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June 4, 2010

MDUSD parents: Do you think you've been inappropriately lobbied to vote a certain way in the Measure C race?

The Mayor of Claycord shares a story from a fellow Claycordian about what this parent viewed as some pretty heavy-handed pro-Measure C lobbying from her child's elementary school principal.

The anonymous writer said she went to an orientation for her daughter to start kindergarten at an unnamed school in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.

Claycord.com quoted the parent as saying:

"In with the kindergarten packet was one sheet of paper telling me why I needed to vote “YES” on Measure C in the upcoming election. She then went on to give us a 15-minute speech on why it was the most important vote we will make this year and how our children are depending on us to vote “YES.'"

I am accustomed to superintendents in the two school districts I live in--Walnut Creek and Acalanes Union--to send out e-mails urging us parents to vote one way or another--usually yes--on school-related parcel tax or bond measures. That seems to be par for the course. But did the administrator at this school cross some kind of line in advocating parents to vote in favor the the $348 million bond measure next Tuesday.

53 comments:

Huston Meadows said...

I know that public employees of city and county governments are not allowed to lobby for measures on the ballot but may work on their personal for a measure. On first look, it seems that a principal speaking to a parents group is actually "on the clock'.

I'm interested to hear other opinions.

Huston Meadows said...

Sorry all,
My initial post was confusing.
I meant to indicate that public employees could not lobby for election measures during the time they were doing their jobs. Once they are "off the clock", it's allowed.
Time for mid-afternoon coffee!

Anonymous said...

I know that a prominent member of our PFC was shocked when she was told she listed on printed Yes on Measure C material. She never officially authorized an "endorsement" and is now seemingly voting no.

Anonymous said...

Grossly inappropriate..., Vote NO on Measure C.

Anonymous said...

The board is a joke. They wouldn't be able to pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heal.

Anonymous said...

8:42
You mean the "heel" of the boot I believe.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Anonymous said...

I am voting No for this and any other such measure in the future. We have been inundated with phone calls, letters, email from 0school administrators, teachers and the PTA.

Anonymous said...

Yeah 1:16 those pesky PTA parents who spends hours and hours trying to help our kids are a real nuisance. I am sure you are also giving lots of your time to help right? Go ahead and criticize and complain and vote no. Sure this generation of kids will go down the drain, but at least you will your righteous indignation...

But for anyone who actually cares to try and help the district make progress, please vote YES on C...

Beau Hunk said...

It's not surprising that educators are doing illegal lobbying. They are merely taking their morality cues from their hero in the White House.

Vote NO

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:59
Righteous indignation?
I am not 1:16 and I greatly appreciate all of the great work done for our schools by the PTA. However, those who support this bond measure seem to become angrier each day.

I am sad that you are so certain that this generation of kids will go down the drain without this bond. Tell me what is it that you think these kids will get with this bond measure?
I don't know how you can possibly know when the rest of us have yet to be told.

Your blind pursuit of this bond without the willingness to pay for it today will truly hurt the next generations of kids. Those families will have to pay for their needs and ours. How selfish of this generation, how selfish of you.

If we believe this is important then pursue a bond that we pay for now, not starting 21 years down the road.

Anonymous said...

Take your money, your "No" vote, and leave. I'm 62 years old and grew up in this neighborhood. We expect the best of ourselves and our children. Your comments suggest a different focus. You'll no doubt feel more comfortable living somewhere else. I'm not sure we've seen people like you before around here. We may lose this effort but your votes won't last long in this community. Our children are precious and we come back pretty strong when they are threatened. Good luck where ever you go.

Anonymous said...

Vote NO. This board will just use the freed up funds for salaries. Sherry Whtimarsh said as much in an earlier article on this topic in this very blog.

Anonymous said...

3:30 - what will the kids get from the bond? How about classrooms with patched roofs and air conditioning so they can actually comfortably learn in class? How about real science labs and computer labs so they have a chance to develop skills in technology that defines our economy and is a mandatory prerequisite for today's job market? If it makes me selfish to want my kids and all kids to actually have a shot to comepte and succeed in this world then so be it.

