Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Needed: EIR for PAC

               Warning Posted at CHS: 
    Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock

First Posted Jan 2014
The remaining Measure A bond money--$4 million--has been obligated by the CUSD board of Trustees to build a Performing Arts Center on the Calaveras High School campus.

The public, however, has yet to see an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) that verifies the absolute feasibility for a PAC (Performing Arts Center) to be built at that location.

Posted as a Reminder

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Independent "Outside Entity"?


If Specialist Carson has recently spent time on the Jenny Lind Elementary school campus, the question must be raised: is he there to protect and defend Calaveras Unified (financially), or is he there as an objective outside entity with the sole purpose of protecting the health and well-being of the Jenny Lind Elementary students and staff?

Needed for Hire: An Independent “Outside Entity”
--No Ties, Please--

 In reference to a mold and moisture issue at Jenny Lind Elementary, a school district administrator recently stated that “Further analysis, from an outside entity determined the level of mold was not a health/safety risk…however the three classrooms in question were no longer used as a precaution.”  Sierra SentinelMay 7, 2012

 By definition, what is an “outside entity?” Terms “third party” and “outside source” have also been recently used.
Outside: not belonging to or connected with a specified institution, society.
Entity: being or existence, especially when considered as distinct, independent, or self-contained.
Third Party: is often used to refer to a person or entity who is not involved in an interaction or relationship.

Now, with these definitions in mind, let’s look closely at the relationship between Calaveras Unified School District and The Tuolumne Joint Powers Authority (also referred to as JPA) and you can decide if the term “outside entity” or “third party” is being used accurately.


What is the …
Tuolumne Joint Powers Authority (JPA)?
According to MyMotherlode.com (Aug. 13, 2010): “Tuolumne County Superintendents formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to self insure...pooling their risk and the expense of insurance programs for their schools. Since that time other counties joined in to make the Tuolumne JPA more solid and sound financially. [Tuolumne] JPA insures 19 school districts in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, and Tuolumne counties. Today we insure districts for their property and liability programs, Haz Mat and Asbestos services, as well as workers compensation.”  http://www.mymotherlode.com/community/blogs/1115482/Tuolumne-JPA.html

If you follow and explore the links provided below you discover what appears to be an obvious conflict of interest between the Tuolumne JPA (which protects and backs) Calaveras Unified School District (as well as other school districts) against financial loss and liability, and their third party/outside entity used as a risk management resource. Prichard Safety and Health is a property and liability loss control provider with the unique purpose of protecting the School District from catastrophic financial loss. Under this arrangement, Prichard Safety and Health is not protecting the students, teachers, and support staff—they are protecting CUSD from catastrophic financial loss.

Superintendent Campbell sits on the very JPA committee that oversees these liability issues. This arrangement does not appear to be in the best interest of the Calaveras educational community—students, teachers, parents, and support staff. Doug Carson of Prichard Safety and Health (a Safety Specialist who does environmental assessments and inspections for CUSD) is often presented to the public as an “outside entity,” which should make him an independent and objective service provider—no ties to the parties involved. However, a true third party/outside entity would not be named and listed on the same website (Tuolumne JPA) as the CUSD Superintendent. One man is on a committee to evaluate possible liability and loss; the other is on the ground (or in the classroom) protecting the school district against risk management and financial loss. Again, who is representing and protecting the children? We know who is protecting CUSD; Prichard Safety and Health represents (backs CUSD) … For the record, Prichard Safety and Health also backs (protects) Merced Unified School District against catastrophic financial loss. I have never met Mr. Doug Carson; however, I believe he has a number of credentials behind his name:  

LCS: Loss Control Specialist                  CPSI: Certified Playground Safety Inspector
CAC: Certified Access Consultant              CSP: Certified Safety Specialist

Unfortunately, the credential that stands out the most (as it pertains to his position and standing with CUSD and JPA) is LCS—Loss Control Specialist; that would be financial loss. I am wondering who pays his salary? More than likely, Doug Carson is paid by Prichard Safety and Health. Who, then, pays Prichard Safety and Health? In whose best interest are they operating? If they are being financed by Tuolumne JPA are they really an “outside entity” with the best (objective) interest of the JLE students and staff? If Specialist Carson has recently spent time on the Jenny Lind Elementary school campus, the question must be raised: is he there to protect and defend Calaveras Unified (financially), or is he there as an objective outside entity with the sole purpose of protecting the health and well-being of the Jenny Lind Elementary students and staff?
Please do not take my word as the final say in this matter; but only as a starting point.  My only goal is to point out information that is already public and readily available. If you follow and explore the links below you can decide if the terms “outside entity” and “third party” are accurately and properly used. Keep in mind …
Outside: not belonging to or connected with a specified institution, society.
Entity: being or existence, especially when considered as distinct, independent, or self-contained.
Third Party: is often used to refer to a person or entity who is not involved in an interaction or relationship.

