Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Petition to Remove MDUSD Superintendent McHenry

I had heard it was in the makings, it is now here. A petition to remove Superintendent Gary McHenry. You'll see the Petition reads as follows:

"We the undersigned, demand that the Board of Trustees of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District remove Mr. Gary McHenry, the current District Superintendent, from his position. Under his management the District continues to be impacted by, among other things, errors in budgeting, inability to settle employee contracts, lack of long range strategic planning, historically low employee morale, poor communications, poor customer service, and lack of community trust. Superintendent Gary McHenry cannot correct the problems of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and cannot win back the employee spirit and community trust. Superintendent Gary McHenry must be replaced immediately."

(Mr. Writer has posted the petition on his site - YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE PETITION HERE), or it can be emailed to you directly if you have an interest in printing the petition and circulating it. You can see the petition and/or print it by clicking on the thumbnail above too. Or email the address below to have it emailed to you.

Also, I hear that within the next day or so this petition will be available online so that it may be circulated and signed electronically - so as soon as I get that link too, I'll post it.

E-Mail when you have completed petitions, we'll help you arrange to get them back to the appropriate organizers: MDUSDParents@gmail.com

40 comments:

  1. Can we stand in front of grocery stores to have it signed?

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  2. Well, I don't know the rules on those things, but I know the organizers of the petition noted they want all (or as many as possible) residents within the boundaries of MDUSD to sign this petition. I guess the hope is that if each concerned parent, teacher or employee gets as many as they can to sign they'll soon have thousands of signatures.

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  3. Yes, in front of grocery stores. At your kids dance classes, ball games, swim team - I see there is a rally next week and an education town hall this week. All good places. Don't be shy parents.. I applaud you for this effort. I just moved out of the district but the administration was one of the main reasons we moved. I am still vicariously involved in MDUSD and will be cheering you all on from the sidelines! GO FOR IT!

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  4. Absolutely - take it out to grocery stores or anywhere else - there are no rules. Just get voters to sign. You do need to check with the store before setting up. Call or stop by in advance and talk to the manager.

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  5. I plan on attaching the petition to my hip for the next few weeks, which means it will go with me to little league games, shopping, errands, gym, etc. Even while in line at Costco during rush hour is a great place to strike up conversations and inform people on the happenings in our district and get their buy-in.

    How about wearing bright yellow t-shirts that says "Ask Me About Dead Weight in MDUSD"?

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  6. WOOO HOOO... its about darn TIME! I'll be proud to have the petition signed by everyone I know. I also know they will do so willingly! Good going whoever did this. I applaud you.

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  7. WOOO HOOO... its about darn TIME! I'll be proud to have the petition signed by everyone I know. I also know they will do so willingly! Good going whoever did this. I applaud you.

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  8. So, you get the Superintendent out - then what? The BOE will hire a new guy, probably at more money than McHenry and then the only way teacher morale will improve is if they get benefits and raises. Since there won't be any more money than now, in order to do that, they will have to cut all the programs we value as parents. You are doing what MDEA wants done, but it won't be your kids that benefit.

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  9. This is not about doing what MDEA wants - it is about so much more. I do believe that compensation is a huge part of employee morale and for a long time, I thought it was the only factor. After spending time in the district and talking with employees, I have realized that it is not just benefits - it is the culture of the district, the lack of collaboration and the displays of disrespect that employees see on a regular basis. Many teachers leave because of benefits, but many leave because they don't want to work in this culture. If it were only about teacher pay and benefits, they why are so many of our other employees so unhappy?

    I agree that getting a new superintendent won't fix the budget problems immediately, but our current Superintendent has done nothing over his tenure to ensure that we have proper local school funding. The district must have local revenue and the sooner we get a new superintendent, the sooner we can get the problems that plague us fixed (like budget, respect, etc.). This will put us in a position to get the local funding we need.

    I know that change takes time, but the longer we wait to start, the longer to get to the finish.

    I came to this district and tried to work with the Superintendent and the board, but to no avail. There was no desire to engage in strategic planning, no desire to try options that are outside the box, and there was not changing anyone's mind. According to the Superintendent and the majority of the board, everything is fine, there is no need for change.

    Please at least take a moment to consider that we need renewal. We need to signal to our community and all of our employees that change is coming.

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  10. Can only parents sign? Or can teachers? What about older students (do they have to be registered to vote?)