It's also a fact that there is no bigger influence on long term property values than the quality of the schools. So while you sit in sanctimonious judgment of this measure, and fiddle while Rome burns, you are doing nothing to support the long term value of this community. So you are forsaking the future generations that you are claiming to protect. I think your claim of selfishness is quite misdirected...

Anonymous said...

SM,

I FIND MYSELF tuning in to Crazy, more than Patch, because I want the conversation. We have got to figure out a way to make this happen on Patch, or it will die.

I love Crazy and , and don't want to hurt you. I want Patch to do very well. I want more conversations.

Can you make it easier to comment? Please?

Dakota Soul

Anonymous said...

THIS WAS A SCAM.. No one has verified it actually took place..NOT ONE OTHER PERSON has confirmed this took place.
Name the school and principal please!

W.C. Varones said...

Greedy teachers' unions are destroying the children's future.

How about a pension cut instead?

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear Dakota Soul,
Thanks very much for your note. I, too, am trying to figure how how to make this work. I'm glad you like the conversation on this blog.

What is it about the Patch site, that you think makes it harder to comment? You're not the first person who has mentioned this.

Beau Hunk said...

It's hard to comment on Patch because one MUST register first.

This makes it impossible to preserve anonymity. This blog provides an opportunity for discourse (most times civil, sometimes not, but always vital).

As Max said in Mission Impossible - "Anonymity... is like a warm blanket."

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe the previous poster is correct. It's easier to give one's blunt opinion online and preserve one's anonymity. Granted, the discourse is sometimes volatile and uncivil, but truly gets to the heart and emotion of the matter very quickly. I don't believe that people necessarily "hide" behind anonymity, but gives them license to be more honest about an explosive topic. Unfortunately sometimes that takes the form of name-calling and such. However, in the final analysis it's all useful discourse.

Anonymous said...

I too am doubting this parent as they are alone in this accusation. However, why is it that a WC District parent comments that they have something like this happen in their schools, where is the outrage??? I think the difference is these parents understand the importance of supporting education.

This Bond is so vital to our schools and our State continues to cut education. May revise, another $1.6 million a year in funding taken away from MDUSD. School closures will be happening, that process has begun. Now to get MDEA to negotiate, they have excuse after excuse on why it takes 16 weeks to do a survey. Sad that all other units are at the bargaining table and MDEA is not. Is there any way for teachers to demand a faster survey? My concern is that teachers will lose jobs rather than come up with a solution for all (teachers, classified). Time for change....

Anonymous said...

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_15230554

Eye opening CC Times update. Makes you wonder what the MDUSD is thinking. Misleading at the very least. Irresponsible at the far end of the spectrum...

Anonymous said...

http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_15221367

CC Times Editorial on June 4th says vote NO on Measure C.

Comment to the editorial:

The well reasoned and factual editorial board opinion to Vote NO on C is a refreshing contrast to the deception and concealment practiced by the MDUSD Board and Superintendent in trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters. However, it fails to address the ludicracy of Measure C as so well expressed this morning in a letter to the editor written by Roy Larkin of Concord. The hypocrisy of the Board is enormous by promoting a financially irresponsbile bond issue, shortly after having given the Gang of Five, including the lawyer and accountant, raises in Novemeber just after they increased class sizes, laid off teachers and staff, and threatened furlough days for administrators. The school board spent almost $300,000 of school funds to have this flawed election. How many teachers could they have saved by not having the election ? Are they going to hold themselves accountable ? Since Dick Allen has chosen not to run for reelections, perhaps he will tell us the behind the curtain story of how this went so wrong. The Board members who perpetrated the deception and concealment of the facts to the voters should resign.

MDUSDparent said...

Anon 10:24

You made this comment:

"The school board spent almost $300,000 of school funds to have this flawed election."

