CONCORD -- The Mt. Diablo school board met in closed session for the third time Tuesday night to consider the dismissal of two contract employees but did not take any action.

Many people believed trustees were discussing the possible release of Superintendent Steven Lawrence and General Counsel Greg Rolen, because three of the five school board trustees have said publicly that they wanted a change in top administration.

During the first closed session March 27, trustees took action that was not disclosed. Then Board President Cheryl Hansen said trustees needed to agree about hiring an outside legal counsel before they could hold their second closed session.

They voted 3-2 April 8 to spend up to $20,000 on an outside attorney for general services, then agreed in an April 11 closed session to give unspecified direction to staff.

Hansen said the Tuesday session would be a continuation of these discussions. Although previous agendas listed the proposed actions as discipline, dismissal or release, Tuesday's agenda specifically stated that trustees would consider the dismissal of two employees.

There were no public speakers voicing support for either Lawrence or Rolen before the closed session, as there had been at the last few meetings. Four members of the public spoke at the April 11 meeting, including two in support of both the superintendent and general counsel, one in support of the superintendent and one who cautioned the board to consider its decision carefully.


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Lawrence and Rolen were not present for an earlier portion of the meeting, when trustees adopted a revised version of the district's strategic plan.

Hansen, Vice President Barbara Oaks and Trustee Brian Lawrence have all said they wanted to seek new administrative leadership. Hansen said after the meeting that she expected the board would have another closed session next week.

In other business, the trustees reported that they finalized a set of "goals, expectations and core values" to guide staff in ongoing negotiations with unions representing teachers and other employees.

Theresa Harrington covers education. Reach her at 925-945-4764 or tharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.