Sunday, September 23, 2012

Formal apology requested (yet another letter to the school board)




Dear WCCUSD school board,
I am requesting a formal apology from the board as a result of the comments made by the board President in June.  I apologize for not having made this request sooner.  My concern by not formally addressing this is that the citizens of Hercules and Pinole are now left wondering if the board does not fully support us.  If so, this is a very serious matter.  I, personally, expected the board members to work more closely with Pinole and Hercules, not push us away, as a result of the parcel tax vote outcome.  The Governing Board policy states  "
Govern in a dignified and professional manner, treating everyone with civility and respect."

I ask that the citizens of Pinole and Hercules be treated civilly and with respect.   Most of the citizens of Hercules and Pinole do embrace education.  Work more closely with us and you will see this.  I thank you for any consideration you can give to my request. 

Respectfully,
Giorgio Cosentino, Hercules parent

Quote
"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."

Governing board policy:
The Governing Board believes that its primary responsibility is to act in the best interests of every student in the district. The Board also has major commitments to parents/guardians, all members of the community, employees, the state of California, laws pertaining to public education, and established policies of the district. To maximize Board effectiveness and public confidence in district governance, Board members are expected to govern responsibly and hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct.
The Board expects its members to work with each other and the Superintendent to ensure that a high-quality education is provided to each student. Each individual Board member shall:
1. Keep learning and achievement for all students as the primary focus
2. Value, support and advocate for public education
3. Recognize and respect differences of perspective and style on the Board and among staff, students, parents and the community
4. Act with dignity, and understand the implications of demeanor and behavior
5. Keep confidential matters confidential
6. Participate in professional development and commit the time and energy necessary to be an informed and effective leader
7. Understand the distinctions between Board and staff roles, and refrain from performing management functions that are the responsibility of the Superintendent and staff
8. Understand that authority rests with the Board as a whole and not with individuals
Board members also shall assume collective responsibility for building unity and creating a positive organizational culture. To operate effectively, the Board shall have a unity of purpose and:
1. Keep the district focused on learning and achievement for all students
2. Communicate a common vision
3. Operate openly, with trust and integrity
4. Govern in a dignified and professional manner, treating everyone with civility and respect
5. Govern within Board-adopted policies and procedures
6. Take collective responsibility for the Board's performance
7. Periodically evaluate its own effectiveness
8. Ensure opportunities for the diverse range of views in the community to inform Board deliberations



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Monday night candidate forum (and submitted question)






"The PTAs of Kensington, Hilltop, Madera, Harding, Portola and Mira Vista elementary schools are hosting a forum from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Harding Elementary Auditorium at 7230 Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito. Candidates for school board will answer questions from the public. To submit questions, email 4westcounty@gmail.com

My submitted question:
WCCUSD board President Ramsey, after the failure of Measure K in June, made the following comments found here
"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."


My question for the candidates is two parts:  
1.Do you share President Ramsey's assessment?  If not, why not?  
2.Have you taken the time to listen to the concerns of Hercules and Pinole residents?  If so, what are they and how would you address them?

Thank you.

Giorgio Cosentino, Hercules Parent and former WCCUSD teacher

Friday, September 21, 2012

Local socialist calls Candidate Todd Groves a "scab"!

A local self-proclaimed socialist has referred to Todd Groves as a union-busting "scab" and has openly given Todd a hard time about his volunteering efforts, specifically those as a math coach.   "The socialist" cites his reasoning based on the fact that Todd Groves volunteers, taking away jobs from "the working class."  That's right.  Todd is being criticized for volunteering!

I happen to know and like "the socialist."  Our paths crossed because we are in the same union for scientists.  This union was in violation of the California Corporations Code, resulting in the crushing of any avenue of democracy and accountability.  So, "the socialist" and I teamed up to take back the union and are now having success as the state has recently ruled in our favor.  At a later date, I will probably have to explain my relationship with "the socialist" at something akin to a McCarthy hearing.  In my defense, any union President who deems a member "a threat to the security of the organization" because of their desire to seek mechanisms for democracy more closely resembles a communist dictator than "the socialist" I teamed up with.

Back to candidate Todd Groves.  The criticism of "the socialist" did get me thinking, though.  Todd has had a very positive impact with his math coaching and his success with the Middle School Math initiative.   This does cause me to ask if a volunteer is able to accomplish so much, then why do we need the district staff who have been delegated the same task(s) regarding delivery of curriculum per their job description?  It seems to me that this union-busting "scab" should have an office of his own at Bissell St.

Electing Todd Groves to school board will be good for starters.

PS-Forgive me Todd.  If I crossed the line with this and you want me to delete this post, I will.


Asbestos hazard in our schools? (Measure E verbiage)

Is there a true asbestos hazard currently in the WCCUSD schools?  Very often, the only risk of asbestos is when one attempts to manipulate it, such as by removing it.  The bond measure cites this hazard as reason for the measure.  Since we first learned of the asbestos hazards in the 1980's, haven't hazardous asbestos situations been addressed in one manner or another?  If not, then this is a concern.  Why now?  

Perhaps some remodeling or construction is needed at some school sites, with the asbestos being an impediment to these projects?  I am not saying that the hazard is not real or does not exist, but I would like to see the risk assessment documentation that has been performed if I am being asked to pay for this.

I have just sent the following request to the CBOC chairman, Robert Studdiford.  

Hi Robert,
I noticed the bond measure verbiage mentions removal of asbestos.  Do you have access to or have you reviewed any risk assessment documentation regarding asbestos hazards that currently exist in our district schools?  Ideally, the CBOC and safety committee would have reviewed-discussed this, with such documentation in hand. If not, it might be something to consider taking a closer look at in the future.  Thanks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Letter to the board: Documentation policies and procedures

Dear WCCUSD board members,
Over a period of 2 months, I attempted to alert you to a violation of Ed Code 33126.  I have now been told my observations were valid, that the district has been out of compliance with this law.  The question I have is where is my concern documented?  In addition to emails, I raised this item at the July 2nd special board meeting in El Cerrito.  Shouldn't this have become an action item on the meeting minutes?  

As that meeting was not televised, my comment was not recorded and public comments are never transcribed in the minutes.  It should also be noted that the reply I received, acknowledging that the district has been out-of-compliance, was given to me outside on the sidewalk as I walked to my car.  This discussion was not documented or viewed on camera.

Has this Ed Code violation been documented in any board meeting minutes?  If not, this is a very serious matter warranting investigation.  The board meeting minutes are very thorough.  They often contain comments thanking individuals or acknowledging the efforts of others, but no mention of an Ed Code violation raised by a concerned citizen?  I request that you review your documentation policies and procedures if I am correct that this matter was never formally documented in the board meeting minutes.  Thank you.

Respectfully,
Giorgio Cosentino

Letter to CBOC: Oversight compromised?

Dear Mr. Studdiford and CBOC members,

I am very concerned that the oversight responsibilities of the committee have been compromised.  I say this based on my observations of the joint board-cboc meeting in which district staff did little to prepare CBOC members for a discussion on the Grand Jury Report.  Associate-Superintendent Fay, in his discussion with me after my public comment, stated that "bumped meetings" and his concern that the media would have access to draft copies of the response were the causes for what I referred to as "lack of preparedness on the part of the district."  

Please see the previous Grand Jury response regarding truancy.  The WCCUSD chose to not answer many of the required items.  At a later date, it was discovered that Pinole Valley High had a large problem with truancy, one of the highest in the state.  This is an example of why oversight is critical.  I need to know that our district is on top of this stuff.  Therefore, I expect our oversight committees to stay on top of these items and stay on top of the district.  
Response to Grand Jury report on truancy 

The fact that multiple cboc meetings were bumped with such an important agenda item and deadline looming is also cause for concern.  In addition to the 90 day Grand Jury report deadline, there was the other timeline regarding the bond measure and its placement on the November ballot.  Oversight must be thorough before placing any such bond measures on the ballot.  This should not have been approved if the response to the Grand Jury report was still outstanding.  As a citizen, I disagree with President Ramsey's assessment regarding the committee selection process.  In my opinion, a conflict of interest does exist.  There needs to be more discussion on this item.  And there needs to be discussion on other issues pertaining to WCCUSD bond measures, including comparison studies that show our district is being taxed much higher than many surrounding cities. 

We have already seen lack of thoroughness on the part of the district regarding a Parcel Tax Financial statement that was approved in April by the CBAC.  In my opinion, it was an incomplete document, not citing the number of FTE used for Class-size reduction.  
http://www.wccusd.net/cms/lib03/CA01001466/Centricity/domain/20/parcel%20tax/Parcel%20Tax%20Financials.pdf
This was $2 million dollars, so should have included exactly how the money was spent instead of being left blank on that Financial document approved at the April CBAC meeting.  Combine this with the fact that since February 2012, the WCCUSD has been in violation of the Ed Code 33126 for omitting information on 89% of the School Accountability Report Cards, specifically that regarding the number of non-credentialed teachers employed.  In a recent performance audit, the auditor cited not being able to complete some of the audit as a result of not having the SARC information, so again, oversight has been compromised.  As a citizen, I am attempting to see how my bond and parcel tax dollars are being spent, so such information should be readily accessible. 

For two months, I repeatedly sought explanation for this Ed Code violation and was finally told off camera after my public comment by HR Director Whittimore that my observations were correct, that the district was in violation of the Ed Code.  There was a similar violation in 2008, making this a repeat violation.  It took me over 2 months to get a response from the district on this violation after emails to district staff and my previous public comment at the El Cerrito special meeting which was not recorded.  As there is no transcript of public comments, there is no documentation of my reporting the Ed Code violation at that time at the El Cerrito meeting.  

It should have shown up in the board meeting minutes somewhere along the line, but has not.  Why not?  Take a look at what is included in the WCCUSD board meeting minutes.  Everything.  And an Ed Code violation was left out?  And Director Whittimore says he did receive the email I sent to the board, but no one ever replied to that email?  How can this not look like they have been hiding this matter?  Documentation is the name of the game and this Ed Code violation has not been formally documented. 

Simply put, the district failed to fulfill a legally required responsibility to provide information for the purpose of accountability and transparency.  How can we place a bond or Parcel Tax measure on the ballot when we have not completely addressed outstanding issues regarding bond oversight or if we do not have all of the SARC data?  The handling of the task of responding to the Grand Jury report was treated in a manner that shows contempt for the Grand Jury process.  

There is a serious problem with respect to transparency and accountability and we better fix it asap.  That is the function of our oversight committees.  Thank you.

Respectfully,
Giorgio Cosentino

Here is the chronology of my attempt to seek a response to my concerns regarding the Ed Code violation:
June 21, 2012: I informed acting WCCUSD HR director (M.W.) of deficiency. No reply.
June 22, 2012: I sought explanation from Ohlone principal (E.L.) (no reply).
July 2nd, 2012: At the "Special" WCCUSD board meeting in El Cerrito, I informed the board and Superintendent that they were in violation of the Ed Code.(no reply)
July 17, 2012: Email to President Ramsey (copied superintendent and board) requesting explanation regarding incomplete SARC documents. (no reply)
September 5, 2012: WCCUSD board meeting. I informed board and Superintendent that this was a repeat violation, that in 2008, a lawyer from a public advocacy group previously cited this violation. No reply.
Upon leaving this meeting (now off camera), the new HR Director (Whitmore?) informed me that I was correct about the violation and that the district was in the process of correcting this for the 90% of the schools that failed to provide this information to parents. He told me (off camera) that the previous Director (A.R.) simply didn't do it.  Please note that on camera, the board President did take time to engage in meaningless discussion with the Hercules Mayor about whether or not phone calls were received, but a violation of the Ed Code was not worth a single comment from anyone?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Board member's argument against campaign contribution limits

At the recent Hercules Democratic Club education forum, I asked board member Madeline Kronenberg about her position on campaign contribution limits.  I did so because of the large sums of money paid to board members by those entities with a financial interest in our district, including developers, contractors, etc.

The following article cites the greater than $100,000.00 paid to one board member during his campaign. Mrs. Kronenberg pocketed close to $70,000.00!

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/shiny-buildings-shady-dealings/Content?oid=2812513&showFullText=true

Her response was that she is against contribution limits.  She cited the example that if a candidate receives an endorsement from the teachers' union, that this is worth much more money than the dollar amount received from a developer by another candidate.  I get her point.  It would not be a level playing field if the United Teachers of Richmond pays to have a flyer mailed to all district cities for a candidate while the other candidate can barely afford the cost of printing flyers at Kinkos.

The only "special interest group" I want supporting our candidates are the parents.  Even the teachers' union has an agenda that is not always in the best interest of our children.  So maybe each candidate should communicate to the teachers' union that they do not seek or want their endorsement.  This election should be about parents and taxpayers and children, not about unions or developers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

WCCUSD admits guilt of Ed Code violation...finally!


Why is the district so slow to respond to queries-concerns? It took over 2 months for me to get a response to my observation that the district was violating the Ed Code by not reporting the number of non-fully credentialed teachers on the 2010-2011 School Accountability Report Cards.
June 21, 2012: I informed acting WCCUSD HR director (M.W.) of deficiency. No reply.
June 22, 2012: I sought explanation from Ohlone principal (E.L.) (no reply).
July 2nd, 2012: At the "Special" WCCUSD board meeting in El Cerrito, I informed the board and Superintendent that they were in violation of the Ed Code.(no reply-just blank stares)
July 17, 2012: Email to President Ramsey (copied superintendent and board) requesting explanation regarding incomplete SARC documents. (no reply)
September 5, 2012: WCCUSD board meeting. I informed board and Superintendent that this was a repeat violation, that in 2008, a lawyer from a public advocacy group previously cited this violation. Again, blank stares, and silence. (Note-silence was not an issue when Mayor Romero and President Ramsey exchanged words, resulting in a 5 minute time-out)
Upon leaving this meeting (now safely off camera), the new HR Director informed me that I was correct about the violation and that the district was in the process of correcting this for the 90% of the schools that failed to provide this information to parents. He told me (safely off camera) that the previous Director (A.R.) simply didn't do it.
It should be noted that this previous director recently received an award for not doing their job. Or maybe they did do their job?
Approximately 10% of the WCCUSD principals complied with the law.  These were the schools that had zero or one non-fully credentialed teachers. Is it possible that the principals were given the choice to not provide this data if they thought it would be harmful to the school?  Or perhaps this was an order by the Superintendent?  And why was the board mum?  Complicity or ignorance? 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hercules education meeting this Thursday


THE HERCULES DEMOCRATIC CLUB

PROUDLY PRESENTS
An Evening With

Superintendent Dr. Bruce Harter,WCCUSD
 Madeline Kronenberg, Member WCCUSD Board of Education

September 6, 2012
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Hercules Middle School Cafeteria

The newly chartered Hercules Democratic club is inviting all interested parents, Democrats and members of the community to come and engage in an open conversation with Superintendent Harter and Madeline Kronenberg.

Members of the community have expressed a desire to have educational issues related to Hercules specifically, addressed.  Now is that rare opportunity!  Come and bring your questions, comments and concerns!

Some of the issues to be discussed:

Ø Facilities

Ø Teacher training and retention

Ø School Safety

Ø Class Size

Ø Ballot Measures


Democratic Club Charter members will be on hand to answer questions.

Monday, September 3, 2012

WCCUSD abruptly displaces children


After their first day of school, approximately 100 children are abruptly being relocated to other schools.
http://hercules.patch.com/articles/parents-kids-protest-sudden-school-district-transfers

Why did this happen and why such short notice?

Superintendent Harter a habitual offender?


The following is a 2008 letter from a Public Advocates attorney to Superintendent Harter regarding information not provided on previous SARC documents, meaning that my recent complaint is deja vu all over again.  Add the fact that successive performance audit documents cite missing and-or obsolete job descriptions for district staff and one might begin to question the competency of those entrusted to run-manage our school district.  In short, the work appears shoddy.  

Letter posted here
http://www.publicadvocates.org/sites/default/files/library/demand_letter_west_contra_costa_usd_2008_8-27-08.pdf


Letter
August 28, 2008
Bruce Harter
Superintendent
West Contra Costa Unified School District 1108 Bissell Avenue
Richmond, CA 94801-3135


SENT VIA REGULAR MAIL AND FASCIMILE
Re: Violations of SARC Obligations Dear Superintendent Harter:

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (the “District”) is in violation of state requirements concerning the preparation and dissemination of 2006-2007 School Accountability Report Cards (“SARCs”).1 An investigation by Public Advocates has revealed that the District has failed to prepare and publicize a 2006-07 SARC for 1 of its schools. The district has also failed to report in many of its SARCs key school-site information required under California Education Code (“EC”) Section 33126(b) et seq., and make translated copies of the SARC available where required by law (see Attachment A for a complete list of the District’s SARC deficiencies). This letter is to inform you that we are prepared to file suit in the event the West Contra Costa Unified School District does not fully comply within 30 days with the SARC obligations set forth in this letter.
Public Advocates’ Education Work
Over its thirty-seven years, Public Advocates has had a long- standing commitment to improving educational opportunities for low- income students, students of color, and English language learners. Through litigation and other means, Public Advocates has had significant success in supporting the fundamental right to education for all. Public Advocates was lead counsel in Serrano v. Priest, the landmark lawsuit that caused California to fund school districts more equitably. We also served as lead counsel in the educational equity class action, Williams v. State of California, which resulted in the August 2004 landmark settlement that takes important steps to provide all California students with basic educational necessities. An important element of the settlement in Williams was new SARC reporting requirements on teacher quality, sufficiency of textbooks, and the “good repair” of school facilities.
1 2006-07 SARCs are those required to be published during the 2007-08 school year.
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131 Steuart Street, Suite 300 • San Francisco, California 94105 • (415) 431-7430 • fax (415) 431-1048 *1225 Eighth Street, Suite 430 • Sacramento, California 95814 • (916) 442-3385 • fax (916) 442-3601
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As part of our commitment to education equity, Public Advocates works to ensure that all school districts abide by their nondiscretionary duties to issue timely and complete SARCs for each of their schools. Last year, Public Advocates brought successful litigation against the Oakland Unified School District for failure to comply with its mandatory SARC responsibilities. This and other enforcement activities by Public Advocates have received broad attention from the media, state officials, and legislators in Sacramento. This summer – like the past three summers – we conducted a statewide investigation of over 1,000 schools to do determine which school districts failed to meet their SARC obligations by the end of the 2007-08 school year. The investigation found the following deficiencies with respect to the District’s SARCs:
Failure to Prepare and Publicize SARCs in a Timely Manner
The District has failed to issue 2006-07 SARCs for 1 of its schools. This failure violates Sections 35256(c) and 35258 of the Education Code as well as the California Constitution. Section 35256(c) specifically provides that, “[t]he governing board of each school district shall annually issue a School Accountability Report Card for each school in the district, [and] publicize those reports.” EC § 35256(c) (emphasis added); see also Cal. Const. art. XVI, § 8.5(e) (“Any school district maintaining an elementary or secondary school ... shall adopt a School Accountability Report Card for each school.”). Section 35258 further provides that “each school district that is connected to the Internet shall make the information contained in the School Accountability Report Card ... accessible on the Internet.” EC § 35258(a) (emphasis added). Thus, updated SARCs must “be prepared and disseminated before the end of the school year” (Cal. Dep’t of Educ., Frequently Asked Questions – School Accountability Report Card, http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/sa/questions.asp (last visited July 18, 2008)), or specifically, during “the period of November through June of each year” (Id. (emphasis added)), to comply with the law. The District not only failed to prepare and post 2006-07 SARCs for each of its schools by the end of the 2006-07 school year, but still has not yet done so.2
