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  • Monday, June 30, 2014


    OUSD votes for Bond election

      OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    As ghosts from Elections Past appear at the meeting...
    OUSD Board votes 6-1 to send H.S. Facilities Bond to voters

    The Orange Unified School Board meeting in a Special Session voted 6-1 to send a $296 million High School Facilities Bond Measure to Greater Orange voters this November.  The only item for the June 30th Open Session Agenda on the unusual Monday Special Session meeting brought a sizable crowd including opponents to the Bond measure being placed on the ballot. 

    Among the numerous community leaders attending were Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauley;  former Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche and former OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith.

    The return of Kathy Moran and Michael Fisher
    Also in the audience and addressing the Trustees were two very familiar supporters of the 2001 recalled Reactionary Jacobson Majority - Kathy Moran and Michael Fisher. Moran and Fisher were long time fixtures in the OUSD Board room in the 1990's and early 2000's as they supported the reactionary agenda of the Jacobson Majority.  Moran was often referred to as the unelected eighth Trustee.

    Both Moran and Fisher had come to oppose the placement of  the Bond on the ballot.  Moran by her own account told the Trustees that she had not been back to the OUSD Board room since the defeat of the 2004 OUSD Bond.  Moran and Fisher both had talking points about deferred maintenance monies for the schools.  Moran stated that before the Recall that Board was putting aside 4% for maintenance -double the 2% required by the state.  Moran's point? If the trustees can't keep 40 schools running with a 2% maintenance budget- they should not of cut the budget-therefore they are not good money managers.  Yes this is the logic of the mind that guided the Jacobson Majority to their eventual recall in 2001-  Moran's Mind.

    What Moran failed to mention was the doubled deferred maintenance fund was just one place the Reactionary Board was hiding educational tax  money-racking up hundreds of millions in reserves while strangling the OUSD public schools. All this as Moran's Trustees were spending millions upon millions of educational taxes meant for schools on political lawyers, lawsuits and litigation against everything in public education. Basically Moran's friends were using educational tax dollars to wage a reactionary war against the Greater Orange public schools.    Moran was their closest community ally- appointed to numerous high level OUSD administrative committees and even sitting  in on Trustee Closed Sessions.

    Later in the meeting it was Trustee Rick Ledesma who took on Moran's fantasy anti-Bond deferred maintenance. Ledesma-methodically offered a "realistic picture"  of what had happened to school finances. Ledesma outlined the $50 million yearly budget cuts during the Great Recession that started in 2008.  Reminding the audience of the choices between programs and maintenance resulting from up to 25% budget cuts he also outlined budget restraints caused by mediations, legal rulings, categorical funding reductions- as well as changes in the make-up of the Board with different philosophies. Ledesma emphasized that since 2008 the focus of the OUSD Board has primarily been the budget.  

    Remarks from all sides
    President John Ortega chastised those who opposed a Bond vote saying he had yet to hear anyone offer any other solution to upgrading local schools.  

    Trustee Mark Wayland also defended the Board's handling of the budget.  Wayland pointed to the OUSD Board selecting Superintendent Michael Christensen - with a financial background as opposed to a superintendent with an educational doctorate.  Wayland's remark about having " the best financial manager sitting to my left" [Christensen] brought applause from the audience.

    Trustee Kathy Moffat highlighted the Bond's financial manager remarks about OUSD's high credit ratings as proof of fiscal responsibility.  The financial advisor confirmed the strong high double "A" financial ratings OUSD has that will help with lower interest rates- Moody's "Aa2" rating  and Standard and Poor's "AA-" rating.

    Former Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche now President and CEO of the OC Tax Association also spoke. Cavecche reporting that while the OCTA takes no positions on Bonds, the OUSD Bond and Policies meet all 13 criteria requirements of the OC Tax Association.

    The highlight of the night had to be the public opposition to the Bond from Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauley. Pauley went into a soliloquy of indebtedness-referring to the bond as "worst than a tax-its a debt". 

    However it was not Pauley's " indebtedness"  nor Moran's  "deferred maintenance" logic that resulted in the lone vote against the Bond election from Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni.  For  her the reason to vote against an election was because the designs of the four architectural firms were "gorgeous"  and this Bond would not pay for all the design features-so an election for a Bond would be "setting up the community for disappointment". 

    With President John Ortega moving the item and Trustee Diane Singer seconding it, after the discussion Ortega called for a roll-call vote.  

    Trustee Timothy Surridge had no comment through out the entire meeting- in the end he voted Yes.  The finale vote was 6-1 ( Deligianni the only no).

    The audience erupted into applause as Ortega closed the meeting.

    Comments heard during the meeting

    "Local problems solved with local solutions."
    - C.A.R.E. co-founder Kris Erickson

    "Will it be enough when we are all bonded servants?"
    -Villa Park Councilwomen Debora Pauley

    "Were you good fiscal stewards or were there re-allotments to other needs?"                         
    - Kathy Moran

    "El Modena looks the same way it did in the 80's!"
    -OUSD President John Ortega

    "If you lived in a house for 50, 60, 70 years, when do you do a major re-model?"
    -OUSD Trustee Mark Wayland

    "What we do today is for the future."
    -OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat
    " I see a mess."
    -OUSD Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni

    "I'm opposed to raising taxes, but I vote yes to increase property values!"
    -OUSD Trustee Rick Ledesma

    "My vote is to give you the opportunity to vote."

    -OUSD President John Ortega


    -OUSD Trustee Timothy Surridge

    Sunday, June 29, 2014


    Greater Orange celebrates the 4th

    July 3rd and 4th celebrations in Greater Orange

    Orange kicks off the 4th with annual 3rd of July celebration

    Greater Orange kicks off Independence Day early with the City of Orange’s 18th Annual "3rd of July" Celebration. Begun in 1996, the 3rd of July festival has grown into one of Orange County’s biggest Independence Day centered events that includes- live music, inflatable activities and that famous Orange hometown festival atmosphere all leading up to the grand finale in Fred Kelly Stadium featuring the Orange Community Master Chorale followed by Greater Orange’s most spectacular fireworks choreographed to music.

    The 18th Annual 3rd of July Celebration will take place Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 4 p.m. at Orange Unified’s Fred Kelly Stadium at 3920 East Spring Street, Orange, CA 92869.

    Fred Kelly Stadium’s artificial turf requires special rules for everyone to enjoy. The following rules when attending the July 3rd activities apply: 

    • Only blanket seating is allowed on the field. 

    • Strollers, wheelchairs, wagons, or other wheeled items are only permitted in designated areas. 

    • Lawn Chairs, food, drinks, seeds, gum, popcorn, hard-soled or high-heeled shoes are prohibited on the field. 

    On-site staff may deem items not currently on this list as harmful to the field. If so informed, please help us by not bringing those items onto the field. 

    Tickets for the 18th Annual "3rd of July" Celebration are $7 for adults and children over two years old. 
     Tickets can be purchased at the Community Services Department, 230 East Chapman Avenue (corner of Grand Street) through 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 3, 2014. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the event after 1:30 p.m. 

    Tickets will be available for purchase at the event. 

    For more information please call the City of Orange Special Events Hotline at (714) 744 -7278.

    Villa Park "Stars on Parade" debut
    The first Fourth of July "Stars on Parade" sponsored by the Villa Park Foundation and Thomas Real Estate Group will be wheeling through the streets of Villa Park on the Fourth of July morning.
    "Kids of all ages" are welcome to ride decorated bikes, trikes, scooters and wagons along the parade route lead by an OCFA engine. Adult "kids" with classic cars all dolled up in patriotic colors are also invited to attend.

    The 1.5 mile long parade starts lining up at Villa Park High School at 9:30 am and will start off at 10 am. with "prizes and surprises" promised along the way.

    ANAHEIM HILLS celebrates
    4th of July all day

    If you just can't get enough of the 4th of July then Anaheim Hills, a Greater Orange community, is the place for you.

    The Canyon Community will again play host for its city’s official 4th of July Celebration with a full day of activities including the annual 4th of July Parade.  This year the Anaheim Hills Community Council will honor Anaheim's Hero's. The parade's grand marshals will be Anaheim Police dog Burno and his human partner Anaheim Police Officer R.J. Young -plus  a special surprise Disney grand marshal.

    This year's “Firecracker” 5 /10K Run – 2K Walk  begins at  7:00 am and goes until 10:00 am at the Canyon High School track– 220 S Imperial Highway Anaheim Hills. Registration and information have been available online (see link below).

    Beginning at 8 am until 10:00 am in the Canyon Hills H.S. cafeteria will be the Anaheim Hills Rotary Club’s famous Pancake Breakfast that includes hotcakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee and a whole lot of visiting with neighbors and friends.

    This year the Yankee Doodle Dog Show also returns at 10 a.m. to Canyon High School. There are six fabulous dog-gone-good categories: Best Dressed Dog, Cutest Dog (35 lb. and under), Best Trick, Owner/Doggie Look-a-like, Bigger Cutest Dog (36 lb. and over) and Yankee Doodle Dog. Prizes and awards given and the winners get to ride in the Firecracker July 4th Parade.

    At 5:00 pm it is the annual 4th of July Parade. The parade starts at Canyon High School and makes its way to Peralta Park at 115 N Pinney Dr., Anaheim Hills by proceeding  west on Santa Ana Canyon Rd ending at Pinney Drive. To see the parade route CLICK ON: PARADE

    Food Booths will be available between 3:00 pm – 8:45pm at Peralta Park. So forget the backyard BBQ! Bring your family, friends and neighbors to enjoy all the fabulous food. The park will also have live music entertainment  from 4:00 pm – 8:45 pm 

    The evening ends with a  spectacular fireworks display for your enjoyment beginning at 9:00 pm at Peralta Park.

    Saturday, June 28, 2014


    OUSD Trustees to vote on Bond election

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
    OUSD Bond election vote set for Special Meeting on Monday June 30th
    The Orange Unified School Board will hold a Special Meeting on Monday June 30, 2014 to vote on whether to place a $296 million dollar Facilities Bond on the November 2014 Ballot to let OUSD voters once again decide if the community should invest in OUSD schools.

    After a lengthy community process that included: tours of modernized schools for civic leaders; stakeholder input from each of the high schools on what their communities modernized high school facilities could include; and a series of  on-the-road Orange Unified Board of Education meetings to reveal those plans at each high school- Monday night's vote will require five of the seven trustees to vote yes to send the Bond to the voters.

    The vote will come 39 days ahead of the August 8th deadline for placing the item on the November ballot . Four of the trustees voting on the Bond issue will also have an election for their seats on the same November ballot: Rick Ledesma; Diane Singer: Kathy Moffat and Timothy Surridge.

    The ballot vote comes after a month of controversy where community members and Bond supporters watched the OUSD Board have an unprecedented extended review of  popular OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen  who had carefully and meticulously shepherded the Bond process to up to the final stages. With the clock ticking down and with an grassroots community organization called C.A.R.E already in place to proceed with a pro-Bond campaign- community leaders across  OUSD braced for an expected self-destruction of  the OUSD Board that never materialized as OUSD President John Ortega finally wrapped up the "evaluation" and moved forward with a June 30th Special Meeting vote.    

    The June 30th Agenda's only Open Session item is the Bond Measure vote. The resolution on the agenda includes the ballot language to be put to the Greater Orange voters:

    "To repair or replace aging, outdated high school classrooms/science labs with safe, modern facilities and maintain the quality of education, upgrade career-training facilities, libraries, and computer  systems to keep pace with technology, improve student safety/campus security, acquire, construct, repair schools, facilities/equipment to provide students with the education and training needed to succeed in college/careers, shall Orange Unified School District issue $296 million in bonds at legal rates, with independent citizen oversight, no money for administrator salaries, and all money staying

    The OUSD resolution includes setting aside monies for  a maintenance account:
    "(i) that for as long as bonds are outstanding, the Board annually will deposit 1% of the
    prior fiscal year's General Fund revenues into a facility maintenance account."

    The election resolution also addresses the legally needed list of proposed projects [ Note: capitalization  emphasis are true to original text]:

    "Therefore, in approving this Project List, the Board of Education determines that the District must:
    (i) Repair or replace old, leaky roofs, old rusty plumbing where needed and faulty
    electrical systems; and
    (ii) Provide the facilities and equipment for college, career and technical education
    classes so students are skilled in the use of 21st Century technology and are
    prepared for college and careers, good paying jobs in fields like science, math,
    technology and the skilled trades; and
    (iii) Improve student safety and security systems, including security lighting, fencing,
    smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers; and
    (iv) Update instructional technology in the classroom for improved student learning
    in core subjects such as math, science and technology; and
    (v) Modernize schools and classrooms to improve earthquake safety and access for
    students with disabilities; and
    (vi) Adhere to specific FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY safeguards such as:
    (a) Sacramento must be prohibited from taking any of the funds raised,
    (b) All expenditures must be subject to annual independent financial audits,
    (c) An independent citizens' oversight committee must be appointed to
    ensure that all funds are spent only as authorized.
    The Project List includes the following types of upgrades and improvements at the District's high schools. WITH RESPECT TO EACH HIGH SCHOOL, ALL MONEY RECEIVED BY  THE DISTRICT FROM THE MEASURE SHALL BE SPENT EQUALLY AMONG THE  FOUR HIGH SCHOOLS. "

    The resolution also makes it clear that each high school is to receive the same amount of money from the Bond- approximately $74 million each-and includes details about the list of renovations. The same categories are included for each high school listed separately: 

    "School Renovation, Repair and Upgrade Projects
    Goal and Purpose: Since providing the facilities and labs needed for career and technology  education classes so students are prepared for college and good paying jobs in fields like health  science, engineering technology and skilled trades is critical, local schools will benefit from projects including..."

    "Health, Safety
    Goal and Purpose: Since good, safe and up-to-date schools are a wise investment to (i) help protect and improve local property values, (ii) protect the quality of our schools, (iii) protect the quality of life in our community, and (iv) reduce maintenance costs, thereby returning more money to the classroom and protect instruction in core subjects like math, science and technology, [ Name of school] will benefit from a variety of health and safety projects..."

    "Energy Efficiency - Returning Savings to the Classroom"
    "Instructional Technology and Wiring Projects
    To Provide a 21st Century Technology Skills
    Goal and Purpose: To enable our students to succeed in college and careers, they must be skilled in the use of 21st Century technologies and have a solid background in science, math,  and technology..."

    The resolution also includes a paragraph with a long list of caveats that will impact the scope of the projects completed.  State matching funds (which currently do not exist) are covered and a potentially controversial phrase about the explosive issue of OUSD surplus properties is included in the resolution:

    "The funding of  improvements at each high school may be affected by the District's receipt of State matching funds,  proceeds from the sale of surplus District land, and the final costs of each project. In the absence of  State matching funds, which the District will aggressively pursue to reduce the District's share of the costs of the projects, the District may not be able to complete some of the projects listed above."

    Also included are these caveats on projected budget costs for projects are covered:
    "The  budget for each project is an estimate and may be affected by factors beyond the District's control."

    "The  final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized, construction bids are awarded and  projects are completed. Based on the final costs of each project, certain of the projects described  above may be delayed or may not be completed."

    Another area the resolution  covers, but not widely addressed in the long run up to bond planning, is the issue of the possibility of "joint-use" arrangements:

    "Some projects throughout the District, such as gyms, fields and performing arts facilities, may be  undertaken as joint use projects in cooperation with other local public or non-profit agencies".

    Also on the Monday June 30 Agenda is a Closed Session item related to the modernization construction that occurred at Lampson Elementary.

    Significant Exposure to Litigation and Anticipated Litigation Pursuant to Government Code Sections 54956.9(d)(2): One (1) Item-PW Construction Inc. Government Code claim. On June 10,2014, Orange Unified School District received a Government Code claim from PW Construction, Inc. for costs owed and additional costs incurred arising out of PW Construction's work on the Lampson Elementary School Modernization Project.

     NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Monday June 30, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD District Office
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 6:30 pm

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

    ARCHIVAL Information and direct news can be found at:
    the Greater Orange News Service
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    is an independent news service of

    Orange Net News

    Monday, June 23, 2014


    SPECIAL REPORT: OUSD Keeps Christensen

    OUSD Board keeps Superintendent Christensen and
    confirms "bond vote" set for Monday June 30

    After nearly two hours of a Closed Session meeting devoted to the "evaluation" of popular OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen,  OUSD Board President John Ortega reported to a small audience of high level OUSD Administrators and some of Greater Orange's most influential community members that there were no decisions from Closed Session, but the OUSD Board had a productive discussion with Mr. Christensen about his evaluation.

    The unusual Monday June 23rd Special Meeting that only dealt with  the Superintendent's evaluation had sparked widespread speculation on the fate of the Superintendent after the OUSD Board met privately without the Superintendent or other administrators in Closed Session at the Monday June 16th Special Meeting for an extended period of time-then scheduled tonight's Special Meeting to continue the evaluation. In the intervening week wide-spread speculation and a community-wide show of support for Superintendent  Christensen throughout the Greater Orange Communities erupted.  

    That support was on display at the beginning of the meeting with community members addressing the OUSD Board before their Closed Session commenting on the OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen's leadership, stellar reputation and integrity.

    Included in President Ortega's  end of the meeting announcement was that the OUSD Board would be voting on whether to place a 2014 Facilities Bond on the November ballot at another Special Meeting on June 30th.

    Sunday, June 22, 2014


    Ortega's choice: Leadership or Tragedy?

    Viewpoints of Greater Orange
    Metro Views
    OUSD's President John Ortega's choice:
    Leadership or Tragedy?
    -Viewpoint of the Greater Orange Communities Organization

    When Orange County Sheriff John Ortega was elected  to the Orange Unified School Board in 2001 as part of the Citizen's Board takeover from the Orange Recall, he and the other Board Members elected moderate conservative Trustee Robert Viviano  as OUSD Board President.  Viviano had been marginalized by the radical Jacobson Majority of the Education Alliance slate that had taken over the OUSD Board. 

    Viviano quickly worked to bring sweeping changes to OUSD in just one year.  Refusing to "buyout" the handpicked Jacobson Majority Superintendent, ...Viviano made a standing weekly Friday afternoon appointment with Superintendent Barbara Van Otterloo to meticulously go over her week's activities (local legend says that time was purposefully picked by Viviano   because it interfered with a long standing golf  tee time the Superintendent had).   Within a year the Superintendent had retired with no buy-out of her contract at taxpayers expense.  Vivano also ditched the political ally attorney firms of the defeated  trustees and brought sweeping reforms to Board Policies. Those included: a second "public comment" section being added to the end of the OUSD Board  Agenda; for the first time OUSD Board meetings were broadcast over the local cable stations; and Vivano's crowning achievement- a rotation system was established for all OUSD Board Officers so a majority slate could not hold unchecked power.  Viviano started the "on-the road" Board Meetings  rotating the meetings  between the OUSD high schools and middle schools to connect to the community and build back trust in the OUSD Board.  To re-build employee moral a yearly pancake breakfast was instituted with Van Otterloo and district administrators serving the employees.

    The leadership and accomplishments of the OUSD Board under President Robert Viviano has never been equaled since-until this year.

    A young John Ortega first rotated into the office of the OUSD President under the Recall Reform rules and by most accounts it was not a successful year. Years later, as the OUSD Board faced the prospect of Trustee Steve Rocco becoming an officer under the  Recall Reforms (after a failed Rocco Recall attempt) , the Board Majority ditched the rotation of officers. 

    A lot has happened in the almost fifteen years since the Orange Recall for the OUSD Board and Ortega.  Ortega left the Sheriff's department;  Rocco, who several times during his years on the OUSD Board  almost goaded Ortega to fisticuffs was re-districted out of his Trustee Area; Ortega who has never faced an election opponent  was floated as a possible Congressional Candidate.  And of course-two OUSD Bond measures were defeated.

    After several years, Ortega split with most of the other Citizen Trustees that were elected in 2001 (only Kathy Moffat and Rick Ledesma also remain on the Board).  In December of 2014, after two  tumultuous years of Trustee Tim Surridge as OUSD President the new Board majority turned to a wiser and mature Ortega to lead the OUSD Board in 2014. 

    Ortega not only rose to the occasion, but in his first six months surpassed expectations and he appeared on the way to rival the accomplishments of  Robert Viviano. Ortega brought respect back to the OUSD Board meetings ending derisive and demeaning interrupting comments from the chair. He gave everyone a chance to fully speak- and disagreeing or agreeing in a respectful manner after all others have spoken. He took a page from Viviano and instituted a highly successful "on the road" meeting  series about the facilities plans at the four comprehensive OUSD high schools that even other trustees gushed about how successful they were.  He tried to place the Peralta issue outside of the politics of 2014 by extending the operators lease (this failed when the operator called for different terms).  But above all he has  been about to do what so many other's have failed to do...lead the Greater Orange Communities into approving a facilities  Bond.  

    However, like a Shakespeare tragedy, one issue appears to stand in between  Ortega's legacy and a tragic ending .

    The question Ortega faces in the drawn out process over Superintendent Michael Christensen's on-going evaluation (and the rumored innuendo's of malfeasance)  appears to be two simple issues: "evidence and politics". Those two issues appear to stand between Ortega's legacy as great leader or being just another radical politician.

    Unfortunately tragedies become clearly "tragic" only in the finale act-but the foreshadowing of the end comes well before the curtain falls with the choices the players make.

    Ortega is a product of Orange Unified. He often boasts about his OUSD high school days at El Modena High School and his long community ties. No one has ever questioned Ortega's sincerity of his love for his community and his goal of world class schools.

    But, now all eyes are on OUSD President John Ortgea and the road he takes- the road of great leadership for the good of his community, or the road that leads to personal and community tragedy.

    Metro Views  A community news service of the  Orange Communication System /OCS/
     Views expressed in Metro Views  are not necessarily the viewpoints of the networks that carry, send or reproduce this posting.
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    Orange Net News /O/N/N/   eLECTION Watch 2014   Metro Talk    Metro Views 
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     Greater Orange News SErVICE            SPECIAL REPORT

    Friday, June 20, 2014


    SPECIAL REPORT: Politics or Misconduct?

    Politics or Misconduct?
    Orange Unified Superintendent's evaluation continues for June 23 Special Meeting

    Just 2 weeks away from  approving placing a 2014 Facilities Bond on the November 2014 ballot-a process that has been over a year in the making involving thousands of community members- and the Orange Unified School Board  has dramatically turned its attention to continuing the "evaluation" of  OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen for a Special Monday night meeting on June 23, 2014.

    The Special Meeting dealing again with the Superintendent's evaluation takes place amid rampant rumors throughout the Greater Orange Communities over what is going on in these ongoing Board of Trustee Closed Sessions "evaluations" of the popular OUSD Superintendent.

    Trustee Timothy Surridge
    Sources in Greater Orange point to a scenario of ultra conservative OUSD Trustees trying to sabotage the 2014 Bond process (even as they give lip service to supporting a Bond) after they were unable to connect the sale of the Peralta Property to developers in return for placing the Bond on the ballot. Add in a November trustee election for four OUSD Trustee seats and all indications point to politics -not education- as the controlling factor over the continued "evaluation" drama.

    As time tics down to the Bond ballot placement deadline of August 8th, and with a Special Meeting now scheduled  for June 30, 2014 for the OUSD Trustees to vote to just place a Bond issue on the November ballot for voters to decide, clearly losing OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen for any reason this Monday would be a deathly blow to the Bond efforts.   

    With specific legal requirements needed to remove the Superintendent, lacking any substantiated evidence of misconduct the whole scheme could actually backfire on the OUSD Trustees. With the Superintendent  just signing a three year contract- a costly contract buyout, then the costly legal fight that most certainly will result in his removal, as well as the loss of the opportunity  for a 2014 Bond  would cause a catastrophic backlash from the community that would rival or surpass the 2001 Orange Recall.

    The major difference between today and  2001 is that while in 2001 stakeholder alliances and community communication networks were built from the ground up, today those community stakeholder alliances and communication networks are already in place across the Greater Orange Communities. 

    Aside from the disaster for a 2014 Bond, losing Christensen at this point, for any reason, would be a disaster for local schools. With the Common Core implementation, labor contract negotiations underway, and OUSD property related issues all on the front burner, a search for a new leader in the middle of a community in revolt could set the progress OUSD has made educationally, on its reputation, and with the morale of its employees  back a decade.

    It now appears one historic meeting stands between progress toward a bright future and total chaos for OUSD: Monday June 23, 2014.


    Monday, June 16, 2014


    SPECIAL REPORT: Bond in...Christensen out?

     OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    As rumors fly about Superintendent Christensen's job...
    OUSD announces Bond vote on June 30th

    Black Monday crowd makes a statement
    A capacity crowd-all dressed in black as arranged for by the C.A.R.E. bond support group- showed up to the "Black Monday" June 16th Orange Unified School District School Board meeting to protest the delay in the OUSD Bond being placed on the OUSD Agenda.

    With only two Agenda items- the Closed Session discussion of OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen evaluation and the cancellation of the current Request for Qualifications/Proposals For Construction Management Services to reissue the Request and add  "Program Management Services" to the construction services request,- the meeting seemed long in anticipation and short in action. Except where it counted. 

    However, it was the Bond and the Superintendent that was the topic of not only the meeting, but the days leading up to the meeting.

    The Closed Session was scheduled from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  At 7:30 pm, the OUSD Administrators who sit in on the Closed Session returned to the Board room.  The Trustees did not. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes.  Still no Trustees.

    With the long delay, the buzz in the Board Room then turned to the rumors that had been circulating around the Greater Orange Communities for the last week that a few Trustees were trying to oust  popular Superintendent Michael Christensen.  As the delay continued, the crowd braced for what many in the crowd feared would be a disastrous announcement. Many of the Bond Supporters attribute Christensen as the driving force in guiding the highly successful 2014 Bond process momentum to this point.

    At 8:10 pm the Trustees finally returned to the Board room and after the meeting formalities,  OUSD Board President John Ortega reported that there was no Closed Session decisions to report. The collective relief of the audience could be felt. 

    In April  Superintendent Christensen's contract was extended until 2017.  Ousting Christensen would require the OUSD Board to "buy-out" his contract costing OUSD Taxpayers close to $600,000 in educational tax dollars- all this before going to voters in November to ask for approval for a Bond.

    It was in April 2011 that the OUSD Board bucked tradition and appointed then Deputy Assistant Superintendent Christensen to the Superintendent's  post. Since OUSD's groundbreaking decision to make the district's financial  leader the head of the school system, other district's across the state have followed OUSD's lead.

     When the announcement of Christensen's appointment was made at the April 21, 2011 meeting, the Board room audience literally erupted in universal cheers and applause.  Never in the memory of any long-time Board watchers has any Board appointment been met with such universal  community approval.  (CLICK ON: Christensen )

    Winner of the 2010 GOPY-Greater Orange Person of the Year (Click on: GOPY), Christensen is universally admired by community leaders, parents, teachers and support staff.  That universal admiration however appears to end at the OUSD Board Room where apparently Christensen's evenhanded approach to all Board members does not sit well with some Trustees who see themselves as the "chosen ones".

    The implications of a Christensen ouster on the moral of  the OUSD workforce and Greater Orange Community-as well as the political ramifications again show how self-centered and out-of-touch the self-described "chosen ones" appear to be.  The last time a popular OUSD Superintendent was ousted by radical trustees was Dr. French. That sparked a community civil war that ended with the 2001 Orange Recall.  French's replacement- Barbara Van Otterloo was never accepted and after the 2001 Recall was forced to retire by the new Citizen's Board that refused to buy her contract out. Otterloo was replaced triumphantly by her predecessor...the ousted and beloved Dr. French.

    As one Bond leader at the Monday night meeting stated "A vote to oust Christensen will produce an election scorecard for the next three elections."

    As community speakers cleverly refused to be shut out from talking about the Bond because of the rules of the Special Meeting requiring comments on Agenda items only, OUSD President John Ortega announced that two new Special Meetings would be held on the next two consecutive Mondays- June 23rd and June 30th.  He further announced that June 30th would be when the OUSD Board would place the Bond on the Agenda for a vote. August 8th is the deadline for measures to be placed on the November ballot.

