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  • Monday, September 21, 2009


    State tests results make OUSD a Program Improvement district

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

    New AYP scores mean
    State designates Orange Unified a Program Improvement District

    The Greater Orange Communities 55 Freeway Divide became more apparent in the latest release of the state Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) figures last week (September 15, 2009). The reports show that while Orange Unified’s state Academic Performance Index (API) scores grew 11 points (California as a whole saw a 14 point statewide increase in scores) the bad news far outweighs the good news for OUSD and other districts with similar socio-economic factors that exist in the sprawling district west of the 55 Freeway Divide that everyone familiar with Greater Orange knows, but rarely mentions. However, reading the September 21, 2009 Press Release from OUSD Administrative Director of Communications Larry Hausner and you would imagine everything in OUSD-land is as squeaky clean as the Magic Kingdom. While the success in OUSD should be acknowledged, to ignore or gloss over the problems does not meet OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier's “knowledge is power” mantra.

    The state tests show that OUSD failed to meet 8 of the 40 federal criteria for the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) mandates under No Child Left Behind student subgroups and is now officially designated as a first year Program Improvement district for the first time since California started assigning designation to underperforming districts. In addition three new schools also joined the district’s nine other Program Improvement designated schools ranks- Orange High School, Cambridge E.S. and Jordan E.S.- bringing the district total of Program Improvement schools to an all time high of 12. Schools failing to meet the AYP requirements two years in a row are designated as Program Improvement. The new designations mean more work for overworked staff at both the district and school levels and possible eventual state takeovers. None of this news was in the Hausner’s Press Release.

    The released state reports show that 24, or 63% of OUSD’s schools met or exceeded their “growth targets” or the number of targeted points for “growth” in student scores on standardized tests given at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. Nearly a quarter (24%) of OUSD schools scores stayed the same or had declines in the targeted growth. The scores are greatly influenced by Language Arts and Math standardized testing scores.

    OUSD Graduation rates fall 3.1%
    Another item missing from the Hausner Press Release was that graduation rates also fell in OUSD last year from the 2008 graduation rate by 3.1% (from 93.5% in 2008 to 90.4% in 2009). El Modena H.S. showed the largest decline in graduation rates posting a 6.5% decline (from 98.3% to 91.8%). Orange H.S. posted a 2.2% drop; Villa Park H.S. a 1.4% drop and Canyon H.S. a .03% drop.

    Villa Park H.S. falls below magic 800 with 26 point API score drop
    Nine OUSD schools posted declining API scores from a -2 point drop at Palmyra E.S. to a -29 point drop at Lampson E.S. At the secondary level, Santiago Charter and Yorba M.S. had scores drop, while Cerro Villa M.S., El Rancho M.S. and Portola M.S. saw scores increase. Portola M.S.( in its fifth year as a Program Improvement school) apparently reaped huge benefits from funding for small class sizes. The school posted a 38 point increase, the highest of any OUSD secondary school.

    At the district’s high schools, only Villa Park H.S. posted declining API scores with a -26 point drop. That drop brings Villa Park H.S. below the magic 800 score that the state expects all schools to rise above. Villa Park H.S. API score is now at 776. This is the second time Villa Park has risen above the sought after 800 mark and then fallen back below. In addition, Villa Park H.S. was one of 11 OUSD schools to fail to meet the federal AYP criteria. If Villa Park fails a second year to meet the AYP criteria, it will become the second OUSD high school to become a Program Improvement school. Any Program Improvement school in Villa Park, let alone the tight-knit community’s name-sake high school would be a bitter pill for the politically active community to deal with.

    On the other hand, 19 OUSD schools surpassed the magic 800 state number. The Hausner Press Release lead off reporting that 6 schools climbing over the 900 score, three for the first time. The six schools ( all east of the 55 Divide) are Anaheim Hills E.S. (first time-902); Chapman Hills E.S. (930); Nohl Canyon E.S. (930); Panorama E.S. (927); Serrano E.S. (first time-914); Villa Park E.S. (first time 908). Also in the Hausner Press Release was a list of the highest API increases led by Canyon Hills at 83 points. The Hausner Press Release also failed to mention that Canyon Hills 90 students are students who have moderate to severe disabilities and do not take the state standardized tests. Those students take the California Alternative Performance Assessment (CAPA) Test. The test is administered by on site teachers who interpret the student answers and write them down in the test.

