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!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Measure D Newsletter - lawn signs, volunteers and more

From the Community United for Excellent Schools:

View newsletter in browser

Hi Measure D Supporters,

Just 57 days left until the May 19th election. Please read through this entire newsletter for important information about the campaign.

Last week was a big week for the campaign. Several groups including, the Central Labor Council, Contra Costa County Building & Constructions Trade Council, the Contra Costa Democratic Party, League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, Diablo Valley Democratic Club, and the Northgate PFC endorsed Measure D.

Site Captains
Last week was also our very first meeting of site captains. Thank you to everyone that came. We had over 50 teachers and parents coming together to show their enthusiasm and energy for this campaign. We discussed what the role of a site captain is, outlined the campaign, and answered questions about Measure D. Site captains will be calling volunteers this week to begin mobilizing. It was a great showing and demonstrated the strength of our grassroots efforts and the incredible amount of support Measure D has.

We now have a total of 71 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.

• Cornerstone (0) Silverwood(0)
• 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

Volunteer Needs
Office Staff
We need a staff of volunteers at the campaign office at 2280 Diamond Blvd suite 350 Concord. There are two shifts: 11:30am – 2:30pm and 2:30pm - 5:30pm. Or stay as short or as long as you would like. I will send out a google calendar for volunteers to sign up.

School Board Meeting
We need a table of several volunteers to handout information and signup sheets for the campaign outside of the board meeting tomorrow night. Tuesday 3/24/09 7:00pm Monte Gardens Elementary. Additionally we would like a few site captains to speak at the meeting about campaign needs and volunteer support. Please contact me for details.

Lawn Signs
Lawn signs will be here next Wednesday. We’ve got 2,500 signs. Site captains will be responsible for handing off bundles of signs to their volunteers to distribute. More details to come shortly. We were unable to afford the 5,000 signs we had originally budgeted for, so we’ll initially be focusing our sign distribution in areas where we need the highest visibility.

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. No amount is too small or too large. 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
(925) 202-3178

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 16, 2009

Measure D Newsletter - what can you do to help?

Hi Measure D Supporters,

Thank you for your support of Measure D to protect our local schools against the continuing barrage of state budget cuts that is devastating the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. My name is Rudy Ramirez and I am the campaign manager for Measure D. I will be managing the day-to-day operations of the campaign, including coordinating all of our volunteers.

We have a real challenge ahead of us to capture the difficult 2/3rds voter support necessary to pass Measure D. And we don't have much time. Our campaign will be successful as long as we have active volunteers from the MDUSD school family, including our parents, teachers and other District employees and our community supporters.

I will send out this email every Monday to keep you and all our other volunteers informed about what the campaign is doing, our progress, what we've got coming up and how you can get involved. You can also visit to get information.

Where Are We with the Campaign?

The Campaign for Measure D is led by Community United for Excellent Schools (CUES) and is comprised of a highly energetic and active group of board members, administrators, teachers, and parents, all of which have led to an excellent beginning for the campaign. Among the actions we have already taken:

Organized committees to secure campaign endorsements, raise contributions, and conduct voter outreach.

Submitted a primary argument as well as a rebuttal argument that will appear on the voter guide provided by Contra Costa County.

Opened a campaign headquarters at 2280 Diamond Blvd, Suite 350, Concord. James Busby of Security Owners Corporation generously donated the space, which was furnished by the United Democratic Committee of Contra Costa. Thanks to the volunteers who helped get our office up and running. I encourage you stop by and visit. Our office hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

What Can You Do to Help?

Volunteer. We badly need more volunteers for our voter outreach, which in coming weeks will involve phoning voters and walking neighborhoods to encourage voters to cast their ballot for Measure D. This will be one of our most important tools in passing Measure D.

We need site captains for each school who will recruit and manage volunteers for phoning and walking. You can have more than one site captain for each school. Time commitment will be 4-6 hours a week, primarily in evenings and weekends.

We will hold an informational meeting for site captains - or those considering it - on Wednesday March 18th 6:30pm at the Measure D headquarters. For information, call me at 925-202-3178. We'll have pizza and drinks.

Schools Needing Site Captains

Bel Air
Eagle Peak Montessori
El Monte
Fair Oaks
Gregory Gardens
Hidden Valley
Meadow Homes
Monte Gardens
Mountain View
Pleasant Hill
Rio Vista
Robert Shearer
Sun Terrace
Valley Verde
Wren Avenue
Ygnacio Valley
Diablo View
El Dorado
Clayton Valley
Concord High
Ygnacio Valley

Headquarters supplies. The campaign is in need of spare computers and office supplies. Please contact me if you or anyone you know can help with this.

