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the District’s statement about passing on additional funds is based on legislation that since January 1, 2010 is no longer in effect.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