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  • Tuesday, August 21, 2012


    Peralta neighbors up in arms at July 26 OUSD Board Meeting

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

    At the July 26, 2012 Orange Unified School Board Meeting, neighborhood opponents to any high occupancy development on the former 19 acre Peralta school site (long being used mainly as the private recreation Super Sports center) showed up to the meeting to protest the three proposed developments that could potentially add over 400 apartments to the neighborhood. In Agenda Item 13 E, the Trustees were to select from three developers to develop the site with a 99 year lease: City Ventures; Fairfield Residential; and Peralta Apartment Partners. While the process to deal with Peralta as surplus had been going on since 2008, the neighbors at the July 26th meeting claimed to be broadsided by the scope of the plans for the site while they accused the district of not reaching out to the neighborhood.

    During the Public Comments section five neighbors representing the neighborhood addressed the OUSD Trustees. Their long list of development concerns included: the loss of recreational and open space; parking and traffic problems associated with potentially hundreds apartments; the diverse affect on property values; and school overcrowding in neighborhood schools. Representatives of two of the three developers also spoke, including Kent Hawkins the current lease holder of the Super Sports site. Despite support to keep the Super Sports, Hawkins told the neighbors that change was coming. Hawkins is part of one of potential development groups called Peralta Apartment Partners. That group includes familiar Greater Orange businessmen Bill Carthcart, Pat Fisy, David Luzzariga, Greg Mc Cafferty, Bob Olson, Steve Sheldon, and Jack Selmar.

    Immediately after hearing all the public comments, the discussion on the choice of developers turned to the OUSD Trustees. Almost immediately Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni (who faces two opponents in the November election) asked to be recognized and in an unprecedented move read from a prepared text citing reasons for selecting the gated 400 plus apartment proposal of the Peralta Apartments Partners as the developer. Deligianni then made a motion to select Peralta Apartment Partners as the developer. Board President Tim Surridge asked for a second to Deligianni’s motion and in an agonizing moment of looking around, Deligianni saw her first and only substantial motion in four years as a trustee die for lack of a second from anyone on the Board including her political allies.

    After the Deligianni was left hanging, OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat gave an impassioned speech on keeping the land open for future needs of OUSD calling it “irresponsible” to lease the land in what could result in permanently loosing the site. Her comments received thunderous applause from the audience. Moffat then moved to reject all three developers. Her motion was seconded by her ally Trustee Diana Singer who spoke about her concerns on the process to select a developer which she characterized as “flawed”. Her long list of concerns about the process included the fact that the trustees were not allowed to take the bid proposals home to review. Urging more deliberation and engagement of the stakeholders, Singer characterized the rush to vote for a developer as a “ramrod decision”.

    In further discussion on Moffat’s motion, both OUSD Trustee Board President Tim Surridge and Rick Ledesma spoke to defend the process. Ledesma (who was the instrumental force in getting to this point in the decision about Peralta) countered that the process was “not flawed” and recounted the legal steps that brought the Board to this point stating; “Since 2010 everyone on this Board knew the road we were headed down regarding this property”. Ledesma also explained that the rational for moving forward was to create a greater income stream for OUSD from the property. Surridge and Wayland echoed the points that Ledesma made. Then, in another surreal Deligianni moment, the trustee that was first to move to select a developer, now announced that she would be supporting Moffat’s motion against all developers because “the neighbors” were against the development. In the end, Moffat’s motion to reject all the developers was voted down 4-3 with Moffat, Singer and Deligianni voting to support the motion and Surridge, Ledesma, Wayland and Trustee John Ortega voting against the motion.

    After the defeat of the Moffat motion, Surridge then made a motion to select Fairfield Residential as the developer citing their experience in overseeing all facets of the project. Ledesma seconded the motion. As the trustees discussed this motion, the neighbors in the audience began to get loud and shout questions at the board, as others in the audience asked to have the opportunity to speak. Surridge went out of his way to be understanding with the angry audience as it grew more unruly. At several points, Surridge almost lost control of the meeting. While he threatened to recess the meeting (which other Board presidents have often done), Surridge never quite was pushed to that point as he continued to try and calm the crowd. In speaking against the choice of Fairfield, Singer tied the firm to the Ridgeline developers. In the end, the motion to approve Fairfield as the developers to work with the city in getting the zoning changed passed 4-3 with Moffat, Singer and Deligianni voting against the motion and Surridge, Ledesma, Wayland and Trustee John Ortega voting for the motion.

    Having organized by passing out fliers to the neighborhood to get people to the OUSD Board Meeting, since the meeting the Peralta opponents quickly organized a website and multiple neighborhood meetings. They have Orange Councilman Denis Bilodeau concerned about the density and have OUSD Trustee Candidate Bob Ausmus running against Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni joining them in opposing the change in zoning. The group has plans to attend the next OUSD Board Meeting on Thursday August 20, 2012.

    Two out of Three OUSD Trustees up for re-election face opponents
    Pulling papers and filing on the last day for the November election for the trustee seat in Trustee Area 3 to face Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni was medical billing specialist Michele Gabbard. She joined Robert “Bob” Ausmus who filed early to challenge Deligianni. Also pulling and filing on the last day for OUSD Trustee Area 6 represented by Trustee Mark Wayland was OUSD Autism Specialist Tracey L Columbo Curtis. Trustee John Ortega, also up for re-election in November will again not face an opponent.

    INSIDE the OUSD August 23, 2012 Agenda

    Michelle Moore’s fairy-tale continues as CAPO principal holds OUSD job spot
    Just when you thought OUSD’s fairy-tale queen of rigor was gone…the fairytale continues-kind of like a nightmare. Moore publicly became the OUSD cheerleader in print for the failed OUSD Focus on Results multi-million dollar boondoggle as she attributed her fairy-tale school scores in the OUSD School News Roll Call to the edu-speak associated with the program. Then her preacher husband also publicly used OUSD’s School News Roll Call paper to write a public faun over his wife as a “successful author” (CLICK ON: MOORE ROLL CALL ). Finally, Moore was dubed the OUSD Queen of Rigor because her public reports at OUSD Board Meetings on the Strategic Plan were full of more "Once upon a time..." consultant double-talk edu-speak.

    Yes, OUSD Inside did reported last month that former OUSD Panorama Principal Michelle Moore took another job as Principal in education-war-torn Capistrano Unified. However, Moore’s fairy-tale OUSD story has not ended. Page 96 of the OUSD August 23rd Consent Agenda shows that Capistrano Principal Michelle Moore, after quitting OUSD-has asked for the OUSD Board to approve her “voluntarily requested” to be changed from an OUSD principal to an OUSD teacher beginning on 8/22/12 to the end of the school year. But wait there is ALWAYS more on Moore than meets the eyes (or ears). You see on the same page, eight lines below, Moore (who was hired in Capistrano Unified in June and her replacement hired in OUSD in July) is also asking the OUSD Board for an unpaid Leave of absence for 1 year from OUSD AS A TEACHER beginning on 8/22/12 to the end of the school year. Perhaps hedging her bets???

    Well OUSD Inside certainly would welcome Moore back with open arms in a CLASSROOM at a school on the OTHER SIDE of the 55 Divide to let her use her fairy-tale once-upon-a-time consultant-speak at one of OUSD’s many program improvement schools. But like many fairy-tales…the truth is not all that simple. You see when OUSD grants a “leave” to a “teacher”- then one of OUSD’s huge backlog of temporary teachers-who stay here in OUSD to work-(and are basically fired at the end of every school year) can not get a permanent position because positions held by “on-leave” teachers must be saved. So the fairy-tale continues as Capistrano U.S.D. Principal Michelle Moore pretends to be a teacher in OUSD, keeping a real teacher in OUSD from achieving a permanent position-while she decides whether to keep her four figure job in Capistrano. Playing with the career and financial peace of mind of at least one dedicated OUSD employee by holding a job for someone with a job...with the OUSD Administration playing making this fairytale come true!

    Maybe OUSD was impressed by the self-promotion of Moore. Moore's newest resume booster in Capistrano (See link below) is being a member of the bureaucratic consultant boosting tax-payer-money-burning Orange County Department of Education Common Core Steering Committee (see LINK below). According to the OCDE website, the “committee” has not met since its kick-off in May of 2011, and the work they have produced is to put the California Parent Guide to Common Core Standards on the OCDE website. Plus, who did this committee turn to for its May 2011 kick-off- none other than the “Once upon a time…” expensive speak-for-hire controversial consultant-gone-wild, the King of Rigor himself...Dr Willard Daggett!

    So who is helping the Moore Fairytale dream come true in OUSD? Kathy Ward of school board’s past? No. The return of the infamous retired Dr. Godley? No. It is OUSD Superintendent of Human Resources Ed Kissee. It is Kissee's name that appears on the Board Agenda in both places.
    Where is Andrew Jackson or Dr. Dreier when you need them?

    This is yet another example of what the public sees and has issues with in the debates over public school employees benifits. Is this anyway to lead up to a rumoured 2014 OUSD High School Bond attempt? So here again, the choice is forward away from an expensive Consultant Culture or backward as the economy improves-Back to the failures of the OUSD Councultant Culture past?

    When it comes to leadership, fairness, and public perception, the OUSD School Board needs to ask itself…WWDDDWhat would Dr. Dreier do?

    MOORE gets job in Capistrano

    $13,500 Drug Dog program to be renewed
    When the OUSD Board originally approved the Action Item 12 A in September 2010 for drug dogs at the OUSD High Schools, this wasn’t what the understanding of the reporting of on going “evaluations” would be as the Agenda item states:

    “Staff continues to review and monitor suspension data to evaluate program effectiveness”

    Action Item 12 A in September 2010 authorized $13,500 for a contract with Interquest Detection Canines to provide drug sniffing dogs for OUSD’s 4 high schools, Richland Continuation School and the OUSD Community Day School. While all the Trustees who spoke to the item were supportive, only Trustee Kathy Moffat asked questions about the proposal. Moffat was also concerned that the use of the dogs would possibly send the wrong message to students like OUSD thought all students were suspect just because they were high school students. In addition, Moffat sought assurances from staff that the district would continue to collect and analyze data to monitor if the use of sniffer dogs does deter the number of drug and alcohol incidents at the district’s schools. The staff told the Board that statistics on the dog’s effectiveness would be reported to the OUSD Board. To date, that report has not been presented and the program is being renewed for another year.

    ALSO on the AGENDA:

    Closed Session Agenda 4C – With the widely popular assignment of Rebecca Martinez as El Modena’s new principal (No! not a Roman Caesar!!), her former position as the school’s Vice Principal will be filled and announced.

    Action Items 12 A-C (Agenda pages 2-82) Second reading of Board Policy revisions on policies for Human Resources, Educational Services and the Board of Education.

    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 August 23, 2012 -OUSD BOARD ROOM

    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
    Is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    "Independent Local Insight”

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