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  • Sunday, October 22, 2006


    Orange Unified Schools DIGEST


    Orange Unified School District Trustee Melissa Smith voted Yes on the October 12 OUSD Board Resolution of Censure against OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco. The censure saga started a month ago when Rocco spoke out against the transfer of reassigned Villa Park High School Principal Ben Rich to Richland Continuation School as “Principal on Special Assignment” at the September 14th 2006 OUSD Board Meeting. OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley ordered those comments, plus other comments Rocco made during the meeting criticizing the OUSD Administration and a face-off with OUSD Trustee John Ortega, censored from the community broadcast of the volatile meeting. Godley came under extensive criticism for censoring the video.

    Smith had voted at the September 28th OUSD Board Meeting against the Public Hearing for Censure to be held at the October 12 meeting. The vote to hold the Public Hearing passed with a simple majority; 4 Yes to 3 No’s. The Resolution of Censure however had to have 5 votes in favor to pass.

    At the October 12th Public Hearing, acknowledging that she was perceived as the “swing vote”, Smith read a written statement trying to explain her flip-flop in first voting against the Public Hearing for the Resolution of Censure and now voting in favor of the Resolution of Censure. Smith is currently running as apart of a slate with OUSD Board President Kim Nichols, who sponsored the Resolution of Censure, and Trustee Kathy Moffat, who also supported the motion.

    Nichols also had a prepared text in which she tried to address the criticisms of First Amendment supporters who question OUSD’s claims that Rocco’s statements violated the Brown Act and the California Constitution. Nichols also invoked an analogy to the Washington D.C. Mark Foley Page Scandal and the congressman’s actions as Free Speech. Richard McKee, First Amendment advocate and President of Californians Aware, in two local community editorials on the Greater Orange News eBlog criticized the censure for its invoking of the California Constitution and the Brown Act for justification. Mckee wrote that the censure move was to punish the eclectic Rocco “for being elected”.

    The Resolution of Censure which dominated the local news for the last month during the most important local election since the Orange Recall was passed 5-3 (Smith, Moffat, Nichols, Ortega and Poutsma- Yes; Ledesma, Rocco- No). For archival information on the issues about the Resolution of Censure:

    Commentary by Californians Aware President Richard McKee: and

    Report on Nichols Mark Foley Comments and Rocco Censure Comments

    Trustee Comments on the Resolution of Censure

    Report on September 28 vote in Favor of the Public Hearing

    Transcripts and Photo of the Ortega vs. Rocco face off

    OUSD Cheryl Cohen Steps Down as
    Assistant Superintendent

    OUSD Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Cohen stepped down as OUSD Assistant Superintendent to spend more time with her family. Cohen was the architect of spending millions of local tax dollars on OUSD’s consultant driven Focus on Results program which she described as similar to “marriage encounter training”. The new Assistant Superintendent is Dr. Kenneth Jones. Cohen will not be leaving the district. A special position of Administrative Director has been created for her with oversight of “Academic Services and Professional Learning”. In addition, OUSD’s Chris Reider has also been given a newly created position of Administrative Director of Educational Services. The position has most of the duties of the position of Executive Director of Secondary Education last held by now retired Fran Roney. Also in keeping with tradition of how Godley was hired, none of the newly formed administrative positions were open to other candidates from within OUSD or the public to get the most qualified candidate for the job.

    Orange Unified (with already one of the most top heavy administrations in Orange County) has continued to expand administratively under Dr. Godley, even as class size reduction programs were cut back during the California Budget Crisis. Those classroom cuts have not been reinstated.

    With three Assistant Superintendents, four Executive Directors (it started as just two), and now six Administrative Directors, two qualified Principals for Richland Continuation H.S., plus the additional new Assistant Principals just hired for each traditional high school, the bloated OUSD Administration has grown to its largest ever as have the number of OUSD students in a class.

    Even as Godley has super-sized the OUSD Administration and OUSD student classroom sizes, he acknowledged for the first time at the September 28th OUSD Board Meeting a persistent 45% achievement gap in Special Education students and other students. While money continues to be targeted into the expanding OUSD Administration, Secondary Special Education Classes have grown to 25 students and above in some OUSD Underperforming Schools on the wrong side of the “55 Divide” dividing the upper income east with the lower income west . Special Education teachers in RSP, SDC, and Multiple Handicapped classes are told to continue to take more and more students making the whole concept of Cohen’s Focus on Results individualized instruction impossible.

    Last OUSD Board Meeting before the
    November Election

    With only three routine Action Items and no Informational Items the October 26th Meeting appears to be a short no-frills affair. This last meeting before the November Election is much more education focused compared to the last three OUSD Board Meetings that focused on Trustee Steve Rocco in one way or another. The three Action Items are:

    12 A- Energy Management and Water Conservation Policy-Second Reading
    12 B- Sufficiency of Textbooks and other instructional materials –Public Hearing
    12 C- 2006-07 Board of Education Goals and Objectives-Second Reading

    The next Orange Unified School Board Meeting: October 26, 2006
    Closed Session will begin at 6:30 pm, Regular Session remains at 7:30 pm
    To view the ENTIRE October 26, 2006 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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