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  • Wednesday, March 31, 2010

     

    Metro TALK: Car Raffle, Nature Helpers, Wild Things in the Park and the Fiddler goes to Church

    Metro TALK ______________
    a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization

    El Modena High School Raffle has SOUL
    Larry Cohn, the Co-Chair of the El Modena Grad Night Committee, is inviting all residents of Greater Orange to try winning a new car while supporting local efforts to help students have a safe and sane graduation night party. The El Modena High School Grad Night Committee is holding its 2nd Annual Car Raffle to raise money for this year’s Annual El Modena Grad Night Party. The raffle prize is a new 2010 Kia Soul. Tickets for a try at driving around in a new car and supporting a worthwhile cause are only $25.00 each. The drawing will be June 3, 2010.

    The El Modena Grad Night began in response to a tragic accident and over the last 20 years has provided an all night on campus safe and sober celebration for graduating seniors.

    To buy tickets or for more information contact Larry at larry@cohenhome.net
    or at 714-997-3700.

    Orange Rotary gets in touch with its inner nature
    Orange Rotary continues its long time support of EL Modena Nature Center, a 3/4 acre Southern California Heritage Garden on the campus of El Modena High School. The Orange Rotarians constructed a 185-foot fence to visually separate the garden from the adjoining baseball field and allow for additional California native plants. In successive weekends, the Orange Rotarians worked to build the new fence with metal posts and six-foot cedar boards. Visitors to the garden and students on field trips will be able to view the new plantings and learn about how native plants and shrubs can enhance a home landscape and save water.

    The El Modena Interact Club (a Rotary sponsored high school youth club) helped the Orange Rotary members with the cleanup of the fence construction area. El Modena’s Southern California Heritage Garden at the school’s Nature Center is open to visitors to tour on the first Saturday of every month between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. The entrance is on the Esplanade St. side of El Modena High School at 3920 Spring St. in Orange. The garden features California friendly and native plants and shrubs that help save water and is a great source for information anyone looking to incorporate natural water saving landscaping into a garden.

    For more information about the nature center, contact Jean Carter @ jcarter@orangeusd.org

    Wild Things come to the Great Park for FREE during Chess Week
    On Saturday, March 27, at 7:30 pm, the Orange County Great Park invites the public to join them for the Great Park Movie on the Lawn. The Great Park will be showing the movie Where the Wild Things Are for free on the Preview Park Lawn. Parking and the movie are free. Bring a blanket, beach chairs and a picnic basket. Movie on the Lawn is presented as part of the Great Park’s three day Chess at the Park. This three day free public event that features the Southern California Super State Scholastic Chess Championships and includes family activities throughout the three day event. The three day event is also free.

    For more information on Movie on the Lawn, please click
    WILD

    For more information on Chess at the Park, please click CHESS


    Fiddler on the Roof goes to Church
    The Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Drama Ministry has announced that it will present four performances of Fiddler on the Roof: April 16 & 23, 7:30 PM and April 17 & 24, 1:00 PM. Presented by special arrangement of Music Theatre International the suggested donation of $12.50 per person is for general seating.
    For Tickets CLICK ON: FIDDLE
    or for more information contact the church office 714-998-6650.

    Metro TALK is a community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    OrangeNet.News@gmail.com

    Friday, March 26, 2010

     

    SPECIAL REPORT: S.K. Johnson to retire

    ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL TO RETIRE

    Long Time Orange High School Prinicpal S.K. Johnson has announced his retirement.

    Stay updated for all the information on this breaking story in Greater Orange with Orange Net News.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

     

    NEW OUSD BUDGET CUTS INCLUDE POTENTIAL LAYOFFS

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

    NEW OUSD BUDGET CUTS INCLUDE POTENTIAL LAYOFFS

    “The state has said here’s your two fish and five loaves, now go make an educational banquet” –OUSD Board Member Melissa Smith 3/4/10


    At the March 4th OUSD Board of Trustees meeting, the somber and at often times angry OUSD Trustees approved a trio of measures required under state mandated deadlines that included further cuts to district programs and set the ground work for further staff layoffs beyond the $88 million in cuts already instituted in the last three years. Working almost blindly with only an initially proposed and surely to be changed Governor’s Proposed Budget, the Trustees often lashed out at the gridlocked state government in Sacramento as they unanimously voted to put in place additional deep budget cuts aimed at closing continued projected budget deficits. Those votes keep the financially conservative Orange Unified as one of the few districts in Orange County to be able to report a Positive Certification to the Orange County Department of Education for the state required Second Interim Financial Report. This means that the district projects it can meet its financial obligations for the current year and the subsequent two fiscal years. The coming 2010-2011 budget year is by most accounts on track to be the most challenging budget year in the current recession for state and local governments. Qualifying their votes as worst case scenarios, the OUSD Trustees often spoke of their duty to vote to meet the legal budget deadlines for the budget that has been squeezed by a recession and a state government in political gridlock.

    Few new options remain for the Trustees after three years of cuts totaling $88 million. Yet the Trustees grasped at the few rays of potential hope. Trustee Kathy Moffat and Kim Nichols looked hopefully to unforeseen one time funding, which by their own admissions was unlikely to possibly ease some of the budget pain. Trustee Mark Wayland looked to leasing unused district surplus land to generate revenue. When told those monies would by state laws only to be used for capital improvements, Wayland continued to think out-of-the-box and asked if installing solar at schools (he has solar panels on his home) could qualify as a capital improvement that then could save general funds used to pay electrical bills. Wayland was told that would be scenario that would be allowed. In examining the “menu” of cuts on the agenda, Trustee Rick Ledesma supported by Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni stated they would like the teachers to be presented with the choice to opt to take further pay cuts or opt for class size increases. Absent from the OUSD Staff suggested “menu” of cuts, and the a-la-cart off the cuff Trustee proposals, was the option of consolidation of the remaining OUSD surplus small elementary schools. It appears that the option for closing more small schools (which has grown in popularity as deeper cuts have been introduced) has been taken off “the menu” in favor of cutting programs and the school year, increasing class sizes, and cutting jobs and wages.
    (For a complete rundown of the Agenda Items approved at the 3/4/10 meeting CLICK ON: OUSD MARCH 4)

    INSIDE the March 25, 2010 Board Agenda
    The Thursday March 25 Orange Unified School Board agenda will include publicly declaring OUSD’s negotiating intentions with its employee unions. The process also known as “sun shining” includes the OUSD Board approved cuts from the March 4, 2010 OUSD Board Meeting. Agenda Action Item 12 A (page 3-4) March 25, 2010 lists the initial OUSD bargaining proposals to the Orange Unified Educators Association, the district’s teachers union. The proposals include: freezing step (longevity) pay increases; limiting column pay increases for completing educational units to one time a year; extending terms of the September 2009 MOU agreement; reducing the school year by 5 days; extending kindergarten to a full day; increasing class size rations in 3-12 grades; extending the temporary high school counselor staffing provision.

    Agenda Action Item 12 B (page 5-6) for the March 25 meeting is the agenda item for the same “sun shining” process for the support staff union, the California School Employees Association Chapter 67. OUSD’s bargaining proposals for the support staff union includes: salary cuts; restructuring salary schedules; and extension of furlough days.

    Other March 25, 2010 Agenda Items:
    Agenda Action Item 12 C (page 7-8): revising the Board Policy to allow all day kindergarten designed to generate more revenue for OUSD

    Agenda Information Item 12 A (page 9): A Progress Update on the OUSD Three Year Strategic Plan 2009-2012.

    INSIDE Community Donations
    Canyon Band Boosters-$8345.00 for Canyon H.S. salary stipends; Cero Villa PFSO-$4958.15 for Cerro Villa M.S. supplies; Vanguard Football Boosters $700-for El Modena H.S. salary stipends; Villa Park H.S. Baseball Boosters- $3,500 for Villa Park H.S. salary stipends; Pacific Life Foundation- $3,000 for Running Springs technology equipment. (For a complete list of the $88, 850 in donations see Agenda page 11).

