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


  1. I would love to serve, but I have to work a second job, since my primary job with the district had its time cut. Feeding my family is my first priority.

  2. Gee,
    I would love to, except I'd rather not be crucified on other blogs, so no thanks!

  3. Hi Sherry, Great blog so far, keep it up. Why were so many conflicts of interest (ie. Todd Porter) allowed to be part of the SCC? Seems you could have avoided alot of the controversy by making it a fair process.

  4. Anon 7:32.

    I do think it was a fair process since each school selected its nominations for the School Closure Advisory Committee (SCAC) parent, community member, and student representative. Let’s talk about the process.

    Each high school feeder pattern and a potential of five members:
    1. Parent
    2. Community member
    3. Administrator
    4. School employee
    5. Student representative

    Each school has a school site council composed of elected parents, administrators, school employees (classified and certificated), and students (at the secondary level). Parents, community members, and student representatives who wanted to be on the SCAC completed the application and turned it into their school site council. Some school site councils received many applications; some received none. Each school site council then nominated one person for parent, community member, and student representative to the district office.

    The district office reviewed all of the applications received for all positions. In some cases they were calling feeder patterns to get more names when none were provided. They tried to ensure that there a mix of representatives from high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

    Before the SCAC was announced the board did see the list; however, the board did not vote on the SCAC committee. There are some committees such as Community Advisory Committee and the Budget Advisory Committee that the board does approve members. There are others such as the Parent Advisory and the Athletic Advisory that the board does not approve members.

    I can tell you that there were many members of the SCAC whose name I did not know. To be honest, I never questioned those names that were given to us from the school site council because I felt it was up to the school communities to select the persons who they wanted to represent them.

    Every person on the SCAC had a vested interest in the process. The board could have used the demographics with no community input. The community wanted input.

    At the end of the day the MDUSD Board of Education makes the decision. The SCAC is, as its name implies, only an advisory committee.

  5. Some of you may be wondering why I don't let your comments through. This blog was intended to allow a discussion on the topics presented. If you have a specific issue or concern that is not germane the blog topics, my email and phone number are posted for you to contact me.

  6. Sherry, after watching what the closure committee went through, and seeing their work denigrated and disrespected, I don't see why anyone would want to work on a budget committee. I watched most of the closure process and was so proud of the work they did, only to watch some very last-minute and questionable alternatives come to light. Good luck finding folks to help you. I'll just stick with volunteering at my school site and being on the PTA.

  7. I am not sure how you see that the School Closure Advisory Committee was disrespected. The board (3-2) decided not to proceed with the closure of Monte Gardens, Sequoia Elementary, and Sequoia Middle. That left the board with two scenarios. Glenbrook was in both scenarios and the board took action (4-1) to close it. There was a choice between Wren and Holbrook from the committee. I chose Holbrook because it split the attendance area into two schools. Closing Wren Avenue affected more schools.

    Then an option was put on the table, only after Glenbrook was closed, to look at closing Westwood instead of Silverwood. We could still get the same (approximate) cost savings, but impact fewer schools. This ideas is being vetted with the committee on Tuesday, February 15.

  8. Sherry,
    Not sure if this is the proper place to ask this, but what is the cost for using the Marriott for the meeting on the 13th? Why on earth would the board consider using any funds to pay for this? There are multiple other options. I appreciate your explanation.

  9. The cost of the room at the Marriott was $250. However, the location is now at the Dent Center.

    If we had stayed at the Marriott the room cost would have been donated and not payed with general or restricted funds from the state.

  10. Thank you Sherry for your prompt answer. Unfortunately, I am sure you understand that every move made will be under a microscope and picked apart. I appreciate your honesty and dedication.

  11. I want to make sure that It was clear that the cost of the meeting room was $250, the district was not paying for it as I had secured a donation. There was no costs that the district would have occurred for the Marriott location.

  12. The original info said: "close Holbrook, send Holbrook students to Wren Avenue, Sun Terrace, Monte Gardens, Westwood".

    Then at the meeting it suddenly became just two receiving schools. Can you assure Holbrook that all students will fit into just the two schools? Can you tell us how it went from 4 to 2, especially since you say it was based on that criteria that you made your choice?

