CONCORD -- Although the Mt. Diablo school board rejected the Clayton Valley High charter petition in a 4-1 vote Tuesday, both sides want to discuss problems that led to the campaign.

Clayton Mayor David Shuey said the charter committee expects to submit its appeal to the Contra Costa County Board of Education in the next few days, and a public hearing would be held within two months.

However, he agreed with a suggestion made by trustee Lynne Dennler to form a committee to examine the underlying causes of the rift between the school community and the district.

"I thought Lynne Dennler's comments were dead-on," he said Wednesday. "The district needs to look at what caused these teachers to want to leave and what has caused an entire community to rally around those teachers. Clearly, there is a huge trust issue and a huge transparency issue."

The charter's financial plan was sound, Shuey said, despite the district's chief financial officer's conclusion that the charter had overestimated revenue, which could result in a negative cash flow.

Board President Gary Eberhart said it must still prepare to cut about $1.8 million from its budget in case the charter wins approval. He also said he agreed with Dennler's idea of tackling problems at schools.

"I would encourage the district and the charter organizers to work together on a process that continues to address some of the grievances," he said. "It's not going to change their ability to appeal the decision we made. The only thing that can come from this is good for the students and the parents. And I think it can't happen fast enough. I think it needs to happen immediately."


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The district may also create an independent committee to determine the ultimate financial effect of the charter, Superintendent Steven Lawrence told the board. About 40 people spoke at Tuesday's meeting, with nearly two dozen supporting the charter, about a dozen against it and five people urging the board to consider the entire district, without specifically opposing the charter.

Northgate Principal John McMorris urged the charter organizers to work within the district for the changes they want, similar to the way he worked with dissatisfied parents when he came to Northgate about four years ago.

Dennler and trustee Cheryl Hansen initially supported the charter by voting to approve it without conditions. The motion was defeated.

Dennler said the district needs to examine why the Clayton Valley community wants to sever its relationship with the district. Hansen then moved to deny the charter so organizers could appeal to the county.

But she was the lone vote against her own motion, saying she supported the charter and did not think people should be afraid of change.

Trustee Linda Mayo said her vote to deny the petition was based on the financial analysis. She also said the educational program was not innovative.

ONLINE:
  • More information about the Clayton Valley High charter petition is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or by visiting http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on Nov. 8 and choose item 14.1.
  • Additional details are at https://sites.google.com/site/claytonvalleycharterhighschool and in the On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment.