Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Presumptuous and Controlling King

    Public comments at the CUSD School Board meeting May 5, 2015.

The premature vote to name the CUSD Performing Arts Center after ex-superintendent James Frost was more than just Presumptuous.

The first attempt never reflected the will of the people, but only Superintendent Campbell's very own personal point of view and preference.

The arrogance of the premature vote was, ideally, an abuse of power and position. From a citizen's point of view the Superintendent was acting as if he had a "privileged entitlement" to the naming of the Calaveras performing arts center.

It is my point of view, as well as many others, that Superintendent Campbell knew full well about the "PROCESS" of naming a district building. However, when Trustee Bowser had to dismiss herself due to a family emergency at the last meeting, Mr. Campbell (suddenly & unexpectedly) did not have the necessary 3 votes to capture the "premature" naming of the PAC.

If he had received the 3 votes, he would have kept the Frost name and apologized for the oversight: "too late to change it now," would have been the echo.

The Superintendent attempted to AGAIN circumvent the local education system to his advantage--like raises for office administrators (just "house-cleaning") and the so-called amphitheater "concept" vote for the 2nd PAC.

When it's all said and done ... It would have been too late to go back (we've heard it before): "the board already voted ... Can't go back and change it now!"

Shame on you Veteran Board Members & CSBA Vice President! Because you did not raise an eyebrow to stop or derail Mr. Campbell's attempt to force the name upon the district's tax-paying citizens, you are (again) accomplices to the Superintendent's abuse of power and position.

The CUSD administration can be honest ... (It is within their ability); however, when push comes to shove and there is an issue to be protected, the lines of integrity and honesty are quickly and easily blurred. This administration is too willing to do whatever it takes to keep their positions and priorities protected, even if that means lying, cheating, bullying, or deceiving.

You must take great pride in your ability to accomplish these deceptive votes & projects; however these very same "accomplishments" stand out as the very reasons the CUSD staff and community at large no longer trust you; you are too deceitful & deceptive in your capabilities & motives , Sir.

An enormous amount of craftiness, deception, and determination was used to get 2 CUSD office administrators large pay increases--$24K each. The same deceptive behavior was used to get the 2nd PAC passed.

I only wish ...

The superintendent was capable of using the same energy and determination to

1. Solve the JLE Special Ed crisis: an enormous need for 2 qualified teachers to serve the special needs students at JLE.

2. To keep small schools open.

3. To hire & retain highly qualified teachers and support staff

4. To attract and hire highly qualified directors and managers to the district office. Individuals that are independent and able to stand on their own professional merit, not relying on the teaching and internship of a a Superintendent.

5. To resolve to eliminate the bully epidemic in the district by vowing to recognize & eliminate bulling and aggressive behavior from your own interactions with others.

6. To demand dignity issues throughout the district to be rapidly resolved: such as the completion of a Toyon kitchen.

7. To work with all board members rather than spending thousands of tax-payer's dollars to defame and entrap those that have different priorities and points of view than your own.

8. And lastly, to bring educational solidarity to the district, rather than current and ongoing fracturing and infighting.

 In Conclusion:

You, Sir, are a controlling King, one who uses deception and fear to maintain power and position, and not a school superintendent who leads by upright character and professional resolve.

You are currently caught up in saving & protecting your own personal Kingdom; yes, it has boiled down to survival. But protecting your own Kingdom is not what a School Superintendent is called to do, especially through the use of deception and fear in order to gain & maintain one's own personal access & benefit of power and position.

And here, Sir, is where we currently stand: a community in need of a school superintendent, not a deceptive and highly feared King.

I ask you to resign, Sir. Your resignation would immediately allow new academic and educational life-blood to vibrantly flow through the students, staff, and communities of Calaveras County and CUSD. Please, Sir, step down and allow a new education life-blood to freely flow through the land

Monday, June 15, 2015

Calaveras Unified Veteran Trustees: A Letter of Concern

Letter of Concern Directed to the 3 Veteran Trustees of Calaveras Unified:

Trustee Bowsher
Trustee McDaniel
Trustee Reusche (Current CUSD Board President)

I believe the only way to save or turn around this faltering school district is for the three veteran school board members to change or drop their alliance & allegiance to the current Superintendent.

