in the "business as usual" category, there is a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting tonight at the Dent Center 7-9pm. Remember, even if you're not the "assigned rep" for your school site, you are welcome at these meetings.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Final surge of support on Monday and Tuesday

The Eberhart /Whitmarsh campaign as put out the following. Will we see you there? See for more.

Dear Friends,

Its crunch time in the MDUSD School Board election and we need your help. The opportunity for fundamental change is right in front of us. It's up to each of us to help in the effort to fix our schools. I know that everyone's life is extremely busy, but what is more important than our children and their future? Many of you have done much in the effort to elect Sherry Whitmarsh and myself. I am personally asking that you put in just a little more.

The following is part of our final strategy for election victory:

· Contact everyone that you know who resides in the district and ask them to vote for Sherry Whitmarsh and Gary Eberhart on November 4th. Even if you have contacted them before, please do it one last time. You can do this easily via e-mail. Your friends who have not been following the School Board race will appreciate that you have been and that you can provide them with educated advice on who to vote for.

· Join our campaign for a rally on the corner of Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove Road from 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM on Monday November 3rd. The rallies that we've had so far have been very effective in showing the voting public that Sherry and Gary are the best choice for kids.

· Pick a friend and a corner and hold up an Eberhart/Whitmarsh sign in the morning or afternoon on Tuesday November 4th. The morning times are 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM and the afternoon times are 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. We will try to get many of our busiest intersections covered. Just think; our signs and our enthusiastic supporters might be the last things that voters see just before they vote.

The following schools are actual poll location sites (see below). If you can organize a group of parents/teachers to stand at least 100 feet away from the polling area you may hold signs. You can do this before school or after school! It would make a HUGE impact to voters coming to vote. If they see signs that say Teachers/Parents Support Eberhart and Whitmarsh! Let us know if you need a sign or you can make your own.

These are the last opportunities to try to bring about real change in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in the 2008 election. The race is very close and we need to make sure that we have a strong finish. No one will be happier for this race to be over than Sherry and me and our families, but we can't relax now. The last few days may be the difference between defeat and victory. Please join us as we sprint across the finish line.

Please e-mail us back and let us know what you can do to help. Two hours one on each day that is all we are asking. If you would like to do the Tuesday intersection sign holding, please let us know which time(s) that you can be there and which intersection you will be at.

Thanks for your continued support.
Gary Eberhart
List of sites:
Clayton- Dana Hills Cabana Clubhouse, Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton Endeavor Hall

Concord/PH/Walnut Creek locations: Silverwood, Sun Terrace, Wren Ave, Westwood, Ayers,. Mountain View, Woodside, Oak Grove Middle,
Fair Oaks, Crystyl Ranch Clubhouse, Willow Pass Community Center, Hope Center-Corner of Taylor/Morello, any other main intersection.

Bay Point-Rio Vista and Delta View

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MDUSD Budget Reduction Meetings **IMPORTANT**

IMPORANT NOTICE. This was just received tonight from the Superintendent's office, you can also access information about the reductions online by CLICKING HERE.

This is IMPORTANT, these meetings are taking place NEXT WEEK, November 5th and 6th at various locations around the district.

Please come and help shape what will be on the chopping block in this next round of substantial budget cuts. 6.6 million needs to be cut and YOU DO HAVE A VOICE. This is your time to make your opinions known. There is also Parent Advisory Council coming up next Weds evening (7pm) November 5th at the Dent Center, all are welcome at those meetings.

For further clarity of the flyer, the meetings for parents, community and teachers thru-out our district are as follows:

Wednesday, November 5th, 3:30pm
Foothill Middle School Multi-Use Room w/ Asst. Supt. Rose Lock
Mt. Diablo High Library w/ Supt. Gary McHenry
Ygnacio Valley High Library w/ Asst. Supt. Gail Iserman

Thursday, November 6th, 3:30pm
Clayton Valley High Library w/ General Counsel Greg Rolen
College Park Library w/ Supt. Gary McHenry
Concord High Library w/ Assoc. Supt. Alan Young
Riverview Middle Tech Lab w/ Director Margot Tobias

I have this as a PDF if anyone wants a copy, please email:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Success! Supporters flood to the streets for Gary and Sherry!

Being at Ygnacio and Oak Grove was exciting today! We had an endless stream of teachers, parents, kids and community! We had people stopping to talk, cars honking and lots of hollering support out their windows (or convertibles!) We even had guest appearances by Board Members Paul Strange, Gary Eberhart and candidate, Sherry Whitmarsh.

Personally, I've never seen such a show of support for school board candidates -ever. It shows how important we all know this election is!

Signs we saw included:

Save our Schools!
Save our Teachers!
Save our District!
Elect Gary and Sherry!
Gary and Sherry for Change!
Honk for Change!
No more IRS FINES!

We even had some signs written in spanish - Por Favor!

It was impossible to get a photo of the huge line of people stretching more than a couple of blocks and on each corner of Oak Grove and Ygnacio - but it was impressive!

Hope you were there and remember to VOTE on November 4th for Gary and Sherry!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The time is NOW! The surge of support is here Tuesday!

For candidate information:
For a parent's "guest editorial" in the Times:
"The Times Got it Half Right . . . "

For a flyer to download and distribute about this event: CLICK HERE

We need 300 people on October 28 for one of TWO shifts:

(2) 150 people from 4-5pm
(3) 150 people from 5-6 pm

We will be covering one of THREE areas:
(1) Corner of Ygnacio and Oak Grove
(2) Corner of Clayton Rd and Treat/Denkinger
(3) Willow Pass across the bridge by El Torito leading to Sun Valley Mall (near Elephant Bar)

Bring a sign or we will have BLANK SIGNS and MARKERS. Just write a message like the ones below and hold them for cars to see. If we LINE UP THIRTY OR FORTY IN A LINE cars take a long time to pass – IT LOOKS IMPRESSIVE, far better than a cluster of people.

If you WANT CHANGE, then please get involved THIS ONE TIME! The time is NOW!


PLEASE COMMIT to one or more of those times.
CONFIRM by emailing with a TIME(S) and LOCATION CHOICE that you will do. If you have friends to join in, please include their name as well. If they do not want to give their name, just tell me HOW MANY and you be their contact.

Download a flyer to distribute, and join your fellow parents, teachers and community members to inform the public now in these final days before the election that the situation is dire and requires their VOTE for Gary and Sherry!

Elementary Students: "The BEE" just for you!

