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  • Wednesday, June 04, 2014

     

    Bond pollster warns community

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OU$D Bond WATCH 2014
    Bond pollster warns community to "work" for Bond passage
    At the May 8th Orange Unified School Board meeting Agenda Item 13A was the long awaited polling report done for a likely 2014 OUSD School Bond. Conducted by True North Research, the polling showed that the community was receptive toward improving its schools, but that the Greater Orange Community (that has rejected 2 school bonds in the recent past) is not willing to be over taxed to accomplish school improvements. The polling representatives admonished the trustees that the Bond supporters would have to "work for it".

    The polling showed high support for improving the OUSD schools and the True North Research representatives touted their firms "94% success rate"  at predicting school bonds passage, however, they continued to hedge their presentation with careful wording such as "feasibility", "considerations" and emphasized the point that the poll was a "snap shot". The polling representatives several times reminded the trustees the polling did not suggest "coasting" to a Bond victory and emphasized throughout the report that the Bond supporters would need a "very good campaign" and would have to "work for it" to pass a Bond.  This was especially evident when they reported on the negatives tested in the polling calls and the Bond favorability margins fell with-in the 4.89% error rate. 

    While the cautionary words seemed to resonate with the three trustees who are still on the Board from the previous two failed OUSD Bond attempts in the last decade- John Ortega, Kathy Moffat and Rick Ledesma- the other trustees and the current OUSD Administration seemed to not fully comprehend the polling numbers connection to the "sticker shock" negatives. Those negatives clearly appeared to be the polling presentation's Achilles' Heel. 

    The welcomed news of Bond support data overpowering the cautionary polling words became even more apparent the next day on May 15th. On that day, either OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen's office or OUSD's new $50,000 publicity firm released a press release titled:

    "Research Data Shows Strong Support for Local School Renovation Bond
    All “ballot tests” pass necessary vote threshold"

    The release lacked any reference to the fact that the pro-Bond supporters would need to "work" for a Bond measure. The over-the-top almost "its in the bag" press release included this quote from OUSD Superintendent Christensen which clearly ignores the cautionary "work for it" admonishment the pollster's tried to get across several times the night before:

    "This information shows that the bond would likely pass and that the voters in our District are committed to maintaining and improving their schools to meet the challenges of education in the 21st Century," said Superintendent of Schools Michael Christensen".

    The footnote not included in the release was-as long as the Bond does not cost too much and as long as supporters go out and work to insure the Bond's passage-then it would likely pass.  

    The issue of the price was addressed later when the OUSD Board looked at the proposed Bond measure tax assessment per $100,000 of assessed value. The polling of tax impacts showed a high $56 tax assessment carried a 44% approval rating and a $34 assessment carried a 52% approval rating. With a needed 55% approval and a 4.89% margin of error- and the May 15th Superintendent's quote appears politically naive.

    To complicate matters, when reviewing the proposed Bond language, the OUSD Trustees settled by consensus on a $39 per $100,000 assessment-above the low $34 rate that got the highest approval in the polling.  That rate would yield approximately $294 million for school improvements.

    Other important issues that were addressed was the multiple bond strategy and the high expectations of the community and the high-end High School Master Facilities Plans for each high school.

    During the polling discussion Austin Grodt, the Canyon High School SACBE (Student Advisory Council to the Board of Education) representative made a rare SACBE comment. In his comment about the multiple Bond strategy, the astute student representative wondered out loud that after passing of a first Bond and not getting everything on the facilities plan, would the community be open to passing more bonds?  Doing the Bond Math, OUSD Trustee Dr. Deligianni also voiced the concern that multiple Bonds would be needed to achieve what was presented to the community in the High School Facilities Master Plans. 

    Trustee Mark Wayland stated that he felt that the OUSD Board was clear during the meetings held at all the high school sites that the facilities plans would be completed in phases and a prioritization of projects would be required. That message was in total contrast to a message that Trustee Moffat had revealed earlier in the evening stating that she was shocked to have been told that some in the community feel that OUSD had already passed a Bond and that the some community members were wondering  why the schools were in such bad shape after it passed.  That misconception plays into the multiple Bond strategy and the prioritizing of infrastructure upgrades before curb appeal projects.

    Further complicating the Bond issue was the introduction of the "surplus properties" issue into the Bond poll by True North Research.  Trustee Kathy Moffat took acceptation to the introduction of the surplus properties issue being introduced into the poll. Moffat maintained that linking OUSD's surplus properties and the Bond was an "argument manufactured" by some Board members.  The True North Research poll did not link the surplus properties to Greater Orange open space and the well organized open space advocates in Greater Orange.

