Monday, December 14, 2009

Community Meeting Tonight 7pm: Making the Best of a Tough Situation

Remember the Local Community Meeting tonight.

7pm at the Willow Creek Center at 1026 Mohr Lane in Concord.

You'll view a presentation (also available HERE), and hear why a new funding measure will help protect academic programs in the Mt. Diablo School District. You'll also hear, as part of the presentation, the recent poll results related to the possibility of a new funding measure. There will also be an opportunity for break out sessions with your local high school feeder patterns.

This really is an important meeting. Voice your concerns, join your neighbors. What are we going to do to protect basic education in our district? It seems we are past restoring anything that was cut, we are fighting for the survival of very basic core academics. Every district near us has a parcel tax. The district needs to restore trust and perhaps, our new Superintendent will do just that. These issues are statewide. This is not our current board's fault. It is an impossible situation for them. It's not how to make cuts that won't hurt, at this point, we're already looking at cuts at the core of what is best for our students. How will our district survive this next round?

I hope that we can all be adults. Stop the blame and finger pointing and let's get down to how we're going to keep this district providing a quality education for our children? People get bogged down in the blame, the past and their own priorities that we seem to sometimes forget the big picture - that is that our children deserve the best education possible. How are we going to get there? How are we going to keep this district solvent? If there is an idea you have other than a parcel tax - get involved, and voice it! The same old arguments (cut at dent, cut admin, blame the board, blame the superintendent, cut the teachers, etc etc) don't cut it. We need real solutions. This is a statewide issue, that will require a local "roll up your sleeves" solution. The question is, what's the answer?

Here's a new Fact Sheet Flyer, also available at this LINK:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Say No to Teacher Contract (GUEST OPINIONS)

I received the following email regarding the vote at tonight's Board meeting, and below it, some excerpts from another:

Do parents know what is at stake tomorrow? If the board of education votes yes on the teacher contract tomorrow night, then it will ascertain that only the teachers will not feel the hits of the coming budget cuts and the coming years. Is that fair? I don't think so. In the same meeting they will be discussing more cuts that will impact the students, and then will vote to keep status quo for the teachers? Other districts around the state are going to have to impose pay cuts across all employee groups and even mandatory furloughs, shortened school years and more. (link to LA Schools proposal and LA Times article: LA Unified asks union to ok furlough days)

How can MDUSD justify this vote for the teachers in light of another upcoming round of MILLIONS in budget CUTS? I think Strange, Eberhart and Whitmarsh are being "too" loyal to the teacher union that no doubt helped at least two of them be elected. They voted for the pay raises last month. They are now going to vote to freeze salaries too? While the students will suffer with possible school closures and more program cuts, not to mention the sports, music, electives and class sizes - they now get to bear the brunt of more. All while the teachers get a guarantee.

State workers, and other corporations are reducing pay, enforcing furloughs, freezing bonuses and pay raises, instituting closures of major entities for days every month (DMV, courts, etc), and we want to guarantee nothing will happen to the teachers salary? I say STOP. We love our teachers. But even the union is throwing a segment of their own teachers under the bus. Who gets laid off when schools close? Yes, but not as many as will benefit from the freeze. Or maybe they are banking on the fact that fewer schools will have to fit more students and therefore absorb the teachers? Again, who gets hurt there? Families, students and communities.

I just wanted to voice that to you as I love our teachers, but as a parent it would be impossible for me to go public. My husband has been forced to take furlough days. We've lost all his overtime. I'm having to get a part time job. Companies, the State and others have to make hard choices to keep the entire entity solvent. How can a district so large as MDUSD look to guaranteeing anything for anyone at this point? So I hope that you will post this to educate others, as to what this vote really means. And a parcel tax? Are they nuts? The paper said that a parcel tax will avoid some of the upcoming cuts. But what about the cuts already done? Will my son be able to play his last year of football next year at CHS? Will my daughter still be able to try out for soccer as a freshman? What about special ed? Spending a million to learn where to cut even more? Oh, but the teachers get to maintain, while the rest of us take it for the team... no thanks.

And another:

Committing to the current contract for an additional three years will tie the hands of this district to cut everything from the students while maintaining a hands off approach to salary cuts. No one wants to cut salaries but when people all over this state are out of work, taking furlough days, and facing salary cuts, employees in this district can not be guaranteed business as usual. The district salaries make up 82% of the unrestricted budget…. Tonight we will be talking about closing schools and cutting programs on top of the items ... that have already been cut. Again cuts on the backs of the students. In Los Angeles they are looking at 4 furlough days this year for every employee and a 12% across the board pay cut next year. rolling over the contract the teachers will still receive their stepped increases.

... by approving this contract the teachers will only be affected if we are faced with receivership, everything else goes first. Also please note that it is not just the teachers, I understand this will set a precedent for all bargaining unit contracts.

Parents should email the board before Tuesday's meeting, and plan to attend if they can and speak during public comment:

You can view the budget cuts that are being proposed tonight on the Board Agenda. There is both a powerpoint and an excel spreadsheet you can click and view at Item #17.7. Some of the items on the next cut list are:
  • Eliminate 4 FTE remaining middle and high school librarian positions (impact: libraries will close)
  • Eliminate 3.6 librarian FTE associated with Elementary Reduced Class Size
  • Reduce all Special Education services that are not mandated by state or federal law or included in the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP).
  • Close schools. Cost savings would result from the consolidation of administrative and classified positions and in utility savings if the campus is not used. At Elementary Schools, following positions would be reduced: Principal, Office Manager, Elementary Head Custodian, PM Custodians, Elementary School Secretary.
  • Eliminate Parent Subsidized Busing Program (Impact: Busing to Mt. Diablo High School and Delta View Elementary would continue, all other home to school busing would cease.)
  • Reduce Custodial Substitute Policy (Impact: Some basic classroom cleaning would not be completed)
  • Increase minimum class size to 28 students or 80% of contractual maximum. (Impact: May eliminate AP or other low enrollment courses)
  • Delay purchase of textbooks and materials for language arts adoption for one year. Transfer funds to unrestricted fund balance. (Impact: May have budget impact in later years.)
  • Reduce unrestricted material and supply budgets (Impact: Reduced funding for paper products, landscaping supplies, and instructional supplies.)
There are several other items on the agenda, some require negotiation with the various employee entities and others are being further investigated. So take a look and be educated as to what is to come in our district. If you disagree with it, step up and let the Board know.

Monday, November 30, 2009

MDUSD Parcel Tax Community Meeting

Interested in the next MDUSD Parcel Tax effort? Attend the "Local School Community Meeting" coming up on Monday, December 14th. At this meeting, you'll hear the results of a recent community polling effort as well as learn how you can help.

Each school Principal has been invited. They have each been asked to bring a parent rep and a teacher rep... if you are interested in this renewed push for funding for our local schools, please talk to your Principal and plan to attend and help the effort at your school. EVERYONE is welcome!

Local School Community Meeting

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 7pm

Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane, Concord

Monday, November 16, 2009

MDUSD Board Meeting Tuesday 11/17 7:30pm

Here is the agenda for Tuesday's board meeting.

And a recap from Theresa Harrington of the CCTimes as to the "hot topics" to be discussed tonight. Mt. Diablo School Board to Vote on Staff Changes, Propose No Teacher Pay Increase through 2013.

Revealed in the last couple of weeks are three major Dent Center retirements including our Interim Superintendent, Richard Nicoll (which we knew), an Associate Superintendent Alan Young, and the Assistant Superintendent in charge of Personnel, Gail Isserman.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

MDUSD makes it tough for volunteers

So, we have increased class sizes, budget cuts, decreases in everything from support and aides to supplies and cleaning. NOW we have a shortage of volunteers? Why you ask? Well, because a district policy that has been in place for years, has now taken a new turn.

If you read in the
CC Times article today, you'll see that Times writer, Theresa Harrington, wrote about something many of us already knew. The district fingerprinting process is in crisis. Personally, I've volunteered in this district for 10 years and have never been pressured to be fingerprinted. The article even notes that in supervised conditions (i.e. working in a classroom, library or on a field trip), you could volunteer without the need to fingerprint. It was only the "extended contact" volunteers that needed to be printed.

Perhaps among school sites, it was also a "don't ask , don't tell" policy? Not sure. But now, in the midst of the biggest education fiscal disaster ever, they are making it harder than ever for parents to volunteer.

The article notes that schools are having to actually cancel field trips as parents can not get fingerprinted in time. They are now said to be booking fingerprint appointments into February. Imagine that? Parents can not even accompany their own student(s) on a field trip where there is teacher supervision. Unbelieveable isn't it?

And, ummm, Greg Rolen, seriously? Did he really say this (courtesy of CCTimes)?

Greg Rolen, the district's general counsel, said the stricter rules help ensure the safety of students because the district now has criminal background checks done by the state Department of Justice for all volunteers. But he did not bring the changes to the board for a public discussion and said he was not sure what was causing the backlog.

So Mr. Rolen, on his own (?) , enacts a stricter policy, doesn't even bring it to the board and actually WONDERS why this is causing a backlog? I'm sorry, I do like Mr. Rolen... but this must have been taken out of context. Parents want to volunteer. Schools need volunteers. You've got what? Over 30,000 students? With what? Upwards of 40,000 parents and caregivers? And you didn't think that having a new STRICTER policy of fingerprinting would cause any kind of a backlog? It was already backlogged months last year. Did Mr. Rolen know that? Surely not all 40,000+ parents/caregivers will volunteer. But even if only 10% do, that is 4,000 volunteers to be printed. Assuming you can do 20 a day that is 40 weeks of just straight fingerprinting. 20 a day , 5 days a week. With holidays, summer, breaks, etc we don't even have 40 weeks in the year to staff such an effort. So I ask again, did Mr. Rolen really wonder what is causing the backlog?

So yes, my math is loose and messy. I may be exaggerating that we have 4,000 parents, caregivers and community members willing to volunteer (I hope not though given the size of our district). But, I think you get my gist.

For schools to have to cancel events, when these volunteers are not left unsupervised with the students, is what is "unacceptable."

Dr. Nicoll, the interim Superintendent, released this in a memo to management:

The backlog of volunteers waiting to be fingerprinted has reached unacceptable levels. Effective immediately, we will allow volunteers to assist at school subject to the following conditions:

-The volunteer must have passed a tuberculosis screening test.
-The volunteer must have an appointment to be fingerprinted. Volunteers failing to fulfill this obligation will not be allowed to continue.
-The volunteer must be under the supervision of a certificated employee at all times.

Volunteers who have not met these conditions may work in school classrooms, pods, or outside areas when supervised. Volunteers who drive students on a field trip, tutor students in locations where no staff is present, or have any individualized contact with students in an unsupervised setting must be fingerprinted prior to performing their service.

Dr. Nicoll continues and lets us know they are working on the possibility of the County Office of Education assisting in the fingerprinting efforts. They will let us know when/if that happens though it will be more expensive per the CCTimes article.

While this interim solution seems to be an effort to relieve the stresses at the school sites, but allowing more to volunteer.. who polices this? Do the school sites have to confirm with the district EACH and EVERY parent who wants to volunteer? Confirm they have an appointment scheduled? And confirm they have a clear TB test? Does the district send a list to each school site? How does a parent "prove" they have an appointment and clear tb? Maybe someone can shed light on this aspect.

So, to conclude, if you are a parent and wish to volunteer in your child's classroom, get an appointment right away to be fingerprinted. Contact the district at 682-8000, ext. 4153 . You must also complete the attached FORM (available in english and spanish) and bring it with you. You must also bring evidence of a clear TB test result done within 60 days of your fingerprint appointment. You must also bring exact cash, or money order for $32.00. Your TB results stay valid for 4 years, and your fingerprinting stays valid for the duration of your volunteering within the district.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Parents at Homecoming

As many might have guessed, there were NO parents at the Richmond Homecoming. What a sad state of affairs and quite possibly it is what strikes at the heart of the issue in Richmond overall. Where I am, teachers have to have random drawings to choose parents to attend trips and assemblies as "too many" ask to attend.

From the Contra Costa Times article: "Richmond High struggles perennially to engage its families, most of them residents of diverse but poor flatland neighborhoods in San Pablo, unincorporated North Richmond and parts of Central Richmond. Three years ago, a principal even tried a doorbell campaign. It remains difficult to sustain parental commitment, Franco admitted."

Knowing the above, and knowing what was further stated in the Times article about parents and their problems with younger children at home, why doesn't the school play a more active role in TRYING to get parents out. For example, why not stagger the homecomings in the same town for different nights and ask for older student volunteers of the "other school" to babysit for parents (with adult supervision), so that they can volunteer - perhaps an onsite classroom can be set up with movies , popcorn and other activities for children. That is just one of many solutions I could see being offered. Provide solutions to the "excuses" and MAYBE you'll get more involvement. (Of course, I could be completely underestimating this community and perhaps even with solutions, they'll choose not to participate.)

So thinking of everything that went wrong in Richmond (no parents, minimal supervision, police not patrolling perimeters, no checks on non students, and seemingly no hard and fast rules about coming and going), with what happened in Pleasant Hill at College Park's Homecoming:

(again from the Times) "Such high schools as Concord and College Park call the parents of students who don't show up for a dance for which they purchased tickets. No students may leave until the dance ends without calling their parents. Those who walk to their cars in the parking lot are escorted."

So perhaps, the easiest solution for now in Richmond, is that without parent commitment and involvement in a safe school environment, dances and events like this must cease - if only for student safety. What a sad state of affairs, don't you think? I hope this was a wake up call for parents everywhere. The schools can't do it all. Though I do still place some blame on the school for this one. If they had inadequate supervision, and had no intention of monitoring students coming and going, and didn't communicate with security their expectations of perimeter patrols - then just stop until you get your act together.

What happened in Richmond should never have happened, may never have happened, if the proper safety protocol was in place. And no I don't blame the behavior of those guilty parties on the school - but it was a perfect storm of opportunity that night. An opportunity that could've been lessened or eliminated had a few more safety measures been taken. El Cerrito seems to be on the right track:

"Cameras and gates will not solve the problem. You've got to have a parent presence. You can't expect a bankrupt district to have the people to send. We have to be the people," said Michele Jawad, a longtime parent volunteer in El Cerrito schools and a member of the school district's safety committee."

