Be the first to know: SUBSCRIBE HERE

Greater Orange News Service


Greater Orange HEADLINES in the News
  • The Foothills Sentry
  • TOPIX/City of Orange News Service
  • TOPIX/Villa Park News Service
  • The Anaheim BLOG
  • TOPIX/Anaheim Hills News Service
  • TOPIX/Greater Orange Communities Wire Service
  • California CIty HEADLINES Headlines
  • Follow Greater Orange on TWITTER
  • Wednesday, August 05, 2009



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

    “So I just wanted to correct that very serious error”

    Orange Unified School Board Trustee Kathy Moffat took on the “information put out to the community via our local blogs” regarding a statement she had made in 2008 regarding the issuance of the $93 million dollar OPED Bonds. Those OPED Bonds have lost money during the current financial crisis costing the OUSD General Fund around $13 million dollars. The loss comes at a time when OUSD can least afford it as the district slashed programs, closed a school and now asks employee groups to take wage cuts. Moffat’s attempt to blur her recorded words and “set the record straight” from last year’s discussions to approve the OPED Bonds was the first comment by any Board member at the July 23rd Board Meeting after hearing a report about the losing investments in the $93 million dollar OPED Bond. The OUSD Staff reported that those losses will cost the OUSD General Fund approximately $5 million dollars just to service the Bond this year on top of an addition $8 million dollars to pay for the benefits that the now non-existing OPED Bond profits were suppose to cover.

    The Orange Net News’ July 20th 2009 edition of ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE reviewed the March 20th, 2008 Board meeting discussions that lead to the approval of two resolutions to approve the OPED Bond contracts. The July 20th ONN Report stated:

    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.

    That short statement was a summary of Moffat’s comments she made in 2008 as she and other Board members struggled to understand the high-stakes financial game they were undertaking under a one day deadline to sell bonds at a negotiated rate as Dr. Godley and the slick presenter said (using that age-old car dealer sales pitch) act now or loose the great deal. Capitalizing on the fearful financial news of the day, they told the board they had 1 day to accept the negotiated rate or risk selling the Bonds at a competitive rate to firms like “Bears Sterns, JP Morgan or Goldman Sacks”.

    At last month’s July 23, 2009 OUSD Board Meeting the OUSD Staff reported that the hastily approved Board OPED Bond had at its worst lost $20 million dollars and was still $10 million dollars in the hole from the original investment and would now cost the OUSD General Fund $13 million. After that report, Moffat chose to immediately challenge the ONN report of what she had stated at the March 2008 meeting to approve the Bond Resolutions. Moffat said:

    “Recently, there was information put out to the community via our local blogs about, kind of a retrospect about this program and when we adopted it and the questioning done by different Board members and that kind of thing. In the blog it specifically said I had sought out expertise from financial experts that I knew, and that’s true.

    However, the blog said that all three advised against this, that’s not true. So, I want to set that record straight. One of the people I consulted with urged caution, two of the people I consulted with said this sounded like a reasonable plan and a creative way to deal with a very difficult financial situation which we would have to deal with in profound ways if we did nothing.

    So I just want to correct that very serious error”

    Well, Kathy we would like to correct your very serious error.
    That is NOT what you said at the March 20, 2008 meeting.

    The following is what Moffat stated verbatim in 2008:

    “The reasons for my questions is this; ever since last Thursday when everything started to go pretty crazy in the financial markets, I started to have more questions about this.

    This is obviously a very big investment and I consulted with three people who I consider to be experts in the financial world. One of them is a career international banker, and one is a person who works in the field of public agency investment and finance, and another one is a former banker and currently president of a real estate development firm. And to a person, they all said this is very complicated, very uncertain and they all said don’t do this”.

    As you can see Moffat’s 2008 statement “And to a person, they all said this is very complicated, very uncertain and they all said don’t do this” is very different from Moffat’s 2009 the blog is wrong and setting the record straight statement:
    “One of the people I consulted with urged caution, two of the people I consulted with said this sounded like a reasonable plan and a creative way to deal with a very difficult financial situation”.

    We wanted to “just correct that very serious error” and point out that our 2008 and 2009 reports were accurate and Moffat’s re-creation of what she publicly stated at the March 20 meeting is not true, which again makes Kathy Moffat’s version of events wrong and Orange Net News right again.

    What was the problem in Greely, Colorado? Local polls and emails from Greely showed that for many in the community then Greely Superintendent Dr. Renae Drier was not universally admired. And while many in the Greater Orange Communities still take exception to the interview junket that three OUSD Board members took to Greely at taxpayer expense to “interview” the community, we don’t blame Drier for their move. In fact if she were OUSD Superintendent then, we have a feeling she would of seen the junket as a waste of money.

    Since becoming Orange Unified Superintendent over a year ago, Drier has moved to end the Consultant Culture of OUSD that over the years dumped millions upon millions of taxpayer educational dollars into the black hole of education-consultants (pay attention Michelle Moore and Larry Hausner). She has moved to end the “who-you-know” gets you the job culture and reached out with an open door policy to the community and staff as she has confidently lived by her “Knowledge is Power” mantra and led by example.

    Symbolism aside, she has cut-out needless frills (like that “art muralists” for the strategic initiative workshops) and solicited the community for funding. Drier has favored OUSD personnel to provide expertise services that in the past had been expensively outsourced. Drier has moved on a long sought-out consolidation of the district’s three employee groups into one money-saving health plan.

    Drier’s new pronouncement for the annual Administrative Retreat on August 12 is a no-frills 1 day down to business event where the participants (not the taxpayers) will pay for their own lunches. Dr. Drier is right again!

    OUSD Trustee Dr. Deligianni has submitted an item for the August 20th , 2009 OUSD Board meeting to roll back OUSD Board compensation by 2%, the same as the Leadership cuts and proposed cuts to OUSD employee groups.

    OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith had proposed in May to cut OUSD Board stipends by 10% because of the current fiscal crisis. After a terse exchange between political allied fractions on the OUSD Board, the motion failed in a tie 3-3 vote with the OUSD Trustees voting with their political allied blocks. Trustees Melissa Smith, Kim Nichols and Kathy Moffat voted for the reduction. Voting against the 10% reduction was Ledesma Coalition allies -Trustees Rick Ledesma, John Ortega, and Alexia Deligianni. Trustee Mark Wayland was absent from the meeting.

    Before the original vote OUSD President Rick Ledesma dismissed the minority members’ pay cut proposal as “wonderful political hay” noting that he agrees cuts are needed, but questioning the sincerity of the move by the three co-sponsors stating: “Where were these heroes when they were voting for millions and millions of dollars for consultants not long ago”. Ledesma also cited past votes for “pay increases to superintendents” and “me too pay increases for administrators”. Adding his belief that “symbolism works both ways” he questioned the timing and the relative small total savings to the district.

    Trustee Melissa Smith responded to Ledesma by taking exception to Ledesma’s characterization of the proposal as “political hay” stating “ I have nothing to gain politically” citing that her residence has been moved from her trustee area (this was done in the Nichols Rocco Realignment) and she will not be running again. Smith also took exception to Ledesma’s comments about the timing of the proposal noting that she had been working on the proposed cuts since February. Smith defended past salary increase votes by stating that “market is what determines” the pay needed to offer and attract qualified people with competitive salaries. Ledesma retorted that competitiveness can be measured in many ways.

    During the pre-vote discussion other Trustees explained their votes. Trustee Kim Nichols while acknowledging that the total savings were small, said the proposal would show that the Board was “participating in the crisis” and was a symbolic way to tell the community and employees that “we are in it with you” with the gesture. Later in the meeting Nichols directed the Superintendent to provide Nichols with any paperwork that was needed for Nichols to take the 10% pay cut individually. Smith added to Nichols' reasons for voting for the pay cut reasoning that it was more than symbolic, but a way for the Trustees to “share the burden”.

    Watch for detailed complete coverage of the Orange Unified School District with the regular ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE edition

    This edition of
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE UPDATE
    Independent insight into OUSD
    is an independent news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    “Independent Local Insight”
    Ecast on the
    A 21st Century Communications System

    Comments: Post a Comment

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization