Clayton Valley Charter High Under Investigation

Clayton Valley Charter High Under Investigation

Clayton Valley Charter High under investigation

By Theresa Harrington tharrington@bayareanewsgroup

POSTED:   02/09/2015 05:10:28 PM PST0 COMMENTS| UPDATED:   ABOUT 17 HOURS AGO

CONCORD — The Contra Costa County district attorney and the County Office of Education are investigating allegations that the Clayton Valley Charter High school board violated the state’s open meeting law.

In a December 22 letter to the chairman of the charter school’s governing board, District Attorney Mark Peterson revealed that he was investigating complaints related to potential violations of the Brown Act, or open meeting law, by the board of trustees.

The district attorney asked how the board disclosed to the public what it planned to discuss at meetings; and how particular discussions were handled by the board, including an investigation of two board members that allegedly led one to resign, a meeting regarding the extension of the executive director’s contract, and a closed session regarding an employee’s termination.

Steve Moawad, senior deputy district attorney, confirmed in an email that his office sent the Brown Act inquiry.

“The school has provided a response which my office is evaluating,” he said. “I cannot discuss the inquiry in further detail.”

Also, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata sent a letter last week to David Linzey, executive director of Clayton Valley High, seeking public records related to 13 areas of the school and board’s operations. These included board agendas and minutes, complaint procedures, investigative reports, settlement agreements, employment agreements, vendor contracts, board member documents, government agency filings, and conflict of interest statements from the school staff and board. Sakata said Monday that her office, which authorizes the school’s charter, has asked legal counsel from Dannis Woliver Kelly to investigate more than two dozen complaints received over the past few months.

“We’re waiting to see the results of the investigation and we’ll act upon it depending on what the recommendation is,” she said. “There might be suggestions for corrections so they can improve their process. But at this point, it’s too early to know.”

Linzey said Monday that the school’s “attorneys assure us that we haven’t done anything inappropriate.”

Ted Meriam, chairman of Clayton Valley’s governing board, said the school was cooperating with both agencies and that it complied with the Brown Act.

The letters come on the heels of a Change.org petition posted by a group calling itself Stakeholders for Transparency, which has gathered more than 500 supporters seeking Linzey’s ouster. In addition, some members of the school’s faculty have voted no confidence in Linzey.

“I believe what is happening at Clayton Valley has escalated into an investigation-worthy situation because the governing board and Dave Linzey refuse to listen to teachers, parents, students and community members,” teacher board representative Amber Lineweaver said in an e-mail. “Our charter was created and written in such a way as to avoid unilateral decision-making and top-down management. The investigation gives me hope that a resolution is in sight.”

But Meriam said the board stands behind Linzey’s leadership and has extended his contract for three years. He alleged that the stakeholder’s group has exaggerated issues at the school.

“I see this more as a public relations concern than a governance concern,” he said. “There are wonderful things we’re doing on a daily basis for our students.”

To improve communications, Meriam said Linzey and his administrators have begun meeting with teachers during “lunch and learn” discussions. The school has also created a Charting the Future for our Children Facebook page providing opportunities for questions and answers, he said.

MORE INFORMATION: Copies of the letters from the district attorney and county superintendent are available at www.contracostatimes.com/education.
Information regarding the “Stakeholders for Transparency” group is available atwww.facebook.com/CVCHSStakeholders.
The Clayton Valley Charter High governing board will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s multiuse room at 1101 Alberta Way, Concord. More information is at www.claytonvalley.org. Click on Governance, then select Agendas and Minutes, then 2015, then Feb. 11.

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