Wanted to pass on the news of this fun event in Pleasant Hill for K-5 students:

Hello MDUSD Community,

The Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education (FPHE) cordially invites you to attend our debut event: The Bee, a spelling bee for grades K-5. The Bee is a fun, educational event to promote education and introduce FPHE to the community.

When:Saturday, November 15, 2008, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm:Grades K-1 will perform 11:00-12:30Grades 2-3 will perform 1:00-2:30Grades 4-5 will perform 3:00-4:30

Where:Pleasant Hill City Hall, Council Chambers100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill

Who:The Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education is a volunteer-led, non-profit organization committed to providing financial support to all 11 public schools in Pleasant Hill, K-12. The Bee is co-sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission.

How:Registration is $5 per participant.To register call 676-8921 or visit the FPHE website,

All participants will receive a gift bag, a certificate of participation, and a free raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase. Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners of each group (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5).

All proceeds will go to FPHE to benefit Pleasant Hill public schools, K-12.

Please forward this email to people interested in The Bee or who would like to be included on our FPHE email distribution list. FPHE will not give out email addresses.

We look forward to seeing you on November 15th.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Surge of Support for Eberhart and Whitmarsh

For candidate information:

For a flyer to download and distribute about this event: CLICK HERE

We need 300 people on October 28 for one of THREE shifts:

(1) 100 people from 3-4pm
(2) 100 people from 4-5pm
(3) 100 people from 5-6 pm

We will be covering one of THREE areas:

(1) Corner of Ygnacio and Oak Grove
(2) Corner of Clayton Rd and Treat/Denkinger
(3) Willow Pass across the bridge by El Torito leading to Sun Valley Mall

We will have BLANK SIGNS and MARKERS. Just write a message like the ones above and hold them for cars to see. If we LINE UP THIRTY OR FORTY IN A LINE cars take a long time to pass – IT LOOKS IMPRESSIVE, far better than a cluster of people.

If you WANT CHANGE, then please get involved THIS ONE TIME! The time is NOW!


PLEASE COMMIT to one or more of those times.

CONFIRM by emailing with a TIME(S) and LOCATION CHOICE that you will do. If you have friends to join in, please include their name as well. If they do not want to give their name, just tell me HOW MANY and you be their contact.

Email for a flyer and join your fellow parents, teachers and community members to inform the public now in these final days before the election that the situation is dire and requires their VOTE for Gary and Sherry!

(artwork above courtesy of MisterWriter: Signs You May be An Idiot)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CCTimes weighs in: Elect Eberhart on November 4th, SAY NO TO TREECE

Have you seen the latest in a loooong line of endorsements for Gary Eberhart?

Of Eberhart they say:

Three of the four candidates, incumbent Gary Eberhart and challengers Jeff Adams and Sherry Whitmarsh, seeking two seats on the board understand that the district is in deep trouble. They point to financial bungling, frustrated teachers, upset parents and a superintendent who may need to be replaced.

Eberhart's criticisms of the district and McHenry are on target. He understands what needs to be done and deserves re-election.

Conversely, of Treece, they say:

Incumbent April Treece seems far more sanguine about the district and its superintendent, saying schools are making academic progress and that McHenry has been held accountable. We strongly disagree.

Treece's overly bright assessment of the district and unwillingness to hold its superintendent fully accountable are reasons enough for voters to replace her.

So, just say NO to Treece on November 4th!

Read the whole article here: Contra Costa Times Endorses Gary Eberhart

Monday, October 20, 2008

No freedom of speech in the MDUSD

Contra Costa Times has uncovered yet another issue within the MDUSD . Teachers are not allowed to express their political views even off the clock!

Check out the article:

And, get this , yet another thing that the San Ramon Valley School District does better:

The San Ramon Valley school district, also governed by the Education Code, does not restrict teachers the same way Mt. Diablo does.

"When it comes to bumper stickers and buttons and things like that," said San Ramon district spokesman Terry Koehne, "it's our belief that it's their right to free speech
. "

So what is wrong with MDUSD? Do they really thinks kids will be disturbed by a button on a teacher's lapel?

Click on the article to go direct to the Times.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Expect a call from McHenry?

I found today's letter in the Times very interesting. Perhaps McHenry should spend his valuable time figuring out how to fix the mess vs trying to defend the mess to people who write about it. I guess we see from this letter indicating she received a call in response to her letter in 2006 that things have gone from bad to worse. Would you be surprised if McHenry called you?

Letter to the Editor
Article Launched: 10/17/2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
School board picks
On a Friday in June of 2006, my letter to the editor stated that the superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District was incompetent.
I received a call from Superintendant Gary McHenry early Saturday morning instructing me to check my facts. I had my facts straight then, and I have them straight now.
Millions of dollars in legal fees spent without board approval, numerous payroll errors, a lack of department oversight, huge penalties payable to the IRS, highly qualified teachers leaving the district, top-down mandates with no employee input or collaboration, and unsuccessful contract negotiations with employees are but a few parts of McHenry's legacy.
"I think there is a tremendous amount of trust between the district and teachers," stated April Treece at the Pleasant Hill Forum for MDUSD candidates. Is she in La La Land? She continues to assert she has held the superintendent accountable for his ineffective management of the district. Who is she trying to fool, the trusting electorate of La La Land?
I am weary of absurd excuses and inane double-speak. Join me and vote for Sherry Whitmarsh and Gary Eberhart. We need MDUSD Board members who are not afraid of hurting McHenry's feelings.
Marilyn Hoffacker

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Change is only 4 letters long

V - O - T - E

Vote for Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for CHANGE in the MDUSD!

Remember, though you see alot of signs around, SIGNS DON'T VOTE! Get out there, get involved in some of the activities coming up to show your support for change (including the teacher event today, more is coming in the next couple weeks). Tell your friends, family and neighbors why they need to care about this election.

Signs graphics from:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Teachers "taking it to the streets" October 14

From the Mt. Diablo Teacher blog:

Support our teachers and help them with YOUR show of support. Join them in holding signs, or just honk to show your support as you pass! Tell a friend and keep telling your friends until the election. We need to show our collective strength behind Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh. You need to read the latest at or or

Taking it to the Streets--Tuesday, October 14
Remember to participate in our community outreach activity
tomorrow from 3:45-5:15
Bring a homemade sign or hold one of ours.
The three intersections we’ll be at are:
Ygnacio Valley Rd and Oak Grove
Treat Blvd and Clayton Rd
Contra Costa Blvd and Monument

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Fix MDUSD; elect Eberhart and Whitmarsh"

That, today, is the headline of a recent Letter to the Editor of the Contra Costa Times by Dorothy Englund. If you haven't seen it yet, here you go:

FIX MDUSD - click for article

Then be sure to leave your comments there on the Times site so that even more of the public may be aware of the conversation happening all around them here:

FORUM to discuss "FIX MDUSD"

You can also read MisterWriter's take here: CCTimes Letters to Editor

Also, for more on the campaign for CHANGE in our district, visit:


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Parents don't let Parents Vote Treece . . .

