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  • Sunday, April 15, 2007



    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Independent insight into OUSD

    INSIDE the OUSD March 29th meeting…

    Orange Unified School District Trustee Wes Poutsma became the latest OUSD Trustee to tangle with controversial OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco at the March 29th OUSD School Board meeting. Like other OUSD Trustees who have confronted Rocco, Poutsma too ended up storming out of the meeting as a surprisingly calm and collected OUSD Board President Kim Nichols called a meeting recess amid the Poutsma-Rocco verbal altercation. Poutsma did not return to the meeting missing the very vote that was designed to further reign Rocco in.

    Board President Kim Nichols was seeking a change to the OUSD Board Policies that would prevent Rocco from placing items on the agenda determined to be unrelated to school district business (“subject matter jurisdiction”). Her actions were in response to one of two agenda items Rocco was able to place on the March 8th agenda with a second vote from Trustee Rick Ledesma. One of the items related to Rocco’s corruption conspiracy theory he calls “The Partnership”. Ironically, while supporting the idea of not allowing agenda items unrelated to the district, Poutsma favored a less restrictive appeal process approach for trustee minority views. He stated that he felt uncomfortable having an appeal process for minority positions approved by a board majority. However, it was not policy differences that caused the Poutsma-Rocco confrontation. The cause in the apparent long coming confrontation between the two (who have made no secret of their contempt of each other) was a perceived violation of personal space.

    The OUSD Board was discussing a motion to change the appeal process to place a denied agenda item on the agenda. Rocco (who frequently interrupted and raised his voice during the debate of the new policy) spoke as he often does waving his hands for emphasis. Poutsma (who sits next to Rocco) reacted as Rocco (who was not facing Poutsma) got a little to close with one of his hand gestures. Following is a transcript of the exchange:

    Trustee Lissa Smith was giving her reasons why she supported the option of the “whole board votes” on an appeal to overturn the OUSD Board President ruling on denying an item for the agenda. Rocco loudly interrupted Smith as he spoke gesturing with his hands (facing away from Poutsma):

    Rocco: “There is no appeal process! This district is run by Kathy Moffat! Every…every dirty thing that has happened in this district has her hands on it.”

    Nichols (calmly): “Mr. Rocco…”

    Poutsma (to Rocco as he pushes Rocco’s hand away): “Get your hands out of my face…”

    Smith: “I’d like to call for the question…”

    Rocco (turning toward Poutsma): “Next time you’ll be arrested if you touch me. Gotcha Kathy…”
    (Rocco then places a large head-shot photograph of Kathy Moffat on the dais in front of his microphone)

    Poutsma (responding to Rocco): “…Yea right!”

    Rocco (to Poutsma): “…and you too!...”

    Nichols (calmly): “There is a call for the question…”

    Rocco (to Poutsma): “…They’ll be an assault and battery charge Oliver Hardy.”

    Poutsma (sarcastically to Rocco) “Well you with your two year investigation degree…”

    Nichols: “ …Mr. Poutsma we had a call for the question. Is there a second?”

    Poutsma: “Yea, I’ll second.”

    Rocco (to Poutsma): “Yes, that’s what your good for…”

    (…Poutsma responds quietly to Rocco out of microphone range…)

    Nichols: “…That’s a non-debatable motion…um…all those in favor of the motion please say Aye, (Ayes) opposed No…”

    Rocco (raising his voice during the vote responding to Poutsma): “…No I said jail time Mr. Poutsma! Jail time…”

    Nichols (calmly): “... Mr. Rocco did you vote Yes or No?”

    (Still seated, Poutsma and Rocco are now facing off)

    Rocco (to Poutsma loudly): “Do you understand that?”

    Poutsma: (unintelligible outside microphone)

    Rocco (responding): “What! You touched me!”

    Nichols (loudly): “You know what? I’m going to recess this meeting!”

    Smith: “Thank you”.

    Poutsma leaves the meeting and does not return. After the recess, Nichols apologizes for “that which took place moments ago” and goes back to the motion to re-vote. The vote passes 4-1-2 (Moffat, Ortega, Smith, Nichols-Yes/ Rocco- No/ Poutsma and Ledesma Absent-[Ledesma returns later]).

    Villa Park High School Vice-Principal Ed Howard was named Acting Principal for Villa Park H.S. after Principal Dr. David Steinle resigned after a recent operation for an old injury. Howard becomes the fifth principal of the high school since Principal Fran Roney (now retired doing consultant work for OUSD) left to work at the district office.

