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  • Monday, July 17, 2006


    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST

    Freshman Seminar Course Report and Vote at 7/20 Meeting

    At the July 20th Orange Unified School District School Board Meeting, the OUSD staff will present the delayed report on the proposed Freshman Seminar Course. There has been some opposition to the course led by OUSD student Alexander Zhan. Speaking before the OUSD Trustees on two occasions, Zhan has been opposed to the Freshman Seminar class as a requirement for all freshmen students. Zhan has criticized the course as being in the wrong place and required at the wrong time, insisting that those who the course is designed to help should be helped in earlier grades. In addition to Zhan, some adults involved in the Ninth Grade Initiative process also spoke before the OUSD Board about the proposed class not addressing the needs of the many students who would not benefit from the class because they already have the skills it would be teaching. The Freshmen Seminar Class was scheduled to be discussed at the June 22, 2006 meeting, but was postponed. Apparently, the OUSD Administration took the community critiques to heart and now one month later, they are offering not just the originally proposed Freshman Seminar, but also an Honors Freshman Seminar that appears to address issues raised by the community. Information about both classes will be reported on in an informational report (Agenda Item 13 A, page 41) and later approved by the OUSD Trustees in the Consent Agenda, as Item 14 Y (page 119). The later vote for approval will be automatic and without discussion unless it is pulled for discussion and a separate vote by a Board member.

    Four New High School Assistant Principals

    Item 12 B on the July 20th, 2006 Board Agenda is to return a third Assistant Principal to each of the four comprehensive OUSD High Schools. In 1991 OUSD cut the third Assistant Principal position at its high schools. Part of the money to pay for the four new positions will come from the $119,000 in savings from cutting the OUSD Teen Mom Program.

    OUSD Law Firms Price Hike

    A month after the OUSD Trustees approved $225,000 in additional budgeted funds for the OUSD law firm of Parker & Covert, and the specialty law firm Miller, Brown & Dannis ( locally a.k.a. the “Revocation Law Firm" after the Santiago Charter Revocation fiasco), both law firms are increasing their fees. The OUSD Trustees are scheduled to approve (Consent Item 14 D page 49) an additional $80,000 in budgeted fees ($50,000 to Parker & Covert and $30,000 to Miller, Brown & Dannis).

    Parker & Covert fee increase: Partner (Spencer Covert) hourly fees from $160 to $195 (18% increase); Senior Associate Attorneys hourly fees from $145 to $195; Associate Attorneys hourly fees from $135 to $170; Paralegal/ Law Clerk hourly fees from $75 to $115

    Miller, Brown $ Dannis fee increase: Shareholders, Special Counsel, and Counsel hourly fees from $210 to $265 (21% increase); Associates hourly fees from $195 to $215; Paralegals/ law clerks $110 to $125.

    Also on the July 22 Consent Agenda (Consent Item 14 S page 108) is approval of another $100,000 to Parker & Covert for “litigation of ongoing special education matters”.

    Community Donations: Anaheim Hills PTA- $2024.97 for supplies; Prospect PTA-$1042.65 for transportation needs; Villa Park H.S. Baseball Boosters- $7250.00 coaches stipends; Edison International to VPES $254.56 for supplies; Running Springs PTA-$37,468.00 for computers. The complete list of Community Donations is on Page 45 of the July 20 OUSD Board Agenda.

    Other Agenda Items include:

    Item 12 D- Administration Salary Adjustment- 1.5% salary increase for OUSD Administrators (excluding the Superintendent) and California School Employee Association employees “in order to maintain comparability” (this brings the total increase for the year equal to the 4.75% the teachers received).

    CORRECTION: The last eLECTION Watch 2006 incorrectly identified Trustee Melissa Smith as a Republican. Smith is a registered Democrat. However in California, trustee positions are non-partisan.

    “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: $ 849,717.00:

    2006 Consultant Fee Tally:
    6/22/06 Douglas DeVore Speech $ 2,000
    6/08/06 Focus on Results $164,400
    3/09/06 Bob Sadler 3 Day Workshop $ 10,000
    Total $176,400

    2006 Attorney Fee Tally:
    7/20/06 Parker & Covert $100,000
    7/20/06 Parker & Covert $ 50,000
    7/20/06 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 30,000
    6/22/06 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 50,000
    6/22/06 Parker & Covert $175,000
    4/20/06 Parker & Covert: $ 50,000
    1/19/06 Parker & Covert: $200,000
    Total $655,000

    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel:
    2/9/06 Roney and 5 principals to Florida $ 10,623
    2/23/06 Roney 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: JULY 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:

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions Just call Jon at the Business Services at 714-628-4015
    Orange Unified Schools Digest is an independent news service of

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