Friday, October 22, 2010

MDUSD Superintendent Newsletter #6

October 22, 2010
Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
Fifth Annual Day at the Races for Literacy
Raising Funds to Raise Readers -- On Saturday, October 30, 2010 the Central Contra Costa Literacy Coalition and The Rotary Club of Concord are working together to benefit the literacy programs in Central Contra Costa County.  The event, scheduled from 8:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m., is being hosted by the Hilton Concord and 100 percent of the $20 entry fee will be donated to fund literacy projects.  The entry fee provides an opportunity to participate in a 1K, 5K or 10K race, and enjoy a spaghetti and meatballs lunch and free concert.  School teams are encouraged to enter to raise funds for their school’s literacy program.  For information about the event call 925-349-2654 or register online at .
Budget Update
Although the State budget restored the $275 per-student reduction from the Governor’s May budget proposal, and we will receive $6 million in new one-time Federal dollars, we are being very cautious about the District’s budget.  In a Los Angeles Times article dated October 10, 2010, by Evan Halper, Mr. Halper asserts that come January, a new governor and a new crop of lawmakers will have to confront the $19 billion deficit that the current governor and legislature failed to address.  Quoting the Los Angeles Times:  
The most optimistic projections show that the spending plan Schwarzenegger signed will produce a shortfall of at least $10 billion – more than 11% of state spending – in the next fiscal year.  Many experts predict it will be billions more.  The leaders mostly papered over this year’s gap, punting many tough decisions forward.
We have read many analyses of the State budget that reach similar conclusions.  A commensurate 11% reduction to California’s education budget would be approximately $5.5 billion.  This would translate into an additional $20 million reduction to our District budget!  Consequently, there is a high probability of mid-year cuts.  Therefore, it is imprudent to allocate or spend the $6 million in one-time Federal dollars until the new governor’s January budget is released.   We want to ensure that the District has adequate funding in place to prevent mid-year reductions in programs and personnel.
Shining the Light on Solar
Solar Update -- This Tuesday, October 26, 2010 the Board of Education will consider approving the contract with SunPower.  Once the contract is approved, the design and State approval process begins.  Our goal is to break ground in early spring 2011 and have the solar project completed by mid spring 2012.  Once the installation of solar shade projects begins, we will post updates and pictures on the District webpage.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Times endorses Hansen, Adams and Larkin, how about you?

Not too much talk about the upcoming board election. Thoughts? Have you seen or attended any candidate forums? Will you attend on the 20th in Pleasant Hill?

Here's the article from the Times:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MDUSD Intradistrict Transfer Procedures 2011-2012

Well, I have to say, nothing frustrates me more than a "time sensitive" issue for many parents in our district, to have ZERO information available online at the district website.  At least I can't find it. Can you?  If you use their drop down menu of "How do I?" or the "Parents" tab on the main page, I get LAST YEARS information but still, no links to forms or their new Q & A.  So I figured I'd help you out.

I've uploaded the information, Q & A and forms you need to apply for a transfer here