I do not believe you until you provide facts and links to this accusation. Until then, Yes on Measure C.

Anonymous said...

Why not just recall the board. Why punish our students for our own bad judgement in electing this board. You're throwing the baby out with the bath water and hurting a generation of children. Any educated and thoughtful voter can see the stark needs of our school district. To hold otherwise is an even clearer deception and concealment of the facts. Vote YES and then elect a board that will be responsible to your wishes.

Anonymous said...

Clarification: The "Comment to the Editorial" was from a person who wrote to the CC Times in response to their Editorial. It is not MY comment..., don't shoot the messenger...

Anonymous said...

Well the messenger should not post or copy unless you stand by it with facts. We teach our children to not believe rumors or lies without knowing all the facts first, there are always 2 sides to every story. Check it our first before taking sides.

Yes on Measure C

Anonymous said...

Well, I was only trying to provide some commentary that was documented in the CC Times for discussion. Excuse me that you didn't agree with it. I don't need you lecturing me about it. I've taken sides honey.

NO ON MEASURE C

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:39
Would a direct link to the MDUSD web site be enough proof. Can we now count you as a no vote?

MDUSD Board Agenda
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 - 7:30 PM

14.4 Resolution ordering an election to authorize up to $348 million of General Obligation Bonds and establish specifications of the election order.
The estimated cost for the District's share of the election is approximately $285,000. There may be additional costs depending on the projects that are included.
http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=2266&mtgId=264

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:23 PM

Nicely done! Right their face!

NO ON MEASURE C

Anonymous said...

"Measure C is not the compete solution," wrote Monica Fitzgerald, president of the Northgate High Parents Faculty Association, in a commentary in the Contra Costa Times. She was urging a "yes" on C vote. "We hope the district continues to explore options of a parcel tax in the future."

But, she emphasized, "Measure C provides a positive step to ensure our schools can operate at the best level possible."

She added that the district has an "excellent track record" in using bond money to the best advantage. With the last bond (also Measure C), the district greenlighted projects that were finished on time and under budget and that were "extremely effective in improving classroom learning."

Another Measure C proponent, Walnut Creek City Councilman Kish Rajan, points out that school funding from Sacramento has become increasingly unreliable over the years, with the Mt. Diablo district, hit especially hard.

Measure C represents a concerted effort by the community to take charge of its schools' financial destiny by creating a stable, local source of funding that the state can't take away, he said. "The MDUSD needs these improvements and investments. … The district needs to make positive steps forward, and the passage of Measure C will represent meaningful progress in that direction."

Anonymous said...

Measure C going to teachers salaries???

HIGHLIGHTS OF PROPOSED Measure C PROJECTS AT WALNUT CREEK SCHOOLS

Bancroft Elementary
Built: 1968
Acreage: 10.31

Install ground mounted solar structure and centralized irrigation management system
Repair the parking lot
Replace exterior lighting
Ensure code improvements to the food service
Install new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the classrooms, administration offices and elementary kitchen.
Install a new security system, fiber optic backbone, network cabling and upgrades and classroom technology enhancements.


Valle Verde Elementary
Built: 1967
Acreage: 11:37

Install ground mounted solar structure and a centralized irrigation system
Repair and upgrade the roof
Renovate the restrooms
Ensure food service code improvements
Install new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the classrooms, administration offices and elementary kitchen.
Install a new security system, fiber optic backbone, network cabling and upgrades and classroom technology enhancements.


