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  • Sunday, May 06, 2007



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

    OUSD Board approves Ed Howard for VPHS Principal and …
    The May 10th Orange Unified School District School Board Agenda (page 31) lists former Villa Park High School Principal Ben Rich, who was at the center of the Rocco Censure controversy, resigning from OUSD effective at the end of this school year. Rich will take a position at Upland High School in a newly created co-principal’s position for curriculum and instruction (see link below). Rich came under fire from Villa Park High School parents at the beginning of the school year and was transferred to Richland Continuation School as a Principal on Special Assignment. It was the transfer to Richland HS after the removal from Villa Park HS that prompted Orange Unified School Board Trustee Steve Rocco to quip during a school board meeting that if he had been given the opportunity, he would have voted to fire Rich. That comment led to a two month ordeal during the November 2006 election campaign for the OUSD School Board and Rocco’s bid for a Rancho Santiago College Board seat. The controversy included:
    • The controversial decision of OUSD Superintendent Godley ordering the cable broadcast censored of most of Rocco’s comments (including the Rich comment) from that meeting and the near physical confrontation between Rocco and OUSD Trustee John Ortega over comments about Ortega’s deceased brother.
    • The Rocco Censure Resolution, a two meeting process that the First Amendment and Brown Act watchdog group Californian’s Aware became involved in helping Rocco fight the Censure Resolution
    • A lawsuit filed on behalf of Rocco by Californian’s Aware against OUSD for violation of First Amendment Rights. The suit was dismissed with the judge agreeing with OUSD’s positions. That ruling is being appealed.

    To view the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin story on Ben Rich CLICK ON:

    OUSD Board approves Ed Howard for VPHS Principal
    At the April 19th OUSD School Board Meeting the OUSD Board approved Interim VPHS Principal Ed Howard as the next Villa Park H.S. Principal. In a rare Public Comment on a Closed Session appointment item, Villa Park High School PFSO President-elect for next year Nancy Jerkins appeared before the OUSD Board to ask that they not approve Howard as VPHS principal. Jerkins cited her long experience as a parent participant in schools as making her question the inexperience of Howard who has been an administrator for only 6 months at a school site. Jenkins also stated her concerns come from working with Howard on the VPHS School Site Council and her belief hat Howard lacked the needed skills and experience to be an effective high school administrator at this time. Jenkins further stated that OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley had assured the VPHS community that the parents and staff would be involved in the selection process for the new principal and that she was disappointed that Godley failed to include them.

    During the Regular Session Superintendent Dr. Godley announced that Howard was approved on a 5-1 (1 absent) vote to be Principal of VPHS. During Public Comments in the Regular Session, Community Foundation of Orange Board Member Stu Livingstone speaking about the Foundation Games gave his vote of confidence to Howard as the new VPHS Principal. Livingstone said he had worked closely with Howard on the Foundation board.

    At the meeting Godley also announced the appointment of Running Springs Principal Greg Bowden as Canyon H.S. Principal and La Habra’s Imperial Middle School Assistant Principal John Birquelet as El Modena H.S. Principal. (For the Orange County Register article on Birquelet CLICK ON:BIRQUELET in LA HARBRA).

    On Tuesday May 2nd, OUSD announced the shake-up of 16 administrative positions. Fourteen personnel assignments were made public, including three that require Board approval at the May 10th OUSD Board Meeting. For complete coverage CLICK ON: OUSD ADMINISTRATORS SHAKE UP

    “Parents are the Anti-drug”
    Four parents spoke to the Board concerning OUSD Administration proposed policy allowing schools to have a “voluntary drug testing program”. Three parents supported the proposal mostly on the grounds that it was another “tool” for parents to use. Another parent questioned the proposed policy as a “prevention” tool and listed many reasons against the proposal. She also noted parents already had ready access to drug testing kits at pharmacies or over the internet. All those who spoke, including those who supported the proposal, stated that they did have concerns with some of the wording of the policy as written.

    Trustee Kathy Moffat presented by all accounts an intelligent, well researched and eloquently spoken rebuttal to school-based random “suspicion-less drug testing”. Complete with research supported hand-outs, Moffat outlined six researched based reasons why a list of various national professional organizations opposes school-based “suspicion-less drug testing”. Moffat’s six points based on her research included the cost-benefit implications to the appropriateness of schools focusing on the controversy of “testing” versus engaging at-risk and other students in positive activities and relationships at school. Moffat acknowledged the parent concerns and reminded parents they have the power to test their students at anytime. Moffat went on to remind parents that talking about drug use as a family and having a family commitment was much more powerful than random school programs. Moffat harkened to the public service television advertisement advising “Parents are the Anti-drug”. Concluding, Moffat questioned if the purpose of OUSD as an education community was to institute another program or to prevent drug use among students.

    Moffat’s powerful presentation apparently made everyone in the room think. OUSD Trustee Lissa Smith then spoke to the issue by proposing that the Board return to a format that they have use in the past, the Community Forum to listen to experts on both sides and the community. After little discussion, the Board directed staff to make arrangements to hold a Community Forum on the proposed policy.

    Possible 2008 OUSD School Bond Election Dates
    Dr. Godley gave a quick update of OUSD’s Strategic Plan using a 13 page hand-out. Godley highlighted just some of the 18 updates of the plan’s three areas- technology, personalization, and facilities. One update Godley did not mention was on the second page of the facilities update (the last page of the update) about passing a facilities bond. The report states:

    “Elections set for 2008 included the Presidential Primary Election scheduled for February 5, 2008, the Statewide Direct Primary scheduled for June 3, 2008, and the General Election scheduled for November 4, 2008. These would be the dates available to place a facilities bond on the ballot.”

    Agenda Item 9E- Proclamation of Classified School Employee Week May 20-26
    Agenda Item 14D- Santiago Charter Revocation law firm Miller Brown and Dannis $40,000
    Agenda Item 14S- Increase in fees for pre-school and school age child care centers
    Agenda Item 14 O- Establishing a Community Day School per State Requirement

    Chapman Hills PTA $21,000 for computers; McPherson Education Foundation $1,650 for projector; VPHS Baseball Boosters $14,500 for stipends. For a complete list of community donations see Agenda page 11.

    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

    $ 294,090.00 Total
    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
    5/10/07 Miller, Brown and Dannis $ 50,000
    Total $277,500

    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 May 10, 2007. For more information
    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 6:30 PM on 5/10/07 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
    "Independent insight into OUSD"

    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    “Independent Local Insight”

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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization