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Stuck with a half-million-dollar bill

Original post made on Feb 16, 2017

The Mountain View Whisman School District had what seemed to be a slam-dunk plan to improve student performance: a tech-savvy math program called Teach to One.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 16, 2017, 8:56 AM

Comments (80)

Posted by Disgusted!
a resident of Slater
on Feb 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

No wonder Alia Malik is so enamored with Ayinde. She was paid by New Classrooms to expand its presence in the Bay Area and suckered Ayinde into bringing it to Mtn View.

I am disgusted with both of them.

Ayinde should be fired.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 9:41 am

Excellent reporting and use of the California Public Records Act!

"The district began implementing the expensive program before it had any assurance of philanthropic funding"!

Wow. Just wow! What a cast of characters counting chickens before they hatch. And what a great way to throw Google, LinkedIn etc. under the school bus in the process.

Why do Rudolph and Bauer still have jobs? That's the question that needs to be answered. This was a screw up of huge proportions and totally avoidable. How much more damage could they have possibly done that they haven't done already?

Rudolph's ego is way too big for this district and his arrogance toward the School Board and parent community is shocking.

The School Board needs to cut him loose.

Posted by Money Grows On Trees
a resident of Slater
on Feb 16, 2017 at 10:31 am

Half million here. A half million there. Pretty soon you are talkin real money. They will just ask voters for more. Call it MEASURE B.

Posted by are you kidding me!
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:07 am

Ok.. let me get this straight:

1. we hire a man that has never been a superintendent before AND we had pay additional money for a COACH to teach him how to do the job

2. after 1 year of being on the job we give him a raise with no real results within that 1 year of the job and we continue to pay for a coach to teach him how to do the job still

3. He is arrogant to parents when questioned on issues regarding the schools.

4. Push thru A 1/2 millions dollar program based on assumption of it being funded even when presented with facts!!!

I could go on and on because he clearly does not know how to do the job.

When is MOUNTAIN VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD going to do something right and get rid of this inexperienced man?

Posted by Disgusted!
a resident of Slater
on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

@ Observer
It seems clear that Ayinde allows for no dissent within the district office and pushed this program through literally no matter what the cost. I don't think Ms Bauer can be blamed for this mess.

Posted by Frustrating
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

This whole thing is so frustrating. While I agree a computer program of some sorts might be a great way to help bridge the achievement gap, allowing for kids behind in math to catch up and kids ahead to be appropriately challenged, it matters GREATLY which product is chosen (there are many out there now) and how it's implemented. None of that was considered.

Good intentions, bad, bad implementation. I'm very frustrated. Unfortunately, this does not help the district implement such a program in the future (which I do think is a good idea), or get more bond money approved by voters. Why should I give them more money if they are irresponsible with what they currently have? I'm also not sure the tech companies will be so willing to support the district going forward, which is all incredibly unfortunate for our kids.

It sounds like multiple people supported multiple bad decisions over a 6 month period that cost the district money but also reputation and future income. Something should be done to prevent this from happening again.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:31 am


If you don't think Kathy Bauer, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, is not partly to blame, I really don't know what to tell you. The article clearly describes a train wreck in slow motion. We don't pay these people to make careless and reckless decisions or to sit quietly by why money is wasted and a basic math curriculum goes hurling off the tracks. The District's senior leadership is not qualified nor prepared to get us out of this mess.

Posted by Can Confirm
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 16, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Yes, the new superintendent is EXTREMELY ARROGANT AND NAIVE. Especially to parents!

Posted by Crittenden parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Unfortunately, the district would probably be on the hook for a lot of money if the super is asked to leave, just like Goldman. Being superintendent in this district is like winning the lottery!

Hope Baur isn't next in line for the job...

Posted by Crittenden parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

PS Will be voting NO on any new parcel taxes for this district!

Posted by @ Crittenden Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Great idea!

You just read a story you don't like. Now you refuse to vote for the parcel tax.

Great! So, the kids not only will not get high-tech math instruction, they likely won't be getting A LOT OF OTHER THINGS...

But don't worry, the schools with the most PTA funds will probably be fine. OH, sorry, that is not your school.

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

My former Assistant Superintendent mother wouldn't allow such a program to pass a voting session; we do not spend money for " snake oil " promises and with money we don't have!
Lets see;$521,000 for only 500 students? You do the math. I've already said this once before; The School District will be left holding the bag. Maybe the " smart " staff needs to be let go to pay this bill with their salaries AND NO GOLDEN PARACHUTE offers. If this was a private industry setting, these people would have been fired and a Civil Suit started to get the people to pay for it..That isn't rocket science, people!

Posted by Enough
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Ayinde seems to think TTO was a success.

He has listed "Supported a personalized digital learning framework for math in 6th grade" as a completed action on the latest Strategic Plan and LCAP review (Web Link on page 184).

Why not be honest and list that as "Got suckered into wasting $1/2 million on digital teach our kids to hate math program"?

Posted by Trudy Palmer
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm

What about the work MVW IS/was doing w ALearn?

What about asking LASD about their work w Khan Academy & math?

Crazy to go ahead w such an expensive project when funding wasn't guaranteed!'

Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

to: a resident of Cuesta Park

Why should Taxpayers of Mountain View pay for this district folly?
They had no input yet are expected to pick up the bill, sorry not this time.

Guaranteed if you do vote yes they'll just frivolously spend it.

Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm

It is insane that the district spent even one thin dime on this program when LASD, the district RIGHT NEXT DOOR, has been using Khan Academy with excellent results. The kids learn the math, the teachers can see who is struggling so they can help and it's FREE. LASD was even written about in The Economist, so they can't even claim not to have known.

Maybe it's time to look around and see what is working in other districts in order to fix the problems. It is clearly NOT the time to run an experiment on the children just so a newby administrator can try to make a name for himself.

Posted by Fan123
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Love the story, full of satisfying details. Looking forwards to seeing more articles from Mr. Forestieri

Posted by William Hitchens PhD
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm

This just strengthens my belief that grade school boards are run by naive 2nd rate people with good intentions and substandard educations and intelligence --- just like most grade school teachers. Google doesn't need Mountain View schools. It has its choice of the best college grads from all over the USA and the rest of the world. My limited experience with online education, at Foothill College, is that it is a total disaster and that only face-to-face (aka F2F) classroom education by their VERY BEST instructors is truly educational. The rest all is mediocre at best.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm

I find it absolutely stunning that ANY school district would agree to any contract that had a licensing fee of $128,250 PER PUPIL! My God, if it were legal to do so, the district could have put that money into a college fund for each pupil to attend 4 years at most colleges in the US! And that money was spent for just ONE class? For ONE YEAR?

When I was home-schooling my daughters, I taught them to do basic Algebra when they were 8 years old and it cost nothing but a little bit of my time.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics ( Web Link ), the United States is 3rd in the world in spending per pupil for education when measured by GDP. Since this is a National average, I am making the assumption that California spends more per pupil than Norway and Switzerland who are the top 2.

One question I never see a dollar figure attached to is "How much money is enough per pupil to spend on education". The only answer I have seen is that "We need to spend more". I know some people may read that to mean that I don't think any money should be spent on education, so let me nip that in the bud now. I think that using a percentage of the State GDP would be a definitive way to measure how much we are spending, as well as the results per percentage of GDP. I don't know what that number should be, but at least once it is established, it would allow for a reasonable debate on this issue.

For example, let's assume that we choose 4% as the number and we have graduation rates of 60% and each pupil's average grade in the state is a B-. Let us also assume that the next year, we raise the percent of State GDP spent on Education to 5% and further assume that the GDP remains at the same level or higher, but the graduation rate drops to 55% and student grades drop to a C+; this would then indicate that the problem is not money, but methods and/or other external factors that have nothing to do with money and would allow us to then identify the real factors and address them.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Bad Statistics
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:42 pm

@Jim Neal,

"Since this is a National average, I am making the assumption that California spends more per pupil than Norway and Switzerland who are the top 2."

This is a really weird assumption to make, since California only recently moved from dead-last among the states in per pupil spending to #46. (Web Link

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm

@Bad Statistics - According to the article from your own link, that data is from 2011-2012. The article further states:

Education Week’s annual state rankings on K-12 education had welcome, though outdated, news for California: No longer rock-bottom, California moved from 50th to 46th in per-student state spending in 2011-12, the latest data cited.
That was the year before school districts felt the benefits of the temporary tax increases from Proposition 30, which voters passed in November 2012, and of a rebounding economy. In the state budget scheduled for release Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to announce K-12 and community college education spending that will be 39 percent higher than it was in 2011-12. Unless other states have increased that much, California’s ranking will rise in coming years.

However, to be fair, I did say that it was an assumption on my part. Nevertheless, I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the most pertinent part of my post which is to measure performance against GDP as a way to determine whether or not the problem is money, process, or something else?

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Bad Statistics
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm

@Jim Neal,

The article: "The first draft of the unsigned contract, which publicly surfaced at the Dec. 8 board meeting, included two major costs: $128,250 for a per-pupil licensing fee"

You: "I find it absolutely stunning that ANY school district would agree to any contract that had a licensing fee of $128,250 PER PUPIL! My God, if it were legal to do so, the district could have put that money into a college fund for each pupil to attend 4 years at most colleges in the US! And that money was spent for just ONE class? For ONE YEAR?"

The article is clearly stating that the $128K is the amount allotted total for licensing, not that they're paying $128K per pupil.

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 7:43 pm

@Bad Statistics - Are the personal insults really necessary? I was merely participating in what I thought would be a civil discussion.

To me, what was written was not completely clear. It may be stating what you said, but I would have written it as "$500 per pupil for 257 students totaling $128,500" or whatever the actual per pupil cost was so that it was more clear.

