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  • Thursday, October 24, 2013


    OUSD vote 7-0 to end Peralta Project

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


    Tonight , the Orange Unified School Board voted 7-0 to terminate the controversial exclusive plan  and end all agreements with Fairfield LLC to build a high density apartment project under a 99 year lease on the former Peralta School site.

    The vote brought an end and a stunning defeat to the Board Majority under OUSD Board President Timothy Surridge.  Surridge had stated at the September meeting he was ready to vote to end the project.

    Surridge however framed his capitulation to the broad-based community coalition that spanned the entire Greater Orange Communities as " a compromise".  Surridge called for the price of his vote to end the project to be met by the opponents of the project agreeing to sell all the district's approximately 40 acres of reserved properties. 

    The evening started with Surridge calling for the Informational item on a likely facilities Bond to be heard before the Action items ( of which the Peralta vote was one).  The business community public speakers before the item however, while supporting a Bond, called on selling of all the districts reserve properties.

    When the vote on the Peralta Properties finally came to the OUSD  Board, Surridge asked that the public comments be held until after the vote. Those public comments from the Save Peralta Property neighbors however were far from being in the mood for a compromise that would turn the Peralta site , or any of the reserve properties over to developers.

    The evening did provide continued insight into the divisions between the two sides of the Board. Trustee Diane Singer at the start of the meeting made a point that her agenda item to re-consider having only one meeting a month was not added to the agenda. In an awkward surreal moment , OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen reported to Singer that Board President Surridge had determined that the agenda was too long to add Singer's item, to which Singer retorted that was the reason to have more than one meeting a month.

    In another surreal moment after the 7-0 vote and the public comments to not sell the district's reserve properties, Trustee John Ortega went into a soliloquy not seen since the Rocco days.  Starting with "I just want to hear the positives", the almost five minute rambling included several remarks about him "getting it"-to his take on his thoughts that it was "inappropriate" for Orange City Council members to oppose the Peralta apartment project before it got to them ( "and I'll tell that to their face"). As the Trustee continued he included several references to his job on the school board being about students and the state of his old high school.  Toward the end, as groans in the audience grew and heckling from the audience began, Surridge mercifully helped Ortega end his open ended public thought process. 

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013


    Peralta Apartment vote on Thursday

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    As OUSD's waiver from open space requirements set to end on Nov 10th ...
    Peralta Site Vote on this week's Oct 24 Board Meeting Agenda
    as a Community Bond group seeks a rushed "package deal"

    The Orange Unified School District's October 24th Board Meeting Agenda includes Action Item 12 B, a vote on the future of the Peralta School Site just as the deadline for the OUSD waiver from California Department of Education surplus property rules is about to end.  Those rules mandate surplus school property first go to parks or recreation.

    Agenda Item 12 B (Agenda page 5)  presents three voting scenarios to the OUSD Board. The first option listed is to approve the Ground Lease Option Agreement with Fairfield Residential LLC and direct the OUSD Staff to "do any and all things to complete the transaction".  

    The second option listed is to disapprove the Ground Lease Option Agreement and to direct staff "not to move forward with Fairfield Residential as the potential developer of the Peralta Site".

    The third option states to direct staff "to bring back the item for consideration and potential action at a future date."

    To complicate the process,  November 10, 2013 is when the waiver OUSD received from the California Department of Education to dispose of the Peralta Site through a  Request for Proposal (RFP) process ends.  It is that waiver that allows Fairfield to develop the property into housing.

    That waiver received in 2011 was to free OUSD from the California Education  Codes that preserves surplus school property as open space.  Without the waiver,  the California Education Code dictates that surplus school property's priority goes to being parks or recreation. The CDE waiver allowed OUSD to not  complying with the California state requirements to offer the property first to public agencies for parks or recreation or to benefit non-profit organizations required in the surplus property procedures in the California Education Codes 17464-17465 and 17485 et seq.
     For more information CLICK ON: CEC 17464  and  CEC  17485
    OUSD received the waiver in November 2011. The waiver from the CDE requirements for surplus property was received 7 months before the Peralta Neighborhood began organizing against the site becoming high density apartments. Ironically,  many of the Peralta high density apartment opponents across the city have opposed the project on the grounds that the current open space would be lost.

