Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MDUSD may run out of cash? Will their positive certification be questioned?

Very interesting article by Theresa Harrington: Mt. Diablo District is running out of cash .

Certainly worth a read, it seems the Superintendent's warning of a possible State takeover in the future may have some real merit beyond "just" the MDEA negotiating angle.

Theresa reports that MDUSD borrowed money this year in order to cover it's cash requirements in a loan called a "TRANS." From the Times article:

“If they had to do a mid-year TRANS and they’re running out of cash, that’s one of the most telling indicators that they’re in financial trouble,” Clark said. “A mid-year TRANS is very new. Short-term borrowing is common in the fall or spring, but to borrow at the end of the fiscal year is not a common event.”

The John Swett district, he said, is in even more dire straits.

Still, the Mt. Diablo district filed a “positive” certification with its second-interim budget through Jan. 31, which assumed approximately $9.8 million in 2009-10 and subsequent year reductions that require labor negotiations, according to a letter the Clark wrote to Board President Paul Strange in April.

“It is our understanding that these assumed reductions may not materialize due to little or no progress with negotiations,” Clark wrote. “Our office would question the district’s positive certification should the district fail to meet targeted reductions.”

73 comments:

  1. They were broke in November and still gave the Gang of Five raises that same month, including the accountant and lawyer ! The ultimate hypocrisy — spending 90% of the stimulus money on themselves and then giving themselves raises. Even more reason the Board should resign in disgrace. Have they lost their moral compass ?
    Doctor J

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  2. Didn't the board just cut their own measly pay?

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  3. In my opinion this board is a disgrace. The Gang of Five raises were about the worst PR move that could ever be made in the history of PR moves.

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  4. Yes the BOE did ask at the 6/15 BOE meeting to take the same cuts that are being asked of everyone else. Administration/Principals are already taking furlough days and paying $$ towards their medical (what is being asked of the classified units).

    As for Doctor J and Anon 7:30 what they have conveniently left out is that the position eliminations did save over $200,000.00. So I suppose they should reverse the raises and put back the positions, so that would be a drain of over $150,000 more on the budget. I do agree the timing stunk and any raises were very poor PR, even if the job eliminations did save much more money.

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  5. There is nothing wrong with the position eliminations, but EVERYONE in the district has taken on additional responsibilities, so why should only the Gang of Five get raises ? Reverse the raises -- the unions are going to hammer the Board on that issue. And the Board has not cut their benefits to mirror the benefits of part time employees with similar salary scale. That is more hypocrisy.
    Doctor J

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  6. Position eliminations does not warrant raises,in my eyes.

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  7. There's a lot of shuffling around in the district office. They cut positions, then create new ones. They save money and then spend more. It is like that hidden nut under a shell game. They make it impossible for anyone to follow along.

    The raises were unacceptable in these times. Everyone has an increased job load. If they cut $200,000 and then give $50,000 in raises, then they're spending money they don't have. Make the cuts and keep the savings from the cuts intact.

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  8. This talk about being out of cash and state receivership is a ruse. The district is in negotiations with the union that represents non teaching staff and preparing for negotiations with the teachers union later this fall.

    Look folks, the district dragged their feet for three years. For three years, MDUSD teachers worked without a contract. No raises, no health benefits. Now the district wants to settle a new contract before the current one expires and justifies it by crying wolf.

    The district got the bond measure passed and is still out of money? Does that seem right to you? No, they're using us, the parents and the public, in their hardball game of negotiations with the teachers & staff.

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  9. 4:36, I would believe that if the Contra Costa Office Of Ed hadn't confirmed it, and in fact, told the truth that it is much worse than MDUSD is letting on.

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  10. Anon 4:36

    1. Yes, the district passed a bond measure. In these blogs, in the newspaper, and in emails we tried to tell you that the bond would not help the general fund. If you voted for the bond thinking it was going to help in this budget crisis, sorry. If you voted for it because you wanted a/c or microscopes, then you can celebrate at some point.

    2. Before I am attacked for my comment above - yes, when the solar project is completed it will have the ability to bring money into the general fund through energy cost savings and 5 years of rebates (provided the district applied before last Friday). The amount of savings is no where near the numbers presented at the June 22 board meeting, and will be less than what the project will cost the taxpayer, but none the less there will be a savings that will benefit the general fund when the solar project is complete.

    3. The district had to use short-term debt to pay bills and the assistance from a financial adviser through the county board of education is very real.

    4. Originally MDEA wanted to rollover their contract months ago (December). The board didn't do that because they could not commit to that contract when they were faced with school closures and devastating cuts. I applaud them for that. Now, faced with having to negotiate a new contract, I assume MDEA wants to wait and see what the other bargaining units do. I believe the MDEA contract expired on June 30, 2010. There is no question that the district needs to adjust all of the employee contracts to stay solvent. Salaries and benefits now make up 87% of the non-restricted budget.

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  11. Teacher in MDUSDJuly 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    MDEA is stalling negotiations and other unions are waiting to see what MDEA (the largest unit) is going to do.

    Because of this it looks like our clerical staff at the sites may be drastically reduced. I work at a site and cannot imagine who is going to do the work these people are now doing.

    Since the clerical staff already had their school year cut, many things are already not being done.

    Many things the office staff did will now be given to teachers to do. The way I see it, if MDEA does not give in soon to any negotiation(even if it is two furlough days), we will lose office staff and in the end MDEA members will suffer!

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  12. I agree that a lot more information needs to be forthcoming from the board. I also think that they should use their blog to do so. They can turn off comments to stop the clutter of voices especially those just complaining for the fun of it. The info and their thinking needs to be visible to stakeholders.

    That said, it is also important to remember that these are people, parents, who wanted to make a difference. Right or wrong this is a huge mess created by the state and ironically that fox might well wind up running the henhouse it helped destroy.

    I hear lots of people still arguing the raises or the retention of staff and whether it did or did not save money. It is like standing in a dying patient's room arguing about whether they should have been revived. It is what it is and now focus s hould be on what stakeholders can do. For that we need to see postings on their blog. I hope they will consider that despite the negative backlash.

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  13. Misterwriter,
    I could not agree more! They need to communicate and their unwillingness to do so makes things so much worse.
    I know they will take phone calls and emails but no organization this large can simply depend on disseminating information on such a small scale.
    This district office reorganization might be a great plan but how would we know? It would be nice to understand the reasons behind the decision and how it will improve the quality of education for our kids, what other districts are using this type of program and how well has it worked for them? That is how you build community and how you start to restore trust.

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  14. Linda,
    They do read this blog so hopefully it will spur some kind of action plan. I do understand that they must be feeling quite beaten up by now - what a ride it has been since the changes started. Regardless of opinion, no information is just allowing the nay sayers a stronger voice.

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  15. Misterwriter,

    I believe our board wants a plan. I believe they view it in varying degrees of importance. I also believe they understand the value of communication in some form or another. I know they have their hands full with the budget but I believe we are on a downward spiral that is causing our leadership to be reactive year after year and budget cycle after budget cycle.

    Without a vision, and without a plan that can be communicated, the naysayers (of which they will tell you I am one) will continue to complain. It isn't about complaining for the sake of complaining it is about wanting better.

    As for the superintendent- I don't know if he is interested in a plan or in communication. I guess we will continue to wait and see.

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  16. Reorg information, Board Pay Cut, July board meeting, use of Federal funds

    REORG
    Here's Dr. Lawrence's information about the reorg

    “I also propose to restructure our Curriculum and Instruction division into the Student Achievement and School Support division under Assistant Superintendent Rose Lock. The current Curriculum and Instruction team has done an admirable job to support our schools through the implementation of State Standards and Federal and State Accountability systems. As the expectations and demands increase on all our schools, we need instructional leaders who have successfully moved schools forward to help support and coach other principals and school staffs. The list of proposed positions to be created is attached.

    In order to compare apples to apples, I compared the Salary Step 5 for all of the current positions in C&I and the Director of Alternative Education to the cost at Step 5 for the recommended positions. In order to restructure and save funding, the recommendation is based on taking nine positions and replacing them with eight positions.”

    BOARD PAY CUT
    On June 22 the board
    'Voluntarily reduce the amount of the board stipend and implement a health benefits cap for three years in alignment with the cut that the administrators take'. Not all board members receive medical benefits - I know that I declined medical benefits so I already receive it via my employer.

    JULY BOARD MEETING
    The board does plan to have another board meeting for principals. I will suggest that each school with a new principal set up a meet and greet at the school prior to school starting. The delay is due to board members taking vacations and having other commitments. The board typically does not meet in July.

    FEDERAL FUNDS
    Please note that Bryan Richards stated that the funds were used for payroll in November for its general fund employees EXCEPT for the central management functions and the central maintenance and operations functions.

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  17. Sherry, with all due respect, and I do respect you a lot....this again has a much more reactionary tone and while I certainly appreciate you taking the time I don't understand why we aren't getting regular communication at all. Wait... I mean proactive communication. Communication that happens before the questions. Communication that happens before things happen. Communication that explains the why of something that is going to happen. How can that be too much to ask? This supt is making mchenry look good. Amazing isn't it? I know the board fully supports the supt , to not support him would be to admit mistakes. I know you all are trying, but this hire was a mistake.

