CONCORD -- The Mt. Diablo school board on Monday appointed a district administrator in a 4-1 vote and appeared to reverse its previous commitment to holding community meetings.

Trustees voted to appoint Ygnacio Valley High Principal Bill Morones as director of secondary education effective July 1. Trustee Cheryl Hansen opposed the appointment, saying Morones has moved so often during the past six years that it is unclear whether he can show a strong record of achievement.

Morones was appointed principal of Ygnacio Valley High two years ago. The school's Academic Performance Index, which is based on student test scores, rose 7 points in 2011, from 665 to 672 on a scale of 200-1,000.

The board also agreed to hold two of six originally scheduled "public input meetings," although board President Sherry Whitmarsh said she believed they could be part of regular meetings rather than separate meetings in the community. But Hansen said incorporating them into the regular sessions would defeat the goal of allowing for a public dialogue with the board.

In February, the board agreed to hold community meetings, but was later advised by General Counsel Greg Rolen that they might violate the Brown Act if they discussed items not on the agenda. Since then, the board has discussed different proposed agenda topics, without agreeing to any.


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At Monday's meeting, Whitmarsh agreed to discuss the draft strategic plan, but said Hansen's other proposed topics -- Bay Point school planning, Measure C bond construction projects and the "state of the district" -- were too vague or could be handled through other processes. Trustee Gary Eberhart said he wants to vote June 25 on eliminating the other planned public input meetings, but Hansen said she wants to push forward with them.

After the Monday meeting, union representatives expressed disappointment in the board's discussion.

"It's completely destroyed the original intent of the board," said Mike Langley, the outgoing teachers' union president who is retiring this month. "If they didn't intend to have those town hall discussions, they should have voted them down. Instead, through double-talk and subterfuge, they managed to delay it to the end of the year and then drive a stake through its heart."

Debbie Hickey, a clerical employees' union rep, said the board's reluctance to hold community meetings gives the impression the district has something to hide.

ONLINE
More information about the Mt. Diablo school board meeting is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or by going to http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on June 4.
For additional details, including links to video clips, read the On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/
onassignment.