Tag Archives: mt. diablo unified school district

Rocketship Charter to Petition the California State Board of Education

Stakeholders for Transparency urges you to contact the California State Board of Education, and request they deny the petition for Rocketship Charter School. The board will be hearing the petition on March 9, so the earlier the better!

Rocketship charter is known for it’s intense “drill and kill” curriculum. which is not at all suitable for young children.

Rocketship charter has targeted students in the Monument Corridor, promising their families better schools. Rocketships main reason for targeting the Monument community is purely financial. With the new LCAP school funding, students who qualify as English Language Learners, and for free/reduced lunch are worth more money than students who do not. The current oversight of Charter Schools in California is abysmal, at best. There is no guarantee that the additional funding would be spent on ELL programs.

Placing Rocketship in Concord will not create additional jobs, or bring any additional funding to the city.

What it will do, is divide our communities. Our school district is zoned for neighborhood schools. Children and families need the support of their communities, and in turn, work to better their own schools. Rocketship has not been able to secure a site for their school, so MDUSD is forced to offer them equitable space. MDUSD has approved a resolution to place Rocketship at Ayers Elementary, and Silverwood Elementary. Both of these schools have major traffic issues already. Adding an additional 125 students, if not more, will make the traffic in these areas completely unmanageable, and unsafe.

Please, write to the State Board of Education, urge them to uphold the decision of our locally elected school officials, who have already denied Rocketship at the MDUSD level, and at the County Board of Education level.

You can email sbe@cde.ca.gov. Alternatively, you may also call the SBE at 916-319-0827 or send a facsimile to 916-319-0175.
In addition, we urge you to write, call or email the contacts listed at the bottom to express your wishes to deny Rocketships appeal to the state.

Limit your reasoning to not having Rocketship in the community at all!

To see the staff reports of MDUSD and CCBOE that support these agency’s unanimous votes to deny, please follow these links:


To see the report of why MDUSD has to offer space to Rocketship:

To see the proposal Rocketship has sent to the State: (item 7)

Additional info regarding Rocketship:

Additional info regarding “corporate” charter schools:

Urge the following to deny the Rocketship petition:
Contact Information
To contact the State Board of Education members or staff, please send an email to sbe@cde.ca.gov. Alternatively, you may also call the SBE at 916-319-0827 or send a facsimile to 916-319-0175.
charters@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6029

Urge the following to contact the California State Board of Education and ask them to deny the Rocketship petition:

Mayor: Laura Hoffmeister
Vice Mayor: Ron Leone
Councilmembers: Edi Birsan, Tim Grayson and Daniel Helix
1950 Parkside Drive, MS/01
Concord, CA 94519
Phone: (925) 671-3158. Fax: (925) 798-0636
Note: For correspondence sent to City Council, City Clerk or City Treasurer, please put Attention; followed by the name of the specific elected official.

Walnut Creek:

Pleasant Hill:

Mayor Rob Schroder: 925-372-3501 rschroder@cityofmartinez.org
Councilmember Mark Ross: 925-372-3544 mross@cityofmartinez.org
Councilmember Lara Delaney: 925-372-3542 ldelaney@cityofmartinez.org
Councilmember AnaMarie Avila Farias: 925-372-3543 amafarias@cityofmartinez.org
Councilmember Debbie McKillop: 925-372-3541 dmckillop@cityofmartinez.org

Contra Costa County Supervisors:
Karen Mitchoff: supervisormitchoff@bos.cccounty.us
2151 Salvio St., Suite R
Concord, CA 94520

Ph: 925-521-7100
Fx: 925-646-5202


MDUSD Board President asks CCCBOE to return Clayton Valley Charter HS to the MDUSD.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District Governing Board President, Cheryl Hansen asks the Contra Costa County Board of Education to return Clayton Valley Charter High School to the MDUSD due to the “corrupt and dysfunctional CVCHS Governing Board and Administration”.

Letter From Cheryl Hanson to MDUSD Page 1 2-25-15 Letter From Cheryl Hanson to MDUSD Page 2 2-25-15

CVCHS Speech Pathologist Laurie Arbour Letter re: the Board of Trustees and Director intent to reduce her hours to 40%

Arbour appeal to the Board

Members of the Board:

My name is Laurie Arbour and I would like to address the agenda item regarding the reduction of hours for my employment time at Clayton Valley Charter High School.   I am a founding member of the Charter.  I suppose at this juncture, it should be reason enough for Dave Linzey to want to eliminate me from his staff.  I do fully acknowledge that I have spent the past year pointing out the failings of our Executive Director and our Board which I hold fully responsible for the problems that we now have on our school site.  All that being said, I would like to tell my story and this is it.

I entered the profession of Speech Pathology some 16 years ago.  I began my practice at Stanford Medical Center and then determined that the commute from Concord to Stanford was too arduous when trying to raise two sons.  One of my sons has a learning disability.  I have devoted the past 16 years to working with students with disabilities.  Yet, I have never limited myself to just that population.  I will help any student who comes through my door.  And there have been many. Speech pathology is a huge field which serves everything from stroke victims to stuttering to reading issues to memory failure.   I have helped many students pass the High School Exit Exam, finish senior projects or just cope with communication in school.  I believe that this is the purpose of my profession and my practice.   I believe that just because you cannot speak does not mean that you don’t have something to say.

To that end, I played an integral part in writing the special education portion of the charter and working to build a program.  I am the person who was able to enlist the El Dorado County Charter SELPA to take us on as a teacher conversion charter- easily touted as the best SELPA in the state for Special Education Local Plan Agencies.   I am highly trained in special education law and the resulting paperwork.  For the Charter I am the Special Education Information Systems (SEIS) manager and take care of the reporting to both the SELPA and the State.   I take this job seriously and will tell you that we have a near perfect record.  Yes, there are a few errors because, as our own District, we inherit the paperwork from MDUSD or a student who comes from a private school who has not had a current IEP in many years.  When this record comes to us, it will show up as an error of “overdue.”  But these are to be expected and the resulting reports are easily explained and subsequently dismissed by the State.  And yes, there are a few Case managers who, for whatever reason cannot enlist the parent to come to a meeting on time, which will also show as an error.  None of these errors are the result of my job as the SEIS manager.  But I digress.

The most important part of this email stems from a reduction in my hours as a member of the Special Education Department.   I believe much of this Reduction in Force (RIF) is retaliation for my vocal dissent and a direct attack on the Special Education Department at Clayton Valley Charter High School.   Currently, the number of service hours on my speech pathology caseload adds to 2.56 days.  I am diligent about exiting students as the record will show.  I do not keep kids on my caseload so I will have a caseload.    We have approximately 25 students coming on with IEP’s.  Of those 25, we have no way of knowing how many have speech services as you cannot upload and assume the record until early August when their District releases them or when their parents show up with the paperwork.  It is a guess.  So, I have to wonder why Dave Linzey arbitrarily chose 40% because what I have now is 50% and we have unknown incoming freshmen.    I have spent the rest of my full time employment as SEIS manager, Compliance Liason with CAL PADS, Medi-Cal Program and LEA billing, Severely Handicapped Program advocate, Testing Coordinator and Proctor for Materials and Accommodations per IEP and Transportation Coordinator.    I cannot emphasize enough that the work that I do on any given day blankets the campus and contributes to the overall success of the special education program.  I am the girl Friday who assists the school psychologist, the counselor or the student services employee who just has a kid show up who is in distress or needs help.  I am the person who runs to a classroom if there is a special education student who is having a problem.  I am one of the front line staff they call if there is an autistic child or handicapped child who needs extra help.   I am the person they call to help with transportation, the need for an interpreter or some other issue. I am the person who helps that Athlete pass a course so they can play sports.  I am exactly what the Charter envisioned.  And yes, I am sure that even with the shortage of speech pathologists running around, Dave Linzey can find a contract agency to send him a speech path who will just deliver speech therapy, but they will not do what I do.     This RIF is a direct retaliation for my voice at public meetings which this Board and Dave Linzey have more than earned.

