Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clayton Valley Charter overwhelmingly approved by teachers, on to the board

The charter is said to have been approved by 80% of the permanent certificated staff.  Definitely more than the 50%+1 that they needed to send it to the board for approval.

They have released the charter document, which will be presented the Mt. Diablo School board, you can access it here:  CVCHS Submission

The charter facebook page can be accessed HERE.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last day of school

I've gotten some emails from a few parents (from a couple different schools) asking if it's "normal" for kids to ditch the last day of school.  Some kids at some schools are actually being told by their teachers not to show.  I know in the younger grades they have parties, yearbook distribution and other things they don't want to miss, but the last day of high school w/ finals over, etc?  What do you think?  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Clayton Valley Charter steering committee comments on the Superintendent's FAQ

MDUSD Parents--While it's been interesting reading the comments to Dr. Lawrence's statement regarding the financing of Clayton Valley High School's potential new charter conversion, there are some points that need clarification and further investigation.  Upon consultation with California Charter School Association and ExEd (who further consulted with the California Department of Education), the Steering Committee is releasing the following statement:

"We appreciate Mt Diablo USD’s recent efforts to respond to the community’s questions concerning the CVHS conversion. However, the District’s statement about passing on additional funds is based on legislation that since January 1, 2010 is no longer in effect.  Recently legislation (SB 191) was passed with the intent to ensure that unified school districts would not be hurt by their conversion high schools. While some confusion remains, this legislation was enacted to ensure that the conversion school will receive revenue limit funding from the state as would any new charter school - based on its student ADA.  We are in the process of confirming this with the California Department of Education and should be able to provide more detail soon.

It is important to note that the conversion would not open until late summer of 2012. While the district will lose funds that follow student ADA, it will no longer carry the costs of operating the school. The conversion will allow the school to focus resources directly on the students it serves and contrary to district assertions, should not negatively impact other programs."

In addition, the steering committee tells me they will be updating their sites more often with news and updates as the final teacher votes, and charter submission to the board grows nearer.


Also a charter informational meeting geared to students and community will take place at 3:15 on Thursday at CVHS. So go attend and learn more,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Clayton Valley's Charter progress . . .

In case you were wondering...

There has been a flurry of activity and reporting on the charter school in the last week, so we wanted to recap where you can find more information. I'm curious what you all think. Take the poll (above).  Do you support the effort of Clayton Valley, do you hope more schools will follow suit, or do you think this is a dangerous precedent to start in our district?

Plus, there are petitions out in the community.  I'm not sure how aggressive they are with this, as personally, I've not seen one yet! But, I guess there's always the element, wrong time, wrong place.

The potential for a charter application being presented to our school board seems to be growing more likely. In articles from the Contra Costa Times, and the Clayton Patch, it appears they're nearing the point where they will be ready to submit an application for the charter within the next month or so.  Our board would then have 30 days to review and respond.

The City of Clayton has also agreed to loan the effort an "unprecedented" $8,500 toward the costs of developing the charter.  Patrick Creaven of the Clayton Patch tells us more in his recent patch post:

Theresa Harrington of the Times has also posted on her "on assignment" blog and it has also brought up some good discussion there.  Check it out at

Gary Eberhart has also posted on his blog about the charter and also shared the Superintendent's Q&A that was sent to district families on Friday.  You can read his "FAQ's Regarding a District Charter School," HERE.

Coincidentally, the CVCHS facebook page was updated today after a long time w/out an update. Check it out below, or HERE on their facebook page.

We have been very busy the last few weeks writing and revising the 16 required Elements (sections) of the conversion charter.

During this process, we have consulted with several experts, including financial and legal advisors, who work with successful conversion charter schools in California. As we receive their feedback, we are continuously updating various Elements.

Our goal is to have the charter written and submitted to CV teachers by the first week of June. A simple majority (of permanent certificated CV teachers) would then be needed to sign the charter petition in order to move forward. At that point, the charter would be submitted to MDUSD for their consideration.

School Board Agenda is online

Reminder that the next school board meeting is Tuesday, May 24th.  The agenda is online.

