Monday, August 30, 2010

MDUSD Candidate Forum Air Date Schedule

Times Politics Reporter, Lisa Vorderbrueggen, moderated a candidate roundtable for candidates in the MDUSD Board race.

For MDUSD , there is a replay tonight. Check out the air dates for all the local races they covered HERE.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District — Contra Costa TV Channel 27, Astound Channel 32 and AT&T Channel 99: Sept. 2, 9 p.m.; Sept. 6, 9 p.m.; Sept. 9, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12, 10 p.m.; Sept. 20, 9 p.m.; and Sept. 26, 10 p.m. Walnut Creek Comcast Channel 28, Rossmoor Channel 26, Astound Channel 29 and AT&T Channel 99: Aug. 30, Sept 3, 6, 10, 13,17, 20, 24 and 27, Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 and 29, and Nov. 1, 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Concord Channel 28: Aug. 28, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug. 30, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug. 31, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sept. 1, 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

After Labor Day it will also be available online (which is a good thing if you're a Directv subscriber).

You can also check out her recap here.

She notes, in part, the following about the MDUSD race:

BUYER'S REMORSE: Mt. Diablo School Board candidate Jan Trezise surprised everybody during her on-air closing statement when she said she was so impressed with the quality of other candidates that she had decided at that moment to drop out of the race.

What viewers don't see on camera is her request right after the show to have her statement removed.

Sorry. We do not edit candidates' closing statements.

So, is Ms. Trezise interested in being a board member , or not?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Has the Times gone too far?

So you have probably been reading on the blog as well as Claycord about the Times reporting of Board and school district issues. I read Gary Eberhart's Q & A on his blog and for that, we get this article: Mt. Diablo Trustee asked public to pay for his solar training

You know, I really feel the Times has gone too far on this one. Whether you agree or disagree with the payment for solar classes, it must take a real skill to turn Gary's Q & A into an article this negative.

Some of you may disagree with me here, but why can't the Times do something positive? Is press only about finding the negative angle? I don't personally see anything wrong with having a representative of our district trained on solar practice while we embark on a multi-million dollar solar project. And who is this person Mr. Krupnick quotes from Santa Clara, and why is that person qualified to know our district or to comment at all?

I just had to get this out there...

I'm sure you all will have a lot to say, including that I may be naive in my interpretation of what "press" is "supposed" to be about, but I think being a board member is hard enough . . . there may be things we disagree on, but I think the Times has taken this one a little too far. Slow news week perhaps?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School Night Schedules

I noticed the District website has a list of all the Back to School nights. Nice!

So in case you were wondering about the date of your back to school night .... here's the link:

Friday, August 20, 2010

MDUSD News Update

Two communications today (in addition to the voice message) from Superintendent Lawrence. This one, I've uploaded HERE is the longest message I think I've ever seen from MDUSD yet.

The highlighted passage on the snippet says "To that point we will utilize this data as part of the process for developing district-wide goals and objectives." Perhaps this is district speak for their version of a "strategic plan?"

It starts with a welcome back message, then goes on to cover the following:

  1. Star Scores
  2. School Closure Advisory Committee - info also online here.
  3. Board Highlights
  4. District Goals (!)
  5. Performance Targets
  6. Strategies to meet Educational Performance Targets
  7. Communications Plan and Community Relations
  8. Personnel Services
  9. Fiscal Services
  10. Facilities
Phew! A lot of information in this mailing tonight. Check it out.. and then come back to discuss.

Superintendent Welcome Message for the new school year

So far so good on this communication thing.

Did you get your "Welcome Message" today? If not, within the message Superintendent Lawrence does remind you to be sure your child's school has your up to date email address.

He reminds parents to talk to their children about traffic safety. He reminds parents to be careful and to follow all traffic laws in dropping off and picking up, and to remember that sometime summertime makes people get out of the habit of checking for children while driving.

Importantly, he reminds Concord parents that the City of Concord budget cuts resulted in cuts to some very important crossing guard positions and that parents should check in with the school site for any questions about crossing guard reduction.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Candidate filings, and then there were 7 - MDUSD Board

SEVEN candidates for the THREE vacant MDUSD seats will be on the ballot in November. Only three submitted candidate statements. Their statements are linked below.

