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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
OUSD discusses a return of elementary music program
OUSD Board votes 7-0 to end
Peralta site development attempt
At their October 24, 2013 Regular monthly meeting, the Orange Unified School Board Trustees voted 7-0 to terminate the attempt to lease the former Peralta school site to a developer. The vote ended the controversial plan and all agreements with the proposed developer Fairfield LLC to build a high density apartment project under a 99 year lease.
The 7-0 vote brought an end and a stunning defeat to the Board Majority under OUSD Board President Timothy Surridge. Surridge had stated at the September OUSD Board meeting he was ready to vote to end the project.
The proposed project had united a coalition of neighborhoods, activists, civic and political leaders across the Greater Orange Communities in opposition.
However, in announcing his vote, Surridge framed his capitulation to the broad-based community coalition as " a compromise". Surridge called for the "compromise" 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. Then Surridge voted, in what had become an inevitable vote, with the other trustees with no further mention of the "Surridge compromise".
The meeting had 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). In a thinly veiled "spontaneous" address to the OUSD Board in pubic comments section before the bond presentation, a few Surridge business allies called for supporting a Bond tried to connecting the bond to the "Surridge compromise" of selling of all the district's reserve properties. Surridge and those few allies were the only ones who mentioned the "Surridge compromise".
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 "Surridge compromise" that would turn the Peralta site , or any of the OUSD reserve properties over to developers. The speakers made it clear that the surplus proprieties and the bond were very separate issues for the community.
Despite the unanimous 7-0 vote on Peralta, the meeting did provide continued insight into the divisions between the two sides on the divided Board. Trustee Diane Singer at the start of the meeting made a point that her proposed agenda item to re-consider the current Board policy of only having one meeting a month was not added to the agenda. She insisted on knowing why.
In an awkward 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 that information Singer retorted that was the perfect example of why having more than one meeting a month was needed.
The October Agenda did include a rather high number of Action Items- 6 total-plus two Information Items including the item on a new OUSD High Schools Bond issue attempt.
However, with a smaller November Agenda with only three minor Action Items and 4 minor Information Items, Singer's Agenda request to discuss having more than one monthly meeting is still not on the Agenda.
A new OUSD Bond openly discussed and advocated
One consequence of the Peralta fiasco attempt to raise building funds for school improvement is the inevitability of an OUSD Bond election focusing on the OUSD high schools. The bond issue has picked up enormous support across the Greater Orange Communities.
At the September 24th OUSD meeting, the information presented in Information Item 13 B by bond campaign strategists fully laid out the process on how OUSD would embark on a bond campaign. The openness, discussion and inclusiveness for a new OUSD Bond attempt is a far cry from the secretive and behind-the-scenes maneuvering that was the signature trademark of the last two failed OUSD Bond attempts. The new strategy also appears to be winning supporters.
As parent, business and community groups, as well as local politicians begin to join in the support of a new OUSD School Bond, it is becoming apparent that the only thing that could stop momentum of that support toward placing a bond before the OUSD community is the politics of the OUSD Board itself.
In the inevitable vote to end the Peralta development, Surridge seemed to be taking his cues from the Texas Tea Party "hostage extremists" in signaling trying to hold OUSD's surplus properties as hostage over putting a bond forward.
The fate of a new OUSD Bond attempt seems to be in the hands of the more moderate OUSD trustees, Dr. Alexia Deligianni, Mark Wayland and longtime Board members Rick Ledesma and John Ortega. Ironically, it is Ledesma and Ortega who have been the biggest vocal advocates over their long Board careers for fixing OUSD schools.
The first test on the newest open and community-wide efforts at uniting the Greater Orange Communities to support a new bond attempt will be the OUSD Annual Organizational Meeting on December 12, 2013. At that meeting the OUSD Board will vote for a new Board President, Vice President and Clerk. A third unprecedented term as Board President for Surridge could prove disastrous for the Greater Orange Communities if he makes good on his move to hold OUSD's surplus property hostage in exchange for a bond election.
However, with both Surridge and Ledesma up for reelection in 2014, and with the anti-growth and pro-open space sentiment an overwhelming issue that unites community and political activists across the Greater Orange Communities, the debate over a quid pro quo selling of OUSD surplus property in exchange for a bond election may become a mute point- or a winning election issue.
OUSD Board to discuss return of an OUSD Elementary Music program
On the OUSD November 14, 2013 Agenda is Information Item 13 D- a discussion on directing staff " to conduct a study and develop a report regarding the implementation of a District-wide elementary music program".
OUSD's elementary music programs were a very controversial cut back brought on by the Great Recession.
The Agenda item is for discussion only and was placed on the Agenda by OUSD Board President Timothy Surridge.
INSIDE the OUSD November 14 2013 Board Agenda
Action Item 12 B-(Agenda pgs 24-27) an unusual request from staff for a "Reconfirmation" of a 2008 OUSD Board vote that declared the Walnut property ( next to
) as surplus. Santiago
12 C (Agenda pgs 28-36) voting on the tentative agreement between OUSD and Local 67 of the California School Employees Association. This agreement is with the district's support staff.
13 A (Agenda pg 37) Annual Audit Report for 2012-2013
13 C ( Agenda pgs 39-42) vote on the Student Calendars for the next three school years (2014-15; 2015-16; 2016-17) .
NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING November 14, 2013
Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
CLOSED SESSION- 6:30 pm
OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
: NOV 14 AGENDA AGENDA-CLICK ON
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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