Friday, January 29, 2010

MDUSD Community Meeting Schedule

To: Families of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Steven Lawrence, Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District
invites you to attend a COMMUNITY MEETING at one of the following locations:

Thursday, February 4 – College Park High
Wednesday, February 10 – Northgate High
Thursday, February 11 – Concord High
Tuesday, February 16 – Clayton Valley High
Wednesday, February 17 – Mt. Diablo High
Wednesday, February 24 – Riverview Middle
Thursday, February 25 – Ygnacio Valley High School

Meetings begin at 7pm

Purpose of the Meeting:
• Meet the new Superintendent
• Learn about the current challenges of the District during these difficult fiscal times
• Learn about what is being done to address these needs
• Share your thoughts about additional ways we can work together to benefit our students

For more information contact Loreen Joseph at 925-682-8000 ext 4000

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MDUSD Tuesday: $3 million cut , decision on secretaries postponed

Theresa Harrington of the Contra Costa Times was at the meeting tonight and has posted her report on the outcome.

Mt. Diablo school board approves about $3 million in cuts

It seems they may be going back to the "drawing board" on the decision to cut 23 office secretarial positions across the district. The plan to cut 5.5 million tonight, ultimately resulted in just 3 million. More cuts are planned for the February 9th board meeting.

I'm starting to hear more and more rumblings of a "walk out," or a march on Sacramento. It's hard to believe there's not a better way to deal with this crisis at the state level. Leave the kids alone.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Furlough Days in Martinez School District saves 140k per day

Will it work in the MDUSD?

"Mandatory furlough days have come to the Martinez Unified School District (MUSD) after administrators and the teachers’ union representatives agreed to take an unpaid day off on Monday, Jan. 25. Jan. 26 will be a minimum student day at the district’s nine schools."

Will our teacher union agree with their colleagues in Martinez? From the Martinez Gazette:

“Each of the employee groups are willing to help shoulder part of the budget crisis burden,” said MUSD Superintendent Rami Muth this week. “In answer to the District’s inquiry at the first session of whether Martinez Educational Association (MEA) would work with the District to address the fiscal crisis, MEA responded with a “yes” and demonstrated its willingness to do so by agreeing to a one day reduction in pay.”

Tomorrow, Tues January 26th, our MDUSD School Board will be meeting to discuss cuts. Check out the agenda, and note the cuts they're considering. You can find the cuts for consideration at item 13.2 and view the spreadsheet here. Note the items with the asterisk on the spreadsheet are being recommended for action tomorrow night, but may take action on any item on the list. It is a big list.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Former MDUSD Superintendent Gary McHenry begins his new job, and answers questions about his tenure at MDUSD

Certainly an interesting read. It seems that upon his appointment as the new Superintendent of the Inglewood School District, calls started to come in about his time at MDUSD. The Los Angeles Wave publication sat down and had a Question and Answer session with McHenry. You can read the full article HERE.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Special MDUSD Board Meeting - Ballooning Budget Cuts

Special School Board Meeting

As a result of the Governor’s budget proposal, the projected deficit in the school district ending balance as of June 2012 has grown from $17 million to $35 million. In consequence, we will need to make additional reductions to our expenditure budget.

The Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting on Wednesday, January 20, at 7pm at the Dent Education Center, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.

The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public input on the additional cuts that will need to be made. Staff will present a brief review of the budget, but the majority of the meeting will be spent listening to parents and community members regarding budget reductions.

This is a very important meeting, and I hope you will be able to attend.

Dick Nicoll
Interim Superintendent

Thursday, January 14, 2010

School Finance 101 - "Why do our schools receive lower per pupil funding than any other state?"

If you've wondered why our schools get lower per pupil funding than any other state in the nation, or worried about looming cuts - the 32nd District PTA is offering "School Finance 101" on Monday, January 25th. Check it out and RSVP to :

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MDUSD Catastrophic News, Board Meeting Recap (Sherry Whitmarsh)

Dear Parents and Community of MDUSD,

It was with a saddened heart that I listened to the catastrophic news presented at the board meeting. The Governor's proposed budget will cut MDUSD another $35 million by 2011/2012. When you look at the the budget horror in 2014/2015 our cuts are $115.9 million. The total 2009- 2010 budget is $266.8 million. Here's the link to the complete PowerPoint presentation:

MDUSD: Governor's 2010-11 Budget Announcement, January 12, 2010 (Powerpoint file)

If you have any thoughts that would not apply to negotiations I would love to hear from you by Monday, January 18. Example of items that apply to negotiations are salary reductions, furlough days, benefit reductions. The reason I'm asking you to not send those is that they are currently on the list of budget reductions. Here's the link:

MDUSD Budget Reduction List (Excel file)

For the sake of our children, please contact your elected state officials. Please have everyone you know contact the state officials. Public education is at a severe risk. Also I did want to inform you that at last night's board meeting, board member Dick Allen announced he would not be running for election in November.

Thank you.


Sherry Whitmarsh
mobile (925)899-4731

Monday, January 4, 2010

Music-A-Thon Supports Music at MDUSD Schools

Press Release also available here.





Concord, CA. December 22, 2009. More than ten schools from around the Mt. Diablo Unified School District will be participating in the Music-A-Thon to support the music programs in the Mt. Diablo schools. The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation is hosting the Music-A-Thon, featuring music students from the various elementary, middle and high schools, performing different styles of music and vocals.

Participating schools include Clayton Valley High School, Concord High School, Northgate High, El Dorado Middle, Foothill Middle, Pine Hollow Middle, Pleasant Hill Middle, as well as elementary students from Ayers, El Monte, Highlands, Holbrook, Monte Gardens, Westwood, Woodside, and more schools are expected to be announced soon.

The music will start at 10 am at the Multi-Use Room at Concord High School, 4200 Concord Blvd. in Concord, and go until 10 pm.

Music students will be collecting pledges to on behalf of the performers and to support music education in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Donations will also be taken at the event.

Support is Critical – Elementary Programs Face Elimination

Support for the school music programs is critical since the 4th grade instrumental music program was eliminated this year, and because of the state’s budget crisis, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District is planning to cut 5th grade music the next school year. The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation was formed to raise awareness of the cuts that have hit our music programs, and to solicit donations to support music education for our students.

It has been shown that students who become involved in music education become better students, attend school more regularly than other students, score higher on state standardized tests than other students, and stay engaged in school. Music programs enrich the students’ education and help students develop for adulthood. In turn, these programs and students support the arts and music and thereby enrich the community. While the area high schools in the district support a wide range of music programs, including orchestras, choral, jazz ensembles, and band, the elimination of elementary music will start to erode the quality of the secondary music program. Without elementary music programs, fewer students will take up music.

The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation will be holding various fundraisers to raise money to save music in our elementary schools, as well as soliciting donations. You can learn more and volunteer by visiting .

Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation is a non-profit foundation.

Tax ID 27-1292110.

For more information, call Michael McNally at 925-827-5706.