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