MDUSD and NUSD: The Truths and the Lies
For the past nine months the opposition to the NUSD proposal, primarily consisting of MDUSD employees, board members and MDEA, has advanced a narrative filled with inaccurate information intended to incite our community and even our students. They have actively pursued activist organizations throughout the State to cast much of the most vile accusations toward our group and our community and at the same time they have, and continue to, mislead the public. In April we released our 159 page report and this past week the Contra Costa County Office of Education released their feasibility report supporting our position on all of the most highly disputed criteria and yet the opposition continues to spread a narrative that is inaccurate. This post intends to dispel the lies.
All 9 Criteria must be met for the petition to obtain approval – FALSE
Superintendent Meyer attended the County workshop where the consultant from School Services discussed the approval process in detail with the County Committee. The County Committee has the discretion to approve the petition even if some of the Criterion has not been “substantially met”. Knowing this, the Superintendent was not accountable to, or transparent with, the truth and allowed the press release, along with her quotes, to be published and in doing so allowed it to be picked up on social media. MDUSD Press Release August 10, 2017
The creation of NUSD is promoting racial segregation – FALSE
Criterion Number 4: Discrimination/Segregation—The study finds that this criterion would be substantially met, as the proposed reorganization would not promote racial or ethnic discrimination or segregation. Contra Costa County Office of Education Reorganization Feasibility Study August 8, 2017
NUSD will not provide the necessary programs to serve its students – FALSE
Superintendent Meyers claimed at the March 7, 2017 Walnut Creek Education Meeting that NUSD would lose $9,000,000 in programs and would therefore be unable to provide sufficient programs for its students.
Criterion Number 6: Sound Educational Program—The study finds that this criterion would be substantially met, as the proposed reorganization will continue to promote sound education performance and will not significantly disrupt the educational programs in the districts affected by the proposed reorganization. Contra Costa County Office of Education Reorganization Feasibility Study August 8, 2017
NUSD will not be financially feasible – FALSE
While our opponents claim NUSD will not be financially feasible, they praise the finances of MDUSD. The Contra Costa County feasibility report shows that the financial outlook for NUSD can only be eroded by the fiscal mismanagement of the one-time revenues received by MDUSD. MDUSD must get their finances in order or it will be a problem for both districts.
Criterion Number 9: Effect on Fiscal Status and Management—The study finds that this criterion would be substantially met. The reorganization would not cause a substantial negative effect on the fiscal status of the proposed Northgate USD or Mt. Diablo USD. The fiscal fate of both districts, however, rests on the ability of Mt. Diablo USD to implement budget reductions noted in its 2017-18 Adopted Budget. For the current year, Mt. Diablo USD is running a deficit of $48.3 million. Failure to correct this imbalance between revenues and expenditures in 2018-19 would seriously jeopardize the fiscal solvency of Mt. Diablo USD and start the newly established Northgate USD on an unsound fiscal footing. Contra Costa County Office of Education Reorganization Feasibility Study August 8, 2017
MDUSD has a balanced budget – FALSE
“We are pleased to once again have a balanced budget that allows us to advance our priorities while also living within our means and planning well for future years,” said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of MDUSD. MDUSD Newsletter June 23, 2017, Mt. Diablo Unified budget update
There have been no discussions by MDUSD regarding the serious effects of on-going deficits and the impending cuts across all areas of the budget. We have voiced our concern for months only to be told we didn’t understand school finances or our concerns were simply a scare tactic. There are public school districts and city governments having these frank discussions every day, MDUSD’s actions indicate they do not see the need to be transparent or accountable to the community or to their employees. Note: the definition of a balanced budget is a balance between revenue and expenses.
“For the current year, Mt. Diablo USD is running a deficit of $48.3 million. Failure to correct this imbalance between revenues and expenditures in 2018-19 would seriously jeopardize the fiscal solvency of Mt. Diablo USD…” Contra Costa County Office of Education Reorganization Feasibility Study August 8, 2017
No Certificated layoffs. – FALSE
The Mt. Diablo Unified budget update: 2017-18 budget allows MDUSD to advance priorities and expand strategic initiatives to support schools with zero certificated layoffs. MDUSD Newsletter June 23, 2017
MDUSD shows approximately $18mil in cuts to salary and benefits in 2018-19. They show another $22 mil in cuts in operating expenses that are not salaries and benefits. The salary cuts translate to the elimination of somewhere between 200 and 300 jobs encompassing both certificated and classified positions. How do you reduce your compensation budget by $18 mil and not lay off employees especially with cuts this large? We would know this answer if it was addressed at the Board meeting when the budget was approved. Do all the MDUSD board members understand the budget, do they read it? It is troublesome when the Board must ask what page reflects the $48 mill deficit when they were already prepared to make a motion to approve.
