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  • Monday, July 26, 2010

     

    OUSD School Board violates Brown Act with illegal votes

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

    OUSD School Board violates Brown Act with illegal votes
    With Trustee Kim Nichols participating in the June 10, 2010 OUSD Board meeting by teleconference from Memphis Tennessee, the OUSD Board voted by illegal voice vote on several major items. The Brown Act, which allows teleconferencing also specifically denotes the rules under how that teleconferencing is to take place. One of the specific rules spelled out in Section 54952 (2) of the Brown Act is that all votes during teleconferencing be rollcall votes:

    54953. (2) Teleconferencing, as authorized by this section, may be used
    for all purposes in connection with any meeting within the subject
    matter jurisdiction of the legislative body. All votes taken during
    a teleconferenced meeting shall be by rollcall.


    None of the votes taken during the teleconference meeting on June 10 were by rollcall which is a violation of the Brown Act, technically making those votes illegal. The Brown Act also defines in Section 54952 (4) what a teleconference meeting is;

    (4) For the purposes of this section, "teleconference" means a
    meeting of a legislative body, the members of which are in different
    locations, connected by electronic means, through either audio or
    video, or both.


    By definition, the June 10 OUSD Board Meeting was a teleconference meeting with Trustee Kim Nichols participating by a conference call. In fact the telephonic conference device was set up at her position at the Board diaz. The re-broadcast of the Board meeting on the OUSD Cable Channel shows the device and has Nichols name under it on the screen when Nichols spoke by telephone
    at the meeting. Nine major votes were cast during the meeting by voice, all of which were illegal and could be technically null votes. Those votes included:

    • Approving a tentative labor agreement for a reduction in work days with the Orange Unified Educators Association.
    • Approving a reduction in work days for leadership employees
    • Approving an amendment to the Superintendent’s Contract for a reduction in work days and pay
    • Approved a new school calendar with five fewer days
    • Approving a Budget Resolution
    • All Consent Agenda Items

    In the past the OUSD Board has had problems with the Brown Act. Litigation has broken both ways, for and against OUSD. In 2003, as a result of alleged Brown Violation case from 2001, OUSD was forced for two years to record all closed session meetings in case a judge had to review them for Brown Act violations. In another noteworthy case from 2006, Californians Aware, a Brown Act advocacy group, teamed with former Trustee Steve Rocco in accusing OUSD of Brown Act violations in a celebrated case that led to the Censure of Rocco by fellow OUSD Board members. In the end, OUSD won that case and later took legal actions to recover attorney costs from Rocco.

    The next OUSD Board Meeting on July 29, will also be a teleconference meeting with Trustee Melissa Smith attending from Lake Forrest, Illinois.

    OUSD Board approves own pay cuts and approves 5 less school days

    The OUSD Board approved by a 7-0 voice vote a serious of measures that cut the student school calendar by 5 days due to the continued budget crisis. In addition, the OUSD Trustees after 2 pervious attempts also voted to approve a cut to their monthly stipend. OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier also requested and the Board approved an amendment cutting her work year and pay by the same 5 days as the teachers and leadership employees. At the July 29 OUSD Board Meeting, Action Agenda Item 12 A also has the OUSD Classified support union, the CSEA #67 agreeing to the same reduction in the work year and pay. In addition, the OUSD Board approved a budget resolution that continues a Positive Certification of OUSD to meet its financial obligations despite another $46 loss per student in state funding (ADA). The total loss per student since the Budget Cuts has been $1410 per student or 20%.

    Inside the July 29 Board OUSD: Canyons make move to join Saddleback and OPED Update

    After the closing of Silverado Elementary School, the Inter-Canyon League took steps to have the canyon communities join Saddleback Valley Unified. After circulating petitions, the Orange County Committee on School District Organization (OCCSDO) will take hear testimony regarding the transfer on August 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm at Canyon Hills Elementary School and 8:00 pm at Saddleback Valley Unified School District offices. At their July 29 meeting, the OUSD Board may vote to take a position on the matter to be presented to the OCCSDO (Agenda Item 12 B page 6).

    In another item, in April 2008 right before the financial crash, the OUSD Board approved selling of $94 million in bonds to cover projected heath benefit liabilities. Last year at this time, OUSD staff reported that the OUSD Board hastily approved OPED Bonds had at their worst lost $20 million dollars and were still $10 million dollars in the hole from the original investment and cost the OUSD General Fund last year approximately $5 million dollars just to service the 2008 OPED Bonds plus another $8 million to cover the health insurance payments the now non-existing OPED Bond profits were suppose to pay. The total $13 million dollar loss will come out of the OUSD General Fund at a time the district could least afford it. The Agenda Item 13 A will be a report on the current state of the two-tear old bonds. The Agenda Item states:
    “The value of the portfolio is moving in step with the recovery being experienced”. What that means to OUSD’s bottom line remains to be seen.

    Inside OUSD Community Donations

    Lifetouch-$479 to Serrano ES for supplies; Canyon HS Basketball Boosters-$3,000 for salary stipends; Cambridge ES PTA- $560 for student of the month stickers; Habit Restaurants- $206 to West Orange ES for supplies; Volunteer Center of OC - $ 123 to Jordan ES for transportation.

    For a complete list of the $83,588 in community donations see Agenda page 9.


    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2010:
    $ 385,000
    2010 Attorney Fee Tally:
    5/27/10 Dannis, Woliver & Kelley $ 30,000
    5/27/10 Parker & Covert $ 55,000
    5/27/10 Parker & Covert (to 6/11) $300,000
    TOTAL $ 385,000

    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

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008):
    $26,340.00*

    * 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.

    NEXT BOARD MEETING: THURSDAY July 29, 2010 OUSD BOARD ROOM
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON JULY 29

    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/

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