Studies do not back Surridge claims and plans
ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/ Independent insight into OUSD
A recent article by Ed Source, an independent online forum that responds to key education challenges and innovations in California and nationally, does not back Orange Unified Board President Tim Surridge controversial claims that a higher number of the school board trustees impacts the turn-over of district superintendents.
At the January 17, 2013 OUSD Board Meeting Surridge stated studies showed the more school board members on a school board result in a higher turnover of superintendents. Using this logic, Surridge is seeking to eliminate two OUSD Trustee positions. He has scheduled a “discussion” for his plan to eliminate two trustess for Thursday’s February 21 OUSD School Board meeting.
The December 12, 2012 online article titled “Survey finds high superintendent turnover in large California districts” summarizes and links to the most recent studies. The article states:
During a period of eroding financial stability, many of the state’s largest districts also faced leadership instability.
Between 2006 and 2009, 71 percent of superintendents in California’s largest districts and 45 percent of all superintendents left their jobs, according to a survey of 215 districts randomly selected from the state’s approximately 1,000 districts. The survey covers well more than half of the state’s largest districts – those with more than 29,000 students in 2005–06.
Nothing in any of the cited studies relates to the number of school board members and the turn over of superintedents.
In fact the main problem is not the number of trustees, but the overall relationship between the board as a whole and the superintedent as summarized in the article:
The “honeymoon” with the school board lasts between 12 and 18 months, he said, before “political interests and dysfunction show up.” A board may have hired a superintendent to institute reforms, but when interest groups such as unions or community organizations complain, the elected board gets uncomfortable, Wood said.
Becca Bracy Knight, executive director of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems in Los Angeles, which trains superintendents, said turnover happens when superintendents and boards “don’t have alignment from the outset to weather what happens when there is change.”
The most recent study linked in the Ed Source article is “Why Superintendents Turn Over” by
Jason A. Grissom
of Vanderbilt University
and Stephanie Andersen
of Washington University
in St. Louis published in the
American Educational Research Journal. The scholarly study delves deeply into the relationships between superintendent and school boards, but nowhere mentions the number of school board members in relation to any of the numerous reasons the study found for problems between the superintendents and school boards.
The study results in a complicated matrix of reasons for high superintendent turn over. None of which relate to the number of school board members as Surridge claims.
The study also concludes that “home grown” superintendents with a history in the district stay far longer then recruited superintendents from outside a district.
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?
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?
It is not about five Superintendents leaving OUSD.
It is not about five trustees.
It is about a five letter word.
this editorial is by
The Greater Orange Community Orgainization
and its partners in communication.
ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/ Independent insight into OUSD
Targeting Villa Park and Anaheim Hills representation…
Surridge proposes “radical” plan for OUSD
Orange Unified Board of Trustees President Timothy Surridge outlined what some long time Orange Unified School District
board watchers characterized as a “radical un-democratic plan” to eliminate two OUSD Trustees. Such a move would ultimately strip away residents from Villa Park
and Anaheim Hills on the Orange Unified School Board.
At the January 17th OUSD Board Meeting, Surridge outlined his goals for the coming year. Those goals included investment in schools by the local community, exploring using unused portions of school sites for city recreation purposes, and dealing with the size of the OUSD governing body ( the Board of Trustees). Using the excuse of “a turn-over” of superintendents, Surridge tried to begin to build a case that having more than five trustees leads to a higher turn over of superintendents. He offered no data to support his theory.
Orange Unified was “unified” in 1953 out of a hodgepodge of smaller school districts creating one of the largest school districts in the state. In unifying, the OUSD Founders created OUSD’s unique democratic system of Area Representation in order to get voters to agree to give up their local districts to form the unified district. The system guaranteed that the major population center of Orange
would not dominate the smaller population centers in the district by insuring that each of the seven trustees must live in the area they represent. Voters of Orange
agreed to the system because while each trustee would be from their own distinct areas, the entire district would vote for each trustee.
The system has served the district for 59 years.
It has particularly favored the communities of Villa Park
and Anaheim Hills who have local residents represent them on the Board.
Community watchdogs note that the current Villa Park and Anaheim Hills representatives, Kathy Moffat ( Trustee Area 4- majority Villa Park neighborhoods) and Diane Singer (Trustee Area 1-majority Anaheim Hills neighborhoods)
have been the minority on the OUSD Board and have clashed with Surridge ( an Orange resident) over numerous policies, especially his center piece effort to privatize surplus district property. Many Villa Park
officials and numerous leading citizen’s have been outspoken opponents of the Surridge backed plan to lease the Peralta site property. The Villa Park
headquartered Foothills Sentry
has been a leader in reporting on the Peralta deal and its stories have been blasted by Surridge allies on the Board.