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  18. I agree - Sherry, we all admire your efforts and we all understand the incredible strain this job at this time has placed upon you. You are gracious in getting on these blogs to answer questions - do put forward the suggestion that topics you see discussed and questions asked, be done one a central site like the old blog - turn off comments so you do not have to spend hours trying to deal with it and treat it as an information portal instead.

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  19. I was just trying to answer the questions posed here. I do not have a blog to post so the best I am doing is trying to answer questions as they come up.

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  20. Well even though I completely disagree with a number of Sherry's points. Particularly the ones in the past where she claimed that COMMUNICATION isn't in Dr. Lawrence's job description.

    I do admire her for having a set of balls to actually answer questions, unlike the apparently nuetered Gary and Paul.

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  21. Sherry,

    Thank you for once again taking the lead to answer questions. While I do appreciate the effort, communication is more far reaching than answering questions on a blog. It is regular communication that explains issues, promotes new programs, touts accomplishments, and fends off rumors.

    In addition to providing information; clear, honest, and regular communication builds relationships between the district and stakeholders and by doing so it goes a long way toward restoring confidence and trust.

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  22. Sherry I was talking about the MDUSD blog already in existence to which board meeting videos are posted. It was after all the blog that helped get the past leadership changed.

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  23. Sherry, I will add my thanks for commenting on a few of the questions asked on various significant MDUSD subjects in the last couple of weeks, although I am more interested in your feelings about these issues rather than requoting Lawrence.

    But there are a plethora of questions you haven't answered -- hopefully you will. As an elected official I believe you recognize your duty to keep the electorate truthfully informed and not sidestep the tough questions.

    Nugentgate: What did you know and when did you know it ? What did the other board members know and when did they know it ? What did Lawrence know and when did he know it ? Was Nugent really paid money to withdraw his application and give a waiver of claims ? What is your position about DUI's with future hires, current staff and administrators ? How should the Supt go about informing the Board of such issues -- publicly or privately ?

    Financial issues: Theresa has uncovered lots of information recently. In November when you gave the Gang of Five raises, did you know MDUSD borrowed money ? Did you know that most of the stimulus money was used for one month's payroll ? Why were these things not revealed publicly when they happened ? Do you think the public has a right to know these things when they happen ?

    And as you go back and read the blogs there are lots more questions.
    Doctor J

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  24. There are 3 MDUSD Board seats up in the November election. Candidates must file between July 12 and August 6. CC Elections Division website says: The nomination period begins July 12 and ends August 6, 2010, 5:00 p.m. Candidates may withdraw his/her Declaration of
    Candidacy until 5:00 p.m. on August 6, 2010. E.C. 10407, 10510
    If an incumbent does not file, the nomination period is extended 5 calendar days, August 11, 2010 until 5:00 p.m. for nonincumbents
    only. If the seat is vacant, there is no extension period. E.C. 10516 (b)
    Doctor J

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  25. What common denominaors do MDUSD, West Contra Costa USD, and John Swett USD all have in common ? 1. They are broke and in financial trouble 2. Bryan Richards From Bryan Richards "Linked In": Current:Chief Financial Officer at Mt. Diablo Unified School District Past:Business Manager at John Swett Unified School District, Director, Capital Projects at West Contra Costa Unified School District

    Can anyone connect the dots ?
    Doctor J

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  26. Does anyone know if The Board President Paul Strange is planning on running for re-election. Do we know of any challengers out there?

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  27. My guess is that Strange is waiting to see if anyone files against him. If not, he will file at the last minute on August 6 because if he doesn't file, then the deadline is extended. strange is waiting to see what the reaction is at the next Board meeting from the public. He has been virtually incommunicado letting Eberthart run things and make the comments. He is definitely worried about some good competition.

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  28. Lets remember there are 3 seats up for election. Dick Allen has already declared he won't run for reelection. Linda Mayo is undecided, and Paul Strange is undeclared. On the Board for two more years is Eberhart and Whitmore, who in any controvery usually vote as a block with Strange. With 3 seats up, a new majority could arise, ousting the current block of Strange/Eberhart/Whitmore. If three strong candidates emerge, Strange will have to risk re-election or defeat.

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  29. Whitmarsh not Whitmore - Linda Mayo IS running.

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  30. I'm not surprised Sherry has taken the lead on responding to difficult questions. She is the ONLY one who answered my questions when I inquired about an incident at my son's school. None of the other names mentioned here even bothered to respond, yet, they all brag about "being accesible" and "responding to" people who take the time to write them.
    I applaud her for that.
    To answer the question on the Original Post: Will their positive certification be questioned? Yes, it most certainly will. By someone.

