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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017


    Peralta and El Rancho on OUSD Agenda

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Selling the Peralta Site back on OUSD Agenda this week
    The controversial sale of OUSD's Peralta Site is back on the OUSD Agenda on May 25th. Closed Session  starts at 5:00 pm with comments on the agenda taken before the Closed Session starts. 

    Closed Session Item  4 D has the OUSD Board discussing the price with district lawyers and "an unidentified number of potential buyers for the property" .  The agenda item only identifies the site by its address, not by name.

    In 2012 the OUSD Board voted not to lease the property to developers who were planning a high density apartment complex.

    OUSD Trustee Timothy Surridge then went on a community-wide lobbying tour trying to drum-up support for selling the property.  Surridge and his board allies stated that voters would not pass a facilities bond if the district is not using all of its resources.

    Selling the Peralta Property, which currently is being used mostly for recreation, has been a goal of Surridge and his Board allies for years.  Now with term limits, time is running out for the members of the OUSD Board who want the property sold to developers.

    OUSD Board has two options for El Rancho Charter vote on Thursday
    A renewal of the El Rancho Charter by the OUSD Board of Trustees  is certain this Thursday May 25th. The question is- Which charter will the Board approve?

    The OUSD Board Agenda Item 12 B ( Agenda pages 3-176) includes two Options for the OUSD Trustees to vote on-both options would approve a charter for El Rancho. 

    Which of the two options -and therefore charters-depend on if the El Rancho Charter Board and the district have reached an agreement by the OUSD Board meeting and have an approved Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU2). The El Rancho Charter Board held a 9 am May 22nd Special Charter Board Meeting to discuss and possibly approve a MOU2.

    Option A for the OUSD Board vote is contingent on the El Rancho Board not approving a MOU2.  Option A has the OUSD Board renewing the current El Rancho charter that was originally approved in 2012.

    Option B has the OUSD Board approving a new charter with an agreed upon MOU2 that the OUSD Administration finds meets all of their concerns.

    As of the posting of this story, the El Rancho Charter website is still urging parents to show up on Thursday wearing red to support the charter.  The website alert states that the "El Rancho Charter School has been renewed for 2017-2022 by operation of law. Unfortunately, OUSD Board acknowledge or accept it. "

    For more information click on : EL RANCHO  ALERT

    The growing problems between OUSD's second charter middle school started with a letter from El Rancho Principal Michele Walker to OUSD insisting that one of the versions of the El Rancho Charter application submitted this year was automatically renewed when the legally required 60 day time period elapsed without OUSD taking action on the charter application.  

    OUSD has taken the position that the numerous El Rancho charter applications  it received all were  drafts, and therefore not subject to the legal timelines.

    The April letter from Walker insisting that the submitted charter became official the month before (March 2017) came on the heels of  an April OUSD request for clarification on nineteen changes in the 2017 version of the El Rancho Charter.  

    Another point that OUSD is insisting on clarification is language in the charter about the OUSD loan to the charter school for a construction of a new science center.  That science center is currently under construction.

    OUSD has also cited that no evidence has been presented that the changes in the Charter were voted on by 75% of the staff as required by the original charter.  Also among the other numerous concerns outlined in the OUSD Agenda Item are deletion of required insurance related items that OUSD insists are needed to protect staff and students.

    The posted November 2016 minutes from the El Rancho Charter Board report that Principal Walker was at home recovering from a surgery. Item 19 states that Walker was "working on the charter renewal while convalescing. The intention is to present to the [charter] board at the next board meeting".

    The December 2016 El Rancho Board minutes show that the Principal Walker participated by telephone.  Nothing from the posted agenda shows that the required Brown Act notification requirements were followed in the December El Rancho Charter related to the principal teleconferencing. The only item voted on by a roll call ( another Brown Act requirement) was the Charter approval in Agenda Item 15.

    The only votes by staff reported in the agenda was a 56-3 to change the special education SELPA.

    The January 2017 El Rancho Board Minutes do not report any staff votes.  Item 15 reports that the Principal was present at the January meeting and was meeting with the district to arrange a  presentation on the El Rancho Charter to the OUSD Board in February.  The minutes continue to explain  "Possibly approval in April".

    There are no minutes posted for any other El Rancho Board meetings in 2017 (February, March, April, May) and therefore no public records of the required staff vote on the charter changes.

    In August 2016, El Rancho Charter was on a list of 250 charters from the ACLU that were allegedly in violation of state law. The ACLU report accused El Rancho of not following the state law mandating  that charters accept all students.  The ACLU report alleged that El Rancho Charter limited enrollment based on a student's academic performance.

    In February 2017, OUSD paid a $10 million dollar settlement to families of  El Rancho students injured in a 2014 bus crash.