A couple things of note is that the new principals of both Clayton Valley and College Park will be appointed, the agenda lists the process they followed.  Principal Selection

You can always look on the personnel changes to see who's moving around, retiring, taking a leave, etc.  Mountain View's Principal is retiring, as is the Office Manager and Secretary at Ayers. 

Does anyone know the details of replacing edusoft for a new Student Data and Assessment system totaling over 165,000 dollars?  Just curious.

I also wonder.. if they approve minutes from previous meetings, why haven't here been minutes posted on line since March?

But in the good news category, new photos of all board members are finally up! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

MDUSD Strategic Planning Input Session /meeting tonight 7pm

Tonight, Saturday, May 14th strategic planning input meeting is slated to begin at 7pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, located at 399 Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.   

Has anyone attended one of these meetings?  What did you think?

The next one is Monday night at 7pm at Concord High School, and following Thursday, May 19th at 7pm at Riverview Middle School.

You can always look at the district main website for any questions as to when  or where something is happening:

Remember too, there are district wide budget meetings, open to the public, twice a week at the Dent Center (MDUSD Headquarters).   The next one is coming Monday, May 16th at 4:30pm.  Following, is the last one on Weds May 18 at 6:30pm.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Teachers hold a "Grade Mob" at Sun Valley Mall on Tuesday

Teachers will hold a "GRADE MOB" at Sun Valley Mall tomorrow, Tuesday, May 10th.  They are inviting MDUSD teachers to come wearing their school shirts, or something that identifies them as a teacher, and to bring papers to grade, or lessons to plan.  They will not be handing out flyers, they will "simply be doing what we always do after school in our 'free' time, working for our students."

Grade Mobs will be happening between 4pm - 6pm, but MDEA (the Mt. Diablo teachers) will be there from 5:30-6:30pm. 

Jo Carson, the VP of MDEA says "please join us in sending the public our message that Education in California is in a State of Emergency."

I'm not sure what interested public, students or parents can do, other than support their efforts in making noise to Sacramento, but wanted to alert you that there is an opportunity to possibly show some support to our teachers tomorrow at Sun Valley.

Don't forget there is a MDUSD School Board meeting tomorrow night too.

Agenda for tomorrow's board meeting

Do you read the board meeting agendas?  I do.  One thing I always find interesting is the employee actions where you can see retirements, leaves of absences, new hires, etc.  There are several retirements from CVHS, namely the Principal as we already knew, and VP Leach, and a few long time teachers. 

You can read the agendas on the Electronic School Board:

This board agenda is very busy.  Including within it too is the contract for a firm to look at the boundary realignment to address overcrowding Meadow Homes and Delta View.  The contract is for $14,500.

If you attend or listen in/watch from home you'll also see updates about the school closure transition process, the budget update and an update about strategic planning.  Remember, there are more meetings coming that you can attend to provide input , see those meetings HERE.

As usual there are items that are sure to be controversial for some including a request for YV feeder pattern principals to attend a conference in Oregon in June to the tune of almost $10,000.

Remember, most of the information people 'complain' about is available online, and you're able to write to the board, attend the meetings and ask questions.

District wide budget meetings this week - canceled

I haven't heard why, but the district wide budget meetings scheduled for this week have been canceled per the MDUSD website.  Just an FYI.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

State budget crisis teach in - Friday

We have heard about the 'teach in' happening this Friday at Mt. Diablo High School. This Friday is the first of 3 furlough days within our district this school year. There may be more in future years.

But now we have a personal invite from the students themselves. Listen here for the message sent out to the MDUSD community tonight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Want to provide update for new CVHS Principal? TONIGHT!

Talk about last minute!  I sure hope they have another meeting as surely its not acceptable to provide just a few hours notice of a meeting this important.  I think no matter how the charter situation works out, anyone associated with CVHS should take the time to attend tonight's meeting if you can.  If you can't, contact Julie Braun-Martin at and let her know your thoughts.

There will be a parent meeting tonight, May 3 at 7:30 – 8:30 pm in the library at Clayton Valley High School with Julie Braun-Martin, the Assistant Superintendent, in order to give all parents the opportunity to provide input on the qualification they seek for the high school principal next year. 

UPDATE: A second meeting is set up for Thurs, May 5, 6:30pm
Click here to hear the message from Julie Braun-Martin


Unite for Schools with Susan Bonilla

From Susan Bonilla's office 5/3/11:

Take Action, Unite for Education

Education Belongs to ALL of Us
Join Students, parents teachers educators and me to Take Action, Unite for Education.
As a mother and former English teacher, education has always been a top priority. As chair of the Subcommittee on Education Finance, I continue my commitment in leading the fight to preserve education funding and renew California's commitment to high quality education. Embrace our community and show your commitment to education by attending Take Action, Unite for Education

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
3 to 4 p.m.
Take Action, Unite for Education - Community meeting
Todos Santos Plaza
2151 Salvio Street
Concord, CA 94520


For more information, please call (925) 521-1511.
 Susan A. Bonilla, Assemblymember, 11th District

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Interested in the Clayton Valley Charter High School? Sign a petition this weekend

This weekend (April 30, May 1), at Clayton's Annual Art and Wine Festival, there will be parent supporters of the proposed new charter school out with petitions to sign.  They will have a table near Canesa's Deli and will also be walking around.  They need volunteers if you want to help, or just go down with your friends and sign the petition.  They are hoping to get 2000 signatures before the charter is presented to the board for consideration.

You can get more information, FAQ's, model charter examples and view their full slide show from both their FACEBOOK PAGE and their WEBSITE.

Canesa's Deli is also where you'll find Cup O' Jo's coffee shop, at 6054 Main Street, in Downtown Clayton.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Strategic Planning - your input is requested

Sherry Whitmarsh has posted information about upcoming dates for strategic planning community meetings .

You can find the dates on Sherry's website:

She's also got links to a model plan. We know you all have a lot to say, so hopefully you will all participate in the process.

The dates are also in this district email:

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is beginning a strategic planning process.  A straw model of strategic intents has been developed.  Each strategic intent has been defined and a list of potential goals has been identified.  Our next step is to review the work with the community and get feedback.  To this end, fifteen community input sessions have been scheduled for May and June.  Each session will review the strategic intents and definitions.  The community will give input on the goals: should any be changed, are any goals missing, and what are the concerns or issues for the goals. 

You are invited to attend one of the community input sessions listed below:
·        Monday, May 2, 7:00 p.m., Clayton Valley High School Multi Use Room
·        Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 p.m., Mt. Diablo High School Multi Use Room
·        Thursday, May 5, 7:00 p.m., Northgate High School Multi Use Room
·        Monday, May 9, 7:00 p.m., College Park High School Multi Use Room
·        Wednesday, May 11, 4:00 p.m., Monte Gardens Elementary Multi Use Room (geared for staff input)
·        Thursday, May 12, 7:00 p.m., Ygnacio Valley High School Multi Use Room
·        Saturday, May 14, 9:00 a.m., TBD
·        Monday, May 16, 7:00 p.m., Concord High School Multi Use Room
·        Tuesday, May 17, 7:00 p.m., Dent Center (geared for Community Advisory Committee)
·        Wednesday, May 19, 7:00 p.m., Riverview Middle School Multi Use Room
·        Wednesday, June 1, 7:00 p.m., (geared for Parent Advisory Committee)
·        Thursday, June 2, 7:00 p.m., Willow Creek Center  (geared for Foundations)
·        Wednesday, June 15, 7:00 p.m., Dent Center (geared for Measure C Oversight Committee)
·        Wednesday, June 15, 7:00 p.m., Willow Creek Center
·        Thursday, June 16, 7:00 p.m., Dent Center (geared for Measure C Oversight Committee)

MDUSD Salaries are online at CCTimes

What do you think about public employee salaries being available to all?

At this link you can see salaries for every individual, not just general position salaries, but every individual's name and position is posted for all to see.

You can also look at some of the surrounding districts if you've been interested in comparisons.