    MisterBerry

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  31. Mister Berry, I have seen Sherry's responses but they are not to the tough questions. Nothing about Nugentgate. Nothing about MDUSD being out of cash or borrowing money. Nothing about how she feels about hiring or continuing to employ teachers and administrators with DUI's. We do know she thinks its ok to give the Gang of Five raises even though everyone else in the district also has "added responsibilities" but get no raises. So if you have faith that she will answer the tough questions, I will be patient.
    Doctor J

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  32. Doctor J, I submit, you are correct!
    I first said "respond to my question" then later said she "answered" my question.
    I'll stick with "respond" because my question is still unanswered.
    I attempted to address a very serious incident with the board of directors.
    I e-mailed them all twice.
    The first time I e-mailed I followed up by going to a board meeting. They said they never received it and asked me to send it again. I did, and I received one e-mail from Sherry instructing me of the procedure one would take in my situation.
    She also explained the School Board's role and advised me on their policies and procedures as outlined in their manual.
    She seemed as if she was really trying to help me at the time.
    So, in the interest of fairness I have to say that she responded to me and answered my questions then. Fortunately for me, her advice and the information she gave me is confirmation to the fact Mt. Diablo Unified School District violated its' own policy!
    I understand and respect how you feel about her but I just want to give credit where credit is due, no matter how large or small the amount of credit.
    Thank you for commenting and for allowing me to comment.
    Eventually, with the collaboration of the good citizens of the community, we will bring about the change that is needed and hopefully get our education system headed in the right direction.
    These kids deserve better and it's our responsibility to do all we can to support them and look out for them.
    The school board needs to be more honest in their decisions and stop the deception and slight of hand.
    It says Unified in the description and the name--where's the unity?
    The lack of communication and overall competency is the worse.
    I first complained about it in 1995, 15 years ago. My complaints fell on deaf ears.
    Some of the same board members and trustees who are present now were present then.
    The same complaints people are having now about lack of communication, mis-communication, and no communication was happening then! This was before McHenry.
    Then some wage a campaign based on "Change" but still, they function and operate the same. Where's the change?
    The same silence demonstrated now was demonstrated then. Not much has changed. Just some of the names and faces. The problems remain the same.


    MisterBerry

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  33. Doctor J, I submit, you are correct!
    I first said "respond to my question" then later said she "answered" my question.
    I'll stick with "respond" because my question is still unanswered.
    I attempted to address a very serious incident with the board of directors.
    I e-mailed them all twice.
    The first time I e-mailed I followed up by going to a board meeting. They said they never received it and asked me to send it again. I did, and I received one e-mail from Sherry instructing me of the procedure one would take in my situation.
    She also explained the School Board's role and advised me on their policies and procedures as outlined in their manual.
    She seemed as if she was really trying to help me at the time.
    So, in the interest of fairness I have to say that she responded to me and answered my questions then. Fortunately for me, her advice and the information she gave me is confirmation to the fact Mt. Diablo Unified School District violated its' own policy!
    I understand and respect how you feel about her but I just want to give credit where credit is due, no matter how large or small the amount of credit.
    Thank you for commenting and for allowing me to comment.
    Eventually, with the collaboration of the good citizens of the community, we will bring about the change that is needed and hopefully get our education system headed in the right direction.
    These kids deserve better and it's our responsibility to do all we can to support them and look out for them.
    The school board needs to be more honest in their decisions and stop the deception and slight of hand.
    It says Unified in the description and the name--where's the unity?
    The lack of communication and overall competency is the worse.
    I first complained about it in 1995, 15 years ago. My complaints fell on deaf ears.
    Some of the same board members and trustees who are present now were present then.
    The same complaints people are having now about lack of communication, mis-communication, and no communication was happening then! This was before McHenry.
    Then some wage a campaign based on "Change" but still, they function and operate the same. Where's the change?
    The same silence demonstrated now was demonstrated then. Not much has changed. Just some of the names and faces. The problems remain the same.


    MisterBerry

    ReplyDelete
  34. Doctor J, I submit, you are correct!
    I first said "respond to my question" then later said she "answered" my question.
    I'll stick with "respond" because my question is still unanswered.
    I attempted to address a very serious incident with the board of directors.
    I e-mailed them all twice.
    The first time I e-mailed I followed up by going to a board meeting. They said they never received it and asked me to send it again. I did, and I received one e-mail from Sherry instructing me of the procedure one would take in my situation.
    She also explained the School Board's role and advised me on their policies and procedures as outlined in their manual.
    She seemed as if she was really trying to help me at the time.
    So, in the interest of fairness I have to say that she responded to me and answered my questions then. Fortunately for me, her advice and the information she gave me is confirmation to the fact Mt. Diablo Unified School District violated its' own policy!
    I understand and respect how you feel about her but I just want to give credit where credit is due, no matter how large or small the amount of credit.
    Thank you for commenting and for allowing me to comment.
    Eventually, with the collaboration of the good citizens of the community, we will bring about the change that is needed and hopefully get our education system headed in the right direction.
    These kids deserve better and it's our responsibility to do all we can to support them and look out for them.
    The school board needs to be more honest in their decisions and stop the deception and slight of hand.
    It says Unified in the description and the name--where's the unity?

    ReplyDelete
  35. The lack of communication and overall competency is the worse.
    I first complained about it in 1995, 15 years ago. My complaints fell on deaf ears.
    Some of the same board members and trustees who are present now were present then.
    The same complaints people are having now about lack of communication, mis-communication, and no communication was happening then! This was before McHenry.
    Then some wage a campaign based on "Change" but still, they function and operate the same. Where's the change?
    The same silence demonstrated now was demonstrated then. Not much has changed. Just some of the names and faces. The problems remain the same.


    MisterBerry

    ReplyDelete
  36. I apologize for the multiple posts. I received a error that said my message did not post because it was too large.
    So, if MisterWriter would be so kind as to remove my message posted 6:34 and 6:35 I would appreciate it. I'm just getting used to this process.
    Thank you!

    MisterBerry

    ReplyDelete
  37. My thoughts/comments:

    Over 80% of the time the board votes 5-0. There have been times when I have been the lone vote against. It depends upon my point of view and the agenda item I'm voting on.

    For the issue of the MDE principal, I received a call from Dr. Lawrence either July 2 evening or the morning of July 3. I received information that the applicant had withheld information on his application and that the district would ask him to rescind the acceptance. I do not know when the other board members were informed. Under the Brown Act I can discuss an item with one board members but no one else. Since I received the call on July 2 or 3 I am making an assumption that Dr. Lawrence knew the information prior to calling me. As for DUI I believe we need to follow what the law allows. I know I will get called a "politician" but my answer here is it depends. First being arrested for any crime including a DUI does not mean a conviction of a crime. Certain positions in the district such as a driver would have certain additional safety measures that someone in payroll may not have. A payroll employee may have financial involvement that would not apply to a custodian. So my answer is that it depends on the situation, the length of time since the arrest or conviction, the position the employee would hold and what the law or education code provides us to do. The district employees do have privacy rights. For this reason when dismissals are made the district uses a number not a name. Again my opinion is that we should follow the law and do what is right by law and by the employee.

    The area of communication is one that is very interesting. For instance I feel that until the board approves positions, announcements should not be made to the public. I receive the agenda for board meetings the same time as the public does, I have mo advance knowledge of what is on the agenda. In cases of agenda items, the communication is noted after the agenda item has been voted on. Let's take the district reorganization under Rose Locke. I feel that communicating the change prior to board approval would not be appropriate.

    Financial information. The warrant are part of the board agenda so everyone can view them. I do recall Dr. Nicoll making a comments at a meeting that the state was behind on making payments to the district and we were using funds from other sources. I do not remember the exact wording he used. No I do not remember hearing that we had used the stimulus money. Yes I think the public has a right to know, that is why the Warrant reports are published in the board agenda.

    I will admit that I don't have time to read every blog every day. I try to answer them when I have time. There are also times when I get tired of answering the same questions multiple times. I also get very tired of the same old rhetoric that is posed on blogs and will not gotten to argue my point on the same topic - that is illogical.

    The MDUSD blog is owned by Paul and Gary so I don't have access to it. I would want to get Brown Act information before enabling three board members to monitor a blog.

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  38. I should have added that it interesting to me that no one complains about other board members who do not post on the blogs. It seems to me that those who post get more anomosity because of it instead of those not posting.

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  39. Sherry,

    I posted this previously: "Well even though I completely disagree with a number of Sherry's points. Particularly the ones in the past where she claimed that COMMUNICATION isn't in Dr. Lawrence's job description.

    I do admire her for having a set of balls to actually answer questions, unlike the apparently nuetered Gary and Paul."

    So I admire your "balls", but disagree on a number of points. So be it.

    As for Gary and Paul, they need to get posting or get out. I would prefer out.

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  40. Anon 9:58

    You state my point. You mention Paul and Gary specifically but the other board members aren't mentioned.

    I guess I would expect the community to hold all board members to the same set of expectations not just a few of us.

