Tuesday, February 22, 2011

School Board meeting - how can you listen?

The meeting has live audio streaming on KVHS 90.5.   If you have itunes you can go to Advanced > Open Audio Stream > and then enter url:  http://www.kvhs.com/kvhsbrod.pls

I'm listening now.  Sounds like a full house.

Here is the powerpoint the Superintendent is speaking about:


Superintendent is discussing the possibility of high school closures in the future. That if a new high school is opened in Bay Point it will result decreased enrollment at Mt. Diablo High School. Good grief.  Could this get any worse? 

Well if you listened or watched, you realized there were far more questions needing answers tonight , and the vote was to not close any more schools.  So we'll see what happens next. The funding situation hasn't changed, so what next?


  1. It felt like the Board took a deep breath last night and that is a good thing.

    The Board has come across at the last few meetings like a chicken with its head cut off. The staff and board members have been working very hard to come up with creative solutions to the budget problems, but the presentation has been rather horrible. It is virtually impossible to build support when new ideas are being thrown out at board meetings and the public lacks the data to understand what drove the idea.

    Cheryl Hansen expressed her frustration last night with receiving the Superintendent's presentation moments before the meeting started. The Superintendent responded that the presentation was being worked on until the last minute. I'd like to see the presentation the day before and just have the understanding that it is a work in progress and might have changes by the time the meeting starts. It is difficult to analyze the information in real-time.

  2. Maybe they need to space the meetings apart more, I think the superintendant is doing the best he can. I just don't like that Cheryl Hansen is always complaining and judging. I really believe everyone is doing the best that they can.

    It was smart not to close any more schools, at least until we have a better picture of what the state funding will look like for next year. If the taxes do not pass, we're going to have to do some serious cutting, which will involve more schools. They should take this time as a repreive of sorts, to have a plan in place, in the event the taxes don't pass. The district will have to operate at the bare minimum, which will have to include cuts to teachers salaries and closing more schools.

    I would like to see them forming this plan already. I believe Gary said that in March they will start the strategic planning process. At that time, they should start some serious contemplation of what those $25 million in cuts will look like.

  3. All Cheryl Hansen does is complain. I haven't heard one positive suggestion come out of her mouth. If she got on the board just to cause friction among the other board members and sit on her tush and do nothing she's making a huge mistake. I can't stand the lady.

  4. Anon 8:08
    I am surprised that you do not like Cheryl Hansen. She is the board member who has been most vocal about taking a reprieve to better analyze the information. She has been most vocal about having a plan. She has been most vocal about doing this once and doing it right. Go to her website, I think you would agree with her position based on your current comment.
    The discussion of strategic planning will begin in April and Cheryl Hansen was the board member who brought up the need for strategic planning multiple times at the last board retreat where they finally set a date.
    Don't fall into the idea that she is the problem, be grateful that she ran and is helping to shape a voice of reason on a board that has been reactionary for way too long.

  5. The key part of the Board's action last night was that no further schools would be closed "at this time". Anon 8:08 is exactly right about the ramifications of further cuts from the state.

    I've been pretty impressed by the information that the Superintendent and staff have presented. The level of detail and the analysis are helpful. The Superintendent has also seemed to take feedback and used it to improve communications. I'm hopeful that the same thing will happen with the presentations to the Board.

    The members of School Closure Committee also deserve praise. Such an incredibly thankless task and they dedicated a lot of hours. Sitting through their presentations, it was obvious that they had really worked at it. People may not agree with their recommendations or the results, but you really have to tip your hat to their effort.

  6. Lawrence was rather unprepared -- still working on the powerpoint to the 'last minute' ? Give me a break. He should have had it done last week. He still doesn't know how much money can be saved -- they are just guessing. The Board did the right thing by pausing. Bad decision come from incomplete information. Staff needs to step up. This information should have been known months ago.
    Doctor J

  7. I felt there was a real arrogance in the thoughts and presentation behind not closing Willow Creek. There is plenty of room around this district to hold special meetings. It was stated that it would be inconvenient to hold testing in the multi use rooms and try to do lunch there as well. How often would that really happen?

    I felt like the Superintendent and some members of the board where saying, "don't close anything that affects us or administration".

    Close Willow Creek, sell the land, and be done with it!

  8. I have to say that selling Willow Creek will solve nothing. The land would have to be sold under the Naylor Act, which if you take the time to learn about would mean that the district would receive pennies on the dollar for the land. Then the kids that are attending Diablo Day school would have to be housed someplace, so that site would have to be leased at a significant cost to the district. Sure there are places that the district can use for meetings, but there are hundreds of meetings each year at Willow Creek. I guess its too much to ask those of you who simply grasp at the simplest ideas to actually look into the pros and cons. That would actually require some thought. I actually think it would be funny if the district just said screw it and sold willow creek. Then costs would rise and the little bit of money from the sale would be gone. Then would you bitch because the district was short sighted for selling one of the district's properties? I bet you would. When willow creek was first mentioned it made sense to me as well, but as soon as I looked just a little below the surface it was clear that selling the site would be unintelligent. That is how I know that Cheryl Hansen was the wrong choice for the board. She is stuck on willow creek and refuses to listen to intelligent reasoning. Great, just what our kids need. April II.


  9. @Poseidon Willow Creek has become a symbol of excess and extravagance. The point is there is NO Strategic Plan -- just shoot from the hip by you and your Gary fan club.

  10. Poseidon
    Here is a grasp at the simplest idea - The land may have to be sold at a discount but why not lease it? Generate annual revenue.
    And Poseidon... I happen to think Cheryl Hansen is just what this Board needed. This community knows we have had bad Board members in the past and we know they come in many forms. Don't play this game and try to discredit her and her fresh perspective.

  11. Tired MDUSD Mom of 3February 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Anon 9:09 and 9:21 Have either one of you looked to see if a school district is allowed to lease at current rates? The State has a lot of controls on what a district can and can't do as well as what they can charge. Why do you think so many outside sports use school fields, it is much cheaper.....

    If Cheryl Hansen feels this can be done then where is her research, where is her presentation with facts and figures? I do know that the Diablo Day school has to be held on a property without other students, this is Ed Code and possibly a State regulation.

    So where do you suggest they move Diablo Day? and don't say close it down, can't by law and Ed Code. What would be the costs associated with this type of move? What would be the costs to lease other venues for meetings if Willow Creek is closed? What venues would you use? Schools are very busy and their gyms or multi use rooms are always not available. There are mandatory teacher trainings too. Where are your facts, research and thought out alternatives?

    Poseidon's comment was well thought out and researched. Why would you then put them down? What good where your comments other than being the arm chair critic who puts down others with viable answers? Maybe because you don't have any, look in the mirror, you are part of the problem.

  12. Wow Tired Mom of 3 -
    Why are you not scolding "Poseidon" for his condescending remarks? It is not our job to come up with all of the details, it is just a "simple" suggestion. Maybe you can't get a market rent for Willow Creek but we haven't seen those facts. Why are you so angry? Poseidon didn't have a viable answer, Poseidon was treating the community and a Board member as if their voices were not important.

  13. Its been six months since Lawrence proposed his "Goals & Objectives" which didn't even include closing a single school to balance the budget -- but where are the Board approved Measure C projects that were supposed to be approved ? How about a report card on the other G&O ? Doesn't look like much progress in six months. If Lawrence can't manage progress towards HIS own G&O, how is he going to manage a Strategic Plan.
    Doctor J

  14. The savings in closing Willow Creek would go beyond just the land. Same as closing schools. Support staff would be let go, custodial staff let go, no need to mow the lawns anymore either.

    Move Diablo Day School to the District Office, let them deal with them.

    Meeting places? The theater at Northgate sure was nice and comfortable!

  15. More broken promises by Lawrence. When the Board adopted Lawrence’s Goals on Sept 28, the Supt promised in his goals twice a month emails and “posted on the web” messages to keep parents, staff and the public informed. Since that promise, posted on the MDUSD website are two in October, one on November 5, none in December, none in January and one on February 5. Promises, promises, promises. Tomorrow is March 1. http://www.mdusd.org/superintendent/Pages/DistrictNewsUpdates.aspx


    February 24, 2011 8:37 PM

    Are you certain selling Willow Creek would involve the Naylor Act?(a) Either the whole or a portion of the schoolsite consists of land which is used for school playground, playing field, or other
    outdoor recreational purposes and open-space land particularly suited
    for recreational purposes."

    I do seem to remember a park in that general area many years ago---but not recently.


  17. g, seriously? I am a parent who works a full time job and I do the best i can. It's on moderate now, so there you go.

    Your welcome too.

  18. The Naylor Act only requires the District to offer the land to a city or county at a discount. They aren't buying property. They are just as broke as the school district. After they turn it down, its available for sale at full price.

  19. Moderator: I'm sure you're very busy, but that was some really offensive stuff on those 4 posts that got through. Thanks for cleaning it up!

    Poster who asked about measure C---One expense was a whopping $1.5 Million to reroof Willow Creek. I found that, but I was not able to find out how much the
    District charges that Western Roofing for their rent in the building...?