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  • Thursday, December 30, 2010


    Orange Unified's Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen named Greater Orange Person of the Year

    Michael Christensen named 2010 GOPY winner

    Orange Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen has been named the recipient of the 2010 GOPY Award- the Greater Orange Person of the Year award. Christensen is the second person to be named the 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 and is affiliated with national citizen news organizations.

    In a December 30th press release, the Greater Orange Community Organization announced that the Orange Communication System awarded 2010 GOPY Award based on the award’s criteria of ”the person who’s actions most influenced the Greater Orange Community” during the year.

    Christensen, who has held numerous titles in OUSD including Executive Director of facilities and Planning and Executive Director of Administrative Services, was named in April 2010 the first ever OUSD Deputy Superintendent in a re-organization that was initiated after massive cuts brought about by the on-going California State Budget crisis. Christensen had become a regular fixture at the OUSD Board meetings keeping the Board and community up-to-date on the latest state budget news-or no news- and its implications for the local schools and employees. In addition, this year he was responsible for dealing with the remodel of the 1950’s era Yorba Middle School and the numerous delays and problems caused by the current budget crisis on the contactors. During the budget crisis, Christensen has also overseen the closure of two of OUSD’s smallest schools, Silverado and Riverdale elementary schools, including successfully arguing before the Orange County Committee on School District Organization that Silverado community should remain part of OUSD. He was instrumental in implementing OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier’s budget priorities including successfully implementing a merging of the three employee groups into one health care plan. Christensen also served on the Board of Directors of the California Association of School Business Officials,

    Christensen has lhelped lead OUSD through one of the most difficult budget periods in its history. Additionally, in his many years with OUSD he has had numerous duties including: negotiating with the Irvine to mitigate impacts of the proposed (and now delayed) East Orange and Mountain Park projects: implementing the integration of year-round school schools to the traditional calendar; collecting and reporting on developer fees; school boundaries and Trustee Area boundaries; future enrollment projections; applying and implementing state modernization funding, the planning and remodeling of five OUSD schools-without a bond; implemented OUSD’s widely recognized energy saving program; and representing OUSD to numerous state, county and local boards, offices and agencies. As Deputy Superintendent, Christensen has publicly acknowledged the demographic differences and challenges OUSD faces by geographical regions by uttering the long OUSD administrative taboo words “55 divide”.

    The Greater Orange Communication Organization’s announcement of the GOPY Award described Michael Christensen’s as “an irreplaceable asset to the Greater Orange Communities who’s many years of service to the local community has included numerous contributions while staying true to his long stated philosophy of providing the best possible learning environment with the least amount of impact to the general fund. In 2010, by continuing to work to keep our schools fiscally solvent during the current unprecedented fiscal crisis, Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen has clearly been the person who had the most influence on the Greater Orange Community in 2010”.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010


    We're back! Google victorious in cyber attack

    Orange Net News caught up in international cyber war

    Thanks to the diligent Google Blogger Team, the Orange Communication System's Greater Orange News Service, along with thousands of other blogs, are back up and running after a cyber attack on Google. Wikileaks leaked cables last week put the blame on the highest levels of the Chinese government for a sophisticated cyber attack on Google in January of this year. The attack was purported to have acquired trade secrets from Google. Last week as the Nobel Peace Prize went to jailed Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China another high level attack was levied against Google as Wikileaks supporters also leveled attacks against Google owned PayPal (MasterCard and VISA were also attacked). Google bloggers around the world began getting messages about “suspicious activity from China”, and blogs started to disappear everywhere. Google put out this message on its HELP forums about restoring the blogs on Wednesday:

    “Our team has isolated the source of delay and is working now to restore the affected blogs ASAP. Thanks for your patience.”

    Over the weekend, blogs were slowly being restored in numerical sequence by Google. Greater Orange News Service was restored early Tuesday.

    Thanks again to the Google Blogger Team for restoring service after a serious attack on its system.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2010


    Exiting OUSD Trustee Lisa Smith warns:“To the community, it is your job to watch carefully”

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

    Exiting OUSD Trustee Lisa Smith warns:
    “To the community, it is your job to watch carefully”

    The November 18, 2010 Orange Unified School Board Meeting was the last meeting for outgoing Trustees Lisa Smith and Kim Nichols. In a prepared farewell address, Smith (who no longer lived in her trustee area and could not run for re-election) gave a brief history of the reasons for her original election, how the district was when she was elected, and where the district is at as she leaves it. Citing the current administration under Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier as putting OUSD on a “course towards excellence”, she praised the fiscal solvency and positive morale of Orange Unified. Referring to the to the new leadership of the OUSD Board, Smith warned about returning to a time, like when she was first elected in the Orange Recall, when the then and eventually recalled Board’s focus was on politics and not the students of OUSD. Like the preacher she is, Smith sternly admonished “to the community, it is your job to watch carefully”. Next, an emotional Nichols, who lost her seat in the November election, did not have a prepared speech, stating that she wanted to focus on the positive. Like Smith, Nichols reminded the audience she was a parent of OUSD students who believed in public education and stated that she would continue to stay involved and active in the school community.

    Action Item 12 A on to sell the Killerfer site as surplus property was pulled
    At the beginning of the November 18, 2010 meeting, OUSD Board President John Ortega announced that Action Item 12 A had been pulled from the agenda. He did not elaborate on the reason. The item was a Board Resolution to sell the district’s Killerfer site property as surplus property for not less than $3.4 million. The item does not appear on the next OUSD Agenda of December 9, 2010.

    Inside the December 10, 2010 OUSD Board Agenda
    Two new OUSD Trustees will be ceremoniously sworn in as a result of the November election. Dianne Singer, endorsed by Melissa Smith, Kim Nichols and Kathy Moffat will fill the open Area 1 trustee seat created by the Nichols Realignment that changed the OUSD Trustee Boundaries. Tim Surridge will replace Kim Nichols in Area 5 after defeating her in the November election. Surridge was endorsed by Trustees Rick Ledesma, Mark Wayland and Dr. Alexia Deligianni. Trustee Rick Ledesma will also be sworn in after defeating former OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco by a landslide in Area 7.

    After the swearing in, new OUSD Board, new officers for next year will be elected. After the 2001 Orange Recall, a new OUSD Board policy was put into place, rotating the officer positions among the trustees. With the election of Steve Rocco however, the OUSD Board returned to electing Board officers to prevent Rocco from taking a leadership role.

    Also on the December 9 board Agenda:
    Action Item 12 A-First Interim Budget Report- OUSD will continue its positive financial certification status, even as the current California State Budget goes down in flames.

    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):
    * 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.


    CLOSED SESSION- No Closed Session is Scheduled
    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