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2010:
    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2010: $ 0 *

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2009:
    Total $378,000*
    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
    Parker & Covert (Special Ed) $ 98,000
    Total $348,000

    2009 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    01/24/09 Leadership Associates Consultants $ 3,000
    2009 TOTAL $ 378,000

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008): $22,710.00*

    * 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*

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2007: $704,090*


    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2006: $849,717*
    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

    Next OUSD Board Meeting March 25, 2010 -OUSD BOARD ROOMFOR the Agenda CLICK ON: AGENDA MARCH 25, 2010

    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/

    Orange_NetNews@yahoo.com
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    Wednesday, March 03, 2010

     

    Assemblyman Curt Hagman to meet citizens in Orange and Anaheim Hills March 6th


    Assemblyman Curt Hagman will be visiting Orange and Anaheim Hills in a meet and talk coffee exchange to get citizens' views on issues in the state capitol of Sacramento. Anyone have anything on their mind?

    Meet the Assemblyman on March 6th at

    Orange
    10:00 am- 10:45 am Red Robin Restaurant at the Village at Orange
    MAP

    Anaheim Hills
    11:00 am - 11:45 am Java Jean Bar
    116 S Fairmont Bld.
    Anaheim Hills
    MAP

    Tuesday, March 02, 2010

     

    Layoffs, music program elimination, and a reduction in the school year: OUSD BUDGET PAINS SPREAD

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

    Layoffs, music program elimination, and a reduction in the school year
    OUSD Budget Pains Spread

    The OUSD Administration’s informational Budget Presentation at the February 18 Orange Unified School Board Meeting presented a continuing bleak picture for the local schools under the proposed 2010-2011 Governor’s Budget and other news coming from a dysfunctional state government in Sacramento. OUSD Assistant Superintendent Michael Christensen presented the informational report on the budget and the current process. The report highlighted that California’s battered economy continues to struggle with over a 12% unemployment rate that is contributing to the state facing a projected budget deficit approaching $20 billion dollars for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 budget years. With one time federal stimulus money gone, Christensen stated that 2010 -2011 would be the toughest year of the recession. The only real good news was that no further cuts to the current year’s budget have been announced.

    The proposed Governor’s Budget includes $1.5 billion in educational cuts amounting to $201 per student for unified school districts across California. That cut combined with a “negative” Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) results in a loss of about $225 per student for Orange Unified or $6.1 million dollars in on-going cuts. Those cuts will bring Orange Unified to $88 million in budget cuts over three years. It is more than likely that the money cut from schools by the state as “borrowed” funding will never be paid back.

    Christensen presented options under study to meet the projected short-fall to OUSD. Unlike earlier presentations, further school consolidations were not presented as possible budget alternatives despite OUSD still having small schools open that were in earlier budget cutting proposals. The OUSD Administrations current budget solution list includes: staff reductions; reduction of the school year from 180 to 175 days; increasing class ratio in K-8 to 33:1; full day kindergarten (a budget booster); a freeze in step pay increases; a change to once-a-year column advancement. (See the list of proposals as an Action Item in INSIDE the March 4th meeting below).

    INSIDE the February 18th Board Meeting
    The February 18, 2010 OUSD Board of Education meeting started with an unusual Closed Session. Community members associated with Imperial E.S. appeared before the OUSD Board before the Closed Session to plead for an employee’s job in what they described as a he-said/she-said episode. Parents and OUSD employees asked that the OUSD Board review the evidence and reverse a hearing officer’s decision to terminate the employee. Later, in Open Session it was announced that the OUSD Board had voted 6-1 to uphold the termination with Dr. Alexia Deligianni the lone vote against the termination.

