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  • Tuesday, December 08, 2009

     

    OUSD braces for more program cuts

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

    “These are heartbreaking cuts and we’re not done yet”
    -OUSD Trustee Kim Nichols on continuing OUSD budget cut proposals 11/12/09

    As state fiscal crisis continues
    OUSD braces for more program cuts

    At the November 12, 2009 Orange Unified School Board Meeting, OUSD Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Affairs Michael Christiensen reported on the proposed cuts the OUSD Administrative Staff is recommending to the save an additional 9 million more dollars over the next two years the district needs to balance its budget due to the continuing state budget crisis. The deep cuts outlined at the November 12 meeting match the proposed budget cuts that the OUSD Trustees will vote to approve at their December 10, 2009. With these additional cuts, the multi-year cuts in OUSD since the state fiscal crisis began will total $32.254 million.

    Those proposed November cuts are the exact cuts that are included in the December 10, 2009 OUSD Board Agenda as Action Item 13 B (Agenda Page 25). The proposed cuts totaling $4.29 million are: $200,000 in district funds for sports transportation for high school sports (the $50,000 per high school subsidy will have to be made up by school booster clubs); an increase in the Student Bus Pass fee by $60.00 ($60,000 in saving); an elimination of the free dedicated GATE program busing ($107,000 in savings); elimination (or a “program suspension” during the fiscal crisis) of the 5th and 6th grade instrumental music program ($385,000) and the elementary summer school program ($300,000 in savings); a restructuring of the secondary summer school program as a consolidated credit recovery program ($300,000); a promised further cut to OUSD Administrative and support staff positions of $450,000 (possibly including the recent addition of a third high school vice principal to OUSD high schools); restructuring of night custodial service that may include sharing of services ($900,000 in savings); consolidation (closing) of another of the remaining small schools- Riverdale (with students being sent to Olive); for an estimated $345,000 in savings. It should be noted that the closing of Silverado Elementary last year was conservatively estimated to produce $260,000 in savings, but actually resulted in $401,000 in savings to OUSD. Also being proposed is first and second grade class size reductions being increased from the current 25:1 ratio to a 30:1 ration for a savings of $1.2 million dollars. These are cuts the OUSD Board can approve without labor negotiations.

    Another $480,000 in cuts is an increase in the high school class size ratio from the current 32:1 ratio to a 33:1 ratio. That class size increase needs to be negotiated with the teachers’ associations. The November report also highlighted the district budget four years out. That time frame is after the current state and federal fiscal emergency measures expire and without further state action will result in another $15 million dollar shortfall for the 2012-2013 OUSD budget. The budgeting process for the 2012-2013 school year will start in June 2010. Trustee Kim Nichols had requested district staff include the far in advanced 4th year forecast with the staff’s required three year budget forecasts. On hearing about the 2012-2013 budget forecast Nichols commented “These are heartbreaking cuts and we’re not done yet”.

    A small group of Canyon residents disrupt the Board meeting as
    OUSD Board takes no action on Canyon Transfer
    Also on the November 12, 2009 OUSD Agenda was a staff report on the impact to OUSD in transferring the Canyon Communities to Saddleback Unified. Aside from the loss of state funds for OUSD from the 118 students in the area, the major impact would be that those 118 students still in OUSD would immediately be required to leave OUSD and attended Saddleback schools. This fact seemed to be lost on the supporters of the transfer who are mostly parents of a small number of elementary age children who attended the now closed Silverado Elementary School. The impact on middle school students and high school students being forced from OUSD to new Saddleback schools was only mentioned in passing in the OUSD Staff Report. It also appeared apparent from the comments made by some supporters of the transfer at the meeting that they believed the transfer would be the only way to re-open Silverado Elementary School which Trustee Kathy Moffat tried to diplomatically explain.

