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  • Sunday, September 09, 2007

     

    OUSD Superintendent’s Raise Approved as OUSD’s Secondary School API Scores Nose Dive

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

    OUSD Superintendent’s Raise Approved as OUSD’s Secondary School API Scores Nose Dive

    At their August 23rd, 2007 meeting, the so called Godley Majority of the Orange Unified School Board of Trustees approved a new $242,000 pay package for Orange Unified Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley (Vote to Approve: Yes-Kathy Moffat, Lissa Smith, Wes Poutsma, John Ortega, Kimberly Nichols; No- Rick Ledesma, Steve Rocco). Before the voting to approve, the Board voted down a motion from Trustee Rick Ledesma to postpone the hike until after the August 31st release of the state Academic Performance Index test scores. The new third pay hike amendment to Godley’s contract came one week after the release of a disappointing California STAR testing report for Orange Unified which Godley described as “flat” and one week before the release of the Academic Performance Index (API). Godley stated that the OUSD scores mirror the leveling off of scores on the state and national level. Godley did not mention OUSD’s “flat” scores came despite the multi-millions of educational tax dollars that the current OUSD Board dumped into an unproven consultant program, OUSD’s Focus on Results. The consultant program was described by one OUSD Administrator in a public report to the OUSD Board as akin to “marriage encounter training”.

    A week after the August 23rd meeting, the state released the API scores and it was clear that the 5 point OUSD “flat” whole district growth (as a whole the state had a 6 point growth) was somewhat misleading when the individual OUSD school scores were examined. A close analysis shows that OUSD can thank the “flat” 5 point growth to OUSD elementary and state identified and supported Program Improvement School’s double digit testing growth that offset huge losses at the high schools. An analysis of the latest API scores that most OUSD secondary school scores plummeted in both the schoolwide and in the important federal subgroup categories with all OUSD high schools except Orange High having falling scores (however Orange HS still failed in subgroup growth). Villa Park High School’s scores free fell 22 points to become the first OUSD high school to drop below the state’s 800 target score.

    In his motion to delay consideration of Godley’s raise until after those API state scores were publicly available, Trustee Rick Ledesma reasoned that as the head of the organization, the superintendent of the school district should be held accountable for test scores since test scores are now the clear indicator of the success of that organization. Moffat was prepared to support the raise with statistical information comparing the OUSD Superintendent’s pay package with other Orange County school districts, but not comparing testing achievement. Moffat also stated that the benefit package for the OUSD Superintendent was not lucrative because it did not include health coverage, life insurance, a district car or mileage allowance. The Godley Majority voted down the Ledesma Motion to Postpone Consideration (Vote To Postpone: Yes- Ledesma, Rocco; No: Moffat, Smith, Poutsma, Ortega, Nichols).

    At the end of the meeting in the comments from the Board section, Ledesma was chastised by the Godley Majority for his introduction of the motion to postpone the Godley pay hike until after the release of the state API scores. Moffat criticized Ledesma’s timing and stated that he had the opportunity to introduce his idea earlier in the Superintendet's review process. Ledesma countered that in the past when he makes proposals his ideas are not given a chance and then Board members are prepared to attack him in Open Session. He stated he now prefers to present his ideas in public. In a rare public stance, the OUSD Administrative staff handed a note to Board President Kim Nichols while the trustees bickered. Nichols relayed the content of the note stating that the staff reminds the Board the OUSD scores have gone up in the past. Ledesma took exception to the general staff statement stating that this year’s API Scores had not been released and those should be considered in the proposed pay amendment for this year. Poutsma argued that test scores should not be part of the superintendent’s review stating “Test Scores live and die in the classroom”.

    TRUSTEE AREA CHANGE
    Agenda Item 13 B on the August 23rd agenda was a discussion on possible changes in the OUSD Trustee Areas. Looking to work previously done on the issue, the Board members seemed to mostly agree that the current system of seven Trustee Areas has served the diverse Greater Orange Communities well and should be kept in place. The trustees seemed to agree that the population differences that have come with steady growth in the district should be addressed as well as trying to avoid splitting communities between different Trustee Areas. The item was sent back to staff for further study and work to be presented at a later date.

    Next Board Meeting: The Boys are Back in Town
    A new Student Advisory Council (SCABE) will be seated for this school year and for the first time anyone at Orange Net News can remember it will be an all male panel. The new student representatives are: Canyon- Brendan Adams; El Modena- Matt Vorwerk; Orange- Termone Procter; Richland- Edward Acevedo; Villa Park- Alex Chase.

    INSIDE the OUSD Agenda for September 13th , 2007• Item 12 A: Approval of school calendars for the next three school years.
    • Item 12 B: Final budget for this school year includes $7,458,000 (3%) required state reserve fund and $6,612,000 Unappropriated educational tax funds that the OUSD Board can spend
    • Item 13: More discussion on bonds to fund post-employee benefits

    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


    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS
    WATCH 2007:

    Total* $854,159.00

    2007 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    3/8/07 Dr. Daggett Speaker Fee $ 9,000
    4/30/07 Debra Ford Speaker Fee $ 4,090
    4/30/07 Danny Brassell Speaker Fee $ 3,500
    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
    6/21/07 Miller, Brown and Dannis (pg 25) $ 75,000
    6/21/07 Parker & Covert (pg 25) $ 200,000
    6/21/07 Parker & Covert (pg 72) $ 150,000
    6/21/07 Atkinson, A.L.R and Romo (pg 72) $ 150,000
    Total $852, 500


    *2007 Administrative Conference/Travel: hidden since 6/8/06. On 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 13, 2007. For more information
    CLICK ON: AGENDA SEPT 13

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 6:30 PM 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/
    Orange_NetNews@yahoo.com
    “Independent Local Insight”

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