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August 18, 2014


J. Mir

The two sets of students are getting along fine and no trees suffered. Oh wait, there aren't any trees there.


The real controversy is the funding issue.


DTHS is operating a lot leaner than some of the SMUHSD schools.

You can bet the teacher's union isn't too happy about "scabs" getting jobs. SMUHSD is an "insider" district for teacher jobs.

It's unfortunate about the parents who felt uninformed, but Mills gave up their Auto shop RPO program and the several other classrooms that contained AutoCAD and metal/wood shop. DTHS currently occupies those rooms.

The anger is mostly political.


Here's the next page in the textbook on d.tech and finances courtesy of the DJ:

The district’s total revenue for the 2014-15 school year is $121.6 million, while the total expenditures are $125.8 million, according to the budget approved in June. The district is basic aid funded, meaning it gets its money from property taxes. This has happened in prior years. For example, in the 2013-14 fiscal year, the district saw a $3.9 million deficit.

“(In the past) It’s tended to go down and been somewhat less of what’s predicted because some of the expenses don’t get expensed,” said Trustee Peter Hanley. “I would imagine there’ll likely to be some deficit still that the district has.”

Meanwhile, the financial impacts of the brand new Design Tech High School, located on Mills High School’s campus, on the district are still unknown. The district’s Board of Trustees delayed a vote until September on giving a $150,000 grant to Design Tech, or d.tech, but board members are still concerned about the school’s effect on the district. The school opened for classes last week.



Things may be heating up on the Design Tech issue along with the BHS pool issue. Here is the link to the DJ article today:


To save you reading the whole long article if you don't want to, here are some excerpts concerning Design Tech:

After a sometimes tumultuous relationship with the public over issues like the Burlingame pool usage and the placement of a new charter school in the district, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is asking the civil grand jury to investigate a school board’s interactions with the public.

The Mills’ Vikings Parent Group ran an ad calling for the district to find a new location for the charter school, Design Tech High School. The district has been grappling with finding a new location for it next school year, as it is temporarily co-locating with Mills High School in Millbrae. By law, the district needs to provide facilities the charter with facilities by Feb. 1. The San Mateo Adult School was worried, and rallied, when d.tech asked to be placed at the Adult School’s SMART Center location in San Mateo.


'Wondering if someone still in the BHS loop can tell me about the huge structure being erected behind Burlingame High School. It is enormous, and there is no signage whatsoever.


From the DJ:

Under an agreement reached with the San Mateo County Office of Education, the San Mateo Union High School District could bring an end to the long search for the home of Design Tech High School.

The district Board of Trustees is set to approve an agreement to house the district’s only charter school, commonly known as d.tech, on property owned by the county Office of Education, at 1800 Rollins Road in Burlingame at a meeting Thursday, March 26.

Mills High School has granted space on its campus in Millbrae to d.tech since the charter school joined the district last year, but the relationship has been contentious at times, as frustrations over facility constraints and the impact of co-location on both schools have grown over time.

Officials are now hopeful though that the two-year agreement between the district and county Office of Education will squelch any future concerns regarding the destination for the charter school, which offers students an education immersed in technology and innovation curriculum.



Here is the start of the next phase:

Design Tech High School will take a first step in the effort to move onto the campus of Oracle Corporation, as the science and technology focused charter school in the San Mateo Union High School District gained an initial approval from the Redwood City Council.

The council unanimously approved on Monday, June 8, a proposal to begin developing an environmental impact report for the project, which is the first official movement toward constructing a two-story building for d.tech in Redwood Shores.

Should the project continue toward construction, the collaboration between Oracle and the high school district’s only charter school would offer a permanent home to the d.tech, which has been through tumultuous stretches in its search for classroom space.

The proposal includes constructing an 85,000-square-foot school on a 2.91-acre site adjacent to Belmont Slough and the Bay Trail in Redwood City, which would accommodate up to 550 students and 30 employees, according to a city report.



The move to the Oracle campus looks to be a done-deal:

Following months of planning and occasional bouts of contention regarding its future home, Design Tech High School is set to move to the campus of the Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores, according to a formal announcement made at the technology titan’s annual corporate conference.

The Daily Journal reported in June groundwork was being laid to pave the way for d.tech, the only charter school in the San Mateo Union High School District, to move onto the Oracle campus, offering a solution to officials who had struggled to cope with the contention that arose when d.tech was located on the campus of Mills High School in Millbrae.

Under the plan for the move, the business software maker will provide the land and build the 64,000-square-foot school, which will be focused on offering a curriculum in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The school campus will accommodate up to 550 students and 30 teachers.


"Question everything!"

A big congratulations to Design Tech and to Oracle for stepping up to help area public schools be as great as they can be.

The Peninsula uniquely holds some of the most successful organizations in the world, full of some of the smartest and most accomplished people. We need to better harness those brilliant people to serve as regular guest speakers and more direct supporters and perhaps even leaders of our local schools and local government orgs as well.

The Principal of The Design Tech High School, Ken Montgomery, came and spoke with one of my groups last year, and he seems like an excellent guy.


Charter Schools = public schools with public funding who are enabled to break free of the bureaucratic culture to try new educational niches, typically in a smaller environment, where the students and parents are very much focused on academics. Kids need a place where its cool to do well. http://www.ccsa.org/understanding/

The Peninsula has really led the emergence of successful Charter Schools through pioneers like Diane Tavenner who co founded Summit Charter School in Redwood City.

She and so many other Charter Champions have to stand up to the unwieldy power of The Failed Education Establishment in California, and not quit, even after getting denied again and again, as was the case with Summit. She's also one of the stars of the documentary, "Waiting For Superman". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKTfaro96dg

It reminds me of a school real estate RFP bidding session, where the school district superintendent was loudly whispering with his chief business officer asking, "I want to know who QUESTIONED my RFP!"

The night prior, I had questioned politely on email how the RFP lease terms for a school campus where going to allow the lease to be binding financially, even in the event that the county could potentially not renew the use permit every 5 years. They corrected the RFP as a result.

However, many school districts and really many government organizations have a culture of [How dare you question our bureaucracy! How dare you question us growing bigger and bigger and ever more inefficient and wasteful and disrespectful of individual rights...]

This also reminds me of the beauty of The Science Channel's motto, "Question Everything!"

...the essence of intellectual inquiry, innovation and actual 'progress' (as opposed to the hijacked version of the word progress, where only movement to more Leftist policies and perspectives qualifies as progress) in human society.

The building success of DTech as a charter school not only questions the failed bureaucracy of California Public Schools, but it also successfully questions what's possible in collaboration with multi-billion dollar corporations. One of the founders of Oracle and the founder of Siebel Systems, Tom Siebel, was shocked when I mentioned Oracle's plans to open the DTech program on their campus. Not because Tom isn't charitable - he's a very charitable guy, but rather because DTech at Oracle really questions how far a corporation can go to support education and to help make their community great.

Congratulations to DTech and the students that will benefit from it!


Noblesse oblige: The 1% doing what the 99% struggle to do.


There are plenty of 99%ers including me who are Oracle shareholders and who are paying for this. Class warfare if for small minded people.




I was criticizing YOU for being the class warrior. I am happy to be one of the Oracle shareholders who is funding this. 99.99% of Oracle shareholders are in the 99%.


Thank the 1% for your job.

Question Everything!

Folks, in accordance with my post above, "Question Everything!", I'm going to book Diane Tavenner to speak in Burlingame at one of orgs that I'm a part of (The Rotary Club of Burlingame)...probably in Jan. Reach out to a friend that's a member, if you'd like to meet (or question) Diane in person.


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