Now keep in mind, I'm pretty sure this is not a true depiction of what teachers get in their pocket as possibly factored in are their benefits, etc and not factored in are their out of pocket insurance, union dues, etc.

It's probably not a real fair release as there is no qualifications on the numbers....  From MDEA's facebook page, "Unfortunately, they relied on a single source and did no confirmation of the gross numbers...."

Monday, April 18, 2011

CVHS Charter conversion meeting standing room only

The meeting tonight at the Clayton Library was standing room only and had quite a few good pieces of information.  I will link later to articles as both the Times reporter, Theresa Harrington, and the local Concord Patch reporter(s) were present.

Some information:

WEBSITE for charter: Clayton Valley Charter High School
FACEBOOK page for charter: Clayton Valley Charter High School on Facebook

Priorities would be 20:1 class sizes
Sports would be maintained
Teachers/organizers hope to have charter written and presented to MDUSD Board by end of May
Charter could/begin for Fall 2012 semester

See more at Theresa Harrington's twitter feed at as she's doing a "play by play."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Possibilities . . . Clayton Valley Charter High School

The meeting this afternoon was very interesting.  It was packed, with standing room only.  It was short, to the point, and left a lot of questions, but they said that the next meeting MONDAY evening, April 18th at 7pm (Clayton Library, not CVHS), will have more time for Q&A and will also offer some guests - "charter school experts."

The committee at the school spearheading the idea is working with a paid consultant to work through the details of writing up a charter.  The presentation was led by Pat Middendorf (Athletic Director and Academic Literacy/Special Ed) and Neil McChesney (English, Leadership and Public Speaking). 

Here are some key points related to the "possibilities" of a Clayton Valley Charter High School, please feel free to add if I missed anything you felt was important:

  • Started discussions in September in the "Staff Senate" meeting which is a body of staff members elected by fellow staff and includes some of the most involved staff of the school i.e. the teachers who run leadership, music, etc. - "the heart of the school."
  • They need 50% + 1 of all teachers to vote for the charter, the charter is then written, and then they have a year to implement and plan. This means the earliest this "new" charter high school could be implemented would be the fall of 2012.
  • A charter would have its own governing board and instead of "superintendent" type titles, one may see titles such as CEO, CFO, COO, etc.  The leadership of the school is ON campus.  The school could run independent of the layers of the school district.  The school would make its own decisions.
  • The school would run its own budget and initial estimates are that funding would go up.  Not only would the funding come straight to the school at the high school rate (vs. a blended elementary/high rate), but the school would be eligible for specialty charter grants and other state and federal funding - funds that would go direct to the school, not the school district as it looks today. The discussion of the budget crisis and the possibility in the future of a state takeover was briefly touched upon.
  • Right now the MDUSD is responsible for the budgets and financials for 56 schools.  A Clayton Valley Charter High School would be soley responsible for only their own budget.  This charter would offer "fiscal independence" and could result in a "ton of money" from grants and other charter funding.
  • There is a BIG difference between a new, start up charter and a conversion charter.
  • Clayton Valley Charter High School would have the same attendance areas, it would still be a public school and must adhere to same accreditation standards and testing requirements.
  • An analogy was brought forth of renting a home vs. buying... Clayton Valley Charter would be a owner.  The district would have to give up the site to the charter per law.  The charter would have a lot more autonomy and freedom, but also more responsibility.
  • Employees at the site would have 3 choices; stay with MDEA, create their own bargaining unit, or create a specific contract for the charter within MDEA.
Ideas of "good" things that could happen at a Clayton Valley Charter High School included:
  • Increased API by stopping the brain drain (top kids moving to other or private schools), bringing the top performing kids/families BACK to Clayton Valley.
  • Instituting a Freshmen Summer Transition Program.  Could run 1-4 weeks during the summer and could be enrichment, evaluation, remediation or all of the above.  Pathways for individual students could be carved in order to best serve the individual needs of each student. Discussion of a very successful charter conversion program was brought up here and sounded very exciting actually.  Check out Granada Hills Charter High School as a very successful nationwide model for charter conversions.
  • Emphasis on the goal to "look at every student individually." 
  • Bring back summer school.
  • Work collaboratively with local higher education; colleges, CSU, etc. to bring college level coursework and curriculum on campus.
  • The discussion of dress code and possible UNIFORMS brought the crowd to a loud cheer. It seemed most were in agreement that the sagging pants, alcohol/drug/sex messages on shirts and exposed midriffs (among other things) are a distraction and division within a high school campus and as it stands now there is no support for staff to enforce the supposed dress code.  The school, as a charter, could institute its own dress code and/or uniforms.
  • The school could create its own calendar.  As an example, starting earlier in August so the first semester is finished at winter break.  This too brought many nodding heads and sounds of agreement amongst the audience.  Though a comment reminded that with kids in other district schools, we'd need to be mindful of the coordination of calendars.  It was acknowledged that much still needs to be discussed.
  • Could hire own custodial service to give the school the attention it deserves
So, what else did you get out of it?  Personally, I think it is very , very interesting and I like what I see when I look at the Granada Hills website.  Check it out! Join the facebook page for ongoing information:!/pages/Clayton-Valley-Charter-High-School/123874797687533