    Moffat tried to caution the supporters that they have no guarantee that joining Saddleback would give them any level of services they desire or may need. As she tried to make her points Moffat was continually interrupted from some Canyon community members in the audience requiring President Rick Ledesma to call a 5 minute recess. Moffat used that recess to engage in a dialogue with some of the impassioned Canyon audience members. The next move will be for the Canyon Saddleback Supporters is to take its cause to the Orange County Committee on School District Organization.

    OUSD Staff Deals with another SPAM Charter Application
    Just a month after denying the Global Tides “SPAM” charter school application, Orange Unified Trustees will again vote to deny another “SPAM” charter school application at their December 10, 2009 Board meeting. The Resolution to Deny covers 16 pages of the December 10 Agenda as Action Item 13 A (page 6-22). The OUSD Staff prepared resolution outlines the Barrack H. Obama Leadership Academy Charter High School application’s flaws, mistakes, omissions and inconsistencies. At one point the Resolution characterizes the application as “The proposal is not presented in a coherent manner, but is rather in the format of a jumbled collection of documents, some of which appear to be photocopies, while other appear to be purpose created”.

    OUSD Interim Financial Report gives district a Positive Certification
    The required 2009-2010 Budget First Interim Report will be presented as Action Item 13 C (Agenda page 25-58). The legally required report will certify the OUSD budget as “positive” in regards to the district meeting its financial obligations. Not a small feat in the current economic turmoil.

    New OUSD Board President and officers to be selected
    Outgoing OUSD Board President Rick Ledesma commented at the November 12 OUSD Board Meeting that his year as Board President was “budget, budget, budget”. That year will come to an end at the December 10, 2009 OUSD Board Meeting when the OUSD Board will elect a new slate of officers. Ledesma was opposed by the former majority members at the beginning of his term as he and his political allies, John Ortega, Mark Wayland and Dr. Alexia Deligianni took over control of the OUSD Board. However, the only real political “hay” exchange between the two political groups was over proposed Trustee pay cuts. On the whole, the OUSD Board worked well together under Ledesma’s leadership on the budget. Even Ledesma’s controversial early addition of extra meetings ended up working to the Board’s advantage in the early days of the budget crisis. That coming together seemed apparent at the November meeting when Trustee Melissa Smith led the applause of Ledesma at the end of his last Board President’s Report that reflected on his year. At the same meeting, Trustee Kim Nichols referring to the Veterans Day holiday lauded Mark Wayland’s service in the military and his efforts to replace worn American flags in OUSD classrooms with new ones. If last December’s meeting was terse, this December maybe a rare “kumbaya moment”.

    INSIDE the December 10, 2009 Meeting

    14 A Student Calendar 2010-2011- Say goodbye to the two year experiment with a 3 week Winter break and hello to the 1 week Fall break at Thanksgiving. Winter break will be back to the traditional two weeks and Spring Break will remain at the new two week time.

    INSIDE Community Donations

    McPherson PTSA $17,000 Sound System; Villa Park H.S. Aquatics Boosters-$2,200 in salary stipends; Tustin Lexus-$100 to Anaheim Hills E.S. for supplies; Canyon H.S. Band Boosters- $6,445 in salary stipends; Kathy Moffat $75 in stipend donation (pay reduction); Kim Nichols $75 in stipend donation (pay reduction). (For a complete list of the $43,000 in donations see page 61-62 of the Agenda).

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget


    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2009:
    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):
    $18,150.00*
    * 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 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 -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON:OUSD

    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 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/
    “Independent Local Insight”

    Comments:
    As long as the Board is making 'needed' cuts to programs throughout the district, why not make one that is overdue: cut the Board positions from a cumbersome 7 member board to a more traditional 5 member board. Not only will salaries for two Board members be save, also the costly benefit package will be saved. This would mean electing two Board members at the next election instead of 4. Another change to make with this is to cut out the idea of Board members representing 'district areas'. The whole district votes for candidates. Why not just elect the best candidates from all of OUSD rather than from a specific area?
     
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