    With the November 10, 2013 deadline, the second Agenda option appears to essentially kill the deal, while the third option appears to direct the staff to renew or apply for a new waiver from the recreation and other requirements of the CDE surplus property regulations.

    This week's Agenda includes the entire Ground Lease Option Agreement on pages 7-97 (for link CLICK ON: AGENDA)

    School Bonds, Parks and Surplus Property
    The campaign against the Peralta Development has been spearheaded by the alliances formed by the Save Peralta Property. The group quickly became a major player not only in the Peralta neighborhood, but throughout the Greater Orange Community. That success is in part due to the evident anti-development and pro-open space political environment of the Central Orange County Metro area and in particular the Greater Orange Communities-especially  in the City of Orange.

    With the stated purpose of the Peralta development by OUSD Board supporters  to "leverage" money for school improvements, those same Board members have repeated the story that if the OUSD Board has undeveloped properties, the community will not support the goal of passing a Bond. In the last two failed OUSD Bond elections the issue of vacant OUSD properties was never an issue. Never.

    The fact is that the issue of vacant OUSD properties has only been an issue in one OUSD election.

    In the OUSD Recall of 2001, the OUSD Barham Ranch Property was an issue because many supporters of the winning Citizen's Board Slate that were elected by the success of the 2001 Recall  were open space advocates. With Sun Cal developers wanting the Barham Ranch land, the open space advocates  wanted OUSD to sell the 500 acre property to the County of Orange to connect three adjacent open space parklands. Much like today, the Open Space advocates joined the wide based community Kids First Coalition to recall the then Reactionary Board that was not responding to the community. 

    Within a year of the 2001 Recall victory the Barham Ranch land was sold to the County of Orange to be forever open space. 

    That was the only election OUSD property has been an issue-and in that election the issue again was development vs. open space. Never has OUSD surplus land played an issue in an election. That however, appears to be changing. The current Board is totally misreading the community on the surplus property, similar to how Washington politicians misread the public during the recent government shut-down.  As in 2001, the OUSD Board majority appears tone-deaf and defiant in terms of the scope and depth of the community resentment against them, and the political consequences are apparently all ready in motion.

    The linkage of Peralta and an OUSD 2014 Bond is entirely the fabrication of the current Board majority. Now a local business group supporting a Bond has approached the Save Peralta Property group wanting again to couple the two issues. The business group is insisting that all surplus property be sold to make way for a bond.  The Save Peralta Group is insisting that the two issues be kept separate.  However, if in fact the properties are sold, the California Education Code requires that open space and recreational concerns be top priorities- UNLESS there is a waiver from those requirements as was the case with the Peralta Property.

    For more information on the Save Peralta Property position on the "linking" of the Peralta Property and a 2014 OUSD School Bond CLICK ON: PERALTA
    Thursday's agenda also includes Agenda Item 12 C -declaring the Riverdale School site as surplus property.

    Unlike pervious Bond attempts, the movement towards the next OUSD Bond has been open and transparent. This week's Agenda also includes items 12 D- an update of the facilities planning and needs of OUSD's high schools. The improvements in the High School Facilities Master Plan are to be paid for by a school Bond. With four different firms -one for each high school, the goal of the OUSD Administration in the master plan is for "equity and parity" across the district's high school communities. This item's written goal is to present for the OUSD Trustees approval "educational specifications to provide direction and establish expectations across the district".  The presentation will include architectural renditions. 

    Along with the open process seeking a Bond measure, the Agenda includes Item 13 A- an open informational item that includes information on a 2014 School Bond. The information includes: Feasibility Assessment; Ballot measure development; and an advocacy campaign. Agenda item 13 B takes advocacy a step further with OUSD Trustee Rick Ledesma advocating OUSD hiring the services of a "Public Information or Firm" to help with information on the High School Facilities Master Plan.