Failure to Provide Information on Per Pupil Spending and Average Teacher Salaries
The District has failed to report required information on school-level per pupil expenditures and average teacher salaries for 2 its schools. This violates EC § 33126(b), which mandates that the SARC include data on “[e]stimated expenditures per pupil and types of services funded” as well as average teacher salary at the school. Specifically, “[t]he assessment of estimated expenditures per pupil shall reflect the actual salaries of personnel assigned to the schoolsite. ... [The assessment] shall be reported in total, shall be reported in subtotal by restricted and by unrestricted source, and shall include a reporting of the average of actual salaries paid to certificated instructional personnel at that schoolsite.” EC § 33126(b)(3).
Failure to Provide Complete Information on Teacher Vacancies and Misassignments
The District has failed to report complete information on teacher misassignments and teacher vacancies for 59 of its schools for the 2005-06, 2006-07 and/or 2007-08 school years. This contravenes EC § 33126(b)(5), which requires each school’s SARC to report any misassignments “including misassignments of teachers of English learners, and the number of vacant teacher
2 Please be aware that, due to a change in the law, all future SARCs must now be published no later than February 1st of each year. EC § 35258, enacted by AB 1061 (Mullin, 2007).
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131 Steuart Street, Suite 300 • San Francisco, California 94105 • (415) 431-7430 • fax (415) 431-1048 *1225 Eighth Street, Suite 430 • Sacramento, California 95814 • (916) 442-3385 • fax (916) 442-3601
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positions for the most recent three-year period.” EC § 33126(b)(5) (emphasis added). SARCs without this information for the 2005-06, 2006-07 and/or 2007-08 school years are, thus, deficient and violate Section 33126(b)(5) of the Education Code.
Failure to Translate SARCs Into a Primary Language Other than English
The District has failed to make the 2006-07 SARC available in Spanish at 1 of its schools. This failure contravenes EC § 48985, which requires the SARC to be translated into other languages if 15% or more of the pupils enrolled in the school speak a single primary language other than English. Specifically, Section 48985 (a) provides:
If 15 percent or more of the pupils enrolled in a public school . . . speak a single primary language other than English . . . all notices, reports, statements, or records sent to the parent or guardian of any such pupil by the school or school district shall, in addition to being written in English, be written in the primary language, and may be responded to either in English or the primary language.
EC § 48985. Thus, it is mandatory that translations of the 2006-07 SARC be provided to parents or guardians of children in the district schools with 15% or more pupils that speak a single primary language other than English. In disregarding this requirement, the District has failed to meet explicit Legislative intent to “make a concerted effort to notify parents of the purpose of the school accountability report cards, . . .ensure that all parents receive a copy of the report card . . . [and] ensure that the report cards are easy to read and understandable by parents.” EC § 33126(d) (emphasis added). As such, many parents or guardians who speak a primary language other than English will not be able to read or understand the SARC unless it is translated.
Relief
By failing to comply with its SARC obligations, the District is depriving parents and communities of their ability to “guarantee accountability for dollars spent,” (The Classroom Instructional Improvement and Accountability Act of 1998, § 2) and to allow a parent to “make meaningful comparisons between public schools that will enable him or her to make informed decisions on which school to enroll his or her children” (EC § 3326 (a)). The District should immediately seek to correct its violation of SARC obligations.