Here is a letter I've received from a couple of sources. It is exciting that it's coming from a couple of sources as it means it is making it's rounds around to district families and community members. So cut and paste, add your own words, link to an article on the blogs, but pass it along.

Like a chain letter, something bad may happen if you don't help spread the word. That something BAD is that April Treece may get re-elected. Don't let that happen for the district, more importantly, don't let it happen for the kids! If you want a sign in your yard - let them know! If you want to help in anyway, let them know! It takes a large effort to defeat an incumbant. I know I am seeing Eberhart and Whitmarsh signs popping up all over town. Let's get the word out.

If you have facebook you can join this growing local cause there too: FACEBOOK CAUSE TO ELECT EBERHART AND WHITMARSH

-----------------------------Ok, letter starts here ------------------------------
Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh are my two choices for MDUSD School Board. Together, Eberhart and Whitmarsh are The Right Team For Students.

Gary has served for over thirteen years as a MDUSD Board Member and he has never missed a meeting. His children attend Mt. Diablo Schools and he is greatly concerned about the direction our school district is heading. Gary has often been the lone voice seeking fundamental change, while demanding accountability and fiscal common sense. Gary asks tough questions and demands answers. This is the kind of board member I want serving our students.

Sherry has been involved in Mt. Diablo schools for the past 9 years. She has two daughters attending school in our district and has served as a member of the school site council at Bancroft Elementary. She is a member of the districts budget advisory committee and the Parent Advisory Committee. She is also currently on the PTSA board at both Oak Grove Middle School and Ygnacio Valley High School.

Both Gary and Sherry recognize the employee contracts need to be settled, teachers must have medical benefits, employee morale must improve and the board MUST hold the Superintendent accountable for mismanagement, under budgeting, and spending millions of dollars without board approval. They both support long range strategic planning, a safe learning environment, and new strategies to improve student learning.

The current board majority, April Treece, Dick Allen, and Linda Mayo have paralyzed the board by continually supporting the Superintendent without question. In fact, in a Contra Costa Times Article, “Mt. Diablo Schools in IRS sights” on September 30, 2008, April Treece is quoted as saying to a response of why the District owes unpaid tax penalties totaling $833,000.00, “This was something that came up in late 2006, early 2007, so that requires us to, I think, not overreact.” This is just the latest incident in which the board majority refuses to question the Superintendent or hold him accountable for his actions. Ms. Treece is running again for the school board as an incumbent. If you don’t want the same board majority blindly supporting the Superintendent, vote for Gary and Sherry.

Gary and Sherry Are The Right Team For Students. A vote for Gary and Sherry is a vote in support of finally having a UNIFIED Mt. Diablo District. Please visit to read about some of the issues Mt. Diablo is facing and visit (site coming live this weekend) to learn more about Gary and Sherry. If you would like a lawn sign please send an email to

Thank You,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council Meeting tonight (Weds)

Tonight (Weds October 1) is Superintendent McHenry's Parent Advisory Council meeting. This meeting takes place once a month at the Dent Center, in the Board Room. All are welcome at these meetings, not just the parent reps for their schools. With all the news of IRS penalties, contract negotiations, budgeting and more - will you be there?

Here is the information from the Superintendent's office about these meetings (the underline is mine for clarity):

PAC reps are an important link for sharing the information discussed at the monthly meetings with parents and other members of your school community. Each meeting is an opportunity for parents to meet with senior District staff, raise issues of concern, ask questions, learn about District programs and practices, and provide valuable information and opinions of their own. Membership on the council and attendance at its meetings are voluntary. Anyone—parent who is not a rep, employee, community member—is welcome to attend any meeting. Discussions are often lively and always informative for everyone involved.

PAC meetings are the first Wednesday of the month, 7-9 p.m. in the Board Room. Here’s the schedule for 2008-09:

September 3
October 1
November 5
December 3
January 7
February 4
March 4
April 1
May 6
June 3

Monday, September 29, 2008

Treece says let's not "overreact"

Hard not to overreact when the district is now facing IRS fines of over 3/4 of a million dollars ($833,000). Hard not to overreact when, per April Treece's own admission, these are from past years. So who's been watching the store? Certainly we'll need to see when the district found out about this fine, but the problem is, its not the first IRS fine! How is our district being managed appropriately if we're getting fines from the IRS?

The Times released a new story tonight about the IRS fine. As has been usual in recent years, it is Gary Eberhart who brought up concerns:

Eberhart said Monday that McHenry gave the board information showing the district paid three penalties totaling about $105,452 between December 2006 and June 25, 2007.

"So, somehow, this has been happening over and over again," Eberhart said. "The board of education has never approved any of these payments to my knowledge."

So if I read this right, that is 833k plus 105k+. Almost 1 million dollars in IRS fees in the last 2 years? Awe inspiring isn't it? Oh, but let's not overreact . . .

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Candidate sighting at Clayton's Oktoberfest

Gary Eberhart was chatting up a storm at Clayton's Oktoberfest today. Along with Gary, was MDUSD Board Member Paul Strange, and non other than Mister Writer himself. Later I saw a plane pulling a banner for a certain Clayton City Council candidate ... I wonder if Gary and Sherry can enlist a plane to pull a banner ?

Join the Cause on Facebook for Eberhart and Whitmarsh

Are you a facebook user? If you are, and you support Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for MDUSD School Board you can join the cause here and invite your friends. Let's use this social media to spread the word:



Eberhart and Whitmarsh - the signs are here!

I saw my first sign today for the Eberhart and Whitmarsh campaign.

If you want an EBERHART / WHITMARSH sign for your yard, your business, or if you know an area along a busy road where a larger sign may reside, email:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Times Reports on the MDUSD Disaster in the making

I do believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg, read from the Times , sure to be in your morning paper. Should be front page and I hope the Times and other publications will issue their own investigations into this matter:

Excerpted from: CCTIMES: Mt. Diablo school district Reaches Settlement in Dispute . . .

The legal firm of Miller Brown and Dannis will pay the district $56,011 for charges billed between 1999 and 2008, based on contracts that were never approved by the board. An outside investigation found that Superintendent Gary McHenry did not bring the firm's contract to the board for annual approval after the 1999-2000 school year because he believed it rolled over every year, said board president April Treece.

