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.