It is your right not to discuss the merits of my suggestion, but I hope that we can at least be courteous.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Time to go
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 16, 2017 at 8:03 pm

If there ever was one (and there have been!), NOW is the time to clean house and start fresh.

It's time for Ayinde and Bauer to resign.

I pulled my kids from MVWSD (THANK HEAVENS) this year, but I'm a taxpayer and I care about the kids stuck at our schools with these nitwits in charge, spending my money and throwing is all under the bus.

Resign! Just walk! Please!

Posted by Props to google
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm

From the article:

"We are still moving forward," Rudolph said in an email. "(We) just need to create a little peer pressure for Google."

Sounds like the superintendent tried MULTIPLE times to bully Google into paying for this program, making up excuses as to why other companies couldn't pay, etc etc along with the above. Is that really how we should be thanking Google for their prior support in our schools?? Is nothing good enough anymore? Where's the gratitude for prior large donations? No wonder there are Bully problems in MV schools...just look at our top dog. Absolutely pathetic.

Posted by Props
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Just want to give Kevin Forestieri props for his excellent reporting on this whole issue. This is some great local journalism.

One conclusion I'll draw is this: If you have a problem with the way Rudolph is conducting business, you have got to put pressure on the Board. If you deal with them, you'll see that Ellen Wheeler only sees stars when she talks about Ayinde. And Jose Gutierrez seems enamored too. So long as they back him, Ayinde and his amateur act are going to be around for a while.

Anyway, good job Mr. Forestieri, keep up the good work

By the way, did you see that this whole fiasco got mentioned in The Wall Street Journal?

Here's the piece:

Web Link

[Portion removed due to possible copyright infringement]

Posted by title is misleading
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:56 am

Look forward to when the MV-Voice learns the true final cost: maybe it will be $500,000, maybe not, but the title suggest a definite answer when the article does not. This is the type of emotion triggering bait that we would hope to see less in media. It's the district's duty to get the real number out as soon as they can, and it's the paper's duty to not lead with an uncertain number.

From the article:
"Although the terms of the contract -- figuring out what the district ought to owe for four months of a program riddled with problems -- are still being renegotiated, the district's first interim budget report shows a Teach to One expenditure line for $521,000, roughly one-fourth of the district's entire curriculum adoption costs for the school year."

Posted by Crittenden parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 17, 2017 at 8:44 am

@Cuesta resident

You're assuming that I was in favor of the parcel tax before this article, and that this article alone influenced my decision. Not true.

You're also assuming that my experience and interest is only in what may benefit Crittenden. I have seen (and paid for the exit of) at least 5 superintendents in this district. I have had children at both middle schools, and three different elementary schools. I have worked for the school district, both as an employee and a volunteer. How is funding their poor, expensive decisions helping the kids? If you want to make sure kids benefit, donate directly to individual classrooms, with your time and money.

Posted by There are no shortcuts or magic bullets
a resident of Gemello
on Feb 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

This whole thing smacks of wishful thinking.

It would indeed be nice if there existed a computer-based math program that could help struggling students pull ahead and advanced students be challenged, all on their own.

But my impressions from looking at how public and public charter schools are implementing blended learning is that it is just not there yet. Kahn does some of this already but works best with very motivated students. Who knows if computer-based learning will ever be able to replace a qualified human being at the front of the classroom. I suspect it will not, and I believe that humans learn best from humans.

Our school leaders owe it to the students and the taxpayers to ask tough questions, query their own assumptions and motivations, and generally do a much better job than they did in this whole mess. As the WSJ pointed out, MVWSD is in a tough spot with lot of kids at the top, a lot of kids struggling and it's hard to reach them all equally well. But you just can't take the lazy way out.

Posted by Make Ayinde pay
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

It seems like California law is quite clear on who should pay for this mess, see the last portion of Web Link

In the event of malfeasance in office, the school district official invested by the governing board with the power of contract shall be personally liable to the school district employing him or her for any and all moneys of the district paid out as a result of the malfeasance.

Ayinde rolled out the program without proper vetting, decided without board involvement to move forward when external funding fell through and kept the board in the dark for a month. The story states : "The contract was ready for approval sometime in early November, but Rudolph delayed having the contract come before the board." We know that Ayinde did not submit the contract for legal review until November (see Web Link Was this after he finished negotiations with New Classrooms?

I see no reason taxpayers should pay for his malfeasance!

Posted by g8teach
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

g8teach is a registered user.

Why does MVWSD need outside consultants?-As a former teacher in SCC and former union president, maybe with the offer of a stipend and program funding, (since the District Administration is so willing to drop half a mil for a program and the extra cost of a consultant) you might convince some of the really talented teachers within the District to design programs appropriate for the students of the District. They are the experts and know our kids.
Seems like our Superintendent, as many in Santa Clara County and throughout the state do, are hearing about programs thru their pipeline of contacts and jumping at the latest money waster- yet another new program and a consultant to implement it.

Posted by Dear School Board Members
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:44 am

Dear School Board Members,

I presume (hope) that you are all following this story and reading the comments. I also presume that you did not have visibility into the extent of the mis-management and poor judgment exercised by the district office until you read this article. At the end of the day, the fault lies with the district office, but the buck stops with you. This TTO debacle was not simply a lapse of judgment or a mistake. Along the way, there were multiple opportunities for the superintendent to avoid saddling the district with a half-million dollar bill for a failing product. The district office made many bad decisions and, even worse, failed to recognize that it needed to seek advice from more experienced people (such as the board and the district's lawyers). Although a single bad decision might warrant a second chance, the extensive pattern of poor decisions and judgment exercised here, over the course of many months (up to and including Dr. Rudolph's failure to accept responsibility at the Study Session), demands a change in leadership. It is abundantly clear that Dr. Rudolph and Ms. Baur do not have the skills or judgment to serve the district in their current positions. I would like to have seen Dr. Rudolph succeed in his position. But he has not. It is now up to you to make a change and fix things. This is jeopardizing the parcel tax and the community's trust in the district. Please do the right thing and fulfill your commitment to exercise leadership and re-build trust between the community and the district.

Thank you.

Posted by @Make Ayinde pay
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Excellent point!

Let me add a note to the trustees:
You have a fiduciary duty to fulfill. If you do not hold Ayinde accountable, you may be personally liable.

I for one am willing to contribute $100 to fund a lawsuit to make sure this happens. I think it would be pretty easy to raise $10,000 or so via a gofundme campaign which should be enough to get things started.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

Been following this stunning story from Palo Alto.
It shouldn't be this difficult to run a small school district.
Your children do deserve a decent Math curriculum.
Questions: will any of the local district management be held responsible for this debacle? Would you consider merging with the other Mt View School District? (If I am correct that there is another). Perhaps there would be savings in such a consolidation.
Should the State of CA be notified? (State Dept of Education or State Superintendent of Instruction?) ( forget if they still have both of these bureaucratic structures, but if there is ever an appropriate time for intervention from state authorities, this may be it.)
I am also thankful for the high quality oversight and reporting by our local journalists on this topic. (I don't want this happening in my own school district, and I am sympathetic to the mistakes made in yours that are affecting your children and I hope there is a way to fix this ASAP.)

Posted by $$$
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Back to the topic of TTO cost: $521K for about 400-450 6-graders. That's more than $1000 per student. That's outrageously expensive. I could not find a math curriculum, paper or computer-based, that would cost that much. Let alone there are lots of free online products. I did only a quick search, maybe a missed something but the article mentions that the cost of TTO would amount to 1/4 of all curriculum costs for the district. So it does look unusually expensive.
Next, what is TTO - it's a new product, basically an "early beta" delivered by a well funded non-profit called New Classrooms. The cost of this pilot adoption should have been borne by New Classrooms themselves as part of their research and development costs. Early hi-tech products, including ed-tech, are usually distributed for free or for a nominal fee.
Now look at the breakdown of the cost: about 1/3 is licensing fees, okay, and the rest is a mysterious "service fee". What the heck is it?! Where did you see a piece of software with two separate price tags that you gotta add up? This looks like price gouging, a cute little scheme where the price is inflated threefold, and the buyer is put in a situation where they cannot get away from the deal. In this case, the buyer was allegedly made to believe that the kind uncle Google would pay all or most of the price. Maybe there were other incentives, who knows. Not sure who'd gain from that, but the district (that's us) would lose $521K anyway, because even if Google did pay for TTO, the money would be pretty much wasted, rather than spent on things that could really benefit our kids.

Posted by Another Neighbor
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 19, 2017 at 2:06 am

Thank you, Kevin Forestieri and the Voice for the excellent investigative journalism!

Questions to our superintendents:

Q. Why adopt a program with little track record?
Q. Why did you not do an actual pilot first? (Switching over the entire grade level is not a pilot.)
Q. Why did you not measure and monitor to ensure the program was in fact an improvement? (Waiting for vociferous complaints is neither.)
Q. Why was there no fallback if the program didn't pan out?
Q. Why do (in essence) a beta test of commercial software without the company's help fixing problems?
Q. Why pay for beta-level software (which is typically provided free in exchange for testing)?
Q. Why pick such an expensive program when there are free programs available?

Rita Mae Brown said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” How much experience did the district gain from this bad judgement?

Posted by Money Grows On Trees
a resident of Slater
on Feb 19, 2017 at 8:02 am

Since the Superintendent has not answered posted questions, maybe the explanation for this boondoggle begins with so-called "consultant" Aila Malik - a member of the City's Human Relations Commission. What was she paid and promised?

Posted by @Money Grows on Trees
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

I think you may be confused. The Mountain View Voice is not a government entity, and the Town Square is not a place to post questions to government officials if you want answers. It is a private newspaper.

Posted by @psr @Another Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

The questions that @psr & @Another Neighbor posted are what the school board should be asking. We have so many talented people in Mountain View, I hope they run for the school board in 2018. In the end, it's the board, not the superintendent that is responsible to the public.

Posted by Next steps?
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Feb 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

I think there were a lot of good points raised in these comments but my question is what happens next? Is there any reason to think the school board even thinks this is a problem? Do we expect them to take any steps to hold Ayinde accountable and get as much money back as possible? I'm also hoping that some accountability is put into place so this kind of thing cannot happen again.

Posted by Money Grows On Trees
a resident of Slater
on Feb 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

The Superintentent and School Board Members read these posts. If they have no response, fine. Here is mine: VOTE "NO" ON MEASURE B.

Posted by Alan Wessel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Thanks indeed to Kevin for providing this well researched news story to our community!

I'd like to add to the chronology based on my own Public Records Act request for emails between the Alia Malik and MVWSD going back to Jan 2016. All quotes are unaltered excerpts from the emails I obtained.

Jan 11: Alia Malik asks to meet with Ayinde Rudolph to introduce New Classrooms

Jan 31: Alia Malik emals Ayinde Rudolph with details regarding their meeting the following day:

"I work with high-performing non-profits across the country and I have been very impressed with one of them delivering personalized math learning for middle schoolers--New Classrooms. They were funded by Mark Zuckerberg's blended learning initiative to expand to 10 schools over three years across the US and I am helping them expand to CA. They piloted the program at 3 schools in Oakland this past year and are exploring their next partner schools for 2016-17 school year."

Feb 1: Alia Malik meets with Ayinde Rudolph

Feb 22 Rudolph attends a dinner at Doppio Zero in Mtn View with Alia Malik and New Classrooms "Chief Growth Officer" Lizz Pawlson

Feb 23: Ayinde Rudolph attends a tour of Lazear Charter Academy in Oakland along with Cathy Baur and Phyllis Rodgers

March 2: Ayinde Rudolph emails Alia Malik:

"The high school district wouldn't embrace teach to one, even though you and I know that its what's right and what is best."

April 4: The first group of teachers along with some administrators tour Ascend in Oakland.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Nice work Alan.

It sounds like Superintendent Rudolph and Malik have been using Mountain View Schools to build their resumes and make names for themselves. Both of their LinkedIn profiles show they never stay in one place for very long. They brand themselves as strategic thinkers, change agents etc. Who wouldn't want bragging rights and name credits up there with Zuckerberg, Google, and turning around a struggling school district at ground zero in Silicon Valley? The problem is that it takes a lot of hard work and depth of experience which neither appear to have and they blew this completely. Our students are now coming up empty handed and behind in math. Rudolph bought into the snake oil Malik was pushing hook, line and sinker. On top of this he's also blown through lots more money with leadership consultants for the school districts administrators. But what qualified him to do any of this last year as a first-year superintendent? The Board appears to be rubber stamping every expensive proposal he puts in front of them. Why?Where's the dividend for the student? For the teachers? He's just good at spending money.

Posted by Ayinde arrogance
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 19, 2017 at 9:52 pm

What arrogance! Ayinde doesn't need to hear from any teachers before deciding that teach to one is the holy grail. Dinner with Alia and a quick tour is enough for him. No need for any kind of careful evaluation. And if it costs $521,000 that's ok too.

And of course he knows better than the high school district. What do they know about education?

So where is the board on this? Why hasn't he been fired? Small comfort in this case is termination would clearly be for cause with no need to even think about offering severance.

Posted by Lon Term Damage
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2017 at 11:46 am

The consequences of this are far reaching. I suspect the extension of the parcel tax is doomed to failure. Will taxpayers really entrust Ayinde with another eight years of funds?

I also doubt Google will be finding any district initiatives any time soon (no matter how worthy) given how hard Ayinde and Alia pressured them on teach to one. Quoting the article:

"We are taking a leap of faith that Google will support this request, which is the first major step towards carrying out the district's strategic plan," she [Alia] said to Igoe [Google's real estate director] in an email.

Oops, we decided to cancel because the program is terrible, please fund my next initiative.

I am torn on this myself. Normally, I would enthusiastically support the parcel tax. I want to support the schools but don't trust Ayinde to use funds wisely nor do I trust the Board of Trustees to provide proper oversight.

Posted by District Survey
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2017 at 11:40 am

The district is currently running a survey in which they ask where parents currently receive information. Not on their bullet list of sources is where we (unfortunately!) have to go to really find out what is happening, namely Public Records requests and Kevin's excellent investigative reporting in the Voice.

Posted by @District Survey
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 22, 2017 at 8:18 am


Also crazy that the only open public dialogue takes place in the comments section of the Voice.

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Is it legal to do what Malik and Rudolph did? I think they overstepped their authority when then implement something without signing the contract to pay for it, and without approval from the board. Malik, from the story, appears to prosper from selling this program to schools, and thus appears kind of like the guy who shows up in Gary Indiana in the Music Man to sell a "think" music program. I think the district and parents of students should seriously consider legal action against these people, if this story is accurate, for misuse and misappropriation of school resources.

Posted by Monta Loma Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm

I think the district is making a lot of bad decisions not just in the math dept
I am not surprised at this article or the super trying to cover his ass.
They should check out their special ed dept and the denial of services to children who needed desperately.
I think mvwsd is in trouble either way
Someone should seriously investigate where all the money goes and what is not getting funded and where the money is getting spent
Just disappointing and I've been in this area with kids going through the school for the last 14 years

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 23, 2017 at 6:19 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

The issue here is that whither or not public funds were used in a proper manner. On the face of it, I see several people who should have been terminated without the " Golden Parachute " and formal Civil Suits ( or Suit ) be made to recover the money spent improperly. These people will now have a very important effect on their resumes; that may cause them more damage than the actual Civil Suit does. As I said before, a vetting process would have made in other Districts and this contract would not have been allowed in the first place!
Now that we know what has happened, the BOARD should take steps to create such a " vetting process " and NEVER allow " leaders " to not spend ANY money before a " vetting process " is complete and the decision made public. THE PUBLIC HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW HOW THEIR MONEY IS SPENT!

Posted by Old MV parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 23, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Enough already.
Time for Rudolph's exit.
Do your job Board.

Posted by Real Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 23, 2017 at 11:59 pm

@Old MV Parent,

Seriously, no one is buying your posting under different names for all these threads, your writing style is too consistent. We get that you have a grudge against Rudolph, but at least post under a single name. It's really weird, and kind of sad.

Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 24, 2017 at 6:32 am

@Real Parent

What a strange accusation you've made! I am a "real parent" and I live in Old Mtn View.
"Posting under different names on all these threads"?
Now that's a wired accusation and that is sad.

I do feel strongly about our district, and it is clear there is a problem at the top.

Posted by Real Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2017 at 7:46 am

It's a nice try, but you can't even convincingly write the denial here.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

Gary is a registered user.

I made a public records request for the lease of Slater School. The District emailed it to me THE DAY AFTER THE SCHOOL BOARD APPROVED A LONG EXTENSION. Someone needs to monitor the agendas and alert readers when this item appears.

Posted by @ Gary
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm

I have heard of other Public Records Requests being needlessly and perhaps purposefully delayed.

The Slater school lease extension with Google is a good illustration of the failures of our current board. Trustee Greg Coladonato asked that this issue be pulled from the consent agenda and that the issues be discussed in a subsequent open session. He was successful in delaying approval, but was only able to persuade one fellow trustee to do so, namely Tamara Wilson. Props to both of them and shame on the rest of the board!

I am not saying that the lease extension should not have been approved. However, there were issues with the last lease (Google made improvements per City rather than Edu Code preventing the district from being able to utilize the buildings without millions in changes.) Why not discuss these issues in public, especially since (per discussion in the meeting) there was no time time pressure?

Don't believe me? You can follow the discussion in the video of the Jan 19, 2017 board meeting at time-stamp 1:36:11 or Web Link

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:49 am

Gary is a registered user.

Wow. I just looked at the link to the School Board meeting at which the Board voted 3-2 to approve a 10-year extension of the Google lease at Slater. Take a look for yourself. And remember that I (for one) had requested from the District a copy of the Google lease and it was not provided until the day AFTER this Board meeting.

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Inner politics and the minimalist approach to public transparency on the school board make problems like these more likely to happen.
Past school boards prevented Trustee Greg Coladonato from becoming board president, even though past tradition followed a rotating schedule, all the while some other trustees have served several times. I was disheartened that the new board after this last election continued to skip over Trustee Coladonato, without critically asking why.

The superintendent offers a suggested agenda for each board meeting, and only the board president or a board majority decides how it should be changed. I believe every one of our current trustees place children at the center of their often thankless work, but at a time when the transparency and integrity of the district are in question, Trustee Coladonato would have been particularly well-suited to navigate these issues.

If the board needs one place to start its self-reflection, it should examine how did the New Classrooms $478,250 contract ended up on the consent agenda Web Link when the board by-laws clearly state that consent agendas are for items "routine in nature and for which no discussion is anticipated." Web Link

The board video link Web Link first posted above is an example of the board's minimalist approach, versus Trustee Coladonato's maximal transparency approach.

