Stalled salary negotiations between the teachers union and Mt. Diablo Unified School District and the upcoming decision of the Contra Costa County Office of Education board for the renewal of the charter for Clayton Valley Charter brought out standing room only audiences to off-site board meetings last month.
First up was the Oct. 16 meeting at Pleasant Hill Middle School. Supporters of CVCHS and its charter renewal petition dressed in the school’s red and blue colors filled to overflowing the CCCOE board session that included public input and then questions from board members to the school’s executive director Jim Scheible.
Scheible began the meeting by making a video presentation outlining some of the school’s accomplishments and current status as they seek their second five-year renewal since leaving MDUSD in 2012 to become the 18th and only conversion charter in the county. He said CVCHS teachers are the highest paid in Contra Costa, according to a school survey earlier this year.
Over 140 speakers signed up to speak at the Oct. 16 meeting but that number lowered when some in the audience decided not be speak as many of the comments became redundant, About 90% of the speakers were in favor of the renewal including many CVCHS teachers and staff along with parents, students, alumni and parents from other schools.
New MDSUD Superintendent Robert Martinez and some of his board members also talked. Martinez did not specifically call on the board to reject the renewal but asked them to “examine closely the issues raised” in a resolution the MDUSD Board had passed two days prior.
Among the official MDUSD contingent on hand who sat through some tough-to-hear comments about other district schools, only board member Debra Mason specifically called on the county to reject the renewal.
A group of former Clayton Valley teachers submitted a letter to the county pointing out a number of items they dispute in the school’s renewal presentation.
The charter renewal vote by the county board is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11. CVCHS supporters say they will be equally out in force that evening.
You can download related documents (PDF) below:
Still no MDUSD teacher’s contract
Emotions were actually higher at the Oct. 28 MDUSD meeting as teachers represented by Mt. Diablo Education Association and their supporters spoke about the lack of a contract with the District (extending now to over 500 days).
Over 600 teachers, parents and students, many of the union members in dark blue t-shirts, marched, stood, chanted, cheered and spoke demanding a “fair contract now” before, during and after the meeting held next door to the district offices in the Monte Garden Elementary School multi-use room.
The two parties have been in mediation, but no breakthrough has been reached. Trustee Cherise Khaund said the next step if the two scheduled meetings don’t resolve the issue is fact finding.
Should the mediation conclude without resolution, teachers have spoken of a strike as their last-ditch way of bringing the matter to closure.
Martinez has only been in office since the beginning of the school year and told The Pioneer in a September sit down that there was “some common ground” between the parties. But he pointed out financial constraints facing the District, class size issues and cutbacks already made and with potentially more coming in the not-too-distant future have added to the tension around the protracted negotiations.