"We just have to have more parents, grandparents, retired people, neighbors involved. They have to step up for the kids. There's no excuse. If kids don't have parents (available), then others should be willing to step in," Jawad said. "The days of sending kids to school and forgetting about them are gone."

It seems that Richmond needs a Michele Jawad to step up, I hope from this tragedy, Richmond gets many just like her.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Over 53,000 votes cast! Fabulous showing of school spirit and pride in MDUSD Sports!

Congratulations to both schools! Good luck at the game!

Richmond Homecoming: Could it Happen Here?

Who else is absolutely sickened by the news continuing to come out of Richmond? And for me, as a parent of a high school student, it is not just the horrific nature of the crime, and the bystanders who did nothing.... it is the school that is worrying me too.

From the CNN article ,

She had come alone to the Richmond High School homecoming dance, gorgeous in a sparkling purple dress and faux diamond baubles. The DJ played salsa, meringue, rap. When the teenager disappeared, her friends thought she had gone home early.

But we all know now, she didn't go home early, she was outside, ON SCHOOL GROUNDS being brutally beaten and raped for over 2 hours. I won't even go into all the nuances of the case as I've learned them, as you all have probably read the stories and heard the news too. But what scares me is the question, SHOULDN'T WE BE ABLE TO COUNT ON OUR CHILDREN BEING SAFE AT A SCHOOL EVENT?

What happened to the days when once you checked into a dance you could not leave. What happened to student safety being #1 priority. Why is it now being noted that there were chaperones, at least one asst principal and security officers there and not one was patrolling the grounds? It is also noted that strangers (non students) were seen on campus and as quoted from one of the victim's friends, "I looked outside of the gym and I saw 12 to 15 guys, sitting there, with no IDs," Baker said at the hearing. "The officers -- not only did they not check the IDs of those students or men sitting outside of of our campus, but the security officers who are employed here did no ... checking either. The assistant principal looked outside and actually saw those men, and did nothing about it."

In addition, how could it be ok that a school board member was seen on the news a few days ago acknowledging that school security cameras do not work? Yes, it's a big campus as he said, but you have security officers, chaperones, and school personnel and no one is monitoring the grounds during a big dance? In an area known for drugs, gangs and crime - no one is watching what is going on, or as stated above, questioning those who do not belong?

And unfortunately, this brings up so many other larger questions, like WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE that not only allow a crime like this to be committed, but who seemingly turned a blind eye to the signs something was amiss (strangers/non students on campus).

Could this happen here? How are our dances monitored? Are kids allowed to come and go? Do they allow non students on campus? Is there security or school personnel patrolling?

What about the unthinkable moral trainwreck? Could kids in our own schools just stand and watch something like this happen and do nothing? Could kids in our own schools do such a thing? I want to think no way. But ?? Why is Richmond different? What was the "perfect storm" that made this happen there, on that night, to that girl?

This was a school sponsored event. And as a parent , it makes me angry. Maybe I'll make some of you angry with my opinions here, but I think that school , the school officials, security and the district needs to be held accountable for doing nothing to prevent an unsafe environment for children. Children who just wanted to fit in, go to a dance, have fun, hang with their friends. There is no excuse. School officials didn't make this happen, but did they do enough to prevent it? I say no based on the information I have now... your thoughts?

Prayers go out to this girl , her friends and her family. I hope for speedy recovery and that she can rise above this horror. I can't even imagine..... it's too hard to even wrap my brain around all this....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VOTE now for MDUSD Sports!

I was notified there is a very important vote going on today in support of some local sports!!! No, not JUST the school board meeting tonight whereas the board will be voting whether or not to continue sports... but for KTVU's Game of the Week! Ygnacio Valley High vs. Clayton Valley High is competing against other local teams for the honor. As of 10am this morning only about 30 votes separate 1st and 2nd place, and that is out of over 8000 total votes so far...

Vote for YVHS vs CVHS as KTVU's game of the week and each school could earn $500. Here's the link:

The local game is TIED with another game so vote early and often as they say!

And, if you'd like to see the board meeting discussion tonight where fundraising efforts will be recapped and the continuation of sports will be voted on, see the links on the right sidebar where you can be routed to tonight's agenda, and link to where you can watch it all happen live. Or go to


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Drugs & Alcohol - Do local schools have a problem?

Does MDUSD have a problem with drugs and alcohol ON campus? Does it seem the drug and alcohol problem is worse in any one particular high school than another? I received an email recently, and it quite simply was very disturbing. But I think it needs to be talked about, and I want to hear from YOU! Is this an ongoing problem being swept under the rug? Is it the problem of just a particular school, or many? I've left the name of the high school out as I fear this will get into a clash of "who's better than who" or elicit specific criticisms of certain groups of kids, towns or other irrelevant issues.

More to the point, I want to address the problem overall, as it appears to be a serious problem and I'm not sure what is being done about it.

". . . parents have no clue what they’re getting themselves into at (certain) HS. I feel that there should be a “wake-up call” meeting to alert and prepare parents in a very realistic way. There is a TON of drug and alcohol use outside of and during school. Its more than what I could’ve imagined. The school doesn’t seem to be hard enough on the kids. There’s very low school spirit and it’s seen as “nerdy” if you don’t drink or smoke. Maybe I’m being biased because my child goes there, but I’ve talked to other parents and its not like that in other schools. Most of us are totally blind to it, really. I know I was. Oh, and did you know that there’s no smell when they drink Vodka?"


"There are always fights and I’m telling you.. kids are popping pills IN class, stoned during school, and drinking – some kids come to school with vodka in their backpacks! Ecstasy is the big thing right now. I don’t know… I feel like my blinders have been taken off and in talking to other parents, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stuff."

So, is it worse over the last few years, than in years past?

Are drugs and alcohol issues LESS prominent in some schools than others, or are they actually used less by students of some schools? How about in the schools known for more of a college track? This parent continued,

"At the (other local schools) high-achiever/popular type kids aren’t the ones coming to school buzzed/high… it’s the losers or the kids in the “middle”, but at (this school) EVERYONE does it… it’s the popular, high achiever kids that think it’s cool and they can function high and its looked down upon if you don’t do that…. "

So, I turn to google:

In the Clayton Pioneer dating back to 2006, drugs were mentioned by the Student Reporter: A Hyphy Movement 'Thizzing, or using the drug Ecstasy, is popular within they Hyphy culture.'

Earlier this year, another Clayton Valley High student, as Student Reporter for the Pioneer, wrote in her article, "Ecstasy is New Epidemic..." . The article sparked outrage from many sectors, fellow students, parents and educators alike. But is it really new? Clearly not when it was mentioned 3 years ago related to the same Clayton Valley High School.

And as I said, not to focus on just one school, and so you don't think it's just Clayton Valley, we found an article chronicling the recovery of "Sam," a Walnut Creek teen's road from meth. During this multi part series, it asked where Sam got her drugs:

During the nine months of turmoil, Sam never had any problems getting meth. It was cheap - the going rate for one night's worth for two was $40 - if she had to pay at all. Sam says friends at Northgate High School often just gave it to her.

"It's everywhere," she says. "You can't escape from it."

In a recent Times article, this article profiles a former, now recovering, DLS athlete / student who came back to visit De La Salle in hopes that his story will keep the students on right path:

A 1988 graduate of De La Salle and the baseball team's MVP as a senior, Curran has traveled a different and much more dangerous road than many of the athletes who have attended the school — a harrowing 20-year journey to the depths of nowhere and back.

Curran became an alcoholic. Heavy beer consumption began while he was at De La Salle.

In doing a simple google Internet search I found dozens of references of local drug and alcohol use among local teens, and at teen parties. This article from 2008 notes:

"Most high school parties in Martinez feature booze, weed, Ecstasy and acid," one Alhambra High senior said. Just some parties?

"No, most of them," said Greg Kearney, an 18-year-old Alhambra High School senior.
"Parents don't really know about them. When parents go out of town is when they usually happen," he said.

Of course we know of the tragedy in Orinda. Joseph Loudon (a Miramonte HS student) died during an unsupervised teen party, and in this article originally in the Oakland Tribune in 2007, it is noted that:

Correlating state Healthy Kids Survey results for school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties with data on free lunches that indicates relative levels of wealth in school districts, reveals youthful substance abuse is more common in the East Bay's richer areas.

More-affluent districts generally had higher rates of juniors who admitted to binge drinking or consumed alcohol within 30 days of the survey. They also had higher rates of juniors who admitted having been high from drugs.

Parents in the Lamorinda area united in 2006 after an out of control New Years eve party in Moraga. This was profiled in Diablo Magazine, Teenage Wasteland.

The parent who originally sent this information to me asked, are we , as parents, sticking our heads in the sand? Are we ignoring what is under our nose? What to do?

What is being done? Anything? Are school administrators ignoring the problems? Are parents? Are all schools facing these issues? Please be honest. As parents, we need to create solutions and not create divides by thinking this does not happen to your school, or in your community, because it does.


For more information:
Tonight, Sunday, October 18th, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee will be airing "Rehab, a sobering look at kids and addiction." The show will air on Nick at 8pm Pacific time. See more at This is a show aimed at kids. So, watch it with them. It may be "too young" for the group we're talking about here (high school), but it's never too early to start talking about it. Believe me, if you've got middle school students or older, they've heard it before.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Save Our Sports 5k and Campus Clean Up Day at CVHS

Looking for a couple of great ways to get involved in your local school community this weekend? For supporters of Clayton Valley High School, they are inviting students, parents, neighbors, everyone to come take part in the Campus Clean-Up Day this Sunday, October 18th starting at noon. Check out CVHS's website for more details HERE.

And, if you have atheletes in your home, even if they're not in high school yet, did you know that the District sports program is in very real jeopardy? Please come out and support Sports in our district, also on Sunday, October 18th for the UMDAF (United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation), 5k Walk/Run at Newhall Park in Concord. Details can be found on the UMDAF website HERE.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MDUSD Food Pantry NEEDS HELP now

Can you help the MDUSD food pantry? They pretty much need everything. Did you know MDUSD stocks a food pantry?

"We are in great need of food for families here in our District. Our pantry is pretty bare. Attached is a list of suggested food items if anyone is asking what they can donate. Some sites have had food drives and collected only peanut butter or pasta and pasta sauce, one site collected cereal only, etc. We are in need of everything right now."

The MDUSD food pantry effort is all driven by volunteers, here is more:

"The food bank here is run by a small group of wonderful volunteers who sort and box food on their lunch hour or after work. We box up an emergency 3-day supply and stack the boxes in the lunchroom to be picked up and delivered to those families in need. [District reps] stop by and get the food delivered to those families in greatest need. As soon as we stock up on food, I will spread the word that we have boxes of food ready to pick up. "

Perhaps your school can consider a food drive? How about your scout troop? Book club? This is an important "cause" and it is right here in our back yard, with OUR own kids.

Below is a list of suggested donated items (view list online: HERE)

TOP 10 Items
Peanut Butter
Canned Fruit
-Cream of Wheat
-Box of Any Type
Canned Tuna
Canned Chicken
Whole Beans (bags/cans)
Canned Chili
Pasta & Sauce
Canned Vegetables

Other Suggested Items
Soup (Cans or Instant)
Macaroni and Cheese
Protein Power Bars
Granola Bars
Individual snacks such as:
Cheese & Crackers
Peanut Butter & Crackers
Velveeta Cheese
Instant Powder Drinks
Canned Evaporated Milk
Juices -- no refrigeration

Lori Amenta, of the MDUSD, also says:

"Thanks for everything! I know everyone is doing more than they probably ever imagined possible. I don’t want to add more to your plates but every little bit helps. Many school leadership groups organize food drives. Parents are coordinating food drives. Individuals can always bring food here to the District office. We have a bin in the lobby or I can meet them in the lunch room if they have a large amount to donate. We can also arrange to pick up boxes at your site."

Print the list for use at your school site too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MDUSD Superintendent Search

Want to be a part of the process? Interested in providing input and feedback? Well, here's your chance to meet with the consultants leading this process:

We are sending this letter regarding the superintendent search and ask if you would please forward it to your PTA or PFC presidents via the contact information you have at your site. We sincerely appreciate your assistance.

Service Club Representatives

RE: Superintendent Search

The Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District is conducting a search for the next district superintendent. Community input about the desired characteristics to be used in recruiting and selecting this person is desired.

Leadership Associates Executive Search Advisors, Jim Brown and Rene Town, were selected by the Board to conduct the recruitment and comprehensive search process in the selection of the district’s next leader. They will be in our district on September 1 and 2, 2009 to solicit input that will be used to develop the recruitment criteria.

The time set for the consultants to meet with you (or your group) is on September 1, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane, Concord 94518. Verification of your attendance would be appreciated. Please contact Rosemarie Scrosati at (925) 682-8000, Ext. 4007.

The consultants will be asking two primary questions: What are the desirable qualities, characteristics, background and experiences (professional and personal) for the next superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District? What do you see as the strengths of the district and the major challenges facing the district in the years ahead?

If you are unable to meet during the scheduled appointment time, you may attend a community open forum (no appointment necessary) which will be held on September 1 and 2, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the same location. If none of the options to meet personally with our advisors matches your schedule, input may also be offered by fax or phone to (949) 461-9119 or email to

We value and appreciate your input in this recruitment process.

Gary Eberhart
President, Board of Education

The scheduled times are as follows:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chasing Rodriguez: The Concord Movie to benefit MDUSD

You do NOT want to miss your chance to own a piece of HISTORY! Concord's own Hollywood stuntman (really) has taken on a fabulous project in order to benefit MDUSD. Please check out to pre-order your DVD. Watch the video above to see your favorite local business owners and how they are supporting this effort. All profits will go to directly benefit MDUSD schools. Can you think of anything better than to provide opportunities for our local talented young actors and actresses, and they get to help benefit their own schools? Thanks Jeff Mosley!

Oh, and the first 500 who pre-order actually will get to attend a special movie screening at Concord's Brenden Theatre! I'm off to order now, how about you?

Monday, June 22, 2009

When bad teachers happen in the MDUSD, kids get suspended??

I just had to write about this, as I had heard about this teacher all year long. What does it take to get the attention of administration at a school? Well, in this case it seems it took a student "defying state education code" to videotape one particular unruly day.

"The students weren't behaving," Moore said of the third-period introductory algebra class. "The teacher couldn't control the students. They were making a ruckus every day, making it difficult to learn."

The ninth-grade students threw things around the room. Shortly after Christmas, students told this newspaper, someone put Play-Doh in the microwave, causing the substance to explode. It resulted in a smoke-filled classroom that teacher Michael Huang refused to air out. In other classes Huang taught, they said, students lit trash can fires and smoked cigarettes or even marijuana."

What makes students behave this way? This behavior is unacceptable no matter how "bad" the teacher is, don't you agree? But should "good students" be forced to endure this? But when complaints were made of this behavior and the teacher's actions all year long, why does it take someone having to "break the rules" to "blow the whistle" on the situation? What is wrong with this picture?

Part of the article describes the teacher's actions:

"Her daughter and classmates, who have asked to remain anonymous for fear of campus retaliation, said Huang tried coaxing students by offering extra credit if they would raise their hands and say "thank you." His Taiwanese accent was difficult to understand and he often sat at his computer instead of teaching, they said.

Huang also yelled at them and ridiculed them in front of the class, they said."

I'm glad to hear this particular teacher has resigned. Teachers like this should not be in our schools. But geez, what do you do about students like this? Seems there is enough blame here to go around.

What do you all think?

For the full article about this teacher and the events leading to his resignation, read the Contra Costa Times article written by Theresa Harrington: Girl Suspended for Videotaping Unruly Class

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let's talk about the New MDUSD Superintendent

Today, starts the behind the scenes search for the new MDUSD Superintendent. Today, in a special session of the board (3pm), they will begin to work together in forming the criteria for selection of a new Superintendent. There will be public input meetings held, and all are encouraged to contact board members if you have input.

What do you think is important in the selection process?

What do you want the board to know?

Should it be someone from within?

Share your thoughts here, and if you're interested in this process stay tuned for public meetings about this, remember the goal is to have someone in place by the end of this year.

Here is agenda starting with the 3pm meeting today: AGENDA special meeting. Public comment is on the agenda, so go and voice your opinions, concerns, wants and needs for a new Superintendent.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Great PINK SLIP information and how they are rescinded | MDUSD Teacher News

With the many questions swirling around about teacher pink slips, and how and who are rescinded, Sherry Whitmarsh, MDUSD Board Member graciously took on the question:

The process for school district employers conducting a Reduction In Force (issuing and rescinding pink slips) is dictated by the California Education Code (Ed Code). This Ed Code policy governs all the public schools in our state. It uses seniority and certification(s) to determine the order in which pink slips are issued and rescinded. For certificated staff, (teachers) those most vulnerable to layoff are probationary teachers, followed by teachers who have achieved permanent status with the district. Although not required by Ed Code, the district also noticed all teachers on temporary contracts. This was done to guard against any errors that, if corrected during the layoff hearing, would have afforded these teachers rehire rights.

Temporary teachers are those who have been hired for a specific time period, or who are holding a position for a probationary or permanent teacher on an approved leave. They are often assigned as long term substitutes, or serve in a teaching position over a portion of a school year. Correctly classified temporary teachers do not have rehire rights under the Ed Code.

In order to be classified as probationary, a teacher must have a valid credential, be teaching within their credential area and serve the district for a period of at least two years. Permanent status is given to probationary teachers at the district's discretion, after serving two years in probationary status. School district employers may also 'non-reelect" teachers in their second year of probationary service, provided such notice is given probationary teachers prior to March 15th, of their second year of probationary service. If no such notice of non-reelection is given, second year probationary teachers are awarded permanent status on the first day of their third year of employment with the district.

Ed Code also governs how laid off teachers will be rehired. Generally, all permanent teachers must be rehired, in order of their district seniority, before the district may rehire teachers who were laid off while on probationary status. Rehired second year probationary teachers become permanent teachers on the first workday of their third year of service with the district.

The Ed Code provides rehire rights to probationary teachers for a period not to exceed 24 months. Permanent teachers have rehire rights for a 39 month period, during which time they may refuse one (1) offer of reemployment from the district , and still retain rehire rights. Probationary teachers may not refuse an offer of reemployment within the 24 month rehire period, without forfeiting their rehire rights with the district. Both probationary and permanent employees, who are rehired within their respective eligibility periods, retain their original seniority date, as well as all rights and benefits they had prior to being laid off.

Friday, June 12, 2009

$12 million dollar budget reduction list for Tuesday, June 16th

Here we go again, with a goal of $12 million to be slashed Tuesday night, here is a partial list of "big ticket items" on the chopping block, as noted on the agenda for the evening (for budget reductions start at page 159):

Reduce home to school transportation by 11 Bus Driver positions and (1) clerical position. Eliminate all home to school transportation except in the Bay Point/Pittsburg area. Continue NCLB and home to school bussing. Work with County Connection to try to reestablish routes. (Per the CCTimes: "Nicoll said cutting buses for hundreds of children in the Crossings and Crystyl Ranch areas of Concord could be controversial." )

Eliminate one member of the Superintendent's Council. There would need to be a reorganization of duties among senior staff (starting in 2010-2011).

Eliminate administrative assistant for one member of the Superintendent's Council (2010-2011).

Eliminate one Senior General Maintenence Worker.

Eliminate Director of Purchasing.

Delay transfer of Meals for Needy Funds to Food and Nutrition Services. District has been transferring funds from Meals for Needy to Food Services. This would reduce the transfer by $100,000.

Additional reductions to Tier 3 programs. To be determined - this one item alone = $2.3 million dollars. What will it be? I have heard that cuts from this category will be considered on June 30th. Hopefully we'll have a list of what these will be before then. Perhaps a board member will give us more information on this one.

If you're interested in seeing the recommended athletics funding plan, then start at page 170 on the AGENDA.

New Article by Theresa Harrington at the Contra Costa Times: Mt. Diablo school board expects to cut $12 million more from three-year budget, bringing total cuts to $43 million


Thursday, June 11, 2009

How will you help our ailing MDUSD schools?

There has been a seemingly never ending assault on our schools here in the MDUSD. With the failure of Measure D and the continued failure of our state to put kids and education first, it just gets worse every time we look. Next up, $12 million more will be slashed from our budget at next Tuesday night's board meeting. So what can you do?

The district wants you to donate your $99 that otherwise may have gone to Measure D, to them. I think it is a very interesting idea. This giving campaign, started by Ygnacio Valley High parent, Teresa Torbett and introduced at the board meeting on June 2nd, resulted in over $2,700 in contributions that same night. You can read more about Teresa's effort HERE . I applaud Teresa's efforts. We need more grassroots thinkers out there, as we are left in a position of having to scramble for support and lost programs. With proactive, visionary parents like Teresa out there, we will get there. She was also featured on a recent episode of Channel 7's "Beyond the Headlines" discussing the ground level efforts within our district and at our schools. She also discussed more locally the Ygnacio Valley /YVHS Community Action Group

Next up, the parcel tax may be re-introduced to the ballot in November. Hopefully the community will realize that every single vote counts. Though Measure D got the majority vote, in this instance, the minority ruled. It is not acceptable. The cuts made in the last few weeks, and surely the next ones coming, will be felt by all within this district come August when school begins again. No VP's, larger class sizes, no sports, no elementary music, reduced library services and more. Every student will feel these cuts.

