ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
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OUSD Trustee Ledesma lays out the
why vs. what-“Ledesma Rule”
At the March 14, 2013 Orange Unified Board of Education meeting, OUSD’s longest serving trustee, Rick Ledesma, addressed the growing community discontent with the numerous initiatives the OUSD Board has undertaken under the leadership of second term Board President Timothy Surridge.
While not naming Surridge by name, Ledesma (who in January seconded John Ortega’s nomination of Surridge to a second term as OUSD President) referenced recent OUSD Agenda item’s as not “winning friends and influencing people”. Naming the well -organized community and growing influential political opposition to the Peralta Site Apartment Plan, the disastrous dead-on arrival and ill-conceived Surridge Plan to reduce the number of OUSD Trustees from 7 trustees to 5 trustees and the unprepared march toward a third attempt at an OUSD facilities bond measure, Ledesma's carefully prepared remarks were like a warning shot across the bow of an increasingly isolated OUSD Board majority.
The veteran conservative trustee took recent Agenda items (and in doing so Surridge) to task in comments on Agenda Item 13 A, an information item on school bonds. Equating bonds to property tax increases, Ledesma said the community has lately seen the OUSD Agenda as saying here’s “what we are going to do to you”.
In his prepared comments, Ledesma spelled out what a community-wide email after the meeting from the Greater Orange Community Organization would dub the “Ledesma Rule”. In his remarks, Ledesma spelled out that the OUSD Board has emphasized the “what” it was doing without telling the community “why” it was doing it. Ledesma used Agenda Item 13 A as an example noting that it was pre-mature to begin talking about a possible OUSD facilities bond measure without first doing a needs assessment of what the community’s schools needed. He stated that the taxpaying voters are sitting at home seeing that OUSD wants to increase property taxes and then wants to cut the communities representatives on the school board from 7 to 5, all without the Board telling them “why”.
Clearly stated, Ledesma in his doctrine admonished the board that they must “focus on the why before the what”. Then Ledesma again showed his famous independent streak by moving to table the information item on bonds until after a need’s assessment of the district’s facilities was completed.
Ledesma was immediately supported by Trustees Diana Singer and Dr. Alexia Deligianni. Trustee Kathy Moffat, who has often been at odds with Ledesma, was also quick to praise him, noting that Ledesma appeared to now support the position of a “complete district” needs assessment. Moffat however stated that Agenda Item 13 A was not an action item, but just “informational”. In the vote on Ledesma’s motion to table the bond information, Ledesma, Singer and Deligianni voted to table it, while Moffat joined Surridge, Ortega and Wayland to hear the information.
Earlier in the meeting during Public Comments before the Board’s discussion and split vote to approve Surridge’s plan to change the OUSD Board By-laws to deposit lease money into a special facilities fund, a Save Peralta Property group spokesperson presented a forceful verbal presentation aimed squarely at Surridge as “this Board’s president”.
Calling into question the motives and the “doom and gloom” espousals by “this Board’s president” the spokesperson continued the group's focus on the increasingly isolated Surridge and tied opposition to the Peralta Site Apartment Plan to a bond attempt. At the end of the meeting, Moffat asked that the OUSD Superintendent send the OUSD Board answers to the questions that the Save Peralta Property spokes person had brought forward.
|Foothills Sentry photo of March 18 Protest ( J.Callanhan)|
As a sign of the growing organizational might of the Save Peralta Property group, they staged a last minute protest two weeks later at the March 28, 2013 OUSD Special Closed Session meeting on the Peralta Property site.
Foothills Sentry coverage link: FHS
INSIDE the April 18th Board Agenda
Silverado site sale to Orange County Parks on April 18th Agenda
Action Item 12 A and B on the April 18, 2013 OUSD Agenda (Agenda page 9) will officially sell the OUSD Silverado School site to the County of Orange Parks Division for $2.1 million. Per state law, the funds will go into the Special Reserve for Capital Projects.
In addition, 5 other Action Items are on the April 18th Agenda:
Item C-Prioritizing the spending of funds from the Education Protection Act
Item D-Transferring Tier III Categorical Funds
Item E- “Sun shining” CSEA Chapter 67 negotiation proposals
Item F- “Sun shining” CSEA Chapter 76 negotiation proposals
Item F- Legislative Coalition’s 2012-2013 Proposed Platform
Seven staff positions to be eliminated
Consent Item 14 G Eliminates 7 positions:
Director of Facilities, Planning and Technology
2- Regular Instructional Assistants
1-Technology Support Specialist
Canyon H.S. Principal Dr. Greg Bowden resigns
Reportedly out on a medical leave of absence, Canyon H.S. Principal Dr. Greg Bowden’s resignation appears on page 53 of the April 18, 2013 Consent Agenda. The resignation (not retirement) is effective on June 28, 2013. On page 52, Canyon H.S. Assistant Principal Mary Ellen Oves is listed as assuming the position of Acting Principal from March 25, 2013 through June 24, 2013.
Bowden went on leave last year after a compliant about a cultural insensitivity incident prompted an investigation by the Orange Unified School District Administration. The OUSD investigation found that the school’s administration should not have allowed a yearly event the past three school years that led to “hurtful and demeaning messages” about Latino students. The episode made national headlines.
The result was Bowden and all OUSD administrators were ordered to undergo “diversity and sensitivity training”. Bowden, who went on leave prior to the mandated trainings, did not receive the scheduled “diversity and sensitivity training” with the other OUSD administrators.
Next OUSD Board Meeting April 18. For more information
OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 5:30 PM, 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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