    New OUSD Assistant Superintendent of  Facilities and Planning to be named replacing Executive Director position
    OUSD will add a third Assistant Superintendent when they name a new Assistant Superintendent of  Facilities and Planning on Thursday night.  The new position will replace the current Director of Facilities and Planning.

    Agenda Item 12 F approves a new contract for the new Assistant Superintendent "consistent with the contracts of the other two Assistant  Superintendents".

    The most current public information on salaries for 2015 from Transparent California shows the two OUSD Assistant Superintendents with benefits two years ago were between $215,000 and $219,000.  

    By comparison, Transparent California reports that same year the salary for Matthew Strother, the current Executive Director of Facilities and Planning,  was $100,000.  

    For  a list of OUSD 2015 salaries click on: 

    The new $200,000 plus Assistant Superintendent position comes as talks between the district and its employee unions have stalled.

    Executive Director Matthew Strother

    The May 24th Agenda, Consent Agenda Item 14 I (pg 288) eliminates the current OUSD position of Executive Director of Facilities and Planning.

    INSIDE the May 25th  OUSD Agenda
    Other items on the May 25th Agenda:

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday May 25, 2017
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION: 5:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

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    Monday, May 08, 2017


    OUSD Trustees meet Thursday

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD Board to meet Thursday May 8th
    The Orange Unified School Board will hold a regular scheduled meeting  on Thursday May 8, 2017  Closed Session begins at 5:00 pm and Open session begins at 7:00 pm.

    The meeting agenda includes the Trustees discussing in Closed Session about the announced retirement of Superintendent Michael Christensen effective 8/1/17.

    Other items include voting on Action Items for Approval of the El Modena Measure S Science Center Project and a Public Hearing on the Renewal of the El Rancho Charter School's charter.

    Information on organizing new Boys and Girls Lacrosse teams at Canyon and El Modena High Schools will also be presented.  Information on the legalities of exchanges of public surplus real property will also be discussed.

    The OUSD Trustees will also vote as part of the Consent Agenda on a $15,000 contract to provide on-site training for the newly approved  4 x 4 Block Schedule for El Modena High School.

     For more information Click on OUSD May Agenda

    Wednesday, May 03, 2017


    EMHS coach charged in sex crimes

    El Modena HS walk-on coach in Sunday's suicide standoff now charged with underage sex crimes
    The Orange County District Attorney announced today that Michael J. Snitzler, the 26 year-old El Modena H.S. walk-on (part time) football who was initially charged with weapons charges following a 10-hour suicide-related  stand-off with police last Sunday April 23rd at the high school, is now facing additional charges allegedly involving a sexual relationship with an under-aged 17 year old El Modena student.
    In addition to the possession of a felony firearm and ammunition on a campus charge, Snitzer  has now been charged with misdemeanor unlawful sexual intercourse and child annoyance. According to the D.A., Snitzler and the El Modena student met in February of this year.  After allegedly communicating by text messages, Snitzler  allegedly began a sexual relationship with the student in March of this year.
    The felony weapons charges alone could result in up to 10 years and 6 months in prison.

    Sunday, April 30, 2017


    OUSD's Superintendent announces retirement

    OUSD Superintendent Christensen 
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen announces retirement  

    Monday, April 24, 2017


    EMHS walk-on coach faces weapons charges

    Walk-on football Coach arrested in Sunday's El Modena High School gun incident

    The Orange Police Department reported today that Michael Snitzler, a 26 year-old walk-on-coach for Orange Unified's El Modena High School, was arrested and charged with possession of a gun and ammunition on a school campus. 

    The weapons charges stem from a 10 hour stand-off with police on Sunday April 23, 2017 at El Modena H.S.  Reportedly, Snitzler's brother contacted police by telephone to report his brother was at El Modena and was suicidal.

    Michael Snitzler selfie on his social media account
    Snitzler worked as a part-time football coach at El Modena for the 2011-2016 football seasons.  This spring he was a volunteer with the school's video replay department.

    Snitzler, a Santa Ana resident,  played varsity football in high school for Servite High School. He graduated high school in 2008.

    After Snitzler surrendered without further incident after the 10-hour standoff, El Modena Principal Dr. Dustin Saxon put out a statement on the district website and social media that the school would be open the next day for classes. On Monday, April 24, El Modena High School was open and classes proceeded normally. 

    Orange Unified Superintendent Michael Christensen released a brief statement on Monday April 24th before the weapons charges were announced thanking the Orange Police Department and writing:
    "It is our understanding that the person involved in the incident is receiving the appropriate professional assistance."

    Monday, April 10, 2017


    Orange Unified School Board to meet Thursday

    Orange Unified School Board to meet
    The Orange Unified School Board will meet in a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday April 13th, 2017.

