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  • Saturday, January 26, 2008

     

    SPECIAL REPORT:The Who’s Who of the Committee on School District Organization

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



    The Who’s Who of the
    Committee on School District Organization

    A little used eleven member entity known as the Committee on School District Organization (CSDO) has the authority to approve the recent changes in the OUSD Trustee Area boundaries that the Orange Unified School Board approved at their December 2007 meeting. Those changes moved controversial OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco from his Trustee Area 6 to Trustee Area 7 represented by Trustee Rick Ledesma. The move would make Rocco, who was the target of a failed Recall attempt, ineligible for re-election when his term expires in November 2008. The change also would remove OUSD Trustee Melisa Smith from her Trustee Area. Smith (her current term ends in 2010) voted for the change (see OUSD Trustee Melisa Smith characterizes the move as “A gift from heaven” . ( SEE: ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE January 14th CLICK ON:GIFT).

    The CSDO is established in the California Education Code as part of the long history in California of pushing for consolidation of the thousands of school districts that have existed in the state. The California Department of Education District Organization Handbook (August 2006) outlines the responsibilities of the CSDO as:

    The county committee is the local initiator, coordinator, analyst, facilitator, and arbitrator for the reorganization of school districts. It formulates plans, responds to petitions, conducts public hearings, develops and releases information, and analyzes proposals throughout the approval process of a reorganization. For petitions for transfers of territory, where state approval is not required, the county committee gives final approval or disapproval (EC 35709, 35710), subject only to appeal to the State Board of Education. (EC 35710.5, 35711) (Full text: TEXT ).

    The Who’s Who of Orange County Education Circles
    Understanding the members of the CSDO gives voters insight into the small world of the education elite in Orange County. From the central 4th District PTA to the Orange County Department of Education, in Orange County the Elected Educational Establishment Elite is a small close nit group of the educationally active. While not always seen as a local educational force and often seen as a bureaucratic morass, the Orange County Department of Education sits at the center of Orange County’s Elected Educational Establishment Elite. The OCDE hosts 4th District PTA meetings, maintains the Orange County School Board Association, and by statute also provides the staff and resources of the CSDO.

    The CSDO is comprised of two appointed members from each of Orange County’s five Supervisorial Districts plus one at-large member rounding off the 11 member committee. The California Department of Education District Organization Handbook (August 2006) outlines the rules of membership of the CSDO:

    Exclusions, Area Represented, and Terms of Office
    Any registered voter residing in the appropriate supervisorial district may serve as a county committee member. Members of school district governing boards may serve concurrently as a school district trustee and county committee member. No county superintendent of schools, employee of the office of a county superintendent of schools, employee of a school district, or employee of a community college district shall be a member of the county committee. Any member of the governing board of a school district or community college district in the same or any other county who is otherwise eligible may simultaneously serve as a member of the county committee. (EC 4007) At least two members must be elected from among the qualified electors of each county supervisorial district. The term of office of each member must be four years. (EC 4008, 4009)


    The eleven members of the Orange County CSDO are longtime members of the Elected Educational Establishment Elite of Orange County education circles. Six of the current OCSD Board members are also current school board trustees. The remaining four are all former school district trustees. Five of the current members are Orange County School Board Association winners of the annual Marian Bergeson Award (CLICK ON: AWARD ) and four members are currently on the Board of Directors of the Orange County School Board Association. Four of the members have or had legal controversies from local issues in their school districts. One CSDO member is on the Board of Directors of the 4th District PTA Council which also includes Orange Unified School District community activists and two OUSD Trustees.

    Committee on School District Organization Members:

    Shelia Benecke
    -Capistrano School Board Trustee
    - Board Member Orange County School Boards Association
    -2001 Orange County School Boards Association Marian Bergeson Award winner
    OTHER: A target of a Recall Campaign alleging Brown Act violations of her and four other Capistrano Board members, Benecke opponents have dubbed her The Queen of Mean
    CLICK ON: Queen of Mean


    Shirley Carey
    -Huntington City School District Trustee since 1990
    -Board Member Orange County School Boards Association
    -2004 Orange County School Boards Association Marian Bergeson Award winner
    OTHER: Activist community members are up in arms over the decision of the Huntington Beach City School District Trustees to put out a Request For Proposals (RFP) on 4 school properties (Burke Elementary, Gisler Intermediate, Kettler Elementary and LeBard Elementary). At issue is the buildings are seen as community resources with the properties used by various community organizations (e.g. the Girls Scouts, Boys Scouts, etc.) and the fields are used by community sports organizations like AYSO Soccer (over 1,600 Children) Little League, and Girls' Softball Teams. CLICK ON: SAVE HB