    OUSD Closed Session will discuss Taft lawsuit
    Information on a lawsuit filed in May of last year against Orange Unified, the Principal of Taft Elementary School and a former Taft Special Education teacher will be heard in Closed Session at the OUSD October 24th meeting.

    Closed Session Agenda Item 4 is a discussion with OUSD lawyers on the case Cesar P, et al vs Orange Unified. The case stems from the April 2012 incident that was widely reported involving former Taft Elementary School teacher Daniel Lentini (see link below).

    Lentini, Taft Principal Antoniette Coe and 100 "does" are listed with Orange Unified as defendants in the case that the case's General Allegations list as "caused detriment, damage and injury to Plaintiffs".  The case lists numerous minor plaintiffs and their guardians. 

    The lawsuit lays out 5 Causes of Action: 1. Violation of the 1959 Unruh Civil Rights Act ; 2. Violation of US Civil Rights under the 8th and 14th Amendments;  3 Breach of Duty of Care Arising Under Special  Relationship; 4, Negligence; and 5; Discrimination on Basis of Disability (Sec 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

    The lawsuit asks from all the defendants general damages, special damages and treble damages. It also seeks punitive damages from Daniel Lentini, as well as all legal fees and "For such other and further damages as provided by law, or such relief as the court may deem just and proper".
    For back story CLICK ON: OC REGISTER

    INSIDE the OUSD Board Agenda

    The following are noteworthy highlights of the OUSD Agenda. For the complete agenda see the link below.
    Closed Session
    Action Items

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING October 24, 2013
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 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

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    Saturday, October 05, 2013


    NRA threatened OUSD

    NRA reports that it threatened legal action against OUSD over Canyon shirt controversy

    The National Rifle Association's legal arm-the Institute for Legislative Action reports on its website that it had threatened the Orange Unified School District with legal action over Canyon High School  student Haley Bullwinkle's right to wear an NRA shirt.

    That threatened legal action prompted a very public apology from the Orange Unified School District's Superintendent and a promise of "training" for the Canyon High School staff to make sure a similar incident does not happen.

    Two years ago, a similar incident over a cultural insensitive high school Senior day called
    "Senioris" and "Senioritas" at Canyon High also prompted an apology and training, but that incident was handled at a lower staff level.

    The current controversy quickly became a national story this week after being  reported by local media.  However, the threat of NRA legal action has not been reported.

    The NRA-ILA site reports the student Haley Bullwinkle and her parents:

    "have received an unconditional apology from Michael Christensen, the Superintendent of Schools, Orange County Unified School District, for the school’s indefensible actions after attorneys from the National Rifle Association contacted the school district."

    The site also includes the full link of the district's statement (LINK BELOW).

    Friday, October 04, 2013


    Canyon HS controversy goes national

    Canyon HS again in national spotlight over NRA shirt

    Orange Unified's Canyon High School is again in the national spotlight over an incident that came to light this week involving a student that wore a NRA shirt to school. The story which broke locally, has been picked up by national news services, gun advocate and conservative websites and blogs, and the influential Huffington Post.

    Canyon HS sophomore Haley Bullwinkle, who clams to have worn the shirt to school without incident before, was stopped when she wore the shirt in September. The student reports being stopped by a school security guard and being sent to the principal's office where she was made to change into a school provided shirt. Her parents claim that after sending an email to Canyon Principal Kimberly Fricker about the incident, Jed Bullwinkle is quoted in interviews saying that Fricker replied that the shirt had a gun on it and was not allowed by the campus police and dress code.