Tuolumne Joint Powers Authority  Home Page

Committees of Tuolumne JPA
     Superintendent Mark Campbell sits on the Risk Management/Loss Control Committee
Property and Liability

Risk Management Questions and Resources
     Prichard Safety and Health (Terri Prichard & Doug Carson) listed resource.
Property and Liability: Resources and Loss Control Services (2011-2012)

JPA Agreement and Bylaws (revised July 2011)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Aged Portables & Water Damaged Classrooms: SBS or BRI?

The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.

 The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building.

In contrast, the term "building related illness" (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.

Indoor Air Facts No. 4 (revised)
Sick Building Syndrome

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Planning Deferred: Direction Needed


After attending the CUSD board meeting on June 26, one could easily ask if the trustees and the district administrators are realistically planning and preparing for the future; for an economy (and budget) that will continue to seriously and rapidly decline.

The superintendent has submitted his own name as the project manager for the construction of the performing arts center (along with Mike Merrill and Ric Stit) none of whom have any experience in managing a large-scale building project (or building in general). One could easily think (or consider) … if these administrators have enough time to act as construction project managers, then they have too much time, and we are paying them way too much for their current positions. If this project ever comes to reality there will be a need for a project manager; previous projects (without project managers) have not gone well—the pool at Calaveras HS and the turf field at Toyon Middle School. However, school administrators, with no background or experience in commercial building or construction, should not play the part of project managers; the construction company would surely take advantage (financially) of their lack of knowledge and experience.

Unfortunately, even with severe financial uncertainty, CUSD has put the performing arts center on track to be a corner stone building project (making use of the remaining bond money …. and keeping promises to those who supported the idea of a performing arts center--as the ultimate reason for acquiring the bond). The likelihood, however, of a performing arts center is very suspect: there really isn’t enough money to maintain it, let alone to build it.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Merrill: “We have significant difficulty maintaining the facilities we already have.” May 22, 2012—Recordnet.com. "To Be or Not to Be"

Furthermore, the reality is that there will probably be no one to perform at (or in) the performing arts center. The discussion came up during the board meeting concerning what programs would have to be cut as budgets and funds continue to be depleted. Should there be a list, a strategic plan, or cuts across the board? Unfortunately, we all know what will be at the top of the cut list: fine arts programs, like band, choir, drama, and art. The Athletic programs will probably withstand the first and original cuts; they have always had protection over fine arts programs.

The logic, then, is this:
if the funds aren’t there to build it (or maintain it),
and the fine arts programs won’t exist to actually use it ….
Why waste community time, money ($1.2 million), and energy to chase after it?

Rather than a performing arts center, why not invest (time, money, and energy) into the current issues at hand; issues that effect our students, teachers, and support staff on a daily basis:

  1. A cafeteria/kitchen facility at Toyon Middle School (so students will no longer have to wait in line in the rain to get their food).
  2. Replace aged portables at Jenny Lind Elementary with new classrooms (Cal/OSHA is currently investigating JLE for environmental issues and complaints primarily due to the aged portables)
  3. Repair stucco and roof damage on classroom buildings at JLE
  4. Renovate the JLE classroom overhangs (stucco buildings) to discourage Cliff Swallow nesting—currently a health and safety hazard.
  5. Renovate the Toyon Gym overhang to discourage Cliff Swallow nesting—currently a health and safety hazard.
  6. Renovate the Mokelumne Hill classroom buildings (overhangs with stucco dropping/separating from overhead) currently braced by 4x4s and a safety hazard.
True leadership would invest in day to day (functional) projects that maintain CUSD as a safe, healthy, and viable learning institution. A strategic plan for the future needs to be in place; and it needs to be made public. Right now it seems like the plan is to wait and see how bad things get … and then (in the chaos of the moment) decide what should be the best and appropriate thing to do. True leaders don’t wait for the catastrophic storm to come to them--forcing decisions to be made off the cuff and in a panic. True leaders plan ahead; they have strategic plans already in place to weather any and all fast approaching storms. The ultimate catastrophe will probably not be the storm, but rather the lack of planning prior to the storm.

Parent Checklist for School Health

Does your child have any of these symptoms?

