Tuesday, November 30, 2010

School closure committee sort through recommendations

The Times brings us details today of which schools are being looked at for possible closure recommendations.

The list is quite large, and interestingly the article notes that beside the recommendations of the committee itself, the Superintendent's Council of district administrators prepared a scenario of their own. The official school closure Committee is expected to vote on their recommendations on Monday. Details below.

For the full Times article : http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_16744608

Be sure to read he detailed list of options here:

The list is :

Ayers Elementary, Concord; Bancroft Elementary, Walnut Creek; El Monte Elementary, Concord; Fair Oaks Elementary, Pleasant Hill; Glenbrook Middle, Concord; Gregory Gardens Elementary, Pleasant Hill; Holbrook Elementary, Concord; Monte Gardens Elementary, Concord; Oak Grove Middle, Concord; Rio Vista Elementary, Bay Point; Sequoia Elementary, Pleasant Hill; Sequoia Middle, Pleasant Hill; Shore Acres Elementary, Bay Point; Silverwood Elementary, Concord; Wren Elementary, Concord.

The school closure committee expects to vote on proposed recommendations at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane in Concord. Information is available by calling 925-682-8000, ext. 4015, or by going to www.mdusd.org. Click on "community," then select "School Closure Committee."


  1. The committee will deliver the option that the board has already preordained. See you later Sequioa and Monte Gardens.

  2. A longer write up by Theresa


  3. Again, the ignorance of posters here is amazing.

    Anon 12:09 am- While it is entirely possible for the board to decide to go in a different direction than the committee, their suggestions DID NOT even address Sequoia and Monte Gardens.

    But hey, if it's your intention to make an inflammatory comment without any basis in fact and whip people up into a frenzy, then GOOD JOB!!

  4. As a attendee at the November 8 school closure comittee meeting, I can say that Sequoia Elementary, Sequoia Middle and Monte Gardens did not rank in the lowest 25% of the schools based on the criteria evaluation. So, if the committee makes closure suggestions based soley on the criteria, then those school will not close. However, as has been past practice, the board will do whatever they want to do, even ignoring the criteria set in place by their own school district. To close these 3 "choice" schools and assume that parents would send their children back to their home schools to "boost up the API scores at the home schools" (as suggested by a committee member and father at PHE) is absolutely ludicrous. These same "choice school" parents chose specifically NOT to send their children to their home schools because they wanted something better for them.

  5. To even entertain the idea of closing both Sequoias and Monte Gardens, all of which have some of the highest API scores and are definitely doing things right at their schools, is just plain stupidity. Why not close the low performing schools and give the district something to be proud of. Hopefully common sense will prevail here--let's keep our fingers crossed. Hopefully the new board members do have common sense.

  6. Anon 9:28,

    While you are correct that 12:09 seems to be inflammatory, you are misinformed when you say the "DID NOT address Sequoia and MG".

    Read the on assignment article. The closing of Sequoia and MG is indeed on the table.

    I personally would like to see every single board member recalled if they go with this option. Whoever proposed this is the definition of a MORON.

  7. I think what 9:28 is referring to is the fact that the "Superintendent's Council" recommendations did NOT include Sequoia(s) and Monte Gardens. However, in teams 4 and 5, they did come up with both Sequoia's as possible recommended closure sites. My bet is that the PHE father committee member was on either team 4 or 5 (each team had to give 2 different closure scenarios). No one else would be foolish enough to recommend those sites.

  8. Sure, close the underperforming schools. Then we can send those kids to Sequoia Elementary and Monte Gardens Elementary. You're doing so wonderfully, you can boost these kids up too! Oh, wait, you don't want those undesirable kids, do you? Snobs.

  9. Anon 2:43,

    Call me a snob all you want. As a parent it is my job to get my kid the best education I can.

    My kid is currently in Sequioa. You are correct I don't want all those derilect kids coming to my school. So I hope they are kept out.

    If the board choses to shut down Sequioa I predict lawsuits galore. I will be one of them.

  10. Unbelievable. Why am I always shocked when I come here and read the comments :(

    Lawsuit? Please state your grounds and some case studies. I truly am curious. Is there some inherent right to a particular school? I know many of you will read this as snotty too, but I'm merely curious.

  11. Sequoia and Monte Gardens receive children from all over the entire school district from all walks of life, demographics, and all learning levels. It is a choice school and many parents from underperforming schools already have made the choice to send their kids there. It does not matter the challenges, the children rise to the occasion to learn and will learn given the right atmosphere, parental/home support and the right teachers. 2:43, get off your high-horse, drop the attitude, and realize that, yes, your children will learn at those "choice" schools. We welcome and receive all learning levels of children and are proud to say we do. Now who is the snob? Place your child on the waiting list--that's all the effort it takes.

  12. School site boundaries are not guaranteed and are at the sole discretion of the district governing board. Other school district readjust boundaries for numerous reasons including school closures, population growth, etc...

    I know 2:57 must be upset, I get that but I highly doubt there are grounds for a lawsuit. It doesn't matter which option is chosen a huge group of parents will be upset. Don't forget that just because your school may not be on the list that you won't be affected, boundaries may have to shift in schools that are not closing and the district would be completely within their rights to change those boundaries.

    School closures are necessary but painful and somebody is going to be unhappy.

  13. 1:14pm- The PHE father who mentioned Sequoia did so at a meeting at least three weeks earlier. Before the concepts of coming up with scenarios were even introduced.

    It was mentioned because in all of the reviews, the Sequoias and Monte Gardens were not ranked like every other school in the district.

    His point was that everything should be looked at so that when everything is said and done, no one could come back and criticize that Sequoia and MG were not reviewed fairly.

    At the time he mentioned it, there was histrionics from someone else who said that closing Sequoia would be "political suicide".

    No matter what you think about the Sequoias, it is not a private school and your kids don't have an inalienable right to go there.

    There are a lot of parents who will be upset that there home school might be closed. The suggestion that Sequoia and MG be closed was to prevent neighborhood schools from closing.

    There is no decision yet about any school closure, so people are getting upset prematurely.

  14. What a good idea! Close the highly regarded Sequoia schools and Monte Gardens - make MDUSD even less appealing to potential homebuying families. It's not like MDUSD has declining enrollment (/sarcasm off)

  15. 1:14, The PHE committee father brought up the scenarios on November 8 after finding out the results of the criteria exercises. What is your point? He also went on and on about those 2 schools (or 3 if you count Sequoia Middle) should be the ones to close. He further injected his personal viewpoint that those "smart" children (his words not mine) should go back to their home schools so that they could bring up their home schools API . What kind of nonsense is that?

    The point is there is a committee member trying to inflict personal feelings with total and flagrant disregard for the criteria selection process. Just because it didn't play out the way he wanted, he decided to ditch the exercise results and offer up other solutions which no doubt would be beneficial to him (his child's school api would increase).

    You don't take something great and close it. You take schools that aren't operating properly and close those. You can disagree all you want, but this is how business is conducted every day. Yes, it will be sad for whatever sites will close, but in the long run closing underperforming schools is the best choice.

    And, yes, it is the right of Sequoia and Monte Gardens parents to attend those schools. They have the right just as everyone else has the right to send their children to their home school.

    If schools aren't performing properly, it shouldn't matter if it is a neighborhood school or a back to basics--those are the schools that should close.

  16. Monte Gardens and Sequoia are choice schools, meaning anyone in the district can apply and go there. We did and our youngest will graduate from YVHS soon and then off to College.

    What you all have to remember is that no matter what school is closed, it will be upsetting to someone. It does not matter what the API score is, there is much more to deciding which school to close than test scores.

    As for a lawsuit, that won't happen. I grew up in Walnut Creek and they closed all my schools right from Elementary to High School.

    I hope you all are taking your anger to Sacramento, school funding is in a crisis. They dictate what must be done but then pull funding.

    I agree with MDUSDParents comment at 3 PM. Some people are unbelievable.

  17. And, I 'm not trying to make light of anyone's anger, but threatening a lawsuit because your school is closed is a bit over the top - considering - SOMEONE's schools are going to be closed. It just seems it's always the NIMBY attitude, as long as it's not mine, I'm ok.

    But you're right 6:59, channel that frivolous lawsuit energy right up into Sacramento.

    Closing schools is nothing new. Just google it. Local schools have been doing it, Bay Area schools. It's happening, and it's not pretty. But some schools are under-enrolled in part because people are going to these other "choice" schools, so it (on paper) makes some sense to close these schools, force all back to home schools and fill these schools up. We are operating with so many at far less than full capacity and it's money we need back for ALL the kids, not just the select.

    I guess some think that the threat of a lawsuit would make the committee "change their mind" or reverse a course once it is announced. But as others have said, school closures are nothing new, and there is no law that is being broken.

  18. You are assuming that parents would send their children back to their home schools to fill them up. Fat chance...people made a deliberate choice to not have them attend their home school. More likely, closing the choice schools would backfire on the district by families pulling out the district completely, attending a charter school (which will happen with the closed sites), homeschooling their children, or sending them to private. This would cost the district a lot of money with further declining enrollment.

  19. Closing choice schools and sending kids back to home schools will result in impacted neighborhood schools which would cause all of the intra district transfers to be sent back to their home school (which left for the same reasons). Even then there won't be room, so the neighborhood schools will be forced to send families elsewhere. It's a complete trickle down effect.

  20. But none of this is any different than any other school closing. Schools that are closed are going to have to "put" the kids somewhere, and there are always going to be those that say I moved to THIS neighborhood, NOT that one, for the schools.

    I just don't think there is any way to avoid a complete upheaval of many, many families. This is my point. Not that I have all the answers.

  21. The committee member that suggested closing Monte Gardens and Sequioa must be a moron.

    Those kids are there already because their parents are refusing to send them to their (underperforming) neighborhood schools. I know because I am one of those parents. If Sequioa closes I will be forced to either homeschool or go the private route.

    I'm not a lawsuit type of person, but I could see a judge being willing to grant an injunction against closing two of the highest performing schools in a district with six of the LOWEST performing schools in the STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

    Come on board, I know you must know better than to do something so asinine.

  22. But 7:52, don't you see? You are ok as long as only the low schools are closed. Perhaps the low performing school could cry discrimination. More lawsuits? Please, that is why there is a process and a committee.

    Plus those kids in those low performing schools , you'd rather see closed , have to go somewhere right? Let me guess... You will the same group crying when 'those' kids are bused to YOUR school right? Wow, how'd I guess?

  23. 6:56pm- I am a little dismayed at your postings as you are obviously a committee member. Outing another committee member on a blog anonymously for something they said during the process goes against the conduct that has been asked of you.

    You neglect to say that there were other committee members that also talked about potentially closing Sequoia and Monte Gardens. There was more than one scenario that addressed closing those schools, but you made it personal by singling out one parent.

    Is it really fair to exclude any school from these discussions? Why shouldn't those schools be discussed? No one has the power to close any schools. It's an advisory committee and your votes will tell what direction the board should go in. It is a process and it should be respected.

    I appreciate the time and effort that all the committee members are putting into this. They are giving up a lot of time to do this and no matter what schools close, there are going to be people mad at them.

    Obviously, your vehemence is because your kids attend Sequoia and you don't want it considered. To publicly identify someone because you disagree with what they said--even though it's within the scope of their duties--is just childish.

  24. What on earth would the low performing school families have to sue about--they would be thanking the district for throwing their children a lifeline to help get them on track to a more successful school experience at a new and improved school site.

    Also, like earlier posts stated, anyone in the district can go to the choice schools. All parents have to do is put their kids on a waiting list, agree to be engaged in helping their children succeed at school, and abide by school policies. But hey, even those few things are just too much work for some.

  25. 7:59pm- You hit the nail on the head.

  26. 8:09pm What's wrong with requiring that of all schools?

  27. It's a very mixed bag with MDUSD schools. Some schools are highly rated/high scoring schools. Some are in the middle (and fine schools in their own right), and some schools are among the worst in the state.

    Both Sequoia Elem and Monte Gardens have API scores over 900 (Seq-921 and MG-918). Since these are "choice" schools, they accept students from throughout the district. With so few success stories in the district, why in the world would the district want to close these schools when it appears that these schools are doing the right things to be successful academically and opportunities to *all* students within the district, regardless of where they live?

  28. 8:10, exactly my point.

    8:09, Those school closure meetings are open to the public including the press. What makes you think this is a committee member? Perhaps it was a committee member's friend of a friend making comments. You have to know nothing is kept confidential when you have such a hot button of an issue on the front burner. People are incensed over this issue and are more than willing to talk about it any chance they get.

  29. Anon 8:08,

    Well I'm dismayed that you think it is ok for this committee to be operating in secrecy.

    I'm thankful for the "outing" of this committee member who appears to have completely irrational ideas about how to accomplish the school closure process.

    Can anyone explain how closing your two highest performing schools will help the district one iota?

    Why is this a secret process? Maybe if we shed a little public light on the process then some of these crazy ideas won't get legs under them.

    Closing Sequioa and Monte Gardens? Really committee? Really? If that is a realistic proposal then you're all a bunch of idiots.

  30. So you all want the board to stay out of managing the committee and then you crap on the board for the committee's recommendations. What a bunch of dipshits you are. The board has had nothing to do with these recommendations. They may not accept any of them. Should they manage the committee so you little girls don't get offended by the committee's recommendations?

  31. "Derelect kids?" My my, what a paragon you are. How generous of you, you'd deny economically disadvantaged children the same wonderful education your child receives.

  32. Can I ask a simple question and have someone who is rational on this blog answer it?

    Why is the committee process a secret? Even the CC Times says the review scores have been withheld. This doesn't make sense.

  33. 8:39, I don't know what planet you live on, but these "economically challenged" kids school sites receive subsidized federal funding. Their school sites are most often the most up to date facilities complete with nice air conditioning and landscaping, computers for nearly every child, 20 to 1 classroom ratio, etc. You don't see the higher performing children complaining when they are sitting with 30 - 34 classmates in 90 degree classroom temperatures or in rooms full of leaking roofs or moldy walls, but they still manage to perform well above the state standard.

    These "economically challenged" kids have only their parents to blame for not instilling higher values for their school education. I don't care where you come from, but when you come to my school, don't bring all of us down by refusing to learn. We receive a quality education by surrounding ourselves with like minded families who want nothing but the best for our children. Call me a criminal.

    There, I said it.

  34. 8:49, that would be a very question for Rose Locke, who is in charge of the closure committee meetings. The fact that Theresa Harrington did not get an answer sort of speaks volumes, doesn't it.

  35. 8:49, I'm guessing it is to prevent exactly the sort of thing that is happening on this blog. People start panicking when they think their school is on the chopping block. Mass chaos will ensue and then the closure committee meetings will be full of parents demanding their school not be closed, which would prevent the committee members from doing their jobs.

    Of course, then there are others who think keeping the rankings confidential will enable the board to chose whatever sites they want with complete disregard of the committee's qualified and scientific criteria project. If the rankings are published, the board will have no choice but to abide by the criteria recommendations, right?

  36. Rational Blogger,

    Who is Rose Locke and why does she get to decide what information is available to the public and what the board gets to hide?

    Anon @ 9:02,

    When is the next meeting? I plan to be there and let them hear my reasoning that Monte Gardens should not be closed.

  37. Taken from Theresa Harrington's article in the CC Times today, "The school closure committee expects to vote on proposed recommendations at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane in Concord. Information is available by calling 925-682-8000, ext. 4015, or by going to www.mdusd.org. Click on "community," then select "School Closure Committee."

    Rose Locke is the assistant superintendent at MDUSD. She, according to the MDUSD website, is the "co-chair" of the committee meetings.

  38. If theresa Harrington had a single bone in her body that was worth a shit, maybe we would get a real story and everyone would not be upset.

  39. Do you think it's possible we actually have a civil debate of ideas and stop attacking people, or calling names?

  40. To Anonymous 9:16 pm

    Rose Lock is the Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement and School Support (SASS) Department.

    Before going to the meeting, perhaps it would be helpful for you to read the closure criteria and directives that were given to the School Closure Committee.


    Also posted are the meeting minutes, committee assignments, research and analysis documents from Jack Schreder & Associates (the consulting firm that provided enrollment and capacity projections).

    The committee was directed to treat Sequoia Elem & Middle and Monte Gardens Elem the same as any other elementary school (this has been well documented in the meeting minutes that these schools were not to receive any special consideration).

  41. Anon @ 9:51,

    Well see.....that is where you and I disagree. The fact of the matter is the Sequoia and Monte G. should be evaluated differently than the others because..........wait for it......wait for it.......THEY ARE DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHERS.

    I just can't imagine how short sighted the committee is to even consider closing them down. This is absurd.

  42. 9:57 but this is where you have to acknowledge you cant see the forest through the trees. You feel this way as you obviously have little Johnny or Susie in one of these schools. As a bystander with kids in schools not on the list AND having read all the criteria, minutes and reports I do not see ANY compelling reason one school should be treated differently than the others. If it fits the criteria, it should be on the list. I'm sorry you're too emotional tied to see this. You are going on emotion. Pure and simple. It is the reason a committee and guideline are formed.

    I suggest you DO attend the meeting Monday and get involved. We will see how many on this blog complaining really will,

  43. Hi Anon 9:57 - I am not disagreeing with you about whether these schools should/should not be considered differently.

    I am merely mentioning that the committee was specifically instructed to "not" treat them differently; the committee did their job and followed the directives they were given.

    Please read the meeting minutes since it may help you have more insight as to how the list came together, especially if you still plan to attend Monday's meeting.

    And, for the record, if it were up to me, I would vote to keep Sequoia and MG off the closure list. But, alas, I'm not on the committee, and I'm not charged with setting the closure criteria.