“One of the critical assumptions of this analysis, however, is that Mt. Diablo USD will be able to implement the budget reductions detailed in its 2017-18 Adopted Budget. As shown on Figure 11, significant expenditure reductions are scheduled for 2018-19, including certificated salary reductions of 5.3%, classified salary reductions of 8.7%, and employee benefit reductions of 5.1%. Without these and other cuts, Mt. Diablo USD’s budget would be significantly out of balance, which would jeopardize the fiscal solvency of both the proposed Northgate USD and Mt. Diablo USD commencing in 2019-20.” Contra Costa County Office of Education Reorganization Feasibility Study August 8, 2017 Page 41
The transfers from Clayton Valley attendance area will not impact NHS. – FALSE
November 12, 2016 MDUSD Board Meeting, Note: vote was 3:2 with Mayo and Lawrence voting no.
In just the first transfer season since the Board decision, requests for incoming freshman from the former CV attendance area has more than tripled. If this number holds steady for the next four years, the total 9-12 enrollment from the CV attendance area will be 280 students as compared to 89 prior to the Board approval of the attendance boundary change. It is unlikely that these numbers will hold steady. The geographical area in which you can purchase a home and attend NHS has tripled. The current numbers do not account for any changes over the summer when families move. It is likely that many people without children attending MDUSD schools currently are not yet even aware of this option. The community asked for a plan and were dismissed. Accountable leadership would have had a plan.
There will be no lottery. – FALSE
“Families in the resident areas will NOT be a part of a lottery. Some families have expressed concerns to the district that if more students from Pine Hollow and Diablo View opt to choose Northgate High School as their destination high school that the high school’s entire enrollment would be subject to a lottery. This is not the case. Should more students from these two attendance areas choose Northgate, other intra-district transfers would be limited.” MDUSD News published December 9, 2016
You can only limit intra-district transfers in order to relieve overcrowding if your residency enrollment is below capacity. If it is above capacity you either have to change your residency boundaries or have a lottery. MDUSD Director of Student Services explains at the November 14, 2016 School Board Meeting.
MDUSD Agenda Item: 18.4 High School Designation for Diablo View and Pine Hollow Middle Schools Video – November 14, 2016 Part 2 (3:04.45 through 3:10.00)
The Bancroft split cannot be fixed until the proposal to create NUSD is settled. – FALSE
MDUSD Board President, Debra Mason MDUSD Board Meeting June 26, 2017
This is a political ploy at the expense of children. If MDUSD fixes the Bancroft Split then they have to justify the location of their attendance boundaries. If they are going to deny the fix, or something more drastic, they are delaying the action in order to minimize alienating any more of the Northgate community. In either case, it is politics before kids.
Northgate Teachers were served papers accusing them of violations of the Fair Political Practices Act in front of the children in the classroom. – FALSE
This seemed odd so we called the Fair Political Practices Commission to ask if they use process servers to deliver complaints or if they hand deliver complaints in person at all. They do not. Logic alone would confirm that money would not be spent on process servers and especially not for a complaint that was deemed unwarranted. So perhaps Meg Honey was “served” a letter from the school office administrator, or by her TA, but not by a process server. I wonder why she chooses to use the word “served” rather than “delivered” or “was handed?” Note: NCAPS did not file the complaint. However, NCAPS does believe that the demonstrations on school grounds, the conversations in classrooms, the social media tweets during school hours, and signs opposing NUSD is inappropriate use of public school property and time.
Existing Litigation FALSE
3.2 (Item #2) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel (Paragraph 1) of subdivision (d) of Government Code Section 54956.9) County Committee on School District Organization – Administrative Proceeding on Petition Regarding Proposed Northgate USD – Petitioner: Linda Loza
MDUSD School Board Meeting Agenda August 14, 2017
MDUSD has placed an information/action item on the closed session agenda for this Monday’s School Board Meeting. This brings several questions to mind:
1.) No one from NCAPS has been served nor does NCAPS have any immediate plans to bring a suit against MDUSD. Why is it called existing litigation?
2.) Is this a scare tactic by MDUSD?
3.) Would they really bring litigation against a community member following a process outlined by the State?
4.) Is this slander of the reputation of a community member?
5.) If there is no existing litigation and no pending litigation is this an excuse to use closed session to discuss this issue? Is this an appropriate action by our elected school officials?
More Accountability? False
More Transparency? False