Walnut Acres Elementary
Built: 1956
Acreage: 7.9

Install ground mounted solar structure and a centralized irrigation system
Replace fencing
Repair and upgrade the fence
Renovate the restrooms
Ensure food service code improvements
Install new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the classrooms, administration offices and elementary kitchen
Install a new security system, fiber optic backbone, network cabling and upgrades and classroom technology enhancements


Foothill Middle
Built: 1966
Acreage: 20

Build new middle school science lab cluster
Install ground mounted solar structure and a centralized irrigation system
Install new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in the classrooms, administration offices and elementary kitchen
Improve interior lighting
Install a new security system, fiber optic backbone, network cabling and upgrades and classroom technology enhancements


Northgate High
Built: 1973
Acreage: 40

Install ground mounted solar structure and a centralized irrigation system
Repair the parking lot
Ensure food service code improvements
Install a security system, a telecommunications system and technology classroom enhancements

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17pm

I have not seen anything about science labs. I have seen science clusters for our middle schools. Why do they call them science clusters? Why did they choose a term for which we do not know the definition? What is a science cluster? I also do not see anything about computer labs. They are planning new cabling but I have to wonder how long before we go wireless and cabling is considered obsolete? I will wager it is very soon relative to the 42 year term of this bond. I have heard “instructional technology” but have not yet seen it defined. When this “instructional technology” is installed in the classroom where will the funds come from for tech support (cut last spring) and professional development to train our teachers? If the technology (that is not defined) sits useless in our classrooms it can not, as you say, develop skills in technology that defines our economy.

Yes I care about this generation of children (including my own) and future generations. We must insist our district gets back on track and pursues a parcel tax measure so that educational programs can be saved and our children will receive the education they deserve. Then we can pursue a responsible bond measure if needed.

If you are a Foothill parent waiting for a/c call the Superintendent and ask him when you can expect that and where it falls on the priority list. I think you will be disappointed to find that bonds are not all sold at once and the first priority will be solar.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:48

Do you think this list is a priority for our children?
Do you believe it is worth spending $1.87 billion when $1.5 billion is interest?
Do you think these lists are reflective of what the school sites want or need?
Do you really think this list has the ability to impact their education?

This bond will not keep us from losing programs or closing schools.

Anonymous said...

What items on the list do you not want to pay for?

Anonymous said...

"Do you believe it is worth spending $1.87 billion when $1.5 billion is interest?"
No I believe raising taxes to a level necessary to provide a good education. Failing that we must accept the penalties that accrue with paying off an obligation over time as we do with our home mortgages.

Anonymous said...

2:35
I hope you do not have a home mortgage with a 42 year term where the payments simply accrue interest for the first 20 years before you start paying thus causing interest payments 5 times that of the original amount borrowed. If you do at least you can not foist it upon the next buyer.

Your mortgage comparison is campaign rhetoric, this bond is nothing like a home mortgage.

I have no problem with a NEW 25 year bond that obligates voters today for improvements to our schools that are well vetted and well planned. Then I would vote yes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing the facts with a link. Now I will ask questions. But I am still voting YES ON MEASURE C.

I thought that the districts can't fund the campaigns for Parcel Taxes or Bond Measures. I wonder if the laws are different for Bond Measures. Then we need to be angry at every, single district that has Bond Measures or Parcel Taxes. Especially the Acalanes district...

Still am not changing my mind on our Yes votes, 3 absentee ballots ready to go for Tuesday.

Beau Hunk said...

MDUSDparent said (regarding $300k for election):

"I do not believe you until you provide facts and links to this accusation. Until then, Yes on Measure C."

What else don't you believe that is true and factual?

Anonymous said...

Enough rhetoric! Yes voters, enablers of the mediocre, and district apologists..., you're all blind sheep...

A NO VOTE ON MEASURE C IS A VOTE FOR FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY...

Anonymous said...

Nothing, but I agree with this Bond passage and will be voting Yes, so are my spouse and grown children.

Anon 4:53 name calling, really? Do you attend BOE meetings, community meetings, school meetings? Do you volunteer weekly in our schools? I do, I see the need. I also see what our neighboring schools in other districts have. I want this for my children and am confident that this Bond will be handled in as good a manner as the past Bond.

I also know economies can turn around and this new Bond could change, cutting the interest and length of time to pay it off. Right now our State is literally killing our schools. We have to do something and you all did not pass Measure D. So I will help to pass Measure C.

