Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MDUSD Tuesday: $3 million cut , decision on secretaries postponed

Theresa Harrington of the Contra Costa Times was at the meeting tonight and has posted her report on the outcome.

Mt. Diablo school board approves about $3 million in cuts

It seems they may be going back to the "drawing board" on the decision to cut 23 office secretarial positions across the district. The plan to cut 5.5 million tonight, ultimately resulted in just 3 million. More cuts are planned for the February 9th board meeting.

I'm starting to hear more and more rumblings of a "walk out," or a march on Sacramento. It's hard to believe there's not a better way to deal with this crisis at the state level. Leave the kids alone.


  1. Does anyone have the contact name/email of the woman who spoke last night from YVHS about a high school field trip march on sacramento?

  2. Can anyone tell me if home to school busing has definately been cut. What about parents who are allowed to send their child to a different school because their local school is in the PI program. Do they still get busing under the No Child Left Behind Act?

  3. Anon 9:35,

    No they don't. Nor should they.

  4. Do you know that the Board of Education is recklessly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money without public knowledge? They have already runup almost $4,000,000 in costs that should never have been expended. They continue to propose cuts to the educational program and to reduce teacher’s salaries in the public forum while they make decisions to spend more money behind closed doors in Closed Session. Go to www.MDUSDexposed.blogspot.com to find out what they haven’t told you.

  5. ducts
    Would a board member please speak regarding Silent No Mores post and link?

  6. The woman who spoke about a high school field trip was YVHS parent Deb Heinzmann. Her email (I think) is: djheinzm@gmail.com. She also said to contact the YVHS principal or vice principal if interested in joining the effort.

  7. Silent no more needs to provide the documents to support their claims on their blog. I saw that this was requested on their blog and last time I checked there was no response.

    These upcoming cuts will be deep and no one will be spared. I would like to see furlough days from the top all the way down. I wonder what 1 day a month would save? Can the district also shorten the school year by 5 days? I know this has to be negotiated with the Unions. I would hope the Unions would be jumping at the chance to do this rather than see layoffs of more teachers and classified.

    Time for Special Education to also take major hits. Parents, drive your children to school, if it saves programs by elminating busing, just do it. Schedules can be arranged to do this, I did for years. Yes I worked too but my children were my priority.

  8. What Silent No More needs to remember is that what he is complaining about happened under the old board majority. There was a grand jury report on them. What ever did or didn't happen is in the past we have different leaders now. The old board wanted everything done behind closed doors because Gary McHenry didn't want things out in the public. Things have become much more transparent than they were two years ago! They still have a way to go though.

  9. Actually, this board is very much involved in this matter and continues to make decisions to spend the taxpayer’s money without public knowledge. Significant money is about to be spent. Just ask the Board Members themselves.

  10. Silent No more Where are links to documents backing your statements? Provide them and then I will ask the current Board.

  11. Busy little lawsuit generator this blog author is...always seems to have problems...lots and lots of problems....Could it be that funding from suing everyone is as profitable as the construction business?










    Oh just do your own Google search on this joker. Then run like hell before he sues YOU!


  12. anon 5:15
    Instructions to access the court documents are provided in a comment to the post on the MDUSDexposed blog site.
    We will try to make access to more documents available.

  13. anon 5:20
    In the case against MDUSD didn't the jury find that it was the district that was wrong. Wasn't the jury residents of Contra Costa County who knew their verdict would be paid from their tax money? How can you think that the district acted appropriately if the jury and judge found otherwise? How can you justify the millions spent on this case knowing that the district was cutting programs to make ends meet?

  14. It looks as if the original lawsuit was filed against the district on June 24, 2005, but just recently went to trial. Silent no more did post the info on where to find the documents. They can be found here: http://icms.cc-courts.org/getpdf/pdftemp/2010012715591616025/A-0000725997-1.pdf

    If I remember correctly, McHenry was authorizing payments to a law firm, without board approval. Is this the law firm in question? Was the board at that time aware of the situation?

