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  • Sunday, April 16, 2006

     

    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST


    Ledesma Questions “Me Too” Provision for
    OUSD Pay Hike

    At the last Orange Unified School Board Meeting held on March 23rd, 2006, OUSD Trustee Rick Ledesma raised concerns about the precedent the OUSD Board has established by linking the OUSD Administrators pay hikes to the negotiated hikes the classified employees receive. After the OUSD Board approved Agenda Item 12E, the negotiated 3.25% raise for the support staff’s bargaining unit, the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Agenda Item 12F was to grant the OUSD Administrators the same 3.25 % raise.

    Ledesma supported the value of giving all district employees pay increases, but reasoned that when the school district negotiates with the two employee associations, that there was a “give and take” in that process for both sides. Ledesma reasoned the current practice of just granting the district administrators the same pay hike that is tied to a negotiated pay hike of an employee bargaining unit lacks the give and take of the negotiation process. Ledesma characterized the administrative process as “Me Too”, a process which the school district receives no benefit from negotiations. Ledesma offered the suggestion that for the 3.25% pay hike, administrators be asked to produce a 3.25% savings to the district by cost reductions or revenue generation. Ledesma reasoned the district receives nothing in return by just granting a raise without any give and take, therefore, the administrators should be asked to somehow help the district.

    Trustee Wes Poutsma immediately objected to Ledesma’s concept. Poutsma contended that by asking the administrators every time they got a pay hike to produce the cost savings from their budgets to justify their raise would eventually result in the school budgets running out of money. Poutsma questioned where such a system would end and argued under such a system that administrators would ultimately take any required cost savings for a pay hike out of the classroom. Moffat joined Poutsma in voicing opposition to Ledesma’s idea. Moffat reasoned by writing and winning grant proposals and by preventing legal issues from arising that would cost the district much more in court, that district administrators more than save the district the money they receive in pay hikes. Poutsma echoed Moffat’s point that administrators save the district money at the school sites daily. As with most of Ledesma’s proposals, the Board members ignored it. Ledesma stated he hoped to bring up the issue again.

    Trustee John Ortega stated he was all for the pay hike, but wanted to wait for the teacher negotiations with the district to settle first. The final vote for the 3.25% retroactive raise to July 2005 was 4 yes (Moffat, Nichols, Smith, Poutsma); 2 no (Ledesma, Rocco) and Ortega abstained. Since the vote, the teacher’s and the district's negotiating teams did reach a tentative settlement retroactive to January 1st 2006 that must still be approved by both sides.

    Moffat Tries To Amend LEGCO Platform
    The second reading of the proposed OUSD Legislative Coalition Committee Platform was passed by a 5-2 split vote at the March 23rd OUSD Board Meeting. Trustee Kathy Moffat’s attempt to amend the platform only weeks away from taking the platform to Sacramento for lobbying efforts resulted in two split votes on preliminary motions before an obviously frustrated and disappointed Moffat withdrew her attempts to amend the platform. Moffat wanted to clarify that OUSD’s support for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s arts grant was in addition to supporting the preservation of Proposition 98 provisions. In addition, Moffat wanted to insure the position OUSD took with the resolutions just approved in regard to losing students to charter schools were included. The Legislative Coalition Chairman Larry Cohn (who had no objections to the Moffat amendments) assured the Board that the Legislative Coalition would share the clarifications Moffat was concerned about with officials in Sacramento they meet with on their lobbying trip.

    OUSD Student Enrollment Down:
    Unless you’re in the Program Improvement Lottery

    As part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), students at a designated Program Improvement School have the opportunity to transfer to another school. The federal law requires that parents at those schools be informed of that option. OUSD has eight program improvement schools: California; Esplanade; Fairhaven; Handy; Prospect; Sycamore; Yorba; and Portola. In the letter explaining the Open Enrollment lottery period (April 24-May 5, 2006) and procedure parents were encouraged to keep their students at their home schools. The letter states “It is our hope your child will remain at your school and thus benefit from the additional funding and program efforts to improve student achievement”. Parents wishing to apply for a transfer must submit an open enrollment for a lottery which their students are to have priority in.

    The summary of this week’s April 20th Agenda Item 13 B Information Report (page 53) in part states: “The District is experiencing significant declining enrollment for the first time in many years” .Since this year’s budget process for next year began (from the initial budget projections, to the abandoned quest to end elementary music, to reportedly the district stance in negotiations with the employee bargaining units) the district administration’s projections have been dire warnings of declining enrollment. However, a required NCLB letter informing parents of students at low performing schools they have the option of transferring their students to other schools in the district states the opposite in both English and Spanish. The letter states there may not be room for their student at other OUSD schools because of increasing enrollment. The federally mandated letter OUSD produced and distributed reads:
    “When space is available, based on your lottery number, you will be contacted and informed of registration procedures. As OUSD’s student population is increasing, there may not be space available at all grades at all schools in the district”.

    APRIL 20th OUSD Board Meeting-$50,000 More to Attorney Fees
    In the Consent Agenda (Agenda page 87) for the next OUSD Board Meeting on April 20th, OUSD Administrative Director of Pupil Services Dr. William Gee has a request for $50,000 for the district law firm of Parker and Covert to “assist the District in litigation of on-going special education matters”. A recent Gee email to an OUSD special education teacher of multiple handicapped children explaining why OUSD had no funds to help her send her students on a field trip was highlighted this month in Part 5 of the ONN Special Investigative News Series Focus on Consultants (see link below). In the featured Gee email, he suggests the teacher have parents pay (the school is a federal Title I low income school) or that the teacher hold a fund raiser because the special education money has primarily been spent on teacher training and supplies. The OUSD Board voted to spend $206,700 in Title II federal grant money for teacher training on the controversial OUSD Focus on Results consultant program. (CLICK ON: http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/2006/04/part-5-ousds-focus-on-consultants.html ).

    McPherson: Music Intelligence Neural Development Grant
    McPherson Magnet School has received an $18,190 program grant from the non-profit MIND (Music Intelligence Neural Development) Institute. The program combines music and math in spatial-temporal training. Agenda Item 14P (page 91) explains the theory of the program: “Based on over 30 years of brain and learning research, students trained in spatial-temporal reasoning will improve in mathematics”. It also explains “Together, ST Math + Music develop students’ innate ability to visualize and manipulate images and problems in time and space, thus enhancing math skills.”
    For more information on MIND: http://www.mindinst.org/cont/about/about_index.php

    To see the MIND integration of math and music CLICK ON: http://www.mindinst.org/media/edu/product/Brochure%20Product%20Oct%202005.pdf

    COMMUNITY DONATIONS: K. Dagestino-$250 wiring Crescent Intermediate; Orange H.S. Band Boosters-$1163 for transportation; Running Springs PTA $111 to library; Villa Park H.S. ASB- $1098-substitutes; Serrano PTA-$241- supplies. For a complete list of donations see page 57-58 of the 4/20/06 OUSD Board Agenda.

    Highlights of the NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING APRIL 20 , 2006
    To view Agenda CLICK ON: http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/board/pdf/agenda_042006.pdf
    State of the School Report: Emily Haase, El Modena H.S.

    Item 12A- Second Amendment/Lease Agreement Villa Park Elementary Restoration
    Item 12B- Fred Kelly Join Use Agreement
    Item 12D- OUSD Resolutions supporting bills for equalization of funds for school districts
    Item 14D- Consent Items: $65,810 to Orange Education Foundation member Mark Paone, architect The contracts are for work on Prospect and Canyon. Paone has done numerous projects for OUSD
    Item 14K- Reduction in Work (10 to 9.5) for Career Guidance Technicians
    Item 14L- Elimination of 26 Categorical (program specific) positions

    Digest’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2006

    “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: $ 272,317.00:

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

    2006 Attorney Fee Tally:
    4/20/06 Parker & Covert: $ 50,000
    1/19/06 Parker & Covert: $200,000
    Total $250,000

    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: APRIL 20, 2006
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session remains at 7:30 pm
    For a complete OUSD Board Agenda CLICK ON: http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/board/pdf/agenda_042006.pdf
    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040

    Orange Unified Schools Digest
    is an independent news service of
    /O/N/N/

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