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  • Tuesday, March 22, 2011

     

    Orange Unified Trustees meet as Superintedent Dr. Dreier prepares to retire

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

    Orange Unified Board to meet to discuss next steps after
    Superintendent Dr. Dreier announces retirement


    The Orange Unified School Board will meet in a Special Meeting Closed Session on Thursday, March 24, 2011 to discuss the process for recruiting a new OUSD Superintendent in the wake of last week’s announcement by Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier that she will be retiring from OUSD at the end of the current school year.

    Dreier, who has worked as an educator for 23 years, started in Orange Unified in July 2008. Starting in California as a teacher, Dreier’s first Superintendent assignment brought her to the Greely-Evans School District Number 6 in Greely, Colorado. After applying for the job and interviewing in Orange, some of the then OUSD Trustees in a controversial move flew to Colorado to interview the Greely-Evans community about Dreier (just as a sex scandal in the Greely district erupted). In Greeley, Dreier had both supporters and detractors. Returning to California, the OUSD Trustees met and offered Dreier the job, which she accepted. Her husband Fred Dreier, who was a principal in Colorado remained there, while Dreier moved to California to start in Orange Unified. Last year Fred Dreier retired and moved back to California to join his wife.



    In OUSD, Dreier quickly worked to end the pervasive OUSD consultant culture even before the financial crisis hit, cancelling a controversial “artist” as part of a consultant package approved under former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley’s administration. The artist was to draw a rendering of meeting of the semi-annual Strategic Planning Workshop. Dr. Dreier quickly let the community and the district know that she would be using OUSD employee experts for future trainings and areas needing educational expertise.

    Dreier also fostered open communication within the district and with the community, becoming the face of OUSD in the community as no other Superintendent has. She was the first Superintendent in OUSD history to attend a meeting of the Representative Council of the Orange Unified teachers union, the OUEA. Dreier was often out in the community and was a member of groups in the community like the Rotary Club.

    Dreier’s “knowledge is power” mantra transformed the censorship driven and secretive OUSD and paid huge dividends as the financial crisis hit California schools hard. Her open budget process, and leadership in dealing with cuts help ensure labor peace and community unity. Dreier lead cutting district salaries by voluntarily cutting her own staff and amending her contract to take pay cuts that all OUSD employees took, even as the OUSD Board bickered about nominal cuts to their stipends. In January of last year, the OUSD Board gave Dreier contract extension past her July 2011 contract expiration. The extension did not include a pay raise.

    Dreier embraced technology, issuing the first OUSD podcasts to employees, even as she joked just months before she had not even known what a podcast was. Dreier responded quickly to staff concerns as evident in a quick move to restore a slightly more expensive parent communication system that was replaced by a cheaper version that did not meet the needs of the staff and resulted in a loss of effective school-home communication. Under Dreier’s leadership, the three employee groups where once again unified under a single health plan and numerous agreements where worked out between the employee groups and the district without the slightest hint of unrest, an extraordinary accomplishment in the climate of the current economic crisis. Her administration was not without its challenges, like the closing of two schools. Unlike the past, the focus of the little controversy that did occurred remained minor and focused on the Trustees as Dreier remained above the politics of the moment like no other Superintendent had been able to do in recent memory. These examples and her other widely acclaimed accomplishments earned her an unprecedented popularity in the community and in education circles. In 2009, the long time self-appointed Orange Unified watchdogs, the Greater Orange Community Organization (that has its roots in the 2001 Orange Recall) named Dreier their first recipient of the Greater Orange Person of the Year (GOPY) Award. In 2011, Orange County Region XVII named her the 2011 Superintendent of the Year. Dreier was lauded by outgoing Trustees Melissa Smith and Kim Nichols last year after the November election. Both trustees had been swept into office in the Orange Recall and were instrumental in Dreier being selected to replace Dr. Godley.

    In a letter emailed to all Orange Unified staff after the district office closed on Tuesday March 15th, Dreier wrote " I know it is time for me to move to the next phase in my life". Her announcement sent shock waves across the Greater orange Communities. Ironically, March 15 is the legal deadline for California school districts to issue notices to permanent teachers of possible layoffs. Unlike many Orange County school districts, Orange Unified, because of their current strong fiscal position under Dreier’s leadership, did not have to issue notices to any permanent teachers.

    The Orange Unified School Board will meet Thursday, March 24 in Closed Session to discuss Dr. Dreier’s replacement. Comments on the Agenda item may be made at 6:00 pm before the Trustees adjourn to Closed Session.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget
    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2011: $ 0

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2010: $ 395,000

    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
    12/2/10
    2010 CSBA-Trustees and Superintendent: $ 10,000
    TOTAL $ 395,000

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2009: $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): $35,300.00*


    * 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.

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD
    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    “Independent Local Insight"

    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday MARCH 24, 2011.
    For more information
    CLICK ON: SPECIAL MEETING
    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 6:00 PM, NO Regular Session.
    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
    “Independent Local Insight”
    Ecast on the
    INTERNET COMMUNITY GROUP i/))) cg
    A 21st Century Communications System
    Produced by the
    Orange Communication System /OCS/

    Comments:
    Incorrect: Dr. Dreier's first superintendent job was in Redding, CA for 3 years. Her second job was Greeley,CO for three years of course followed by Orange for 3 years (notice a pattern??!!)
     
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