Monday, August 20, 2012

Election 2012

When I was elected to the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education four short years ago, the community wanted change.  I’m a current parent of a student in the District and I can tell you that I examine District needs as a parent.  Of the incumbents remaining on the Board, I’m the only Board Member with a student in our schools.  I ask tough questions and I expect honest answers.  I study the issues carefully and I make thoughtful and reasoned decisions.

As your board member I have helped facilitate positive change in the District. Though the state has reduced the District’s budget, MDUSD has been able to maintain financial stability.  I have championed strategic planning and provided the leadership necessary to bring about needed change.

There is much more to do.  We must improve communications.  We must set high standards for staff.  We must eradicate waste and inefficiency.  We must set high expectations for student achievement and conduct.

With your vote I will continue to work hard to bring about the positive changes that our District so badly needs. If you have questions or concerns I can be reached at or 925-899-4731. Thank you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

One decision that has made my life much simpler is that I have reduced the amount of time I spend reading blogs.  Why?  I dislike the idea that people can post falsehoods, without putting their names on it and not be held responsible for their lies.  In my opinion if you want me to give credibility to your concern or comment I need to know who you are.    That is the reason that when I post on a blog I use my name.

Funding and Budgets

A major item on the agenda for Tuesday, June 28 is the budget.  A primary role of the board is to ensure that the district has a budget that is realistic.  However, that can be tough given that the state does not yet have a budget.  Based upon emails and conversations I thought I would point out some facts - most of you may already be area of these:

  • The County Office of Education requested that MDUSD prepare a budget that took into account a reduction in ADA of $330 per student
  • An item in the special education budget is response to intervention (RTI).  In most other districts, the cost for this is in the general fund budget not special education.
  • Funds allocated to construction managers, project managers, etc for Measure C CANNOT be used for salaries such as SEA positions, teachers, etc.  Measure C can only be used for facilities and management of the projects for facilities

Friday, April 29, 2011

Your Input is Requested for Strategic Planning

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. 

The straw model of the strategic intent and the goals can be viewed here.  You are invited to attend the community input sessions.

Here's the link to the district website strategic plan

Community Input Sessions:
  •        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., Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, 399 Wiget, Walnut Creek
  •        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)
  •        Friday, June 3, 6:30 p.m.,  Willow Creek Center (geared for DLAC)
  •        Wednesday, June 15, 7:00 p.m., Dent Center 
  •        Thursday, June 16, 600 p.m., Dent Center (geared for Measure C Oversight Committee)

Friday, February 11, 2011


2/12/2011 - I will post the questions to the blog as soon as possible as it is easy to do that from a PDA.  However, I will not be able to answer your questions until the evening.

This is a section for you to ask questions.  I am moderating comments so if I feel that a question is inappropriate I will try to reword it so that it  can be posted.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Budget Advisory Committee - Interested in Serving?

On November 28, 2006 the MDUD School Board created a Budget Advisory Committee (BAC).  The committee is lead by Bryan Richards, CFO, and meets quarterly.  The committee reviews information about the school budget and gives input to the district office.  The list below shows the committee composition and the yellow shows the vacancies. 

I started to wonder that during these times of school finance troubles, why did we have these vacancis?  Why are parents and community members not banging on doors to understand the school budget and be part of the process of making recommendations and suggestions? 

I was part of the committee prior to be elected to the board.  I found it extremely informative and the parents gave great input.

So if you are interested in serving, please send me an email at or call me at 925-899-4731. 

Representative named by Board Member Eberhart
Representative named by Board Member Mayo
Representative named by Board Member Whitmarsh
Representative named by Board Member Dennler
Representative named by Board Member Hansen
Community Advisory Committee
Concord Chamber of Commerce
Chief Financial Officer
District Management Association
English Language Learner Advisory
GATE Adv Commitee
Local One-CST
Local One-M&O
City of Martinez/Lafayette
MDEA – elected not to participate
Measure A Committee
Measure C Oversight
Pittsburg/Bay Point/Parent
Pleasant Hill
Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council
Walnut Creek

Monday, January 10, 2011

Governor's Budget - No Proposed Changes to K-12 Education

Below is information from School Services of California about the Governor’s proposed budget.  In my view the bottom line is a bit blurry for K-12 education.  Why?  Keeping education funded as it is, is dependent on the voters approving the temporary taxes in place for five years.  If voters don’t approve this, then I’m sure K-12 education will get hit again.  Also I am hopeful that the blue line of the mental health funding will end in June so that MDUSD doesn’t have to come up with over $5 million. 