    The T-shirt has three small photographs across the front with the center photo being a stylized American flag. At the far right is a stylized silhouette of a hunter. The T-Shirt features the words "National Rifle Association of America: Protecting American Traditions Since 1871". Jed Bullwinkle received the shirt after joining the NRA. The school's dress code policy does not specifically mention firearms and bans students from wearing clothing that:
    “promotes or depicts: gang, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, violence, criminal activity, obscenity, the degrading of cultures, ethnicity, gender, religion and/or ethnic values. (In general, anything that is divisive or offensive to a staff member.)”

    Jed Bullwinkle claims that Haley's first Amendment rights were violated. The story quickly became national news when Jed Bullwinkle contacted attorney Chuck Michel. A civil rights attorney, Michel's clients include the California Rifle Association and the Pistol Association.

    Mr. Bullwinkle has also asserted in interviews that the school's initial actions were hypocritical considering that the drill team uses "drill rifles" and the school mascot of a Native American Comanche includes spears and bows and arrows.

    As the media began to pick-up the story, OUSD reversed the Principal's decision. OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen's office issued a statement saying the shirt would be allowed and that the staff would be "trained" to make sure a similar incident did not happen again.

    Other incident's have occurred across the country regarding NRA shirts in schools. The power of the NRA was on full display last year as it went up against the Obama Administration's efforts for "gun control" in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.

    More than that however, the principal appeared to be on shaky Constitutional ground. In the 1969 Supreme Court ruling in a landmark case Tinker vs Des Moines the high court upheld high school students' Constitutional First Amendment rights. (CLICK ON TINKER).


    Wednesday, October 02, 2013



    Metro Views
     giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities
     service of the Greater Orange Community Organization :GoCo:

    OCTOBER 2nd Proclamation
    This is a day of Independence For all California students and their descendants.

    Yes, let the joyous news be spread The wicked Old Test at last is dead!


    Ding Dong! The Test is dead. Which old Test? The Wicked Test! 

    Ding Dong! The Wicked Test is dead.

    Wake up you sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.

    Wake up, the Wicked Test is dead.

    It's gone where failures go, Below - below - below.

    So sing and let them know!

    Yo-ho, let's sing and ring the schools bells out

    shout it high, sing it low.

    And Let every student know 

    Ding Dong The Wicked Test is dead! 

    Views expressed in Metro Views are not necessarily the views of the
    Greater Orange Community Organization :GoCo: or its affiliates
    Orange Communication System /OCS/
     "Independent Local Insight"
    Ecast on the
    A 21st Century Communications System
    Produced by the
    Orange Communication System /OCS/ 
    The /OCS/ News family

    Orange Net News /O/N/N/   eLECTION Watch 2013   Metro Talk    Metro Views
     ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE   COMMUNITY UPDATE     
     Greater Orange News SErVICE            SPECIAL REPORT


    Brown signs AB 484

    Gov Brown signs AB 484- 
    ending most California Standardized Testing
    Today Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 484. The new law immediately suspends most of the old California Standardized tests (STAR) and funds a trial run this year of the new Smarter Balanced Assessments. 

    The new tests are suppose to be taken on computers, but the new law also provides a written test for districts that do not have the technology available for testing on computers. By most estimates, that testing caveat applies to most of California districts.

    The new tests are aligned with the new Common Core curriculum.

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released  a statement that included:

    “I’ve said from the beginning, California needs tests that measure how ready our students are for the challenges of a changing world.

    (Full statement here:  Torlakson  )

    In addition to the federal Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan opposing the California law,
    a number of groups, including Ed Voice, Educators 4 Excellence, Teach Plus, and Parent Revolution, had urged Brown to veto the law.

    Opponents to the law cited the prospect of a year's worth of missing assessment data.  Duncan had threatened to withhold federal funding if California passed the law,

    The new law only funds either the math or English parts of the new Smarter Balance Assessments in grades 3-8 and 11 for a district, but not both. A school district giving both tests would pay for the second test itself. 

    No individual scores, school performance scores, or statewide results will be generated from the initial trial run in the spring.

    FULL TEXT of new LAW: AB 484

    Legislative Analysis of Law: Analysis

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