The Impact of Charter Enrollment Preferences

My colleague Carrie Du Bois asked an interesting question at our last Board meeting: how many children on the Federal free and reduced price lunch program are enrolled at CLC? Carrie often asks about this issue, and not just as regards CLC. She’s concerned impoverished children, who are the main beneficiaries of the program, are often overlooked when education issues are debated. She would like to see that situation rectified.

Neither staff nor the other trustees knew the answer. But it sparked an explanation from Chris Mahoney which she found confusing and which I’ve heard from a number of people at CLC. Carrie sought my perspective on it, which can be summed up in a few words: it’s incorrect and/or misleading.

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Chris Mahoney’s Raise

A couple of weeks ago a comment was made at a GC meeting which incorrectly characterized a situation involving the Director of the CLC, Chris Mahoney. The speaker also characterized the superintendent, and I believe the Board, as acting with some degree of malice in their handling of the situation.

(additional commentary appended 2/19/2011 17:46)

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A Correction

I made a mistake in an earlier posting that grew out of my attending the recent CLC community meeting (

In that earlier post I used Chris Mahoney’s name not having been submitted to the Board by the GC as one example of a shift by CLC’s leadership to maximize their freedom of action. That was a mistake.

Chris’ name was submitted, and approved by the Board (I saw a copy of the relevant minutes last night). What appears to have caused the confusion for District staff, which is where I got my information,  was that there was no contract included with the submission. I take responsibility for drawing the erroneous conclusion.

Chris’ “nonhiring” cannot be an example of anything since his name was, in fact, submitted to and approved by the Board. I apologize for the error.

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Measure D Renewal Is a Go!!

The Board just voted to put a renewal of the District’s June 2003 parcel tax before San Carlos voters in a mail-only ballot this coming Spring!

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CLC the 501(c)3

I’d like to clarify an issue related to CLC’s conversion to a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.

When people talk about “CLC” they frequently blur the line between what I’ll call “CLC the school” and “CLC the entity that operates the school”. That’s been particularly easy to do historically because there wasn’t much, if any, practical difference between the two entities. “CLC the entity that operates the school” didn’t exist as a legal entity. Which was fine so far as charter school law was concerned – there’s no requirement that a charter petition be filed by a legal entity. Charter petitions can be – and in the early days many were – simply filed by a group of like-minded individuals who want to set up a school and can demonstrate they meet the requirements set forth in the law.

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CLC Community Meeting

Last night I attended a CLC community meeting whose subject matter could best be described as “how should CLC move forward?” What follows are my general impressions, and some specific reactions to what I heard.

Bottom-line, I don’t envy the CLC Governance Council’s situation at this point in time. There are some significant potential changes to CLC in the offing, but – for perfectly understandable reasons – the broader CLC community appears unclear about what it all means. I applaud the GC for their outreach effort, but I think there’s a lot more education that needs to take place.

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More Blueberries

Yesterday’s blueberry post generated a good deal of feedback and discussion, most of which (unfortunately :() did not show up on the blog.

One piece of “off blog” feedback that I thought particularly insightful came from a long-time educational leader I know. It’s reproduced below, with minor editing for clarity, with permission:

I agree with and really like your analysis re governments by definition needing to serve heterogeneous groups, where as market economies do not… and in fact are rewarded for narrowing the field.

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The Blueberry Story

Based on a little googling this appears to be a true story, which the author/CEO admits to having modified slightly from the actual events. I got it from one of my nieces, who is a teacher.

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Reversing Some Cutbacks: Thanks, SCEF!

At last night’s meeting the Board unanimously approved two recommendations made by staff. The first will add back one hour per day of librarian technician time at each site during the current school year. The second reinstated the funding cut from this year’s elementary music program.

These changes were made possible as a result of the Foundation significantly exceeding its fundraising goal for the 2009/2010 school year.

Instead of the $1.3 million the Foundation initially expected to raise, or the $1.5 million they thought they could raise, they actually ended up raising over $1.7 million. This was a tremendous achievement, and a testimonial to what a community committed to public education can achieve under an exceptionally well-run volunteer fundraising organization.

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Don’t You Just Love Robocalls?

For the second night in a row my family and I, like apparently every other Sequoia Union High School District family, were woken up at 12:15 AM by a robocall reminding us that SUHSD has implemented a new registration process.

Personally, I am about ready to boycott that registration process, just to make the point that I really value a good night’s sleep.

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