This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.
Mt. Diablo special education Administrator Carolyn Patton has posted a special education update on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) blog, reiterating the district's previous commitment to hold parent meetings in September to discuss transportation changes. However, the update does not list any times, dates or locations for these meetings.
The post also links to updated Frequently Asked Questions. Here is the first question and answer regarding the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) transportation report:
Q: "When will the final report be available?"
A: "We have received and released the draft report. We do not have a final report, but it will be released when received."
This is very interesting, since the district has not publicly presented the draft report to the CAC or board. In fact, Trustee Cheryl Hansen said she has not received it. So, it's unclear what is meant by: "We have received and released the draft report."
Here is the final question and answer, along with an e-mail address where parents can send additional questions:
A: "District administrators were provided training on transportation as a related service. The district is providing door to door for all eligible students. On Jan. 7, the district plans to change to our cluster model. Before the change occurs, parents and school staff will be notified where and when the bus stops will occur for each child. Cluster points is (sic) most cases will be at the child's school of residence.
If your question was not addressed above please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your question. Common questions and responses will be posted on this page."
Unfortunately, the response does not say when parents will be informed about bus stops, except that it will be before they go into effect on Jan. 7.
On Aug. 21, I received two e-mails from CAC Chairwoman Lorrie Davis in response to questions I had about how information is being distributed to parents, after Patton told the board on Aug. 20 that she had spoken with the CAC about this.
Here's what Davis wrote in the first email:
"I have been asking Carolyn a lot of questions and she said she would get back to me this week. This is what I know so far:
At the CAC meeting on September 4 Carolyn will recap what has occurred, as she did to the board members ...
She requested a Transportation section be added to the district website but it hasn't been done so we are going to set something up on the CAC blog ... We were waiting for the FCMAT report to be presented before the parent meetings were set up because, until procedures/policies are approved, how do you know what to tell parents? We have now decided to set the dates so parents have ample time to arrange child care. We will definitely have the dates by the September 4 CAC meeting.
I keep stating to Carolyn and staff that parents just need to be informed.
When Carolyn provides me with the info, we will send it out as quickly as possible."
True to her word, Davis posted the information promptly when Patton provided it.
I also asked Davis if she knew when the final FCMAT Transportation Report would be completed. Here's what she wrote in her second e-mail:
"I asked the Superintendent again on Monday (Aug. 20) and he explained there were still corrections to be completed on the Transportation draft report. He could not give me a definite answer as to when the reports would be distributed."
Do you believe that the district has "released" the draft FCMAT Transportation Report?
Reader (excerpted) response:
G says: "If Lawrence's Oops release to you of the draft report counts ... then yes, they've released it.
What seems most interesting here is the district says it is waiting for 'corrections' while FCMAT is saying there won't be much in the way of 'corrections.'
Are we witnessing a 'high noon' stand off between Lawrence and (Bill) Gillaspie?"
[Editor's note: Gillaspie is FCMAT's chief administrative officer]