So, I am appealing to you because I believe that the Board’s decisions are ultimately responsible for the success of the Charter.  If the Charter fails, it is because the Board has failed.  Historically, this Board has done exactly Dave’s bidding without question or research (you can always call the SELPA to get more information) and that is why we are in the present predicament.  I am an integral part of the Special Education Program and as a Charter you should know that if this program fails, the Charter can be revoked.  So, if you do nothing else, share the concern of this email and be the voice of conversation.  That is all any of us have ever asked for and that is why people have been vocal- because we wanted to be heard.   I will say to you again,  my unique ability to cross the “job description” line and get the job done for all students,  regardless of their station in life, is the embodiment of what we thought this charter could be.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie C. Arbour

MDUSD Sends Additional Complaints to CC County Board of Education Alleging Additional Violations of the Charter

Karen Sakata Ltr re CVCHS 3-5-15

Clayton Valley Charter High School allegedly violates contractual obligations with Mt. Diablo Unified .


Karen Sakata Ltr re CVCHS 3-5-15_Page_1Karen Sakata Ltr re CVCHS 3-5-15_Page_2Karen Sakata Ltr re CVCHS 3-5-15_Page_3Karen Sakata Ltr re CVCHS 3-5-15_Page_4

Barnidge: Discontent turns to investigations at Clayton Valley Charter High


If you subscribe to the notion that smoke is a telltale sign of fire, things must be getting uncomfortably warm for the leadership at Clayton Valley Charter High School, where cinders are floating in the air.

The Contra Costa District Attorney is investigating the school’s governing body for possible Brown Act violations — secret meetings and backroom deals. The county Office of Education has launched a 13-point investigation spanning governance, personnel, financial and conflict-of-interest issues.

This comes on the heels of an online petition, supported by more than 500 signatures, calling for the removal of Executive Director David Linzey. The only way this looks any worse is if the state attorney general shows up alongside FBI agents.

If third-party scrutiny comes as a mild surprise, the accusations of wrongdoing do not. A group calling itself Stakeholders for Transparency — made up of Clayton Valley teachers, parents and community members — has questioned the school’s leadership, decision-making and direction for nearly a year.

They say Linzey routinely berates and disrespects teachers, which may explain why three of them quit in the middle of this school year. They say he’s played fast and loose with finances, which beg to be reviewed by an independent auditor. They say the school board, led by President Ted Meriam, has been molded to do the executive director’s bidding, any dissidents weeded out. Among those was former administrator Pat Middendorf, who was fired last year.

One especially curious coincidence: At the same time 27 of 40 full-time, permanent teachers signed a vote of no-confidence in the administration, the board awarded Linzey a three-year contract at an annual salary of $204,000. So teachers’ opinions don’t matter?

Through it all, Linzey has defended himself, denying any malfeasance. He and Meriam cite the findings of a third-party investigator exonerating him of all accusations.

To this point, Linzey and the board also have received support from Clayton city leaders. That may be wavering after Monday night’s Council meeting — an informal session with trustees of the Mount Diablo Unified School District — during which Clayton Valley stakeholders vented their displeasure.

One parent said flatly that the charter is “imploding,” explaining that the collaborative effort so reliant on teacher buy-in has been “hijacked” by people in power. Another parent asserted that teachers who initially made the charter effort successful are being forced out for cheaper hires. A mother said that when her son turns high-school age, he will not attend Clayton Valley unless the board and executive director are changed. And a Clayton Valley student, who thanked council members for listening to her worries about teachers fleeing, said, “You guys have shown more compassion in paying attention to me in one night that I’ve seen from the entire Clayton Valley Charter board.”

But the strongest words came from MDUSD board President Cheryl Hansen, after listening quietly to parents’ and students’ concerns.

“This charter is suffering from exactly what Mt. Diablo Unified suffered from several years ago,” she said, “and that was malicious, ineffective, bad, divisive leadership. As a decades-long educator and former high school principal, I am devastated by this. It cannot continue. It’s dysfunctional.”

Though she said she doesn’t necessarily support blowing everything up, Clayton Councilwoman Julie Pierce said of Hansen’s words, “I couldn’t agree with you more. There are big problems.”

The smoke keeps billowing.

By Tom Barnidge Contra Costa Times Columnist

Contact Tom Barnidge at tbarnidge@bayareanewsgoup.com.