If one is not maximally transparent, the lack of public complaints can never be taken as implied support, but simply a lack of awareness. Trustee Coladonato is correct that any issue that might be of great public interest should be scheduled over two meetings to give the public time to learn of the issues. How often do members of the public not find out about a board meeting until after the fact? Are there going to be special board meetings on Teach to One, if so, when will it be posted for the public to make plans to attend? Web Link

I believe the board's directive to the superintendent was to be innovative in meeting and challenging all students. It's the board's civic directive to help the superintendent prevent crises by providing boundaries and oversight. The board may be excused for not knowing past issues, but it is fully on the board to implement safeguards for the future. Without a team, any superintendent acting alone is bound for problems. That's true of any organization.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Thanks to former trustee Christopher Chiang for linking the December 8 agenda and materials including the contract with "New Classrooms." This was the transition meeting after the November election. Two new trustees were sworn in. The agenda refers vaguely to contracts for approval. The agenda packet is more than 400 pages thick. The contract begins at page 83. Did any trustee read it (or even notice it) before voting to approve it? It appears that the Superintent and Assistant Superintendent slipped this half million dollar boondoggle by at least the new trustees and the public. Why? If the program was a failure and no contract had been signed, why sign one in December? Why not negotiate a settlement?

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 25, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

@gary the contract was pulled, so never voted on. This is why I believe it is incorrect and somewhat misleading for the story to suggest a half million dollar loss as a certainty.

As the district negotiates what it will pay for services rendered, the final loss may be much less or the full amount, no one knows (also recognizing that student learning loss is a separate important issue).

I hope the district ends up pay very little, and I understand they can't reveal numbers until they complete their separation, but perception is reality, and months of stories of a half million loss will be hard to undue, even if false in the end.

Posted by JW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Quoting Christopher:

"I hope the district ends up pay very little, and I understand they can't reveal numbers until they complete their separation, but perception is reality, and months of stories of a half million loss will be hard to undue, even if false in the end."

Exactly. 99% of the population that read that Ayinde blew through $500k isn't going to come back and research otherwise. I know I won't and I consider myself very educated on this topic. All I know is it was SNEAKY. Also, as you said- the loss of learning time may very well be valued at > $500k.

Besides, what are the school board members going to say in their slogans for the next election: "I actually only helped waste $300k, not $521k!" or "I would've voted against the district blowing through $521k on a faulty math program but no one asked me!" Sigh. It's all so sad.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm

Mr. Chiang may have been recruited by a board member to run damage control by suggesting losses might be less.
However, the real loss, Mr. Chiang is the damage done to our students, which you make no mention of. I guess that just shows the kind of field you are plowing. And let's not forget that Mr. Chiang pushed hard to recruit Mr Rudolph and then ran for the hills. I'm done with these games.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Thanks Christopher Chiang. I see in the minutes for the December 8 meeting that the "New Classrooms" contract was pulled by trustees and not approved. Good. Perhaps "New Classrooms" and its local "consultant" should pay the District a few million dollars.

Posted by JW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm

@ Observer - True. I forget how much I consistently agree with your posts.

@ Gary - that would be great if New Classrooms had any money. I feel like they likely don't (except ours, of course...)

Posted by Alan Wessel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 26, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I certainly hope that the district winds up paying much less than a half-million dollars. However, that does not in my opinion reduce Supt Rudolph's culpability in this matter.

The contract he submitted for ratification by the board was for $478.250, with the recommendation that the Board of Trustees ratify the contract as presented, see page 24 Web Link

If the contract had been ratified at that meeting, the district would have been locked into the contract (see page 83 of the same agenda document) and we would indeed be "Stuck with a half-million-dollar bill"!

Why wasn't it ratified? All I know is that on Dec 5th, I looked through the agenda for the Dec 8 meeting and discovered the contact was going to be presented for ratification. I then alerted follow parents and we contacted the board with concerns regarding TTO and the contract. Parents prepared to give statements at the Dec 8th meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, we were pleased to see that the TTO contract ratification was pulled from the agenda.

Perhaps this action would have been taken even if the board hadn't been contacted by parents, but I have no evidence of that. I encourage the district and board to provide more transparency.

From my perspective, the district as well as district taxpayers can thank parents for their engagement and for helping to prevent paying an outrageous amount for an inferior product. Instead we may now wind up paying a lessor amount to New Classrooms. Of course what remains is an incalculable amount in educational damage to our 6th grade kids.

Based on the available evidence, Supt Rudolph would have left us stuck with the bill.

Posted by Make Ayinde pay
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 27, 2017 at 5:18 pm

@ Alan

I agree with everything you say!

To the Board:

As I stated above, there is no reason for taxpayers to pay for this mess. Make Ayinde pay to clean up his own mess and then fire him for cause.

Posted by $275,669 for TTO?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Is the amount listed in the 2nd interim budget for TTO.

This is down from the $521,197 listed in the 1st interim budget.

Which was up from the $0 allocated in the 2016-17 budget adoption.

Ayinde, hope you've been saving your $s because I see no reason tax payers should pay for your malfeasance!

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 28, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

The school board passed 4-1 (Coladonato in dissent) a final service contract with New Classrooms for $149,000.
Web Link

I wish the district and board could have pursued a more expedient resolution, or have worked more closely with the MV Voice to have prevented the hard-to-undue half million dollar impression.