What are your thoughts on the budget?

Fiscal Services

Copyright © 2011 School Services of California, Inc.
Volume 31        
For Publication Date: January 21, 2011                           No. 2
Governor Proposes Balanced Solutions to Close the Budget Gap
In a significant departure from his predecessor's approach to solving Budget shortfalls, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a State Budget plan that relies on both cuts and revenues in roughly equal proportions to achieve a balanced Budget. While former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was guided by the view that the state had an expenditure problem, not a revenue problem, Governor Brown's Budget proposal calls for $12 billion in revenues and $12.5 billion in cuts, along with an estimated $1.9 billion in "other solutions" to cover a $25.4 billion shortfall and fund a $1 billion reserve.
The state's 39th Governor is proposing that K-12 education be spared from any additional cuts. In his press conference on the Budget, the Governor said, "Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions in recent years, so this budget maintains funding at the same level as the current year."
This proposal to keep K-12 education funding flat is dependent on voters approving a five-year extension to the temporary taxes enacted with the 2009-10 Budget (i.e., a 0.25% surcharge on the income tax, a 1¢ increase in the sales tax, a 0.5% increase in the vehicle license fee and a reduction in the dependent deduction). The Governor proposes that the electorate decide the fate of these taxes in a special election scheduled for this June. The Governor's Budget estimates but does not fund, an estimated 1.67% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which would add to the K-12 revenue limit deficit factor. In addition, the Governor proposes extending the flexibility measures (e.g., categorical flexibility, class-size reduction penalties, routine maintenance contributions, etc.) included in the revised 2008-09 Budget Act by another two years.
The Governor's Budget proposes General Fund spending of $84.6 billion for 2011-12, roughly $2 billion below the level of expenditures adopted by the Legislature for the current year. The Governor's Budget also estimates the 18-month budget gap to be $25.4 billion, with $8.2 billion occurring in 2010-11 and $17.2 billion coming in 2011-12. This is slightly less than the $28 billion shortfall identified by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) in November 2010.
Governor Brown is proposing major cuts to the state's safety net programs, including a $1.7 billion cut to Medi-Cal, a $1.5 billion cut to California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and a $750 million cut to the Department of Developmental Services. In addition, the Budget eliminates services and raises copays for the Healthy Families program, cuts funding for In-Home Support Services and eliminates transitional housing aid for young adults in foster care. These cuts would also include a major reduction in child care funding, including several programs administered by the California Department of Education.
Like prior Budget proposals, the Governor's Budget would redirect voter-approved funding for mental health services (Proposition 63) and the "First 5" commission (Proposition 10) to instead be used for General Fund purposes. This change presumably would require voter approval.
One of the highlights of the Governor's Budget, which he alluded to in his inaugural address, is his plan to realign services and revenues between the state and the local governments. He is calling for more decision making authority to be transferred closer to the people. As a result, his Budget calls for a shift of several state programs, including the custody and care of juvenile offenders and low-level adult felons, to county governments. The plan would redirect revenues from the extension of the higher vehicle license fee and sales tax to local governments to pay for these added responsibilities, provided the tax extension is approved by the voters. During his press conference, the Governor conceded that there is no backup plan at this point should the voters reject extension of the temporary taxes.
The Budget proposal would also free up local revenues for other purposes by eliminating hundreds of local redevelopment agencies and raise General Fund revenues by repealing tax breaks for enterprise zones and establishing a new methodology to determine tax liabilities for multistate corporations.
The Governor has laid out an aggressive and ambitious Budget plan and has challenged the Legislature to adopt the statutory changes within 60 days. This timeline is intended to allow the ballot measures to extend the temporary taxes to be placed before voters in a June special election and presumably make any necessary changes to the Budget should the tax extensions fail.
Stay tuned for further analysis that will be included in our Special Fiscal Report about the Budget and our upcoming Governor's Budget workshops.