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

As schools convert . . . ?

It seems that Clayton Valley has created a groundswell of interest in the charter idea.  I've gotten a TON of emails asking who to contact for information, asking already who might be ready to mentor other schools, etc. Seems to have struck a cord. I don't think it's just the idea of a charter in and of itself, as we know we have Eagle Peak here already, and the new Flex Academy coming to the district soon - but the idea of teacher or parent trigger charters - converting a school to a charter vs a new idea, new school.  It's very interesting, indeed.

The folks involved in the exploration of the CVHS charter have started a new facebook page, they say "to disseminate information to staff, students, parents and community members of Clayton Valley High School as we research and explore the option of becoming a conversion charter school."

So, check it out and join the discussion Clayton Valley Charter High School on facebook.  There are links to charter school information, as well as links to other successful charter conversion schools. Something tells me a lot of eyes will be on this process, and if successful may not be the only high school, joining the ranks of charter within our district boundaries.

Don't forget the meeting Thursday, April 14th, in room E-1 at CVHS at 12:30pm.  There is also a meeting on Monday evening, April 18th at 7pm at the Clayton Library.

Monday, April 11, 2011

CVHS Charter conversion meetings

Want more information ?

A couple of meetings are taking place this week if you are interested in the possible charter conversion.

Monday (today) , April 11th at 12:30pm
Thursday, April 14th at 12:30pm

Meetings at Clayton Valley room E1.

There will also be a couple of community meetings one day next week at Endeavor Hall in downtown Clayton, so stay tuned for details on that.

They will present a PowerPoint informational slide show.

Message from the CVHS PFC President 4/12/11:

Friends—As you may have heard, Clayton Valley High School is currently and actively pursuing a charter school conversion.  This means that CVHS will convert from a traditional public school (governed by a school district and a school board) to a CHARTER school public school (governed by a site-specific governing board comprised of teachers and staff, administrators, parents and community members).

This conversion charter school affects everyone in the Clayton Valley area.  Even if you don’t have children in our local public schools, charter schools can be a boost to area real estate prices, safety, and the overall connection of a community.

As we are just in the beginning stages, there are many questions and points of clarification that still need to be researched and worked out, however the process is exciting and underway.  We have begun holding community information meetings and hope that everyone will take the opportunity to either go to one of the meetings to have all your questions answered or call me directly (redacted) to talk about what this might look like and how it might affect your child’s educations.

Our next meeting will be held this Thursday, April 14th at 12:30.  We will meet on the CV campus in room E-1.  Additionally, we are planning an evening meeting for (we hope) next week.  The dates and location are being worked out now so stay tuned and please forward this on to anyone you think may be interested.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Strategic Planning in MDUSD takes a leap toward reality

In some good news coming out of the MDUSD, the "plan" for strategic planning is starting to take shape.  In case you missed item 14.11 at the last board meeting, it was all about strategic planning.  First, on the agenda was posted an Input Session plan, and a draft of a 2010-2015 strategic plan itself.  The timelines for public input on the document shows public input will begin with meetings at the various feeder pattern high schools starting in May, and continue at a middle school, then with the various district committees, community groups, foundations, seniors and staff. 