It is your consistent voting record (in lock step with the Superintendent) that provides evidence of your allegiance.

Veteran Trustees your loyalty has led to leadership by tyranny. We are tired of tyranny.

From a citizens point of view it is your loyalty and allegiance to Superintendent Campbell that is blocking change (positive & beneficial) from occurring in this district. You are ...

    Blocking Transparency
    Hindering District Unity
    Discouraging (and Defusing) Community Involvement & Trust
    Deflecting & Derailing Professional Growth & Collaboration (from inside & outside the district)

As a citizen (watching from the front row) it is obvious and clear, you 3 Veteran Trustees are gaining something from your present relationship with the Superintendent:

It has come to the point in your combined years of service that you 3 veteran Board Members have become OBLIGATED to vote in lock step with the Superintendent? You have become obligated to evaluate the Superintendent with your eyes closed to his serious and severe misdeeds and professional shortcomings. Your obligations keep you blind to your true duties as a school board member, which is to INDEPENDENTLY support and protect the students (and staff) of this district.

• Obligations to the Superintendent come in a variety forms:

Such as access to positions and employment, or when the Superintendent overlooks (and supports) a Trustee's past history of deceit and misrepresentation.

What you are gaining in the relationship with the superintendent leaves you in an obligated position--a position which a Trustee (an elected official) should never find themselves in. You, overall, must be obligated to the students, staff, and the community which elected you. Your allegiance should be first and foremost to your constituents, not to the Superintendent (your one employee).

Your job as a Trustee is NOT to befriend and protect the district superintendent.

You need to imagine a better, healthier, highly efficient school district; you are obligated to not only imagine, but to actively seek positive change during a district's time of need. That such time and conditions are heavily upon us. You should be actively seeking a positive change in leadership. By not doing so, you have been holding this district hostage to negative and destructive forces.

Don't continue down the "same old path." You have an obligation to stop the long term agony and suffering; to stop the financial chaos and the crisis in leadership; to stop the ridicule and negative perception that CUSD receives from surrounding school districts (hiring and then firing the same 8 teachers--within a week--has damaged this district for many years to come). CUSD has become a well known professional risk, fearfully avoided by most educators seeking to start a career.

This citizen is requesting that you withdraw your blinded allegiance to the Superintendent and instead fulfill your responsibility and obligation to the citizens and constituents of this district.

By doing so (by stepping outside your loyalty) there would be No more perfect (5.0) Superintendent Evaluations:
          • District issues need to be reflected in the Superintendent's evaluation:
          • Vote of "No Confidence" in Superintendent's ability to lead (by 74% of district teachers) must be reflected in the Superintendent's upcoming evaluation.

 If you are ignoring the issues (blinded to the reality of our current circumstances) you are not fulfilling the role for which you were elected.

Next CUSD Board Meeting June 16 (6:30PM)

 The next Calaveras Unified Board meeting will be Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

Closed session begins at 5 p.m. and open session at 6:30 p.m.

Meeting will be held at the District Administrative Offices Board Room.

CUSD Home Page          

Board Meeting Calendar

Board Members

Past Meeting Minutes

Recent District Happenings:

How Many CUSD School Board Meetings Have You Attended?

Next school board meeting is Tuesday, 

June 16, 2015 (6:30 pm) District Office 

I don't have a perfect record for attending school board meetings, however, over the last 3 years I have sat in on a large number of Calaveras Unified school board meetings (missing perhaps 5). I know who the Trustees are and how they tend to vote. I also know the district's strengths, weaknesses, and priorities. 

Because I am now better informed (more aware), I can honestly say that I don't agree with (or line up with) many of the district's priorities or spending practices. 

For these very reasons I have made school board meetings a priority in my life; there are certain times, however, I would rather not attend ... and I search for excuses to find something better or more important to do. Perhaps this sounds familiar to you? As you know, excuses are easy to come by; time and energy are valuable commodities. 

In the end, however, after I wrestle with my conscience, I usually manage to overcome my desire to navigate away from this important civic duty and resolve to attend yet another board meeting; recommitting my priority to become a better, more informed parent and citizen.

I assume most parents are like myself: time and energy are extremely limited; not enough hours in a day. That being said (and true) I still challenge you (as a parent and citizen) to make an attempt (or set a goal) to somehow attend a local school board meeting. Decisions are being made (every other Tuesday) that affect not only you, your child, and your checkbook, but the very community in which you live.

I truly hope to see you there--Allen Lujan

Taxes Anyone?

Tennis Courts--Bret Harte High School--Aug. 2013
“In Calaveras County, the revenue collected from property tax is distributed between four entities: school districts, the county, special districts and Angels Camp."

Tennis Courts--Calaveras High School--Aug. 2013

 "The school districts receive the brunt of that revenue with 67 percent of the collected taxes. The county receives 18 percent, special districts receive 14 percent and Angels Camp receives 1 percent.”

Property values to see minimal gains
By Stephen Crane
Calaveras Enterprise
Dec. 24, 2013

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Calaveras Unified CFO Unqualified to Navigate Slow-Approaching "Perfectly Visible Storm"


A “perfect storm,” consisting of a variety of factors (internal and external, specific to projected versus actual revenue and expenditures), all came together mid-June as part of the budget building process and have us where we are today
Calaveras Enterprise Opinion Page
Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 6:00 am
By Mark Campbell

A response to Superintendent Campbell's "Perfect Storm" ...

Unqualified and inadequately skilled "fiscal managers" (Calaveras Unified Superintendent, the Director of Fiscal Services, and an uninformed School Board--often left in the dark concerning fiscal "details") navigated the CUSD fiscal ship directly into the eye of a “PERFECTLY VISIBLE,” all-consuming storm; this fiscal disaster could have been avoided (or at least minimized with proper and adequate fiscal knowledge and preparation). Sorry, no sympathy here.  This was not a “Perfect Storm” of circumstances as CUSD Superintendent Campbell claims; unfortunately (especially for the community), the CUSD leadership is attempting to weather the community-destroying storm with the very same people who should have (and could have) avoided the storm in the first place. The Calaveras Unified CFO is not qualified; she is now receiving oversight from a highly-paid fiscal adviser (at tax-payer expense) and also from the County Office of Education CFO (Claudia Davis, Associate Superintendent of Business Services). That much backup and oversight is the first clue that something is seriously wrong.

 I am a teacher. And like all teachers, I set out daily to do my job independent of others having to double-check or manage my students and classroom affairs (because that is what I am paid to do). If 2 additional teachers (or managers) were overseeing my daily classroom management ... that would be evidence enough that I am no longer able to adequately do my job.

Or, perhaps, I could just explain away the increased oversight as necessary; due to a number of unforeseen and unexpected factors. The first and primary reason, of course, is that I'm the unfortunate victim of a "perfect storm" of circumstances. Hmmmm ... Being a victim doesn't fly to well in the professional teaching world; teachers everyday have to deal with "unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances."

The first order of business should be to replace the CFO with a fully qualified fiscal manager. Leaving the books in the same hands that ran the ship aground is a huge mistake and will only complicate and compound the current budget crisis even further.

Time for a new Calaveras Unified CFO; one who can not only see the storms as they are slowly approaching, but who can also navigate the fiscal ship away from harm and danger, and into safe and protected waters as need (and circumstance) arise.
 --Allen Lujan

Time to Condemn the TMS Food Service Trailer

Plywood over Trailer Window
In light of the accident that occurred yesterday in the TMS food service trailer, in which a CUSD food service employee was injured when a window fell out from an inside wall (due to severe dry-rot), its time to seriously consider condemning the aged food service trailer.

Superintendent Campbell has postponed the building of a TMS kitchen for several years. The promise of an adequate Toyon kitchen has been made (and broken) for a number of years.

Before another CUSD employee gets seriously injured or maimed, it is highly recommended that CUSD condemn the aged food service trailer and immediately invest in a kitchen facility at TMS that is safe and dignified.

After 18 years of documented health code violations, it is way past time for the Toyon food service facility (the "Hut" and"Trailer") to be closed and condemned.