    To see a sample of a CAPA test question and how a teacher is suppose to score

    Handy E.S. increases 25 points- 13 points below 2008 level
    In 2008, Handy E.S. increased testing scores by 38 points. On July 24th 2008, despite a California fiscal emergency, the Orange Unified School Board Trustees approved spending $10,000 of educational tax dollars to hire consultant Dr. Dennis Parker from the Orange County Department of Education to conduct workshops at Handy E.S. in a program called the Strategic Schooling Initiative. The Orange County Department of Education website promised that the Strategic Schooling Initiative will increase a schools API score by 30-40 points. The web-link to that claim was publicized by Orange Net News and has since been removed.

    That said, the year before hiring the $10,000 consultant Handy had a 38 point increase. So logically based on the OCDE website claims, this year the school’s scores should be increasing by an unprecedented 78 points with the Dr. Dennis Parker’s $10,000 “Magic Pill” consultant program (the 38 points the school did without the program last year, plus 30 points promised by the consultant program). Of course when the district can least afford to spend money on another snake-oil consultant, they did. You know the rest of the story, not only did Handy not significantly raise scores above what they did before the consultant- they actually failed to match their pervious year’s scores by 13 points. And yes for the sake of argument-even failed to reach a 30 point improvement by 5 points. Another Consultant Fable bites the dust with what edu-cats like to point to: “data”.

    To view the Hausner Press Release CLICK ON: Hausner Press Release

    Inside the September 10, 2009 OUSD Board Agenda
    The OUSD Trustees voted to adopt the 2008/09 Unaudited Actuals and of Revised Budget 2009/10. Staff reported that Sacramento lawmakers had lowered the required reserves from 3% of the budget to 1.7% freeing up extra money for school districts. However, the fix (as with most fixes from Sacramento) is temporary and district staff warned that more cuts may be needed in the December revisiting of the budget and they are compiling options for further proposed cuts.

    Also at the September 10 meeting, Trustee Mark Wayland continued his digging for answers in the Consent Item. Not content to just be a rubber stamp. Wayland refuses to vote on items he needs more clarification on- believe it or not…an elected official who continues to carry out campaign promises!

    Former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley front page news

    In a front page article on Sunday September 20, 2009 Biggest Pensions Tax State Fund, the Orange County Register‘s OC Watchdog writes about the 3,000 plus retired educators who make over $100,000 a year in retirement from the State Teacher’s Retirement Fund (STRS). Former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley’s retirement pay is $210,211 a year according to records cited by the article. The article does not mention the Retirement Bonus Godley received from OUSD after only 5 years as Superintendent. Even a motion by long-time Godley supporter Trustee Kathy Moffat who made a motion to amend the retirement buy-out plan to remove Godley from the Retirement Bonus would not convince the other OUSD Trustees.

    Mofatt’s amendment failed by a 4-3 vote as Trustees Wes Poutsma, Kim Nichols, Melissa Smith and John Ortega on record voting against the Moffat Amendment to exclude the superintendent from the buyout with Moffat, Rick Ledesma and Steve Rocco voting to exclude Godley.

    The OC Register article begins its section on Godley with:
    “Another member of the "100,000-plus" club, former Orange Unified School District Superintendent Thomas Godley collects $210,211 a year. He was the budget chief for Newport-Mesa Unified when a finance worker siphoned $3.7 million to buy such things as full-length fur coats in 1992”.

    To read the full OC Register article CLICK ON:GODLEY

    To read about Kathy Moffat’s attempt to exclude Godley

    INSIDE the September 24th OUSD Board Agenda
    Canyons want to secede – Charter School wants approval
    Having failed in its bid to get OUSD to keep Silverado E.S. open, the newest plan is to leave OUSD and join Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The Inter-Canyon League will be presenting Information Item 13 B (Agenda page 36). If the Board lets the Canyons go will Anaheim Hills be far behind?

    An unknown entity called Global Tides Inc. has petitioned OUSD to open a charter school. Agenda Item 13 C (Agenda page 37) the Board will hear about a report from the staff on the fiscal impact of the proposal and decide to hold a public hearing on the charter proposal on October 29, 2009.
    For more information on the Inter-Canyon League
    CLICK ON: Inter-Canyon League

    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):
    * 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 24, 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/

    I never thought I would see the day, that OUSD would be in "Program Improvement District". WHy, is the question, And no it does not start with Godley, how long can one man take the blame of an entire district. Parents... you better take a good look at yourself. Education starts at home.. and parents, if you are not a part of the solution, then you become part of the problem. Orange, Villa Park.. you best quit worrying about the the 55 divide and worry about your child being at school on time, and ready for the day,homework complete, and ready to learn, not stressed about the next Gymnastics meet, or the next football game, but about their classes and what come after. High scool..College.. Change the mindset.. not if you got to College. to When you go to college.

    Wake up.... it take a village to raise a child.. you better become a village that can work together and educauste together. before it is too late.

    Calm down Kim, you revealed your identity with the whole "It Takes A Village" comment.
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