In correspondence with Brian Lawrence, a Concord father, he has some ideas of what a strategic plan should address and his thoughts.  It is worthy of sharing and I hope we can begin an open discussion about what a strategic plan should be for our district.  Below are his thoughts and questions.  What do you think?

On Feb. 23, the Mt. Diablo School Board voted unanimously to refrain from closing any additional schools at this time. School closure is unfortunate and it has certainly been a painful process here in MDUSD. We do, however, have the opportunity to consider and remedy the cause of school closures- a steady decline in student enrollment. If we don’t deal with this problem, we will inevitably be faced with closing even more schools in the future.

The District states that declining enrollment in MDUSD has not resulted in an increase in private school enrollment over the same period. It has been argued that declining enrollment is merely reflective of a low birth rate. This neglects the fact that in adjacent school districts, such as San Ramon, they are actually seeing an increase in student enrollment.

Parents of school age children are voting with their wallets and their feet—they are moving out of MDUSD. Many parents calculate the cost of private school tuition and decide the money would be better spent on a mortgage in a different school district. The number-one factor in purchasing a home for most parents of school-aged kids is the school system—the negative perception of MDUSD has a huge impact on every homeowner in the area. In aggregate, it is tens of millions of dollars in lost home value.

So how do we solve this problem? There have been past attempts to pass a parcel tax to provide more funds for the district. A parcel tax requires 2/3 approval in order to pass. There is zero chance that will happen without the District doing a better job of articulating how the money will be spent and restoring trust in the District.

Several people have offered a strategic plan as a first step towards a solution, but there has not been very much discussion about what that plan might actually look like. A strategic plan is only as good as the people who create and implement it.

In order for a strategic plan to be successful, people have to buy in to it. All of the different stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, staff, business leaders, etc.) need to have a voice in the process. It needs to be something that drives all of the decisions made by the District. It cannot merely become a forgotten document in a dusty binder that sits on a desk.

If we had a strategic plan tomorrow, would it eliminate the need for school closures? No. If we had a strategic plan a year ago, would it have changed the need for school closures? I have no idea, but it is a waste of time to point fingers and rehash the past.

We can, however, avoid closing schools in the future. Mt. Diablo can become a  district that families are running towards, not running from. We need to have a clear, common vision of how we get there and the strategic plan can play a vital role in that.

The strategic plan must address questions such as:
  • How do we best measure student achievement?
  • How do we attract and retain top teachers?
  • What role, if any, do choice schools play in the district? Charter schools?
  • What infrastructure is needed to execute the strategic plan?
  • How can we best serve the needs of Special Education students?
  • What percentage of graduates are expected to go to a four- year college? How do we best prepare them for that?
  • What role does technology play in the District?
  • Is vocational training needed for students who may not go on to college?
  • How long will it take for English Language learning students to become fluent?
  • What consultants are needed for the district to succeed? What should we expect of full-time employees?

These are just a few of the types of questions that a strategic plan will address. Part of the process of strategic planning is to actually decide on the questions that need to be answered.

Some people say that strategic planning is expensive and will require high-paid consultants. I disagree.

The best example of a strategic plan is the Constitution of the United States. It has been a framework for our government for over 220 years. It did not require high-priced consultants—no one from Bain or McKinsey was needed to facilitate the discussion. All that was needed was a group of concerned, passionate citizens to come together and develop a shared vision.

The MDUSD Board took a step in the right direction at the March 29th meeting by laying  out a format for a strategic plan. It will take a lot more than just the five board members to make this a reality.

What is your vision for a strategic plan for MDUSD? What questions should it answer? Are you willing to work together to develop it and move this school district forward?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Race to Nowhere screening at Ayers Elementary, April 6th

Race to Nowhere @ Ayers Elementary

The critically acclaimed documentary, The Race to Nowhere, will be shown at Ayers Elementary in Concord on Weds, April 6th at 7pm. This film looks at 'the dark side of America's achievement culture.'

From the e-postcard to the right: It is a call to action for families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

You can find more information, and can purchase tickets, online:

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

MDEA votes yes on tentative agreement for 2010-2011

From MDEA:

The results of the MDEA election for ratification of the tentative agreement for the 2010-2011 school year are as follows:
YES 1,148
NO 135
We now await the action by the MDUSD School Board to adopt this agreement.

You can view the results at their facebook page by clicking HERE.

Mt. Diablo Education Association website LINK

Monday, March 28, 2011

Furlough days in May for Mt. Diablo School District

Attached is the latest update from MDUSD's Mt. Diablo Education Association (MDEA) and their vote for the dates of the 3 furlough days which are a part of their tentative agreement with the district for the 2010-2011 school year:

Dear Members:

The results of our straw poll indicated that over 60% of our membership favored taking furlough days in May.  After much back and forth negotiating with the MDUSD Bargaining team, we have agreed that the No Pay/Furlough days will be taken on May 6th, May 27th and May 31st. 

The vote to accept the Temporary Agreement will be held tomorrow March 29th and Wednesday March 30th.  Please remember to vote.  To view a PDF of the tentative agreement please go to the  webpage.  

Jo Carson, VP
Mt. Diablo Education Association

Friday, March 25, 2011

Agenda for 3/29 Board Meeting

Will you be attending the next meeting? You can view the latest agenda at the link for the electronic school board to the right side of this page.

They will be talking about some important issues, including the school closure transition plan, budget cuts, the use of part of Glenbrook for the new Flex charter school and importantly, discussion of the district's goals and the development of a strategic plan is on the agenda.

Contra Costa Science and Engineering Fair needs judges - April 1st

Dear Friend of Education, Science and Engineering:

Please forward this invitation to your colleagues and anyone you believe would be interested in spending a day with our promising scientists and engineers.

The Contra Costa County 2011 Science and Engineering Fair day of judging is scheduled for April 1, 2011. The event will be held in Pittsburg and is graciously hosted again by our friends at Los Medanos College. All events will take place in the Science Building. Judges will be welcomed with a coffee and orientation at 7:00 a.m. and the day concludes around 3:00 p.m. for most participants.

Please check your calendar today and respond to the quick enrollment survey for judges using the NEW link below.

Judges will be reviewing student entries in six categories: math/computer sciences; biological including biochemistry, microbiology, zoology, botany, medicine, and health; physical including chemistry, earth and space, physics; behavioral/social sciences including gerontology; environmental sciences; and engineering.   

Every Intel ISEF-affiliated fair has its own methodology for judging projects at their fair. The International organization provides the following recommendations for judging criteria which the Contra Costa Science & Engineering Fair will follow. If you are interested in the role of the judges please click here.

In 2010 more students participated in the fair than previous years. We expect an increase in participation again this year. 

We look forward to your enrollment and participation on April 1, 2011.

Linda Mayo
Judge Coordinator
Contra Costa Science and Engineering Fair  |   916.261.1715

April P. Treece, Project Director
Contra Costa Workforce Initiative
Contra Costa Economic Partnership
1355 Willow Way - Suite 253
Concord, CA 94520
925.672.3759 |

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Measure C Citizen Oversight Committee Opening

Want to apply to be on the Measure C Oversight committee? They have an opening, so now is your chance - apply by April 29th.

You can find more information at the district site HERE.

Application is available at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Furlough days, a straw poll...

So MDEA is conducting a straw poll querying their members for their choice for furlough days.