Then, we have individual schools ramping up their fundraising efforts. Some with specific goals for the summer in order to supplement their programs come fall. Strandwood started by asking families to donate the $100 that would've otherwise gone to Measure D, direct to the school. Their goal is to raise over $56,000 this summer. Bancroft Elementary also started a $1 a day campaign and in just over a week brought in over $36,000. These schools and others were featured in a CCTimes Article today. These schools are looking to fund programs and assistants to aide in their growing classrooms. The impact of grades 1-3 going from 20 students to 31 will be profound. Some of these fundraising efforts are geared directly at providing an aide for each classroom come fall.

Personally, I'd like to see the individual school communities create a needs list (i.e. aides) and then create a campaign to help support that. Whether it be a $1 a day, or the flat $100, it will go a long way if EACH family contributes. I worry the district's fundraising campaign will not come close to the funds needed to restore any programs. I further worry that these monies will be considered "one time" money. Just as the district could not use the stimulus money to restore ongoing programs and positions, it seems too this same restriction would hamper the district from using any of these donations to restore anything "we" at the school levels will feel. I hope that if I'm wrong, one of the board members will correct me.

But for now, my advocacy would go toward the individual school sites to support their own needs. It is now that, we have been forced to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we must all pitch in and give to our schools. If your school is having a fundraising drive, advertise it to your community, not only school families benefit from good schools.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Get Ready, more budget cuts to the tune of $12 MILLION, coming to a district near you

Yes, sad news indeed, with the news coming from the state, our board is faced with the daunting task of cutting yet ANOTHER $12 million dollars next Tuesday night at their board meeting.

Where will they cut? Read the Superintendent's Message outlining the cuts here: Message from Superintendent. He also answers many of the questions I hear frequently asked. The full list of cuts on the agenda for Tuesday will be available on late Friday.

We keep saying, "can it get worse?" Well, yes, it can.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Superintendent speaks on (possible) Swine Flu Death at El Monte

Superintendent, Dr. Dick Nicoll discusses the funeral services and crisis services available at the school site on this video from the CCTimes:
(course it would've been nice had the Times confirmed the spelling of his name)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

MDUSD votes to eliminate class size reduction and 5th grade music

What a depressing evening listening to this board meeting. They just voted to eliminate all the items that were recommended to be cut for tonight which included class size reduction in grades 1-3 and 9. Plus eliminate 5th grade music starting in the 2010-2011 school year, reduce library services and more. Grades 1-3 can now go to 30:1.

They are discussing additional cuts now. Over 200 people have been logged on to watch it streaming live at


Monday, June 1, 2009

37 Million over 3 years? Yes, its worse than we thought in MDUSD

The state has hit us again. Just when we thought that 28 million over 3 years was bad enough, we've been hit with another 9 million. The MDUSD school board now says it must cut 37 million over the next 3 years. I have always been an outspoken advocate for the MDUSD. There is much good in the schools and within our teacher and student population. The failure of our state legislatures and the more local, yet smaller failure of Measure D, has left our district a shambles. These kinds of cuts are going to strip our schools down to the bare bones.

Now, some may say that is good - get back to basics - but the world today is about basics AND MUCH MORE. Can we even pretend to be able to ready our students for the new world of technology ? Have you seen the video Shift Happens, or also called, Did You Know? If you've not yet watched this, you really should. It touches on some interesting facts, just a couple of those are that:

  • 25% of India's population with the highest IQ's, is greater than the entire population of the US. It means that India has more honor students , than America HAS kids.

  • The Top 10 In Demand Jobs in 2010, didn't exist in 2004. That means we are currently preparing our students now for jobs that don't exist yet. Using technologies not yet invented. In order to solve problems we don't know are problems yet.

So given the future of technology and how quickly the world is changing... how well do you think we're doing? I think I know the answer.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Devastating cuts to begin at MDUSD - among other catastrophic cuts, closing schools is ON the list

So it begins, it is shocking to see what is on the proposed BUDGET CUT LIST. It is a sad day indeed. In addition to the things already cut and NOT returning, the next list is even more devastating and shocking.

Here is just a partial proposed cut list. There are a total of 41 items proposed to be cut. If you want to read all of it, please go to page 72 of the Agenda for June 2nd:

  • Eliminate class size reduction in 1-3 (third grade will be staffed at 30:1)
  • 5th grade Instrumental Music (now NO elementary instrumental AT ALL!)
  • Librarians for Middle and High (not sure how many, but libraries may have to close)
  • Close ALL remaining resource centers at the schools, eliminate resource teachers
  • Eliminate funding for the GATE science center
  • Eliminate 9th grade reduced class size (may go to 30.5:1)
  • Proposed 1% pay reduction to all employees

They aim to cut approximately 28 million over 3 years. They must submit a balanced budget by June 30th. Will you be at the next board meeting? Will you be caught off guard when there is no elementary music? What about if your school is on the closure list?

Sports gone. Librarians substantially effected and reduced in some cases. Summer School gone. Music in elementary gone. Resource centers gone. VP's gone. Campus supervisors gone. GATE science center gone. Class size reduction gone.

It surprises me that some who voted NO on Measure D are now surprised by these cuts. Unbelievable.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

MDUSD Is class size reduction gone?

Well, due to the budget crisis, it does seem one of the realities of this budget crisis will come true.

Rumors are that Principals have been told not to place the students yet for next year in the elementary levels as class sizes will likely change and increase.

Then, if they change , what happens to teachers? I guess even the site administrators are just waiting for word. Certainly they'll need less teachers if class sizes are larger. So, stay tuned, the hurt is just beginning.

Watch what happens at next Tuesday's board meeting, that is when the list of possible reductions will be announced.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is annexation the answer for MDUSD?

I received the following today in my email from a friend who received it from a local realtor who's email list she is on. I'm sincerely interested in the thoughts of everyone within the MDUSD as this will affect all of us, no matter what happens:

"Annexation is the Answer

I urge all the folks who worked hard on the Measure D campaign to consider moving forward now with a campaign to annex from the Mt Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD). The goal is to effectively reduce the unmanageable existing size of the MDUSD through annexation of Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek residents within the MDUSD into other adjacent school districts.

Pleasant Hill residents should begin a dialogue with Martinez residents to consider the annexation into the existing Martinez School District. About half of the children in Martinez already attend schools located in Pleasant Hill. It makes sense to consolidate Pleasant Hill and Martinez into one school district.

Walnut Creek residents within the MDUSD should revitalize their campaign to annex into the Walnut Creek School District.

Concord/Clayton and Bay Point residents within the MDUSD should work together to actively support the proposed annexation of Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill into the adjacent school districts. The net result will be a smaller and more manageable MDUSD to ensure the communities of which it serves will receive a quality education experience.

Doing nothing and waiting to cope with the aftermath of draconian state mandated budget cuts is not the answer.

Pete Sabine
Pleasant Hill"


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ready to see what 28 million in MDUSD cuts looks like?

Well, according to this morning's post at - it looks like we'll find out by June 2nd. To submit a balanced 3 year budget by June 30th, our school board is getting right to work. Projections are now that they will need to cut 28 million dollars from the MDUSD budget in the next 3 years. They will be working on the list of cuts at the June 2nd board meeting. So stay tuned to see what will be on the list.

Read more: NOW WHAT?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Superintendent comments after Measure D defeat

"A Message from the Superintendent:"

To Members of the Mt. Diablo School District Community,

I want to thank all of you who supported the effort to pass Measure D in the special election on May 19. When I reflect on the energy and enthusiasm I saw from the countless volunteers--parents, employees, students, and community members--who worked so hard throughout the unusually short three-month campaign, it's hard to believe that the measure was defeated.

While disappointed in the results, we achieved some successes in this endeavor that are well worth celebrating. Last January, when a group of employees and parents met to consider whether or not to pursue a parcel tax, most agreed that it would take nearly a year to carry out a successful campaign. When we learned in February that there would be a special election on May 19, we set aside our misgivings about the timeline and got to work.

In three months that collective endeavor resulted in $175,000 in campaign donations, hundreds of volunteers, and countless hours spent walking, talking, and sharing the message that our students needed the community's support. If this had been a bond measure, the 59% Yes vote would have given us a comfortable victory. The two-thirds vote requirement for a parcel tax put that victory just beyond our reach.

Nevertheless, we all can take heart at what was accomplished.

First and foremost, we demonstrated that we can come together as a district community for a common goal. Leaders and members of all the district's employee bargaining units worked side by side. Parents representing schools in every high school feeder pattern held meetings, sent out communications, organized activities, and carried signs. Local businesses and community members contributed money and time.

Working together, we nearly achieved in three months what we initially believed would take almost a year. I have every confidence that the next time the Mt. Diablo school district community embarks on a parcel tax campaign, the margin of victory will not even be close.

Now, however, my senior staff and I are undertaking the arduous task of adjusting the budget to accommodate reduced state and local funding, most a consequence of the election results. The federal stimulus money will provide some help, although much of it is directed to Special Education programs and high-poverty schools and all of it is one-time funding.

I will present the plan we develop in response to these budget changes to the Board of Education at its June 2, 2009, meeting.

Again, thanks for your involvement in the Measure D campaign and for all you have done and continue to do for the students in Mt. Diablo USD.

Dick Nicoll
Interim Superintendent

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Measure D has been defeated

Sad but true. The school board has to turn in a balanced budget soon. How much more will they need to cut? Will any of the previous cuts be restored? What more is left to cut? I guess we'll find out.

59% Yes is a strong message, but not good enough in this election requiring two-thirds.

So, now what.....?


View Election Results

As of 10:39 with 86 of 133 precincts reporting Measure D is getting closer to victory with 57% YES votes. We need 2/3 majority and we're watching closely.

You can watch to at the following link:



Is your teacher pink slipped? Vote yes on Measure D

Hundreds of teachers have been notified that they have permanently lost their jobs for next year. It is heartbreaking as in many cases these are some of the best and brightest - the newer teachers - either new to teaching or new to our district. These are teachers we know.

Are you not sure if the teachers you know and love have been pink slipped? You can find the full list of teachers at the board meeting minutes of May 12th. See the link below, and start on page 68. There are a few on there still awaiting words of appeals of their seniority etc, but for the most part, that is the final list. We can only hope that the best and the brightest will be back next year when they account for "normal" movements; resignations, retirements, moves, etc.
Start at page 68


Vote Yes on Measure D

In case you needed any more , last minute info on Measure D - go to the website:


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rally today - Celebrate Day of the Teacher

On the day after over 400 pink slips were finalized, please come show your support for our teachers and for Measure D.

Today, Weds May 13th 3:30 - 5:30pm.
  • Willow Pass Road and Contra Costa Blvd
  • Treat and Clayton Road
  • Ygnacio Valley Road and Oak Grove Road
  • Willow Pass Road and Bailey Road
  • Willow Pass Road and Salvio

Measure D will bring in 7 million dollars of local funding. This money can not be taken away from the state to balance its budget.

Programs have already been cut, and may be restored if Measure D passes. Here are some examples of what Measure D can help in restoring:

  • Campus supervisors, custodians, groundskeepers
  • Middle/high school librarians
  • 4th grade music
  • Elementary/middle/high school vice principals
  • Instructional media assistants
  • Special education classroom assistants
  • Resource specialists
  • High School Sports

Vote YES on Measure D. See you today!

More INFO:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Final pink slips considered plus test scores on transcripts?

On Tuesday's board meeting the trustees will be faced with sending final lay off notices to over 413 teachers and librarians, 10 Vice Principals and 2 psychologists. The Contra Costa Times has written an article about this.

Sad day to be sure.

Also, to be considered at this meeting is item 9.11 on the agenda , "Request to place California Standards Test (CST) Results on High School Transcripts." There is a discussion going on over at Paul Strange and Gary Eberhart's blog - join in there. This item is up for "discussion only" Tuesday night, but if you have strong feelings please attend and speak during public comment.

Measure D is on the May 19th, vote YES!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Last Day to Register to Vote in Special Election

Today (May 4th, 2009) is your last day to register to vote in the May 19th Special Election.

Have you moved? Recently turned 18? Not voted in any elections in the last 4 + years?

Check out Contra Costa County Elections Division


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last Day For ROCCO's Fundraiser!

Don't forget to visit Rocco's Pizzeria in Walnut Creek. Tell them you support Measure D and 25% of the proceeds go to support the campaign efforts. Thursday, April 30 is the last day .

Dine in , take out - lunch or dinner!

YES on Measure D.

Visit the website:


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Measure D: New Website, Volunteers needed and 30 days left!

With less than 30 days left until the May 19th election, now, more than ever the MDUSD Measure D campaign needs your help. Can you spend an hour to walk to particular homes in your neighborhood? How about some time making some calls? Any time you can devote is appreciated and will aid in making this Measure a huge , resounding YES for our kids!

Also, next week Tuesday, April 28, Wednesday 4/29, and Thursday 4/30 is a fundraiser at ROCCO's Pizza in Walnut Creek (Oak Grove at Ygnacio near Safeway/Applebees). Just mention Measure D and proceeds will go toward supporting this campaign to restore quality programs to our schools!

A new website for YES on Measure D has been unveiled this week. Mt. Diablo School District has cut over 15 million just this year! More may be coming. Measure D will yield upwards of 7 million dollars per year. This 7 million dollars stays local, and can not be taken away by the state to cure their budget problems. Vote Yes on May 19th for Mt. Diablo School District's Measure D.

MDUSD's Measure D requires a 2/3 voter majority and we can do it with your help!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Local officials, volunteers come out in support of Measure D

It was a beautiful morning to kick off Measure D!

Many people came to meet their fellow "feeder pattern" volunteers, and it was a very exciting vibe! Each week volunteers will be able to coordinate with their site captains, or just head to the campaign office, and pick up a packet to go and talk to their neighbors about Measure D.

Even if you've never been "political," this can be a lot of fun! It's simple. There is a script included in the packet, there are specific addresses/people you will want to go see and you'll be armed with FAQ's and leave behind flyers. The campaign needs your help to get the YES vote out in force on May 19th. Sign up to help at

So today, we heard from Superintendent Dr. Dick Nicoll, Gary Eberhart, President of the MDUSD Board of Education, MDEA President, Mike Noce, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, and Kish Rajan of the Walnut Creek City Council and more.

