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  • Wednesday, February 20, 2013

     

    Surridge's assault on OUSD democracy

    Timothy Surridge’s assault on Orange Unified democracy is founded in lies
     At the January 17th Orange Unified School Board Meeting, Tim Surridge presented his vision for Orange Unified.  Updating schools, partnerships for parks with local cities…

    And less democracy.

    Surridge apparently has found democracy bothersome.
    So bothersome that he would prefer to lie to get his way.

    Surridge stated that his vision for OUSD is not the current board of seven trustees, but a board of five trustees.

    Surridge wants less democracy for residents, and more power for himself.

    His public reasoning for less democratic representation?

    He stated that: "having seven trustees leads to a greater turn-over of school district superintendents."

    The evidence he presented?
    None.

    And why would he have any?
    He has not been around Orange Unified long enough to know.

    So let’s look at the evidence in Orange Unified.
    Let's look at the truth.

    In the mid 1990’s long time OUSD Superintendent Dr. Robert French ran the district as it was taken over by a radical faction with an anti-public education agenda.

    That faction was led by another OUSD Board President with a vision.

    Trustee Marty Jacobson.

    After becoming Board President, his vision also started to alarm the community.

    But Jacobson had the power.

    Alienating teachers, parents and eventually the business community, Jacobson pushed onward.

    When Superintendent Dr. French commissioned a poll that included a question on the “popularity” of the school board- to gently show the Board that they had lost community support, French was forced out.

    Then Jacobson announced that his school board would run the district by committee and not hire a replacement for Dr. French.  His plan faced legal problems and a public outcry.

    Jacobson then searched for a Superintendent with certain qualifications- absolutely no doctoral degree- and no one from USC, and the ability to agree with the Board’s micro-management.

    They found Barbara Van Otterloo. 

    Van Otterloo survived through the Orange Recall in 2001 that ended Jacobson’s majority hold on OUSD.  She continued working until 2002 as the new Board refused to buy her out.  It was the new Board President Robert Viviano’s standing 4:00 pm Friday afternoon meetings (scheduled by him because of his knowledge of her regular Friday afternoon golf tee time)  to review her weekly report of her meeting schedules and accomplishments, that became too much for her. She retired.

     Her replacement? Her predecessor returned- Dr. Robert French.

    French’s second stint kept him in OUSD for 2 more years until now getting elderly, he retired again.

    Then OUSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Godley took over as OUSD Superintendent until 2008.

    As reported last month by Trustee John Ortega in comments about Godley’s recent death, Godley retired after being diagnosed with cancer.

    Dr. Dreier was then recruited to come back to California after serving as superintendent in Greeley, Colorado. A year after she became Superintendent her husband retired from being principal of a Colorado high school to join his wife in California.  The next year in 2011, Dreier retired to join him in travel.

    Since then, Michael Christensen has served as OUSD Superintendent and has given no indication of leaving anytime soon.

    That is the history of OUSD Superintendents over the last 20 years.

    The last 20 years when Timothy Surridge was not here to know why the superintendents left.

    The last 20 years where Villa Park, Anaheim Hills, and Santa Ana residents sat on the OUSD School Board as trustees. Some were good, some were not. But that is democracy.

    In the OUSD democracy, the diverse communities of OUSD have a fair chance at being represented on the school board. Just like the OUSD Founders envisioned it 59 years ago when they unified a diverse educational community with a unique plan to give democratic representation to all the diverse communities the school district serves. For that it took seven trustees. Not five.

    That is why OUSD has seven trustees.
    Because people, who trusted democracy, saw MORE democracy not  LESS as a uniting factor for our diverse educational communities.

    Timothy Surridge told us he wants OUSD to have five trustees.
    That way, he told us our superintendents will stay longer.

    Dr. French was not forced out because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Barbara Van Otterloo did not retire because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Dr. French did not retire a second time because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Dr. Godley did not retire because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Dr. Dreier did not retire because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Michael Christensen will not leave OUSD because OUSD’s democracy has seven trustees.

    Why is Timothy Surridge lying about why he wants to eliminate two OUSD trustees?

    Simple.

    It is not about five Superintendents leaving OUSD.


    It is not about five trustees.


    It is about a five letter word.



    P-O-W-E-R.


    this editorial is by
    The Greater Orange Community Orgainization
    and its partners in communication.



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