"The board was aware at all times that the law firm was providing our legal services, but we did not have a contract," Treece said. "The superintendent brought it to the board (last October), when it became clear that it should be approved on an annual basis."

McHenry - it really is time to go . . .

In previous board meetings and in previous quotes you've been heard to say "I will not resign." I think its time, don't you? Again, if you've missed all the other blog coverage on the LATEST on our district issues, I invite you to catch up.

How can anyone look at what is now released and still support McHenry. April Treece, Dick Allen and Linda Mayo - you should BE ASHAMED of yourselves! You should be recalled if you don't have the dignity to step down.

McHenry, please explain . . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MDUSD: Can it get much worse!?!

Well I'm afraid it probably can, and it seems everytime we turn around it does! Did you see the latest? Our district has been fined over $830,000 by the IRS!? How does that happen without anyone knowing? It seems obvious Superintendent Gary McHenry had no intention of bringing it up to the board. It was only after one board member noticed the line item entry on a spreadsheet and inquired, that the truth came out.

This penalty in excess of $800,000 is enough to employ 15 teachers for a year. Can we, as parents and stakeholders in this district, NOT demand change NOW!? This is a huge mistake in the midst of contract disputes and budget crisis. What will we find next? Oh and why did April Treece not ask any tough questions? She has to GO in November. We can't afford her incompetence any longer. How can we have an elected official NOT be outraged at this mistake? Oh, and you know what's even worse? It is not the first mistake of this kind!

NO! NO! NO! on April Treece in November!
YES! YES! YES! on Whitmarsh and Eberhart (Sherry and Gary).

Read more at at Mr. Writer's site:

and for MDUSD Trustee Gary Eberhart's take:

Please join me in voting for Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for MDUSD School Board in November. We can't afford it any other way!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

MDUSD endorsements announced today

More endorsements for Gary and Sherry for MDUSD School board in November.

The Contra Costa Democratic Party has announced their list of their officially endorsed candidates and it includes:

MDUSD Gary Eberhart
MDUSD Sherry Whitmarsh

See more at their site:

They have a list of the THREE candidates who sought their endorsement, but thus far only Sherry and Gary are on the "currently endorsed" list.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A District in Crisis - What can you do?

Start by reading the open letter written by MDUSD Board Member, Paul Strange. You can find it at There are many of us working hard for change. We can't let up and we need to ramp up our efforts to tell our fellow MDUSD friends and family who we are voting for and why. For many that choice is simple: GARY EBERHART AND SHERRY WHITMARSH.

So read up:

Time for Action - Mt. Diablo in Crisis

Mt. Diablo Unified School District is at a crossroads. We have the opportunity to change the future for Mt. Diablo right now. If change does not occur in this election, the next opportunity won't occur for two years and change will be delayed further. In my circles (and probably in your circles), the need for change is obvious. We have myriad problems. Terrible employee morale, failed policies regarding compensation and benefits, incompetent leadership, a total lack of accountability, a board majority who gleefully follows the orders of the Superintendent, serious budget issues, millions of dollars spent without board approval, a district culture that promotes loyalty to the Superintendent above the needs of our students, an administration in denial of the real problems in our district - these are just some of the problems. Click to see the rest

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything . . .

If we break down this quote, could it mean the following?

1. If you stand for nothing - you have no strong beliefs of your own about important issues.

2. You'll fall for anything - you may accept ANY ideas because you have none of your own in which to base your conviction.

So what about the status quo? Is that in the "fall for anything" category? Are you ready to accept keeping things the same because you just don't know enough?

The point of this post is to draw your attention to one of the MOST important elections in MDUSD history. If you don't know that, we want to educate you. Have you talked to a candidate? Would it surprise you to learn that you can just pick up the phone or send an email to any current board member? (two of which are running for re-election) I, personally, have tried to email April Treece and I have not warranted a response. Not even an automatically generated "I'm busy" response - nothing. I have heard back from Gary Eberhart and I've heard back from Sherry Whitmarsh. Both Gary and Sherry are responding to questions at

Did you see Mister Writer's blog post yesterday? If not, it really is a must read and is being circulated amongst teachers. ( Stand Up and Be Counted Before It's Too Late )

Parents, OUR TEACHERS (thru their union, MDEA) are supporting Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for school board. Please, get involved. Let's make this district better. There will be some upcoming "meet the candidate" meetings around our district, so stay on the look out for notices of those meetings, and get educated. Let's not fall for anything. Let's stand united for WHAT is right!

Friday, September 12, 2008

MDEA got it wrong? April Treece a "successful" board member

So MDEA has it wrong - so says Judy Moon of Clayton in her commentary published tonight on You can see it HERE.

Ms. Moon explains:
"In the November election for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education, MDEA has chosen not to endorse April Treece, a longtime and successful board member. Based on her personal record and performance, their choice is not in the best interest of students or the school district. "

"We all deserve to have ethical support possible by individuals willing to stand for what is wrong, willing to risk for what is right and openly demanding a standard of integrity from those who speak for us."

Stand for what is wrong? Maybe that is what IS wrong.

Just as Ms. Moon suggests, I too challenge you to research Ms. Treece's record and base your choice on what she has done. (or not)

I will do just that . . . and I would urge a vote in November for Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh to drive this district forward - in the right direction. To stand up for what is RIGHT. See their campaign statements here:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Denied !

As I'm sure you've all seen on the other blogs, Ruth Carver's petition to move MDUSD's Walnut Creek schools out and to new districts, was DENIED tonight. Its done. No appeal. Done. Sorry Ruth. I so admire that kind of conviction, I really do.

But, perhaps "Walnut Creek Schools Together Now" can turn their attentions back to OUR district. Help get the needed change in November, and change for the better, the direction of our district. Let's make it what it CAN be.

WCSTN: the last stand

The day is here... what Walnut Creek's Ruth Carver calls "The Most Important Event of the Year." Today is the day the County Board of Education will hear the proposal related to the transfer of MDUSD's Walnut Creek school to Acalanes and Walnut Creek School Districts.

All three school boards involved including MDUSD, Acalanes and WCSD, have all said NO. There appear to be several major difficulties with making this proposal a reality. Not least of which is MONEY, but includes other factors such as climate, staffing, class sizes, textbooks, course offerings, teacher salaries, facilities and more.

The meeting begins at 4pm TODAY (Weds , September 10th) at the Acalanes High School Performing Arts Center at 1212 Pleasant Hill Road, Lafayette.

You can read the agenda by clicking over to the site and reading about this meeting and a link to the agenda here: Walnut Creek Transfer Hearing Tonight

Will you be there? I'm hoping someone will be available to report back so one of the bloggers can post live updates . Some of us have back to school night tonight :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New blog for MDUSD Teachers

A new blog has been spawned for the MDUSD teachers.

"MDEA Teachers Speaking Up" has been started by and for teachers as ". . . a forum for information, sharing our thoughts on the upcoming election, contract negotiations and other issues."

Find the blog HERE and get your voices heard by your MDEA leadership and fellow teachers around the district.

Board Meeting Streaming LIVE now!

Even if you can't attend the meeting in person, you can attend it online. It is streaming live now at: MDUSD live stream board meeting

They're talking air conditioning now.

Great job Mr. Strange. Quality is excellent . Audio is clear.

Tonight is Tuesday, September 9th.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Acalanes ALSO opposes boundary change petition

As reported last night, the Acalanes school board met tonight. And as expected, they too, officially declared their opposition to the Walnut Creek school boundary change which would've handed them Northgate High school.

From the CCTimes article tonight:

A proposal to redraw school district boundaries in Walnut Creek will have its first hearing next week, but all three districts that would be involved agree: They oppose the plan.

The Acalanes high school district voted unanimously Wednesday night to oppose the proposal, as the Walnut Creek School District did earlier Tuesday and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District did in January.

"We do not see this proposal as a way to get quality education for all students," Superintendent Jim Negri said. "It is not advantageous for the district. It is not cost-effective for the district."

See more of the article:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Walnut Creek School Board Says No to Boundary Changes

See the CC Times for the latest on the ongoing story.

The Walnut Creek School Board voted today to oppose the petition that would transfer several MDUSD schools to the Walnut Creek School District.

The Acalanes School District is voting (tomorrow) Weds (9/3) on their position as Acalanes would be taking on Northgate High should this transfer come to reality. It is said that the Acalanes staff recommendation is that the Acalanes board also oppose the petition/boundary change as well.

So stay tuned as the story develops . . .

From the Times: "The county hearing on the petition will be at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 at Acalanes High School, 1212 Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette."

So if you are keeping track, the following entities have said no to this transfer/ boundary change:

**City of Concord
**City of Clayton
**MDUSD School Board
**Walnut Creek School Board
**Concord neighborhoods including Walnut Country/The Crossings, Limeridge and Crystyl Ranch have joined to fight the transfer and they even have their own website:
**Acalanes School Board (?)

As advocates for the transfer, the Walnut Creek Schools Together Now site offers a countdown to the County meeting on their front page and notes the meeting on September 10th is the "most important event of the year."

Monday, September 1, 2008

The MDUSD candidates invited to come out blogger style . . .

MisterWriter has taken the initiative to set up a blog site for the 4 MDUSD board candidates. There are 4 candidates for the two open seats on the board this year. We have Gary Eberhart (incumbant) and April Treece (incumbant), Sherry Whitmarsh and Jeff Adams.

We've heard from Gary Eberhart at several community meetings, on the local blogs, and at the MDUSD blog site, and we've heard from Sherry Whitmarsh at a community meeting and during an open online chat at the Claycord site (she also has a website: . April Treece attended one community meeting, and Jeff Adams has responded once (that I know of) in the comment section of the MDUSD blog site. So what do you want to know? Have you read their candidate statements?

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MDUSD BOARD ELECTION IN RECENT MEMORY. Educate yourself and vote! Please encourage these candidates to participate so that we all have easy access to the information we need to make the best decisions for our district. This district needs serious change. Who's ready to take on the challenge?

From MisterWriter's post: "Taking Charge . . . ":

Anyone can view the Candidates blog site. Click the image to take you there or type in

IF YOU WANT TO ASK A QUESTION you can do so by emailing me at . In the subject line write CANDIDATE QUESTION. I will NOT edit your post, so be sure to ask clear questions. I suggest ONE question per email - it will make it far easier for the candidates to answer. There will be a flood of questions, so be patient - this is not my full-time job! I will post your question exactly as written (including typos) so be sure to check your email before sending it. I will not correct it after the fact. That way I remain as neutral as possible.

Monday, August 18, 2008

From a teacher's perspective . . .

This came to me today from a teacher. One who wishes to remain anonymous but is just as concerned as many of us about what the future holds. I will post it here, and invite any other teachers, parents or staff who wish to contribute, to do so here on comments, or email your letter or story and I will post it here anonymously (if you wish). Please comment. We have to rejuvenate interest now that school is upon us. What are YOU going to do this year to assure our teachers get a contract and we avert a strike? Will you be working on changing the board majority?

From my view……… a teacher’s perspective.

I have been working in my classroom the past two weeks. Like many teachers, I have been putting up bulletin boards, arranging furniture, putting together back to school packets, planning curriculum, and the list goes on and on. I have been a teacher at the elementary level for 9 years and I have children who attend these schools. I consider myself someone who wears two hats. Professionally, I am a “highly qualified” teacher. My other hat is that of a parent whose children are being educated by the Mt Diablo Unified School District team. Yes, our team starts at the district level, and then trickles its way down through many layers of administrators, then principles, then teachers, then to the students. I feel I have a unique perspective. As a fellow parent, I hope that my insight might help promote and encourage others to step forward and voice the need for change immediately!

Parents, we should be outraged that our elected school board has let one of the largest school districts in California fall to dead last in teacher salaries. Ultimately the school board was elected to oversee the superintendent, whose job it is to maintain a fiscally responsible district. It has been proven time and again in board meetings that our district is in a financial mess. The state budget crisis plays some roll, but this has been brewing for years.

Even if the medical benefits were up to par and offered by the district, our salary schedule is now far below the low average in 14 other areas school districts. For this reason, highly qualified teachers have left. It is outrageous that we have lost most if not all of our best and brightest math and science teachers. It takes a specially trained and dedicated teacher to reach and teach students in these fields. Our teachers are being drafted away for better pay, benefits and even signing bonuses. The district would never admit this but if you talk personally with these teachers, this is what they are saying.

Our current school board is a dysfunctional mess. Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange have stepped up and are trying to turn the district in the right direction. I want the public to call on Linda Mayo, Dick Allen, and April Treece. These three board members have done little to hold the superintendent accountable for the quality of your child’s education. Sure we hear these glowing little speeches from them in public, but what have they done really. We elected them…..they should be disappointed with the leadership of the district and calling for an end to the teacher contract dispute before a strike. Parents, do you realize that the teachers are not asking for the moon. If this is settled, it looks like a single teacher will get benefits immediately. That is it! The rest of medical will be phased in over the next few years. If I am not mistaken there is no salary increase with this contract (maybe 1%). So, since I have medical with my husband, I will get no pay increase at all. Not even COLA…the district has kept that for itself for quite a few years now!

