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  • Monday, December 05, 2005


    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST


    OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat

    At the November 17th Orange Unified School Board meeting, the OUSD Trustees voted to dump another of the Recall Reforms that they instituted when they took over after the Orange Recall. The latest reform to be dumped is the changes in Board Bylaw 9100 that requires a rotation of Board officers based on the District Areas they represent. The idea of the rotation of officers came from former OUSD Trustee Bob Viviano. Despite his long career, Viviano was denied any leadership role as an “outsider” under the former recalled fringe OUSD Board. After the Orange Recall election, Viviano was elected President and proposed the plan to ensure the rotation of the three Board leadership positions (Clerk, Vice President and President of the Board) to give all trustees an equal opportunity to serve the Board in a leadership role. The rotation plan was part of a package of Recall Reforms quickly approved by the new Citizen’s Board.

    Then came the surprising 2004 election of Steve Rocco over Board backed Phil Martinez. Sources in the OUSD Administration report that faced with the prospect of having Area 6 Trustee Steve Rocco assume the duties of Board Clerk in 2007, Board President Kathy Moffat convinced the Board’s Liberal Block, to support the idea of ending the rotation of officers to prevent Rocco from assuming any Board leadership role. At the November 17th OUSD Board Meeting discussing the ongoing revision of Board policies, it was Liberal Block member Kim Nichols who proposed ending the rotation stating that she no longer saw a need for it. Trustee Melissa Smith, while she originally voted for the rotation plan, stated that she never originally agreed with it.

    Ironically the second reading and final approval of the revisions to end the Rotation Plan will take place at the December 8th Board meeting, the same meeting that the state required Annual Organization Meeting to install the new Board officers based on the current Rotation Plan will take place. Under the Rotation Plan, this year’s Vice President Kim Nichols will take over the President’s gavel, last year’s Clerk Trustee Rick Ledesma will become the new Vice President, and Trustee Wes Poutsma will become this year’s Clerk.

    Moffat began her term as President supporting the OUSD’s Administration efforts to revoke the charter of Santiago Charter Middle School. An unforeseen outpouring of community support from the greater Orange community to save Santiago as a charter school, as well as a poorly written legal report commissioned by the OUSD Administration on the reasons for revocation, led Moffat and other Trustees to back away from revoking the charter of Orange County’s first charter school. Later in the year, the Annual Budget saw the Moffat led Board slashed the Music Program and Class Size Reductions to balance the district’s budget because of the state deficit while demanding little in the way of administrative cut backs. In the budget, the controversial Focus on Results program was shown as an administrative budget cut, but then after the budget process was over, the OUSD Board re-approved the controversial program by shifting funding to federal funds OUSD obtains. The Board also approved pay raises for all staff and a $10,000 bonus-type pay raise for the retiring former OUSD Superintendent Robert French.

    Moffat was able to accomplish her long time goal of more positive news spin for OUSD when the district signed up with the advertiser supported, non-political School News quarterly paper. However, most of the Board’s initiatives with Moffat as Board President were steps backward. Moffat oversaw the Board ending the Recall Reform that increased the public’s chance to address the Board from one to two times per meeting (now again, the public has just one chance to address the Board). In addition, Moffat had supported the attempt to eliminate the budget that broadcasts the OUSD Board meetings to the public. Trustee Rick Ledesma was the lone voice who fought hard to have the funds reinstated, or find alternative funding. In the end, it was again community pressure on the Board that saved the funding for the Board broadcasts over local cable, even after the other members of the Board repeatedly reaffirmed their will to end the broadcasts. As the final meeting with Moffat opening the meeting as President of the Board takes place this Thursday, the Board will vote to undo the Recall Reform of rotating OUSD Board leaders. The Greater Orange Community Organization, a local watchdog group, characterized Moffat’s year of leadership as “one small step for education, one giant leap for career bureaucrats”.


    A Minolta copier was donated to OUSD by Jonathan Taylor. The El Modena H.S. Industrial Arts Department received assorted metal materials from Benner Metals.

    Highlights of the NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING December 8, 2005

    Action Item 13 A- Issue Tax Bonds for special tax district (Tremont) to build a school in East Orange.

    Action Item 12 C- Second reading on Board Policy Changes from last meeting (Recall Reform Rotation)

    Information Item 14 A- Annual Audit- $16 million positive balance with $8.7 million unappropriated

    Information Item 14 C- Step Up to Writing program report. No doubt Executive Director Rachel Morga will not make the same mistakes that Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Cohen did with her ill received and controversial Focus on Results Report .

    “We’re a $220 million dollar business; we’re going to spend the money somewhere”-OUSD Trustee Wes Poutsma 9/22/05

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2005: $ 978,300.000:

    2005 Additional Administrator/Board Member Conference Fees:
    2/10/05 Las Vegas Special Education Conference: $ 7,500.00
    Total 2005 Additional Conference Fees: $ 7,500.00

    2005 Attorney Fee Tally:
    7/14/05 Revocation Law Firm $ 75,000.00
    7/14/05 Parker & Covert $300,000.00
    6/23/05 Immigration Lawyer $ 600.00
    6/09/05 Parker & Covert $ 20,000.00
    5/12/05 Revocation Law Firm $ 60,000.00
    3/10/05 Revocation Law Firm $ 50,000.00
    2/10/05 Parker & Covert $225,000.00
    Total 2005 Attorney Fees $730,600.00

    NCLB-No Consultant Left Behind:
    10/25/05 Dennis Parker 6 Day Consultant $ 15,000.00
    7/14/05 OHS Communication Consultant $ 20,000.00
    6/23/05 Focus on Results Consultant $ 206,700.00
    Business Services position consultant $ 12,500.00
    5/24/05 Focus on Results substitutes $ 4,000.00
    4/13/05 Focus on Results substitutes $ 4,000.00
    3/16/05 Focus on Results substitutes $ 4,000.00
    2/15/05 Focus on Results substitutes $ 4,000.00
    1/19/05 Focus on Results substitutes $ 4,000.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00

    The next Orange Unified School Board Meeting: Thursday December 8, 2005
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session remains at 7:30 pm
    For a complete OUSD Board Agenda CLICK ON: more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040

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