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  • Sunday, September 23, 2007


    Orange Unified Schools INSIDE

    September 25th COMMUNITY FORUM on
    OUSD Voluntary Student Drug Testing Program

    The rescheduled Orange Unified School Board’s Community Forum on pros and cons to allowing a Voluntary Student Drug Testing Program in OUSD will take place at the OUSD Board Room on Tuesday September 25th.

    Concerns from the OUSD Trustees surfaced when a mandatory drug testing program was proposed by administrators. In Item 12D (page 23) of the April 19th, 2007 Board Agenda, the idea returned as a “voluntary” policy that continued to raise concerns from Board members and community members.

    Aimed at the district’s high schools, the policy in part stated:
    “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”.

    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 the government in the war on drugs.

    The Community Forum will present experts and opinions from both sides of the issue and allow community members to voice their opinions.

    September 13th OUSD School Board Meeting Recap

    The OUSD Board approved the school calendar for next year and gave preliminary approval for the following two school year calendars. Trustee John Ortega took the opportunity to ask for a study into flexibility in scheduling the high school graduations that take place in the hottest time of the day, or providing more emergency services for the extreme mid-day heat. OUSD Superintendent Thomas Godley stated that the graduation options would be discussed at an upcoming Principal’s Meeting.

    OUSD Assistant Superintendent Jon Archibald for Business Services put to rest the tired old boring PowerPoint presentations on the OUSD Budget and upped the ante with a slick state of the art video presentation on the OUSD Budget. The fast paced informative video featured Archibald and friends making appearances on screen by magic-like smoke-filled entrances and exits amid the requisite financial charts. At one point the smoke turned to a background of faint money and numbers falling from the sky in what only could be described as a chief financial officers dream sequence (or maybe nightmare?). Who said business and art don’t mix? Perhaps a place in Hollywood awaits Producer Jon Archibald. Kudos for a great engaging, informative, presentation that shows there is often no power in PowerPoint.

    In a cutting edge creative financial plan that a member of the consulting financial team labeled the “interest earnings game”, the OUSD Administration presented a second informational installment of a plan to issue bonds to save $102 million dollars on projected health benefit costs from the abandoned OUSD lifetime health benefits to those retirees who still have them. With the OUSD Trustees Rick Ledesma, Kim Nichols, Kathy Moffat and Wes Poutsma asking questions showing the complex careful nature of their deliberations, the new funding measure was given a consensus-go-ahead by the Board. Liking it to a “refinance”, the OPED Bond funding idea appeared to win over the Board with the promised savings of over $100 million dollars compared to the current plan to pay for the benefits as a pay-as you-go.

    Trustee Steve Rocco who tried to question the July 19th minutes earlier in the meeting (but was called out of order), used his Board Member Comments time at the end of the meeting to make his point. During the OUSD Board Meeting on July 19th, 2007 Trustee Melissa Smith participated by “teleconference” from Indiana. Referring to that meeting, Rocco read a portion of the Brown Act that deals with teleconferencing. The Brown Act allows such teleconferencing but only if a quorum exists where the meeting is being held (the person teleconferencing does not count toward the quorum). Rocco pointed out that the minutes appear to show that Smith was counted as a part of the establishing quorum for the Closed Session meeting. Rocco noted that the minutes do not clarify if a quorum of four other trustees were present when a quorum was established and the meeting was adjourned to closed session. No one could remember who came in at what time, so the video tape will have to be reviewed to establish if a legal quorum was present when the Closed Session was called to order. Trustee Moffat noted with only seven of them it should be possible to note when they arrive and depart meetings.

    INDSIDE the September 27, 2007 OUSD Board Agenda

    The Closed Session starting time has been moved for this meeting to 7:00 p.m. For the 7:30 p.m. Open Session, Energy Conservation and agreements on health benefits with the District’s employee associations are scheduled for the four Action Items (Agenda pages 4-20).

    The Informational Item will be a presentation on the OUSD Student Achievement results. Since the release of the information, and the move by Trustee Rick Ledesma to tie Godley’s pay raise to Student Achievement, Godley’s long-time Good to Great business model seems to have gone out the window. One of the tenets of that business model is that the model companies stoically accepted, confronted, and embraced publicly the brutal facts of reality. We saw a glimmer of Godley following that basic tenet last year with the announcement that OUSD testing scores were not rising fast enough to meet the increasing demands of No Child Left Behind. However, this year it appears Godley has forgotten how to embrace the brutal facts as his September 07 Press Release ignores the dismal OUSD secondary scores with the headline declaring “OUSD Schools continue to improve”. The one paragraph press release ignores all the indicators that mean bigger problems ahead including a 22 point drop at Villa Park High School as the first OUSD school to drop below the magic 800 state score requirement. Apparently the Good to Great model of confronting the brutal facts stops when they may affect your raise going from Good to Great.

    Controversial Consultant to get $35,000 from OUSD for a two-day workshop

    ''If you used the right buzzwords you could turn yourself into a millionaire. Most of it is just hocus-pocus.''
    -Chester Finn Jr. Former Asst. U.S. Secretary of Education

    Controversial consultant Dr. Willard Daggett will be paid another $35,000 for a two day workshop (Consent Item Agenda page 57) for the OUSD administrators next year. Daggett, who has an impressive resume, has had his resume and honesty called into question by many in the educational establishment (see the following links). This is the second time OUSD has paid Daggett. The first fee was for $9,000 approved by the Board on 3/8/07.

    In one controversy, Daggett was involved in was his consulting on Arkansas Gov, Huckabee’s (now a Republican Presidential Candidate) Character Education program. In her article, Consolidation- A Vital Step to Government Control of Education and the Economy, Arkansas political writer Debbie Pelly wrote about the controversy of having Daggett head the program while under attack for his own character issues and how Gov. Huckabee had do distance himself from Daggett:

    “And people have been led to believe that Daggett was contracted to head up Character Education. In fact, the Governor's office said in a letter, "William Daggett is helping the Department of Education compile a model character education. . . Daggett will have no influence over any issue or subject that is mandated to schools from the state." From the article in the paper it appears Daggett had unbelievable influence.
    Willard Daggett has also gained a reputation for dishonesty which has been reported in several newspapers and academic journals for flat out lying about numerous facts and educational research and personal information. He claimed to be the president of a college when in actuality he was just a professor there and fabricated many other stories. His dishonesty was the feature of one newspaper that earned a national award. Yet thousands of dollars have been used to disseminate his character education material to counselors across the state.”

    Want more on the shady past of Dr. Daggett and the “rigor” applied to him? Read all about him here as you kiss $35,000 in OUSD educational tax dollars good-bye!

    National Issue are Consultants worth it? By Tryce Palmaffy
    Article 1

    Consultant gets Big Bucks for small bang
    Article 2

    The Education Rotten Apple Awards for 2002

    Inconsistencies on Daggett’s Quotes
    Article 4

    Fact or Fiction: Questions raised after educational consultant visits district during last school year
    Article 5

    Dishonest Characteristics of the Director of Character Education in Arkansas
    Article 6

    *Consolidation- A Vital Step to Government Control of Education and the Economy

    Article 7

    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

    $ 389,090.00 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
    9/27/07 Dr.Daggett Speaker Fee $ 35,000
    Total $ 51,500

    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
    7/19/07 Parker & Covert $ 60,000
    Total $337,500

    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 September 27th, 2007.

    For more information

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 7 PM on 9/27/07 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

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