I challenge all parents to take the time to be informed about the current school board and the teacher contract. The current leadership has clearly failed. Be a voice for your child! Be a voice for teachers! I am a passionate teacher who is working hard for your child. But, most importantly, I am a passionate parent who wants my child to have the best education possible. Thank you for the opportunity to share my opinions and the truth!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Board Meeting tonight LIVE on webcast!

Thanks to Paul Strange, MDUSD board member, we will be able to watch tonight's board meeting live on the web. Tune in at 7:30pm to and watch the meeting being streamed LIVE. Next, let's work on getting a call in question and comment system!

From Paul:

"Typically the district broadcasts on KVHS, but only until 10:00 and not in the summer. The broadcasting equipment for tonight is just one of my desktops and a webcam. This solution is zero cost to the district. It is still in “beta” and I am using a new broadcasting service tonight so bear with me if there is a problem. The webcast will be on the mdusd blog ( or starting at 7:30."

Thanks Paul! We appreciate the time it takes you to think of those of us who can't always make it live to the meetings ourselves.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Countdown or still counting . . .

The board agenda for tomorrow night's meeting is on the MDUSD website, you can see it here:


Somewhere around page 30 (out of over 150!) is the personnel information noting resignations since the last board meeting.

So far, 23 resignations over the summer, hopefully that is it for now and that we'll all be greeted with familiar teaching faces on August 26th. One of those resignations is Roger Bylund who went on to Paradise (literally), CA.

So who's next? I hope no one! BUT, there have been some changes at my son's school I don't see reflected here on this list.. I don't see the resignations I heard about, and I don't see the new hires I heard about... so.... maybe more is to come?

Above the resignations are the temporary teaching positions that had to be terminated at the end of year , being rehired. Thank goodness.. there are some favorite teachers on that list!

You'll see the blogs are coming alive now, please join in. We need change this year. If ever there was a time you thought of getting involved, IT HAS TO BE NOW! There's been no other time in this district's history that we've been at such a critical stage.

I DO NOT WANT a teacher strike. Do you? Let's work toward action - and change this year! It starts with YOU!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Is your favorite teacher gone?

Happy summer! It's July 11th, do you know where your teachers are? I am hearing reports from all over the district that schools are losing some teachers. I have heard of at least 4 teachers leaving from one (high scoring) elementary school. They've left for greener pastures in nearby districts. What about YOUR school? Do you know if you've lost any teachers yet during this summer? I'm going to try to find out how many resignations are taking place this summer. If anyone has these numbers, please feel free to elaborate. I just have a feeling some parents are going to be surprised when they return to their schools this August.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Stirred up, but unchanged . . . "

Jackie Burrell's blog post at the Contra Costa Times about the MDUSD today is sure to evoke some strong responses from those involved in this very contentious issue.

From aPARENTlySpeaking:
"Despite massive financial issues and administrative snafus, a no-confidence vote by the teachers union, a call for the superintendent to resign by two trustees, a parent petition for ditto, and a secession attempt by some of the district’s highest ranking schools, nothing has changed."

One has to wonder what the Superintendent is thinking. I was emailed a little while ago by a "MDUSD Mom" who asked the following:

"Is this really the legacy Mr. McHenry wants to leave for himself here at the Mt. Diablo School district? Does he really want to be known for this? He's overstayed his welcome, resistance to his leadership and to his tenure has grown exponentially and its time for him to do the right thing. I was at the last board meeting, and his smug indifference to those asking for his resignation was very disappointing. He will not be resigning is all he really said. When only your hand picked administration and 3 wayward board members are the only ones wanting you to stay, you have to wonder. Leave already. What is April Treece, Linda Mayo and Dick Allen thinking? They were elected to serve US, not HIM. They were elected to hold HIM accountable. Where is that ? They were elected to care about what WE think and instead they are defensive and in full on defense of McHenry. That is not their job. They are failing miserably. They should be recalled. Thanks to the blogs, many of us parents know a hell of a lot more than we did before and I don't suspect this will die out. The movement for change is growing, and is like a train running downhill, its only gaining strength and I applaud those at the front lines. Keep it going, keep the pressure on, and Mr. McHenry... do the right thing for this district and step down peacefully and without a big buyout. If its truly about the kids, you'd show them responsibility and honor right now. You can't make it right. Stop pretending as though you are trying. "

So, it is with that , that we say that anyone looking to better this district, end the mistakes, balance the budget, stop the financial bleeding, change the culture, rally morale and keep our top notch teachers - you must support Sherry Whitmarsh and Gary Eberhart for School Board in November. April Treece must be replaced. You can read about Sherry HERE.

And as Jackie Burrell so aptly put it related to Sherry, she ". . . is no vanity candidate. "

Friday, June 6, 2008

REMINDER: Meeting with invited guests


June 7th, 2008
2pm - 4pm
Skipolini's Pizza
Downtown Clayton

Come meet with invited guests, MDUSD Board members, Paul Strange and Gary Eberhart. Gary and Paul will be on hand to answer MDUSD questions and to provide an open forum discussion on what is happening within our district. So bring your questions and concerns - and tell a friend too. All concerned community members, teachers and parents welcome.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"There is a growing mutiny on your hands Sir . . . "

". . . board members, teachers, parents. So no matter how you arrange the proverbial deck chairs, the ship is sinking with you at the helm."

That is just a snippet of one speaker from the board meeting on Tuesday night. Paul Strange has uploaded the audio of the board meeting at the MDUSD site HERE. If you want to hear the public comments only, including the entire speech of the gentleman quoted above, he's also offered a link to the public comments only.

For anyone not real sure what is going on, or not convinced a resignation from McHenry is what we need, please listen at least to the public comments. Its only about 10-15 minutes of your day and will be worth every one of those minutes.

Some other craziness that was mentioned on Mr. Writer's blog happens around:

18 minutes for April Treece's "voracious reader of studies" comment as she passes around a book she wanted the board to read plus her corporate speak regarding terminology around strategic planning processes. My question is that if there is a strategic planning book on Mr. McHenry's bookshelf, why hasn't he read it?

20 minutes for Gary Eberhart's request and April's response related to Gary's district website contact information.

Around 1 hour 16 minutes. You'll hear the Superintendent's report, and his assertion that "I won't be resigning, just for the people who have asked me to." He notes clearly the board will have to make that decision.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"I won't be resigning . . . "

Despite several speakers relating stories of a district in severe distress, impassioned pleas for repair and the presentation of a parent led petition with hundreds of signatures on it - Mr. McHenry summed up his position on all that in his Superintendent Report with a firm "I am not resigning . . . "

No, I don't think anyone thought he'd submit his resignation right there at the board meeting, but what many did expect was some acknowledgement that there is a severe problem for which he bears responsibility, or some semblance of respect for the concerns. When parents stand before you, teachers stand before you and the community stands before you with a strong message of dissatisfaction, you need to listen.

What will it take? Well for one, it seems the petition effort needs to be ongoing, as a way to educate fellow parents and to garner support for serious housekeeping at the Dent Center. Secondly, I think some of the loudest applause came when a speaker suggested that April Treece pack her bags in November.

We can't keep doing what we've been doing. Check Mr. Writer's blog for an exceptional write up on the meeting last night: HERE
And, thanks to CBS Eye on Blogs for the MENTION! We're famous today.

Thank you Doris for presenting the petition on behalf of all parents concerned with the district. You did a great job and we appreciate all of your efforts. Parents, who will be attending the next board meeting? We need to keep the issues out there, we need to continue to educate other parents.

An election is coming in November, change is in our hands.

Have you signed the petition yet?
Its not too late.

Board Meeting tonight - 7:30pm

Hope you will all be there tonight to support the parents and their presentation of the petition signatures to the board, and to the Superintendent. This is a chance for the parents and community to send a CLEAR message that things are not going in the right direction and in fact, this issue is just not going to go away. Mr. McHenry needs to step aside to give this district a chance at healing. Hundreds of signatures will be presented, will you be there to show your support?

If you've not signed it yet, what are you waiting for?

Tell a friend...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Clayton Community Meeting (MDUSD) - Saturday JUNE 7th

All are welcome to attend an informal meeting for the entire community interested in what is happening at MDUSD. School Board Members Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange have been invited to speak and participate in this Q&A session open to parents, teachers and all concerned community members. (All are welcome, not just those in Clayton.) Below is the text of a flyer being circulated to parents (if you'd like a copy of this emailed to you so you can pass out to parents please email: and, tell a friend!) :

Community Meeting
Mt Diablo Unified School District
School Board Members
Gary Eberhart & Paul Strange

· Concerned about your child’s education?
· Questions about highly qualified teachers?
· Concerned about the current leadership?

June 7, 2008
Skipolini’s Pizza
(Thanks to Skipolini's for allowing us the use of their patio during their closed hours. We appreciate it!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

The community is talking ...

Below are just a sampling of comments from the online petition.. .the community, parents and teachers have a lot to say about this petition effort, just read up (oh, and sign the petition if you haven't already:

Great job with the petition! Thanks!

Things have to change

Time for a change. We need someone who knows how to implement changes.

Follow the example of John Swett's responsible administrator. Do what is best for this district that you profess to care about so much and let us begin anew.

For the betterment of the community as a whole, I urge the Superintendent to resign.

My mother-in-law is a teacher and it upsets me that not only are the children not being looked after in a worthy way but the people that are entrusted with their learning are not being rewarded for their precious jobs.

I have two children about to enter kindergarten and I teach high school. Mr. McHenry's tenure should be ended. He has lost all support from teachers. We work still without a contract, and spent a 18 months of the last contract cycle without a settlement. His mismanagement and double dealings should be stopped and new leadership found.

We mourn the death of communication and trust between district and their employees.

This administration is broken and needs to be fixed. It is alwful that PTAs/PFCs need to raise so much money to pay for basics that the district should be coverning.

No Comment Needed

Good.-Northgate Student

Life is a matter of making the right choices and picking the right priorities. Apparently Mr. McHenry is not capable of understanding the most important priorities of the school district and the community.

Please help the children of the district by removing him from his position and hire a more competent Super Int.Thank you.

I am a 1st grade teacher in Hayward Unified School District and believe that it is detrimental for ALL Kindergarteners to have access to the 20:1 ratio. Too many children never have an opportunity to attend a preschool and for some children, Kindergarten is their first experience with being in a formal school setting. Why not make this easier on them, the most important part of education, by allowing them to have access to the 20:1 ratio?

Where is the petition to remove the board as well?

MDUSD conditions/results are painfully obvious. No need to be redundant. Change is painful and long overdue. Perfection is not expected but neither is abysmal failure. Corporations are subject to change - sizing, personnel change, concessions by all to move forward. MDUSD is no different. Future advancement and improvement for the students is paramount...and has been a relegated priority in the past. Union and non-union interests have to concede a bit if the new, albeit temporary Dist Superintenedant is to succeed. Solutions have to consider resizing/restructuring MDUSD - which translates into special interest groups having to adapt as well. Those that are thwarting change with retirement in mind also need to adapt. No one should be insulated or isolated from economic reality at the expense of our students. The students have suffered way too long. We need to get a State level official involved. I've long favored a parcel tax...and amazed that there isn't one.

I am disappointed that Mr. McHenry feels he can hold Northgate area residents hostage.

MDUSD is stifling the progress of students at Walnut Acres, Foothill Middle and Northgate. Any success enjoyed by these schools cannot be attruibuted to the district, but instead to the dedication of parents, teachers and volunteers. Under McHenry's leadership, Northgate has become overcrowded, with fewer advanced placement offerings and more and more parents are pulling their support and heading off to private schools. The expectations at other middle and high schools in MDUSD, are FAR BELOW these Walnut Creek schools. For example, at El Dorado Middle, there is no homework required and teachers are reprimanded if they fail students. Yet at Foothill Middle, my student completes 3 hours of homework every night. MDUSD, under McHenry's poor leadership, now has an average teaching experience level of only 6 years! Yet I see no evidence of any professional development offerings for teachers over the summer at all. Teachers are overworked, expected to conference with parents during their prep times, not given a prep period for each subject (middle and high school), not supported by administrators with behavior problems, larger class sizes than ANY neighboring districts, NOT GIVEN ANY MEDICAL BENEFITS OR THE SALARY TO PURCHASE THEM, not paid for any of the time it takes to set a classroom up, close a classroom for summer, report grades, progress reports, conference with parents, grade papers, create lesson plans and they are given only $1.00 per student to pay for classroom materials per year!