SMH Parent Checklist for School Health
The Center for School Mold Help

Concentration/Memory problems
Breathing problems
Health improves at home
Bleeding/Irritated sinuses
Fatigue/Extremely tired
Often sick/Long recoveries
Hair Loss
Recent on-set/Worsened asthma 
Skin rashes/Flushing
Learning problems/ADD/ADHD
Sore throats
Trouble sleeping
Sudden allergies
Vision/Hearing problems
Weakness/Sore muscles
Stomach cramps

They can be signs of dangerous, mold-related illnesses

                      Spotting Evidence of Mold Problems in your School

 Outside Issues  
Broken or missing gutters 
Built on swampy or lowland site 
Cracks or mold/algae growth (windows & exterior) 
Improper or inadequate drainage 
Planter boxes or roof gardens 
Portable buildings with no foundation or proper venting 
Roof leaks or older flat roof 
Signs of past flooding 
Sprinklers too close to buildings 
Window leaks, cracked/bubbling paint
White mineral deposits on brick exteriors 

Inside Issues

Damp or musty smells
Evidence of roof or plumbing leaks

Hot and cold rooms
HVAC system: dirty on or near vents
No fresh air or excessive humidity over 60%
Sick students and staff
Stained, missing, or moldy ceiling tiles
Visible mold of any type or damp areas
Water-damaged or stained carpets
Standing water near HVAC intake
Water stains/streaks on walls or baseboards


Asthma afflicts 6.3 million children, at a cost of almost 2 billion (EPA

One-half of our nation’s 115,000 schools have problems linked to indoor air quality (EPA).

Indoor air pollution (including bacteria, molds, and mildew) consistently ranks among the top five environmental risks to public health (EPA).

Children are at risk to develop a variety of upper and lower respiratory and other diseases from moldy or damp indoor environments (IOM, 2004).

Bacteria and fungi can cause allergic responses, non-allergic, toxic, and inflammatory effects (IOM, 2004).

SMH Parent Checklist for School Health
The Center for School Mold Help

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kindergarten Wisdom: Sacred Truths

"All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten"
by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Education to get $10B

7:11 PM PST Jan 08, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —"Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for nearly $10 billion more in education spending in his 2014-15 state budget, which was leaked to the media on Wednesday."

"The $11 billion in debt-reduction includes $6 billion in payments that had been deferred to schools and nearly $4 billion to pay down the so-called economic recovery bonds left over from administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."

"In addition to the $3.9 billion boost for K-12 education, by far the largest part of the general fund, the University of California, California State University systems and California Community Colleges will receive a total of $1.1 billion. About half the money would go to the community college system, which is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years."

"In its budget document, the administration said the extra higher education spending should be accompanied by reforms that improve student success and make the institutions run more efficiently."

Other spending includes:

"- $815 million for critical deferred maintenance in state parks, highways, local streets and roads, K-12 schools, community colleges, courts, prisons, state hospitals, and other state facilities."


The Cost of Toxic Leadership

Detoxifying a Toxic Leader 
by Krista Henley, M.A., LMFT

As an esteemed colleague once said, “consider the red ink.” Red ink is the cost that quickly adds up when a leader (or manager) in your organization has such poor behavior and soft skills (the skills that build rapport and relationships in an environment of respect), that he or she creates a toxic environment. For example, a toxic leader may bark out orders without respect for the receiver, or present unpredictable moods that keep employees afraid and vigilant. The red ink flows when time, productivity, and spirit are drained slowly out of individuals who encounter these tough leadership and management styles.

If you consider the lost contributions never made by dispirited employees, plus the time spent overcompensating for and commiserating about the difficult leader, the costs are clear. In addition to the soft losses, you can price out the wasted time in terms of each person’s salary, and quickly you see enormous hard-dollar figures that become interpersonal red ink. What’s worse, you stand to lose high-value talent because of difficult management styles or a leader’s sloppy interpersonal behavior.

The purpose of this article is to detail simple actions to place toxic leaders – the cause of those red ink problems – onto a path toward healing, before their relationships with their staff and peers are permanently crippled by the negative impact of their poor leadership skills.

Krista Henley’s company, Inside-Out Communications, specializes in customized executive and team leadership coaching programs (henley@cruzio.com).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nine Students Suing the State

By Mary C. Tillotson
January 6, 2014

"California’s laws surrounding teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs violate the state’s constitution — specifically, students’ right to an equal opportunity to access quality education — say nine students suing the state. The trial is set to begin Jan. 27."

"If they win, the effects could ripple across the country."
“I think any time that you see a genuine reform in California, you empower reformers everywhere in the country who realize if you can actually fix something like that in California, you can fix it anywhere,” said Ed Ring, executive director of the California Public Policy Center."
"Plaintiffs argue that minority and poor students are most in need of effective teachers and least likely, in California, to be taught by them."
“Research has shown that inside the school building, nothing matters more than the quality of the teachers,” said Sandi Jacobs, vice president for National Council on Teacher Quality. “An effective teacher and a highly effective teacher make a really significant difference in the trajectory of their students, and the same is true in the negative capacity for an ineffective teacher.”

"Other factors, like parents’ level of education, are also correlated with student performance, but as far as factors schools can control, teacher quality matters more than any other variable, she said."
“Ineffective teachers are entrenched in California’s public school system,” according to a press release issued by Students Matter, which is sponsoring the case. “The superintendents of many school districts affirm that their districts are beleaguered by grossly ineffective teachers and attribute the continued employment of these teachers to the challenged statutes.”

By Mary C. Tillotson
January 6, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Health Effects of Mold

Mold can cause adverse reactions in humans. There are various entry routes that may allow mold egress into the body.

How Mold Can Affect the Respiratory System:
The human respiratory system is comprised of your nose, mouth, lungs, trachea, and esophagus. The human nose contains cilia (tiny hairs) and mucous membranes which are designed to catch foreign objects and prevent them from entering further into the respiratory system. The trachea works in a similar manner to catch foreign objects. The lungs contain bronchioles which then lead to many small air sacks. These air sacks distribute air into your blood stream. Mold can cause sneezing, excess mucous production, stuffy sinusitis, and other unpleasant affects. Some mycotoxins (toxins produced by some molds) can cause bleeding lungs and nose. Mold can also be ingested through the mouth down the esophagus into the stomach.

How Mold Can Affect the Human Nervous System:
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves comprise the human nervous system. Your brain interprets the feedback from the nerves via our senses and processes this information. Humans then react to this information and behavior in a particular manner. The spinal cord is the information relay center. The medulla also controls breathing and heartbeat. Some nerves communicate sensory information while others help your muscles move a certain direction. Mold can cause memory loss, tremors, numbness, and profound mood or personality changes.

The Vascular Affects of Mold:
The heart, blood, and blood vessels comprise the human vascular system. The heart pumps blood throughout the body via arteries, vessels, and capillaries. Arteries take blood away from the heart and veins bring the blood back to the heart. Infection caused by sufficient mold exposure can also adversely change white cells counts while a person is ill.

Mold’s Effects on Skin:
Skin is the largest organ in the human body and prevents the entry of germs into open tissue. The skins is comprised of 3 layers: the dermis (middle layer), epidermis (top layer), and subcutaneous fat (protective layer). Mold can cause skin rashes, swelling, welts, itching, and pain. People react differently to the same/similar exposure level and time. In addition, repeat exposure to mold can cause some people’s bodies to become even more reactive with each additional exposure.

Toxic Reactions: Health Problems That May Be Caused By Mold Exposure. The Health Effects of Mold Exposure can be as follows:
•Runny Nose
•Irritated Eyes
•Migraines and Headaches
•Sore Throat
•Memory Loss
•Chronic Fatigue
•Carcinogenic Effects
•Bleeding in Lungs

Master Tech Environmental

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dear Daughters

First Posted Oct. 2012
Dear Daughters,

I feel I must let you know why I have chosen to run for school board. Because two of you are students at Calaveras High School is only a small part of the reason. Ideally, I have strong concerns for this school district—for students, families, teachers, and support staff. Even though your mother lost her health and professional dignity at the hands of the school district; I do not run for revenge. I run to make things better; so others won’t have to experience what we have. My eyes have been opened and I can’t deny what I have seen. Knowing what I know … I can’t walk away. My conscience won’t allow me. You must know that certain things actually cause me to be anxious and to lose many hours of sleep:

I don’t worry about winning or losing the election; I worry about small communities trying to hang onto their local schools only to loose the battle because of the district’s inability to make wise financial decisions.

I worry about students (compromised special education students) spending hundreds of hours in aged and deteriorating portables when there are other (healthier) classrooms available for use.

I fear there are employees being poorly evaluated; not because of their ability, but because they may speak up (with honesty) for what they believe is the best interest of a student.

I fear parents and families are not being fully and honestly informed of environmental health risks—like mold, moisture, and illnesses as they occur in aged portables and classrooms.

I fear that hard working employees will no longer be able to support their families.

My desire, honestly, is to make a difference and a positive change; this change would also impact you … as you are both currently students at Calaveras High School. As I focus on this challenge, I worry about the large amount of time that I will not be able to spend with you. I hope you will forgive me for being preoccupied. I believe you understand my concerns and fears, but I want you to hear it from me. There are some things that you can’t walk away from; sometimes you have to hold your ground, stand tall, and fight. And this, my daughters, is one of those times.

I love you--Daddy

Embattled Superintendent Resigns

“The record fairly reflects that as an overall matter, Mr. Thompson’s conduct since his hire in 2009 created a culture of fear and disrespect that has led to distrust and dysfunction,” investigators wrote in response to one woman’s complaints.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/19/6014222/embattled-san-juan-unified-superintendent.html#storylink=cpy

Embattled San Juan Unified superintendent resigns
Published: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 - 9:42 am

San Juan superintendent seen as bully, reformer
By Loretta Kalb and Phillip Reese
Published: Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 - 3:49 pm

San Juan school district to investigate complaints against superintendent
Published: Thursday, May. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Saturday, May. 11, 2013 - 12:40 pm

Friday, January 3, 2014