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  • Thursday, July 30, 2009

     

    Metro VIEWS: A commentary by John Rossmann

    Metro VIEWS
    A community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization
    Giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities

    “99.99% of taxpayers never look at source documents”
    By John Rossmann

    You [Orange Net News] reported in your July 20 newsletters that the OUSD’s budget shows $342,000 in “unappropriated funds”.

    The July 14 issue of The Sentry reported to the OUSD community that the OUSD’s 2009-2010 budget shows a $12 million shortfall.

    Who’s right?

    None of you.

    That "unappropriated funds" figure first: Take a clue from the 2008-09 budget figures reported on the same page of the Board Agenda as the 2009-10 budget figures. Section F, Line 2 Ending Balance shows that OUSD ended fiscal 2008-09 on June 30 with a cash surplus of $20.5 million, $17 million of which was Unrestricted funds. Below the Ending Balance figures one finds a long list of so-called "designations" which make it appear as if that Ending Balance was nearly all allocated to existing expenses...but...

    Check out the Beginning Fund Balance for 2009-10: You find that all of the 2008-09 Ending Balance is carried over unspent into 2009-10. None of the so-called "designations" were actually spent.

    Now, check the budget reports for as far back as you care to: You'll find that none of the "designated" money is ever actually spent. It's an accounting shell game designed to do just what it did to you --- to make you think that the surplus cash was actually accounted for by expenditures. Sure worked on you.

    Then there's The Sentry. The Section C "deficit" figure provides anti-union media with just what it wants: Ammunition to claim that any attempt by the teachers' union to ask for raises and better benefits is an atrocity, and what teachers should be doing is willingly accepting cuts "for the good of the children." Remember that back in 2000 the Sorenson Report tried to make clear to the public that sections A, B, and C of a school district budget --- especially that of OUSD --- are fiction and that the true Bottom Line is always Section F, Line 2 which reports the Ending Balance. The Sorenson Report failed to get reported on because The Register, The Times, and The Sentry are all rabidly anti-union and reporting any hint that there is really surplus cash in the OUSD (or any district's) budget they see as playing into the hands of the unions and "greedy teachers."

    Unfortunately, 99.99% of taxpayers never look at source documents or understand them if they did. Folks "only know what they read in the newspapers" (or on the Internet).

    Folks deserve truly analytical reporting.
    ########

    Editor’ note: John Rossmann is a retired teacher from OUSD and was President of the Orange Unified Educators Association during the successful Orange Recall.

    The Orange Net News’ ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE July 20th reported on the OUSD School Board’s June 18, 2009 budget presentation by OUSD staff that projected a $342,000 in unappropriated funds for the 2009-2010 budget year. CLICK ON: ONN July 20

    ########

    Opinions expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the opinion of the networks that post it.
    ########

    Metro VIEWS
    is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

     

    National Night Out in Orange, the Renaissance comes to Greater Orange and Concerts in the Park

    Metro TALK
    A community service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    National Night Out in Orange on August 4th
    The City of Orange and the Orange Police Department will host the local 26th Annual National Night Out on August 4, 2009 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Target Center, 2191 N Tustin Ave in Orange.

    National Night Out is the communities chance to get to know their local police department, learn about local crime, and get information on drug and violence prevention in a fun family atmosphere. The thousands of local events generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs. The international event is designed to send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

    In addition to free hourly drawings, the Orange event will include: police and fire vehicles on display; children’s fingerprinting; a martial arts demonstration by Hidden Tigers, refreshments and entertainment. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs. For more information contact the local Orange National Night Out co-coordinators: Brad Beyer 714-744-7327 and Michelle Micallef 714-744-7464.