Important points:
  • Intradistrict applications for grades 1-12 are available starting October 1st, and are due on or before January 15, 2011.
  • Forms are available at the District Office (Dent Center) at 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord
  • This year you will have three choices in your transfer designation and therefore, there are three different forms - you need to know which one to use - this is vital.
  • Kindergarten students must register at their home school on District Kindergarten registration day, February 1, 2011.  Then, on or after that day, you may request a transfer.  Those requests are due no later than February 26th, 2011.
Three choices this year (each is described in more detail below and the Q&A is available at the link above), be sure you use the right form as which transfer to apply for is important to know:
  • School Choice (another MDUSD School) - star at top left of transfer form
  • NCLB Transfer (No Child Left Behind) - square box at top left of transfer form
  • Open Enrollment (SBX5 4) - diamond box at top left of transfer form
What is the three options?
  • School Choice provides parents with an opportunity to apply for another MDUSD school other than their residence school (i.e. you live in Concord, but want to have your child attend a Walnut Creek school)
  • NCLB Transfer (No Child Left Behind) provides parents whose student's residence school is identified as "Program Improvement (PI)" to apply for attendance at a non-Program Improvement school (must be on the list below).  Program Improvement (PI) is a formal designation for Title 1 funded schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years.  The Program Improvement Schools are listed below.
  • Open Enrollment SBX5 4 provides parents who student's residence school has been identified as a Persistently Low Achieving school to apply to a school anywhere within or outside the district.  The receiving school must have an API (Academic Performance Index) score that is higher than that of the resident school.  Persistently Low Achieving schools are listed below.
Once assigned to a school per a transfer, can your student be displaced?
  • Students on School Choice K-12 transfers can be displaced prior to September 15th of EACH SCHOOL YEAR (my emphasis) by students who reside in the school's attendance area.
  • Students on NCLB Transfers can be displaced prior to September 15th of the FIRST school year only by students who reside in the school's attendance area.  After that first year, these students become residents of the school and are not subject to bumping.
  • Students on Open Enrollment SBX5 4 transfers can be displaced prior to September 15th of the FIRST school year only, and as with NCLB, become school residents after that first year and are not subject to bumping.
Clear as mud?  An important distinction if you are contemplating between a NCLB and a Open Enrollment SBX5 4 transfer is that TRANSPORTATION IS ONLY PROVIDED for NCLB transfers.  Each of the other options will not provide transportation and parents are responsible for all transportation to/from school.  For NCLB transfers, transportation is provided to /from the home school to the new school.

Another important note.  You can ONLY submit one transfer request.  If a transfer request is denied, you may appeal, but you are assigned back to your home school.  So be careful.

Ok, so which schools are on which list?

NCLB Elementary Schools/Middle Schools and your NCLB school choice options are listed below:

Bel Air
Fair Oaks
Meadow Homes
Rio Vista
Shore Acres
Ygnacio Valley

Your Elementary Options are:  
Hidden Valley
Mountain View
Sun Terrace

Oak Grove

Your Middle School options are:
Diablo View
Pleasant Hill

Schools eligible for Open Enrollment SBX5 4 (remember you can go to any other school that has a higher API) are as follows:
Bel Air Elementary
Meadow Homes Elementary
Shore Acres Elementary

Glenbrook Middle
Oak Grove Middle
Riverview Middle

Remember, Monte Gardens, Sequoia Elementary and Cornerstone Family School have separate admissions procedures and you should contact those schools directly for admission information and to be put on their waiting lists.

Schools noted as "over enrolled" will not accept transfer requests, those schools in 2010-2011 were/are Meadow Homes Elementary and College Park High School.  Over enrolled designation for this 2011-2012 transfer cycle will be determined by the board this month.

  • When more requests are received than there is space available to attend a specific school, the Student Services Office will conduct a public lottery among the applicants to fill any vacancies.  The lottery will be February 11, 2011, parents will be notified by April 15th, 2011 for 6th - 12th grade and August 16th, 2011 for K-5 grades of approval or denial of transfer request (nice bit of notice for those elementary students huh? Not knowing where they'll start school until a week or two before?)
To contact Student Services:  925-688-8000 x 4068.  Felicia Stuckey-Smith (email in this department may be able to help you.

At last weeks PAC (Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council), Dr. Lawrence committed that the School Closure committee will either be done by this January 15th date, or will allow more time for those families impacted by any school closures.  Note that the choices under NCLB are several of the most underenrolled schools in our district.  So I have a feeling there will be some stress come January. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

MDUSD Superintendent Newsletter - info about bond sale, sports fundraiser, measure c, solar and more

Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go…
To the Second Annual 5K Run to Benefit MDUSD Sports

Great thanks, in advance, to the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation (“UMDAF”) for hosting the second annual 5K Run and Walk to benefit District high school sports.  Athletics are just one of many victims of the state’s budget cuts.  UMDAF stepped up to the plate to ensure our students are not denied the invaluable experience of team sports.  Studies confirm that students who participate in organized school sports are less likely to experiment with dangerous behaviors, including drugs and alcohol.  Please support UMDAF to achieve their goal of raising $50,000 from this event.

Sunday, October 10
9:00 a.m.
Newhall Park, Concord
Food. Fun. Entertainment.

Support a great cause – support our student athletic programs.  Log on to to sign up and/or get additional information.

Bond Sale

On September 20, 2010, the District sold the first allotment of the bonds approved by voters under Measure C. The amount of the sale was $110 million, almost a third of the $348 million authorized by Measure C.  The District is pleased to announce that it was able to sell approximately half of the first allotment ($59.5 million), as Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”).  CREBs are very beneficial to the District because most of the interest is paid by the Federal Government.  The interest paid by the District itself is minimal, only about 1.7%. The District was able to qualify for the CREBs program because it applied early, over a year ago. Lower interest costs result in greater energy savings because the bond payoff cost is substantially lessened.

The remaining $50.5 million in bonds were issued as General Obligation bonds.  These bonds have an interest rate of about 5.7% and have a term of 25 years.  If you would like more information about the bonds and the exciting projects they will finance, we invite you to attend the October 12, 2010 Board meeting, where there will be a formal presentation during the Superintendent’s Report. We will keep you regularly informed on project developments as we build a new District!

Measure C Update

The aforementioned $110 million will be used for the following projects:
  • District wide solar installation
  • District wide technology infrastructure improvements
  • Paying off $14 million in Certificates of Participation (“COPs”) and lease purchase payments which will relieve the District of $1.4 million annual debt payments through 2024
  • Begin the process of equalizing HVAC enhancements throughout the District
Shining the Light on Solar

After a rigorous selection process the District selected SunPower to design and build its solar projects.  SunPower is a local, established and nationally recognized designer and builder of solar power systems. The initial timeline had the Board considering the SunPower contract at its October 12, 2010, meeting.  In order to allow the parties to finalize their discussions, the contract will now be presented at the October 26, 2010 Board meeting.

Pete Pederson, Bond Program Administrator, is visiting each District school site to determine the most appropriate location for each solar facility.  Solar structures can often serve as shade structures and rain covers as well as energy generators. 
K to College School Supply Program

The K to College School Supply Program (“SSP”) provides free canvas tote bags filled with school supplies to students who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Their mission is to promote equal access to higher education by ensuring every student has the resources and tools to learn from kindergarten to college.  K to College was founded in 2008 by UC Berkeley students and alumni. K to College's founding members reached out to community leaders experienced with low-income education, including educators, local, state and federal representatives, faith-based leaders, and other education-based nonprofit leaders.  The SSP is funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (“ARRA”) and allocates funds to pay for $70 tote bags for low income students. Every student at the participating schools was given a tote bag containing supplies and a dental kit.  Nearly 10,000 students in the District received tote bags.  For more information:

Rising Cost of Health Care to Be Discussed at
October 12 Board Meeting

Mirroring discussions being held by employers throughout the nation, the Board is trying to manage the spiraling cost of health care benefits for all District employees.  Currently, full coverage is provided to administrators, confidential and classified employees.  Several years ago teachers negotiated benefits into their salary schedule and have recently received funding towards medical benefits.  The simultaneous trends of increasing benefit costs and diminishing state education funds forced the District to consider capping its health care contribution.  As discussed in previous Board meetings, if we cannot cap the District’s benefit contribution, we will be forced to implement more layoffs to pay for health care cost increases.  Administrators, supervisors and confidential employees have accepted a benefit cap.

The Kaiser rate for medical insurance increased 6.84% from the 2010 rate and if it remains uncapped, the District will pay $23,027,792 in 2011 and approximately $27,224,287 by 2013.

Monday, October 4, 2010

KTVU Game of the Week: Vote for Clayton Valley vs Concord High

Want to see Clayton Valley vs. Concord High as Game of the Week on KTVU?  Well start voting!

As you can see our local game needs all the help it can get at the moment.

Go to now!