This would be a fairly straightforward lawsuit with high probability that a court would determine that the District is in breach of its duties under state law, and that a writ of mandamus is appropriate. See Beverly v. Anderson, 76 Cal. App. 4th 480 (1999) (affirming grant of a petition for a writ of mandate where there was a mandatory duty under a state statute). The relief we would seek in the lawsuit is an order from the court directing the West Contra Costa Unified School District to do the following:
Timely Publication of the SARC
(1) Immediately prepare and publicize, including on the Internet, a complete 2006-07 SARC for the 1 district school missing a current SARC; (2) prepare and disseminate, including on the Internet, a 2007-08 SARC (published during the 2008-09 school year) for each school no later than February 1, 2009; and (3) provide the parent or guardian of each student enrolled in the district
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131 Steuart Street, Suite 300 • San Francisco, California 94105 • (415) 431-7430 • fax (415) 431-1048 *1225 Eighth Street, Suite 430 • Sacramento, California 95814 • (916) 442-3385 • fax (916) 442-3601
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school that is missing a current SARC with written notification that (a) a 2006-07 SARC for his/her child’s school is available on the Internet and at the school site, (b) a 2007-08 SARC for each district school will be available on the Internet and at each school site no later than February 1, 2009, and (c) at each school site, there are designated school personnel available to answer any questions regarding that school’s SARC.
Reporting Information on Per Pupil Expenditures, Average Teacher Salaries, Teacher Vacancies, and Teacher Misassignments.
(1) Immediately prepare and publicize, including on the Internet, 2006-07 SARCs for each district school with complete information on (a) estimated expenditures per pupil at the school site, (b) average teacher salaries at the school site, (c) teacher misassignments for the 2005-06, 2006-07 and/or 2007-08 school years, and (d) teacher vacancies for the 2005-06, 2006-07 and/or 2007-08 school years; (2) prepare and disseminate, including on the Internet, a fully compliant 2007-08 SARC (published during the 2008-09 school year) for each school no later than February 1, 2009; and (3) provide the parent or guardian of each student enrolled in a district school that failed to include any of the above information in its SARC with written notification that (a) a revised 2006-07 SARC with the required information specified above is available on the Internet and at the school site, (b) a complete 2007-08 SARC for each district school will be available on the Internet and at each school site no later than February 1, 2009, and (c) at each school site, there are designated school personnel available to answer any questions regarding that school’s SARC.
Translation of the SARC
(1) Make the full 2006-07 SARC immediately available in other required languages if 15% or more of the school’s students speak a primary language other than English; (2) make the 2007-08 SARC (published during the 2008-09 school year ) available in such additional languages no later than February 1, 2009; and (3) provide the parent or guardian of each student enrolled in a district school that has 15% or more pupils speaking a primary language other than English with written notification in that primary language that (a) a translated 2006-07 SARC for his/her child’s school is available on the Internet and at their school site, (b) a translated 2007-08 SARC will be available on the Internet and at each school site for those schools where 15% or more of the students speak a primary language other than English, no later than February 1, 2009, and (c) at each school site, there are designated school personnel available to answer any questions regarding that school’s SARC.
We would also ask the court for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs under Sections 1021 and 1021.5 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.
Resolving this Matter Short of Litigation
In an effort to redress the District’s noncompliance with its SARC obligations, Public Advocates is prepared to file suit. We hope, however, that we can resolve this matter short of litigation. Accordingly, if within 30 calendar days the West Contra Costa Unified School District provides the relief identified above, we are willing to forgo litigation, including an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
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131 Steuart Street, Suite 300 • San Francisco, California 94105 • (415) 431-7430 • fax (415) 431-1048 *1225 Eighth Street, Suite 430 • Sacramento, California 95814 • (916) 442-3385 • fax (916) 442-3601
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Given that the start of the school year is rapidly approaching and parents have been without valuable information for long enough, we think you would agree that time is of essence. We look forward to your prompt response. If you should have any questions or comments regarding the allegations in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely,
Guillermo Mayer Staff Attorney