Monday, September 27, 2010

MDUSD School Closure Advisory Committee

You can find information about the School Closure Advisory Committee on the district website.  It's not easy to navigate to if you just showed up at the district website, and the only link I could readily find takes you to a page showing only those appointed to the committee. Committee members link.

However, at this LINK you can find meeting dates, presentations and minutes.  (thanks to Sherry Whitmarsh for providing this link)  

The presentation linked from this page, dated September 14th, is a presentation by the Consultant (Jack Schreder & Associates).  This appears to be a very detailed Demographic study of our district and provides some very interesting information about enrollment, projections and some visuals showing the population of each school site.  I am no expert, but it almost seems you can see which schools they may be looking at combining.  You see within the first couple of pages what criteria the committee will be looking at in formulating recommendation for closure. What do you think?  LINK TO PRESENTATION here.

The next meeting of the committee is coming up this Thursday, September 30th at 6pm at the Willow Creek Center on Mohr Lane in Concord.


  1. Someone should proofread this report!

    On high school boundary maps, Crystyl Ranch is assigned to Clayton Valley HS instead of Northgate

    There's no planned development at Concord Naval Weapons Station

    What other mistakes are there?

  2. I didn't see College Park on the high school boundary map either.

  3. The maps are confusing because they don't show streets for the Montecito development. But if you go through Mt. Diablo state park where there are no roads, then Crystyl Ranch does seem to be connected to the Northgate high school boundary.

  4. Sherry,

    You said you can, "almost see what schools they are thinking of combining"......but please help me because after reading the entire report I still can not tell. I am very worried because we just moved to a specific Concord neighborhood for a certain elementary school that where my son will attend kindergarten next year. It is a smaller school and now I am terrified that they will be combining his school next year.
    Could you please point out what schools you are thinking they may be closing? I'm worried sick about this and am now looking at private schools to avoid all this uncertainty!
    Help and thanks!


  5. Holly, sherry did not say that, I did. I just think you have to look at the small population schools and their proximity to other small population schools.. Some within just a couple of miles of each other. Then look at capacities of each.... There are quite a few schools within a relatively small radius I.e. Ayers, silverwood, mountain view and westwood. Perhaps some school sites already adjoining could merge to share staff I.e. Westwood and el dorado.

    ALL just guesses. I assume we will hear more as the committee does its work.

  6. I really hope they don't combine Westwood an El Dorado. That would be ridiculous, especially if they were trying to reduce staff!

    El Dorado has aprox. 900 students that need all the supervision they can get.

  7. Holly,

    I'm pretty sure that school will be closed. I suppose you think they should keep any school open no matter how fiscally irresponsible. You must be a Democrat.

  8. Mountain view is at less than 50% capacity that almost seems a no brainer. Combine the sequoias . Share admin across el dorado amd westwood. Combine ayers and silverwood. Close Mt view . Combine Woodside and bancroft.

  9. For such an expensive study, quite a few significant errors. Wasn't most of this information already known to the district ? My point is that all of this should have been done a year ago, and then the Board would have had the OPTION of school consolidation a year earlier to save millions during the financial crisis. Yes, it always will hurt, but postponing the amputation for a year really doesn't make us feel any better does it ? All it did was postpone the pain. Why hire five new principals this year when you are going to have close five schools next year. Seems like a wasted effort.
    Doctor J

  10. I would think that having Mt. View at less than 50% of its capacity is a reason to keep it open. They have more room to have the children from Silverwood or Ayers come to them. If Mountain View closes and Ayers/Silverwood are already full where would th students go?

  11. Depends which school can hold more, the costs to improve or bring them to today's standard. Which one's have air, which ones require extensive work? Neither Ayers, nor Silverwood are full. Where did you see that?

    Wren, El Monte and Westwood are also in very close proximity.. Again, none full.

  12. No matter which schools are chosen for closure, this will be painful and heartbreaking to someone. I went through this when Prop 13 passed in the WC and Acalanes district. I was one of the last graduating classes from Del Valle HS, my siblings were transfered to Las Lomas. Our school was divided between LL, Campolindo and Acalanes. Then Parkmead Intermediate and Tice Valley Elementary were closed, all 3 schools I attended.

    I just skimmed this report and will take more time to read and understand it. I applaud everyone on the committee as this will be hard. We all need to understand that we can't control or stop school closures. It does make sense so that our district can run more efficiently. It will be a long process to achieve this goal.

  13. It is my understanding that the closures will not mix feeder patterns. For example, Silverwood and/or Ayers will not combine with Mountainview, as they feed to Pine Hollow and CV, where Mountainview feeds to El Dorado and CHS.
    No one wants to see "their" school close. We will just have to suck it up and deal with the reality before us.

  14. Hopefully YVHS will be closed down. That place is a cesspool.

  15. YVHS is not a cesspool. I've had two children there for the last six years and have been extremely happy with the school. The people that complain about YV usually don't have students at YV and base their opinions on the fact that there are kids of color at the school. We have a great new principal, an amazing staff and wonderful kids.

  16. Cesspool? This blog just announced the YVHS debate team success. Congrats to YVHS!

    Back to the demographic study, one mistake seems to be the low capacity numbers for Northgate HS. The teachers are sharing classrooms. Probably because many classrooms have no windows and only one door, and fire regulations limit the number of people in these rooms. Maybe they can use the school modernization money to install some windows?

  17. Is there a reason that feeder patterns could not be changed to accomodate closures ?

  18. It seems obvious that the area where families have a choice between College Park and YV should go to YV where they are under enrollment and not College Park which is too full

  19. Let me guess 9:02 - you don't live in the grey area where parents have a choice between YV and CP.

  20. 9:02am- Logistically that would be a nightmare for the people who live in the gray area.

    There are people with kids in three different schools, PHE, PHMS and CPHS and there is no way in the world that someone could drive out to YV and get back down Treat Blvd in order to get their other kids to school on time.

    Besides, if you look at enrollment trends, CPHS enrollment has been going down steadily for years. I can only imagine how many fewer students they would have if they actually did address checks as we all know kids who don't live in the attendance area.

    If you look at the map in the SCC report, you can see that Clayton Valley, Ygnacio Valley and Northgate are all under utilized. Why not close YV and split the kids into CV or NHS?

    Or close NHS (audible gasp) and send those kids to YV or CV?

    At least that is near the neighborhood where the students live.

  21. Has there been any discussion yet on the impact of school closures on the establishment of charter schools? Will there be an increase in applications for charter schools in MDUSD if the district has vacant facilities to house them? I believe Prop 39 requires school districts to make facilities available to charter schools in their geographical area if the district has space to accommodate those schools. I assume the MDUSD General Counsel will investigate this regulation if he hasn't already.

    Per pupil funds are just that: they go with the pupil. So if a charter school is established and attracts district students, MDUSD would lose the funding it receives for those students. I would expect cost projections related to school closures to include the loss of district revenue if a charter school opens in a vacant district school building and some MDUSD students transfer to the charter.

    An increase in charter school applications may not happen, but it may be prudent to consider the possibility as part of the cost analysis of school closures.

  22. Dear MDUSD Committee,

    Could you please elaborate on whether closures will not mix feeder patterns.
    If this is the case, I know that will be a huge comfort on this already heartbreaking experience!

    Also, could anyone who was able to attend tonight's meeting please tell us a little about what school closures & combinations looked eminent.

    Thank you!

  23. What feeder patterns? Are you aware that some elementary schools and also some middle schools belong to 2 separate high school feeder patterns? It's absolutely crazy, these maps are a mess, and it's time for the district to fix these problems.

  24. These feeder patterns:

    Yes, I am aware that some elementary school can go to 2 different middle schools and so on and so forth.
    BUT, the committee should not be combining elementary schools (such as, Ayers and Mountain View because they do not feed into the same middle or high school. Combining Ayers with Silverwood makes sense because they both feed to the same middle and high.....obviously just one example).
    SO, dear committee, please share your thoughts on this....thx

  25. El Monte and wren. El Monte and westwood. El monte and westwood. Westwood and wren. Split the kids at ayers , some go to silvwrwood and some to mountain view. Or combine mtn view with west wood , wren or el Monte.

    Highlands with silverwood.

  26. What would be the pros and cons of new names for the combined schools so that everyone feels like they are at a new school ?

  27. Change the feeder pattern boundaries to match the needs of the district to save money. Your kids will now go to a different middle or high school? So what. No one ever promised you that boundaries were set in cement.

  28. If the district is going to change boundaries, they better have their ducks in a row.

    This could get ugly.

  29. First Anon @ 9/27 5:49pm- I don't think that Crystyl Ranch being assigned to CVHS is a mistake.

    Crystyl Ranch is less than 2 miles away from CVHS and approx 5.5 miles away from NHS. It's also just 5 miles away from YVHS.

    I can't imagine any reason why they would be assigned to NHS unless it was some political deal.

    These are the types of agreements that the district is going to have to be prepared to defend.

  30. Thank you Anon 8:04 AM for your comments about YV. I agree with that people who make the comments have no idea nor have they ever had students there. I challenge the one making that awful comment about YV to meet my family, meet my students and tell them this. I then will show you how very wrong you are. Sadly when I read or hear this, I know how truly un-educated these people are.

    Now back to closures, this will not be fun for anyone but has to be done. I do think the boundaries need to be re-aligned. Yes someone somewhere will not be happy. The reality is we have too many schools and closing 3 to 5 makes good financial sense. It is my understanding it will most likely be elementary schools. But I could be wrong.

  31. Anon 12:28 , of course the zoning for crystal ranch was /is political. Seeno developed moat of crystal ranch (with pulte homes). They got a 10 year concession for kids to go to nhs. It later became permanent. However cvhs is nearly full and nhs is nowhere close.

    But you do know that lime ridge in concord and the crossings both get nhs too right?

  32. 11:47am- Permanent? Well, that remains to be seen because if the district messes with other boundaries, then they are going to have to deal with that one too.

    I think there are more than just elem schools to be closed. I heard, but can't confirm 100% that a middle and high school might be closed too.

    I heard the savings were $1.5M per year, which in all honesty doesn't sound like that much for all the angst that it will cause. Unfortunately, the district does need to do their best to make sure they are fully utilizing their sites.

    Yes, I know the Crossings and Lime Ridge go to NHS. Another weird thing since CVHS, YVHS and NHS are all under enrolled. That seems to call for some changes.

  33. Before we are so certain that CVHS is almost full I would like to see the intra-district transfer numbers. Also if boundaries are going to change the fact that CVHS is near capacity is moot. We are talking about a neighborhood that is walking/biking from CVHS and, until this year, was being bused 5 miles away to NHS. That makes no sense.

    The capacity number for NHS is wrong. Another 500 students could not fit. Because the design of Northgate is so different it has never worked into the district's model for calculating capacity.

  34. Crystyl Ranch was being bused to NHS? At who's expense? The district's?

    That's just crazy. There is definitely something not right about that whole deal.

  35. The transfer numbers would be interesting. most kids I know requesting transfer to cvhs did not get in, some even moved to get in, nhs though several I know requesting transfers all got in.

  36. Anon 11:22,

    Just because your kids are the exception doesn't mean YVHS is not a cesspool.

    The district would be well served to close YVHS and send all those kids to Mt. D. or Olympic.

  37. Oh 10:24 you are not even worth comments you are so un-educated!

    Since YV has the capacity to hold more, close NGHS. Believe me school closures are not wonderful, but necessary.

    What has to stop is the childish name calling. Why do you think families transfer their students back to YVHS? Yes, this year alone they came back from CVHS and NGHS. There is a reason, the best kept secret in the district. Every school has issues. Not one school is perfect and that is what is wonderful about our district, the diversity.

  38. Anon 2:37,

    WE were paying for busing from Crystyl Ranch to Northgate. The families might have paid a small amount, but it was subsidized by the district.

    Check the Board Minutes a few years ago and April Treece is the one who spoke to continue the developer agreement that had expired, to send Crystyl Ranch students to NHS.

    Last spring the district had to cut the busing subsidy which was over $100,000, but Linda Mayo spoke to continue it for one more year, and the board approved. That was for last year, and this year is the first that the busing is not subsidized and has been cancelled.

    All these years this busing money came out of the general fund, which should be paying for teachers. Remember that when you vote in November!

  39. I do remember when April and the board voted to continue that Crystyl Ranch agreement.

    I also remember that when pressed for details, there really weren't any good ones coming from the board.

    NOW, they are going to have to answer some tough questions about this arrangement. I hope the School Closure Committee is up to the task!

  40. Anon 8:04,

    Are you suggesting that a parent transferred their kids from NGHS to YVHS on purpose? Yeah right.

    As for the Crystal Ranch to NGHS vs. CVHS issue, I wonder if any past or current board members live in Crystal Ranch and "benefit" from this arrangement? Things that make you go HMMMMMM.....

  41. 9:53

    Yes they did and it happens more than you think. So Hahaha to you :) As I said, you are un-educated and have probably never spent time on the campus or with the students. YVHS also has one of the top Leadership programs in Northern California, the only debate team in our district who had an outstanding first debate, many graduates at top Universities plus a lot more. But all our High Schools have accomplishments.

    What I do know is that school closure will be based on criteria, not individual opinions. Has anyone been able to attend any of the meetings (besides the committee)?

  42. there are many who choose NOT to go to NHS. Several kids in Crossings, and other areas CHOOSE Concord High or other schools. NHS is not the best school for all kids. Each school is different for different reasons, if they were all the same , it wouldn't matter would it? In fact, it's too bad they weren't more consistent. Think Danville. You have a choice between Monte Vista and San Ramon.. hmmm, well doesn't much matter does it as they are both exceptional schools... but totally different demographics than here.

    Paul Strange lives in Crystal Ranch and has elementary aged children for now. But I don't think the world is going to revolve about what Paul Strange wants. He's out of here, and he's out because he knew he'd never be voted in again. That guy has burned more bridges than a country at war. He's a ticking time bomb of anger .

  43. Interesting info from June 2009

    The Crystal Ranch (Concord) area developers were originally granted TEMPORARY enrollment rights at Northgate High as part of their development "deal." This came up in 2005/2006 when R.W., a parent in the Carriage Square neighborhood at the time, addressed the school board to make sure that students in closer proximity (i.e. Walnut Creek) would have the option to request intradistrict transfer once that temporary period ended. (Intradistrict transfers have been traditionally denied into Northgate based on arguments that the school has been/is impacted.

    In response, the board unanimously voted to make the temporary enrollment status of Crystal Ranch residents PERMANENT on February 14, 2006 (it should be noted that one of the school board members lives in Crystal Ranch).

  44. From what I have heard, no one is showing up to the SCC that is not on the committee.

    Kind of sad, since you know there will be a lot of complaining (probably right on this website by people claiming they have a right to complain) once the committee makes their decision.

  45. You should check your dates. There was no school board member living in Crystal Ranch at that time.

  46. Dates? Sure , I'll check 'em. Paul Strange bought his home in Crystyl Ranch in 2003-2004. In fact, maybe that's why he got on the school board! WOuld you like his address too ? You can go ask him.

  47. he's been on the board since, when ? 2005? After the other guy died, and then voted in at the 2006 election. Is the overlap lost on you?

  48. Anon 11:45 -

    Yes the school board made Crystal Ranch permanent on 2/14/2006, just 4 months after they had declared Northgate inpacted and closed to transfers at the 10/11/2005 board meeting. And no, CVHS was not impacted at the time just CPHS, NHS, Meadow Homes, and Mt. Diablo Elementary.

    Until this year NHS has had students in the lunch room, auto shop, and the entry hall area taking classes.

  49. Please note that Paul was on the NOT on the board in February 14, 2006. You will note from the board meeting that there was a vacant seat.

    Here's the link to the minutes

  50. Anon 12:29
    The Board minutes which Sherry graciously linked us to, don't say "permanent" -- school boundaries are all subject to Board change. Should the committee recommend a change, the Board may or may not go along with it.
    Doctor J

  51. Dear Committee,
    Where is the link to the minutes from Thursday, September 30th's meeting?
    How are parents suppose to "Get involved for change NOW" when we can't even read what is happening at the meetings.
    I've heard a decision is supposed to reached sometime in November....really?
    I would love to hear some comments from the Committee on their blog! Please, Committee members share some of your thoughts or at least address all the rumors floating around.

  52. Ummm 2:27pm- you can "Get Involved NOW" by attending the meetings.

    Speaking from experience, the minutes are a very poor reflection of what goes on at any meeting.

  53. 2:31:

    I was going to attend the last meeting because I DO want to be involved. But, when I made a phone call to the DENT center I was told these meetings do NOT allow people to participate.
    SO, what really goes on at these meetings? As a parent I really do want to make a difference for the children and not just point fingers and make comments on a blog.
    So, if you honestly think I can make a difference by going to the meetings, then I will. But, when the staff of MDUSD tells me I won't be allowed to talk at the meeting it seems like a waste of my time.

  54. Anon 2:50,

    "They" don't want people to participate because then the three headed beast that currently runs the board won't get their way.

    For your children's sake I hope you have not already "offended" the three headed beast in any way.

  55. Interesting that they said that. So, you are supposed to sit there and just listen even if you hear something that doesn't make sense or that you know is wrong?

    That is putting a lot of faith in the committee, whose make up concerned me from the start.

    As far as the district saying that someone could have signed up to be on the committee, many did, but didn't get selected. There were people who had a history with the district who knew a lot about feeder patterns than some of the people selected to be on the committee. Makes you wonder if the district did that on purpose.

    Perhaps the best way to keep the committee in check is to have people attend and do their own reporting back to their various school feeder patterns. At least it will get the information out there. Hopefully, more and more parents will attend and that will show the district that these are decisions that can't be taken lightly. Apparently, there are going to be more meetings than originally called for since there is a lot of information to go through.

    As a long time volunteer, I think that the district already has a good idea what schools they want to close, but they have to go through the motions of having the community involved or else be accused of heavy handedness.

    I would also hope that the district goes out to the community BEFORE they make their final decision so everyone can make their case--especially if the public can't speak at the SCC meetings.

  56. 3:02pm you are a troll whose posts do nothing to advance the dialog.

    Please go back under your bridge.

  57. 2:27, hang on a second. Do you think that THIS blog is the blog of the committee members? It is not. I don't know of any blog by a committee member. Not to say it's not out there, but it is not here.

    This is just a blog set up by parents for parents to voice frustrations, ask questions, learn more. That's it. There is no agenda here.

  58. 3:19, perhaps what you can do, is to attend the meetings and if you hear anything you don't like or have questions about, you can call committee members afterward if not allowed to speak during the meeting. If that is not allowed, then bring it to the public here (and as you said, the feeder patterns, bring it back to the PFC meetings too) and allow the public to debate the issue. Or advance it to the board and/or administration at Dent.

    I think it would also be good if the committee would update the PAC on the first Weds of every month so the Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee can also get updates to report back.

  59. MDUSD Parents- All excellent ideas.

  60. I bet if you attend these meetings and report on them here you will be labeled an "Enemy of the kids of MDUSD" by the board president Paul Strange.

  61. Is there someone who has really analyzed the minutes from the Sept. 30th meeting and can help me speculate which elementary schools the committee would find best to combine and/or close.
    I have some ideas of my own, but am really interested to hear what other people conclude from all these graphs regarding enrollment.

  62. Why is David Surran of Holbrook parent still there when has disenrolled his kid from the school district?

  63. The make up of the committee was a little weird to begin with.

    One committee member who was chosen for the College Park feeder pattern didn't even live in the district! He was a politician in Martinez and lived in the MUSD area.

    I believe he is no longer on the committee so if you are a CP feeder pattern parent and are interested in being on the committee, now is your chance.

    It would be unfair for them to be underrepresented.

  64. why does one MDUSD Closure committee papers say Patricia Surran is the Parent rep of Holbrook and the other says David Surran of Holbrook. So who is it?

  65. Calm down everyone. The committee was chosen to get the best result as determined by the board. They are the deciders.

    The committe wasn't chosen to be representative or even wiht parties in our own district. We have to make sure the rabble rousers in our district don't take over this process.

  66. That's not the point....why is there a person on there who no longer has children in the district. Unless you were chosen as a parent the requirment was that you have a srtudent erolled in the that wrong?

  67. Anon 3:59,

    You act like the board wanted to follow rules. In reality they chose people (whether they had students or not) who would give them the decision that they already decided on.

    Have you never had an experience with this board before?

  68. Sadly, I tend to agree with 4:09pm. There is a process that the committee is going to go through, but in the end, it is up to the board to make the final decision.

    My worry is that the committee just accepts whatever the consultants throw their way without question. I heard that they might have to add more meetings, and yet they want to make the decision on school closures by January?

    There are a lot of people on the committee, but that doesn't mean that they are all adding something or offering insights or input.

    Will there be public input once the committee does their job and the board decides? If there are major boundary changes, I think that the public should have the opportunity to be heard.

  69. It appears from the comments that some of you were unaware of how the school closure committee was chosen. The school site council at each school reviewed the applications and then recommended names for parents, community members, and students. The site councils voted on who they proposed from their school and then it was sent to the district office. Pete Pederson and then Rose Lock selected the committee from the recommendations from the school site councils.

    It was not required that you have a student in the district as you could have applied as a community member.

    For those who think I know the schools that will be closing, you are mistaken. As a board member, I am following the process. The school closure committee is the group that will make the recommendation. The recommendation will then be given to the board.

  70. 3:59pm- I don't think that it is a problem for someone who may have had kids who just graduated on the committee.

    I know plenty of parents who have great insight into district affairs. In fact, I would MUCH rather have a parent who went through 13 years in the district than an elementary school parent who has no clue what is going on.

    I think the real issue was the appointment of someone who lived outside the district. Although, I believe that person is no longer on the committee, but I don't think it was because the district changed their mind about him.

  71. Sherry,

    You say, "For those who think I know the schools that will be closing, you are mistaken. As a board member, I am following the process"

    Sure you are.

  72. 9:42 is right.
    From what I have heard the committee members are just there to make it appear that the board is following due process and the board is going to whatever the board matter what the committee recommends.
    I am sure they know darn well which schools they are closing or combining! Just be honest and say: "these are the schools that we are probably going to close", but we have a committee in place to help us review our tentative decision. Also, now it's a January decision! What happened to November?! Are you aware Kindergarten registration is FEBRUARY 2nd! Thank you dear board for leaving so much time for us parents to weigh our choices! I would have a lot more respect for the board if they were just honest from the beginning....but I am such an idealist!

  73. Anyone out there who wants to take a crack at the data from the 9/30 meeting and make an educated guess regarding the elementary schools. Please.

  74. Anon 10:10,

    Expecting this board to be honest and open (yes even the nice, kind, benevolent, Mrs. Whtimarsh) is a completely unreasonable expectation.

    They should all be recalled and thrown out on their collective asses.

  75. Regarding the need for resolution because kindergarten registration. It's not just K, there are deadlines for the other transfers . At the PAC the Superintendent committed that either the process would be done by the time transfer requests are due or would give those impacted by closures, more time. I will update on the PAC and transfers tomorrow.

  76. Sherry- You said, "The school site council at each school reviewed the applications and then recommended names for parents, community members, and students. The site councils voted on who they proposed from their school and then it was sent to the district office. Pete Pederson and then Rose Lock selected the committee from the recommendations from the school site councils."

    What attributes were Rose and Pete looking for when they selected the committee members?

    If all the site councils voted on who to propose for the committee, then what happened to the recommendations from the site councils of the middle schools and high schools? Representatives from the middle and high schools are either community members, school site administrators, students or employees, but no parents.

    Did any of the high school or middle school site councils put forth any names of parent representatives? Why the dearth of more seasoned committee members?

    It seems like putting parents on the committee who have only been in the district a few years benefits the district, not the community.

    For those who are pushing for a November time line because of kindergarten registration or other transfers, I would say that this is NOT a process that should be rushed. Major changes are going to occur and it is going to be painful.

    The last thing we need is the district shoving a decision down our throats. This is serious and there should be plenty of discussion and public input before any decision is made.

    Unfortunately, I have very little confidence in this process.

  77. Sherry and others

    This person applied as a parent NOT a community member...but is not a parent...anymore. Perhaps you should look at the application

    I guess I have to take it to claycord..

  78. Anon 11:08 said "It seems like putting parents on the committee who have only been in the district a few years benefits the district, not the community."

    Another possible way to look at it is that these parents have more "skin in the game" - their children have many more years to go attending MDUSD schools so have much more to at stake.

  79. 11:58pm- You can believe that, but as someone who has served on many district committees, I have seen how hard it is for new people to get their bearings. While they make have more years to go in the district, that doesn't mean they have more skin in the game.

    Every family who lives in the district, with children or not, has skin in this game. I may have to sell my house one day and where the new family's kids will go to school has a big impact on it's sale value.

    There is a confidence and assertiveness that comes with experience and, unfortunately, there are few newcomers who can give voice to questions in a large group without being intimidated.

    There is another SCC meeting this Thursday night at the Willow Creek Center from 6-8. I hope more than a few people who are on this blog attends and reports back here on what they learn.

  80. 11:15pm - What do you mean they aren't a parent anymore? Did their children pass away?

    Even if my kids graduate, I am still a parent and I would have had a lot of myself invested in the MDUSD in the past and for the future.

    Did you know that there are people who are still involved as volunteers in the district whose kids have graduated?

  81. Can someone clear up the Crystal Ranch issue. I only ask because it seems history is being re-written. Crystal Ranch students were only to be at NGHS on a temporary basis. When the drop date occurred students would need to apply for inter-district transfers. Then prior to this going into effect the board took this issue up with NO NOTICE to NGHS Parents. The board voted to change the boundaries and added Crystal Ranch students into NGHS. The board member Paul Strange who lives in Crystal Ranch abstained from voting. But, had an obvious interest and was part of the discussion to begin with. Since the FREE buses have stopped traffic at all our schools has just been awful. This is an issue that needs to be addressed when school boundaries and closures are reviewed.

  82. Anon 1:05,

    That is not how it happened. The board voted to make Crystyl Ranch permanent before Paul Strange was on the board (see the note in this thread from Sherry Whitmarsh). He did not abstain, He did not participate in the discussion. He WAS NOT on the board.

    The board assigned Crystyl Ranch to Northgate. That means that Crystyl Ranch is in the Northgate attendance area, just like neighborhoods in Walnut Creek.

    I don't know how you can say there was no notice . . . the meeting was properly noticed and the matter was on the agenda.

    What do you mean by "our schools?" Northgate is just as much Crystyl Ranch's school as it is yours. That is highly offensive . . . as if you have some holier than thou right to attend NHS.

    Maybe your house should be excluded from NHS.

    It is not a problem that needs to be addressed. This board has shown respect for the boundaries and has not changed boundaries in an effort to reduce infighting and to allow certainty in where kids attend.

    If the district closes schools, that will require some boundary changing, but given that it is unlikely that the board will close any high schools, there will be no basis for changing high school boundaries.

    If there is, then Pleasant Hill Elementary parents can count on attending Ygnacio Valley High School and parents in Walnut Creek close to YV can expect to be moved to YV as well. Students who currently attend Foothill but live closer to Oak Grove will likely move too.

    My guess is that the district will change as few boundaries as possible.

  83. Anon 1:05,

    DING DING DING! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

    As all things go with the current board majority if it benefits them it gets done.

    1. Gang of Five Raises (helps out the good buddies).
    2. Crystal Ranch to NGHS (helps out current board members).
    3. Taking of Solar classes paid for by district (helps out current board members)
    4. "Perks" paid for by companies like Chevron (helps out current board members).

    Business as usual in the MDUSD.

  84. 1:26,

    Please get the facts.

    1) Ridiculous charge. The realignment had to do with saving the district over $240,000.

    2)Crystal Ranch was voted on to be in Northgate prior to Mr. Strange being on the board. The board that voted on this was Treece, Mayo, Allen, and Eberhart. It was a 4-0-0 decision Mr. Leal had passed away and someone was not yet named to the board.

    3)I believe that the classes have helped the district because of the knowledge obtained by the board member.

    4)Please be specific about which "perks" you are specific about that benefited current board members.

