Mystery Education Theater 3000

Tag: WCCUSD (page 1 of 6)

WCCUSD Construction Whistleblower Docs

Dennis Clay, project analyst in the district for 11 years, blew the whistle on alleged improprieties in the West Contra Costa Unified School District construction program in April of this year. I posted the contents of his submitted DVD and related files online here:

It’s almost July and still no clear definition of the forensic audit to be conducted from the school board, but at least it hasn’t been swept under the rug—not completely at least.



WCCUSD BOE Election: Main Institutional Endorsements

There are 10 candidates running for 3 seats on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education. 2 incumbents are running; Charles Ramsey is not running for re-election.

One aspect of the campaign process is getting endorsements from various organizations and the main local paper. Just like I did in 2012, here is the current scorecard:

El Cerrito Democratic Club (0)
Central Labor Council (2)XX
County Democratic Party (3)XXX
Local One (4)XXXX
Contra Costa Times (3)XXX
SFER Action Network - West Contra Costa (2)XX
CCSA Advocates (2)XX

The Candidates

  1. CHESTER R. STEVENS (Hercules)
  2. MISTER PHILLIPS (Richmond)
  3. ELIZABETH “LIZ” BLOCK (El Cerrito)
  6. VALERIE CUEVAS (Richmond)
  7. ELAINE MERRIWEATHER (Richmond, Incumbent)
  8. RAQUEL DONOSO (Richmond)
  10. MADELINE KRONENBERG (El Cerrito, Incumbent)

The Endorsers

  1. The Democratic Party is pretty much The Party in West County. The El Cerrito Democratic Club has been an active party club in the district for a long time. (New ones for Hercules and West County have started.) Endorsements require a 60% threshold, which may explain the lack of any endorsement this time.
  2. The Central Labor Council is the county version of the AFL-CIO. They are connected through the construction program for the school and the unions for employees. They are a big “door hanger” presence, too.
  3. The county Democratic Party has an elected Central Committee. As I was saying, the Democratic Party is The Party around here.
  4. The United Teachers of Richmond (UTR)  is the district’s teachers’ union.
  5. Public Employees Union, Local One is the union for most of the non-teacher employees in WCCUSD.
  6. The Contra Costa Times is the local paper that pays the most attention to WCCUSD.
  7. SFER Action Network – West Contra Costa is a local summer-only student project of the Students for Educational Reform, a group some consider an “astroturf” group.
  8. CCSA Advocates is the advocacy arm of the California Charter Schools Association. It’s a state-wide organization, but some people are making them an issue at the local level this election.

Update: 10/16/2014

Public Comment Clips for WCCUSD BOE Meetings

Every West Contra Costa USD Board of Education meeting includes a segment for general public comment on non-agenda items. In the meetings I have attended, this can be an interesting direct insight into what people are thinking about. There are two problems with this:

  1. The minutes only show the names of speakers, not what they said.
  2. The speakers are called in order, not by what they are speaking about, so it can be hard to follow a single topic when listening.

As a solution to (1), I’ve started a project to clip out these public comment segments from WCCUSD board meeting archives and post to my YouTube channel. I’ve started working my way back and will continue to add to a playlist I’ve set up that contains all of these clips.

One Way to Create Video Clips from a Streaming Source

Regular WCCUSD school board meetings are televised and archived online on the City of Richmond Web site. These archived videos are playable through an embedded Windows media player. However, you might be interested in just one part of the meeting. To share it with others, you’d like to grab this part and post it to YouTube. How do you do it? There may be other ways, but here’s how I do it. Even though this is about processing a video file in an embedded Windows media player using a specific program, it should be adaptable to many other situations. Continue reading

The Elections Calendar Page

One of the static pages I’ve added to the blog is an elections calendar for standard election dates in California. As a spreadsheet it can dynamically update itself to show how many days to a deadline.

Here’s a concrete use for it. I know my school district (West Contra Costa USD) is thinking of putting a parcel tax on the ballot for June. By looking at the cut-off date and comparing it with the calendar for the district board meetings (in this case here), I can see that the school board has these regular meetings in which to vote for putting a parcel tax on the ballot for June 5:

February 15
March 7

March 7 is very close to the March 9 deadline, so a decision would likely occur on Feb. 15 or a special meeting.


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