After 17 Years, MDUSD Board Member Gary Eberhart is Ready to Move On

August 1, 2012 9:00 am · 64 comments

The year that Gary Eberhart first joined the school board for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District was the same year that the first Pixar, “Toy Story” movie came out. Seal’s “Kiss from a rose” and Bryan Adams’ “Have you ever really loved a woman,” shared frequent airplay time, and in Concord, Waterworld, USA opened its doors.

Eberhart, who at the time was on a committee tasked with finding people to run for a seat on the board, found himself in the running. A student of Ygnacio Valley High, class of 1981, he knew that public education was a mixed bag; on the one hand a necessary component of readying young people for adult life, while on the other hand often boring and irrelevant to his needs.

“On the first day of my senior class I told my counselor – we had counselors back then – that I wasn’t feeling motivated and wasn’t progressing,” Eberhart recounted. “I had been considering taking the GED and ending that experience.” Instead the counselor told him that “if you leave school you’ll never amount to anything.” He left anyway, took, and passed, the GED and by the time his friends graduated high school he had already completed a year at Diablo Valley College.

“Tons of kids are not on the college track.” Eberhart believes their needs are not being addressed. “Those demographics are not well represented on the board to this day,” he says.

And so he found himself elected to the board, the youngest of the board members and the only one without a college degree. “I was 32 years old, full of vigor and matching wits with people with degrees.” It was, at first overwhelming, but he quickly immersed himself in understanding what, to this day, he considers essential knowledge if you are going to serve on the board; budgets and how the public school system works, not just in theory, but through experience.

Read the full story on the Digital Concordian’s website by clicking HERE.

Lee White August 1, 2012 at 9:29 AM

I didn’t want to wade through all the platitudes to find out why he’s suddenly resigning. Anyone care to boil that down to one sentence for me?

Anon August 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Lee White,

He is not resigning. He is just not running for another term. Fundamentally different. 17 years is a long time to fight the good fight in the most thankless of jobs.


Thanks for all of your hard work. While we did not always agree, no matter what anyone on here says I know that you were always focused on providing the best for the community.

anon August 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Good riddance. He’s got to get out before Northgate and College Park convert to charters. More embarrassment to come for the MDUSD.

CV Grtad August 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Simply put…..he couldn’t be re-elected

Social Injustice August 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hey whether you like him or not, 17 years of trying to do stuff deserves a thank you. It is not like that was his paying job. Besides after all the board changes it looks like no matter who is there nothing changes. Do you think the state has something to do with that? Thanks Gary. You did get many good things done.

Atticus' Thraxx August 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Big fan. Good luck Gary and thanks for your service.

Thank You For Your Service August 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Gary- Thank you for your 17 years on our board. I have disagreed with you on many topics, but I realize that the school board is a big picture job and what’s in my interest isn’t always in the best interest of the entire school district.

I don’t know why anyone would take the job these days. Board members are the target of derision and it seems they can’t make anyone happy. They are always making cuts and decisions that negatively impact our students and teachers, and in addition, it is a very demanding and time consuming “part-time” job. Not even God could keep the voters of the MDUSD happy.

Good People of Claycord- Is there someone reasonable who will step up and run for Gary’s (and Sherry’s?) seat? Can we as a community give those people a chance to get it right?

It remains to be seen.

Anon August 1, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Hmmm…wierd article in the Claycordian. Basically Whitmarsh still kissing @$$. Lots of platitiudes for “saving” the district 230 million, but not mentioning that this boondoggle costs taxpayers 1.6 billion (yes with a B).

Could there be information coming down the road that will make Gary’s reason for leaving much more clear?

CCC Anon August 1, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Eberhart is not resigning, Lee White. He’s decided not to run for re-election. Perfectly understandable given how thankless the job is.

I’d like to thank Gary Eberhart for his service to MDUSD. My children were educated in MDUSD while Gary was on the Board, so I paid attention to what the MDUSD Board did and attended a number of meetings. Gary was always willing to ask the hard questions and take a stand on controversial issues, even when it made him unpopular. He listened to parent and community input. He put the needs of the students first. He was willing to come up with solutions instead of pander to particular constituencies. Given the budget realities, almost all of the decisions the Board makes today will be unpopular because they involve cutting the budget. But Gary wasn’t afraid to stand up and speak the truth. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gary. MDUSD will be worse off without him on the Board.

