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  • Sunday, April 13, 2008

     

    AMID FINANCIAL JITTERS: OUSD BOARD MOVES AHEAD WITH HEALTH BENEFITS LIABILTY BONDS

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

    AMID FINANCIAL JITTERS: OUSD BOARD MOVES AHEAD WITH HEALTH BENEFITS LIABILTY BONDS

    Just days after the shock wave of the Bear Stearns financial meltdown, the Orange Unified School Board at their last meeting on March 20th, 2008 discussed and voted to approve a private sale placement of the Orange Unified School District Taxable Retirement Health Benefits Funding Bonds to fund its OPEB liability (Other Post Employment Benefits it currently funds on a pay-as-you-go basis) and to appoint a bond interest Swap Advisor. The proposed private buyer of all the bonds was the Dexea Group, a Belgian-French bank that was formed in 1996 from a merger of a Belgium bank and a French bank. The Dexea Group specializes in public finance. The Bear-Sterns news weighed in several times during the discussions as a candid Trustee Kathy Moffat sought to be reassured from the bond services presenters that the OUSD Board was making the right decision in issuing the bonds during the current financial upheavals. The bonds are designed to pay for the unfunded liability of OUSD’s once offered lifetime health benefits while saving the district money over the life of the liability. Moffat revealed that she had consulted three educational financial experts who all had advised her against the bond issuance at this time because of the continued economic upheavals. Also of concern was the timing of the private placement which had to be approved that evening.

    Trustee Rick Ledesma focused his concerns with the deal on the variable rate and the interest rate Swap Advisor. With a Swap Advisor watching out for the best rates, Ledesma sought to be assured that the Swap Advisor would be watching the fixed rate market and be able to “swap” rates when it became more favorable to the district.

    The Dexea Group private placement was reported to have a projected variable interest rate of only 3.25% and save the district up to $2 million over a public placement. In the end under urging from the OUSD Administration , those figures helped make the deal too good to pass up, and the OUSD Board voted 5 yes (Trustee Steve Rocco abstained and Trustee Wes Poutsma was absent) to approve the private placement of the OUSD Bonds with Dexea Group and approve the Swap Advisor.

    At the next OUSD Board meeting on April 17th, 2008, the Trustees are scheduled to approve the issuance of the Heath Benefits Funding Bonds in Agenda Item 12 A (page 7).

    For more information on Dexia Group CLICK ON:DEXIA

    OUSD Board to increase Lunch prices, Bus Pass prices, and Facility Use Fees
    The Consent Agenda of the April 17th OUSD Board meeting includes fee increases for student Bus Passes, staff and student lunches and use of district facilities. In addition, a yearly increase based on the Consumer Price Index will be recommended every July from now on. The proposed increases in renting school facilities for both educational and non-school activities are projected to bring in an additional $50,000 annually (Consent Item 14 I page 32). Annual School Bus 2-Way Passes will increase $50 with the total proposed increases on all bus services producing an additional $100,000 in revenue to the OUSD Budget (Item 14 J page 34). An average 9% hike in breakfast and lunch fee increases for students and adults are projected to bring in an additional $140,000 in revenue to the OUSD Budget (Consent Item 14 K page 29).

    Facilities Bond target now 2010
    The OUSD Administration will present the updated 3rd Quarter Strategic Plan Status Report at the OUSD Board’s April 17th meeting (Information Item 13 A page 14). The progress reported on the Facilities section which had the stated goal of the OUSD Board voting to place a facilities bond on the ballot in March of 2008, reports the following “Progress” as: “The next realistic opportunity to place a facilities bond on the ballot to address facilities needs in the Orange Unified School district is during the lection cycle in 2010.”

    INSIDE the OUSD Agenda April 17th
    In a time of tight budgets with teaching positions and programs being cut, one thing that appears not to be subject to cuts is the astronomical fees of educational tax dollars paid to speakers and consultants. Item 14 K (page 35) from OUSD Assistant Superintendent Ed Kissee asks for $6,500 to pay for one speech from Dr. Kenneth Stichter, a self proclaimed “Educational Consultant” on May 6th. An eight hour work day at this rate would pay Dr. Stricher $52,000 a day: $260,000 a week, $13,520,000 a year, a rate more than even OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley makes! Not bad for a man who produces only two Google Search entries; one his resume at CSU Fullerton, and another, a one sentence accolade from a former student. No research, not books, no depth. Again OUSD apparently will get what they pay for. To see all the information on Dr. Stichter CLICK ON: Educational Consultant

    Other Items from the April 17th Agenda:
    • Board Proclamation of School Bus Drivers’ Day- April 22, 2008
    • Board Proclamation of School Nurses’ Day- May 7, 2008

    INSIDE Community Donations
    Wells Fargo-$1,700 to Nohl Canyon ES for supplies; Pacific Life Foundation-$3,000 to Imperial ES for Smart Boards; Villa Park HS Choir Boosters- $3,000 for a choreographer; Panorama ES PTA- $12,500 for computer equipment; Canyon Hills ASB- $800 for Staff Development Consultant.
    For a complete list of this month’s community donations see page 24 of the April 17th agenda.

    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

    Former Superintendent Godley’s total “golden handshake” bonus (beginning 8/2008): $00.00

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2008:
    $314,500 Total
    2008 Attorney Fee Tally:
    2/07/08 Parker & Covert $100,000
    11/15/07 Parker & Covert (for 1/08 to 6/08) $200,000
    $300,000
    2008 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    3/7/08 Dr. Kathleen Weigel Speaker Fee $ 8,000
    4/17/08 Dr. Kenneth Stichter Speaker Fee $ 6,500
    $ 14,000
    2008 TOTAL $314,500


    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2007: $704,090.00
    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
    9/27/07 Dr.Daggett Speaker Fee $ 35,000
    11/15/07 OCDE High Priority Consultants $115,000
    Total $166,590

    2007 Attorney Fee Tally:
    1/18/07 Parker & Covert (1/07 to 6/07) $175,000
    (6/07-12/07) $200,000
    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 $537,500


    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, April 17, 2008.
    For more information CLICK ON: AGENDA

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 7:00 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

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