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  41. Sherry, Thank you for sharing and gnerally answering the questions. Unfortunately, your other board members and the Supt should have done this two weeks ago -- instead they hunkered down, because I believe they have greater knowledge and don't want to get caught in more lies. They still owe the public explanations.
    In fact, my sources tell me that the Supt knew about the DUI and failed to disclose to the whole board -- but did to some. I find that unacceptable because the board needs that kind of information to make an informed decision. I think what the Supt was refering to about the withheld informaton was why Nugent was terminated from his job -- using student data without permission and inadvertantly disclosing SSN's and then failing to inform the Supt when it happened. That should have come up in the interviews which were incompetently handled by the Supt and Julie Braun-Martin -- each of them should be held accountable for those snafus. No one can say it was Julie's first day on the job because her prior job was Director of Personnel. I have a hard time understanding why there are two positions: Asst Supt of Personnel and Director of Personnel. Don't they do the same thing ? That whole structure could be flattened to save money. But I digress.
    The concealment from the Board, as you put it, of the borrowing of funds and the spending of the stimulus money has to lay at the feet of the CFO Bryan Richards. How could the district borrow money without Board approval ?
    I appreciate your statements about how DUI's are handled on a case by case basis, but I am still not clear on how they are to be handled on new hires. Will the Supt discuss that openly in a public meeting before you make your decisions so you can be "fully informed" about new hires ? What are you asking the Supt to do with regard to potential hot button issues regarding new hires ? When and how will you and the public be informed so you can make informed decisions ? Or are you just going to hire "boy scouts" clean as a whistle ?
    Doctor J

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  42. Sherry, with absolute all due respect to Dick, I'm not all together sure he knows how to turn on a computer. And as for Linda AND Dick - neither have ever set a precedent for answering on blogs so I think unknowingly or not, your campaign with Gary set the bar very high in terms of communications with the public through blogs and other venues. Now , we get next to nothing. But I do thank you for answering what you can, when you can. I have always assumed there could be a Brown Act violation if more than Paul and Gary picked up and ran with the mdusd.net blog again... but it would be interesting to confirm. I know you and the other board members will always answer my questions if I call or email (mostly) but, I feel very very disappointed in the level of communication in the last many months. And I don't mean now. I know it's summer, I know there are vacations and other things right now going on for board members - but in general.. is there a plan YET to start the communication ball rolling ?

    P.S. I thought the Superintendent mentioned there'd probably be a meeting this week, it's not on the board agenda page yet, do you know if that is still a possibility for this week?

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  43. Mrs. Whitmarsh, with all due respect: I stated that you were the ONLY person (from Mt.Diablo Unified School District board of Trustees) who responded and answered almost all of my questions. By not mentioning Gary Eberhardt, Paul Strange, Gregory Rolen, Linda Mayo, or Dick Allen by names is because I didn't feel it necessary to do so.
    As for Linda Mayo: She did return an e-mail to me weeks later that said: "I got your e-mail. I was on a girl scout trip."
    That's all it said. So it is fair to say that the two females on the board are the only ones to respond.
    Not trying to make it a gender issue but it must be something.
    As Doctor J will attest too, I gave you credit for being the only one who responded to my inquiry in a somewhat helpful way.
    Plus, Mrs. Whitmarsh, you know I've even thanked you publicly at a board meeting last year. I have NO problem with communication especially when it comes to either making a difference, or making a mess.
    MDUSD Parents, I'm not sure I would agree 100% with you about Dick and the computer: at least I won't say it (LOL)! I don't know him well enough. He is a nice guy and I still respect him.
    But I agree, I wouldn't expect him to return an e-mail to me!
    But Gary, who prides himself on responding to everyone, refuses to return my e-mail or telephone calls.
    But he had no problem responding to the several hundred e-mails he received that same week from other parents from the same school about the same incident.
    It was clear to me and everyone else that I was being ignored and that he bowed to the pressure of this fringe group. The election the following week reflected that.
    Due to the fact that no one returned my messages I had to introduce myself from the podium.
    My issue is still unresolved due to the fact that general counsel can't reconcile dates and MDUSD is still unwilling to communicate.
    That's why once again, I take the high road.
    I do say thank you for your response and I don't wish to "throw anyone under the bus" so I try to avoid mentioning anyone by name anymore. I hope this clears a few things up.


    MisterBerry

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  44. Sherry, transparency is the issue -- its not translucency. One big question you did not answer -- Did the district pay Nugent any money for a waiver of claims or otherwise to get him to withdraw his application ?
    Doctor J

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  45. July 19, 2010 6:35 PM
    Anonymous said...

    So, if MisterWriter would be so kind as to remove my message posted 6:34 and 6:35 I would appreciate it. I'm just getting used to this process.
    Thank you!


    Sorry this is not MY blog - you are posting on the MDUSD Parents blog - and you need to direct any post removal to that admin.

