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  • Sunday, May 10, 2009

     

    OUSD Trustees vote to eliminate "Geek Squad"

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

    Orange Unified Board eliminates 136 staff positions
    including OUSD’s own “Geek Squad” and Nutrition Director

    At the Thursday April 16th, 2009 Orange Unified School Board meeting, a publicly distraught OUSD Board of Trustee voted to eliminate 136 staff support (Classified) positions in Agenda Action Item 12 C. The Agenda item’s Fiscal Impact section states that the cuts will save OUSD $ 4,998,000 annually. The vote came after community members spoke to the Trustees trying to save the Nutrition Network Project Coordinator position and a Technology Assistant position at Nohl Canyon E.S.

    The OUSD Trustees agreed to a proposal by OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat to separate the Nutrition Network Project Coordinator and 33 part-time Technology Assistant positions from the main motion in the Action Item to give the OUSD Administration the ability to eliminate the positions. Moffat stated she wanted the positions separated to further discuss them. While the Nutrition Network Project program is paid for by a grant, Moffat stated that the Nutrition Network Project Coordinator presents costs issues because of cash-flow reimbursement problems to the district. Moffat did ask if the possibility could be explored of solving those payment problems by cutting the program's services to cover the district’s costs by the grant.

    When Moffat asked OUSD Superintendent Renae Dreier for a job description of the Technology Assistants, the Superintendent made a statement that reveals the current OUSD Administration has little understanding of the complex technology issues and support needed at the school sites for technology. Drier stated about the OUSD Technology Assistants:

    “For the most part the work that’s done at most of the schools has to do with helping computers get off and on, not nearly as technical as duties of the folks housed here [the district office]” .

    The over-worked OUSD Information Services at the District Office has been supported by the part-time OUSD Technology Technicians for years by providing services that the district personnel did not have time to do. The Technology Technicians are the OUSD version of the television famous "Geek Squad" working at school sites doing everything from keeping computers and other technology devices running at the school sites, to setting up and maintaining computer labs, and keeping students enrolled in the various systems that need valid student identifications to perform (ie. Read 180, Reading Counts, and student ID’s for library service, math and computer class programs), the part-time Technology Assistants have become the frontline in maintaining student and staff technology at the school sites. Many schools have used outside funding to share or supplement their Technology Assistants. Having Superintendent Dreier state that the Technology Assistants merely “help computers get on and off” shows that she and her administration have a major reality disconnect on the technology issues and challenges of the school sites. The budget shortfall and apparent loss of the Technology Assistants mean that OUSD will face major challenges in maintaining any type of technology programs at the school sites in the coming years

    In the second vote, the OUSD Board voted to include the Technology Assistants and the Nutrition Network Project Coordinator in the staff cuts.

    600 to 1 counselor does seem outrageous for a ratio,
    but $14 million dollars out of our budget is outrageous!”

    -OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith 4/16/09

    As OUSD made public its 2009-2010 contract proposals (“sun shinning”) for the negotiations with the OUSD teacher’s association, the Orange Unified Educators Association (OUEA), at the April 16th meeting, community members addressed the Board about the proposal to eliminate high school counselors, thus increasing the student to counselor ratio. Later in the evening, Smith asked that if community members continue to address the Board on not cutting specific pet programs, could they please tell them what programs to cut instead. During the meeting, a clearly frustrated Smith (who tongue-in-cheek stated she had become “jaded and cold-hearted”) and Trustee John Ortega asked the community to direct their anger at Sacramento lawmakers, reminding the community that those lawmakers are responsible for the massive required cutbacks. This was the first meeting since the Trustees began voting on specific cuts that Smith did not repeat her public call during a meeting that the OUSD Board address taking a pay cut in their own honorarium salary. Smith had repeated that call for the Trustees to sacrifice pay in the previous two meetings. The OUSD 2009-2010 proposal also called for all employees to take a 3.75% pay cut. That cut would be negotiable with the two employee groups; however, the administrators could be forced into a cut. The local watchdog group the Greater Orange Community Orgainization has called for those immediate administrative pay cuts, Trustee pay cuts, and the closing and consolidation of three additional small schools before the OUSD Administration proceeds to further cut programs and make staffing cuts.

    Also during the meeting, Trustees Kim Nichols, Ortega and Moffat alluded to the May 19th Special Election. Nichols stated that if the propositions that relate to state funding fail, that Orange Unified could face a projected $16- $18 million in additional budget cuts.

    INSIDE the May 12th, 2009 Agenda
    Action Item 12 A and 12 B (pages 6-16) – Approving the 2008-2009 contract with the certified support staff union the CSEA #67 and “sun shinning” the OUSD proposal to the CSEA for the 2009-2010 contract including a 3.75% pay cut.

    Action Item 12 C (pages 17-18)– the OUEA proposals for the 2009-2010 contract negotiations.

    Action Item 12 D (pages 19-41)- 2nd reading of the proposed Board Policy Revisions.
    Board Proclamations: Classified School Employee Week May 18-12 and California Day of the Teacher May 13, 2009.

    Community Donations
    Target Corp-$65.83- supplies to Prospect E.S.; Villa Park H.S. Aquatic Boosters-Villa Park ASB Salary Stipend; Canyon High School Band Boosters-$2000 for transportation; Silverado PTA - $1,500- Computer Aide; El Modena Boys Basketball-$500 salary stipend; Linda Vista PTA-$766 for a projector cart.
    For a complete list of the $42,997 in community donations see Agenda page 43

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2009:
    Total $378,000
    2009 Attorney Fee Tally:
    11/13/08 Parker & Covert (for 1/09 -6/09) $200,000
    3/12/09 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya (Sp. Ed) $ 50,000
    Parker & Covert (Special Ed) $ 98,000
    Total $348,000

    2009 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    01/24/09 Leadership Associates Consultants $ 3,000
    2009 TOTAL $ 378,000

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008):
    $10,892.00*
    * 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 a 6% lifetime formula calculated here at $1210 a month since 8/08. 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 taxpayer costs after the OUSD trustees voted against an amendment to exclude Godley from the retirement program. The on-going estimated figure is presented as a 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 6% retirement incentive cost the OUSD education community in tax dollars. Godley retired from OUSD on June 30, 2008 after he worked for the school district for a little over five years.

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2008: $901,200
    2008 Attorney Fee Tally:
    6/19/08 Parker & Covert $ 60,000
    6/05/08 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 40,000
    6/05/08 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
    $750,000
    2008 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    11/13/08 Subs for SDCDE (Reading First) $24,000
    11/13/08 SDCDE (Reading First) $30,000
    10/30/08 Dr. Willard Daggett (ICLE) $ 4,500
    10/16/08 Dr. Parker 40 pt Consultant $ 4,200
    9/25/08 Visual Ink for Sadler Consultant <$ 6,600> CANCELED in 2009
    9/25/08 Bob Sadler Consultant Fee $ 8,500
    9/25/08 Candace Simpson-Sadler Helper $ 5,500
    7/24/08 Dr. Parker 40 pt Consultant $ 10,000
    4/17/08 Dr. Kenneth Stichter Speaker Fee $ 6,500
    3/7/08 Dr. Kathleen Weigel Speaker Fee $ 8,000
    Consultant Total $ 101, 200
    2008 TOTAL $ 901,200

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2007: $704,090.00**

    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 May 12, 2009 -OUSD BOARD ROOM -OUSD BOARD ROOM

    FOR the Agenda CLICK ON: MAY 12

    CLOSED SESSION- 6:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 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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