Details as follows:

Linda Mayo (Pleasant Hill)
(Linda lists a website on her candidate statement linked below

Jeffrey Adams (Concord)
(candidate statement in link below)

Roy Larkin (Concord)
Retired CFO

Lynne Dennler (Concord)
Retired Teacher

Cheryl Hansen (Clayton)

Brian Lawrence (Concord)
Technology Executive
(candidate Statement in link below)

Jan Trezise (Clayton)
Retired Bank Appraiser

On the attached Voter Information Pamphlet, there are 3 candidate statements.

It is interesting that ALL of the Concord candidates are in the Concord High Feeder pattern... guess it doesn't mean anything, but interesting nonetheless.

Mr. Lawrence, in his candidate statement, mentions choosing a 'parent participation school' for his son, which earlier on this blog he said was entering kindergarten. Which school would that be? Do you think he means Monte Gardens or Sequoia?

So, any thoughts? I look forward to getting to know them more and meeting with them personally. How about you?

MDUSD finalized candidate list

We have an election! Up until a couple days ago, we were only aware of three candidates for the three seats on the MDUSD School Board.

We now have 5:

Linda Mayo
Lynne Dennler
Roy Larkin
Brian Lawrence
Jeff Adams

I am anxious to hear more from them. I would like to know what areas they live in so we can get an idea of what their area schools are dealing with. At least I hope they've been following the schools. Hopefully they have been following the board so those new to the mix understand what is involved. Are they on any district committees? How about school site groups (PFC, PTA, site council, etc). What makes them uniquely qualified to help lead this district during these rocky times?

We know that Jeff Adams is an attorney who ran in 2008. We know Linda Mayo is the incumbent and is highly involved in state level PTA. We have heard Ms. Dennler is a retired teacher and Mr. Larkin, a retired CFO. We hear below, that Mr. Lawrence has an entering kindergardener.

I will need a lot more information and much visibility from them before I will commit my vote. I hope they plan some community meetings. I would be happy to plan one too if they would be interested. How about a 'Meet the Candidates' community meeting ?

In the comments of a previous post we hear an introduction from Brian Lawrence:

"Hi folks,

I'm Brian Lawrence and I am a candidate for the MDUSD board. Like many of you, I'm extremely concerned about the state of our schools. My oldest child is about to enter kindergarten in the district. I'm committed to strong, transparent fiscal oversight and providing our children with every available resource to ensure their success.

I know the readers of this blog are passionate about improving MDUSD and I look forward to working with you."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MDUSD candidate list

According to the CC Times political reporter, Lisa Vorderbrueggen and from her blog today,, only 3 candidates have thrown their names into the mix for MDUSD Board. Notably absent so far is Jeff Adams. Is he running or not?

Does anyone know the candidates (other than Linda Mayo of course)?

Linda Mayo (i); Roy Larkin, Lynne Dennler

Please share what you know.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MDUSD Board Meeting Tuesday includes Measure C Committee appointments

You can find the agenda for Tuesday's board meeting on the electronic school board LINK. Just click on the calendar date, August 10th.

This board meeting includes some changes to the teaching (certificated) personnel and administrators. New leave of absence for a Principal, and some resignations and retirements of others. You can find that under agenda item 9.3.

The board is being asked to approve a 25,000 contract "Award of professional services contract for demographic and facility analysis to assist with school closure/consolidation process." Item 9.22.

The board will also be looking at a voluntary dress code at Sun Terrace Elementary. Item 14.1.

