Tag Archives: David Linzey

Did Dave Linzey receive CVCHS Board approval for financial assistance to fund his new charter?

The CVCHS Board is governed by the state open meeting laws, meaning any decisions have to be discussed and voted on in open public meetings.

Why has the Board not discussed the financial assistance for David Linzey’s new charter in an open board meeting?

cvchs-funding

And why is it not on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting seeing as the charter petition is being presented to the county on October 19?

See the agenda here:

cvchs-board-agenda-10-12-16

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Is CVCHS Funding David Linzey’s New Clayton Valley Charter Tech Academy?

cv-tech-petition Clayton Valley Tech – Charter Petition

cv-tech-appendix Clayton Valley Tech – Charter Petition Appendix

Wondering why CV sits on an $11 million surplus but continues to ask parents to donate for school supplies, tech supports, sports etc?

Because the CV Board has pledged to use its money (amount “TBD”) to help David Linzey and his new charter corporation open a new school (“Clayton Valley Charter Tech Academy”) located at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church  on Kirker Pass Rd.

When did the CV Board vote to fund a new charter?  And why doesn’t the CV Board care that its Executive Director is spending his time planning new charters instead of focusing on fixing the problems at CV?  Maybe because CV Board members Richard Assadoorian and Ted Meriam are part of the advisory council to the new charter?  And CV Board members Tom Sparks and Sarah Lovick have agreed to teach at the new school?

The CVC Tech Academy charter petition is scheduled to be presented to the Contra Costa County Board of Education on Wednesday, October 19th.

http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/supe/board.html#meetings

 

 

 

Contra Costa County Board of Education to add Clayton Valley Charter HS to their agenda at their next meeting

faculty-retention-list-no-comments

The leadership at CVCHS has caused many highly qualified teachers to leave. The following chart* depicts the extent of teacher turnover since the school went charter, and was presented at the Contra Costa County Board of Education (CCCBOE) on Wednesday night (9/21/16).  In addition to this presentation, several students also expressed how they have been negatively impacted. The CCCBOE plans to add Clayton Valley to their agenda next month.

*This only includes teachers, not support staff and administrators who have also experienced high turnover.

faculty-retention-list-no-comments

 

 

CVCHS Administration and Board have no interest in collaborating with concerned students or community members.

https://www.suggestionox.com/r/cvchs

Contrary to their claims, the CV administration and Board really have no interest in collaborating with concerned students or community members. At the Board meeting ex-Board member Mike Fine set up, at his own expense, an anonymous suggestion website to help facilitate better communication between the school and the community. Less than 24 hours later, Mike Fine posted this:

Clayton Valley Charter High School Anonymous Suggestion Box

***** IMPORTANT NOTE: At 7:58am Thursday, September 15, 2016, after only five suggestions had been submitted via this site (four of which were serious, one of which was not), I received the following email from a support rep at Suggestion Ox: “We had a request from some folks at Clayton Valley Charter School not to receive emails via Suggestion Ox. To honor their request, we’ve removed those email addresses from the Additional Recipients section for your box.” Because of this, submissions will no longer go directly to the Executive Director, Principal, and Governing Board. Frankly, I find it appalling that someone at the school or on the Board actively decided to REJECT hearing from administrators, teachers, students and others. At this point, I personally will forward suggestions to these people and others as I see fit. *****

9/14/16 CVCHS Governing Board Meeting Narrative

Clayton Valley Charter High School
September 14, 2016
Governing Board Meeting Narrative

The CVCHS board meeting started shortly after 6:00pm. The audience appeared to be made up of 150+ unhappy students, teachers, parents, and community members. There also appeared to be several happy Executive Director Linzey supporters in the front row. The meeting began with Chairperson Ted Meriam giving the audience instructions on proper behavior at a board meeting. He then called on members of the audience who had filled out a speaking card to come up and speak for their exact allotted speaking time of either 2 or 3 minutes. There were over a dozen speakers with all but one expressing their concerns about the executive director, the school board, the flight of teachers and staff, and the unexplained budget.

While memorializing the teachers that had touched their lives so profoundly, teachers who had each in turn fled the charter, the emotionally charged students begged the board members to listen to them. It appeared as though the entire leadership class of the school was in attendance. One after another they went to the speaking podium and poured out their feelings of frustration at the disappearance of their teachers, their counselors, and the staff that supported and mentored them. Some of those students were not only saddened by loss, but were also angry that nothing was being done to stop the landslide of disappearing staff. Another teacher had resigned that week, following dozens before her. Each student was loudly cheered by the audience for their heartfelt speeches, and as the room became more on edge, one very brave student stood up and with an air of confidence and resolve called on the board to wake up and solve the problem. Over and over again she pointed out that the problems at the school lead back to the executive director. She then looked at Executive Director Dave Linzey and asked him to resign. Of course the room erupted in cheers. The audience was with her.

One notable speaker pointed out the strange shifting of money in the budget from last year and the 11 million dollar surplus that could be used for students, but it appeared that it was being stockpiled for some unknown future use. Another speaker also pointed to the lack of detail in the budget and stated that she has tried numerous times to request explanations from the administration. This person is a respected, hard working elected board member of the Athletic Booster Board and was recently asked to resign by the athletic director, noting her unwelcome inquiries and negative comments about the administration. He told her if she didn’t resign the athletic booster club would be effectively shut down and kept from operating on campus.

After the students finished their impassioned speeches, but before any agenda “business” began, the executive director showed how much he cared by condescendingly giving the students “permission” to leave the meeting to go do their homework. The students looked around incredulously and stayed in their seats.

The board chair then gave a lengthy speech about how the Board has no say in, and cannot address personnel issues. He left out, however, the fact the Board does in fact have one personnel responsibility—to oversee, hire, and fire the Executive Director.

The board continued and as usual there were no comments about anything, no questions to the executive director, no promise to look into the issues, no questioning of the budget that no one in the room appeared to have a copy of. The board gave the appearance of puppets on a string bobbing their heads yes to everything the executive director proposed. There was no discussion of any item and no board business conducted at any time. A seemingly endless list of new hires was announced, some very obviously causing a controversy afterwards. Not one of the new staff, not even the new administrators were at the meeting to be introduced. Mr. Linzey stated that he would be visiting the leadership class the next day. The meeting was adjourned by 7:30pm.

Many people milled around talking after the meeting was over. A board member came down and chastised the students for their behavior. Another staff member from the school did the same. The parents also seemed incredulous that not even a single word was uttered by board members that gave them any indication that they recognized the problem and they would look into it. Parents wondered what they could do next. What can they do? This is a charter run by one person with no apparent oversight by anyone. One group already tried and where are they now? Retaliation is an often repeated word. Speaking up can have life time consequences. Good luck to the amazing students who spoke at the meeting and to all the students and parents who came to support them. Hopefully they will find the answer.

 

Editorial on the teacher turnover at Clayton Valley Charter

 

There have been various reasons why teachers have left CV. But regardless, the amount of turnover that CV is seeing is absolutely abnormal, especially in the midst of a teacher shortage in California. Overall, many teachers simply disagree with the direction the school is taking. Mr Linzey cares more about building an empire and creating an image, and the governing board rubber stamps whatever he wants.

Professional development and collaboration has become a bumbling mess, and there is little effective communication amongst the staff as a result. The division of two years ago is still there, it is just quieter now. Academic programs seem to take a back seat to certain athletic programs. Achieve 3000 is touted as a panacea for literacy problems when really it is a waste of time that is forced on teachers and students and takes time away from meaningful learning and teaching. Teachers are scolded and punished for complaining or speaking out. Student discipline is not effectively handled and there is little to no avenue for teachers to have any input. The list goes on, but in the end, CV still has a lot of work to do- more than ever- if it still wants to go from “good to great”.

The public needs to be educated about the fact that teachers are professionals with extensive training, but their contributions are not valued at CV, or only valued if they’ve sworn allegiance to Mr. Linzey, and often the direction he wants to go is not student-centered. However, pointing that out will get one labeled a “traitor” and discredited as “just another disgruntled teacher.” Such a toxic place to be if one truly believes in education and working for young people. It is insulting to advocate for students, only to be dismissed and discredited as the opposite.