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  11. from what I know... teachers can sign as they do have a stake in the district no matter where they live. Students.. not so sure.. as someone said on another blog, they'd have to be pretty well informed students. Personally, I'm not sure students need to be involved in this at this time, but perhaps someone with more knowledge of this petition process will chime in.

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  12. Thanks Mr Writer :) I'll update the post with the link too.

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  13. I attended the Rocco’s meeting as a concerned parent who is being introduced to the issues plaguing our district. I found that we are so buried in chaos, lack of communication, poor leadership and basic lack commonsense that I left disheartened and disappointed. I understand that our board members are OUR overseers of the sup. They are the checks and balances that the district needs. I did not get the impression that the duo of April and Dick see their position in those terms. Their dedication to this superintendent is unhealthy and unjustified. The questions asked were answered in a lot of double-talk, and rhetoric. They sounded like they were on a political campaign. I was getting a headache trying to understand the answers through all the fluff and verbiage. As an objective observer, I can say they sounded incompetent and totally out of touch. We may need a new board that actually is willing to understand the community, and its educational need. I know that the most qualified people in charge are our teachers and at the present they are undermined and unheard. If we are to improve the system, we need to give voice to the teachers and we need to do it now.

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  14. Can Mr. Noce, MDEA President be included on the petition, he needs to go ASAP

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  15. Maybe McHenry and Noce can start their own school district somewhere far away. But seriously, I hope the issue doesn't become diluted.. first things first..and for all those who don't like Noce, why are you running against him? He's unchallenged?

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  16. I too think that Noce needs to go, but I don't think a community petition is the right way to go. Noce does not work for and is not accountable to the general public. McHenry is. The teachers need to get a grip and oust Noce. But the problem runs deeper than Noce. The reasonable teachers who can approach the job from a rational perspective need to be heard. They need to stand up and tell Noce and the rest of his crew that they are not going to abide by his shenanigans. I hope that as soon as the super leaves, the teachers revolt on Noce and get new leadership that can work together with the new district leadership to renew this district. If Noce stays, I am afraid the battle will continue no matter who is leading the district.

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  17. Anon 10:29. I think you're right. The teachers need to address the Noce issue.. the general public, the district administration and board. And I agree with the other post, lets not dilute the issue at hand here and let's work on a new Supt and a new board come November, goodbye April Treece. I do hope teachers find leadership they can trust and respect.

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  18. I do agree that the teachers need to address the MDEA President issue but he is a large part of this issue "inability to settle employee contracts". Teachers have spoken up about this and posted on the many blogs.

    As a parent in this district I will not vote for a parcel tax as long as this person stays as MDEA's leadership. He has proven himself to not be in the best interest of all teachers and our children.

    I have brought up MDEA's tactics and things that were said at meetings with teacher's in attendance and that is when several took me aside to let me know what they feel. Many are way to busy to be involved with MDEA and think that change won't happen and I know, it is up to them to make that change. But as a parent I want to see the change too. Our district can not move forward with this MDEA leadership in place.

    The community needs to be aware of the MDEA problems too and it is a part of the current issues.

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  19. Standing at the corner of Farmers Market gets good response since so many disabled people are there. They are always plagued with problems from the district. Many people even with gifted kids like me woudl like to see him gone.

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  20. Say what you will about Noce. After the debacle that was the previous MDEA President's administration, thank God teachers have someone on their side who isn't in bed with District administration.
    It's impossible to speak out for what's right without drawing fire from those who are wrong. Noce may have his faults, but at least continues to call attention to the mess McHenry has made of the district with the Board's help.
    Teachers aren't stupid. They know who is on their side and who is not. Noce is, and the current Board majority and Superintendent clearly are not.

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  21. Mr. Noce has never been in this for himself. He has been fighting for the teachers since he was elected. It is not he, who has put the teachers into a Them vs Us situation with MDUSD; it is Mr. McHenry. If you look at the facts, colored they might be by either side, the fact remains that Mr. Noce has worked only to gain better compensation and benefits for teachers. I for one, admire his tenaciousness against an arrogant administration. I don't see any teachers running up to take his job as president of MDEA. I bet Mr. Noce would love to get back to just teaching. It would certainly be less stressful. If someone disagrees with the way things are going, then they should step up and run for election instead of just complaining on a blog.

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  22. Bravo Mike Noce. He is somebody who has been willing to stand up against a district administration that has repeatedly disrespected their teachers. Despite what some people on this blog have written, the majority of teachers wholeheartedly support him.

