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  • Tuesday, January 19, 2010


    OUSD INSIDE: Budget Cuts, Dreier Contract Extension,more staff furlough days

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

    All we can do is react to what Sacramento is doing to us
    -OUSD Assistant Superintendent M. Christensen


    On December 10, 2009, the last Orange Unified School District Board Meeting approved Action Item 13 B cuts totaling $4.29 million. For the second year in a row, OUSD Trustees were forced by the ongoing State Budget Crisis to make deep budget cuts including closing a small school. The school this time is the district’s current smallest enrolment school- Riverdale Elementary. Other cuts included: district funds for sports transportation for high school sports; an elimination of the GATE program busing; the 5th and 6th grade instrumental music program; the elementary summer school program; a restructuring of the secondary summer school program as a consolidated credit recovery program; restructuring of night custodial service that may include sharing of services; first and second grade class size reductions being increased from the current 25:1 ratio to a 30:1 ration. Details of a Board approved further cut to OUSD Administrative and support staff positions of $450,000 are not being spelled out until the second interim budget is presented.

    To close the projected budget deficit the Board also approved an increase in the Student Bus Pass fee and an increase in the high school class size ratio from the current 32:1 ratio to a 33:1. The change in ratio class size increase needs to be negotiated with the teachers’ association. After approval of the budget cuts by a 7-0 vote, the OUSD Board then voted to certify and report to the Orange County Department of Education that their budget now had Positive financial certification. That vote passed 6-0 with Trustee Melissa Smith missing the vote after she quickly left the Board Room after the budget vote for a few minutes after a major “texting” episode during the staff report on the needed budget cuts (note information following).

    INSIDE the December 10, 2009 Meeting-other actions

    Before the budget cuts vote, the OUSD Board in its legally required annual organizational election, elected Trustee John Ortega as OUSD Board President for 2010. Nominated by Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni, Ortega was elected 7-0. It will be Ortega’s second time as OUSD Board President. Ortega then nominated Trustee Mark Wayland to be Board Vice President which Wayland quickly declined. Trustee Kathy Moffat then nominated Melissa Smith as Vice President.

    The vote for Smith was 5-2 in favor with Wayland and Deligianni voting against her. Wayland was nominated by Trustee Kim Nichols for clerk and elected 7-0.

    After the vote for Vice President, Smith (who has served both as Vice President and President before) quipped that the last time she had been Vice President (when former Wes Poutsma was Board President) she ended up acting as President quite a number of times because of “sickness” (Poutsma became very ill towards the end of his term and did not seek re-election) and kiddingly chided Ortega not to be sick. Smith who was an extremely engaged Board President has since been often seen as disengaged during Board meetings as she spends time with head down, hands below the dais texting on her cell phone. This was very apparent during the December 10th meeting when she spent most of the time texting during the staff presentation on the budget cuts. At one point an obviously annoyed now President Ortega stared at her while she texted away (oblivious to his glare), as did her long time political ally Moffat (both who sit on either side of her). After the budget vote, Smith abruptly got up with cell phone in hand left the meeting (missing the next vote), returning a short time later to continue texting for a short time.

    The OUSD Board also approved the Resolution to Deny the Barrack H. Obama Leadership Academy Charter High School application 7-0. Coming just a month after the Global Tides Charter School application (which was also denied), this next “spam charter” application was 405 pages long and again took hundreds of staff man-hours to investigate and report to the Board. On the January 21, 2010 Board Agenda (Agenda Action Item 12 D-page 11) the 2010 Legislative Coalition platform will address the issue of “spam charters” by including a plank in their platform promoting “legislation that would address the substantial costs to school districts in responding to charter school applications, as requires by law” (Agenda page 12).

    The Board reviewed the 2010-2011 student calendar with a 3 week Winter Break a 1 week Fall Break at Thanksgiving and a two week Spring Break. OUSD Inside had mistakenly reported that the Winter Break was being cut back to two weeks (sorry we missed the lighter strikes through the first week in January on our copy of the then proposed calendar from the online Agenda-thanks to all who corrected us). The Board is scheduled to approve this calendar at their January 21, 2010 meeting (Agenda Action Item 12 A-page 3).

    Dreier wins first GOPY Award and a longer contract
    Orange Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier was named the recipient of the GOPY Award- the Greater Orange Person of the Year Award. Dreier is the first ever winner of the newly instituted annual award from the Orange Communication System, the communications arm of the watchdog group the Greater Orange Community Organization. The Orange Communication System is the producer of original local central Orange County news services that include Orange Net News (ONN) and the Greater Orange News Service.

    In a December 26th community email, the Greater Orange Community Organization announced that the Orange Communication System awarded the first annual 2009 GOPY Award based on the award’s criteria of “the person who’s actions most influenced the Greater Orange Community” during the year.

    Dreier started in July of 2008 as OUSD Superintendent replacing retired OUSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Godley. Dreier was hired away from the Greeley-Evans School District Number 6 in Greeley, Colorado. Dreier had moved from California to Greeley to become their Superintendent. Unlike here in Greater Orange, Dreier never quite won over the whole Greeley community. In OUSD, Dreier has worked to end the consultant culture, foster open communication and move on changing many antiquated ways of doing things. Her ability to gather data and use it to transform OUSD continues to be evident in her approach to budget cuts. Dreier has used information as an ally in budget decisions. The most recent example is listening to staff and administrative concerns and taking elementary library clerks off the recent budget cut list declaring at the December 10 meeting her job is to “make sure every dime counts” and declaring that her weekly visits to classrooms all over OUSD show her that “despite the gloom I am confident that our employees give a world class education to our students”.

    On the January 21, 2010 Board Agenda (Agenda Action Item 12 C- agenda page 10), Dreier will get a contract extension past her current July 2011 contract expiration. The extension will not include a pay raise. Dreier voluntarily took the same 2% pay cut other administrators were forced to take and the teacher’s union and support staff also accepted. The January 21, 2010 Board Agenda includes Action Item 12 B (agenda page 5) to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between OUSD and the staff support union- the CSEA Chapter 67 also resulting in furlough days amounting to about 2%.

    INSIDE the January 21, 2010 Agenda
    12 A- Student Calendar 2010-2011 approval
    12 B-Agreement for cuts by furlough days to support staff
    12 C-Extending Superintendent Dr. Dreier’s contract past 2011
    12 D-Legislative Coalition’s 2010 Legislative Platform
    12 E-Revision of OUSD’s Conflict of Interest Code

    13 A- U.S. Department of Energy “Energy Star” Recognition award to OUSD and individual OUSD schools
    13 B- Projections of the ultimate future student population of OUSD

    INSIDE Community Donations
    Rotary Club of Orange- $600 Science Grant; Villa Park H.S. Baseball Boosters-$1,500 in salary stipends; Tustin Lexus-$100 to Anaheim Hills E.S. for supplies; Canyon H.S. PTSA- $2,650 after school tutors; Canyo9n Rim PTA $16,866 for computers; Kim Nichols $75 in stipend donation (pay reduction). (For a complete list of the $97,000 in donations see page 22 of the Agenda).

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total
    (beginning 8/2008): $20,250.00*

    * 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 2009: $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
    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2008: $901,200.00

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2007: $704,090.00*

    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



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