Milling about were several Mayors, City Council members, County Board of Education members, MDUSD Board members and other prominent community supporters.

Thanks to Craig Cheslog of Assemblyman Tom Torlakson's office for posting the video of the event on youtube: MEASURE D KICK OFF

Specifically we also saw:

Senator Mark DeSaulnier
Assemblyman Tom Torlakson -Craig Cheslog
CCC Supervisor Susan Bonilla - Luis Quinonez - Chief of Staff
Daniel Gomes, CCC Board of Education, President
Glenn Ruley, CCC Board of Education
Kish Rajan - Walnut Creek City Council
Bob Simmons - Walnut Creek City Council
Cindy Silva - Walnut Creek City Council
Guy Bjerke - Concord City Council, Vice Mayor
Bill Shinn - Concord City Council (former Concord Mayor)
David Durant - Pleasant Hill City Council
Mark Celio - Pleasant Hill Treasurer
Judy Dawson, Bay Point Municipal Advisory Committee
A.J. Fardella - Pittsburg Planning Commission
Pam Aguilar, Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County

MDUSD Board of Education
Gary Eberhart - President
Dick Allen
Linda Mayo
Sherry Whitmarsh

Dr. Richard Nicoll
- Superintendent
Rose Lock - Assistant Superintendent, Elementary
Robert Humphrey - Principal, El Dorado MS
Shelly Bain - Principal, Pine Hollow MS
Katie Gaines, Director, Alternative Education
Mike Noce, President, Mt. Diablo Teachers Assn.
...and many other teachers and Principals from throughout the district


Also in attendance today was one of our local favorites, Rocco Biale, of Rocco's Ristorante Pizzeria. Rocco is always giving back to the community and in his support for Measure D, he has offered his restaurant for a few days of Measure D fundraising efforts. Come visit Rocco's for lunch or dinner on any of the dates below, and Rocco will donate a portion of your bill to support the campaign for YES on Measure D.

Tuesday, April 28
Wednesday, April 29
Thursday, April 30

Just tell them you support Measure D, and they'll do the rest!

Just in case you don't know :

2909 Ygnacio Valley Road (nr. Oak Grove)
Walnut Creek, CA



11am - 10pm

Friday, April 10, 2009

Measure D Kick Off Party ! Saturday, April 11


Measure D: Campaign Kick-off Party
Saturday April 11, 2009 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

2280 Diamond Blvd, Suite 350
Concord, California

Come help kick off our voter outreach! Pick up a packet to walk a precinct or make some calls - it all starts tomorrow! Please come, team up with a friend to do some walking for us! We'll make it easy, give you training and more. We also need people to make phone calls. This will happen weekly from now on, but this the day that kicks it all off!

State Senator Mark DeSaulnier will be speaking. Representatives from Tom Torlekson and George Miller's office will be there. Mayors from Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord and Clayton were invited as well as city officials and councilmen and women of Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord and Clayton. Media coverage.

If you have not already marked your calendars, please come down to attend CUES and Protect Our Local Schools kick off the Measure D campaign.

Measure D has had some huge endorsers lately! Contra Costa Times, Pleasant Hill City Council, Walnut Creek City Council and more - Check the site for the list of 800+ endorsers! If you're name is not on there, be sure to fill out the form on the site!

Oh by the way, VOTE YES on Measure D on May 19th!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Measure D Newsletter - campaign kick off party and more!

To read this newsletter online click HERE


Hi Measure D Supporters,
Just 48 days left until the May 19th election. Please read through this entire newsletter for important information about the campaign.

Campaign Kickoff Party
Save the Date!!!

Next Saturday April 11th at 10:00am come join us at our campaign HQ 2280 Diamond Blvd #350 Concord to kickoff our voter outreach efforts. We’ll provide donuts and coffee, and begin training volunteers so we can start that day with our voter outreach efforts (i.e. precinct walking and phoning). Media coverage along with public officials will be there, so come show your support for Measure D.

Site Captains
This Wednesday is our second site captain meeting and first training session for all site captains. We will go over phone banking and precinct walking, as well as update everyone on the latest outreach efforts. Please attend.We now have 74 site captains, however some schools are still without one. Here is the list of schools still needing site captains. ( ) notes number of volunteers signed up.

• Fair Oaks (4) Sun Terrace (0)

• Highlands (13) Valley Verde (3)

• Holbrook (0) Wren Avenue (0)

• Meadow Homes (2) Diablo View (11)

• Shadelands Center (0) Adult Education (0)

We need to fill these campuses ASAP.

If you or anyone you know may be interested, please contact me at


Please get in touch with your site captain if they have contacted you. We are beginning mobilizing efforts this week any need every able volunteer to begin lawn sign distribution, phone banking, and walking neighborhoods.
Lawn Signs
They have arrived. We would like to have at least 5 volunteers come in and help with organizing all 2,500 for distribution. If you have a busy street or perfect place to put one, let us know.

The campaign can continue only through your support both in the field and in funding. With additional contributions we can get more lawn signs and communicate with more voters. Any amount helps. You can contribute online by visiting Or, mail a check payable to CUES at 2280 Diamond Blvd., Suite 350, Concord, CA 94520.

Once again thank you to all of you who have been working hard for Measure D. Your efforts are the driving force behind this campaign. Feel free to contact with any questions or concerns.

Rudy Ramirez

Campaign Manager

Yes On Measure D
- ProtectOurLocalSchools -

Paid for by Community United for Excellent Schools, a coalition of teachers, parents, elected and community leaders who support reliable local funding for Mt. Diablo Unified School District FPPC #1301210

Monday, March 30, 2009



Wow, talk about creative. A MDUSD dad, Jeff Mosley, has started a project that will help raise money toward sports and music at MDUSD. From a recent blog entry on their site

"15,000 to go!
This is crazy! We're a couple of months away from trying to produce a children's action-adventure film and our team thinks that it's possible to sell the DVD in advance. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is cutting the sports and music programs from all of the high schools because of the state budget cuts. We are hoping that you will consider helping us produce this film so that we can sell it nationally and give money to the schools to keep their programs alive! Your pre-order will help us make the film, give you a DVD that you can enjoy as a family and help the school district, so please pre-order a copy now. The movie will be filmed in June, edited in July and August, replicated in September and October and you will receive your copy in November!"

Go to the site and buy your DVD now! What a great cause, and Jeff, what an amazing idea!

You can even see Gary Eberhart on a segment with Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister! Doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, March 27, 2009

CCTimes Editorial: Vote YES on Measure D

Contra Costa Times editorial endorses Measure D as a "...a critical investment in children's education for residents of a district that otherwise faces major cutbacks."

And in keeping with the priorities voted upon at the March 23rd board meeting, the editorial notes :

"The tax money would be used to restore funding for vice principals, secondary school librarians, fourth-grade instrumental music programs, high school athletics, custodian and groundskeeper positions, and school psychologists.

The list also includes instructional media assistants, computer technicians, campus supervisors and special education resource specialists and classroom assistants. "

VOTE YES for Measure D in the Mt. Diablo School District on May 19th!