Be the first to know: SUBSCRIBE HERE

Greater Orange News Service


Greater Orange HEADLINES in the News
  • The Foothills Sentry
  • TOPIX/City of Orange News Service
  • TOPIX/Villa Park News Service
  • The Anaheim BLOG
  • TOPIX/Anaheim Hills News Service
  • TOPIX/Greater Orange Communities Wire Service
  • California CIty HEADLINES Headlines
  • Follow Greater Orange on TWITTER
  • Wednesday, June 06, 2012


    Moffat and Ortega trade barbs over Readiness Grant

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

    Moffat and Ortega trade barbs over Readiness Grant
    Orange Unified School Trustees Kathy Moffat and John Ortega publicly traded barbs over OUSD’s $600,000 federal Readiness and Emergency Management in Schools Grant during the May 10, 2012 OUSD Board Meeting. That meeting’s Agenda Item 13 A was the first presentation on the grant from the OUSD staff to the trustees after winning the grant over 18 months ago. After the presentation, Moffat detailed the history of the grant and various aspects that raised her concerns. Moffat questioned how the grant process came into being stating that it “mystified” her that OUSD had applied for the grant when the needs the grant addresses were not spelled out in the district’s goals as outlined in OUSD’s Strategic Plan. Moffat stated that no identified Strategic Plan goals were included in the grant application.

    Calling the $600,000 federal grant a “landmark grant” Moffat noted that the OUSD Board was not apprised of the grant application or of the acceptance. Commenting that OUSD Trustee John Ortega was OUSD Board President at the time the grant application was made, she noted that Ortega was at the time involved in school security and this may have been the reason OUSD pursued the grant (Ortega at the time was a Captain with the Montebello Unified School District police). Moffat also raised numerous concerns about the grant including: whether OUSD had applied for the grant for the right reasons; not having the OUSD Board thoroughly involved in the grant process; using staff time to deal with the grant during a time of cutbacks; and why it took so long to get an information presentation about the grant to the OUSD Board.

    While Moffat reviewed the grant’s history, she shed light on a cryptic procedural incident that took place at the April 21, 2011 OUSD Board Meeting. Moffat stated that the reason that the $224,000 contract from the grant money to the Anaheim security firm to Willdan Homeland Security was pulled from consideration by the Board by then OUSD Board President Rick Ledesma from the April 21st, 2011 agenda was because of an alleged conflict-of-interest between the firm and Trustee John Ortega. During that 2011 meeting, the contract item had been pulled without an explanation by Ledesma at the beginning of the meeting. Moffat and OUSD Trustee Diane Singer had tried to publicly get Ledesma to reveal why the $224,000 grant contract item was pulled at the time, citing the conflict-of-interests rumors without naming Ortega in connection with the alleged conflict-of-interest. (For a recap of the April 21st meeting CLICK ON: April 21 ). It was not until Moffat’s revelation at this May 2012 meeting, one year later, that any mention of Ortega in connection to the alleged conflict-of-interest had been raised. In that same April 2011 meeting, Singer tried to have Ortega’s request to receive his stipend paid after missing a meeting voted down by the Board.

    After Moffat aired her concerns at the May meeting, current OUSD Board President Timothy Surridge responded to Moffat’s statements by stating that he was “comfortable” with everything about the grant and “applauded Mr. Ortega” if he had helped OUSD get the grant.

    Ortega responded to Moffat by refuting the “negative” and “demoralizing” talk about the grant. He further accused the motives behind Moffat’s questions as political stating that “we are in a political season”. He then warned Moffat not to “make accusations that are false” about his character and warned her that if she continued to do so he would explore legal options for defamation of character and “character assassination”. Ortega was elected to the OUSD Board in 2001 with Moffat as part of the Citizen’s Board that ousted the incumbents in the Orange Recall. Serving in OUSD Trustee Area 2, Ortega has faced no challengers in his re-elections. Late last year his name was floated as a Republican congressional candidate until his $115,000 employment contract as the Chief of the Mt .San Jacinto Community College police force was not renewed after he was placed on administrative leave. Media sources cited alleged “sexual harassment” allegations against Ortega, however the college would not confirm or deny the reasons for the administrative leave, or the reasons for not renewing Ortega’s contract. Ortega’s current OUSD trustee term expires in November of this year.

    INSIDE the June 7 OUSD Agenda
    Agenda Item 12 C deals with the reorganization of the district’s Special Education Educational Services Division, necessitated by the 2011 California State Budget Act which shifted providing mental health services in California for youth from the county mental health agencies to school districts.

    The reorganization which will result in elimination and reduction of positions for a net savings of $132,000 to OUSD includes making the current OUSD Special Education Administrative Director, Dr. Marcia Schoger the new Executive Director of Special Education with an increase of 9 pay grades (L118 to L127). The reorganization comes on the heels of ongoing OUSD high profile meetings between the teacher’s union, special education teachers, psychologists, speech therapists and the district management over increasing strife in the OUSD Special Education division.

    Agenda 4 C Appointments: new Executive Director, Elementary Education; High School Assistant Principal; four new Elementary School Principals.
    Agenda 9 F Recognition of OUSD’s top graduates from each of OUSD’s comprehensive high schools
    Agenda 12 A El Rancho Charter Renewal
    Agenda 12 B Public Hearing for Estimated Actual All Funds Budget
    Agenda 13 A (page 47) Three qualified developers will present their project proposals for the now surplus Peralta school site.

    INSIDE 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.

    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday -OUSD BOARD ROOM

    OUSD Regular 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/

    Comments: Post a Comment

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization