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  • Sunday, June 01, 2008

     

    New OUSD Superintendent and Villa Park Historic Buildings to be demolished

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/


    SPECIAL BOARD MEETING TO PICK NEXT OUSD SUPERINTENDENT and… OUSD BOARD SCHEDULED TO VOTE TO DEMOLISH VILLA PARK ES HISTORIC BUILDINGS

    The Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees will hold a Special Session on Wednesday June 4th to hire the next OUSD Superintendent. The Closed Session meeting will begin at 5:00 pm with public comments followed by adjournment to Closed Session where discussions and apparently the vote to hire a new OUSD Superintendent will take place. The California Brown Act requirements mandate that any decisions made in the Closed Session be reported out in an Open Session following the closed meeting. Current OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley’s retirement date is June 30, 2008.

    Unlike when Godley was hired, the process for choosing Godley’s successor has been much more public. The current selection process has involved community input and by all accounts multiple candidates. In replacing former Superintendent Robert French, the OUSD Board had initially hired a search firm to find a new superintendent, but then reversed course when Dr. French informed them that was supporting OUSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Godley for the top administration position. The OUSD Board majority quickly dropped the search and hired Godley. While Godley received unwavering support among the so-called Godley Majority on the OUSD Board (up until his retirement announcement), he never connected in the same way with the community. Rarely visiting school sites and relying on his inner circle, Godley’s background as a number cruncher did not serve him well as the public face and spokesperson of Orange Unified. This was especially evident in ill-fated public decisions dealing with controversial community issues throughout his five year tenure with OUSD.


    OUSD TO VOTE TO DEMOLISH VPES HISTORIC BUILDINGS
    The following night after hiring a superintendent, the OUSD Board will meet in a regularly scheduled OUSD Board Meeting on Thursday June 5th. Two Action Items, 12 A and 12 B (Agenda pages 3-14) will approve the Villa Park Historical Buildings Environmental Impact Report and a second agenda resolution to demolish the two historic buildings at Villa Park Elementary School. The district administration is expected to act quickly to demolish the buildings once they receive Board approval on Thursday night.

    The OUSD Agenda summary on Action Item 12 A states that to demolish the buildings, the OUSD Board “will also need to adopt a statement of overriding considerations indicating that the proposed project outweighs the unavoidable impacts to the historical resources identified in the findings” (OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 4).

    The EIR findings are summarized in the agenda’s Resolution of Certification. The findings include: “WHEREAS, in order to eliminate the hazard posed by the buildings to the students and staff of Villa Park Elementary School, the District proposes to demolish two historic former school buildings on the campus of Villa Park Elementary School…” (OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 6; resolution page 2)

    The resolution also lists the “nine alternatives” to demolishing the buildings. OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat at the May 22nd OUSD Board meeting had pulled from the Consent Item a second billing of $17,000 to the firm responsible for the EIR, the Planning Center. The OUSD Administration reported that the EIR grew because of the amount of community input asking for alternatives to the demolition of the buildings. In the end, the EIR makes the case for the demolition of Villa Park’s only historic buildings stating: “however, each one of these scenarios was determined to be undesirable or unfeasible” (OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 6).

    The resolution also states that OUSD “made available for sale and relocation of the buildings…but no individual, group of individuals, or public agency submitted a bid for the buildings…” ( OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 7).

    The second resolution calling for the demolition of the buildings reports the cost of restoration at $3.5 million (OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 11) and reports that OUSD “has exhausted all options”. The final page of the resolution has the OUSD Board of Education voting to authorize Godley to demolish the buildings: “The District Superintendent or designee is authorized to remove the subject buildings from the Villa Park Elementary School campus…” (OUSD 6/5/08 Agenda page 13).

    May 22nd OUSD School Board Meeting Recap
    “Better than January, but still bad” - OUSD Administration on May Revise


    OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jon Archibald reported on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May budget update and projection revisions, popularly known as the May Revise. Archibald presented OUSD budget updates based on the newest figures. The updated OUSD budget uses $20.1 million dollars of “one time reserve money” already in the OUSD budget to help balance the district’s budget over the next three years. OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat questioned Archibald about the source of the $20.1 in funding found in the budget. Archibald explained that the money came from a variety of savings on one-time fund money. These include temporarily suspending payments for future health care liabilities, and such things as a $3 million “overage” in the “budgeted” fund to pay teachers contracted salaries (the fund does not fully get depleted every year because when teachers call in for substitutes, use other funding sources for pay outside the “budgeted” salary money fund, or go on leave those budgeted monies are saved in this budget fund). While Archibald scores points for budget transparency, the fact that the OUSD budget has budget funds with $20 million in “rainy day” monies available over three years plays into the often repeated refrain from the district’s employee and community groups of hidden budget funds. The Godley administration has repeatedly “found” money in the OUSD budget to meet shortfalls and other budgeting priorities that the community has brought pressure to save. One example is when Godley facing a huge community outcry “found” $7,500 to keep the OUSD school board cable broadcasts to the community after insisting there was no money to continue the broadcasts.

    Moffat and another skeptical trustee, Lissa Smith, questioned the administrators over the possible scenarios yet to play out in Sacramento over this year’s budget. Dr. Godley, often a critic of the Governor, summarized Schwarzenegger’s recent dual proposals to balance the state budget with gambling revenues ( the lottery and Indian gamming) as “No Chips Left Behind” budgeting.

    INSIDE the OUSD Agenda June 5th,2008
    Six more administration positions will be filled in Closed Session. The OUSD Board will honor the 2008 OUSD High School Valedictorians and Highest Academic Achievers for outstanding scholastic achievement (Agenda page 2).
    OUSD Agenda Page 22-23: $40,000 for Santiago Charter Revocation Report law firm Miller, Brown & Dannis for an open purchase order for 7/1/08 through 6/30/09.
    OUSD Agenda Page 24: $200,000 for OUSD Law firm Parker & Covert for open purchase orders 7/01/08- 12/31/08.
    OUSD Agenda Page 61: $150,000 for OUSD Law firm Parker & Covert for open purchase order for 2008-2009 school year for Special Education matters

    INSIDE Community Donations
    Villa Park H.S. Baseball Boosters- $12,000 salary stipends; Silverado PTA- $750-computer aide; El Modena H.S. PTSA $1,600- Library Tutoring; Anaheim Hills PTA- $8,000 for Smart Boards; Canyon H.S. ASB-$3,000 for choreographer. For a complete list of this month’s community donations see page 19 of the June 5th agenda.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget
    Half-way through 2008 and for the first time in three years, the EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH amount for the current year has surpassed the pervious year’s spending. The total amount on the WATCH list for the entire year of 2007: $704,090. The 2008 new June WATCH list total is $704,500, surpassing last years total by $410 with six months of the year left to go. But then when the OUSD Board of Trustees is paying $6,500 in educational tax dollars for a 55 minute speech, things start to add up! So as Dr. Godley noted that the Governor keeps looking to gambling interests to get the state out of the budget fix, Godley’s administration continues to look to Consultants to spend the educational dollars the state seems not to have.


    “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 6%retirement bonus (beginning 7/08)*: $00.00

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2008:
    $704,500 Total

    2008 Attorney Fee Tally:
    6/05/08 Miller, Brown Dannis $ 40,000
    6/5/08 Parker & Covert $150,000
    6/05/08 Parker & Covert $200,000
    2/07/08 Parker & Covert $100,000
    11/15/07 Parker & Covert (for 1/08 to 6/08) $200,000
    $690,000

    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
    $ 14,500

    2008 TOTAL: $554,500

    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

    * The Godley Retirement Bonus presented here is an estimate of the amount in “bonus retirement” accrued since the Superintendent’s retirement on 6/30/08 using the 6% lifetime formula. The actual retirement plan the former OUSD Superintendent opted to take is not public information and the figures presented are only as an estimate of the costs and as on-going reminder to the community of the high cost in educational tax dollars the OUSD Board vote to allow the former Superintendent to participate in the retirement incentive after the Godley had already announced his retirement. Godley retired from OUSD on June 30, 2008 after he worked for the school district for a little over five years.


    SPECIAL SESSION on Wednesday June 5th , 2008 5:00 pm
    Next regular OUSD Board Meeting Thursday, June 6th 2008. For more information
    CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDAS

    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
    Independent insight into OUSD
    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/

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