.

Final Charter Vote Expected on Nov. 8; Parents, Principals Criticize Proposal

Three MDUSD high school principals came out against the charter at Tuesday's meeting.

After probably the most contentious Mt. Diablo Unified School District board meeting yet on the charter school, the upshot is this: The board said it will vote on the matter at its Nov. 8 meeting.

Though charter supporters are skeptical due to previous delays, district staff and board members said there will be a final vote on the charter petiton at their first meeting in November. District staff said they have reviewed , except for the fiscal ones, and will make a recommendation to the board in two weeks.

Charter supporters have said the district has shown bad faith during the process.

"We think one more thing is coming," charter leader Pat Middendorf said. "We think we are going to get blindsided one more time. We really do. In two weeks, something else is going to happen."

A timely vote is key because even if the petition is rejected, the group thinks it will be approved on appeals in time to open by next year.

However, a new challenge arose at Tuesday night's meeting: An outspoken group of opponents.

Since the charter conversion effort , supporters have run an organized campaign. They've to present their arguments, they've rallied supporters to come to board meetings and they've received key endorsements from influential players, .

But on Tuesday it was clear that district stakeholders had rallied some pushback against the charter movement, with about half of the speakers asking the board to reject the petition.

Three principals from other MDUSD high schools (John McMorris, ; Kate McClatchy, ; Bill Morones, ) and a number of parents told the board that the new charter school would hurt their schools.

"Converting Clayton Valley into a charter school would be a mistake," McMorris passionately told the board. "We're in this together."

That was the theme of the opposition: Maybe Clayton Valley becoming a charter would be good for that community, but the benefits are out-weighed by the consequences to the whole district.

Financial Impacts a Big Worry

It comes down to money and how the numbers are interpreted.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Steven Lawrence released a newsletter that stated if Clayton Valley becomes a charter school, "The board must plan to cut the General Fund by $2.4 million or approximately $74 per pupil."

Kathy Kritscher, a parent of a Ygnacio Valley High junior and Sequoia Middle School seventh-grader, said after the meeting she is concerned teachers at other schools will lose their jobs because of the conversion.

If Clayton Valley does convert, Kritscher said, “We’ll deal with it. But it’s like the Ygnacio Valley principal said. He wants the board to come down to our school and tell students why their funding is getting cut.”

Clayton Valley charter supporters say the $2.4 million number is misleading, because it doesn't factor in the money the district would save from no longer having the expenses of running Clayton Valley.

"The district is only presenting the revenue loss, not the net revenue," said Megan Kommer, a parent representative for Clayton Valley Charter High's Governing Board. "That's where the propaganda comes in, and it's creating all this fear in other parents."

Aside from the fiscal debate, Middendorf admits she doesn't have a feel for how the board will vote on the petition.

"One moment, I'm almost sure they are going to approve it," Middendorf said. "And then, like tonight, I'm almost sure they are going to reject it. It's just such an unknown."

Emily Lavin contributed this article.

You can read a minute-by-minute report of the meeting, including comments from readers, on our .

Wendy October 26, 2011 at 10:33 PM
"Clayton Valley charter supporters say the $2.4 million number is misleading, because it doesn't factor in the money the district would save from no longer having the expenses of running Clayton Valley. "The district is only presenting the revenue loss, not the net revenue," said Megan Kommer." OKAY. This leaves us all wondering what this number IS? Without this information, how can anyone form an opinion?
Patrick Creaven (Editor) October 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM
That's one of the main questions Wendy. There hasn't been an independent fiscal analysis of the impact Clayton Valley converting to a charter school would have on the district. I'll be working on a budget numbers story in the coming days.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something