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  • Tuesday, March 21, 2006


    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST

    Orange Unified’s March 9th Board Meeting:

    Two weeks after voting to end the Elementary Music Program because of lack of funding, the March 9th, 2006 Orange Unified School District’s Board of Trustees meeting began with Orange Unified Superintendent Thomas Godley making an announcement that OUSD had the money to continue the Elementary Music Program next year. Citing a February 23rd, 2006 California Legislative Analysts Office report that shows the economy growing and tax revenues up, Godley predicted the district would have the $400,000 needed to continue the Elementary Music Program and some Class Size Reduction programs not yet cut. In response to a question from Trustee Rick Ledesma, Godley indicated the district would be able to sustain the programs for more than the coming year. Later in the evening during the scheduled Report on Elementary Music, the OUSD Administration reported of the 15 Orange County school districts with elementary schools, eleven fund some type of music program.

    While part of the Legislative Analysts Office report on the proposed budget did predict higher tax returns based on current economic activity, nothing in that part of the report indicated that the expected extra money would be dedicated to educational funding. In the part of the Legislative Analysts report dedicated in the Governor’s Budget Proposals on K-12 educational funding, the recommendation to the California Legislature was not to approve funding the $400 million requested for seven new categorical programs including the Governor’s Art and Music program (see link below). That report includes providing alternative approaches to the budget proposal including some to address the fiscal concerns of unfunded mandates by local school districts. In addition, the report states “We identify several alternative budget strategies the Legislature could adopt to reduce the impact of Proposition 98 on the state’s financial condition”. The uncertainty of how the politics of the budget process would unfold was originally what Godley cited just two weeks before as his reasoning for recommending that as a budget precaution the Trustees end the Elementary Music Program and take a wait and see approach to the budget and revisit music later in the process. Then just two weeks later, with a Second Interim Financial Report balance of $8,770,065 over required reserves, plus an independent budget expert hired by the local Music Matters Committee, and apparently all of OUSD’s budgetary caution (like the answer my friend to what’s the real story behind the OUSD music fiasco) is just Blow’n in the Wind.

    Legislative Analysts Recommendations on K-12:

    Recommendations on Categorical Programs
    Recommendations on K-12 Budget Issues
    All Legislative Analysts publications on Budget

    OUSD Unappropriated Amount Projected to Increase
    Two weeks ago when OUSD Assistant Superintendent Jon Archibald reported on the Second Interim Financial Report balance of $8,770,065, he tried to explain the large sum away by noting that the amount does not include any negotiated salary settlements for this year with the three groups of OUSD employees: Leadership (Administrators); Classified (non-teaching staff); and Certificated (teachers, nurses and counselors). The March 23rd Board Agenda includes agreements with two of those groups for 3.25% salary increases, Leadership and Classified (Agenda Items 12E and 12F). Currently the teacher’s association, the Orange Unified Educators Association, and OUSD have not reached an agreement and indications are negotiations may again be headed to again being declared at impasse.

    In light of Godley’s March 9th budget revelations, Archibald’s March 9th comments about why the outstanding balance don’t appear to hold up to the required AB 1200 Information on Page 35 of the March 23rd Board Agenda. With only the teachers now unsettled, the required projected budget assumptions (with an increase of 5.18% COLA- Cost Of Living Adjustment- in funds from the state) on the Page 35 AB 1200 Information show in 2006-2007 a continued $8,721,024 projected surplus above required reserves, and in 2007-2008 (with a smaller projected 3.4% COLA from the state and $1.3 million more in expenditures) a $14,967,466 projected surplus.

    $3333.33 a Day Consultant Approved
    The OUSD Administration got its $10,000 business consultant Bob Sadler for “three days of professional development-strategic planning-to the district”. Sadler is “a Method Teaming Practitioner” ( ). Will OUSD be better off from Method Team Practice? Will the OUSD Management team still be using this a year from now? A month from now? At all? Check out the website on Method Teaming and you decide if this is your educational tax dollars well spent CLICK ON: .