    Sherry,

    I respect your comments. You are correct that the MDUSD Blog is owned by Paul and Gary. Now that the old war is over that BLOG should be an MDUSD resource openly available to all 5 board members. If that does not work for Paul or Gary, then I would suggest that the MDUSD start another blog - it is FREE. The point is that your time would be better served posting one time and answering questions in a central forum, and better as a UNIFIED MDUSD forum. Paul or Gary care to chime in on this thought?

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  46. I am not aware of any payments made to Dr. Nugent.

    For new hires I will ask that the background check comes back without issues that would affect the job. Other than the meeting in July, the board has seen the resumes for new principals.

    Since the board has not had a meeting since July 1, I have heard about any communication plans.

    I tentatively have reserved Friday night for a board meeting. If that is to occur then an agenda will need to be posted by Wednesday evening.

    A central blog would be interesting. I was reading board policy and did come up with some concerns about a central blog. Board policy states that if a board member meets with community members or makes statements outside of a board meeting, he/she needs to ensure that the community knows that is his/her opinion. I'm not quite sure how that would align with a blog. I'm not trying to dismiss the idea - just trying to come up with solutions.

    Also I do want to make sure that everyone knows, I will NOT discuss employee issues on a blog. That is not fair to the employee. For that reason, you will not see my response to questions of performance on a blog.

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  47. I also should have added that the board members may have been made aware of some of the items that you bring up at the meeting that I missed earlier this year.

    As a board member I do not have an office that I go to each day in the district, so if employees have concerns about how things are done, they can tell me about them.

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  48. Thank you Sherry for giving us your pieces of information. We expect all Board members to reveal their knowledge of the incident, along with Lawrence. None of them ever returned Theresa Harrington's phone calls. If they don't have computers, they could have the courtesty to speak to her and she will write about the truth.
    As for what happened at the Board meeting you missed, itsn't it great there are minutes !! Do any of the minutes ever mention "TRANS" loans ? Do any of the minutes ever mention spending the stimulus money on payroll ?
    Remember the common denominator between the financial disasters in the Mt. Diablo, John Swett, and West CC School Districts: Byran Richards. And Sherry, he is one of the Gang of Five you gave a raise to in November !

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  49. Anan 7:53 was my post.
    Doctor J

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  50. Sherry has given us her answers to Nugentgate -- four other Board members and Lawrence are still hiding under rocks. We need to demand they be accountable and answer the questions:
    Nugentgate: What did you know and when did you know it ? What did the other board members know and when did they know it ? What did Lawrence know and when did he know it ? Was Nugent really paid money to withdraw his application and give a waiver of claims ? What is your position about DUI's with future hires, current staff and administrators ? How should the Supt go about informing the Board of such issues -- publicly or privately ?
    Doctor J

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  51. I am wondering about the delay in the principal appoinments. Since all of the candidates, as identified by Theresa, are current district employees, I am wondering if they didn't pass the "Google" search ?
    Will their names be announced on the agenda so the Board and public can do their own searches ?
    Or will Lawerence keep their names secret again until the meeting ?
    Friday night for a Board meeting ? Maybe the Supt is off this week on another vacation ?
    Doctor J

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  52. It will interesting to see if any of the candidates are from the Sacramento area. All this movement will hopefully not disrupt our schools anymore than they are already.

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  53. Annon 12:49p

    I think the candidates have to be registered voters within the MDUSD boundaries. Why would you think they would come from Sacramento ?
    Doctor J

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  54. Annon 12:49p
    Oh, it just dawned on me . . .you are talking about principal candidates not Board candidates. My bad.
    Doctor J

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  55. I have more information - and I apologize for spelling errors since I am on a PDA


    TRAN - we do these this every year usually in the fall but we had to do it in the spring. Why? Because the state has deferred making payments to the school district. So the big news here is that the state has deferred making it's payments so the district has to make up the money from them.

    ARRA - state reduced the amount they gave to schools by the amount of ARRA funds the district received. That is why many school districts have spent much of it already.

    I am not sure why the papers did not report it in this manner. I was able to get this information in a 3 minute conversation.

    I am hesitant to speak to journalist because many times the quote is taken out of context, use only one sentence, or even used for reporting months later.

    The district receives employee information through a service that uses DOJ data. If the information is not relevant to the job,bit should not be used against an employee.


    A

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  56. Parents of Special Education Students. Pay attention to what will be happening this coming year and I suggest getting a lawyer. You and your children do have rights!

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  57. Anon 8:06
    Seriously? Everyone in this district is suffering and giving up a lot.
    Please, by all means, lawyer up and cost us even more, it will be so appreciated when they make even deeper cuts to all programs.
    The average children of the State of California are shouldering the brunt of these cuts. Whatever is being cut that you feel your child is entitled to, provide it yourself, that is what the rest of us have to do.

