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  • Monday, September 07, 2009


    OUSD Board fails to pass own pay cut again

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

    OUSD Board fails to pass own pay cut again
    After quickly and without debate voting to decrease all Orange Unified Administrators pay by 2%, then again voting without comment or debate to amend the OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier's contract to cut her pay by 2%, the OUSD Board then failed to vote to cut their own monthly stipend (pay) by 2% or $15.00 at their August 20, 2009 Meeting. This is the second time the OUSD Board had failed to cut their pay, but this time the votes were reversed in the voting blocks.

    In May the OUSD Board defeated a proposal to take a $75 cut (10%) to their $750 per month stipend. That May proposal 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 10% reduction which was proposed to show what the trio called “leadership” on the issue of asking employees to take a pay cut due to the current state fiscal crisis. The 10% also represented a symbolic “cut” of an OUSD Trustees $750 per month stipend for a year spread over the seven trustees to show solidarity with the staff jobs that the district was forced to eliminate. Voting against the reduction was Ledesma Coalition allies -Trustees Rick Ledesma, John Ortega, and Alexia Deligianni. Trustee Mark Wayland was absent from the meeting. Board President Rick Ledesma at the May vote had called the proposal “political hay” which Trustee Melissa Smith publicly took offense to causing a terse exchange of words between her and Board President Rick Ledesma.

    It was Smith at the August 20th who brought up Ledesma’s May “political hay” comment by commenting that now she would be making “political hay” by pointing out that she and others on the Board had already taking the 10% cut they had supported in May and any other Board members were welcome to voluntarily take a pay cut. After the vote in May, Kim Nichols directed the Superintendent to supply her with the needed paper work to take the cut on her own (Nichols stated at the August 20th meeting she has made those arrangements). In June Trustee Kathy Moffat began donating $75.00 representing the 10% a month back to the district, while OUSD Trustee Smith donated 10% back for a whole year in one $900 lump sum. One-by-one at the August meeting, Smith, Moffat, and Nichols cited those 10% give-back donations as their reasons for voting against the now proposed 2% cut promoted by Ledesma Coalition ally Trustee Alexia Deligianni. In the end, with Trustee John Ortega absent this time, the Deligianni proposal also ended up defeated in a 3-3 tie with the Ledesma Coalition voting for the 2% cut without comment (Ledesma, Deligianni and Mark Wayland-Yes) and Nichols, Moffat and Smith voting No after noting they are already donating 10% back to the district.

    Davis Demographics Report:
    “District may need to consolidate some of its smaller schools”

    At its August 20, 2009 meeting, the OUSD Board heard a report from its demographic firm Davis Demographics about the continued district-wide declining enrollment and the impact on the district. Citing numerous trends from the economic (foreclosures and housing start projects put on hold) to birthrates and population mobility, the firm projected elementary school rates declining for at least 7 years. The report had been in district hands since March of this year.

    The report cited 8 elementary school attendance areas with populations of less than 450 students and 6 of those school attendance areas below 400 students. Citing a continued decline for the next 7 years at Imperial, Panorama, Riverdale, Serrano, Olive and Nohl Canyon elementary schools, the report stated the “District may need to consolidate some of its smaller schools”. In response to the current fiscal crisis, the OUSD Board had closed its smallest school, Silverado Elementary amid fierce opposition from the small school’s canyon community. Some of the Trustees noted the difficulty of consolidating schools for communities. Kathy Moffat noted that the district’s smaller schools performed better (Editors’ Note: state demographic data attributes those achievements to racial and economic factors beyond school size). Trustee Melissa Smith noted that no one likes closing schools, but that as a Board they had to look at the good of all the district’s students.

    OUSD Staff stated that the district would be starting a small study group to start conversations on “consolidation opportunities”. Those conversations would be with school principals, school staffs and PTA’s seeking input. Former OUSD Assistant Superintendent Jon Archibald had recommended that OUSD consider closing several schools in response to the current fiscal crisis. Only Silverado Elementary was ultimately closed. Class-size increases, program cuts and eliminations, reduction of high school counselors, across the board pay-cuts, and staff reductions were all used to off-set the financial crisis this year. However, the financial crisis is far from over and projected to continue to hamper OUSD’s budget for at least three more years.

    OUSD Board discusses Surplus Property options
    OUSD Staff also presented a report on OUSD’s surplus property options. Reporting that only two of the properties were producing income and that some inquires into purchasing some of the properties had been received, the staff looked for direction from Board on how to proceed. The OUSD Board appeared to want to hold onto the properties in case they were needed in the future, noting that while the demographic report showed declining enrollment for the next several years, but that the current schools are maxed out should more space ever be needed in the future and no more land is readily available. Leasing options to make some money off the land while retaining ownership seemed to be an option most preferred among the Trustees commenting on the report.

    Drier continues to live up to her Knowledge is Power mantra
    Far removed from the From Good to Great empty buzzwords of the former Godley Administration, OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier continued to show she lives by her mantra Knowledge is Power. Facing a meeting full of retired teachers and administrators in the audience concerned over district proposals in health care negotiations, Drier addressed the elephant in the room and tried to calm fears by reporting during her Superintendent’s Report at the beginning of the August 20th Board meeting that an agreement on next year’s district health benefits had been reached and that a letter with the information was being prepared for mailing at that very moment. Then in addition to her reporting on receiving the room at Santiago Canyon College for the OUSD Administrative retreat for free ( the college is an educational partner of OUSD), Dreier reported she sent out the district’s first official “podcast” ever to all staff on the first day of school. The Superintendent also admitting that up until 6 months ago she did not even know what a podcast was, while reviews are that the popular Superintendent clearly shined on the first ever opening day school podcast that catapulted OUSD’s communication into the 21st Century using what Dreier described as capabilities the district already possessed. Perhaps this may be the beginning of a new career for the Superintendent who appeared every bit as telegenic as any professional broadcaster.

    The Superintendent also reported that she had visited schools early in the day including welcoming former Silverado Elementary students and parents to Chapman Hills, visiting the newly remodeled Sycamore Elementary School, and visiting the now demolished and portable housed Yorba Middle School as they start their remodel project.

    To view OUSD’s first Superintendent PODCAST CLICK ON: Dreier PODCAST.

    Deligianni and Wayland question expenditures on Consent Items
    Trustees Mark Wayland and Dr. Alexia Deligianni continued to use their power to pull items from the Consent Item instead of voting blindly to approve expenditures. Wayland pulled the $120,000 August 20th Consent Item agenda contract for BrainX tutorial program, while Deligianni pulled for more information the district’s fees for membership in the California School Boards Association. Staff answered questions regarding the expenditures and then the OUSD voted to approve both.

    Inside the September 10, 2009 OUSD Board Agenda
    Action Item 12 A- (Agenda page 2-10) Adoption of 2008/09 Unaudited Actuals and of Revised Budget 2009/10
    Action Item 13 A – (Agenda page 11-15) Proposed Board Policy Revisions covering complaints against employees

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    Total $1,041,000

    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
    Total $1,038,000

    2009 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    01/24/09 Leadership Associates Consultants $ 3,000
    2009 TOTAL $1,041,000

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008): $15,730.00*

    * 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
    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 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:
    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday September 10, 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/“Independent Local Insight”

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