The board will be asked to approve 17 applicants for the Measure C oversight committee. If you recall the committee needed a "well rounded" group of applicants representing the various district stakeholders. Those applicants are:
  1. Jay Bedecarre (representing CONCORD "local business community")
  2. John Burke (Parent/Guardian active in PTO)
  3. Rick Callaway (representing PLEASANT HILL "local business community")
  4. John Ferrante (at large community member)
  5. Brent Hayes (representing WALNUT CREEK "local business community")
  6. Ralph Hoffman (Senior Citizen's Organization)
  7. Pat Howlett (Senior Citizen's Organization)
  8. Faye Mettler (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  9. Bonnie McDonald (at large community member)
  10. Susan Noack (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  11. John Parker (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  12. Jenny Reik (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district and at large community member)
  13. Tina Segrove (representing CONCORD "local business community," and parent/guardian w/ child in district)
  14. Mark Weinmann (Parent/Guardian active in PTO and parent/guardian w/ child in district and at large community member)
  15. Jack Weir (taxpayer association)
  16. Marc Willis (at large community member)
  17. Larry Wirick (representing PITTSBURG "local business community"
Take a look at the agenda, there are some budget items, and information related Measure C and the sale of the general obligation bonds. It's a long agenda, might be a long night.

Friday, August 6, 2010

COMMUNICATION!! A summer newsletter from MDUSD

Mt. Diablo USD News Update

Where Kids Come First

As the summer months turn toward a new school year, we are pleased to share with you the accomplishments that have been achieved in the Mt. Diablo USD. During the past couple of months, we have been quite busy working to further strengthen educational programs for all students in the District.

Shared Vision/Common Goals

To begin, we are initiating an effort to improve District communication with our parent community. Twice monthly we will publish an e-newsletter to provide updates on District and school activities and events. Additionally, Board of Education and other District meetings’ agenda items will be shared. The e-newsletter will also be posted on our web page, and a hard copy will be available at all school sites.

Summer Highlights

A new Student Achievement and School Support Department has been created. The restructuring of the former Curriculum and Instruction Department allowed us to bring in several of our successful elementary and secondary principals, who will be responsible for working directly with and supporting our school sites. This restructuring both maximizes talent and generated over $50,000 in savings.

This new administrative team will bring increased focus to student achievement, which is the District’s first and foremost goal.

Additionally, we have new principal assignments in place effective this fall. A list of newly appointed principals and their assignments is included at the end of this e-newsletter.

A Community’s Vote of Support for Its Public Schools

Building 21st Century Schools to Deliver 21st Century Education

Measure C

Once again, our community stepped up and offered its support for public education through the successful passage of a facilities bond campaign.

This is a tremendous compliment and vote of confidence in our District and the work being done by hundreds of dedicated education professionals and support personnel.

We offer the sincerest thanks to the Community United for Excellent Schools’ (CUES) committee members and numerous parent and community volunteers who helped to pass Measure C with more than a 61 percent approval. We are gratified and humbled by the support the community has shown in us to provide facilities and technology upgrades, efficient green technology, and general fund relief.

At this Tuesday’s meeting, the Board will consider the following items related to Measure C. You are encouraged to attend this meeting and future Board meetings to stay informed on District progress:

  • Committee meets quarterly
  • All meetings are posted in advance. Public participation is encouraged

  • Authorizing the Issuance and Sale of $110 million in General Obligation Bonds

  • Use Tier 3 flexibility as allowed by legislation to utilize the Deferred Maintenance Savings account to reinstate 24.5 laid off Resource Specialist teachers

Building upon the success of the 2002 Measure C Program, the District will maintain and expand the collaboration and communication strategies used in the 2002 program for implementation in the 2010 Measure C Facilities Improvement Program.

Hearing from School Communities

A Program Management Plan (PMP) will be created based on meetings with individual school site leaders, including parents. This plan will be reviewed with the Bond Oversight Committee and presented to the Board of Education for review and approval.

As was the case with the 2002 Measure C Program, we will also work with the sites to schedule bilingual presentations in the evenings to involve parents and community.

Facilities that Enhance Excellent Education

The 2010 Measure C Facilities Improvement Program will allow the District to complete and enhance the improvements implemented through the 2002 initiative including:

  • Technology improvements
  • Continued installation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems in all schools to ensure comfort and equity
  • Replace old portable buildings and upgrade classrooms to provide students and staff with new, safe and comfortable state of the art classrooms
  • The installation of solar facilities

Shedding the Light on Solar

The installation of solar facilities will provide millions of dollars of funding for students and student programs that are presently being spent on electricity bills.

