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  • Monday, February 10, 2014


    OUSD votes $50,000 in educational tax money for PR

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    "IMAGINE"  that!
    OUSD Board votes 4-3 to spend $50,000 in educational tax funds for public relations 
    Just as the Great Recession starts to end and educational tax monies are again flowing  into OUSD, at the January 23 2014 Orange Unified School District Board Meeting the four previously "fiscal conservative" male OUSD Trustees started a new taxpayer funded spending spree by voting to spend $50,000 of educational tax monies on a public relations firm against the votes and advice of the three female OUSD Board members.

    The former self-described fiscally conservative OUSD Board President John Ortega, Trustees Timothy Surridge,  Mark Wayland and Rick Ledesma all joined together to vote to approve OUSD spending $50,000 in educational tax funds for a public relations firm for a purpose not exactly clear.

    Wayland, who characterized the $50,000 as a "trial run" said that the district was getting "beat up locally and nationally in the press" and questioned "Where do people turn to get the truth?".  Wayland characterized  spending the $50,000 in educational tax funds as "a good investment". 

    Voting against using the  $50,000 of educational tax money for a public relations firm were the three women trustees: self-described fiscal conservative trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni; and pro-education trustees Villa Park's Kathy Moffat and Anaheim Hills Dianne Singer.

    Singer stated her vote against spending $50,000 in educational tax funds on PR was that the educational tax monies would be better spent on a variety of still needed educational priorities.  Singer stated the district had a long way to go in restoring educational program cuts from the Great Recession and reasoned that spending $50,000 of educational funds on PR was not a high priority.

    Kathy Moffat was against the PR spending because of her concern about the "timing" of spending $50,000 of educational funding for a public relations firm so close to an election cycle. Surridge and Ledesma are two trustees who are up for re-election in November 2014 and have been initially targeted by community open space advocates for leading efforts to lease the Peralta site for a high density apartments and now are leading the efforts to sell Peralta and other OUSD properties across the Greater Orange Communities to developers.  If either trustee were to lose in November the balance of power on the Board would shift away from the current OUSD pro-development majority of which they both are part.

    KCOMM Account Exec Daniel Moorlach
         The PR firm hired for the $50,000 in educational tax funds is KCOMM.  One of KCOMM's account executives is Daniel Moorlach, son of  Orange County Supervisor and declared Congressional candidate John Moorlach.

    Ledesma at first reasoned that he was in favor of spending $50,000 in educational taxpayer monies on public relations because it could be used to sustain the "buzz" in the community about supporting a possible OUSD High School Bond.  After the Ledesma "bond buzz" comments,  Dr. Deligianni quickly asked OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen about district money being spent on Bond publicity. Christensen confirmed that once a Bond is authorized by the OUSD Trustees, no educational tax dollars can be spent on Bond related publicity.  Ledesma quickly thanked the Superintendent for correcting him. Ledesma also characterized the $50,000 in educational taxpayer money as  "just a drop in the bucket".

    Moffat also reminded the Board that the "Bond Buzz" referred to by Ledesma was created by the meetings held for the High School Master Facilities Plan.  Moffat noted that each of the planning firms had the responsibility for the pubic relations related to the Facilities Plan as part of their contracts. 

    The fear of using the $50,000 in educational tax funds ending up for "political PR"  is not a far fetched theory.  Another OUSD School Board that was "beat up locally and nationally in the press"  was the eventually recalled Reactionary Jacobson Board of the late 1990's and early 2000's.  That Board had an in-house publicity director ( "Information Officer" ) named Judy Frutig.  As members of the OUSD Board tried to manipulate the "message" of politically motivated lawsuits and the community recall against them, the moves of the Trustees continued to be national news. In response, the community organized their own communication structure- then called the Citizen's News Network  (predecessor of Orange Net News).

    Unable to contain and drive the narrative against an upstart citizen's community news organization and unwilling to do what a micromanaging school board ordered her to, Frutig was unceremoniously fired. Frutig then joined the community opposition to the Jacobson Majority and provided game-changing  information to the opposition working on recalling four trustees.  Frutig also joined a lawsuit against the Board's "political" firings. Those lawsuits were eventually settled out of court after the recall was successful. 

    OUSD Board Meetings go on the Road
    Also at the January 23 2014 Board Meeting, the OUSD Board voted 7-0 to approve President John Ortgea's plan to hold OUSD Board meetings at the district's four comprehensive high schools to discuss and review the Facilities Master plans for the school hosting the meeting. 

    The first of the 2014 On the Road OUSD Board meetings will be held at Orange High School mulit-purpose room this Thursday February 13. The Closed Session will take place at 5:00 pm with the Open Session moved up 1 hour to 6:00 pm.

    Ortega's proposal to hold the meetings at the high schools was widely applauded throughout the Greater Orange Communities.

    For information on the On the Road meetings CLICK ON: Traveling Board Meetings

    OUSD February 13th Agenda has a resolution to sell property
    At the January 23 meeting two community members spoke during the Pubic Comment sections about the possibility of selling the Peralta site to developers.

    Long-time OUSD resident Jan Meyers spoke during Pubic Comments section before the Closed Session opposing the selling of the Peralta Site. That session included a discussion on selling "surplus property". 

    Later in the Public Comment section of the Open Session, Jason Schubert addressed the Board again opposing the sale of the Peralta site and acknowledging the growing coalition across the community of Open Space advocates.

    Once again, selling the OUSD surplus property will again be on the OUSD Agenda on February 13, 2014 meeting. Again in the Closed Session, the Trustees will be discussing the Killerfer Sites, the Peralta site, the Riverdale site and the Walnut site.  The Open Session Action Item 13 A also includes a Resolution again authorizing the sale of the Killerfer site.

    INSIDE the February 13 Board Agenda
    Closed Session 4 B-  ( Agenda page 1) More discussions on selling Peralta and other properties

    Action Item 12 A- (Agenda page 4)  Facilities Master Plan Update for Orange High School

    Action Item 13 B- (Agenda page 23-24)  Board Policy against electronic cigarettes

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING February 13, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -Orange High School Multi-purpose Room
    CLOSED SESSION- 5:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 6:00 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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