    National Night Out, ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime,’ was introduced by the nonprofit crime prevention National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984. The program was the brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt A. Peskin as an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts, Peskin felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally. At that time, he noted that in a typical ‘crime watch community’, only 5 to 7% of the residents were participating actively. Feeling that the percentage of participation was too low, he proposed a national program which would be coordinated by local crime prevention agencies and organizations, but that would involve entire communities at one time. The first National Night Out was introduced early in 1984 - with 400 communities in 23 states participating in National Night Out. Nationwide, 2.5 million Americans took part in 1984. The seed had been planted and participation has grown steadily. The 25th Annual National Night Out last August involved 37 million people in 15,449 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

    For more information, CLICK ON: National Night Out

    The Renaissance comes to Irvine Lake
    The “World Renaissance Faire” will take place at Irvine Lake on August 8 and 9th. Billed as “Renaissance by Day and Fantasy Faire at Night” the faire is a fundraiser for The Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, True Innocence Equine Rescue (T.I.E.R.), and the Ambassadors of St. Peter Actors Guilde.

    The event will include jousting and archery and all types of old age games for the kids, plus the always interesting Renaissance merchants and food vendors. Running until 10 p.m. on Saturday August 8th, that evening will feature the “Glow Parade”. The festivities will be overseen by Queen Elizabeth I, Queen of England, France and Ireland, this year played by actress Tara Pool of the San Diego Shakespeare Society. Entertainment includes: electric guitar instrumentalists James Blues who blends elements of progressive rock, modern jazz and electric blues, with an infusion of ambient sounds; Z-Nova billed as a blues-rock and jazz fusion band; acrobatic Veronika "Kit" Petra performing her aerial skills, fire spinning, and of course her award winning hula during the Glow Parade; and Alysia Michelle James, a professional dancer, composer, artist and aerialist direct from Las Vegas.

    Tickets are tax deductable and are $15 at the door for adults or $13 online (see link below).

    For More Information CLICK ON:
    Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty

    True Innocence Equine Rescue

    Ambassadors of St. Peter Actors

    For discount tickets and more information CLICK ON:
    World Renaissance Faire TICKETS


    Still time for Orange’s Concerts in the Park
    The City of Orange Community Services Department’s Concerts in the Park series still has weeks of free music in Hart Park left. So pack your picnic baskets and enjoy a free concert under the stars. Bring your lawn chairs, but please leave pets at home. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and if you’d rather have someone else provide the food, the Kiwanis of Orange will be selling food at the concerts. All concerts are on Wednesday night 7 pm – 8:30 pm at the Hart Park Bandstand, 701 S. Glassell Street in Orange.
    The scheduled bands are:
    July 29, Open Wide - Classic rock
    August 5, Crashdance - Top 40 dance favorites
    August 12, The Sam Morrison Band - southern classic rock
    August 19, The Hodads - 50's and 60's rock-n-roll
    August 26, Film at Eleven - Motown and R & B classics

    Metro TALK
    is a community service of ORANGE NET NEWS /O/N/N/
    OrangeNet.News@gmail.com

    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


    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2009:
    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):
    $13310.00*
    * 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 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
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON:
    JULY 23 AGENDA

    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/

    Friday, July 10, 2009

     

    Censorship again becomes a national story in OUSD

    Metro VIEWS
    A community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    Giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities

    Orange High School Principal S.K. Johnson becomes new King of Censorship
    Censorship again becomes a national story in OUSD


    An editorial by Orange Net News /O/N/N/



    It seems that some educated people never learn. Americans love the First Amendment and hate censorship. Yes, this is true even of young Americans as witnessed by the Greater Orange Communities newest bout of censorship. Unfortunately, educational administrators in Orange Unified continue to seem not to understand that basic American foundations taught in their schools on censorship, nor understand the lessons of history regarding censorship.

    OUSD continues to have administrators make a big deal over little things that become BIG news and keep a story alive much longer than if they just ignored it, thus creating an even bigger problem. Former Orange Unified School Superintendent Dr. Godley learned that lesson the hard way when he censored the public broadcasts of the goings on at OUSD School Meetings concerning statements from former OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco and angry exchanges toward Rocco from other Board members. The transcripts and photo’s of the censored exchanges were then e-cast by Orange Net News and became a local sensation, as did Godley’s continued local censorship. Without the Godley censorship, those Rocco exchanges just would be forgotten with most of his other rantings.