    VPRC Second Amendment Defeated
    In a rare defeat for the OUSD Administration, and a blow to the backers of Villa Park Elementary School Restoration Corporation, the Orange Unified Trustees voted not to approve the amendment agreement between OUSD and VPRC. Citing reasons that included unclear language regarding fund raising benchmarks, unclear wording, and fatigue with the long process and the many opportunities given to VPRC, in a split vote (4 –No; 2 Yes; 1 Abstain) the Trustees voted down the amendment which would have given the VPRC additional time for planning and fundraising. Now it’s back to the drawing board for another attempt at an amendment, or proceeding to cancel the lease of the VPRC and have OUSD take over the historic buildings.

    Poutsma Can’t Muzzle Rocco as Trustees Laugh at ONN
    As Trustee Steve Rocco made his way through one of his trademark end of the evening rants, Trustee Wes Poutsma interrupted Rocco and in Poutsma’s first ever original motion of his term, Poutsma moved to adjourn the meeting and thus cut off Rocco. Trustees John Ortega and Nichols joined Poutsma in voting to adjourn, but the motion failed with a 3 to 3 tie vote (Rocco, Smith and Ledesma voted against adjournment; Moffat had left early). Rocco then continued speaking and began citing a July Orange Net News report on Administrative and Trustee conference expenses. At this point with Nichols, Smith and Poutsma laughing, Poutsma threw up his hands and left the meeting. Rocco commented that apparently those laughing did not like Orange Net News. Then Rocco and a laughing Kim Nichols exchanged words over Orange Net News. A chuckling Kim Nichols in a rare show of sarcasm stated "Not an actual reliable source of actual facts always". Nichols then added, "And I'd like to know if you know who the author of that document is?"
    Rocco replied, "It doesn't have a name, I wish it did".
    "They typically, don't”, Nichols retorted.

    The Greater Orange eBlog has three posts covering this episode and what it was all about (just click on the blue links below).
    For a full report on the episode and background of what it was all about:

    While Nichols claims that ONN is “not an actual reliable source” the information from the OUSD source documents (and how to get copies of the documents) is posted at:
    Children’s Education is No Laughing Matter

    The original Special Report that Rocco was referring to from July 2005 can be viewed at:
    July 27th, 2005 Special Report on Expenses

    For information about anonymous free speech and its historic place in the United States including historical information on the Founding Fathers practice of anonymous free speech, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation website:

    First OUSD Executive Director of Secondary Education to Retire
    Fran Roney, OUSD Executive Director of Secondary Education will retire at the end of August according to the March 23rd Board Agenda. The OUSD Trustees created two positions of Executive Directors adding another bureaucratic layer to the OUSD Administration hierarchy during the California State Budget crisis two years ago. Former OUSD Superintendent Robert French called the two new positions an administration “cut”. In her career Roney served as a teacher as a school administrator included Villa Park High School Principal. As Executive Director, she represented OUSD on the Charter Board of Santiago Charter School before OUSD’s failed move to revoke the Santiago Charter.

    Highlights of the NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING March 23 , 2006
    To view Agenda CLICK ON:

    State of the School Report: Canyon H.S by Student Representative Erin Hong

    Item 9E - Recognition of School Bus Driver Day- April 25, 2006
    Item 12A- Fred Kelly Joint Use Agreement – The long anticipated new FEE SCHEDULE
    Item 12B/C Resolutions supporting budget proposal for Arts Grant and Charter Schools Legislation
    Item 12D- Legislative Coalition 2006 Platform -2nd Reading
    Item 12E- Contract for CSEA (non-teaching staff) 3.25% Salary Increase
    Item 12F- Salary Adjustment for OUSD Administrators 3.25% Salary Increase

    “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 2006: $ 222,317.00
    2006 Consultant Fee Tally:
    3/09/06 Bob Sadler 3 Day Workshop $ 10,000

    2006 Attorney Fee Tally:
    1/19/06 Parker & Covert: $200,000

    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel:
    2/9/06 Roney and 5 principals to Florida $ 10,623
    2/23/06 Rooney and 2 principals Tx/ Fl $ 4,050
    3/09/06 2 to Florida Conference $ 3,644
    Total $18,317

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars spent in 2005: $ 978,300.000:
    Total 2005 Conference Administrator/Board Fees: $ 7,500.00
    2005 Attorney Fee Tally: $730,600.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00

    The next Orange Unified School Board Meeting: MARCH 23, 2006
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session begins at 7:30 pm
    For a complete OUSD Board Agenda CLICK ON:
    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040

    Orange Unified Schools Digest is an independent news service of
    “Independent, Local, News and Viewpoints”

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