                  Link to Previous Post Highlighting Toyon Food Service Facility:

                   TMS Food Service Employees: Heroes Among Us

Terms and Conditions of Employment for Superintendent Mark P. Campbell

The terms and conditions of employment for Mark P. Campbell as
Superintendent of the District cover a period of three (3) years, beginning July 1, 2013, and terminating on June 30, 2016.

Salary Schedule Payment
Commencing on July 1, 2013, the Board will provide the Superintendent a base salary of $137,531.75 plus a Master’s Degree stipend of $1,726.00. The Superintendent’s salary will be increased by 1.7% effective August 1, 2013.

Work Year
The Superintendent shall render twelve (12) months of service to the District during the period covered by this Agreement. The Superintendent shall fulfill a work year of no less than 211 days for the school years during the term of this contract. The Superintendent shall be entitled to 30 vacation days for each year this Agreement remains in effect. The Superintendent shall also be entitled to receive compensation for any days worked in excess of 211, should it be determined that additional days are necessary for the operation of the District. Any additional days would be paid according to current Board policy at the Superintendent’s current per diem rate.

Expense Account
The Superintendent shall be issued a district credit card for necessary expenses that may be incurred in the performance of duties. Verification of expenditures shall be necessary for charges incurred within this provision. It is expressly understood that expenses incurred shall be within district policies and operating budget, not to exceed a maximum expense of $500.00 per month.


CUSD Board Policy Resources:

Superintendent Governance Standards
BP 2111 (a)

Superintendent's Contract
BP 2121

Evaluation of the Superintendent
BP 2140

The Importance of Small Schools

Victor Hugo: 1802-1885
First Posted Nov. 2014
At the last CUSD board meeting the Trustees voted to keep the district's small schools open. After the vote was confirmed, joy and clapping filled the boardroom . 

The power of the board's decision will have long-term and far reaching affects. The value and importance of their decision is found in a quote by Victor Hugo: "He who opens a school door, closes a prison."

Education, it seems, has the power to save lives and communities. I only wish more people could have been there to hear the applause. It was a monumental feeling!

Email Addresses for CUSD Board Members

First Posted May 2015

Why Contact Your Local 
School Board Members? 

Here are a Few Reasons Why:
  • Who is going to name the CUSD Performing Arts Center? Tax payers will pay for it, but Superintendent Campbell has proposed naming the PAC after ex-superintendent James Frost: Calaveras Enterprise "Objections stall name for new CHS theater"
  • The CUSD Budget Crisis: should CUSD borrow money while in a "Qualified" Status?
  • Teacher Layoffs and Classroom Sizes: Is there an end in sight?
  • Is Superintendent Campbell capable to lead the district? Teachers Union: 74% Voted "No Confidence" in Superintendent Campbell's ability to provide effective leadership. Calaveras Enterprise: "Unions, administration, wrestling with cuts in CUSD" by Mike Taylor' May 8, 2015
  • What has been done to resolve the Special Education Crisis at Jenny Lind Elementary: there is currently a need for 2-3 special educators at this school site.
  • Keeping small schools open: Is this a priority for Board Members?
  • Hiring (& retaining) highly qualified teachers and support staff: when will the "cutting" stop?
  • Is the district attracting and hiring highly qualified directors and managers to the district office? Individuals that are independent and able to stand on their own professional merit?
  • What has been done to resolve or eliminate the bully epidemic in the district?
  • Where do the board members stand in regards to dignity issues throughout the district: such as the completion of a Toyon kitchen?
  • What can be done to build educational solidarity within the district, rather than the current (and ongoing) fracturing and infighting?

Calaveras Unified School District Board Members

Sherri Reusche (Current Board President)

Zerral McDaniel

Karan Bowsher

Gregory Gustafson (phone calls welcome: 209-604-5800)

Kelly Smith

Superintendent Performance Objectives

Calaveras Unified School District
E 2123(a)

Noninstructional Operations                                
The Superintendent: 
1. Ensures that district records are maintained in accordance with law.                                  
2. Provides for a safe school environment. 
3. Develops long-range plans for new sites and facilities or for the closure of existing sites
where needed.  
4. Provides a program of preventive maintenance for school facilities.                                   
5. Ensures that district business functions are efficiently managed by qualified personnel.    
6. Ensures that the budget is planned in terms of educational priorities and that it provides
for the improvement of the educational program.                     
7. Seeks out new funding sources for the schools.    