    Mary Furhrman
    -Former Buena Park School District Trustee
    -President of the League of Women Voters, North Orange County
    -Board Member Orange County School Boards Association
    -2006 Orange County School Boards Association Marian Bergeson Award winner

    Karin Freeman
    -Trustee Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District since 1989
    -Board Member Orange County School Boards Association
    2005 Orange County School Boards Association Marian Bergeson Award winner

    Sheila Henness
    -former Capistrano Unified School Board Trustee
    -4th District PTA Executive Board Member she serves as Historian
    OTHER: duped “Clueless in Capo” for her lack of understanding of the first Capistrano Recall and the antics of former (and now indicted) CSUD Superintendent Fleming. PTA 4th District Executive Board members working with Henness include two OUSD Trustees: Rocco Recall activist Kathy Moffat (Moffat is also on the California State PTA Board of Directors as Vice President of Community Concerns) ; and OUSD Rocco Recall leader OUSD Trustee Kim Nichols who serves as PTA 4th District Founders Day Chairman. Also on the PTA 4th District Council Board are OUSD community activists Gisela Meier (4th District PTA Newsletter editor) a favorite Rocco target for her involvement with OUSD trustee election campaigns: and Christina Bayles, a 4th District PTA Board Member and Parent Involvement Committee Chair who also serves as OUSD Legislative Coalition Platform Committee Chair. The OUSD Legislative Coalition is another frequent Rocco target.

    CLICK ON: CLUELESS
    CLICK ON: 4th District PTA
    CLICK ON: STATE PTA BOARD
    CLICK ON: Orange Council PTA

    Dean McCormick
    -Former Tustin Unified Trustee and
    -At-Large Member of the CSDO

    Carolyn McInerney
    -Irvine Unified School District Trustee
    -Former Chief of Staff for O.C. Supervisor Tom Wilson
    -County of Orange Manager of Special Projects
    -Board member: Junior League of Orange County; 44 Women for Children; the Irvine Public Schools Foundation; Family Violence Project
    -Ambassador for Legacy One the California organ donor network

    Joanne Purcell
    -Westminster School Board
    OTHER: Purcell is was one of the Caucasian Westminster City School Board Trustees that was sued in May 2006 after the Caucasian members of the Westminster Board voted 6 days after offering her the position to rescind the offer to Kim Oanh Nguyen-Lam ( a Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee) to be the new Superintendent of Schools for Westminster City Schools . Lam and her many supporters in the community believe race placed a role in the hiring reversal.

    Jim Reed
    – Former Westminster City School Board Trustee
    OTHER: Reed is was one of the Caucasian Westminster City School Board Trustees that was sued in May 2006 after the Caucasian members of the Westminster Board voted 6 days after offering her the position to rescind the offer to Kim Oanh Nguyen-Lam ( a Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee) to be the new Superintendent of Schools for Westminster City Schools . Lam and her many supporters in the community believe race placed a role in the hiring reversal.

    Robert Singer
    -Fullerton Joint Union High School District Trustee since 1980
    -Board member North Orange County Regional Occupational Program
    -member of the Orange County School Board Association
    -OCDE Excellence in Education award in 2005 and 2006.

    Virginia Wilson
    -Former Los Alamitos Unified School Board Trustee
    -1996 Orange County School Boards Association Marian Bergeson Award winner

    The CSDO is expected to approve the changes to the OUSD Trustee Areas, and while a petition mechanism to appeal to the voters is available in the Education Code, long time OUSD Board watchers see that scenario as virtually impossible given the indifference to the failed Rocco Recall by the community.
    (see PETITION )

    The California Department of Education District Organization Handbook (August 2006) outlines the appeal process:

    PETITION PROCESS—AFTER A COUNTY
    COMMITTEE APPROVES A REARRANGEMENT
    OF TRUSTEE AREAS
    1. If the county committee approves the rearrangement of trustee areas and a subsequent petition is received, signed by at least 5 percent of the registered voters of the district, requesting an election on the proposed rearrangement of trustee area boundaries, the county committee must put the proposition to vote. The deadline for receiving the petition is 60 days after the county committee approves the proposal. (EC 5019)
    2. The county committee must place the proposal on the ballot not later than the next succeeding regularly scheduled election, the next succeeding statewide primary or general election, or the next succeeding regularly scheduled election at which the electors of the district are entitled to vote, provided that there is sufficient time to place the issue on the ballot (120 days prior to the election date). [EC 5019(d), 5020(b)]
    3. If a majority of those voting approve the rearrangement of trustee areas, any affected board member serves out his or her term, and succeeding board members are elected according to the selected method and in accordance with the new boundaries. (EC 5021)


    The 11 member Committee on School District Organization will meet on January 30th at 7:00 pm in the Orange Unified School District Board Room, at the Orange Unified School District Offices.

    SPECIAL REPORT
    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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