    For more information about the OUSD Agenda, Click on: AGENDA

    Tuesday, March 07, 2017


    VPE demo vote, teacher layoffs and OUSD updates

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD trustees to vote to demolished historic Villa Park Elementary buildings
    On Thursday  March 9, 2017  the Orange Unified School Board will vote on a resolution to move forward with demolishing the two historic buildings located on the campus of Villa Park Elementary School.  

    The buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and are the oldest buildings in Villa Park. Villa Park Elementary sits on the site of the original Mountain View School that began in 1881.  Mountain View was the original name of the area now the City of Villa Park. The current historic buildings date back to around 1919 and 1924.  

    The March 9th Action Item 12 C (Agenda page 5) states:
    Resolution No. 23-16-17: Approval to Remove Two Original Buildings from the Villa Park Elementary School Campus

    At the February 15, 2017 Orange Unified Board of Trustees received information on the two Villa Park Elementary School historic buildings. Numerous parents with students attending Villa Park Elementary have been gathering community support to demolish the fenced off historic buildings at the center of Villa Park Elementary School

    The current parent-led efforts to demolish the two buildings come as the neglected buildings have in the parents view turned into a safety hazard.

    In 1999, Orange Unified agreed to let a community group called the Villa Park Elementary School Restoration Corporation pursue fundraising plans to restore the buildings.  The fundraising efforts failed.

    In 2006, OUSD began making plans to demolish the buildings. When completed in 2008, those  plans were met with intense community resistance. Then Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell offered county matching funds of $100,000 towards saving the buildings. The district backed down from the plans to demolish the buildings and eventually offered to sell the historic  buildings for $1.  There were no takers. 

    Restoration estimates in 2008 were $3.5 million. 

    The estimated cost to demolish the two buildings in the March 9 Agenda is $250,000.

    OUSD prepares to layoff teachers
    OUSD will change its health class credit requirements by half beginning the next school year by  following  the California state standard in health credits. This change will lead to an online health class.  Orange Unified School Board Agenda Item 12 F deals with teachers who currently teach OUSD health courses. 

    The agenda item in part states:
    Staffing at the state standard in the subject of health for 2017-18 will require the layoff or reassignment of approximately 4 single subject health teachers in order to prevent the District from being overstaffed for the 2017 -18 school year.

    The agenda item allows the layoff or reassignment of  the health teachers, A reassignment would depending on what type of  teaching credentials  the teacher has and the open positions.

    Holiday Inn Turlock lobby with seating

    Trustee Ortega to teleconference again

    The Thursday  March 9, 2017  Agenda reports that OUSD Trustee John Ortega will be teleconferencing from the small lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in TurlockCalifornia (see photos).

    In October 2016, it was announced that Ortega would be teleconferencing from a secure Homeland Security Center facility in Alabama which could have been a Brown Act violation if he had participated in the meeting. On the night of the meeting it was announced that due to "limited service" on his cellphone, Ortega wold not be participating.

    Lobby seating area in lobby across from front desk in the Turlock Holiday Inn Express

    The Brown Act has been interpreted to require all telephones used for teleconferencing have a functioning speaker to enable public access, even if there are no members of the public present at a particular location. The meeting must be conducted so that participants by audio alone are clearly identified.

    OUSD has had numerous past problems with the Brown Act. In March of 2014 the OUSD Agenda announced that Trustee Kathy Moffat was suppose to teleconference from a private residence in Maryland.  After Brown Act watchdogs Californians Aware was notified, the teleconference never took place. In 2010, OUSD re-voted on items that were originally approved during teleconference meetings that did not vote be the Brown Act required roll-call votes.  In 2003 OUSD was under court order to record all of its Closed Session meetings for potential judicial review because of  Brown Act violations of Closed Sessions in 2001.  In another court case in 2006, OUSD prevailed in a Brown Act case brought by Californians Aware on behalf of then Trustee Steve Rocco over a censure resolution.

    Californians Aware has in recent years stepped up their monitoring of teleconferencing that has been brought to their attention.  Calls to teleconferencing locations to confirm public access, proper agenda locations and calls to locations during the meeting to confirm speaker phone use have all been used to confirm Brown Act compliance.

    For more information Click on:
    OUSD Brown Act violations and
    Californians Aware

    INSIDE the OUSD March 9, 2017  Agenda
    Other items in the March 9th Orange Unified Board Agenda:
    ·      Action Item A: Measure S Architectural Firms
    ·      Action Item B: Measure S Construction Firms
    ·     Action Item D: Declaring the Killerfer Annex site surplus

    Closed Session 4 B Lawsuit discussion from parents of a Palmyra student:  
    Andrew Ashline v. Orange Unified School District, et al.

    for more information on the case click on:
    ·       KNBC
    ·       OC Weekly
    ·       OC Register
    ·       Court Documents

    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040

    ARCHIVAL Information and direct news can be found at:
    the Greater Orange News Service
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    and the
    Greater Orange News Service
    are independent news services of /O/N/N/

    Orange Net News

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