Our current superintendant is lazy, rude to our community members, unappreciative of our teacher's and employees rights, and careless with our delicate budget situation.. For sure we need a new one.

Yeah, this isn't working out.

Time for a change!!! Change (in this case) can only be good!

How long does he need to prove he can't do the job? Do you think it's a coincidence that the entire teaching staff gave him 11 F's and a D in job performance?

get rid of him. his dishonesty is surpassed only by his incompetence.

Nothing but a downward spiral has occurred in this district in the past 10 years under the leadership of McHenry. He has not fullfilled the duties of his position and should be terminated as Superintendent. The district would be better off without a superintendent in the interim, than we are with McHenry.

It's about time!

District needs to put teachers first by settling a contract that starts to build toward full benefits. McHenry does not support this way of thinking.

It's time...

Gary McHenry does not listen to teachers, parents, or community members. He is defensive about his opinions and does not cooperate to make changes.

I think it is noble that McHenry's son stood up but still think we as a community need better leadership asap.

I'd like to see students/parents start a "penny" drive at schools to buy out McHenry's contract.

I understand that Gary McHenry really, really wants to be superintendent, but it's time for him to put the parents' and students' and teachers' needs before his own. He is an incompetent administrator, and simply put, far too many students have received a less adequate education because of him.

Re: McHenry not aware of budgetSee: Contra Costa Times July 15, 2005McHenry " I literally live or die by the budget"

We need a parcel tax

Do you have anything to add? Feel free to do so here?

AND by the way... have you signed the petition yet? There's been over 25 signatures added just this morning to the online petition - pass it on.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Petition presentation - get your signatures in...

This just in:

The next MDUSD Board meeting will be held Tuesday, June 3, during which we (parents) will be presenting the board with signed petitions letting them know that we are unhappy with our superintendant, since he is ultimately responsible for the the district; nine years is sufficient time to fix issues and not create any more.

Additional signatures and completed hard copy petitions will be collected in the next few days so that there is enough time to get a count before the next board meeting.

Friday 5/30 - 8:30am - 9:15am Starbucks Concord/Landana (near Concord HS)
Friday 5/30 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm Newhall Park Bocce Court #8
Monday 6/2 - 8:30 am - 10 am Starbucks Concord/Landana

If you or anyone you know may want to set up pre-designated times and locations for collecting, please let me know so that we can get the information out there. I'd really appreciate any help I can get.

And of course, the easiest way to do this would be to sign the petition electronically. As you can see from the signature counts, we're at almost 150 electronic signatures.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Did you sign the petition yet??

Did you sign the petition yet? ONLINE or a hard copy version? DOWNLOAD HERE

Well, here's your chance to talk about it, get the word out and to tell others why they should sign it:

Denisen Hartlove, a reporter from The Concordian newspaper, is looking for information on the Petition to oust Superintendent McHenry. She's hoping to hear from someone who's signed the petition and is willing to speak publicly about same for an article. Denisen can be reached at 925-408-7901 or at, and thanks anyone who contacts her in advance.

Friday, May 16, 2008

MDUSD releases new Negotiation News

There have been some new developments in the MDUSD/MDEA mediation process. For those new to the blogs and what is going on in our district, these are the negotiations between our district (MDUSD) and our Teachers (MDEA).

You can also see negotiation news at the district website - click HERE.

From the District Negotiation News today:

"Bargaining teams for the Mt. Diablo Education Association (MDEA) and the District met on May 16 in their continued effort to reach a settlement in the current contract negotiations."

The headlines were as follows:

Local Schools having some fun!

For Friday, we thought we'd highlight some of the great things going on around us... in hopes that it will spur you to action... to keep the good things happening. The assembly today at Woodside Elementary was something many kids have never seen before, and maybe will never see again. This came from a reader of the blog, and if you have good things happening in your school, please send it in for the next Friday feature:


Full armour, full contact jousting ON HORSEBACK! Yes, horses on the field! 3 of them in fact. The Knights of Avalon came to Woodside as the featured guest performers at a celebratory assembly honoring the students' efforts in their recent spell-a-thon fundraiser. They showed off some amazing riding skills and featured some medieval games on horseback. They are also performing this weekend in Livermore at the Scottish Games and perform at the Renaissance Faire in Gilroy.

Absolutely amazing, and one of the great things about the schools in our district. The PFC came together to pull this assembly off, the parents and students worked hard and the site administration supported it - everyone had a fabulous time together today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flunk the Budget Not Our Kids! - Update

See Contra Costa Times article posted, "Schools spared worst, but budget cuts still loom" by Shirley Dang, covering the California budget May revise announcement and the 11am press conference today in Walnut Creek HERE

Here are a few photos of the 4pm rally at Civic Park. In attendance were MANY teachers, parents, community members, MDUSD Board Members Paul Strange and Linda Mayo and a few kids too. Featured speakers were Mike Noce (MDEA), Contra Costa Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick, Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblyman Guy Houston, a rep from Senator Tom Torlakson's office and speakers representing local PTAs, teachers and other nearby districts. You can relive the rally and speakers, thanks to Tom Torlakson's office, HERE.

From CTA's website:

"The six-week, statewide CTA bus tour against proposed state budget cuts will make four stops in the Bay Area on Wednesday, May 14"

Here are the details for Walnut Creek's activities today:

Bus Stop Walnut Creek, 11 a.m. -- Civic Park, near District Offices of Assemblyman Guy Houston in Walnut Creek.

A huge 4-6 p.m. protest rally is planned with speakers including teachers, parents, administrators, plus Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier and state Senator Tom Torlakson. Location is Civic Center Park.

Several of us are planning to attend the 4pm rally in Civic Park. Will you be there? If you want to go, and want to join up with us, let us know!

The California Revised budget (aka the May Revise) is due today. We're holding our collective breath to see if our budget troubles will get even worse. Schwarzenegger is now proposing borrowing against future lottery revenue to ease the budget deficit. See KTVU's report.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Board Meeting Running Late ?

Hi all, are you at home listening for the board meeting like I am? Its 8:00pm and it seems they are running behind in their closed door session? Must be a good one! I called KVHS to be sure it wasn't a technical difficulty but they are standing by. GOOD JOB KVHS!

That means its not too late to listen in if you're just getting here:

Update: Well, its 8:45pm... still no meeting on KVHS... maybe I'm the only one listening ... :)

(will probably have to see how it ends up in the morning!)
Having a little extra time on my hands this evening, I added a new widget to the side bar over there ------> to show some recent comments. Hope you find it useful. Its especially nice when folks comment on older posts, it keeps the conversation going.