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  23. I'm a teacher who has seen Mike Noce in action. Several times, my jaw has dropped as I witnessed his unprofessional behavior. Interrupting speakers, belligerence, and an unwillingness to listen do not demonstrate the quality of character teachers want to portray. I am not alone in this thinking.

    However, Mike Noce is fierce (perhaps too fierce) in fighting for teacher's medical benefits and beneficial working conditions. I commend his ideas, I lament his means. There are ways to be strong without appearing angry or rude.

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  24. Why doesn't anyone challenge Mike Noce's presidency?
    Could it be that we have seen first hand how absolutely frustrating it must be to negotiate, communicate,or work harmoniously with a district administration that is so disconnected (or disinterested) with the needs of their teachers. It's no wonder that Noce has become intense with his presentations. Thank goodness MDEA has someone who is willing the good old boy mentality of Dent Center.

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  25. Mr. McHenry must go. MDUSD cannot really withstand another year of the deteriorating conditions resulting from his top down leadership style. Clearly the BOE majority accept these realities. Parents must unite to
    put pressure on the board to remove the superintendent and to remove board members who are resistant to doing so.

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  26. Teachers, we love you. Our kids love you. Please though don't dilute the issues.. we want parents to unite behind the petition to oust McHenry.. not get further confused and apathetic when they see the teachers fighting amongst each other and against their own leadership. For many parents, its just too much. Please unite with us to get this petition signed by thousands. With your help we can do it.

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  27. Getting rid of Mr. McHenry at this time is the greatest injustice this district could do at this time. He came into a district that had been mismanaged in the past and has done many, many things to correct the issues. He is in the midst of dealing with a governor who has no idea what it is like to have children in public school. Mr. McHenry started making cuts the first year and has slowly adjusted the staffing so we are not sitting here right now having to cut hundreds of jobs and programs. Give the man credit for doing a difficult job during difficult times and hold the right person responsible for our district and all California districts problems. Spend your time recalling the Governor! Keep McHenry. At least we know who he is and what he is about. Don't bring in someone who doesn't have a clue! Gary McHenry cares about the students in this district and is doing everything he can to keep quality teachers while trying to address their demands no matter how unresonable they are at this time.

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  28. 1:59...has to be Sue Berg, or one of the 3 people that speak out on his behalf that are not district employees. The voters and parents want him gone plain and simple.

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  29. anon 1:59 - Your posting sounds like it was put together by a PR person from district, lots of words, no substance. Focus on the facts.

    If McHenry cared about the children, then he would make an effort to greet them or even acknowledge them as he passes through schools. If he cared about the teachers, then he would make an effort to thank them and not leave them without a contract for this long. If he cared about the parents, he would have acknowledged them when he's around town, especially when the parents are wearing school t-shirts, hats, keychains, etc.

    I do agree we have issues with the governor, but we've had budget problems, to say the least, under McHenry's leadership before the governator was elected. You should not assume that the new superintendant would have no clue, it can't be worse than what we have now. If you've been to a board meeting, you will have seen that the superintendant doesn't answer questions directly, similar to April Treece, again the method of we'll throw them off track by using lots of words, but no substance.

    Pointing fingers towards the governor, is not going to distract those of us who want to make changes at the district level. Parents are privy to these tactics, after all, we have kids who try to pull this kind of trick on us every day.

    We, parents, are working hard both at the State and local level to fix our education system and we will not stop until changes are made.

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  30. Anon 1:59 - I totally agree. McHenry has kept our district out of financial ruin like other districts without parcel taxes. The teachers are at fault for the benefit issue and no one could have known how much medical costs would go up - they gambled and lost on that one. To add full benefits back in would mean such deep cuts to our students that parents like me would leave the district. Like someone else said, try finding full benefits and retirement out in the business world.

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  31. Ah, but every unit within the district has full medical benefits EXCEPT teachers. McHenry has done nothing to settle the contract. His legacy to the MDUSD will be that of a trail of dust as quality teachers race to jobs in surrounding districts. Anon 1:59 you are simply wrong. Prior to Mr. McHenry, we had Paul Allen who developed tremendous working relationships with the bread and butter of this district-teachers. All of the programs in the world will not help our children if they are not run by quality, satisfied teachers.