    It appears that the board has been dealing with this for a long time, yet another previous mess they are left to clean up.

    There is also an interesting page here that does not bode well for the Law firm attorney hired by the district: http://legalpad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/judge-david-flinn-got-really-hardnosed-with-fee-request-in-15m-case.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+legalpad_feed+(Legal+Pad)

    I know it would go a long way in this community if a board member would explain this one.

  15. anon 5:20,
    I checked your links, but I am not sure what I am supposed to be looking for. Please clarify. thank you !

  16. Look for NV Heathorn which is this guys co that has a huge history of suing everyone they do business with. You can find that with a search on ghe pages of with Google search. This guy sues for a living.

  17. Are you saying that NV Heathorn is Silent No More?

  18. It is not my intent to be deceptive. I am not trying to hide my identity. I am trying to provide access to public information so that interested people can learn what goes on that is not being reported by the Board of Education. In this case a lot of money has been spent that could have been used on funding the educational program. The trail results established that the district was wrong in how it conducted itself. That conduct continues today at the expense of the tax payers.
    NV Heathorn was started by my grandfather. I am a family member and was employed by the company at the time it built the Delta View Elementary School.
    I do not think it matters who I am. I think people should investigate this information and request that the board explain their actions and satisfy their constituents that their continued pursuit, at great expense to the taxpayers and the educational program, is justified.

  19. So again, I will ask for a recap, I in no way have the time to go thru all these links and all these legal documents. Are you saying the district wasted money defending a lawsuit? Or that they wasted money during the project? Are they wasting even more money because of lawsuits filed? What are you talking about ???? Most don't have the HOURS it would take to put these pieces together. SPELL IT OUT will ya?

  20. I have posted some documents on the www.MDUSDexposed.blogspot.com site that I hope with provide a summary of the matter.
    Large sums of money were expended and/or legally obligated as result of what the court characterized as mismanagement by the district. This included an expenditure of over $800,000 at the time of the project. The district wrongfully, as ruled by the court, refused to pay for the construction of the school forcing the contractors to take legal action to collect on the balance due. The suit was filed after multiple efforts to get paid failed and only days before time would run out to file a valid suit. Once the suit was filed the district did pay over $1.5 million to subcontractors for the work they performed. This money was paid over a year after the district took possession of the new school. Millions of dollars were expended over the following years to attorneys and consultants of both parties. In early 2009 the case went to trial. The evidence was heard and the jury and court found in favor of Heathorn and determined that the district did not have a good faith dispute. More money was spent throughout 2009 as the district filed multiple motions delaying the final judgment. The final judgment was only recently issued. Now the district has committed even more money to appeal the judgment and several rulings. Over 5 years have gone by and the district has not paid for the school they enjoy on a daily basis. What is interesting is in the period of over a month of trial the district, other than brief appearances of the General Counsel and an occasional board member, did not attend the trial. They did not hear the evidence offered by Heathorn or many of the witnesses. I am concerned that they still do not know the truth about the project yet are making decisions to spend hundreds of thousands of more dollars.
    The approach taken by the district is wasteful especially at a time of revenue shortfalls. Much time and money could have been saved had the district been willing to meet and get this resolved. What the district does next will have additional significant financial consequence.

  21. I just read through most of the documents and tne judges summary on "Silent No More's" blog site. This is disgraceful. As a parent of several children in the School District, I am beyond livid. Even the Judge thinks the media should be informed regarding this case and the school board's absolute reckless use of taxpayer funds.


    Let me tell you how this works. I am in the local construction industry and I have seen it time after time. A government body will contract construction and neglect to pay the General Contractor ON PURPOSE. Their hope is the legal battles will drive the contractor out of business and they will receive the new construction pennies on the dollar. It appears that in this case they ran up against a Contractor that had the balls to see it through to the end.

    Bravo NV Heathorn.

    MDUSD School Board - am I correct in understanding these legal mattes are being prolonged on my tax $$??

    If so, expect a call from Channel 5

  22. So the fact that NV Heathorn has multiple lawsuits spanning back over most of their contract work is not disturbing to you? With the MDUSD this goes back to 2004 and the construction of Delta View. That was a regime or two ago. Regardless of the lawsuit to dredge it up now serves to achieve what? That McHenry's administration had issues? Didn't the IRS already prove that?

    I am more concerned by Heathorn's happy lawsuit trail. Anyone who spends that much time suing people is just not reputable either.

    I also think the last poster is staged. So far only a very small handful of us even bothering to read this.

    And as an aside, the money does not come out of the General Fund anyway despite what is claimed.

  23. I'm glad the district postponed this cut, but in the end it will probably be made. It's necessary. Unfortunately. As a teacher, I am most concerned with the possibility of a salary cut myself, but really don't know what's going on.

    Our union, MDEA, has been suspiciously quiet, not communicating anything to its members over these past weeks. At this time, when so much information is being thrown around about cuts to schools, programs, and teacher salaries, you'd think that the organization that takes about $100 a month to represent its members would say a little something about what they are doing to protect teachers.

    I guess not.

  24. Anon 6:22,
    No matter how much we love our teachers, the reality is that cuts somehow will have to be made. All the unions need to decide whether they are willing to take a cut in pay, furlough days, or shorten the school year, something will have to give. All employees can not keep chanting the same thing, "don't cut my pay, don't cut my department, etc." Yes, it sucks something awful. We as parents are doing everything we can to raise funds, educate the community and so on. Are your unions lobbying all the legislators to effect change at the State level? What are the unions positions on getting legislation passed to eliminate the supermajority required to pass tax initiatives as well as the state budget? I hate to sound like a defeatist, but right now, there is not a whole lot we can do to fix the current situation, but we sure as heck are not about to give up the fight for our kids.
    If you haven't heard from your union reps. have you tried contacting them?
    I will continue fighting for our schools, I have a long way to go before my daughter is done with MDUSD.

  25. Anon. 6:22
    You may want to be sure MDEA has your email address. I've been getting communications from them which have addressed all those items you listed. Sounds like you're just stirring the pot. I think there's enough stress and worry from everyone without you picking on the union.

  26. Anon 6:27
    Please explain what you mean that the money for lawsuits does not come from the General Fund. Do you have discretionary spending funds? If so where does the money come from? Was the money in the fund raised for the intention of using it on attorney fees? Can the money be spent on the educational programs instead and help offset the effect of the revenue shortfall? I am surprised that you are not concerned by the exorbitant amount of money spent on this one case alone. If you are not concerned with all the money being spent how can you be concerned about any of it? How do you manage a budget if you do not account for all revenues and all expenses? I fear this matter is just the tip of the iceberg. This matter begun under Mc Henry but has continued since his departure. It is easy to place all the blame on him but then why was this matter not controlled once he was gone?

  27. Silent No More is never silent. Lawsuits. You have sued cities and companies and school districts and this whole lawsuit thing is ugly and manipulative. I'm not surprised you won - you certainly are pro at it. I wonder what we will hear from you if the district appeals and wins. At this point this district needs to concentrate on fixing the school system. You can collect your money for all I care, just do not come across as such a pretentious ass by making everyone look evil. I doubt you could do any better without your lawyers. Looking at the responses, I see that you have generated very little interest.

  28. Anonymous 10:00 PM on 1/26 listed a bunch of websearch results about silentnomore suing a lot of people. I looked and there were really only two cases in the past decade. One in Alameda where the jury found in the contractor's favor. Another was about San Mateo's violation of the law by not getting a performance and payment bond from Nielsen Dillingham, which went out of business before it paid the contractor. The 2 cases just got written up on several websites. I am having a hard time seeing what Anonymous is so fired up about. Was he involved with the lawsuit that the Board lost?

  29. I am still wondering if the school board has ever reported on the judgment against them, or if they have ever disclosed that the court found that the district had no bona fide dispute with the contractor.