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  58. Sherry, thanks for the info. Who was your 3 minute conversation with ? As for the TRAN , your information seems inconsistent with the statements by the CC Office of Education. Were you given a copy of the letter from the CC Office of Education, I think April, sent to Paul Strange, about the qualified budget issues as reported by Theresa ?

    Perhaps one of the issues with Nugent is that your service only checked California records when he had lived out of state for several years. Does the service check out of state records too or does the district need to expand its search to 50 states ?
    Doctor J

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  59. Sherry,

    Who do I call to have a three minute conversation to understand the TRAN issue?

    Also, what did the other board members know about NUGENT and when did they know it?

    WHY HASN'T SOMEONE BEEN FIRD YET FOR NUGENT GATE (AND I DON"T MEAN NUGENT)?

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  60. Yes I saw a copy of the letter from the CCC OE. It discussed if we did not receiving the necessary reductions from labor negotiations we would not have a positive certification.

    The letter and the TRANS are different things. As I mentioned the district has a history of doing a TRANS in the fall, what is new is that we had to do one in the spring. One of the reasons we had to do it sooner was because the state has deferred payments to the district.

    You can call me at 925 899 4731 to discuss the TRANS.

    If you have read my post from above I do not know when and what other board members were told about the MDE principal. Brown Act prevents discussion of agendized items outside of the public meeting.

    Again our services is the Department of Justice. My assumption is that they may not have reported a prior DUI arrest (I didn't see a conviction listed on the web) because it was not germaine to the position. A principal is not a safety sensitive position that requires random drug testing as do other jobs such as transportation drivers.

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  61. Sherry
    Is there a board meeting this week to approve ane new principals for the last three elementary schools?

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  62. As I have state above I tentatively have reserved Friday night for a board meeting. If that is to occur then an agenda will need to be posted by Wednesday evening.

    I receive the information that the agenda is posted as soon as it is marked open to the public.

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  63. Just checked the website, no agenda posted for Friday.

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  64. Board meeting scheduled for 5:00 on Friday the 23rd - it's under the Electronic School Board - no agenda posted yet.

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  65. Isn't it too late to post the agenda now ?

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  66. Special board meetings have a 24 hour notice and the meeting is currently designated as a special meeting.

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  67. "Special" board meetings occur when our board would like to "sweep some issue under the rug".

    Just ask yourself, how many people are willing to go to a board meeting on Friday? This is a perfect opportunity for our board to get one by us. I'm sure they purposely timed this for a Friday.

    People, GRAB YOUR WALLET AND COVER YOUR ASS, we are getting one or the other, maybe both, by whatever gets "decided" on Friday.

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  68. Long-time Board WatcherJuly 21, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Hairs do seem to be splitting here.

    The Brown Act is contained in CA Govt. Code Sections 54950-54963. Section 54956 (Special meetings) does allow for a 24-hour posting of the meeting agenda. However, Section 54956.5(a) states, "For purposes of this section, "emergency situation" means both of the following. . ." and lists such events as a work stoppage, safety issue, disaster (e.g. school fire), etc. It could be presumed that the Brown Act considers a Special meeting as one called when an emergency arises.

    If the purpose of Friday's meeting is simply to appoint administrators, it hardly seems an emergency. The MDUSD has held many Special meetings for non-emergency issues. The agenda for them has been posted according to the 72-hour requirement.

    The Board is following the Brown Act in the 24-hour notification but not its own past practice. Few members of the public are going to know about this meeting.

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  69. Just what we need; another rush job to appoint principals, and this time the appointments in question as to whether the Brown Act is followed with proper notice -- don't they want the public to have time to "google" them ? Can't the Board and Supt get anything right ? What is wrong with giving the 72 hour notice for next week ? Maybe the Supt should take less vacations during his first 5 months.
    It is interesting that Sherry originally did say it needed to be posted by 5 pm on Wednesday and then has changed her tune. Maybe she will start reading the Government Code cited by Longtime Board Watcher. :-) How would you like to be a principal whose appointment was tainted by illegal notice ?
    Doctor J

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  70. Doctor J - are you considering a run for the MDUSD board?

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  71. Doctor J can't run fir the board since he works foe the district. Unless he wants to quit his day job.

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  72. It is tempting, but I would have to remove my Lone Ranger mask, unless I became like Zorro. but the reality is that I would have to give up another position to avoid a conflict of interest, and perhaps this election is not the right time for that. It is more tempting to think of 2012 against GE head to head. There are lots of other citizens that could do the job this time. Besides, I can continue to contribute through the blogs.
    Doctor J

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  73. I think you should consider a run - you seem to have insight into what should be fixed at MDUSD. What better way to affect change (being a trustee on the board)? Much better than writing on a blog (IMO).

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