One of the reasons I gave up my subscription to the Contra Costa Times was its terrible coverage of MDUSD. I had children in the district and followed school matters closely. I could see how biased the coverage was. The paper made an editorial (and marketing) decision to wage a vendetta against MDUSD leadership, including Gary Eberhart. Instead of fairly covering issues and events in the District., instead of trying to inform the public on complex issues, they made a decision to take an editorial position and push it to the max, the facts be damned. Perhaps it’s cheaper to run a newspaper that way. You don’t have to pay for competent reporters. All you need are a handful of opinion writers who are willing to write whatever the marketing department has decided will sell newspapers.

Vindex August 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Thanks for your service. While we did not see eye to eye many times, I appreciate your time and effort

Nconcord August 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Is he going to get lifetime medical now? What perks is he leaving with.

Not J August 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Good Riddance – too bad this didn’t happen years ago.

Jim August 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out…sorry but I have seen nothing but decline in the public school sysytem and I don’t see that he was any kind of pioneer or that he blazed new trails…If he was truly interested in kids getting what they needed he would have not fought so hard against a school that was trying to do just that by becoming a “charter”…as usual you say one thing to look like the good guy going out and the truth is what’s hidden in the back room…GOOD LUCK!

Sick and Tired August 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Thank you, Gary, for all the time and effort you put into the MDUSD.

funny man August 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Step1: Milk district for all its worth, Setup connections to get you $$$
Step2: Run district into ground, blame state, then leave
Step3: ????
Step4: PROFIT!!!!

Elwood August 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Thank God my grandkids go to private school.

anonomous August 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I just want to know does he get to keep his fully paid benefits? Bye I wont miss you sorry

perla August 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Gary, you are a very nice person and I wish you the best.

@Whacka August 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM

How ’bout we see a disclosure of what, if anything, he’s walking away with, in terms of pension etc….

Paul Strange? August 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM

CCC Anon,

Paul is that you posting on blogs again? Are you going to run to replace Gary?

Dutch August 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM

It’s not a great loss. His “focus” was on the budget and yet,…. He did manage to get rid of an inept manager, but then turned around and hired one that isn’t much better.

fitgirl August 1, 2012 at 1:24 PM


Enough Already!! August 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

@ All the Bleeding Hearts that posted “Thanks Gary, etc.”

Wake Up! I could not agree anymore than with what FUNNY MAN (#15) stated. After driving the district into the ground, losing one high school to a Charter (more to follow), dividing the community – Gary Eberhart is “exiting stag left” for the Lucrative “private” sector, before getting thrown from office in disgrace come next election. Perhaps a cushy consulting job, although I can’t imagine why anyone would want to waste the $$$, given his track record.

Then again, perhaps he is bailing before someone accidently opens the closet with all the skeletons inside and all the real truth related to things such as unequal funding per student, administrative expenses, junkets and trips and all the “secret perks” are revealed!

Hey Gary, take Sherry and Lawrence with you!


@ Northgate and College Park – Get those Charter Petitions rolling, should be smoother sailing than Clayton Valley’s!

Annie August 1, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Gary, thank you for the time and effort you have put in to try and make MDUSD a better district.The Board does’nt always know things unless someone calls them and to many people are afraid and can’t afford to lose their jobs. People need to know they can call the Board members and let them know without their name being toss around about concerns they have. Also calling their Unions,so they can help. Nobody knows what goes on at a school site unless they are there on a daily basis( including the district). Sometimes employees wait to long to get help and concerns get out of control. So good luck in what ever you decide to do. Thanks again for all your help over the years. Annie VP CSEA

Eagles August 1, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Thanks ,,But time to move on.You were a Real Negative Guy during the Charter process. Hold the door open as others are going to follow. Times are a changin, The District and the people in it have been exposed !! Good Luck.

KelliB August 1, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Thank goodness. Maybe if he left 2 years ago Holbrook would still be opened.