    Apparently, at least one more OUSD administrator did not learned the lesson from that and other OUSD PR nightmares. Orange High School Principal S.K. Johnson found himself becoming a national lighting rod for free speech and student advocacy groups. Principal S.K. Johnson, who has done much to re-build the Orange High School image on many levels in his productive years as Principal, but now he has led his school onto the national radar screen as a bastion of censorship, and brought attention to the schools “gang” fears that he was trying to downplay. Plus, he was forced into a situation no good leader ever wants to be in, he had to publicly reverse a controversial very public decision.

    If you missed the story in the newspapers (because of all the “King of Pop” coverage), on the blogs, or seeing the story on television, Johnson confiscated the end of the year Orange High School journalism magazine called PULP. In the ensuing story his reasons seemed as clear as an explanation from Sahara Palin.

    The story was first reported by the Orange County Register, on Monday June 29th, the article stated that Principal S.K. Johnson confiscated the magazine after deciding the tattoo on the cover was "gang-looking" and an article inside was inappropriate. The Register story of course features a picture of the offending cover for all to see and quotes Johnson as commenting "It was not an easy decision. But we have an image of our school that I want to uphold. I don't think that (cover) was promoting what we want to promote at our school." The article also reports that "Johnson also took issue with the magazine's list of 10 things seniors should do before they graduate. It included cutting school to go to the beach and sneaking in a swim at the school pool – "clothing optional."

    Reportedly, the students offered to tear the offending list out of the magazine in order to gain permission to distribute the magazine. The offer was reportedly rebuked by Principal S.K. Johnson. Until now.

    After the national attention Johnson is quoted in the Orange County Register July 7th article titled Orange High’s principal offers to release mag if a controversial list is removed as stating. Johnson in this article states “I still believe the cover is inappropriate, I also believe in freedom and the First Amendment, and I can’t take away that right. … (But) I cannot allow something that suggests skipping school.” So… a week later the “gang cover” (which can now thanks to Johnson can be found on the internet) is OK, but the top ten ”skip town list” satire, which now has made the rounds of all in-the-know-Panthers, are now well know (probably by heart) and the solution to tear them out Johnson makes is proposing the same solution originally offered by the students, taking the noe well know list out of the magazine, plus eliminating those pesky spelling and grammar mistakes in future issues.

    Orange Superintendent Renae Drier has repeatedly stated “Knowledge is power”. Yet we continue to wonder how could knowledgeable people handle their power differently? Simple, if they would of let the magazine be distributed (all 300 copies) and like most end of the year school stuff, a few laughs, then most would be filed and forgotten in the “round file”. Then during school next year ( out of the national limelight) make sure the problems were addressed that led to the concern. Instead, Principal S.K. Johnson has fathered a national story that will forever be linked to Orange High School in search engines world-wide.

    From the El Modena High School, GLSEN club, to the Rocco Censorship, to Orange High School’s Pulp Magazine, Orange Unified administrators and leaders continue to learn the lessons of censorship the hard way. A high school education in history shows that since the invention of the printing press censorship has failed, from the Reformation, to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, to Tiananmen Square and now the Iranian election protests, the lesson is clear: Censorship does not work. Instead censorship just focuses attention like a laser beam on the thing you want people not to see. Not a bad lesson for a high school principal to learn.

    So now the OUSD Crown of Censorship can be handed off once again, first from former OUSD Trustee Marty Jacobson to former Superintendent Dr. Godley, and now from Godley to OUSD Principal S.K. Johnson the new OUSD King of Censorship.

    All hail the King!

    So OUSD, who’s next?

    For more information on the censorship just Google and choose from the hundreds of thousands of hits. (Welcome to the Internet Mr. Johnson).

    For the Orange High School Pulp Magazine now WORLD FAMOUS Tattoo Cover CLICK ON: PULP TATTOO COVER



    Opinions expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the opinion of the networks that post it.
    Metro VIEWS is a community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization

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