Three keys to a successful solar installation goal:

  1. To build a long term quality system with a 20 year guarantee on the production rate.
  2. To select a reliable company, that will be in business in 20 years, and knows how to work with schools while in session to quickly erect solar shade structures to generate electricity and save money.
  3. To negotiate a competitive financial contract given the first two goals.

To review the solar project Request For Proposals (RFP) go to: .

We are excited to embark on a new school year. Translating our vision for excellent education and state of the art facilities into action is both invigorating and encouraging. On behalf of the entire District and the 34,000 students we serve, we look forward to working closely with you to make the vision of excellence for MDUSD a reality. If you have questions about any of the previous information, please reply to this email.

Principal Appointments

Dedicated to Excellence

Elementary Schools /Principal Name

Ayers: Spoogmai Habibi

Bel Air: Nancy Klinkner

Delta View: Nancy Baum

Hidden Valley: Sandy Bruketta

Highlands: Vickie Eversole

Monte Gardens: Susan Peters

Mt. Diablo: Irene Keenan

Shore Acres: Elizabeth Block

Silverwood: Nancy Villa

Valle Verde: Rhys Miller

Wren Avenue : Cynthia Goin

Middle School/ Principal Name

Glenbrook: April Bush

Riverview : Christine Huajardo

Sequoia: Connie Cirimeli

Valley View TBA

High Schools/ Principal Name

Mt. Diablo: Kate McClatchy

Olympic: Cheryl LeBeouf

Ygnacio: Valley Bill Morones

(Great news so far! I hope they continue this. Sorry for the formatting here, this newsletter was really not pretty on email and I did the best I could with a cut and paste. I don't see it on the site yet or I would have linked you, but check back...)

Paul Strange will not seek another term on the MDUSD board

Paul Strange has announced on the blog today that he does not intend to seek another term as an MDUSD board member . Today would have been his filing deadline. To many, this is not a surprise.

Earlier this week we heard we do have three people who have pulled papers. Since at least one incumbent is not running (now we have 2), the filing deadline has been extended.

If only 3 people file to run it appears MDUSD may not even have to run an election as there are only 3 seats open.

Linda Mayo, Dick Allen and Paul Strange all had expiring terms this November. Linda Mayo is the only one who will be running again.

I have learned a lot from Paul. His passion and the tenacity in which he did his work on the board is unmatched. We may not have always agreed but I always appreciated his willingness to explain and discuss. The board needed him during these past few years and many good things did come from his tenure. I do believe that.... Gary and Paul together made a difference for our schools.

So, if you have comments or questions for Paul, visit him at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

MDUSD Principal goes to San Ramon

So I heard today that Nadine Rosenzweig, former principal of Valley View Middle School, has accepted a position in the San Ramon Valley School District as Principal of Live Oak Elementary School in San Ramon.

First, I've lost track if she was on the initial list of Principals coming and going, but mostly I just wanted to comment on the SRVUSD website. They've had numerous announcements over the summer, the announcements (current and past) are an easy click away, their site is crisp and easy to navigate and they are communicating (4 just this week).

I know that individual school sites are getting notified of their new administrators, etc., but why can't the district just burst out some news releases like SRVUSD? There is even a message from their Superintendent on the first page.

Check it out:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Measure C: Statement from the CUES committee

Today we received a message from Jenny Reik, a CUES committee member. CUES has a statement related to the recent events:

CUES Committee statement

August 3, 2010

MDUSD Community -

For the past several weeks, there has been wide speculation and much misinformation regarding the handling of the opinion poll we commissioned prior to the Measure C election. This matter has become a needless distraction and is inhibiting the progress that the voters demanded with their overwhelming approval of Measure C. As such, our committee is compelled to release the poll so we can put this matter to rest. The full report of it can be found on our site:

The election is over and the voters have spoken. We urge the Times and the District leadership to get beyond this trivial matter and focus their attention and energy on the key issue: how can we best use our resources to improve our children’s education?

The success of Measure C is proof that the community remains steadfast in support of our kids. The CUES committee will continue its work to build on that success and construct stronger, more productive channels of communication between the District and the community at large. We welcome all parents and members of our community to join us in that effort. Please visit to learn more.


Citizens United for Excellent Schools