  44. 8:23pm and 8:25pm-

    I am 8:08pm and nowhere in my post did I say that the committee should be operating in secrecy. Nowhere.

    The only reason why people think it's secret is because hardly anyone in the general public gives a damn enough to attend the meetings. Yes, the committee is open to the public, but up until Theresa Harrington's post, barely any public has been interested in attending. Now that there are names out there, everyone is an activist.

    The person who wrote about another committee member gave specific information about what happened. That post was not written by a friend of a committee member, it was written by a committee member.

    And I quote 6:56pm:
    "1:14, The PHE committee father brought up the scenarios on November 8 after finding out the results of the criteria exercises. What is your point? He also went on and on about those 2 schools (or 3 if you count Sequoia Middle) should be the ones to close. He further injected his personal viewpoint that those "smart" children (his words not mine) should go back to their home schools so that they could bring up their home schools API . What kind of nonsense is that? "

    Please don't try to throw blame elsewhere. You are a committee member.

    You say you are happy for the "outing" of this committee member because he has a "completely irrational idea of how to accomplish the closure process". How is considering ALL the schools in the district completely irrational? You are the one being irrational and immature for airing your grudge publicly, and violating the code of conduct for the committee.

    For your information, the argument that involved parents and their kids going back to their home schools will improve them has been going on for years. The committee member you outed didn't invent that.

    The rating list hasn't being made public because it was just a guide for the committee to take the next step to evaluate different options. Releasing the ratings would have just incited fear and rumor mongering. The scenarios that the committee came up with didn't just come from the bottom of the ranking list. It was the committee's charge to look at many different criteria. Just because schools ranked low doesn't mean they will be closed because the board has to consider many other things like whether there are close available schools to absorb new students and impact to neighborhoods.

    Sequoia and Monte Gardens are great schools and offer something to many kids, but why should they not be looked at as well as every other school in the district? Why do you think that these schools have more rights than others?

    I doubt that Sequoia and MG will be closed, but it is an option like many others that the committee will vote on to be passed along for the board's decision. When that time comes, you should focus your anger at the board. Personally, I think that everyone who serves on the SCC is a hero for taking on this volatile job.

  45. 10:53, You are the committee member that the other posters are speaking about, aren't you? Getting all defensive about the secrecy and the violation of the "oaths" at the meetings.

    You are publicly condemning another alleged committee member for discussing what is taking place at the meetings. Yet, you have done the exact same thing. Using your own defense, who else would know what is taking place. Hypocrite.

  46. Anon 11:23,

    Am I to understand that there are secret oaths at the committee meetings?

    If that is true this whole mess deserves a Grand Jury investigation. Something is going on here and it doesn't seem to be pretty.

    My opinion is that closing Monte Gardens and Sequoia would be a really dumb idea.

  47. 11:23pm and 6:51am- No matter what someone says, you insert your own hysterics. Did I say secret oath? Talk about hyperbole!

    I said code of conduct, which the committee member in question has heard Rose Lock mention at the beginning of every meeting.

    11:23pm- you said, "Getting all defensive about the secrecy and the violation of the "oaths" at the meetings."

    It's almost like you are incapable of reading something and comprehending it's meaning. Secrecy and oaths? You don't think you are a tad over the line?

    No, I am not a committee member. I am the person sitting in the back of the room who has attended almost every meeting. I have attended them so that I can ensure the process is fair. I had an opportunity to be on the committee and chose not to for various reasons, and some of them had to do with my issues with the district so I am not a defender of the status quo.

    You should look up what code of conduct means. It's something that comes from within. It's operating from a place of honor and respect. While I mentioned the fact that you are a committee member, I didn't name you in an anonymous post, although I am pretty certain who you are.

    I am amused at the way people throw around accusations of needing a Grand Jury inquiry. What I have seen at every meeting are a collection of community members who are trying their best to tackle a very difficult challenge.

    If there is a Grand Jury investigation, I would be the first person to hand in my notes to them and testify to the fair way the committee has conducted itself.

  48. Thank you Anon 7:18 AM. Your posts are very educational as I have not been able to attend any of the school closure meetings. As to many of the other posts, well not worth the read.

    I agree with MDUSDParents the name calling, rumor mill and accusations need to stop. They serve no purpose and my thought while reading these posts, this person was and still acts like a bully.

  49. People feel it is not worth a darn to attend these meetings because except at the beginning of each meeting and for 2 minutes only (2 minutes total, not 2 minutes per speaker) the public is not permitted to say anything -- they are to just sit and listen. These meetings drag on for hours.

    Secondly, many feel the decision has already been made as to the actual school sites, and this is just an exercise to appear as though actual thought and effort has been made. Call people skeptics, but that is the history of this district and people are done wasting their efforts listening with no chance of being heard.

  50. Thank you for providing a link to the minutes. They are not accessible through the link directly through the district office. Is this a special link just for committee members?

    7:18, I learned more from you (in all of your posts) than in all of the meeting minutes combined. Why do you suppose that is? Why do you think the press hasn't been writing articles throughout the process? Are they not attending?

  51. Having gone through school closures in another district we at MDUSD are fortunate that there is a committee made up of community members, students, parents and MDUSD employees. Schools were closed in this district that were newer, bigger and caused students to be split between 3 other schools. We survived but it was hard. Education begins at home and I have always told my children, you can do well anywhere. It is up to you! They have done well and we will have our first College Graduate soon, fully educated in the MDUSD (YVHS graduate and proud of it)

    It is my understanding once recommendations are made to our BOE there will be time for community input. I would hope that anyone speaking will have concrete reasons, facts and information, not irrational rants. Having sat at many BOE meetings and having had to listen to rants that make no sense, the point gets lost.

    Someone somewhere will not be happy with their school closing. But it has to be done.

    Again, take your anger to Sacramento. Education is not funded equally nor a priority for our State.

  52. Anon @ 12:09 post #1,

    Let me quote you,

    "The committee will deliver the option that the board has already preordained. See you later Sequioa and Monte Gardens."

    Is this a suggestion that the committee already knows which schools the board wants closed? And these schools are Sequoia and Monte Gardens?

    How would the committee know this? Is someone from the district office directing them?

    This whole situation is out of control. Someone from the board or the committee or the district office had better speak up and clear the air. This is turning into a public relations nightmare.

  53. Is there a date when the Board of Education will make a final decision?

  54. I don't think it's a PR nightmare any more than anything else going on with budget cuts, solargate, mildredgate or anything else. There are what? 8 of you here on the blog? That is not a PR nightmare. I can bet the other 34,992 student families are not even paying attention!

    It always sounds worse on a blog because people can say and do what they want without having to put themselves REALLY out there. It's easy to talk big and mean behind the screen of a computer. But as many have said, none of you are at the meetings. None of you were probably even planning to get involved at any level until it impacted YOU. It reminds me of the sports program.. being on the chopping block for MONTHS, finally cut after several board meetings of discussions, and THEN after sports are cut people come out of the woodwork and organize pleas, and pickets and public speakers - AFTER it was done.

    This is proof, that people need to pay attention ALL the time, not just when it hurts you... because some day it will be you.. and you'll be blind sided.

  55. 7:49am and 8:50am- Thank you. As the lone visitor to most of these meetings, I get really frustrated when people post things that are inflammatory. I decided that I would not let anonymous posters hijack this discussion, and that's why my posts have gotten more detailed about the meetings.

    MDUSD Parents is exactly right, no one cared enough to attend these meetings until it appeared that it might impact them. Now all of a sudden, people are threatening lawsuits and grand jury investigations? Please.

    As far as why there isn't more information about the meetings, I don't think it would be proper for any committee member to comment on the meetings while they are still ongoing. The meetings are open to the public, but as I said, rarely is anyone but me there. I understand the gravity of this task and felt it inappropriate to talk about specifics, but I do tell my friends about the process and how the committee is working this out. It's not a secret if anyone can go to the meetings. So, why do people claim it is?

    Theresa Harrington was at this past Monday's meeting for the first time. Handouts were passed around and the facilitators asked the visitors if they could leave them behind since the process is ongoing and commenting on what schools might be closed--when nothing has been voted on--could cause people to get upset.

    How is that secrecy? It's about respecting the process. All of us visitors (there were four that night) saw the handouts and followed along with the discussion. Theresa immediately started typing up the information into her laptop. We knew that she would do a write up with that information despite being asked not to, and to none of our surprise, she did.

    I have no problem with her writing an article, but wish she would have respected the committee members and not mentioned individual schools--yet. There were at least 15 schools in the scenarios, but only a few will close. That creates a whole lot of angst for people unnecessarily.

    This is a tough committee to be on. Members have to make decisions that are going to be very unpopular no matter what schools are closed. These people signed up for what they thought was initially going to be three two hour meetings, and it has grown into numerous three hour meetings that are pushing into the holidays. This is not a rush job. The level of questions and evaluation of data is impressive, and although I have disagreed with what some committee members have said, the process itself seems very fair. What the board does with the committee's work remains to be seen.

    The committee member who identified another member could have brought up this issue during the meeting or they could have just talked about their concerns on the blog in general terms. Instead, they publicly identified someone who has done nothing but what was asked of them, making it personal. Is it any wonder why people don't want to serve on committees anymore?

    One more thing about public comment. I wish the public could comment during the meeting, but that would be counterproductive. Many times during the process, I wished I could raise my hand and ask a question or make a comment to correct something I have heard, but since I didn't want to be on the committee, that is the price I pay. These are long and sometimes tedious meetings, and allowing the public to comment throughout would draw the process out even more.

  56. Anon 8:34am- Where do you get your information from? It's not two minutes total for all speakers. It's ten minutes total and two minutes per speaker.

    Since I am usually the only person who is the "public", when Rose asks for public comment, everyone turns around and looks at me, but as of yet I have not commented. It is pretty funny.

    I was going to make a comment this coming Monday, but I have a feeling there will be a lot of visitors and I won't have a chance this time. I hope that if people do go and comment, that they will be of a constructive nature.

    A person can always hope.

  57. Anon 12:18,

    After reading that they have put Sequoia up on the chopping block, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be at Monday's meeting. I will also be making public comment to let them know this is a ridiculous idea.

    As a parent and taxpayer these are our schools and we should have the right to have this process be in the light of day.

    As far as light of day is concerned. Why is Rose Locke hiding the rankings? What is the board trying to hide?

  58. Anon 12:49pm - The committee is supposed to review and make recommendations. That means it looks at all the schools in the district. It's up to the board to make the final decision.

    How is this process not in the light of day? You could have gone to these meetings, but only care to go now that a school's name you are interested in became public. There has been nothing to prevent people from attending these committee meetings besides their own apathy.

    Do you think that only Sequoia parents are up in arms about these closures? Every school that was named in Theresa's article has caused concern for parents.

    As to why the ratings weren't made public, did you even read the previous posts? They are ratings based on seven different criteria, but that doesn't mean that those on the bottom will be closed. The ratings gave the committee an idea of where schools ranked so that their recommendations for closure were based on objective data. From here on, the process gets more subjective.

    I hope when you go to the meeting you will stay beyond the public comment period and see for yourself what the process is about. As mentioned before, there is only ten minutes of public comment, so unless they change the rules, there will be a lot of disappointed people who go to speak that won't have time.

    I hope people don't show up with guns blazing against the committee. They are just doing what has been asked of them.

  59. 12:49

    You will, you will be able to speak at the BOE meetings once the committee is done. There are schools on the CC Times list I don't want closed either. But I did not apply to be on the committee nor have I attended any meetings. I know many of the people on the committee and they are good people with children and care deeply about our entire community, not just their school.

    If you go with the attitude that you portray in your posts, then you will not be helpful at all.

    You need to let the process finish, ultimately the final decisions on which schools close will be up to the BOE. But I know they asked for the communities input because we wanted them too! Another suggestion would be for you to write each BOE member a constructive letter and your concerns regarding the potential of closing your child's school.

    MDUSDParents is right, it is only a small handful of you that complain, rant and rave. Oh no, not my neighborhood. Please open your eyes and mind, we are all one community.

    Again, take your anger to Sacramento about how under funded education is. Sacramento has created segregation in our schools and districts. Why should only the wealthier communities have additional funding via parcel taxes and education foundations? We have gone backwards as a State, not forwards and it is hurting all children. Education should be funded equally at all schools and districts.

  60. If Monte Gardens closes I will move.

  61. Isn't declining enrollment (less revenue) one of the challenges that MDUSD has?

    Closing successful, highly regarded "choice" schools (Sequoias, MG) will cause families to want to leave/actually leave the district.

    Closing persistently low achieving schools won't necessarily have the same effect.

  62. There has been no decision to recommend closing Sequoia and I doubt the board will do that anyway.

    Relax a little, people.

  63. Anon @ 7:09,

    Your comment, "Relax a little, people" is a little suspicious.

    Are you a committee or board member who would like all the Sequoia and Monte Gardens parents to "relax a little" until you have advanced your idiotic school closure plan far enough that we can't change the outcome?

    You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to manipulate the process like this.

  64. Oh Anon 8:40pm

    Every school is subject to closure, so you do need to relax. Just because a school is on the list does not mean it will be the one chosen.

    Why do I bother??? You are a troll and one that just wants to cause problems. Once a bully, always a bully.......

  65. Anon 8:48,

    If what you say is true that Sequoia is on the list but won't be chosen, why in the hell is it on the list in the first place.

    I would think that any school that is on the list has a chance of being chosen, am I off base here?

  66. If you close underperforming schools, where do you think those children will go?

  67. Anon 9;06 You are off base. Using your logic, all the schools in the article would be closing and it's already been said that only a few will be closed.

    The committee had to come up with a number of scenarios. Just because a school comes up in a scenario doesn't mean that it is going to be closed.

    What is with the Sequoia parents on this blog? Their drama and accusations make it hard to take them seriously. People who chose to be ignorant about the process until now are threatening to sue, calling others manipulators, trying to incite a grand jury investigation and blaming anyone who dares invoke the name "Sequoia", as evil.

    Seriously, please chill out a little.

  68. Anon 9:30,

    There you go again, trying to get us to "relax a little" so that you can push your plan through before we realize what your ulterior motive is.

    Are you the committee member who is trying to shut down Sequoia and Monte Gardens? Or are you just a blog troll?

  69. Seriously 10:24pm? I am not on the committee, so I don't know what kind of conspiracy theory you are working off of. Push an ulterior motive? Really? Suggesting that people relax a little is undermining the process?

    Your paranoia is just so sad. You seem to be the troll, or at least someone who operates out of fear and ignorance.

    There is no one person who has that much power. They work in groups of at least three people. Some groups have five people.

    Even if every group suggested the closure of Sequoia and MG (which didn't happen as the committee member who outed the other member is obviously a Sequoia parent) the committee's role is ADVISORY.

    It is the board who makes the final decision. The conspiracy theories are just wacky. If you would have cared enough to attend meetings prior to this article coming you would understand how the process works.

    Instead, you make accusations about conspiracies and ulterior motives. Crazy!

  70. So are you suggesting that Sequoia parents just sit silently and patiently while the entire process unfolds?

    Sequoia parents are a powerful and passionate group who will stop at nothing for the best education for their children. In the end, they would rather be known for fighting for a cause than going down without a care in the world. Call us crazy--we don't care.

    You can bet that Sequoia parents will be at the next meeting. The reason they haven't been to the earlier meetings is because no one, and I mean no one, thought there was any chance they would consider closing it.

    Oh, and even if people are working in teams, there is always one in a group that is the loudest and pushiest (you know who they are). It is easy to invoke personal feelings and sway opinion if you are a bully. People would rather go with the flow than confront or disagree. So spare us the line of no one person has that kind of power--if you truly believe that, you are crazy.

  71. To do fairness to the process you have to do out of the box thinking and put all "sacred cows" on the table. That is what the committee has done. No one wants their school closed.

  72. You can't be surprised by the actions of the parents at Sequoia. How often on this blog site do we hear that the problem today is with parents who don't care. It can't go both ways. This reaction is coming from a sense of fear that every effort that they have made to provide their children with then best educational opportunity available to them may be taken away.
    I understand that no boundaries are guaranteed but I also understand their concerns. The alternative for some of the parents at Sequoia might mean the difference between attending one of the "best" schools versus one of the "worst."
    I am not a Sequoia parent but I am a parent who has made sure my children attend on of the "better" schools. Our family (and many others) has made strategic economic choices with respect to where we live all based on schools. This one choice drives so many other decisions that affect our family.
    It is unfair to tell these parents, or any concerned parents, to relax, the stakes are too high for people when it comes to their children.
    I hope the board will take note and see the opportunity for choice that a school like Sequoia provides the families in this district.
    I happen to think that Sequoia is different because it does provide an alternative for any family anywhere in the district. It would be disappointing to see that choice eliminated.

  73. Based upon my experience with school of choice parents is their narrow mind and racists view. Ask them how they feel now that they have over 200 English learners. They will speak about "those children". The real reason they transfer is that they don't want their child to be friends with one of "those children".

  74. I was one of those "Sequoia Parent', but I will not side with the ones on this blog, they are an embarrassment.

    We choose Sequoia because it is a Back to Basics School, we liked the contract and requirement of parent patrol by every family. After elementary and middle school we choose to attend our high school, YVHS.

    I can't tell you the comments I have had to endure and the comments and opinions my children have had to put up with. All were based on rumor, not fact nor experience. If I had listened to these people, I would have home schooled by children out of fear. The fear was unfounded and YVHS has been a great school for our children. I have alumni's in College and soon to be graduates.

    People, test scores DO NOT make the school, believe me. Why do you think people transfer their students back to their home schools, after testing the waters at other high schools?

    All schools, except the high schools in the MDUSD have the potential for closure.

    Sequoia Mom or Dad, your posts are very, very sad. I am truly sorry for your children, God help them.

  75. 9:24am- You said,
    "You can bet that Sequoia parents will be at the next meeting. The reason they haven't been to the earlier meetings is because no one, and I mean no one, thought there was any chance they would consider closing it. "

    That is exactly the case that MDUSD Parents made about athletic supporters not getting involved until athletics were chopped.

    You may have thought that those schools would never be closed (and they haven't been recommended to be closed yet) but they are district schools and deserve an equal look as all the other schools in the district.

    Did you see Bancroft elementary's name in the article? How many Bancroft parents are on this site freaking out and complaining that there is some great conspiracy?

    There is irony in the fact that you talk about bullies when it seems like there are going to be a lot of Sequoia parents at the next meeting to address the committee. It will be interesting to see how they conduct themselves.

    What offends me is that some Sequoia parents have this arrogance about their children's education, like the rest of us don't care as. We all care, but we don't use it as a sledgehammer.

  76. Anon 10:56
    Sequoia is open to every student in the district. I am so tired of the name calling and it goes both ways.
    This district does not think as a community and your comments prove it as much as whoever may have said what you referred to in your comment.
    That comes from a pure lack of leadership and we are all hurt by that.
    As a parent I understand the power of peer influence so I do say I want my child to go to school with kids who want to go to college. I want them to choose friends who do not drink or take drugs. I want them to be in class with kids who care about succeeding in school. Never have I ever heard a parent say I don't want my child to go to school with Johnny because of the color of his skin... not EVER.
    Don't jump on that bandwagon and make this about race.

  77. According to the school district website 2 of the 11 options will be put forward as recommendations to the school district on 12/14/10 and a decision will be announced 1/11/11:

    I called Sequoia Elem today and confirmed this. Its very sad but blame Prop 13 - no other prop has affected CA as greatly as this.

  78. Let's not forget the families in the MDUSD boundary's inability to pass a parcel tax. That money would certainly help.

    Every other district has passed one and it's not just Orinda and San Ramon, it's Oakland and WCC also.

  79. Our child attended MG then Sequoia Middle. We had the option to choose a private school, but really liked the diversity of both MG and Seq Middle. There are students from all around the district attending school there and the students are from all backgrounds. It was one of the best things about Sequoia Middle.

  80. I wouldn't want to be on the committee this Monday. From what I'm hearing in my parent friend groups is that a large number of Sequoia and Monte Gardne parents will be at the meeting Monday to protest the inclusion of those schools in the closure recommendations.

    In my opinion this is a result of trying to have a secret process with supposed "secret oaths" and such.

    The whole process would have been better served by having an open process. Yes Sequoia and Monte Garden parents would have protested earlier in the process but we wouldn't be one weekend away from this decision with such a moronic reccomendation still on the table.

  81. Anon 12:39

    It has been an open process, you could have been attending every single one of the school closure meetings. What was your excuse for not attending or applying to be on this committee?

    Where did you get information (please site names, facts, etc) that Sequoia and Monte Gardens would not be included in this process and could not end up on the list of potential closures?

    Do I think these schools will be chosen? No for a variety of reasons, one of them being that they are open to every single student in the district.

    I am stunned at your post and the others. Now you make accusations because you have not gotten your way? Wow, wow, wow.

    I think MDUSDParents needs to shut down this thread. If any threats are made to anyone, I hope Police are called and those adults arrested.

    Remember you are an observer at the next meeting. I would suggest collecting your thoughts, calming down, write an email or letter to all BOE members. Then take your anger to Sacramento, that is where it should be directed.

    I love your blog MDUSDParents. But now because of some of these posts I am frightened for my friends who are on this committee. I am now concerned for their safety.

  82. Wow, what craziness has ensued here? WOW! Open??!?? You all have been invited to each and every meeting. The minutes, notes, reports and criteria are online, been reported here and on the district site. Not until it is YOUR school are you all up in arms?

    You are all going to show up looking like a bunch of lunatics. Good luck.

    You know what? Some people, including me, MOVED for better schools. SO sorry YOU BOUGHT or RENTED in an area who's schools you did not like. But every school was rated... if yours fall into the criteria then try to be construction not "protesting" NOT US , anyone else BUT US.. cuz we're special!!! Get off your high horse.

    You all should be ashamed. Every school community on the list is reeling now... you're not alone.

    So go ahead and come - FINALLY - to a meeting and voice your educated concerns. Not your hysteria and your ranting.

    Or , MOVE to a school district that will have you.

  83. This is all very interesting to me, as a Monday morning quarterback. I voted YES and worked for the parcel tax, YES on Measure D ! WOuld've saved class size reduction, perhaps these school closures could've been eliminated but perhaps not.

    I voted NO on Measure C.

    I feel strongly, and the board knows this, we should've gone back for a second attempt of a parcel tax.

    The next attempt would've been after the school year started and we were all effected by the CSR being eliminated , loss of support, VP's and more. It would been much more tangible why we needed the parcel tax to save PROGRAMS.

    I'm not of the mind we NEED solar personally, but that is obviously water under the bridge.

    But how many parents now up in arms voted NO on the parcel tax? People were so smug, "we're not giving this district any more of our money!" "NO more taxes." "We don't trust them!" Ok, then, I guess "WE" reap what we sew, and it is sad times indeed.

  84. Anon 12:56. I certainly do feel for the members of the committee. I'm not sure shutting the thread down will calm the anger. I assume the committee members knew the heat they would take, which is why I politely declined the invitation to participate when no one in my feeder area stepped up.

    It is very sad, and these people here are making themselves, and unfortunately, their school communities look very very bad.

    Again, I wish we could debate ideas, and not people.

    There is no way , on an internet board to ever win with people so fueled with rage. But I guess it's because they're mad at themselves? Mad they can't control the process, and probably even more mad they felt so insulated and NEVER thought it could be them.

    It's going to be someone. Someone's school, someone's community. I do agree with what someone else said that the programs these schools are known for can be done area, it's not dependent upon school site alone.

    I guess when I don't like something, I try to fix it, I get involved in the process and I research. I don't threaten, bully, pull the NIMBY card or pout. So I don't understand the mentality of those people

  85. Anon 12:56,

    You are the one that needs to calm down. No one has threatened ANYONE!

    But according to my limited knowledge of the constitution the Sequoia and Monte Garden parents do have a right of assembly to protest the inclusion of those schools on the list.

    Can you please show me where anyone has threatened anything else besides public participation in the process? I will be the first to report them if you are right.

    With that said, why should the parents of these two great schools not be allowed to have their voices heard before this crucial vote is taken.

    I think we both want the same thing, whatever is best for the district. I think we both just believe in different ways of getting there.

    I personally feel that the secrecy around this process has gone on far to long.

  86. You know what I find ironic about this entire thread is that everyone is acting shocked at the reaction from parents at Sequoia and Monte Gardens.
    I doubt those will be the only two schools represented at Monday's meeting. Those of you expressing your disbelief at the uproar, all I can say is what were you thinking was going to happen? What do you think will happen when the decision is announced? What do you think will happen when boundaries are realigned to accommodate all of the displaced students?
    This was never going to be an easy or pleasant process and no one should have expected parents to say, "okay, I understand it has to be my child, my neighborhood, my community of friends."
    This is huge and if you did not anticipate this kind of reaction you were misguided. That does not mean that I think anyone should be put in danger.
    Also for all of you spewing about "you should have attended the meetings" why? The process was formal and based on criteria, input from parents would not have been appropriate or relevant at that point in time. This is exactly when everyone should have expected parents to be upset.

  87. What secrecy Anon 1:15???? I think you have made this up as your excuse for not being involved, attending meetings and keeping yourself educated on this committee. It is all there on the MDUSD web site and the meetings have and continue to be open to the public.

    As for threats, you bet there have been some. Name calling, such as idiot, moron, assinie are the beginning. Bullies start by name calling and take it to the next step, which could be violence.

    I think the MG and Sequoia parents on here are bullies. You don't see those of us in WC with a school named acting like you?

    Go have a peaceful protest if you must. But again, why have you not attended, educated yourself, written letters, write emails, gone to our State? I think you are now ashamed of yourself for not being involved or educated. .

  88. For anyone whose school is on the first draft of the closure list and you are upsest about the prospect of it closing, I encourage you to write to the MDUSD Board members. Some of the board members read this blog, so they know what is taking place here.

    Coming to Monday's meeting that only has allocated 10 minutes for public comment will not be enough time for people to get their points across.

    If you have enough time to vent on a blog, you have enough time to compose a well-thought out letter, with facts and figures. Plus, you will be taken more seriously and respected more.

  89. Anon 1:30 and 1:35,

    Please help me I am having trouble understanding what it is you expect me to do.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Sequoia parent. My child would be going to a school where they barely speak English during class time if I didn't have the Sequoia option. I am so thankful that I have that option.