  13. This was based on the Superintendent's recommendation on January 25.

  14. I'm still not understanding. You said you chose Holbrook specifically because they would only be disbursed to TWO schools, and that was the only reason you gave when you made the motion.

    Are you now saying that was not the case? Are you saying that the Superintendent said to choose Holbrook, so that's what you did?

    What was the basis of his recommendation to close two schools in one neighborhood? I must have missed that.

    Wren has fewer students to "disburse" than Holbrook. Why wasn't it chosen. You see. The reason you gave the public just doesn't add up.

    My original question has not been answered. How many schools will Holbrook students be disbursed to?

  15. I have gone back and looked again at the maps of 1/25 and see now how the schools were split. So I understand that.

    Now, it seems that a very easy solution would have been to redraw a (at least an imaginary) boundary line back to where it used to be, using Willow Pass Rd as the border. The Wren children on the Holbrook side of Willow Pass (Area 1) should be reassigned back to Holbrook, where they used to be (many years ago). They live in what has always been "Holbrook Heights". That is where most of their friends and neighbors are, and would be less disruptive to them. That alone should bring Holbrook's attendance numbers into line.

    I'm sorry I did not stay involved in the district much after my children grew out of the school system, but I remember well how it used to be, and it worked!

    The neighborhoods on the other side of Willow Pass have a "cluster". Wren, MG, WW, and EM of elementary schools. That is where one school should be taken off line for now. To me, it seems it would be easiest to move that small pocket at MG to Wren, just a few blocks, (one disbursment) and take MG off line.

    I understand Monte is premier because of "special" ed, but if the aim is to disrupt as few schools as possible...

    My real goal is--Stop making 5-10 yr old kids have to cross Willow Pass Rd to get to school. Wren (area 1) should have never been moved over there in the first place. As I recall, Holbrook was split several years ago in order to get Wren off of the chopping block at that time.

    I would ask that you consider this and discuss it at the meeting. After all, even if a vote was taken, it can be changed right up till the first bell rings next year!

  16. Sherry, I sent this to you by e-mail, and only heard back from you regarding boundary lines. I place the ideas here again, for your consideration:

    Close Silverwood, and redistribute the kids to Mountain View, Ayers and Highlands.

    Close Wren, and redistribute the kids to El Monte and Westwood.

    Move Monte Gardens over to where Holbrook is (the traffic is horrendous when you have an 8am appointment at Dent!)

    Close Willow Creek and move everyone over to the now-empty Monte Gardens buildings.

    Close Sequoia Middle, and all those children can go back to their home schools. Send as many as possible back to Pleasant Hill Middle, and Valley View has room for the rest.

    This is actually feasible, using the numbers that Theresa Harrington gave on her blog. Only one school has a problem but that can be overcome with adjusting the boundary lines.

    In spring 2010, more than 10 students from the following school boundary areas attended Sequoia Middle School:

    El Dorado: 170 (has capacity)
    Oak Grove: 162 (has capacity)
    Pleasant Hill Middle: 144 (doesn’t have capacity with prep period, but has capacity without prep period; enrollment is 799, prep period capacity is 878 and max. capacity is 1,010)
    Valley View: 105 (has capacity)
    Glenbrook: 99 (has capacity)
    Riverview: 98 (has capacity)
    Pine Hollow: 30 (has capacity)

    This will take a bit of redoing the boundary lines, but I think it would work.

    Nothing is written in stone - you can undo what has been voted on thus far, and still be within the time frame needed to notify the various schools.

    Jean Sabolevsky
    Parent and district employee

  17. I believe that I have been using a term incorrectly in this thread. That term is superintendent's recommendation. I was using that to reflect that in the PowerPoint presentation the superintendent made a proposal of how the proposed schools could be absorbed into other schools. He did not suggest that we close any one school. I apologize for any misunderstanding this has caused.

  18. Sherry, I'm curious after all this whether you had much success in filling the vacancies for the Budget Advisory Committee.

  19. Yes, I have received over 10 names of interested community members.