Surridge stated his intention of including the proposal as an agenda item this year. He is wasting no time. Surridge has added Informational Item 13 D on the February 21, 2013 Board Agenda. Listed on page 2 of the Agenda as “Discussion Requested by Board President Surridge”, the description on page 30 states:
At the January 17, 2013 meeting, during the Board President’s Report, Mr. Surridge laid out a vision for the District. Included was the reduction of the Board of Education from seven to five members. Additionally an intereste
[sic] has been expressed regarding term limits for members of the governing board.
Mr. Surridge has requested that the Board discuss reducing the number of Board members and term limits.
While the agenda does not mention who expressed the interest in term limits, in her first campaign for the OUSD Board five years ago, Dr. Alexia Deligianni did campaign on bringing term limits to OUSD. In her second campaign in November 2012, Deligianni did not address term limits. Trustee Rick Ledesma has the most terms of service on the OUSD Board. Ousted by Terri Sergeant who ran as part of the far right Marty Jacobson Reactionary Majority sweep, Ledesma was re-elected by ousting Sergeant when he was tapped by the Citizens Coalition Board in the 2001 Orange Recall. Moffat was also part of that Citizen’s Board coalition majority elected that year (Kimberly Nichols and Melissa Smith were also elected that year). John Ortega was later recruited to run for another open seat by the Citizen’s Board. The Citizen’s Board quickly initiated numerous Recall Reforms and within a year had rehired Superintendent Robert French. (French was forced out by the Jacobson Majority after a poll he initiated found the new Board’s direction unpopular. The Board replaced him with Barbara Van Otterloo. Under increased scrutiny by the new Citizen’s Board, Van Otterloo retired after a year and was replaced by her predecessor, French).
Moffat and Ledesma have both defended their seats successfully against a variety of challengers. Ortega has never faced an opponent and therefore has never had to run since his initial win.
Tampering with OUSD Trustee Areas to eliminate trustees that majority members of the Board find less than desirable has happened in the past. After an unsuccessful attempt to collect signatures to force a recall against OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco failed, Villa Park centered Kathy Moffat and the former Anaheim Hills centered Trustee Melissa Smith supported the Nichols Realignment (named for then OUSD President Kimberly Nichols who initiated the move) that realigned the home of Trustee Steve Rocco out of his trustee area (Area 6) into Trustee Rick Ledesma’s( Area 7). The move prevented Rocco from running as an incumbent. Smith called the realignment scenario “a gift from heaven” was also realigned out of her Trustee Area.
That same OUSD Board majority also did away with the Recall Reform that rotated the OUSD Board officers between the Trustee Areas, insuring that a board majority could never again control the OUSD Board leadership. Aimed at preventing Rocco from achieving a leadership role, current trustees Kathy Moffat (now in the minority), John Ortega and Rick Ledesma who were all on the OUSD Board at the time voted to eliminate the rotation of officers. Last December, a frustrated now in the minority Kathy Moffat nominated herself for the OUSD Board Presidency. Surridge was again elected for a second year by the current Board Majority.
For a link to the current OUSD Trustee Areas CLICK ON:
OUSD votes to sell former Silverado School site
At the OUSD January 17th
OUSD School Board meeting, the trustees voted 7-0 to sell the former Silverado School
site. The site was one of the first victims of the Great Recession.
Moffat’s bid for more meetings fails
Trustee Kathy Moffat again made a pitch for more OUSD Board meetings during the year. Currently the OUSD Board has regular meetings once a month. Moffat provided a list of other school districts that meet more than once a month. Moffat proposed that there could be a “middle ground” where some months, like the April with the two week Spring Break, or summer could still only have one meeting date. Moffat proposed that the Board make February 7th a regular meeting and on that day select other dates during the year that meet the trustees’ calendar needs. Moffat’s motion died for lack of a second. During Board comments at the end of the meeting during Board member comments, Moffat again stated her disappointment with not meeting more often. Trustee John Ortega commented that he thought it was a positive thing that the OUSD Board accomplished as much as they have meeting just once a month, and that perhaps other districts should look at OUSD’s meeting schedule. Trustee Mark Wayland also commented that his concern was with staff time needed to prepare for two meetings a month.
Ledesma proposes 1st cut 1st restored on Proposition 30 funding
In the wake of the voter approved sales tax hikes under Proposition 30, much of which will be earmarked under a formula by the state toward education, Trustee Rick Ledesma proposed that OUSD consider restoring funding based on 1st cut, 1st restored. In the discussion, Ledesma stated that he understood that some cuts it may be impractical to restore because of the re-startup costs of those programs. Wayland also reminded that the tax hikes were for only four years and should not be treated as ongoing funding, and OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen reminded that the additional moneys under the still unknown formula will not make take the district to pre-Great Recession levels. Trustee Diane Singer suggested that since she and others were not trustees at the time of the cuts that a list of the cuts would be helpful.
OUSD to apply for waiver to increase class sizes
Action Item 12 A ( Agenda pg 22) at the February 19, 2013 OUSD Board meeting is a public hearing on OUSD applying for a waiver to increase class sizes in three QEIA funded schools from a 20 to 1 ration to a 25 to 1 ration. The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA)of 2006 provided 3 billion dollars over 7 years in extra funding as a result of a lawsuit settlement over state underfunding of Proposition 98 funds to schools. The money was directed toward helping schools serving low-income, minority students and English Learners close the “achievement gap” those populations have with Caucasian and Asian students in general. The funding was targeted toward smaller class sizes and staff development. Selected schools were chosen by lottery from schools that qualified. Community Colleges also received monies for career and vocational programs.
As money is running out, districts are seeking to stretch available funding. The OUSD three elementary schools that will be effected are Esplanade, Fairhaven
and Handy. Fairhaven
was selected this year as a National Blue Ribbon School (see link below)
In a related item, 5 of the 73 teachers from those three schools are among the 73 teachers from OUSD that are being moved from temporary to probationary status on the February 19th Consent Agenda ( Agenda pgs 48-48).
OUSD Trustees to discuss proposed 180 day 2013-2014 school calendar
Information Item 13 B (Agenda pg 27-28) is a discussion of the proposed 2013-2014 school calendar with 180 student instructional days (185 teacher days). The current calendar has 175 student instructional days.
The proposed calendar also includes three non-student professional development days and two non-student teacher prep days. The student calendar would start on August 21, 2013 (teachers on August 16th). Students would end on June 12th, and teachers on the 13th.
Fall Break would remain as 1 week, Winter Break would remain as 3 weeks. Spring Break would be cut back from 2 weeks to one.
Surridge proposes a lock box for surplus property funds
In Agenda Item 12 D (Agenda pgs 22-23) OUSD Board President is proposing a change to OUSD Board Policy that would not place monies generated from the lease of any of the district’s surplus property to be put in a special lock box account that could only be used for capitol improvement projects. The new policy would prohibit the funds from leases going into the general funds. Currently state law requires only the sales of surplus property be spent only on capitol improvements.
Board Policy changes have two readings. The Agenda item includes a recommendation for waving the second reading which would make the vote final.
INSIDE the February 19, 2013 Agenda
If that wasn’t enough….
Agenda 9A- Proclamation of March 4-8 Week of the School Administrator
Agenda 12 B/C
Revisions to Board Policies 2nd Reading
Agenda 13 A- Common Core Standards Updates
Agenda 13 C- State and District Budget Updates
Next OUSD Board Meeting
FebRUARY 19, 2013
-OUSD BOARD ROOM
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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OUSD calls Special Meeting on Peralta Lease
The Orange Unified School Board has called a Specail Board meeting for 4:00 pm on Tuesday Feburary 12th. The meeting will be a Closed Sssion meeting to discuss the lease for the Peralta site. That lease has been controversial since the OUSD Board first denied, then later reversed itself on the selection of an exclusive lease holder-Fairfield Residential.
Public remarks will be allowed before the Board goes into Closed Session. After the Closed Session, the Board will reconvine in public to report any decsions made.
The Save Peralta Property
blog posted the following item:
*OUSD School Board President Tim Surridge has called a special closed door meeting for tomorrow, February 12 about setting a lease agreement with Fairfield.
* He called it for tomorrow knowing that School Board Member Diane Singer – who opposes the development – can’t be there. It is so sad to watch how he has navigated this whole project against the will of the community! We need to let him and the rest of the Board know our feelings and that our numbers are growing.
*The special session is only on one agenda item – the lease agreement with Fairfiled – the developer of the PeraltaProperty. The only time the public can speak is at 4:00. We need neighbors to bethere to speak out against this project and how he is handling this- calling a special meeting and having public comment at a time difficultfor working people to attend… so the public won’t know about it and won’t be able to give input
The OUSD Agenda Item is posted here: SPECIAL MEETING
The Save Peralta Property is here: SPS