~Anonymous CVCHS Teacher

 

Stakeholders for Transparency posted the list of staff that have left this (2015-2016) school year so far:

 

Miguel Romo – Student Services Administrator

Greg Fister – Dean of Students (Discipline & Character)

Jackie Valdez – Counselor

Katelyn James – Psychologist/Special Education

Kirsten Owen – Office Manager

Joey Scott – Band/Orchestra Instructor

Kipp Penovich – Science/Physics Teacher

Jennifer Garcia –Teacher

Cristina Valle – Teacher, Special Education Transition Specialist

Sabine Becker – Teacher

Suzanne Chenault- Teacher

Clarice Hammett – French Teacher

Lauren Lewis –Resource Teacher

Maurice Maier – Teacher

Renee Tresse – Teacher

Paul Tucker – Teacher

Jillian Winkler – Teacher, Yearbook Leadership

Melissa Chesnut – Special Education Assistant

Kathleent Prato – Special Education Assistant

Jhullli Rogers – Special Education Assistant

Paula Dillon – Teacher

A Tale of Two Clayton Valley High Schools. What a difference a charter school makes!

A Tale of Two Charter Schools - Clayton Valley Charter High School -Then and NowA Tale of Two Charter Schools – Clayton Valley Charter High School -Then and Now

Neil McChesney Bills CVCHS For Consulting Work

Neil McChesney Resignation Letter 3-2-15

FINAL CVCHS Closeout Report-Conflicts of Interest

According to a declaration made by Neil McChesney in a letter addressed to CVCHS, “I left (CVCHS) on or about March 2, 2015 to pursue other interests, notably creation of a performing arts charter school”.  Mr. McChesney continued to receive monthly payments, totaling $9,600.00 from Clayton Valley Charter High School between April 1, 2015 and August 1, 2015 for “consulting work.”

What exactly is Mr. McChesney doing for Clayton Valley Charter High School, besides receiving money that could be spent on the students’ education?  Stakeholders for Transparency has requested a contract describing his duties, but have been told that the school needs extra time to “search for and collect” the requested information.

We are especially concerned because McChesney has been working to open the School of Performing Arts (SPA), and in the Contra Cost County Board of Education’s final report, “CVCHS provided the requested written confirmation that no funds were provided to the SPA Charter” and “provided the requested copy of its annual budget, showing no funds have or will be transferred from CVCHS to the SPA Charter.”  (Final CCCBOE Report, page 4 –   presented at the Jan. 13, 2016 Board Meeting).

 

Lavish Spending by CVCHS Administration

Due to complications with ticket prices last year as well as the rising cost of venues in San Francisco, the CV senior class is much lower in funds than previous senior classes have been, and are asking for GoFundMe donations for their Senior Ball. All the while, CV administrators are dining out on nearly $100 per person dinners (see attached $488 receipt for five people).

Why are taxpayer funds being diverted from the students to fund expensive meals for administrators?  Could these funds be better spent on IPads, Textbooks or student field trip transportation?

http://www.contracostatimes.com/politics-government/ci_22017896/san-jose-supervisor-george-shirakawa-racks-up-lavish

http://www.kctv5.com/story/26072404/kcps-superintendent-defends-lavish-high-end-dining

San Diego charter school king hit with felony

By Maureen Magee

San Diego Union Tribune

 http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jan/14/local-charter-school-king-hit-with-felony/

A former San Diego County superintendent who approved charter schools that later hired his consulting firm was arraigned Friday in San Diego Superior Court on one felony count of conflict of interest, according to the San Diego district attorney’s office.

The allegation facing Steve Van Zant, who currently is superintendent of the Sausalito Marin City School District, dates to May 2010 while he was superintendent of the Mountain Empire Unified School District.

According to the criminal complaint, Van Zant “did willfully and unlawfully violate the provisions of such (conflict of interest) laws.”

Van Zant, who is not in custody, could not be reached for comment. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to provide details of the case.

Van Zant, 53, has been a controversial figure among San Diego County educators. Long before he faced legal troubles, Van Zant stirred animosity among school districts for years as he brokered deals with charter schools to operate in their districts — often without providing the notice required by law.

Some of the charters that Van Zant ushered through soon hired his consulting firm for support services.

Van Zant worked in the tiny one-campus Dehesa School District, where the school board authorized several charters to operate in other districts, before he was hired to run Mountain Empire schools in 2008.

Under Van Zant’s direction, Mountain Empire authorized its first charter, San Diego Neighborhood Homeschool. Roughly a dozen more followed before he left in 2013.

None of the charters would locate in the district’s backcountry communities. Instead, they would operate in more populated reaches of the county — from Oceanside to San Diego to Chula Vista to National City.

Officials from small and cash-strapped districts approved charters to operate outside of their boundaries in part for financial reasons. The authorizing districts don’t stand to lose students — or the state attendance funds that accompany them — and they receive up to 3 percent of the charter’s revenue in exchange for varying degrees of oversight and often administrative services.

Although the trend didn’t start in Mountain Empire, under Van Zant the district played a key role in San Diego County’s spike in “out-of-district” charters — of which there are more than 80 currently in operation.

Van Zant didn’t just woo charters to earn revenue for Mountain Empire. The steady stream of charters helped bring money to his consulting firm.

A couple of years into his tenure at Mountain Empire, Van Zant and his wife, Ingrid, established EdHive, a consulting firm that offers administrative services and helps charters find districts to green-light their schools.

The company website claims, “We can find an authorizing district for your charter and cut a deal that provides the financial incentive for the district and still save your school money.”

According to profiles of company officials posted on the LinkedIn professional networking website, EdHive has represented at least 27 charters in California. Among them are several charters approved by Mountain Empire during Van Zant’s tenure as superintendent.

Charters that hired EdHive include Endeavour Academy, which was shut down last year after the San Diego Unified School District sued the charter and the Alpine Union School District, which authorized the campus to operate in a Clairemont church.

Most of San Diego County’s out-of-district charters are independent-study programs authorized by small districts in the eastern reaches of the region that have popped up in other districts only to serve their students and take the state attendance funds that accompany them.

The practice has sparked several lawsuits in San Diego County and elsewhere in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation in 2014 that would have restricted where out-of-district charters can locate because of “retroactive language that could force existing charter schools to change locations.”

In September 2014, Brown said in his veto message he would assign a team to “examine the situation and come back with solutions.” That work is still under way, according to a spokesperson for the governor.

In San Diego County, out-of-district charters continue to pit districts against one another. In his veto message, Brown appeared to acknowledge the problem: “Unfortunately, it appears that some districts and charter schools have gone against the spirit of the law.”

He went on to say that “this has led to litigation and strained relationships among districts and charter schools.”

A Superior Court judge agreed with San Diego Unified last year that the Endeavour charter was a traditional school and not a independent-study hybrid as it was billed, and that organizers failed to notify the district as required under the law. Endeavour’s headquarters were based 150 miles away in Santa Clarita Valley.

Under the state education code, charters that cannot find facilities in their authorizing district may look for a campus in another district as long as they notify that district before the charter is approved.

San Diego Unified has also sent cease-and-desist letters to several out-of-district charters.

Since Kathy Granger was hired as Mountain Empire’s superintendent in December 2013, Mountain Empire has halted its trend of wooing and approving far-flung charters.

She would not discuss Van Zant but did confirm she had been contacted by the District Attorney’s Office about him.

“If anyone were to come to me to open a charter school outside our district boundaries, I would recommend they go to the district that represents the area they want to open a school,” she said.

“We are not opposed to offering education options for our students and we are not against charter schools. Our focus is to provide programs for our students.”

Since taking office in Mountain Empire, Granger has made a point to make personal visits to charter schools in the name of oversight.

Meanwhile, Granger is hopeful that Brown will address the ambiguity in the law when it comes to charters operating outside their authorizing districts.

“I have learned a lot about charter schools since coming here,” she said. “I definitely think there needs to be clarity in the law.”

Ricardo Soto, chief attorney for the California Charter School Association, told The San Diego Union-Tribune in November that school districts are threatened by non-classroom-based charters that he believes operate legally.

Still, he said the law could use some clarity.

Van Zant was arraigned one day after he requested a leave from his three-day-a-week job as superintendent in the two-campus (including a charter) Sausalito district.

Citing personal reasons, Van Zant was put on indefinite paid leave. His salary was $172,000 in 2014.