Misterwriter August 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Gary, we have disagreed on issues but I have always found you willing to tackle the issues and actually listen rather than just dismissing the point made. I have seen you meeting with people on weekends and I know the time your family lost with you through those endless board meetings most of which I was happier to watch on the internet with my beverage of choice. You have had a relentless onslaught by the local daily which seems to need to find dirt on everything as though mandated to be the district’s parole agent. I have seen the endless information requests from them.
What was the $ cost to parents processing all that? Sure there are big issues in the district but there will be no solutions until the state decides that students are worth more than felons. And who is Dr. J and why is that person hiding? You did a thankless job during a crappy period of California history and I know your kids are glad you did so for them. Despite those who blame you for things I know many have never made the effort to speak to you; it is far easier to think of you as evil. You were not perfect but you stuck it out and tried to fix some of what was wrong. For that I thank you for your service and wish the next board member much luck in dealing with the mass of negativity people.

too late August 1, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Too bad he didn’t leave sooner. He was at the forefront of handling this huge financial mess the MDUSD was handed by the state. Although I can appreciate the time and effort he put in, his efforts worked to the detriment of the district as a whole. Gary and Sherry are a matched pair, and now that Gary is gone Sherry will be even more ineffective (if possible). There was a chance for us to have installed other candidates that had a true vision for the district and would have (in my opinion) changed for the better what we’re looking at now in the MDUSD. If not for the HUGE investment of cash by the CTA, Gary and Sherry would have had a much tougher time trying to sell their vision to the voters. Instead, they papered the streets with signs and banners and hoped that people would vote for name recognition rather than capability…..they did, the investment in signage worked.

Your time is appreciated, your influence is not.

Howard K Mullins III August 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

The Gary will be long remembered for his term on the school board.

EBguy August 1, 2012 at 4:56 PM

@ Social Injustice,
17 years of trying to do stuff that screws up a school district deserves no thanks. You don’t get things just because you did something. You get thanks for doing the right thing.

Social Injustice August 1, 2012 at 5:11 PM

@EBguy Who gets to determine whether he screwed it up anymore than you or I screwed it up? How many people came to board meetings with constructive suggestions? At least he stuck it out – what exactly did you do to help fix things? It is easy to blame someone. You forget the board represents us and there are 5 members. Gary and Sherry represent a minority. So what is your excuse? Quit being negative for the sake of being negative. And yes, you say thank you for doing many things that I read in the Concordian article that he was responsible for.

EBguy August 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM

@ Social Injustice,
If your mechanic did a crappy job changing your oil and caused the engine in your car to fail would you thank him just because he also cleaned your windshield and washed the car?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, that is why I don’t run for office, but someone who decides to get themselves elected to the school board should know what they are doing when it comes to running a school district. Just as someone who owns an auto shop damn sure better know a thing or two about working on cars.

Oh, and the things listed in the article that he is “responsible for” are things anyone in their right mind would would be ashamed of doing.

1. Installing a solar system with a 20 year lifespan and financing it with a 40 year bond that when repaid will amount to 5 times the original cost. (Lets make our kids kids pay for something that will be scrap metal by the time they can benefit from it)

2. Streaming meetings on the internet…and then having meetings behind closed doors to decide things without the public knowing.

3. Oh and lets not forget denying CVCHS’s application for the one reason they were legally restricted not to consider. High schools are supposed to get higher funding. It is not the student’s fault you allow more experienced teacher’s to pool in the elementary schools.

Happy One August 1, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Thank you for your service, Gary. You did a good job under terrible circumstances. Thank goodness there are people like you how are willing to step up to the plate instead of just complaining and criticizing.

Howard K Mullins III August 1, 2012 at 6:29 PM

@ebguy @ Social Injustice

History will soon tell us the value of Gary’s presence on the board. Will the solar panel project really save any money? Is Gary really taking a huge step up in the world and become a leader in CA, or will he run for another office? Will any of his deeds, beneficial or not, make a significant impact on the district? We will only know what history will show us.

Whatever the outcome, Gary cannot be held responsible for failures but certainly can take credit for success.

CW August 1, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Non-college track kids aren’t having their interests represented? Seems to me that’s the only group whom the district seems to care about. I’ve lived in several suburbs that were demographically similar to Pleasant Hill with *MUCH* better public schools because those district administrators actually cared about high achievers. In contrast, MDUSD seems all about pandering to the lowest common denominator. No wonder so many of my neighbors have their kids or grandkids in private school…

PRIMO August 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM

It certainly is long long overdue !!
A malfeasance lawsuit years ago might have accelerated his departure
And yes,I also would like to know what pension and benefits he is leaving with.

tess tickles August 1, 2012 at 6:58 PM

bla-bla-bla another over paid pencil pusher who thinks he is better than everyone else. who cares

@primo August 1, 2012 at 7:11 PM

And why didn’t you jump on that years ago? What was so important that you couldn’t unless it just wasn’t that important to you.

Tired of Negative August 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Really tired of the people who have nothing good to say about anything. If you are glad he is going then shut up and enjoy. If you think he deserves to be noted for the long effort certainly not for the money, then be allowed to say thank you without having to listen to people who contributed nothing but negative and anonymous commentary. Just stop with the negative. That has been the undoing of this district for too long.

@SocialInjustice I agree. It is too easy to be a critic behind the scenes.

Anon August 1, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Gary gets no pension and no benefits after leaving the board. Tess tickles, I doubt anyone thinks that $9000 per year is a high level of pay.

Marigold August 1, 2012 at 11:09 PM

I noticed how Gary’s note bragged he was the only one without a degree.
if anyone feels like looking into the whole story there was a big story behind that line. We were told by Gary he had a degree but he actually did not have a degree

still anon August 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

@Marigold, I remember that. I think that he should have been removed from the Board then and there for falsifying his resume! Actually, I think he wrote that on the ballot information sheet.

Joe August 2, 2012 at 2:47 AM

“Enough Already”

This is a little off point, but “Enough is Enough” after all. You are indeed ridding the razors edge as usual. You make statements that may lead some to believe you championed the charter school efforts rather than wait for the band wagon to come by, you know to make sure the water was safe and all. Standing in the back of the room and getting pieces of information and ideas then blog them as if they were your own genius is an insult to those who truly championed the effort. You’ve written about how sick and tired you are of the “socialism” and how everyone else with their “panties in a wad” should get off their a$$$$ and make a change too. You know the Charter budget was a fraud as confirmed by the state waiver denial. And that the additional $1.7m the district will need to fund charter is a result of the very socialist practices you proclaim to detest. I for one am still not convinced that the same staff and the same programs are not going to achieve the same results merely because the MDUSD is not dictating the rules. As happy as I am that the charter will get its shot, I think it’s terrible that other schools may suffer more cuts as result.

I would just like to know why you allowed CVHS, a school in one of the more affluent parts of the district to have one of the crappiest campuses in the district. A once thriving athletic program dwindle to punch line amongst league. All those board meetings when we were screaming about the shortcomings of the principal, where were you? Since we are dancing in the street over Eberhart not seeking the seat again, you should go away too. You have never been part of the solution. You’re just a noise maker shouting at the rain. I for one will be holding those who painted the rainbow of the charter accountable for its success or its failure.

And for the record, I couldn’t care less about Eberhart staying or going, they get a new board president every two years and none have solved the problems with the district. And our seed isn’t going to do any better.

Safety Second August 2, 2012 at 5:31 AM

Term limits for all…..from School Board to US Senate. Career politicians always leave us taxpayers with bloated budgets and more buruacracy.

Enough Already!! August 2, 2012 at 8:16 AM

@ JOE (#44)

What’s the matter Joe, Did I strike a nerve?

Why? August 2, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Why would he state he does not have a degree, when he was in charge of making education choices for our future children? Isn’t the goal to educate them, so they go off to college? Maybe it’s time for him to resign, he’s not making sense. Also College Park and Northgate will soon go charter too and he just wants to get out of the mess, so he doesn’t look so bad. His time is done, hopefully he can move on peacefully.

@I kept it #41 August 2, 2012 at 9:01 AM

I agree with what Eberhart said in your cut and paste.

I’m sick of our government wasting money and lives on unfunded wars that ultimately turn out to be for nothing. I’m sick of the way our state’s finances are run, too. I think it’s really stupid to vote against a local tax to support our local schools just because you dislike what the state or federal government is doing with its money. Yes, our schools aren’t perfect, but we need to do everything we can to make them bettter, including funding them properly instead of cutting funds to them.

I wish Gary were running again. He’s right. 🙁

Mac August 2, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Too bad it didn`t happen sooner.

I know a long list of people that are happy as hell to see this thread.
And will welcome another person sitting in his spot. (me being one)

@Joe #44 August 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Why do you think Clayton Valley HS should have a nicer campus just because it’s in a more affluent area?

Clayton Valley’s campus isn’t any crappier than Concord High’s or YV’s or College Park’s campus. They’re old schools. CV just celebrated its 50th anniversary. If you want a nicer campus, then be willing to pay more in taxes to support your school system. California funds its schools at a lower rate than almost every other state.