Headquarters staff. We need a few volunteers to staff the HQ during the week and weekends for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. No special skills required. Need a friendly, upbeat attitude. If you speak Spanish, even better.

Staffing events. There are many school and community events where we can communicate with voters about Measure D (see list below). We need volunteers to staff tables, talk with voters and answer their questions, and hand out fact sheets, endorsement forms and any other literature. This is an excellent way to get involved.

Webpage Help. We need a Webmaster ASAP!! We already have a webpage up and running, just need someone for updating.

Thank you once again to everyone for your continued support of Measure D and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. Together we can continue to make MDUSD a great place to learn and interact.

Rudy Ramirez
Campaign Manager
(925) 202-3178

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

600+ MDUSD pink slips going out

At the board meeting tonight, it was discussed that over 600 pink slips will be going out this week. The reason for so many is that there is still much uncertainty about the budget and they must notice any and all employees that may possibly be on the cut list down the line. Hopefully, there will not be a need to cut even half of those positions, but we have to work hard to keep any more cuts away from our district.

Stand Up for Schools! Please support your teachers tomorrow, Weds March 11th by attending the rally in Civic Park from 4 to 6 pm. Bring your friends. We need crowds and a huge showing to send a strong message to Sacramento that enough is enough.

Also, show support for our teachers and district employees and wear pink on Friday, March 13th. See the CTA site:


Parent Editorial: Sports and the Parcel Tax - " plan, no guarantees and if the Parcel Tax does or doesn’t pass, we may not get sports back"

Below is a parent letter, an open letter to the board and to our community. If you have something you'd like to share, please feel free to comment, or email to get your letter posted here.

Update 6pm, the Contra Costa Times just posted the following article: Mt. Diablo School District Parents confused about the future of sports . Check it out. There is also an email circulating today to urge sports families to attend the board meeting tonight. Sports for next year is already cut. Sports are not on the agenda tonight. I hope they remain organized and use this energy toward the passage of Measure D and the prioritization of what programs to restore when it passes. Behind the scenes, district personnel are working to determine the "pay to play" and parent funded athletic options. We should hear more soon.


Dear Mt. Diablo School District Board,

I have 3 students in the Mt. Diablo School District, I have been very supportive of our schools and have contributed significantly as PTA President, and auditor for several years, as well as doing the yearbook, helping in classrooms, with graduations, etc. I stay well informed and keep in close touch with many of our teachers. That being said, I was quite surprised when last Tuesday I heard of the boards decision to cut all Athletics from our high schools. I learned of this from my son who was told by a friend on his Concord High Football team. Once I began to research I found that there were very few people aware that this cut was scheduled to be done at the March 3 board meeting, as I realize the sports program has been on the cuts list since November, I was not under the impression that it had come to that point yet. No one I spoke to had any idea this cut had occurred, one day after the board meeting.

Since the day I found out about the cut I have been relentlessly trying to figure out what was going on and figure out why no one was talking about this, why did no one know about it? I Sent emails, talked to people, the only information I could get was... we have to pass the parcel tax. Great, I signed up to support that, without hesitation. But then with further research I realized, that the Parcel Tax does not speak to sports anywhere in the verbiage, but it does speak to art and music. So tonight still trying to piece all the facts together, I attended the Concord High Boosters meeting to hear what Sherry Whitmarsh could tell us, (thank you for coming Sherry), what I took away from that meeting is, there really is no plan, no guarantees and if the Parcel Tax does or doesn’t pass, we may not get sports back. So what are our options, we ask? Well, there is no option for pay to play and there doesn’t seem to be any real handle on whether or not the Boosters could fund the sports programs, there may be legal issues involved. Which brings to question, why if Water Polo is a self funded sport and can continue, why couldn’t football be a self funded sport and continue? And how much money is really needed to continue the sports programs, the $721,400, seems to be somewhat of a questionable amount, does it include the money raised by sports such as football gate fees and transportation? In order for the parents and Booster Clubs to know what we are up against if the Parcel Tax doesn’t pass (or even if it does), we need to know what our options are.

I think this was the first time that the people in the Boosters and parents in general really understood that you are taking sports, I think everyone thought we could raise money or do pay to play, it even said that in the Contra Costa Times, but as I understand it from Sherry tonight, we are not eligible for pay to play because of some of the schools below poverty levels. This is absolutely devastating. And if the Parcel Tax doesn’t pass things are even more dire. My feeling is that with 1/3 of high school students in the Mt. Diablo School District participating in sports, that is a good support base for passing the Parcel Tax. I know for a fact that if it meant keeping High School Athletics, you would have hundreds of people willing to go door to door to get the support for this Parcel Tax, without having it specifically written into the Parcel Tax, you have tied all the Athletics Boosters and Parents hands, we can not go out and rally for this Parcel Tax to save Sports because you won’t commit to that.