CUSD Leadership: Living on HOPE ... Unprepared for the Worst

First Posted Aug. 2014

“There’s no harm in hoping for the best ... 
as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” –Stephen King

"In hindsight, 3 years ago it should have been 30:1 in every classroom. We should have cut sports and music to right this ship, but we didn't do that for all the right reasons. Although, now it’s coming back to bite us. Many, many factors through the course of April through May came into play. Some of it internally inflicted – the misprojection of class size reduction, which has nothing to do with the structural deficit. We were hoping we could hold this off as long as possible and that didn’t work. We knew this day was coming, but we were hoping to soften the scope of it but many, many things happened to get us here much faster."

                                                                        --Mark Campbell, Superintendent Calaveras Unified
                                                                           Quote from July 22, 2014 Board Meeting Minutes

Link to Fiscal Recovery Plan

Warnings without Consequences Leaves CUSD Vulnerable to State Takeover

First Posted Sept. 2014

Kathy Northington, Superintendent of Calaveras County Office of Education, is elected to maintain and insure oversight of the County’s school districts.

Claudia Davis, Financial Director for CCOE, has previously warned CUSD concerning their risky spending practices.

Unfortunately, warnings--without consequences--over the course of 5 years have left CUSD vulnerable to a CDE (California Department of Education) takeover. That reality can not be ignored.

CCOE--Northington and Davis--had the power to impose stern consequences over CUSD, but simply chose to warn them. Those in charge of oversight neglectfully looked away when they should have made fiscal demands on CUSD’s spending practices.

If CCOE had exposed (and made public through the media) the risky spending practices of CUSD, perhaps we would not be currently preparing to cut teachers, close schools, and discontinue sports and band programs from our schools.

CUSD Using Bond Money ("Building Fund") to Balance Current Year Budget

First Posted Sept. 2014

Late in the Tuesday night CUSD board meeting, the new fiscal adviser, Terri Ryland--during a PowerPoint presentation on the district's Fiscal Recovery Plan--admitted (or disclosed) that the district had recently borrowed (or transferred funds) from the "Building Fund" or Bond Account (a significant amount) in order to balance the current year's budget; I believe it was nearly $2 million. Some of the Trustees were aware, others were not.

This disclosure caught the public off guard, as no one from the public (in attendance at the meeting) was aware of the Bond Account transactions.

This type of "After the Fact" disclosure does not help or make credible the district's claim to "transparency."

Directional Change and Institutional Renovation

Change will not happen over night.
not a one-time event.
The academic and educational climate within  Calaveras Unified School District is in dire need of directional change and institutional renovation.

As citizens (and participants) in the educational community, we must consider the enormous possibilities for change ...

Three out of five votes and the superintendent can be replaced.

Change the Superintendent ... 
Change the current culture and climate ... 
CUSD would immediately (and positively) benefit from a change in management-- 

in areas such as:
  • Leadership and Integrity*
  • Academics and Classroom Management*
  • Facilities and Maintenance*
  • Financial Accounting and Vendor Contracts*
  • Credentials and Professionalism*
  • Student Counseling and Support (Academic and Emotional)*
  • Behavior (Civility) and a Safe School Environment*
*These are the very same reasons (areas of concern) that students and families are currently leaving Calaveras Unified in growing numbers.

When it comes to working towards (and earnestly seeking) positive and beneficial change in regards to Calaveras Unified School District, Sacred School Grounds is prepared to go the distance. 

CUSD Support Staff Denied Pay Increase; Admin Pay Increases Upheld


For the record: (Last night 7/22)
The CUSD Board of Trustees voted 

1. To deny support staff a cost of living pay increase

2. To uphold the substantial pay increases ($16,000.000--each) of 2 administrators (while exploring the validity of their current job descriptions)


Echoed Words in the CUSD Workplace


The practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.

The disposition to favor and promote the interest of one person or family to the neglect of others having equal claims; partiality.

A display of partiality toward a favored person or group.The state of being held in special favor.


Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.

In regards to government, politics & diplomacy: the practice of appointing friends to high-level political posts regardless of their suitability.

Favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications).


Favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.

Favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.

Patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics: She was accused of nepotism when she made her nephew an officer of the firm.


In a democracy, transparency should be defined as disclosure and discussion.

Providing information about an issue, event, project, policy, program etc. and then providing a way for people to find and view that information.

Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government's obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.

Governments exist to serve the people. Information on how officials conduct the public business and spend taxpayers’ money must be readily available and easily understood. This transparency allows good and just governance.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Next CUSD Board Meeting: June 16, 2015 (6:30 PM)

The next Calaveras Unified School Board meeting will be June 16, 2015.

Closed session begins at 5 p.m. and open session at 6:30 p.m.

It will be held at the District Administrative Offices Board Room.

Recent District Issues:

No Justification for CUSD Administrative Pay Increases

July 8, 2014
Email: (From Allen Lujan to CUSD Superintendent Campbell)

Superintendent Campbell,
With the current concerns and focus on the CUSD budget, I am wondering what benefit is gained (for the district) by moving both Directors to range 2(b)?

Link: CUSD Management Salary Schedule

From the citizen's point of view (or the point of view of CSEA) the CUSD Superintendent negotiated a pay increase for 2 members of the CUSD administration team while ignoring the voice or need of the district's lower paid support staff. There does not seem to be a justification that can adequately explain or allow such a move (or increase in pay) during this critical time of financial instability.

1. This move shows favoritism to administration.
2. This move creates a wedge of distrust and unrest between the CUSD administration and the district's support staff (CSEA).
3. This move was not fully and completely explained during the June 24th meeting and gives the appearance of manipulation and deceit.
4. This move appears to cause (or add to) the district's current and ongoing financial distress.
5. This move makes it harder for the public to fully believe in the district's ongoing claim of transparency.

If it can be shown that these moves 4(b) to 2(b) have, in fact, reduced the salaries of the 2 Directors in question (and thereby benefitted the district financially), please share these numbers with the public (and CUSD employees) so that trust (and integrity) can be fostered between all parties interested in the longterm financial health of Calaveras Unified.

Respectfully, Allen Lujan


July 9, 2014
Superintendent's Response to above email:

Superintendent Mark Campbell:

"While there is an increase to the salary earned in 2013/14, it is not a "negotiated pay raise", it is a restoration of positions."

"I acknowledge your points #1-5 and will work through those issues ongoing."

Mark Campbell
Calaveras Unified

A Trustee's Responsibility

First Posted Oct 2013
Prior to the acceptance & promotion of an approximately $4 million dollar performing arts center 
(3 million for the building and possible $750,000 for new design and DSA approval);

 Trustees please consider the following:

1. Have you, as a CUSD Trustee, currently visited (and toured) each campus, program, and classroom within the district?

2. Have you, as a CUSD Trustee, recently toured (and gone inside) the 26 year old portables at Jenny Lind Elementary? Were you aware that these portable classrooms (except for room 51) have original carpeting?

3. Are you, as a CUSD Trustee, fully aware of the state of the district facilities? On a scale of 1(poor) to 10 (exceptional) how would YOU rate the district facilities?

4. Have you, as a CUSD Trustee, visited (and toured) the two CUSD waste water treatment ponds and facilities operated by the district?

5. Have you, as a CUSD Trustee, visited the Toyon Middle School food/snack hut (and trailer)? Have you also seen first-hand the working conditions of the CUSD food service providers within those facilities?

6. Have you, as a CUSD Trustee, walked the playgrounds, athletic fields, and sports facilities at each CUSD campus?

The children of Calaveras Unified School District rely upon you (the Trustees) to protect and provide a healthy, safe, & dignified school environment. Before you vote, please consider the above questions and the overall (long-term) impact of your decisions.

Respectfully, Allen Lujan
(Citizen, Parent, Educator)