The vague board agenda for today's meeting Web Link is an example of what the board should be trying to fix. Doing things in closed session that could have been done in open session remains one of the easiest ways to rebuild trust.

According to the agenda for the next board meeting, the district will propose that all pilots should go through the board, big or small. This solution misdiagnoses the problem. The TTO pilot was missing teacher leadership. Requiring all future pilots to go to the board only further strips teacher based initiative.

A better solution would have been a focus on an entrepreneurial culture of teacher-led pilots that are done on a small scale. When things prove worthy of scaling, then bring it to the board.

Posted by @ Christopher Chiang
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:05 pm

The cost to the district as shown in the budget is $275,669 not $149,000 which only covers the direct settlement to TTO. When asked about the difference in the video link you provided, Ayinde stated it was due to "copiers, instructional assistants, paper". He didn't mention legal costs which I suspect made up the bulk of the difference!

So it was "only" a quarter million.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 1, 2017 at 8:39 am

I would agree with former Trustee Chiang on the point that Teacher Inclusion is vital. It is clear - that the process proposed by the Superintendent - and used for TTO during 2016 is lacking. The current Board Policy (BP 6161.1) explicitly requires teacher involvement as early as possible (based on state law - Ed Code).

The teachers unions of California fought hard for this right to be formally involved in choosing the tools of their profession. The November 2015 teacher survey, reported to all the Board members that teachers were (collectively) still worried and unhappy with the district office ignoring their professional input.

The problem OBVIOUSLY persists, and as Chiang notes, will only get worse under Rudolph's proposal.

This is DIRECTLY RELATED to why the MVWSD still has one of the lowest teacher retention rates in the county.

OPACITY in governance was a hallmark of Wheeler's presidency - Gutierrez seems to be continuing in her path.

Posted by School Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 1, 2017 at 10:08 am

@Steve Nelson and Christopher Chiang

As former board members who partially contributed to the level of chaos our school district finds itself in, I find your comments and criticisms more self-serving than anything. Ironically I do, however, support your rights to free speech and I do value your opinions equally as long as you are attacking each other, just as you did when you were on the board.

Let's remember Mr. Chiang that it was you who pushed hard to hire the superintendent before running off saying you were unable to deal with Mr. Nelson. At the same time I do credit Mr. Nelson for attempting to expose, through public records, what has been going on behind the scenes at the school district for years. It turns out that the very transparency that Mr. Nelson was a strong advocate for would have stopped dead in its tracks the entire TTO fiasco at the hands of Mr. Chiang's choice for superintendent.

What I do object to is your attacks on the current board members that have come in to fix the mess you BOTH created both wittingly and unwittingly. Your tactics lack class. Mr. Chiang's subtle dig at the current Board President, Mr. Jose Guiterrez, and Mr. Nelson's blatant accusation that Mr. Gutierrez is somehow Ms. Ellen Wheeler's lap dog without a mind of his own is both appalling if not racist. Shame on you both.

Posted by ^^^
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I'm not sure it's fair to label an attack on Mr. Gutierrez "racist".

I think we can all agree that the Board has a lot of work to do!!

Get to work, guys! Let's see more transparency and less closed session meetings. More meetings open to the public will help restore the trust you sorely need right now!

Thank you, Voice!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm

"species-ist" might more be the word, if that dog metaphor was what you were going after

I was not going after that (whoever you are). The placing of a known contentious issue (TTO: Math full year contract) on a consent contract list (Wheeler was responsible for that), and the 28th agenda, that did not list TTO: Math as the subject of the board's closed session deliberation ( choice that President Gutierrez is responsible for.)

Gutierrez, In My Opinion, has chosen to go down the path of OPACITY in governance. That is his HUMAN choice. Nothing to do with his species.

And of course, he may choose to go a different path from that of his predecessor!

Posted by PTA Mom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 2, 2017 at 1:02 pm

For as long as I can remember the. MVWSD has always been in the middle of controversy . It's time the focus been on the problems. This school board has so many holes its YVlaughable.
You've got one that talked more than she listens. Please do us all a favor and listen to your teachers they are interacting with parents and students. Stop failing our kids .

Posted by $275,669 for TTO!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

All for a program which made our kids hate math (see the district TTO survey) and which was abandoned mid-year.

I sure hope other districts do a thorough web-search when Ayinde's resume starts making the rounds ...

Posted by Open Discussion
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm

When will we ever find out what really happened? Why are there still no details on the final contract/agreement?

Posted by District Supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I don't understand what everyone is whining about! The district only wound up paying $149,000 and not a half-million-dollars. That's a tiny percentage of the overall budget and well worth it for the experience gained.

Posted by @ Gary
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Supporting Gary's statements, CA Education Code 17604 Web Link clearly specifies:

In the event of malfeasance in office, the school district official invested by the governing board with the power of contract shall be personally liable to the school district employing him or her for any and all moneys of the district paid out as a result of the malfeasance.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of The Crossings

on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:41 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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