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  • Monday, July 20, 2009


    Report on OUSD OPEB Retirement Bonds: OUSD General Fund payments continue because of “Lack of Profitability in the Portfolio”

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

    Report on OUSD OPEB Retirement Bonds...
    OUSD General Fund payments continue because of
    “Lack of Profitability in the Portfolio”

    On the Orange Unified School Board’s July 23rd, 2009 Agenda (Informational Item 13 A) is a report on the district’s OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits Bond) investment that states the “equity investments have greatly underperformed”. The Fiscal Impact section of the report states because of that underperformance “the District is continuing to make retiree heath benefits payments on a pay-as-you go- basis from the General Fund”. The purpose of the OUSD OPEB investment was to pay for the unfunded liability of OUSD’s once offered lifetime health benefits and save the district money over the life of the liability by shifting the liability of the health benefits payment from the OUSD General Fund pay-as-you-go to using funds generated by the investments to pay for the benefits. The total OUSD invested in the underperforming Futuris Public Entity Investment Trust is $95,763,635.

    In the Fall of 2007, just months before the beginning of the worst American financial meltdown since the Great Depression, then OUSD Assistant Superintendent Jon Archibald introduced OUSD Trustees to a creative cutting edge financial plan to save the OUSD General Fund from paying for the closed retiree health benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis. A member of the Keenan Financial Services consulting financial team brought by Archibald to the school board to explain the new plan to the OUSD Board characterized the plan as part of the “interest earnings game”.

    Archibald and the Superintendent Godley’s Administration presented a series of informational items for a plan to issue financial bonds to save $102 million dollars on projected health benefit costs from the closed OUSD lifetime health benefits program to those retirees who still have them. Liking the plan to a “refinance”, the OPEB bond funding idea won over the OUSD Board with the promised savings of over $100 million dollars compared to the current plan to pay for the benefits as a pay-as-you-go. When the plan was initially presented, despite OUSD Trustees Rick Ledesma, Kim Nichols, Kathy Moffat and Wes Poutsma questioning the complex plan, the new funding measure was given a consensus-go-ahead by the Board to proceed with the bond issuance planning.

    Then months later, just days after the shock wave of the Bear Stearns financial meltdown signaled the beginning of the current financial mess, the Orange Unified School Board at their 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 and to appoint a bond interest Swap Advisor. The Bear-Sterns news weighed in several times during the Board discussions as a candid Trustee Kathy Moffat sought to be reassured and convinced from the bond services presenters that the OUSD Board was making the right decision in issuing the bonds during the growing current financial upheavals. 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 the Board was told had to be approved at that Board meeting in a now or never manner. Trustee Rick Ledesma focused his concerns with the plan 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 proposed private buyer of all the bonds was the Dexea Group, a Belgian-French bank. In May 2009 the Dexea Group’s American subsidiary FSA Holdings suffered credit downgrades from Moody’s because of the current financial crisis, but was kept afloat by the European parent company. Two months later Dexea Group sold FSA Holdings to Bermuda based municipal bond company Assured Guaranty Ltd. That sale resulted as the Dexea press release stated “Dexia has significantly reduced its exposure to the US monoline industry, whilst retaining the Financial Products business” (to follow the continued international financial intrigue see below).

    The OUSD Board became one of the first California schools districts to approve an OPEB financial plan and become involved in the world of international bond gamesmanship or the so called “interest earnings game”. Apparently OUSD along with millions of other investors have for now lost at the “interest earnings game”. Meanwhile the architect of the OUSD OPEB bonds, Orange Unified Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Jon Archibald, left OUSD for a similar job in the Huntington Beach City School District at the beginning of 2009. Hindsight now shows that the three financial advisors Moffat consulted were right and the district consultants who answered Moffat’s concerns were not correct. The current scenario of what if the Bonds fail to perform was never asked by any of the Board members, but the district now knows the answer as OUSD continues, despite its $95 million investment, to use the General Fund to pay-as-you-go.

    For more information(CLICK ON):
    Keenan Financial Services press release

    For more information on International Market intrigue (CLICK ON):
    Dexia on Moody's Downgrade
    Dexia on selling FSA
    Assured Guaranty on delisting FSA bonds

    INSIDE the JUNE 18th
    At the last OUSD Board Meeting on June 18, 2009 the packed audience included OUSD certificated employees and OUSD retired teachers. A parade of former well known OUSD teachers (with combined teaching experience of hundreds of years) spoke to the OUSD Board during public communications about a district proposal related to retiree health benefits and information they received regarding proposals they believe the district and insurance carriers have discussed including: to “unbundle” retirees insurance from other OUSD employees; move toward a medical “Advantage” plan; and remove retiree dependent coverage. The teacher retiree speakers included former teacher association leaders who reviewed the whole history of how the long ago promised OUSD Lifetime Benefits were negotiated in good faith by OUSD in lieu of increasing pay hikes. Remarkably, they related the now sorted story without once mentioning recalled former OUSD Trustee Marty Jacobson or unelected but essentially recalled insurance gadfly Kathy Moran.

    Also present were the OUSD non-teaching (Classified) support staff who showed up to support their negotiating team in newly reopened talks with the school district. Before the federal stimulus monies were received, OUSD administrators had called for across the board wage concessions of 3.75% plus furlough days for a total of 4.25%. In the budget presentation, the OUSD Administration is now asking for a 2% across the board pay concession.

    During the June 18, 2009 the OUSD School Board held a public hearing and approved an in the black 2008-2009 Budget (Action Agenda Item 12 B agenda page 5). Avoiding a widely expected Qualified Certification (indicating that a district may not be able to meet its financial obligations) the proposed budget leaves a total of $345,000 in unappropriated funds. Asst. Superintendent Mike Christensen explained that using the one time Federal Stimulus funds, and with the suspension of the requirement of a three year budget projection, the 2008-2009 budget was in the black. He noted that the district has dropped its 4.25% concession requests from employees (3.75% in wage and .50 in furlough days) to 2% in wage concessions.