    Concerns then quickly shifted to the June 23rd meeting and the possibility of the continuation of the discussion of the "Superintendent's evaluation" during Closed Session and the question arose..."Is it possible that the OUSD Trustees will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?" 

      OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
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    Saturday, June 14, 2014


    OUSD Bond Protest planned

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
    With no 2014 Bond placement  vote yet and growing concern...
    OUSD Bond Supporters plan protest at Special Session OUSD Board meeting
    The 2014 Orange Bond supporters from C.A.R.E (Community Advancement through Renovation for Education ) are planning to stage a quiet protest at the Orange Unified Special Meeting  on Monday June 16, 2014 (starting time 7:30 pm).  The plan to wear black and bring signs supporting moving forward on a 2014 OUSD Bond measure to the June 16th Special Meeting is to bring attention to what is perceived as a slow down in the  momentum of the district toward placing a facilities Bond on the 2014 November ballot.

    The C.A.R.E. Facebook page June 12 post stated:


    CARE is appalled and thoroughly frustrated to discover the school board president has failed to place a vote on calling for a November high school facilities bond measure on Monday night’s agenda. We made numerous requests to have this matter placed on the agenda and, clearly and inexplicably, we have been ignored. No explanation has been provided for the sudden change in direction on pursuing a high school facilities improvement bond. This is unacceptable! Thousands of people have given their time and energy both helping to create the master site plans and appearing in support of a bond at the various school board meetings. The board’s inaction is a slap in the face given the indisputable need to improve our high schools, the swell of community support in favor of improving the high schools through a bond measure, and the thousands of hours dedicated community members have already devoted to this cause. Without the board voting to put the bond on the November ballot, we are unable to begin our campaign to get this bond passed. Our kids need this NOW, not later. We do not have time to wait until it’s politically convenient for the board to act. 

    We need to make our message loud and clear to the school board that NOW is the time for the board to call for a bond to be placed on the November 2014 ballot. We will not tolerate further delays, last minute objections, and eleventh hour excuses. Tell them to show some leadership and do what is right for our children!

    With an August 8th deadline to approve a Bond for the 2014 November ballot, sources close to the CARE leadership report growing frustration at the pace to approve a 2014 Bond measure tied to concerns that the slow pace may have to do with internal Board political maneuvering. Insider reports at the lack of communication with the CARE leadership has also been a cause for concern.

    Long time OUSD sources also reveal that disappointment in the cryptic nature of the June 16th Agenda Special Meeting dealing with the evaluation of popular OUSD Superintendent Michael Christiansen and the single Action Item on the agenda to "Cancel the Current RFQ/P for the Project/Construction Management Services".

    At the May 8th OUSD Board meeting Trustee Kathy Moffat called for board policies in place for Board members and staff to protect against conflict of interest in regards to a Bond.  Moffat at the end of the meeting made a compelling case for safeguards to assure transparency and above board conduct as OUSD asks the community to trust the district with  tax dollars to upgrade the high schools. 

    As an example, Moffat revealed that OUSD Board President John Ortega and Trustee Timothy Surridge attended a meeting of potential Bond "vendors and bidders".   Moffat states:

    "I was quite disturbed to hear that at a large meeting, where many potential vendors and bidders for a contract-two of our Board members went.  Mr. Ortega and Mr. Surridge, they went to the meeting. There is no role for Board members at the meeting. They addressed the meeting. There is no reason for that.  I think that is part of an improper role for a Board member to play and we haven't even begun yet."

    Moffat stated she was working with the Superintendent to bring forward new Board Policies ahead of the Bond election vote.  

    After Moffat's call to add new conflict of interest Board Policies, President Ortega-who  earlier in the meeting tangled with Moffat over a Consent Item to pay absent OUSD Board Member Mark Wayland his stipend for missing the meeting ( the item to pay him failed on a 3-1-3 vote with Moffat voting no and three Board members absent-Singer, Wayland and Surridge)  closed the meeting stating:

    "All I can say is those who a live in glass house should not throw stones- I adjourn this meeting".

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Monday June 16, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD District Office
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:30 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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