I am very secure in my reasonings for voting Yes. I have done my own research and have listened to the other side too. My mind is still clear and I have no doubts.

To us, a Yes vote on Measure C is for our children and the future of our schools and community.

Anonymous said...

4:02
Districts pay the cost of putting any measure on the ballot, bond or parcel tax. They can not pay for the campaign.

Anonymous said...

5:15

I am not 4:53 but I would be a rich man if I had a dime for every time someone fell back on the "do you volunteer" line. Many people volunteer in many ways. It seems a bit disingenuous when you ask someone that. Every voter in this community should have an opportunity to voice an opinion about this bond measure whether or not they volunteer in the schools or even have children in the schools. You can't ask someone for money and then discount their opinion.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

The moment of truth is fast approaching...

It's time to put our foot down on these taxes. Tighten your belt first MDUSD like everyone else, then we'll talk about additional taxes if needed. I'm voting NO on Measure C.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:39
Would a direct link to the MDUSD web site be enough proof. Can we now count you as a no vote?

MDUSD Board Agenda
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 - 7:30 PM

14.4 Resolution ordering an election to authorize up to $348 million of General Obligation Bonds and establish specifications of the election order.
The estimated cost for the District's share of the election is approximately $285,000. There may be additional costs depending on the projects that are included.
http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=2266&mtgId=264

MDUSDparent said...

Still a yes on Measure C. I asked about this today and this is standard, all districts help to get campaigns started, then donations fund it. Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Pleasanton (their Parcel Tax failed), Acalanes, all of them have done this.

The budget is complicated, it is on the web site for transparency. Nobody hid this, I just neglected to look at this line item. So this proves the district is not hiding money as so many claim. But this does not change my stance on our household decision to vote YES.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love listening to the spin. So much online bloviating. Humorous at best, disgusting at worst.

Anonymous said...

It's election day. The voter's voices will be heard. I predict a resounding defeat for Measure C. The wrong solution for the wrong time for the wrong problem. MDUSD needs to get its financial house in order first in a transparent manner. Then an appropriate parcel tax or bond measure can be discussed openly and logically. Voting with high emotions is fiscally irresponsible and self-defeating. VOTE NO ON MEASURE C. VOTE NO FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DISTRICT AND COMMUNITIES IT SERVES.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:37

The MDUSD budget is on their web site and is transparent. I always read what is demanded but no viable solutions. Do you not know that many jobs have been eliminated from the top down? What else do you want, blood????

Do you not realize how very serious this is for our district? Do you not see the facilities falling down around you? Technology upgrades are very necessary in today's environment. They need continual upkeep and our State is failing. Do you not see what our students are having to do without on a daily basis? This community has failed to rally together, it failed on the parcel tax. Time to show that we care and yes, right now the Bond has a long payment period. But I understand that could change, there is no concrete figure on the cost because it depends on many things, interest rate, economy, terms. I would vote for this and and increase in our current Bond payment. But right that is not what they community wanted, they wanted to maintain the same payment amount.

Right now Measure C is the answer. I am confident in the districts handling of Measure C as their bond passed in 2002 had/has an excellent track record.

We all are voting YES on Measure C. We believe in our community and the future of education. Sadly, it will be up to the communities to fund education as our State is not capable of doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

After this clearly vitriolic response, I believe that the point has been made. Voting with high emotions is ultimately self-defeating. Fortunately, your confidence in the district isn't the majority's opinion.

Anonymous said...

An anonymous complainant. If this person wants to publicly make a statement, I'll listen. Otherwise, I'll take a pass.

Anonymous complaints should be taken for what they are -- suspect.

Anonymous said...

An anonymous bloviator. If this person wants to publicly make a statement, I'll also listen. Otherwise, I'll take a pass as well.

Anonymous bloviators should ALSO be taken for what they are -- suspect. So shad-up.

Anonymous said...

Bovine @ 2:59,

Measure C passes. I guess it's time for you to shad-up, now, isn't it?

Bwahhhhaaaahhhh!