    Also appearing before the OUSD Board in Open Session Comments were community members speaking in support of keeping the Elementary Music program. After pleading their case, the community members then left the meeting, prompting OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith to follow the group outside and ask that they stay for the budget presentation. That exchange between the group and Smith outside later prompted Smith at the end of the meeting during Trustee comments to make an apology for “letting my emotions get the better of me”. In her apology, Smith admitted to her continued frustration at community members making a case against cuts and then leaving before the budget information items are presented. Smith stated that she wanted to apologize because she did not want to have any regrets in her “last few months” on the Board. Smith’s term ends this year and she cannot seek reelection because her home was moved out of her trustee area in the Nichols Realignment that also moved former controversial OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco’s home from his trustee area, thus preventing him from seeking re-election. The outside exchange at the meeting with Smith prompted a rash of community emails about the incident and Smith’s demeanor outside and alleged comments made about the group by Smith when she returned that were picked up by a dais microphone and heard by audience members.

    INSIDE the March 4th Board Meeting Agenda

    The predicted impact on the 2011-12 Orange Unified School District budget is estimated to be $15.3 million dollars in cuts that are outlined in the March 4, 2010 OUSD Agenda Item 12 A (agenda pages 4-8). The proposed cuts include reducing the school year from 180 days to 175 days; stopping pay cuts called “column advancement”; increasing the student to staff ration in 3-8 grades to 33:1; and stopping annual salary increases called step increase. With those proposed cuts are making Kindergarten a full day (a budget surplus generator) and over $400,000 in administration and support staff reductions that include eliminating positions, reclassifying (pay cuts) and cutting calendar days (see page 7 for complete position details) . Most of the proposals require negotiated changes in contracts OUSD has with its employees. The OUSD Board is expected to approve the OUSD Administration seeking those negotiated cuts.

    In Action Item 12 B of the March 4, 2010 Agenda, the OUSD Board is expected to approve the staff recommendation to transfer restricted categorical funds for Tier III programs (listed on agenda page 9) to the general fund. By voting to approve all the changes will allow OUSD to then certify in Action Item 12 C that OUSD has a Positive Certification for the state required Second Interim Financial Report-meaning that the district projects it can meet its financial obligations for the current year and the subsequent two fiscal years (see page 13).

    That certification carries a high price. Action Item 12 D will allow the district if needed to eliminate 79 Classified support staff positions including 22 custodians, 25 School Community Assistants, and 11 Instructional Assistants and reclassification to lower pay grades of two positions and the elimination through retirement of one (see agenda page 47 for the complete list). In addition in Action Item 12 E the OUSD Board is expected to adopt a plan to send layoff notices to 28 elementary teaching positions because of class size increases: 24 classroom teachers and 4 music teachers with the approval of the elimination of the popular Elementary Music Program. Many of the actual cuts maybe achieved through temporary positions and retirements, but Reduction in Force letters will have to be approved before the March 15th state notification deadline. Administrative sources indicate that the actual number of teachers receiving the notices will exceed the 28 to allow flexibility.

    Notably absent from the OUSD Administration’s current budget plan is the further consolidation of small schools and the elimination of the last layer of administrators added to the OUSD Administration before the economic meltdown- the third high school vice principals positions. Longtime OUSD watchers note that in an election year, the choice to cut the school year, eliminate music at the elementary level and make deep cuts to custodial and school community assistants before further school consolidations or elimination of the third high school VP Positions could prove to be more controversial and do more harm than moving to make those painful adjustments now.

    INSIDE Community Donations
    Trustee Kathy Moffat donated $770 in travel expenses she was entitled to take when she attended the California School Board Association conferences in San Diego and Sacramento by declining reimbursement for those expenses. In addition, Moffat and Trustee Kim Nichols also rebated 10% ($150 each) of their monthly stipend back to the district.
    For a complete list of the $28,000 in community donations see page 68 of the Agenda.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget
    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2010: $ 0

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total (beginning 8/2008):
    $22,710.00*
    * 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:

    NEXT BOARD MEETING: Thursday March 4, 2010, OUSD BOARD ROOM
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: AGENDA

    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/

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