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  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011

     

    BROWN ENDS BUDGET TALKS WITH REPUBLICANS

    Today, Gov. Jerry Brown issued the following statement, stating that he has stopped discussions he'd been holding with some Republican legislators on his budget proposals to span California's $26 billion fiscal year budget deficit. Brown's measures included phasing out Redevelopment and ballot measure(s) by which the public would decide whether to extend certain state taxes for five years. That $26 billion deficit would impact local governments and schools.

    The following is the statement issued by Gov. Brown:


    Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state’s massive deficit.

    The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California. Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people.

    Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands.

    Let me be clear: I support pension reform, regulatory reform and a spending cap and offered specific and detailed proposals for each of these d
    uring our discussions. While we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget. In fact, they sought to worsen the state’s problem by creating a $4 billion hole in the budget.

    One glaring example is the taxation of multinational corporations. My budget plan requires that gigantic corporations be treated the same as individual taxpayers and not be allowed to choose their preferred tax rate.

    This is the so-called single sales factor. The Republicans demand that out-of-state corporations that keep jobs out of California be given a billion dollar tax break that will come from our schoolchildren, public safety and our universities. This I am not willing to do.

    Much is at stake, and in the coming weeks I will focus my efforts on speaking directly to Californians and coming up with honest and real solutions to our budget crisis.


    Brown also attached his letter to the Repubican Leader, Sen Bob Hutton. That letter can be viewed here: BROWN LETTER

    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/

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

     

    Orange Unified Superintendent Dr. Dreier announces retirement


    In a letter posted to the Orange Unified website after closing on Tuesday March 15th, popular Orange Unified Superintendnet Renae Dreier announced her retirement effective this summer.

    Dreier wrote " I know it is time for me to move to the next phase in my life" She also announced that the Board of Education would meet next week to begin working on a replacement.

    UPDATE 3/16 3:30 pm
    The Orange Unified Educators Assoiciation released this statement regarding Dr. Dreier's retirement announcement:
    " OUEA congratulates Orange Unified Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier upon the announcement of her impending retirement this summer. Her ability to build positive relationships is greatly admired. Her leadership will be missed."

    Orange Net News will have continued updates on the Dreier retirement.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

     

    OUSD Fails Watchdog’s Public Records Audit

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

    OUSD Fails Watchdog’s Public Records Audit

    Californians Aware, the organization with the mission of “To foster the improvement of, compliance with and public understanding and use of, public forum law” gave Orange Unified a failing grade in its most recent statewide public education audit released at the end of February. The Audit was of 194 California school districts in meeting the requirements of the California Public Records Act. Over half of the school districts in the Audit received a failing grade. The watchdog group, that has had specific dealings with OUSD in the past, also has had numerous run-ins with the law firm of Parker & Covert that represents OUSD and numerous other school districts. The school district public records audit comes on the heels of a similar audit of the state’s public colleges and universities.

    In the released report card, available on line on the Californian Aware website (see link below), the group sent requests to each of the 194 districts for public records and evaluated the districts’ responses in meeting the requirements of the California Public Records Act. The districts were each asked to provide “a copy of the most recent pre-lawsuit claim for damages brought on behalf of a student that was settled without going to court, as well as a copy of the settlement agreement and records showing any approval.” The group chose this public record because often the only way the public finds out how educational funds have been spent in lawsuit settlements is to request public records.

    Districts were graded in how they initially responded to the laws requirement to respond to the request within 10 days by declaring which of the requested documents were public records and would be provided if they could be located. According to the California Aware website, the F grade justification for Orange Unified is that it ignored the request altogether, failing to respond properly within 60 days [ G. C. ss 6253 (c), (d)]. The group had decided that if documents were received within 60 days that would constitute a prompt response the law requires.

    While the group was concerned with the high failure rate and the apparent confusion many districts had with the request and the law, they had high praise for the districts that performed perfectly in responding to the identical request. A total of 21%, or one-fifth of those surveyed received the perfect A+ score. Among the A+ districts identified for exemplary response and adherence to the law was Poway USD which responded in 3 days free of any charges.

