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.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Teachers reach tentative agreement?

There are a couple of meetings coming up to inform teachers (MDEA members) of the details of the tentative agreement they've reached prior to voting on it.  What do you think?  I've heard the agreement is only for this year.   Does anyone know if it includes furloughs or other concessions that may impact students?  I'm not sure how to read all their bargaining updates or where to find the tentative agreement.  Here's the latest bargaining update I can find on their website.   Bargaining update.

Here's the details from MDEA on their information meetings:


To allow all members an opportunity to receive valuable information before you vote on the tentative agreement reached between MDEA and MDUSD, we will be holding two MDEA GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS.  The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday March 16th  3:45-5:30PM @ the Pleasant Hill Middle School Multi-use room (Pleasant Hill Education Center.)  The second will be held on Tuesday March 22nd 3:45-5:30PM at Clayton Valley High School Multi-use room.  We urge every member to attend one of these meetings.  The MDEA Executive Board and the MDEA Bargaining team will be present at both meetings to answer questions.

Please click on the link below for our flyer announcing the meetings. 

Jo Carson, Vice President
Mt. Diablo Educaiton Association

Thursday, March 10, 2011

MDUSD Music Education Crisis

This video and news comes from Theresa Harrington of the CCTimes. There is a music education crisis in the MDUSD being hard felt at Clayton Valley High School.  Check out the video here and hear directly from CVHS Music staffers.  If you have students that are interested in music, don't let them miss this great opportunity.  It is possible to enroll in academy classes and music.  But the fact that CVHS music enrollment projections for next year are at the lowest levels in decades is simply devastating news.

Watch the video below, MUSIC Education Crisis in the MDUSD.  Check out some upcoming events to support music at CVHS specifically.   .   What are we going to do to encourage students to stay with music, join our bands and choirs?  

This year, CVHS band students played at Disneyland (marching right down Main Street and attending workshops), in the Walnut Festival Parade and at Cal Band Day.  The rally band and drum line played at football games and other school events.  They've participated in community events (4th of July parades, seasonal events) and have been visiting their feeder pattern middle schools to promote music in middle schools. Next year, they're hoping for a big trip toNew York (two years ago CVHS went to New Orleans!).  Band is a community within a community.  These are good kids with a great bunch of parents behind the scenes for support.  Your student doesn't have to be a music "pro" to join band at the high school level.  Think about it  . . .

Sunday, March 6, 2011

MDUSD: Now on the chopping block: Music, Library, Secretarial and more

**I am hearing now that these music cuts may  be "vocal music" at the elementary level.

This has been a good discussion though, let's keep it going...

I know many of you don't get involved until it touches you, but music, library - it touches us all.  My student is very involved in band, marching band, rally band and had the opportunity to play and learn since 4th grade.  This sustains her, she loves it, it helps her keep good grades, it gives her such fulfillment - I suppose akin to those students who love sports.  The problem is the music program is not as big as sports... can we sustain it without district support? I don't know.

At Clayton Valley, the administration already makes it extremely difficult to take band and join an academy.  Though it can be done, they make us parents and the students fight for it.  It's a shame.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Special MDUSD Board Meeting on Tuesday, March 8th

March 8th, Special Board Meeting
6:30pm at the District Dent Center

They will be talking about lay-offs, reduction of certificated employees, more budget reductions,
Boundary options for Glenbrook and Holbrook and to begin the discussion of the long term plan for school closure.

Here is the powerpoint presentation that will be presented at the meeting regarding the attendance boundaries related to Holbrook and Glenbrook. Note that per this proposal it seems they are proposing to split Glenbrook students between Valley View, El Dorado and Oak Grove.  Holbrook, between Wren and Sun Terrace:

I hope all of you who were up in arms about your schools being on the proverbial chopping block, will continue your involvement.  Don't you all see that this problem is bigger than just YOUR school community?  I am so saddened by the disinterest in school district affairs until it impacts you and your school.

We all need to work together to make MDUSD better.  

You can see the agenda here:

And specifically you can see the lay-off (pink slip) proposal (180+/- employee pink slips!):