We thought we'd do one of pur own, so what say you? Here are the choices they are looking at:

(looking at 3 furlough days for this school year)

Plan A
Friday, May 20
Friday, May 27
Tuesday, May 31
(the 27th and 31st would extend the Memorial Day holiday)

Plan B
Tuesday, June 7
Wednesday, June 8
Thursday, June 9
(this option would end the school year early for students)

Here is more detail (excerpt of the email) from Jo Carson, VP of MDEA:

Dear Members:
Superintendent Lawrence has expressed an interest in working with MDEA members to schedule the 3 fulough/paycut days called for in the TA.  Both sides have come to consensus on two possible schedules for these days. (Plan A or Plan B)   MDEA is conducting a "straw poll" to determine which of these plans the majority of our members prefer.  We are asking all members to report their preference to their Site Rep.  Site Reps will tablulate the preferences and report the tabulations to the MDEA Office via e-mail using the email address.  We need all sites to participate and to report the tally by the end of the work day on Tuesday March 22nd.  (Sooner if possible)

Monday, March 14, 2011

MDUSD Second Interim Budget Update

Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
March 11, 2010

Second Interim Budget Update

The Second Interim Budget must be adopted by a school Board by March 15 and then must be provided to the County Office of Education for its review and approval of assumptions.  In general, the purpose of the Second Interim Budget is to:
  • Verify the District is on track to meet the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) assumptions that were built into the original budget;
  • Ensure that cost assumptions (i.e. fuel, electricity, health benefit, etc.) are on track with actual increases;
  • Address any mid-year cuts to funding;
  • Begin to incorporate the Governor’s January Budget proposal assumptions into the multiple year projections and demonstrate districts will have a positive ending balance three years out.

This year’s Second Interim Budget is particularly challenging because all districts in the County have been directed to assume the Governor’s Budget proposal does not move forward and we receive a minimum reduction of $350 per pupil.  However, there have been estimates that districts could expect cuts up to $780 per pupil.

In March 2010, the Board directed staff to negotiate with our various bargaining units: a cap on health benefits; prorated health benefit contributions; and furlough days.  Without these negotiated reductions and with the $350 per pupil reduction, the District will have a negative ending balance at the end of the2012-13 school year of approximately $27 million.  With a health benefit cap, proration of health benefit contributions, and furlough days of 3-7-7 (three days this year and seven the next two years) included in the Second Interim, we will have a negative ending balance of approximately $4 million at the end of the 2012-13 school year.  Therefore, in order to certify “positive” for the Second Interim Budget we would need to only identify approximately $4 million in additional reductions. 

Given the current uncertainty around the State budget, staff recommends that the Board approve the following reductions, and submit the entire reduction list (which can be found at ) with the Second Interim Budget as possible future reductions that may need to be made if the Governor’s Budget proposal is not implemented.

  1. Sweep all of the following Tier III flexibility categorical carryover budgets:  CAHSEE Intervention, Instructional Materials Realignment, SB 472 Teacher Professional Development, Targeted Instructional Improvement Block funds, one-time Adult Education funds, freeze spending and transfer remaining Tier III flexibility carryover accounts.  This will amount to $3,380,598 in one time reductions.
  2. Sweep all the remaining Tier III flexibility funding for Gifted and Talented Education programs.  This will allow us to leave the School Library Improvement Block Grant (SLIBG) funds that each site receives intact.  The SLIBG comprises the site discretionary budgets and provide schools with the greatest flexibility in expenditures.  Sweeping the GATE funds would amount to an annual savings of $221,272.
  3. Reduce funding for Speech Contracts by $600,000.  This savings has been created because we have hired our own Speech Therapists instead of having to contract out with private providers.  This will be an on-going savings.
  4. Reduce funding for Occupational Therapy contracts by $52,560 due to the decreased need in services.

The savings from the above-identified list will allow the District to have a positive ending fund balance at the end of the 2012-13 school year and certify positive.  We will need to closely monitor the State budget process.  If the Governor’s request for a June ballot does not come to fruition, we will need to identify other items on the list for future implementation.  Also, because we have identified $3,380,598 in one-time reductions in order to create a balanced Second Interim Budget, we will need to identify on-going reductions in the 2013-14 school year to be included in the budget the Board will adopt in June for the 2011-12 school year.

MDUSDParents Note:
There is a Budget Advisory Committee meeting taking place on Thursday, March 17th at 5pm in the Dent Center Board Room.  There are appointed members of this committee, but as far as I know , all district business is open to the public.  Great opportunity to hear details of this latest budget update.