Or in the case of CVCHS, turn charter and take money away from the rest of the schools so your school can be nicer at the expense of everyone else’s education. The CVCHS mentality at work: “I’ve got mine, screw you…..”

Doctor J August 2, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I have been ROTFLMAO that Gary said the number of emails he received had dwindled — what Gary forgot to tell you was that months ago he removed his email address from the District website where Board members list their email addresses. Typical Gary: never let the truth ruin a good story. I believe that Gary realized he had lost major support from his politico friends based on the truth coming out about so many issues. And there were so many more ready to come out in this election. Those can wait for his next campaign. Gary had posted so many different versions of his alleged St. Mary’s college degree on linked-in and Facebook, and other sites, no one really knew if it was a BS or a BA or which of several years it was awarded to him. Or if he really had a college degree from St. Mary’s ? But the one I liked best was his claim he was “Class President” at St. Mary’s. First and only as near as I can determine. I just hope that Gary doesn’t try to monetarily benefit from his years on the Board by getting some bids for MDUSD construction jobs.

Howard K Mullins III August 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

@@I kept it #41

Gary is not right. With the convoluted tax money management system in place at the federal and state level, where taxes we pay are sent to the federal government for distribution back to to states and then back to districts, its those funds that need better distribution.

A local school tax is actually paying the same tax twice. That’s bad management and wasteful use of our taxes. The process needs to be managed so that the money we pay does not leave the district. For once it hits either the state or federal level, the chance of getting that money back diminishes greatly.

Enough Already!! August 2, 2012 at 9:53 AM

@ DOCTOR J (#50)

Perfectly Stated!!!

It will all come out in the wash!

anon August 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM

As my mdusd kids would say “see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya”

You came across as arrogant at every meeting and your puppets all have no backbone, let someone who actually wants the best for the kids have a shot!

Dr J is an a** August 2, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Dr. J who hides and offers negaitives for everything. It now sounds like a long time feud with Eberhart. Reveal yourself you phoney advocate for truth

Seal August 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Frankly, I cannot see why he served so long if it was found out that he lied on his resume. He should have been outed already. Especially about something so simple as having a degree.

Mt Diablo Jester August 2, 2012 at 11:17 AM


Gary is that you?

No Excuses August 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM

and #55’s name is…? It’s OK. After November, you can use YOUR real name when you call other people names. Cool, huh?

Curious August 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Good point. I want to know who Dr. J is also. For the last few years Dr. J is on every blog and always on attack. It is too easy to attack people anonymously.

Joke August 2, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Another blow hard government employee trying to justify his existence. He never did anything that required conviction.

This dude almost single handily takes down the MDUSD and there are people on here wishing him well. WTF?

Frank Beaumont August 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Having served on a school board in another state I understand that it is easy to see a trustee as performing badly. Without having walked the walk, I can tell you that it is a far more complicated role than just being blamed for failures and getting credited for success. As one of several members you are constantly having to compromise to find a balance that might work only to later find that it was not so good a choice after all. Since moving here five years ago I have followed the school district and it has many problems. Even after changing superintendents and board members things have not changed. I doubt that things will change after Mr. Eberhart is gone. The situation in the state does not allow that. There is also too much anger in the community at the way things are. I have never net Mr. Eberhart, but following the board meetings and reading the comments that he has made publicly, I am certain that there was no malice on his part. The anger seems to come only from the people who make comments. I respect his decision to leave. Of the 60 comments on this page only a small handful are not anonymous people. Sadly, the next person on the board will have to endure the comments from these same people and it is doubtful that any will be positive. That is something to consider in itself.

@ Frank August 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Nicely put! As an employee of this district, they need to do a string cheese model.

still anon August 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Dr. J, it is time to reveal yourself. If you are a MDUSD employee and you want to make our District better than reveal yourself! If you are so “smart” as to have Hacked someones identity at the district MDUSD office than shame on you! If you are legitimate reveal yourself!

Sick of her August 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM

Doctor J is just a hate-filled, disgruntled employee who spends her time on blogs dissing her employer. What a sad, pathetic person. Such a waste of our tax dollars to pay her salary.

@ 62 August 3, 2012 at 10:49 AM

What is a string cheese model?

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