  85. 1:21pm (aka Crystyl Ranch resident)- You may think that the agreement for your area is inviolate but you could be wrong.

    Please don't confuse a historical agreement made in 1980 when the district closed PHHS with a developer agreement to boost up the cost of homes in Crystyl Ranch by putting it in the NHS boundary. They are two different things.

    Crystyl Ranch is less than 2 miles away from CVHS and 5.5 miles from NHS. It is even closer to YVHS than NHS.

    The three high schools in that area, CVHS, NHS, and YVHS are all underutilized according to the district's information that they passed out at the last School Closure Committee.

    The people who live in the Valle Verde attendance area should probably attend YVHS as they are basically right across the street from it. A typical address in that neighborhood is around a half mile from YVHS and over two miles from NHS.

    The Crystyl Ranch folks should be moved to CVHS. They attend Highlands El and Pine Hollow Middle, so what in the world do they have to do with a school almost 6 miles away? Same with The Crossings neighborhood.

    When thinking of school boundaries, logistics should be considered and the fact that those areas are in schools that are not in their neighborhood is definitely something that they district should look at.

    Parents who have children in multiple schools need to have their schools in close proximity to each other. That takes less stressed out drivers off the road.

    If the district changes any other boundary before those it is really going to get ugly.

  86. Ms. Whitmarsh I'm sure you mean well. However, you are so wrong about the Crystal Ranch issue. You need to look into this further. I have multiple correspondence on said issue and I have to say I am surprised that you are coming out so strong on this. I suggest you dig a little deeper or check with Eberhart & Strange for the complete truth in regards to this matter.

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  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

  89. Sorry I am having text issues today.

    Here are the board meeting minutes and the link to it.

    Recommendation to Assign the Crystyl Ranch Development to the Northgate High School Attendance Area

    Treece moved, Eberhart seconded, and the Board voted 4-0-0 to assign the Crystyl Ranch residential development to the Northgate High School attendance area.

  90. And here is the link to the agenda for the meeting when Paul Strange was appointed:

    This was after the action on Crystyl Ranch.

  91. Sherry- Can you please tell us what specific attributes Rose and Pete were looking for when selecting the School Closure committee?

    There are many schools in each feeder pattern. Each school site council proposed a slate of candidates for the committee. One "Parent Representative" was chosen from each feeder pattern. Many of these parents are elementary school parents.

    It is great that parents of young kids want to get involved, but I wonder if the district felt that more inexperienced parents would be easier to work with.

    Since the committee was formed, I have learned that a number of people applied from middle and high schools in my feeder pattern. These are people with experience in district matters. There is value in having committee members who know the history of the district.

    Someone who is new to the district has a steep learning curve under a tight deadline.

    Is using parents who are relatively new to the district really the best way to build a committee? If so, for who? It is disconcerting to think that the school district might have had an agenda.

    I would like to believe that the district had some clear insights as to who they were looking for when shaping the committee, and I would really appreciate it if you could bring that information back here.
    Thank You.

  92. Anon 6:35,

    You can bet the main criteria for who got on the comittee was who would agree with what the board had already decided.

    No matter what Mrs. Whitmarsh said.

  93. 10:18pm- I didn't say that they picked people who would agree with them. The people on the committee are just now getting all the data so they have no idea what the board wants at this time.

    My concern is that without a strong foundation and knowledge of the district, it's possible that elementary school parents might not know what questions to ask or know why things happened the way they did in years past.

    I was curious as to what their criteria was in choosing. Either they answer the question because they had specific criteria, or they didn't, and then we can all draw our own conclusions.

    Personally, I'll wait to see what Sherry says and decide from there.

  94. Hopefully they shut down YVHS.

  95. I may be off topic, but who paid for the school site council dinner meeting last week?

  96. anon 11:13

    Each feeder pattern has the opportunity to have the following members: administrator, school employee, parent, community member, and student. Where possible, the district tried not to have parents or community members from the same schools as the administrator or school employee. In some feeder patterns there were fewer applicants than in others. In some feeder patterns the administrator or school employee is also a parent in that feeder pattern.

    Let me know if you need more clarification on something.

  97. 11:08

    As a parent of a student at YVHS - what is your concern? The parents I know are happy with the school.