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  • 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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