    While a few districts complied with the law and charged a legal nominal copying fee, California Aware took to task and is planning legal action against districts that tried to charge excessive fees in violation of the law, some up to 20 cents a page (for profit retail stores Staples and Office Depot charge 10 cents an employee handled copy). In addition, San Diego Unified wanted to add $20 -$28 an hour charge for clerical time to retrieve the information in direct violation of the law. Other legal problems included: Unjustifiable Delayed Responses; Illegal Screening Queries (illegally requesting names of the requestors and affiliations they have); Ineffective Employee Training; and Passing the Buck. In addition, California Aware states that the best performing districts had basic Common Sense/Courtesy-that made all the difference, as opposed to the lowest scoring districts that showed little Courtesy or willingness to comply with the request and get on with meeting their obligations under the law.

    That last concern is the most troubling for the Great Orange Communities. Orange Unified Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier has been lauded for her mantra “Knowledge is Power”. Her administrations open process of budget cuts has resulted in peaceful and cooperative labor relations not seen for over 15 years and a community united behind their schools. In addition, Orange Unified’s highly visible Outstanding Customer Relations Program, one of the few holdovers from the rocky tenure of former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Godley’s administration, prides itself on that exact Common Sense and Courtesy that the bottom districts lacked. In the past, the F rating would have been accepted as “business as usual” for a district adrift in political factures and bad PR. However, current community leaders feel differently. The Greater Orange Community Organization (GOCO) , issued a statement regarding the rating:
    “The CalAware rating should be a wake-up call to the current OUSD administration. The Greater Orange Communities have proved they are mature enough to use Knowledge as a power for the greater good of the community. Going back to a time of censorship, limited information and widespread community unrest is a direction we feel confident that our current Superintendent has no intention of revisiting. We believe her vision of Knowledge as Power for OUSD has not only united our community but moved it forward. We hope that the Dreier Administration will move quickly to rectify this current breach in the public trust.”
    - GOCO community email 3/2/11


    California Aware- OUSD Audit rating link
    CLICK ON: OUSD AUDIT GRADE

    INSIDE the OUSD AGENDA- March 10, 2011
    At the March 19, 2011 Orange Unified School Board Meeting, Agenda Announcements 9 E (Agenda page 3-5) is a Proclamation honoring Lorenzo and Josefina Ramirez and their children for their role in ending legal school racial segregation in California. A local committee has been seeking to name a school after Ramirez.

    While other school districts throughout California this year are really only now dealing with a budget crisis over two years in the making, OUSD which has planned prudently again will be able to certify a “positive certification” in meeting its financial obligations. Action Item 12 C is the Second Interim Financial Report required by state laws. OUSD’s abilities to weather the financial storm is an envy of districts state-wide and a testament to the current OUSD Administrative team and the district’s employees. While there have been sacrifices, Orange Unified has been able to maintain a “positive certification” during one of the worst financial meltdowns in history.

    Other Agenda items include:
    Closed Session 4B: Continued discussions on selling or leasing 6 surplus properties including now closed Riverdale and Silverado sites.

    Action Item 12 A: Public Hearing on the Special Education Local Area Plan and Budget

    Action Item 12 B: Tier III Flexible Funding Transfer- this allows the District to transfer funds between normally inflexible accounts during non-economic emergency times

    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 10, 2011.
    For more information CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 5:30 PM,
    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
    “Independent Local Insight”
    Ecast on the
    INTERNET COMMUNITY GROUP i/))) cg
    A 21st Century Communications System
    Produced by the
    Orange Communication System /OCS/
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    Orange Net News /O/N/N/ eLECTION Watch 2011 Metro Talk Metro Views
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    Saturday, March 05, 2011

     

    Former El Mo Band Director Carlie Attebury sentenced to 16 months

    Former El Modena High School band director Carlie Rose Attebury was sentenced to 16 months in prison on Friday March 4, 2011 after being found guilty in November of 2010 on felony unlawful intercourse with a minor, one felony count of sexual penetration of by foreign object of a minor, and two felony counts of oral copulation of a minor under 16. Attebury was arrested in 2008 and accused of a variety of improper sexual relationship with a minor charges involving a male band student.

    Orange County Superior Court Judge James A Stotler rejected probation and reducing the felony counts to misdemeanors. Attebury was also ordered not to have any contact with the student and to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

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