Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recall? Grand Jury complaint? Other?

Some citizens have voiced some very valid concerns, some of these concerns possibly warranting a review by the Contra Costa Grand Jury.  The Grand Jury appears to be the only oversight entity with respect to the management and performance of school districts.  Individual schools are inspected-assessed by an accrediting agency, such as Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) 

The school district is subject to financial and performance audits, but these audits are not conducted by anyone with authority.  

Examples of Grand Jury reports found here:

1999-2000: Mt. Diablo USD and San Ramon USD
2000-2001: Dougherty Valley School
2002-2003: Mt. Diablo USD
2005-2006: Antioch USD
2007-2008: Multi-district report on school food safety
2009-2010: Multi-district report on truancy
2010-2011: Mt. Diablo USD report on finances
2011-2012: Multi-district report on bond oversight
2011-2012: Multi-district report on compensation of board members

With the truancy report, the WCCUSD did not provide responses to the questions as directed by the Grand Jury.  

Truancy report

Response to truancy report

The requested responses were left blank.  At a later date, a district school (Pinole Valley High) was discovered to have one of the highest truancy rates in the state.

The Grand Jury is currently awaiting a response to the following recent (May, 2012) report on bond oversight.

Some board members received large amounts of campaign contributions from developers who have contracts with the district as reported here

 The following observation was made during a district Financial audit found here 
"The District also places an over-reliance on construction management firms to perform the budgeting and cash flow functions of the projects."

Incomplete School Accountability Report Cards:
The numbers of non-credentialed teachers is left blank on the SARC documents found here:
Omitting such information is a violation of the California Ed Code.  The SARC staff with the CA Dept of Ed have stated that it is the school board's responsibility to ensure that these documents are complete and accurate prior to posting.  They further stated that due to budget constraints, no one is enforcing this requirement.
The following Contra Costa Times article reports that non-crdentialed teachers are being employed by the district, yet this does not appear on the SARC documents.

California Education Code Section 33126
(a) The school accountability report card shall provide data
by which a parent can make meaningful comparisons between public
schools that will enable him or her to make informed decisions on the
school in which to enroll his or her children.

(b) The school accountability report card shall include, but is
not limited to, assessment of the following school conditions:

(5) The total number of the school's fully credentialed teachers,
the number of teachers relying upon emergency credentials, the number
of teachers working without credentials, any assignment of teachers
outside their subject areas of competence, misassignments, including
misassignments of teachers of English learners, and the number of
vacant teacher positions for the most recent three-year period.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that schools make a
concerted effort to notify parents of the purpose of the school
accountability report cards, as described in this section, and ensure
that all parents receive a copy of the report card; to ensure that
the report cards are easy to read and understandable by parents; to
ensure that local educational agencies with access to the Internet
make available current copies of the report cards through the
Internet; and to ensure that administrators and teachers are available to answer any questions regarding the   report cards.

The following Parcel Tax Financial statement does not specify how $1.9 million   was spent on Class Size Reduction (CSR). How many positions were funded?  Were   they credentialed or non-credentialed teachers?

Is a Grand Jury complaint warranted?  Perhaps a recall of the board President?  Other?
Complaint Form

1 comment:

  1. Additional complaint item #1: WCCUSD Board President attack on Hercules and Pinole

    Although greater than 50% of the Hercules voters supported the 2012 Measure A parcel tax, it was not enough for the 2/3 requirement. This prompted President Ramsey to recommend that the two cities form their own district.

    Ironically, Hercules had previously been told by the County Board of Education that they do not qualify for secession. This was the 2005 ruling after some Hercules citizens sought secession from the WCCUSD.

    President Ramsey's recent remarks against a city who also had to support a tax measure for purpose of preventing bankruptcy of the city on the same ballot was mean-spirited, reckless and divisive.

    2005 Denial of petition

    2012 Remarks of WCCUSD board president

    Quote from the article
    "The measure passed overwhelmingly in most of the district, but in Pinole and Hercules, they voted just enough to kill it," school board President Charles Ramsey said. "They just don't embrace the funding measures like most of the district voters do."

    Ramsey said he hopes the vote will spur renewed debate about the possibility of breaking up the district.

    "We have to have the conversation about whether or not it's in all parties' best interest for Hercules and Pinole to start their own district," Ramsey said. "It's not fair for other communities in our district to have funding measures they overwhelmingly support being stopped by a tiny minority that says no."