    I apologize to you that it did not occur to me that Sequoia might get shut down. That is 100% my fault. Now after hearing some parents talk about it I realize this might be a possibility. I would now like to get involved.

    Your posts at 1:30 and 1:35 seem to be contradictory. In one you blame me for not showing up at meetings and in the second you say there is only 10 minutes of public comment and it won't do any good if I show up anyway and I should just write letters.

    So, how am I as a taxpaying citizen supposed to influence this process and meet your requirements?

    Right now I am confused.

  90. I am the poster in 1:35. I did not say to not come to the meeting. I was simply pointing out that that there may not be time for everyone to speak since they only allocate 10 minutes for public comment. You should still go if you want, even if it is just to see how the meetings are conducted. Remember, though, after public comments, no one can say anything unless they are a committee member.

    I encourage everyone who is concerned to write to the board members. They are the ones with final authority and power to make the ultimate and painful decisions. They are the ones who need to hear from you.

    I feel for your personal situation. I believe that's why many parents have chosen choice schools or intra district transfers for their children.

  91. I understand once the school closure committee is done it will submit its recommendations to the BOE. Then there will be public comment before the BOE makes their decisions. I have gone through this before in another district.

    I do agree that right now parents should write all the BOE members, including the new ones coming on board soon. No one wants their school closed, I remember how painful it was for me over 30 years ago, every single school in our neighborhood was shut down.

    But sadly this is very needed. This committee has worked hard and had lots of meetings. I ask of you, do not yell, threat, call names nor blame this committee. They are doing what we as parents asked, that our community have some input on school closures.

  92. To Anon (12:57 PM) - you mention "move to another district"

    Some families are moving. My friend has two elem age kids. They moved during the summer from the Countrywood area in Walnut Creek to WCUSD for the schools.

    So suggesting people move results in more declining enrollment. Is that a good thing for MDUSD? Doesn't that mean less ADA revenue and more budget cuts? Isn't declining enrollment a contributing factor to why schools need to be closed? I'm confused why you are suggesting people move ... won't that add to the budget trouble in MDUSD?

  93. Anon 1:30,

    I think both sides have gotten way too emotional about this. Eveyone needs to take a step back, but one of your comments made me laugh out loud.

    "As for threats, you bet there have been some. Name calling, such as idiot, moron, assinie are the beginning."

    Is this by chance your first time blogging on the internet?

    In the event it is let me assure you the the terms, "idiot, moron, and assinine" are pretty mild as far as the internet goes. If you happen to discover Google (a search site) be very very careful what your search terms are or you will be blown away by the things you see.

    If you continue to ply the internet please try to not have such a thin skin.

  94. I think passionate parents fighting for their children's educations is wonderful.

    I believe that when their arguments/comments are respectful and constructive people get more out of what they have to say.

    We are our children's models. If they see their parents calling others names, what kind of message does that send to them?

    Thank you to those who shed some light on what is happening without being nasty.

    What I haven't seen is any comments or thoughts on the potential of having 6th-12th grade campuses. That is what really makes me nervous.

  95. Hi Kathy,

    I agree with you on the 6th to 12th grade campus, that makes me nervous too. I would rather see K-6, then 7-9 and 10-12. They do this in some districts in the Seattle area. Or we could go back to the K-6, 7-8 and then 9-12.

    I don't see any benefit in putting middle schoolers with high school students. There is a huge difference between a 6th grader and a 9th grader, let alone that Senior! How would they keep them separate? What would be the benefit other than closing a middle school?

    Maybe another thought would be to create a magnet high school, maybe Mt. Diablo? Offer specific programs like the academies most of our high schools offer. Have a High School that offers the arts (music, drama, dance),the other high school focusing on High Tech, etc. and give all students the option of which school they would like to attend based on their future careers. I have a niece in the San Jose District and she choose the Arts High school because of the drama and dance. Maybe our district should look at the SJ District model? I know they are as diversified as MDUSD and my niece's schools all have high scores and very diversified.

  96. @4:52

    I would much prefer a k-6 or even a k-8, but my daughter will be a 6th grader in two years and I cannot even imagine her attending a school like our home school Mt.Diablo and being on the same campus with 12th graders. Safety would be a huge concern for me, also some of the influences of the older kids would make me nervous. The difference in maturity and age and interests are so diverse (6th grader vs. 12th). Granted a fifth grader and Kindergartener don't share common interests, but I feel that is a different ball game.

    What an interesting idea to venture having vocational type schools. That seems like a fresh idea and might be nice to have a school that focuses on specific programs/careers.

    I wonder if many kids in 8th grade know what they want to do for their careers. But if it has been successful in San Jose, maybe it could work here. Would that solve any budget concerns you think?

  97. Come on people the board isn't really going to shut Sequoia and Monte Gardens down.

    It will be a couple of the worst performers. What better way to avoid that whole state takeover failure to perform problem?

    They just have to have Sequoia and Monte Gardens in the conversation to provide an "alibi" if you will.

  98. Come on people the school closure committeeisn't really going to put Sequoia and Monte Gardens on the list to consider for closure.

  99. Wow I think this is the 100th post. This has been a very popular topic.

  100. 8:11pm- You are probably right, but it was their duty as committee members to look at all options.

    All post to the contrary are self-centered and unfair to the people who are trying their best to do what has been asked of them.

  101. To Anon (4:52 PM-12/3)

    Maybe another thought would be to create a magnet high school

    Yes - it could be a school where any kid from throughout the district could attend and the school could focus on academics and the arts! Wait -- that sounds a lot like Sequoia Middle which is on the possible closure list.

  102. Anon 2:02
    I get what you are trying to say but this is not about the adults on the committee. This is about the children in the classroom and their parents.

    Isn't it self-centered to make it about the committee? The committee was given a task that they are carrying out. They are not in danger. They are not the point of the comments on this post. They are not the people who will make the decision.

    Why isn't it okay to express one's concern or disagreement without it always turning on the dissenting voices.

    I am not a Sequoia parent but I feel for them and every parent with a school on the list. How can you fault them?

  103. 3:26---What? These people volunteered for this committee and they are doing what's asked of them. I can imagine what is going to be said to these committee members on Monday night--I am sure mostly by Sequoia parents.

    Someone's kids are going to have to move schools. What makes the parents of Sequoia students more special than anyone elses?

  104. Anon 10:25
    I am not sure what you did not understand.

    Also, I did not state that Sequoia parents are more special. Please note my second to last sentence -
    I am not a Sequoia parent but I feel for them and every parent with a school on the list.

    I have a problem when people on this blog insinuate that parents who voice opposition to decisions being made at the district either don't get involved (which they have no way of knowing) or they are "trolls" or they "are full of crap" or they are __________.

    To discount those who are upset is simply carrying on a long tradition of how parents are treated in this district.

    With an issue like school closure parents are going to be passionate. Feeling sorry for the committee members while scolding the affected parents seems to completely miss the enormity of this issue.

    I do not think the committee should be harassed or treated poorly but I do think if they joined this committee without considering the position they have found themselves in, they did not accurately evaluate their decision in the first place.

    The point I am trying to make is that the energy being spent to defend the committee should be extended to the parents of ANY affected school because this is a big deal.

  105. 9:21am- Wow, your comment feels so twisted to me. I wonder why all the complaining parents didn't want to be on the committee? How would they handle this criticism if they were?

    I have no problem with people being disappointed or worrying about their schools being closed, I just have a problem with people complaining about committee members VOLUNTEERING to do this crappy job and then be criticized for not doing it the way they want it to be done.

    Maybe they considered that it would be a tough job, but that it needed to be done and that they were fair enough to do the job right.

    By your logic, the parents who are upset shouldn't be complaining, because they should have tried to get on the committee so they could have been involved in making these hard decisions.

    I am not a committee member, nor am I defending them. I am defending the process that they were instructed to follow to do their job.

  106. Anon 10:38
    I must not have been clear because you do not understand at all what I am saying.

    First off my logic does not imply that those complaining should have been on the committee, unlike many I do not buy into that thought process at all. That is the same as saying you can't voice opposition to the decisions our board makes because you don't run for school board. That is pure rubbish.

    Other than the moron comment early in the thread I do not see the committee being specifically harrassed. Instead I see scared parents who are overly passionate and commenting using the only tatics they believe they have available to them (lawsuits, moving, and coming to the meeting to voice their opposition.) You can call those threats but I call it desperation.

    I will try again -
    I am simply saying that the energy being spent to defend the committee should be extended to the parents of ANY affected school because this is a big deal.

  107. I'm a Sequoia parent and I just can't understand how the logic to close this school down works. Can someone explain a little more?

    Shouldn't we close the poorly performing schools and have those kids have a chance at better opportunity at schools with better teachers and better systems rather than the reverse?

    I can't see how ruining my child's education makes anyone's child be better off. Shouldn't this discussion be about bettering our children rather than bringing them down to the lowest common denominator?

  108. Anon 12:10pm- In one post you say the committee should have accurately evaluated their decision to participate, and in another post, you say it's valid to just complain without actually don't anything.

    Your view is what's wrong with many parents in our district. You suggest that if the job is too hard, then don't do it. Couple that with your attitude that it's ok to complain about things without volunteering--then who will ever want to volunteer?

    Every parent that decried the inclusion of Sequoia on the list of potential closure sites, was criticizing the committee. The committee's job was to look at all the schools and make an evaluation. If you want to take issue with the process, that's fine. The committee was just doing what was asked of them.

    Sequoia's name came up, as did many other schools. All parents are distraught at the prospect of having their school closed so why shouldn't every one be equally evaluated?

    I am not denying anyone their concern and worry about their school closing. Closing schools always bring anxiety and high emotions with it. Go and address the committee, but your energy could probably be better spent writing the board, since they make the ultimate decision.

    I respect parents who care about their kids--all kids--and get involved. I don't respect parents who don't do anything but complain on a blog, expecting others to do the heavy lifting for them.

    It's a lot easier to tout your right to complain than get out and volunteer for something. So, complain all you want, but in the end, you aren't really doing anything for anyone.

    By the way, you didn't need to clarify what you said at the end of your last post. I already made it clear in my earlier post that I wasn't defending the committee, I was defending the process. It came off condescending that you thought you had to make something simple even though you missed what I was saying.

  109. Anon 1:40,

    First - why do you keep trying to keep Sequoia and Monte Garden parents from making their voices heard? What do you have to gain from having those schools close?

    Second - three out of ten of the options for school closure (according to Theresa Harrington) involve the closure of Sequoia. I'm no statistician but that is a 33% chance that a closure of Sequoia will be recommended. Please show me another school that has that high of a chance.

    Third - as a previous poster said, the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA gives the Sequoia and Monte Garden parents the RIGHT OF ASSMEBLY at the committee meeting and to have their voices heard. Your attempts to squash this assembly, although somewhat passive aggressively, by saying "if your not on the committee you have not right to complain", remind me of Stalin and Mussolini.

  110. 1:23. Wow. First, I hope you have realized by now most of the criteria for closure is all online and available.

    Second, the poor performing schools do not have bad teachers, or poor systems... Is that what you really think?

    I guess the good news about these sorts of issues and controversies is that it brings parents out to get involved more than they ever had before.

    I see one option that would save over 2.5 million! It does not include any sequoia or MG closure, and other than some bancroft kids going to fair oaks it seems on the surface a lot of lateral transfers ( or better) score wise for most schools. Could a school like sun terrace though, absorb ALL Holbrook students?

    I would not be in favor of the creation of 6-12 campuses. Unless the 6-8 were completely separate.

    But back the the original post that got me going, it occurs to me that it is the perception of many perhaps that the poorest performaning schools have bad teachers and bad systems. Nothing could be further from the truth... In most cases they have more money, great systems and outstanding teacher. It is much more complicated than 'demographics' too.

  111. Anon 1:23 , this times article describes the process , lists the options and provides some background and resources


  112. Seriously? Passive aggressively stopping people from exercising their right to freedom of assembly? Woo Boy!

    No one is stopping anyone from showing up and speaking. My hope is that people show up to the committee and realize that the committee's job was to evaluate all the schools and hopefully be respectful when they speak. Is that too much to ask?

    You also said, "Please show me another school that has that high of a chance."

    If you really read the list, you will see that Silverwood was listed in five scenarios, Glenbrook, Wren Ave and Holbrook were each mentioned in three. That doesn't include the fact that their student bodies could be affected by other schools closing and shifting within their boundaries.

    To summarize:
    *Volunteering for committees, site councils, parent associations, etc. is tough work and I thank the people who do it.

    *I am not fond of people who say they have a right to complain, who never volunteer for anything, and then get defensive when things don't go their way.

    *The SCC has followed the procedures that have been given to them and came up with scenarios that will be voted on tomorrow night.

    *People have every right to attend this meeting and make themselves heard (within the 10 minute alloted time), but should know that they might also want to contact the board since they make the ultimate decision.

    *That no matter how rational my posts, I can still be accused of reminding someone of Stalin and Mussolini.


  113. And you still want to make this about the committee.

  114. "Second - three out of ten of the options for school closure (according to Theresa Harrington) involve the closure of Sequoia. I'm no statistician but that is a 33% chance that a closure of Sequoia will be recommended.

    Glad you are not a statistician because that is actually 30%:)

  115. Anon 3:16,

    Comparing you to Stalin or Mussolini was probably a bit of hyperbole by our Sequoia parent blogger. I personally see you as more of a Tojo ;)

    I will say though in my opinion, any parent has just as much right to be heard regardless of their participation or lack of it in the past. I hope the committee allows more than 10 minutes for public comment. Many parents want to be heard.

  116. Clearly everyone should have an opportunity to be heard and you should not have to be on a committee to be afforded that privlidge. Unfortunately, many individuals do not bother to educate themself by attending meetings and understanding the background on issues which are important to them. When something does not go their way, they expect everyone to stop and begin again until they get their way. This is not productive.
    I would like to point out that buildings do not make a school and when any school is closed many more will be affected. Parents may spend lots of energy voicing their opinion only to find that after they get what they want, they are still not happy.
    Perhaps we should all take a moment to think about how we can work together to make the most out of a difficult situation.

  117. Anon 9:03,

    Completely agree. But even you must be able to see the folly in 3 of the 10 options being to close the two highest performing schools in the district.

    I suspect that the anguish in the Sequoia and Monte Gardens parents has more to do with how ridiculous closing these schools would be rather than anything else.

  118. No one ever said any school would be kept off the list. We are former Sequoia parents and don't want to see this school closed either.

    It is my understanding that once the committee makes their recommendations to the BOE there will be meetings for public comment before decisions are made.

    All those parents who do not want to see their schools closed should write to all BOE members. How about suggestions of alternatives?

    I don't want to see any 6-12 schools, especially just targeting 2 high schools. I would rather see elementary going back to k-6, then have 7-8. IF OGMS were to be closed then those students can attend Foothill and El Dorado, especially if they became just grades 7-8.

    I do see that the smaller elementary schools should be merged, make them all K-6, then possibly close down 1 or 2 middle schools.

    I would like to see MDHS become a Magnet school, maybe technology and Culinary based. Then expland the YVHS Health and Education academies and offer more Honors and AP. If a student is lower performing, offer just one high school that offers more support. If students are ESL, the same thing, just one high school that offers the needed classes. Once proficient in reading, writing and speaking English, they can transfer.

    I also feel special education needs to be offered at just a few key sites, not every school. Maybe a choice of 5 elementary, 2 middle and 2 high schools.

    Time to consolidate, if this does not happen it is very likely MDUSD could not make budget and then the County and/or State could step in. They would close a lot more schools and we as the community would have no say.

    I agree with Anon 9:03, time to stop the "Not my School" and come up with suggestions, solutions and come together as one community.

    I do not feel it necessary to be heard at one of the school closure committee meetings, nor do I feel it is my right to just now be mad.
    Being upset is normal at the thought of home schools being on the potential closure list. So now is the time to write constructive emails and letters offering solid reasons and helpful suggestions. Do not base your suggestions just on rumors or test scores, there is much, much more to a school than a test score.

  119. Anon 9:37
    I like your ideas and your approach.

  120. 9:37.. Great ideas, however, why do we continue to poor so much money into ESL. Maybe if we cut this program we could save one school. I had to intra-district transfer my daughter due to Cambridge Elem claims they are the "SPANISH" school. No .. not heresay.. I heard it said when I asked why my son's homework and school notices are all in spanish.... WAY to much effort being placed on teaching people to speak a language they should already know. I don't see the Asian community asking for things to be sent home in their Native language.. Stop wasting money on a single group of students.. distribute the money amongst them all.....

  121. Anon 1:06,

    The "Spanish" school issue is the same reason my kids are at Sequoia and now they want to shut it down.

    This committee and board are way off the mark on this issue. I hope lots of parents protest and make their voices heard.

    Why in the hell shut down Sequoia when other schools are in such worse shape.

  122. 1:06 and 1:30

    You have to take this up with our State, they mandate the programs for ESL students. Ed Code also requires the schools to provide ESL to all students.

    That is wrong at Cambridge, it is not a Spanish school. If they are telling you this, make copies of all notices and provide them to all the BOE and the Superintendent.

    Anon 1:30 No one has said Sequoia or MG will be the ones chosen for closure. Yes they are on the list but that does not mean they are picked.

    I would suggest you visit the MDUSD.org, click community and then click School Closure committee. You can read all the minutes, agenda's etc for the past several months.

    Protesting the SCC meetings may not be very effective. Plan on attending the BOE meetins when community input and speaking can occur on the selection of the schools to be closed. I think that will be after the first of the year.

  123. There is a federal law that requires schools with a certain percentage of students designated as ELL to print material for parents. Therefore, it is not a district decision.

    My child does goes to a school where we receive material in Spanish and English. As an involved parent I watch the teachers do an excellent job with all the students. She and others who are not ELL score proficient and advanced. Parents should visit the schools, talk to parents at the schools, and see how children how well children do. Unfortunately we have parents who base their opinion on the color of skin of students.

  124. I transferred my child out of an MDUSD lower performing middle school because of disappointing student BEHAVIOR issues that were not effectively addressed by administration, not because of the color of anyone's skin, language ability, economic level or national background.

    Diversity is good, being out of control is not.

  125. Is anyone live blogging this event?

  126. ANy word on what happened last night at the meeting?

  127. Looks like the thought police have been very active in quelling anyone talking about what happened at the meeting. The power of the board is amazing.

  128. 10:32pm- I wasn't going to post because I was tired of the trollish comments here from people who had no idea what they were talking about. I figure, I will give it one shot

    The people in attendance saw what the committee had to do to come up with their decisions, and it comprised of looking at spreadsheets and power points of data. It's a snooze to watch, and no anger or mind control was necessary.

    Perhaps you should find a new outlet for your unhappiness.

  129. I do wish someone would fill us in. I was not able to attend myself. Did anyone speak at public comment? What were the recommendations voted on?

    Perhaps the angry parents posting here realized that there had been a process all along and now realize they can be attending these meetings. They haven't posted here since...

  130. No vote was taken. It is my understanding that the vote will be taken on Monday, December 13. The decision will then be presented to the board. Since new board members will be sworn in, they will need to be brought up to speed, then they will make their decision.

    In my humble opinion, the board would be extremely wise to accept the decision the committee presents, and go with it. It would be yet another PR nightmare for them to ignore it and do something else.
    Time will tell...

  131. MDUSD Parents- Surprisingly, the audience was mostly comprised of Fair Oaks families. There were also some Wren Ave. teachers and parents in attendance, and also some Sequoia parents and admin. There were also some Glenbrook admin there too.

    Since there was only 10 minutes of public comment limited to 2 minutes, each, it was very undramatic. The Fair Oaks and Wren speakers talked about their schools and community, and the one person from Sequoia who spoke talked about the high test scores and the option that Sequoia gives families who chose not to spend more money to live in an area with better schools.

    Once the meeting got going, there wasn't much for the audience to do, but try to follow along with the power point presentation that was given by the consultants.

    Given the fact that there were a number of angry posts here from Sequoia parents prior to the meeting, I can only guess that those in attendance realized that the process was very detailed and was more than just an attack on their school.

    6:27am- The board should definitely consider the committee's recommendation, but since it is only an advisory committee, it's the board's job to make the ultimate decision. I will agree that if they totally disregard the work of the committee, that it would be a big mistake and disrespectful to all the work that committee has done.

  132. Really people don't get your panties in a bunch you know the district won't close either sequoia or MG. Come on they are the "stars" of MDUSD! I would be willing to bet $$ that it will be Glenbrook or one of the elementaries in Baypoint.

  133. Anon 12:29,

    As a Sequoia parent, I hope you are right. I am very offended that Sequoia is even on the list.

    The committee must really be trying to have a politically correct option on the table.

  134. Why would you personally be offended 5:32? I have followed the committee and knew any MDUSD school could be on the list for potential closure. The only schools I knew would not be listed were the High Schools.

    I am a former Sequoia parent and it is a good school. SES and SMS both serve the entire MDUSD community and students are from PH, Concord, Walnut Creek and some Bay Point.

    Do I think it will be closed? No I do not because our district knows its value and why it is successful.

    But I think that 4 or 5 elementary will be closed and should be closed because of lower enrollment and the fact that there are several nearby schools that can absorb the students.

    It will not be an easy decision and I applaud and thank the Committee for their months of weekly meetings and very hard work.

    No matter which schools are chosen someone will be upset because it is their neighborhood school. It is sad we are down to this, reminds me of 1978 and 1979 after Prop 13 passed, many districts closed several schools.

  135. Anon 6:18,

    Sorry, your view is plagued by the fact that you are a former parent. Yeah Bravo, good for you. Your kids got a good education so now its ok to shut down the school.

    I would be my bottom dollar you'd have a different outlook if it was your kids about to be sent back to the district school where ENGLISH is rarely spoken.

  136. 10:01

    I am not going there with you, I know a lot of families with students at SMS and SES. So I am concerned too. As for our home schools, our high school has a high population of ESL students and we are quite pleased with our childrens education. We know it is up to them to succeed and success can happen anywhere.

    Of course I am upset that any schools have to close. As a student I went through this and was sent off to a new school when my schools closed while growing up in Walnut Creek. Yes it is hard but my parents were supportive and always told us we could be successful anywhere.

    Again, I would be very surprised if SMS and SES were chosen for closure.

    Have your written the BOE? It also helps to come up with alternative suggestions.

    No one wants their school closed and we should be taking our anger to the State. How about a letter campaign? My last child is graduating soon but I will still fight for our schools.

  137. My kids don't attend Sequoia (because we moved to the district too late to make it onto the waiting list for K). But it seems absolutely insane for it to be under consideration for closure. At a time of declining enrollments, the *LAST* thing MDUSD needs is an exodus of families who care about education to neighboring districts, private schools, or homeschooling.

  138. People, stop complaining about Sequoia. It is a great school, but it is not a neighborhood school and it is every bit as vulnerable IF the parameters that the committee need to evaluate deem that the school should close.

    I think SES and SMS have great parent bases, but honestly, the reality of dozens of families leaving the district for private school or moving to another home is just not very feasible.

    If you chose not to buy a house in a neighborhood with good schools yet, you can now afford to send your kids to private schools, then good for you!

    If you think you can sell that house in Concord, or wherever and move to Lafayette or WC, then good luck during this market.

    If you think Charter schools are just around the block to replace schools that will be closed, you might be disappointed. If the district is closing schools, how can they carry a charter school in their budget?

    Chances are that the Sequoia's won't be closed, but who knows? If it does, then parent's have to make their choices, but let's be serious, private schools and moving may not be realistic options in this economy.

    School reform is what is needed and hopefully, every school can be made to be successful...some day (soon!).

  139. Anon @ 11:30am,

    Are you the poster that keeps trying to get Sequoia parents to calm down?

    What is your motive for doing that? Are you trying to get the shutdown of Sequoia far enough along the process that the parents can't save it?

    Well I say that Sequoia parents have every right to have their voices heard, yes even at this early stage of the process. It is very odd that you are trying so hard to keep Sequoia parents from standing up for our rights.

  140. Uh, early stage? This is not the early stage. They are near to voting on their recommended proposal to the board. The board will then take public comment and then make their decision. This could all happen in the next 30 days or so. I'm not sure how likely it will go that fast given the contentious nature of school closures, but I know the Superintendent had wanted to have this process complete before the deadline for intradistrict transfers were due. They are due January 15.

    I can't even the nightmare that this will involve. If you look at the NCLB school choice list, and know that some of the schools on the closure list are popular transfer schools - you can imagine the juggling and fancy footwork that will be required if they don't have this done. Or, as the Superintendent promised, they may have to grant an extension for those students impacted by the closures. If you put in for a transfer to a school that will be closed, then what? If you are transferring OUT of a school, but then they close it and put you to one where you're more happy? Or, the school choice schools are closed.

    Ugh! This is not going to be a pretty process under any situation.

    I also agree that the threat that people will move, go private or homeschool is probably really not a great concern. NOt everyone can homeschool. Many can't just pick up and move. And for many, private isn't going to become any more feasible than it was before.

  141. Not only are families moving/transferring out of MDUSD (we know at least a dozen or more), prospective home buyers with school age kids are less inclined to move into the area because of the state of the schools.

  142. 7:09 again, that's nothing new. It's a matter of economics and priorities. It's a not a cut and dry choice between buying in Concord and buying in Danville. A little thing like pricing and affordability factors in big time. Personally, ID rather rent in a great school area than buy in an area where I relied on transfers etc. But that's just me and priorities.

  143. Yes - so that's ADA money walking out the door and not very much new ADA money coming in since many new home buyers are opting to buy where schools are better.

    Declining enrollment = less revenue = more budget cuts

    So I think the threat that people will move, go private or homeschool is a great concern (of course, IMO).

  144. All those families with 3 and 4 y.o.'s on the SES waiting list could very well decide not to enroll their kids in MDUSD when Kindergarten rolls around if the board decides to close the school. Not everyone is upside down on a mortgage & can't sell and/or too broke to afford private school.

  145. Anon 11:58 is correct. I have 4 yr old on the ses list, if they close that option down we will just move. Will it be ideal for us, no, but we will do it all the same.

  146. Closure options narrowed down to 8:

    Most likely options recommended to board will not be made public until Jan. Decision is still to take place 1/11/11 I think...

    I have signed up for Theresa Harrington's twitter and she is very informative, and has constantly asked the question 'Why are the ratings the closures were decided upon not made public ? '

    Its a more constructive point to discuss here than if an individual family intends to move school districts.