    Superintendent Dr. Godley presented ideas for adjustments to the OUSD Budget for the coming years to compensate for declining student enrollment and projected state funding. Mostly a combination of trying to recapture Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding from the state, Godley also announced one million dollars in a Special Education account was “over-budgeted” and that money would also be used.

    INSIDE the Thursday APRIL 19th Board Meeting

    Round Two on the Rocco Appeal Revisions to Board Policy
    The Second Reading of the Proposed By-Law changes regarding the appeal process for placing items on the OUSD Agenda is scheduled to be voted on.

    DRUG POLICY: Voluntary or Pandora’s Box of legal issues?
    Concerns from the OUSD Trustees surfaced when a mandatory drug testing program was proposed by administrators last month. In Item 12D (page 23) of the April 19th Board Agenda, the idea returns as a “voluntary” policy so unstructured that some Board watchers see it as a law-suit waiting to happen. Aimed at the district’s high schools, the policy in part states:

    “The Superintendent or designee shall establish and maintain a voluntary drug testing program at the schools within the District when need is determined by the school principal in concert with staff, parents, students, and the community. Participation in this program shall require the written consent of the student and his/ her parents/guardians.”

    The generality of the proposal brings many questions to light. Once a current high school principal (i.e. Villa Park High School as an example of the rotating door of principals) “in concert with staff, parents, students, and the community” establishes the policy at their high school does it stay in effect forever? Once in place, does the “voluntary” program turn mandatory for participation in extra-curricular activities at the school (the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled this is legal)? Will students or parents who refuse to sign then be barred from participating in all school activities? Does the voluntary form have to be signed every year? How will the initial prescription drug list be updated throughout the student’s attendance? What happens when an underage student who may have signed when they were freshmen then turns 18 with more legal rights? Will a high school with a “voluntary” drug policy attract students or cause students to look at other high schools? If a parent wants to sign but a student will not, what then? Who determines when and who to test? How will probable cause be determined? Orange Unified has more foster and other group facilities inside its boundaries than any other Orange County district, how will those students be impacted? What budget will pay for the testing: school or district? Will drug testing lead to a false sense of security for parent (see link to article below)?

    Studies on both sides of the Drug Testing Issue are cited to provide support for the pro and con of testing. Many in the community believe that first line of defense against drug abuse is a student’s family and believe that local government should not replace the functions of the family. Others believe that Drug Testing by local government is function of government in the war on drugs.

    One parents experience with drug testing:

    Continued Legal Problems for Mandatory Testing:

    OTHER April 19th Items
    •Proclamations declaring: April 24th School Bus Driver Day; April 25th Administrative Professionals Day; May 19 Day of the Teacher and School Nurse Day

    •Canyon High School Principal Gloria Duncan will resign at the end of this school year (Agenda page 45).

    Kawasaki Motors-$500 Linda Vista/Kindergarten equipment; Washington Mutual-$1406 Palmyra/instructional supplies; El Modena Band Boosters-$3700 El Modena /Salary stipends; Panorama PTA-$16,000/ technology equipment; Target-$287- Fairhaven/supplies For a complete list of community donations see Agenda page 25.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

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

    TOTAL Watched 2007 Edcational Tax Dollars $244,090.00

    2007 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    4/30/07 Debra Ford Speaker Fee $ 4,090
    4/30/07 Danny Brassell Speaker Fee $ 3,500
    3/8/07 Dr. Daggett Speaker Fee $ 9,000
    Total $ 16,590

    2007 Attorney Fee Tally:

    1/18/07 Parker & Covert (1/07 to 6/07) $175,000
    2/08/07 Miller, Brown, and Dannis $ 7, 500
    2/22/07 Parker & Covert $ 45,000
    Total $227,500

    2007 Administrative Conference/Travel: hidden since 6/8/06*

    *JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to APPROVE Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2006: $ 849,717.00*
    2006 Consultant Fee Tally: Total $176,400
    2006 Attorney Fee Tally: Total Approved $655,000
    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel: Total $ 18,317 *
    * JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to
    APPROVE OUSD Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2005: $978,300.00:
    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

    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday March 29, 2007. For more information

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 6:30 PM on 4/19/07 Regular Session: 7:30 pm

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    “Independent Local Insight”

    Ecast on the
    A 21st Century Communications System
    Produced by the
    Orange Communication System /OCS/

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