    Strategic Planning Workshop: More on Moore Mumbo Jumbo
    Action Item 12 C of the July 23, 2009 Agenda (page 28) is the Board approval of the 3 Year Strategic Plan. At the June 18, 2009 OUSD Board meeting, the Trustees received a report on the work done at the second 3 year Strategic Planning Workshop. Superintendent Renae Drier got the workshop done as stripped down no-frills 1 day event that used donated money to pay for a good portion of the event. Drier received widespread kudos for her move to dump the mural artist “consultant” (saving OUSD taxpayers $6,600) that was approved under the Godley administration for the event. However, while some of the administrators who lead the workshops and presented their reports at the June 18th Board meeting were able to work in the new Post-Consultant Culture Drier seems to have in-store for OUSD, for others mumbo-jumbo consultant edu-fads die hard.

    Cerro Villa Principal Arleen Sterling presented her report on the workshop’s Goal #1 Student Achievement by confidently declaring something the Greater Orange Community Group has promoted for years- the homegrown expertise of OUSD can replace expensive fly-by-night wasteful edu-fad consultants. Sterling stated; that OUSD could train staff on student achievement by “Using our in-house expertise” and added “[using] many experts right at our sites won’t cost any money”. While Sterling seems to have gotten Drier’s marching orders on a Post-Consultant OUSD, apparently not all OUSD Administrators have.

    Panorama Principal Michelle Moore also presented her workshop results at the June 18, 2009 school board meeting. In 2006, Moore was criticized for publicly attributing her small school’s (then only 207 students) 902 Academic Performance Index score to the infamous Focus on Results OUSD consultant disaster. Moore was criticized for attributing her “fairy-tale school” scores on the expensive mumbo-jumbo Focus on Results consultant program when her upscale “private” school-like demographics, and cultural attributions are far removed from main stream public school reality (CLICK ON MOORE). It appears that Moore cannot seem to step beyond the consultant fairytale and into reality in anything she publicly does in OUSD. This time taking a page from the controversial and often called dishonest edu-fad consultant Willard Daggett, Moore presenting the report on the workshop’s Goal # 2 Student Engagement by summing up her area with more (no pun intended) consultant mumbo-jumbo. Her Power Point slide summed up “student engagement” as: “Students challenged with academic rigor and engaged with relevance” Ah yes, the Daggett Rigor and Relevance edu-fad lingo. Edu-lingo, like a siren’s call lures less than confident small minds into meaningless repeating of its empty words and phases as they bastardize the English language to re-invent meaningless words to tell the Emperor his new clothes look great! What is this educationally meaningless Rigor and Relevance in the Moore playbook of edu-lingo? Moore explained Rigor and Relevance of student engagement as three targets: A) Publicity (publicizing school programs to students); B) Program Personalization (another controversial edu-fad to be left for another time) and giving students a voice in offered programs and C) Partnerships of Parents and Business. Now perhaps if Moore ever studied Daggett she would realize that her linguistic contortion linking of the statistically immeasurable targets with the meaning of her edu-lingo has no bases in the reality of Daggett’s consultant copyrighted Rigor/Relevance Framework. But then the best thing about living in a fairy-tale is-nothing needs to make sense because as Moore keeps publicly proving, it’s all make-believe. The education profession, the Greater Orange Communities, OUSD students, the OUSD Board and the Drier Administration deserve better than theatrical regurgitation of costly fairy-tale consultant edu-lingo by well paid and purportedly well educated district administrators.

    Edu-fad fantasy not withstanding, expect a quick vote on Agenda Item 12 C at the July 23, 2009 meeting. As for Moore…Once upon a time continues….

    For more information CLICK ON:
    Is it Rigor or Rigor Mortis?

    The Controversial William Daggett

    Inside the July 24th Agenda
    Closed Session- the Coordinator of Special Education, three newly appointed elementary Principals, 2 middle school assistant principals, 1 high school assistant principal and the Richland High School principal assignments will be announced.
    Action Item 12 A- a Board Proclamation supporting the OUSD LegCo inspired AB 837 giving ADA money for online classes
    Action Item 12 B- Board policy revisions 6000 series
    Consent Agenda 14 D- $30,000 contract to law firm Miller Brown & Dannis; will Trustee Rick Ledesma keep up his 100% voting record against the firm involved in the infamous Santiago Revocation debacle?
    Consent Agenda 14 G- OUSD will apply for $25 million in Federal Stimulus monies up for grabs for school construction

    Community Donations
    Panorama PTA-$2,000 Smart Board; Anaheim Hills PTA-$5,000 computer lab; Villa Park Women’s League $3,000- supplies Serrano E.S.; Cambridge Fathers Club $5,215- Smartboards; Kathy Moffat support donation- $75; Nohl Canyon S.A.-$14,549.26 Stipends.

    For a complete list of the $89,251 in community donations see Agenda page 31.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    Total $1,071,000

    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
    3/12/09 Parker & Covert (Special Ed) $ 98,000
    6/18/09 Parker & Covert (09-10) $ 400,000
    6/18/09 Parker & Covert (Special Ed) $ 200,000
    6/18/09 Parker & Covert (property) $ 55,000
    6/18/09 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya (property)$ 35,000
    7/23/09 Miller Brown & Dannis $ 30,000

    Total $1,068,000

    2009 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:

    01/24/09 Leadership Associates Consultants $ 3,000
    2009 TOTAL $1,071,000

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008):
    * 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
    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 July 23, 2009 -OUSD BOARD ROOM

    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 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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