Skip to main content


Superintendent Dr. Robert A. Martinez’s Friday Letter, September 13, 2019, Volume 1, No 4.
Posted 9/13/19

Friday Letter


#TogetherWeGrow. . . #JuntosAprendemos…#TogetherWeLead. . .




Appreciation and Thanks!


On Monday, September 9, 2019, I joined Governing Board Member Linda Mayo as we thanked many individuals who reside at Rossmoor for their continuous generosity to a large number of Mt. Diablo Unified School District students over the years through scholarships for college. The Rossmoor Scholarship Foundation has provided over 4 million dollars in funds to over 1700 students since 1966.  Foundation trustees Keith Alley and Kathy Koch each spoke to the audience about the importance of their donations to the Foundation and the positive ramifications of their gifts to students in our communities.


Board Member Mayo and I were able to sincerely thank the Rossmoor residents for making a tremendous positive impact on our students due to their actions for many years and asked that they continue to do so into the future. We had one of our own kindergarten teachers, Emily Heindel, who teaches at Sunrise Elementary, tell her story of academic success, in part, due to being a recipient of one of the Rossmoor Foundation Scholarships. In addition to thanking this wonderful group, we were all so very impressed by the Concord High School “Ladies First” Choir. While the entire choir was not available, those that sang were absolutely wonderful and entertaining.  They performed under the direction of Christian Emigh. 




Learning About our Systems:


This week I continued to learn about the many incredible systems and departments that we have in MDUSD that are focused on supporting our educators and support staff who work directly with students. Both our Elementary and Secondary Departments have been directly working with our Principals on a number of initiatives and support systems to enhance the education of all of our students. Our Special Education, English Learner Services, Student Services, Instructional Supports, and Special Projects Departments are also focused on ensuring that our educators have the tools, instructional skills and professional development, and resources in hand to meet students’ needs.


You may have heard that our Chief Business Official, Rose Ramos, has accepted a position closer to her home, and we wish her well in her new endeavor. We will be conducting a search for a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced replacement. We will be working with School Services of California to assist in this process. In the meantime, I hope to have an Interim Chief Business Official on board soon and am closely monitoring all budgetary expenditures and contractual obligations during this transition.


A Call for Classified Personnel:


We have jobs! Our Human Resources Department is continuing to seek well-qualified individuals for a number of classified positions and will be holding a Recruitment and Hiring Fair on October 5, 2019. The Recruitment and Hiring Fair will be held at the MDUSD Dent Center located at 1936 Carlotta Dr. Concord, CA 94519.  The Fair will run from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

job fair



Taking a Look at the District’s Ending Balances:


In a recently published document that has been shared with the teachers of the District, MDEA Leaders wrote this question:  “If MDUSD actual revenue was $12 more than expected and expenses were $11 less, doesn't that leave us plenty of money to now spend?”


My Perspective:


Unfortunately, it’s not that easy of a solution. MDUSD has been spending down its “Reserve” funds, each year, for at least three (3) years now.  This is evident in the declining actual ending balances for the Combined Balance Report, which was reviewed at the September 9, 2019, Governing Board Meeting. 


In 2016-17, the District’s combined ending balance was reported to be at $88,789,293.  For 2018-19 the September 9, 2019, unaudited actuals now demonstrate a combined ending balance to be at $49,490,107.  This reflects that over this three year time span the ending balances have been reduced by $39,299,186. As you can see from the chart below shows the impacts of this to the ending balances and shows that the reductions have primarily come out of the “Unrestricted” ending balance. 


This type of deficit spending is not sustainable over time, which is one of the reasons behind the Governing Board taking significant steps at addressing budget reductions last school year, including layoffs and restrictions on spending. If the current process of deficit spending were to continue without changes to the budget, our entire “Unrestricted” ending balance would be wiped out in short order. Hence, we must remain vigilant in the coming years to spend within our means and ensure that expenditures can be covered. 


Unrestricted, Restricted and Combined Ending Balances for the Last Three Years: 



Fiscal Year

Unrestricted Dollars

Restricted Dollars

Total Combined Balances













*Estimated Actuals


Our estimated ending balance for 2018-19 was anticipated to be $26 million, so it is great news that we currently stand at $49 million.  Yet, last year’s expenses continued to outpace revenues by over $7 million even though there were significant budget reductions made.  


As demonstrated in the presentation found here: from the September 9, 2019, Governing Board Meeting, most of the unexpected revenue was in Restricted carry-over funds and these dollars continue to be targeted for legally mandated activities.  To be clear, we have realized $5.8 million more than expected in the “Unrestricted” categories, and much of that increase was associated with budget reductions made during the 2018-2019 school year.   


Further, as Page 7 of the Adopted 2019-20 budget states:


"The current adopted budget for the 2019-20 school year includes proposed reductions in the amount of $12.8 million to this year’s budget, $2 million in reductions for 2020-21 and $1.6 million in reductions for the 2021-2022 school years, respectively.


Managing the budget for such a large organization is a significant task, and providing guidance to the Governing Board is a responsibility that takes considerable forethought, understanding, and expertise, and work. As we move forward with making decisions that impact the education of our students we will continue to put the education of our children as the top priority.




Don’t forget to register the Mt. Diablo Education Foundation 5k Run and Walk occurring on October 5, 2019.   You can “Break a Sweat for Education” and enjoy a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded community members. The event that will occur on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek. The Mt. Diablo Education Foundation and “YoursHumanely” have teamed up for this event, and you can register today at the following website.  The #MDEDF asks that you go to this link: to sign up for the run. You will then be joining the #MDEDFTeam, and the benefit comes right back to the students of Mt. Diablo through the foundation.


walk poster
walk poster spanish



Several Activities in My Calendar This Week


September 9              


Association of California School Administrators, North State Professional Development                                                  Conference Planning Meeting

Meeting with Larry Schoenke, Legal Counsel

Attended Rossmoor Scholarships Foundation Gathering at Rossmoor

Governing Board Meeting        


September 10             


Meeting with CSEA President Annie Nolan, and CSEA Leadership Team

Conducted Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet Meeting

Attended a special viewing of the new movie “Pushed Out”, by Dr. Victor Rios, University of California, Santa Barbara, in Oakland


September 11             


East Bay Superintendent’s Meeting, San Ramon

Meeting with Lori Amenta, Administrative Assistant, Legal Department

Meeting with Stephanie Roberts, Director of Special Projects and Lisa Salvetti, Notary Public

Meeting with Anita Johnson, MDEA President

Special Governing Board Meeting, Meadow Homes

Community Meeting on MDUSD Trustee Areas, Meadow Homes


September 12             


Meeting with Sally Frazier, Plan Board Governance Development Training

Interviewed by Jay Bedecarre, LBB Advertising, and Tamara Steiner, Clayton Pioneer

Held Interim CBO Interview

Agenda Planning Meeting with Cabinet for Sept. 23rd Board Meeting


September 13      


Meeting with Board Member Cherise Khaund

Meeting with Carmen Terrones-Torres, Jane Kwiatkowski and Lisa Davis (CST