This cut of all high school athletics will have astronomical consequences to our students, those that have dreams of college scholarships, those that have questionable family lives, sports are the best intervention program we have. Without sports those kids will be wondering around our neighborhoods getting into trouble, gang issues will rise, and high school truancy and drop out rates will increase. Beyond the affects this will have on our children, this move will lower our property values even more, with people leaving the area to go to districts with sports programs, and people not wanting to move into our district without a sports program, our school scores will drop, with the students having no accountability, the grades and test scores will plummet.

All this being said, I am not blaming the board for the cut, I understand why it was made and that it was a difficult decision, however, what I am saying and asking for, is for some accountability. What can we do to keep the sports programs, realistically, we need a plan, we can make it work if there is only a plan of action. Can we add sports to the Parcel Tax verbiage, then we can get every parent of a high school student in sports to go out and rally behind Measure D? And if the Parcel tax doesn’t pass, how much money needs to be raised? Can the schools keep the gate fees and transportation fees toward the funds for sports? Is there any way to do pay to play? Can each sport fund itself like Water Polo at Concord High? We need answers and we need answers now so that we can get something in place to have sports programs still in our schools in August when our students return from summer break.

As I said before, this cut will cause far reaching devastation, it will affect far more students, directly and indirectly than any other cut. Please consider this carefully and help us to keep our sports programs.
Sherry Whitmarsh mentioned tonight, she has not seen any support for sports at the board meetings, except a few people from College Park. Well, I can guarantee you, that will be changing, the biggest reason that no one has shouted out about this cut yet, is because no one really knew it had happened and what it really meant. We all assumed it would just turn into a pay to play situation, at worst, now we know that is not the worst. The worst, absolutely, is no sports programs, which are vital to our children’s education and chances at getting into college, being successful and for our community to continue to thrive with decent schools and programs.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and we will be seeing you at the board meetings.

Meghan Mahler

(students at Concord High and El Dorado Middle)


300+ pink slips, class size reduction - all on the list

If you've read tonight's agenda you'll see that all tolled , there are probably over 300 pink slips slotted to go out this week within the Mt. Diablo School District. If you look at the position lists of possible cuts, you'll notice everything from science and math teachers to librarians and intervention personnel. Also, on the list is the teaching staff needed to keep class size reduction in place for grades K-3. This presumably means they're leaving their options open if this budget situation gets worse, that may be next to go. Its hard to imagine how much worse it can get, and if it does get worse, what is left to cut ?

On the site it says something I think everyone needs to know:

It may get worse. The failure of any one of five ballot items (placed on the ballot by the state government to balance the budget) on the May 19th statewide election will further reduce the MDUSD budget. In addition, any subsequent change in the budget resulting from the Governor's May Budget Revision could further reduce the MDUSD budget.

Now is the time to get involved with Measure D. What is important to you? Do you know how it may be prioritized when the parcel tax passes? If anything on that cut list is/was important to you, you can not afford to think others will fight the fight. We all need to do it. It is going to take all of us now.

Special Board Meeting, Tuesday March 10th

See the right hand side bar for the link to watch the board meeting live. Click HERE to read the full agenda for the night. You'll see they'll be talking about the budget as well as the pink slips that will be mailed out this week. On the agenda they do have a list of the positions on the "cut" list so I guess we'll see how it turns out at the meeting.

On another note, here's a note to the teachers from MDEA President, Mike Noce:

In support of our teachers in Mt. Diablo and across the state we are asking that you wear your pink arm bands to school all week and to attend the large rally Wednesday, March 11 at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. The event starts at 4:00 and there will be teachers attending from across the East Bay. This event is in our “home field” and Mt. Diablo should have 1000 members there.

The fate of our schools depends on our community hearing about the effects of our recently adopted budget and its devastating cuts to schools. They need to be informed so they will make the right decisions when voting in the Special Election. The voters hold our fate in their hands. If we can’t reach them, we’re in big trouble. Attending needs to be a priority for everyone Wear Pink, and I see you there. Don’t come alone bring colleagues and family.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Devastating cuts coming March 3rd

This is the meeting where the all important cuts to library, elementary music, athletics, custodial, VPs and more will be discussed and potentially reduced that night.

Its not going to be pretty.

What can you do? Support our local parcel tax. It may be the only way to restore some of the upcoming cuts.

Visit: Get involved. Support with financial help. Support with your time. Anything you can do, will help. Most especially vote YES on MAY 19.

Right now the March 3rd board agenda does not note which specific cuts may be considered, but the board can consider them all. Just look at the reduction list available with the agenda, everything is up for grabs. Check at for more specifics of the programs on the discussion list for Tuesday.