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  32. Paul Allen was a wonderful man and was great with the teachers. He also apparently ignored a lot of the disability act issues which has cost us so much money for Special Ed over the years with the consent decree. We now have an amazing Special Ed dept. but we lost so much in the general fund, one of the main reasons the teachers don't have full benefits now. The other units voted to keep their benefits and take a much smaller salary increase. I understand that the benefit trade off helped the teachers when they retire so the teachers that are near retirement aren't leaving the district, it's mostly the newer teachers with families that need medical. I think it's terrible there are no benefits for teachers and hope they can be offered once our Governor either wakes up or gets voted out. I don't think the state of the district is solely the fault of the Superintendent. He has worked very hard for this district for many years now and doesn't deserve the slap in the face delivered by Mr. Strange and Mr. Eberhart.

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  33. What is so interesting to me is that Superintendents of neighboring districts are also facing budget cuts, but somehow maintain and show respect to their teachers. Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Acalances teachers are treated and regarded as the professionals that they are. MDUSD teachers are not appreciated and it is the leadership to blame. This petition is the best thing that could have happened.

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  34. John Swett District in Martinez just had their Superintendent resign... next.....

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  35. McHenry has no clue about the what it's like to be a classroom teacher. He has no teaching background, and runs the school district like it's a for-profit enterprise. He extracts "profits" from the system by employing over-priced attorneys (without Board approval) to ensure teachers aren't competitively compensated, then spends the "savings" the district realizes on expanding programs and adding layers of administation, which benefit neither students nor teachers.
    Knowing that contract negotiations with all district employees groups were pending and that teachers remained without medical benefits, McHenry convinced the entire board
    to spend $9+ million on a student information system, to assist him in making even more impressive charts. Now one has only to witness April Treece's et.al., "data driven" eyes glaze over viewing one of McHenry's board presentations, to realize how hopelessly out of touch most of them are with what's really going on.
    McHenry needs to go, and the sooner the better. Treece is an embarassment. Allen knows better, but does nothing, and "Mayo" is the only thing in the sandwich.

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  36. Lawyers are usually hired so the district doesn't get sued or in response to a suit - not to not pay teachers - sounds like a "Noce" lie. I don't think Eberhart or Strange ever said the lawyers fees were not necessary just not approved beforehand. Strange and Eberhart have also said our district is not administratively top-heavy as MDEA spreads to everyone. The student info system was so necessary and mostly one-time money was used so it couldn't have been used for salaries. Same old stuff that isn't true....

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  37. I'm a relatively new teacher, pretty good by most standards, and I've got my resume going out to other districts. I can't afford MDUSD anymore. Health costs are killing my family budget and I'm really, really tired of district dynamics.

    Folks, morale is low in the teaching ranks, and you have the superintendent, relatively low pay, no benefits, heaps of extra duties, NCLB "failing schools" rhetoric, and state budget cuts to thank. Like most teachers, I didn't enter the profession to make heaps of cash. But I need to make a decent living. A livable salary and some health care for my kids would be nice. How is MDUSD going to raise test scores if its teachers are eyeballing the exits?

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  38. po'd parentMay 8, 2008 at 8:52 PM

    anon 6:30 Don't insult our (parents) intelligence by insinuating that Eberhart and Strange are the ones behind this. I really don't give a nat's ass about the politics amongst the five board members. We've lost sight of our goals here: Providing the best possible education for our children.

    You state that McHenry "doesn't deserve the slap in the face delivered by Mr. Strange and Mr. Eberhart". Well here's some news for you, both of these guys are the messengers; don't shoot the messengers. They are doing their jobs as board members and listening to community concerns. Where are the other three board members? If they were doing the same, they would be on the same page as Strange and Eberhart.

    Enough of the rah-rah crap and pre-fabricated responses. I want to see some change. Yes, the district has done some great things, although some of these have been cosmetic. It's just not enough. I want to see some REAL accomplishments and for that to happen we need to make some BIG changes.

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  39. Anon 6:30. Paul Allen had nothing to do with the consent decree. The blame for that lies fully on the shoulders of DeeDee Wells- then the director of special educ. McHenry is responsible for the mass exodus of teachers and if you observe- many quality district administrators who simply could not tolerate his policies. Veteran teachers are not staying in the district because of some terrific retirement plan that awaits them. As a matter of fact their retirement is tied to their salary which we know is below average. They stay because all of their years of experience do not transfer to other districts, i.e. they are trapped here. When these people retire and newer teachers continue to leave in droves this district will truly not be able to fill classrooms with teachers of any quality.

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