    In November of 2010, 45,000 Orange residents voted on Measure FF, the City of Orange Referendum on the Proposed Orange Park Acres Development. That development was defeated by well-organized community open space advocates with a 56.4% ( 25,655 ) to 43.6%. (19,809)-this despite massive amounts of money to support the development by deep pocketed developers.

    The True North Research representative put the predicted expected voter turn out of the 124,943 OUSD registered voters in the November 2014 election at 61% or 76,079. While this November is a gubernatorial election, the token Republican opposition to a popular Gov. Jerry Brown is not expected to garner much voter turn-out. 

    In the 2012 Presidential Election, with a contentious Orange Mayor's race and numerous controversial ballot propositions and the contested OUSD Trustee Areas 3 and 5, the total OUSD vote was around 68,000 cast ballots. In 2010, the last "off year" election, and elections in OUSD Trustee Areas 1,3,5, and 7 had about 54,000 voters cast ballots-again with controversial ballot measures on the ballot.

    Ortega pulls Peralta 1 Year lease extension
    The Thursday May 8, 2014 Orange Unified School District Board of Education Meeting Agenda Item 12 A (agenda pages 7-9) had Board President John Ortega proposing that the current Ground Lease Agreement between  Orange Unified and the Peralta Golf Partnership that runs the Super Sports Golf and Recreation Center at the former Peralta School site be extended for one year from the end of the lease's current term. 

    The one-year extension however was pulled off the Agenda at the beginning of the May 8th meeting by Ortega. He explained that the Peralta Golf Partnership had requested "lease modifications", adding that the lease would be brought back at a later date.  The current $200,000 a year lease is set to expire on March 31, 2015.

    In November of 2016, John Ortega, Dr. Alexia Deligianni and Mark Wayland's seats are up for re-election. Ortega has supported the sale of the Peralta site, while Deligianni  (who represents the Peralta neighborhood) has sided against the site's sale since the controversy over the high density apartment lease proposed for the site exploded into controversy.

    Wayland, who originally supported the high density lease, changed his mind during his re-election campaign- then changed back to supporting the lease, then the  sale of the site to a developer after his successful re-election.

    INSIDE the June 5, 2014 Agenda
    Mc Manus Hall- Claremont
    OUSD Trustee Diane Singer is scheduled to take part in the meeting by teleconference.  The Brown Act has numerous requirements for teleconferencing. Singer will participate from the Mc Manus Hall Courtyard at Claremont Graduate University.

    Closed Session 4 B- 3 positions for High School Assistant Principal's will be named and 3 Elementary School Principal positions.

    Action Item 12 A- The legally required Public Hearing for the application of the  Nopilhuan K-8 Charter School. The school is based on "biliteracy" . "Biliteracy" is a educational/political movement that has developed in response to English Only mandates. San Diego Unified also received an application from the Nopilhuan "founders".

    Action Item 12 C- Adoption of Estimated Actuals for 2013-14 budget and All funds Budget for 2014-2015.  Agenda Pg 18 shows $58.3 million in "Unrestricted" funds with a $7.3 million reserve for 2013-14 and the same for the 2014-15 Budget.

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday June 5, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD District Office
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
    For AGENDA-CLICK ON: AGENDA
    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 http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
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    Greater Orange News Service
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    Orange Net News

    Comments:
    Once again, your posting has cherry picked the truth and I once again have to take the time to correct you. While you hide behind a faceless mask, I will come out with who I am, I am Mark Wayland, Board member, Orange Unified School District. you have posted that I changed my mind about the selling of Peralta to help my re-election. Others have posted that I was locked in a struggle for re-election, etc.If this is true, then why did I not post ONE yard sign, why did I not post anything in the paper about voting for me, If I was locked into a fierce re-election, why did I only pay for what you saw on the ballet, and nothing more, It was because I don't lie to people or distort the truth. I voted to hold up the selling of the Peralta property, as I stated at the board meeting when I voted it down, because I felt that the board and the district did not do a very good job at promoting the project, and more time was needed for information. I also told all that attended the board meeting, that I was not against the development, but I was very much against how the process was being done. At that meeting and the next, BEFORE THE NOVEMBER ELECTION, I told all in attendance, that if they wanted me removed, they had ample time to garner up the support to have me voted out of office. I was told that I won the seat by one of the largest margins ever. Within a couple of months, I voted to move the project forward, in part because I don't believe that any of us had seen the final pieces of the puzzle that would state in plain english, what the district could expect in money over the years of the contract. When all of that information was brought forth, I informed the President of the Board, that I could not support this sale due to a number of factors that were only brought out at the final stages of the process. I never lied to anyone, never told them that I would vote against this only to go back on my vote after re-election. To suggest such a thing means only one thing, you have but one objective and that is to paint board members you do not like in a negative light. After the Sentry posted a damning essay on me, I responded with a two page letter explaining the process and why I had done what I did. They refused to print my letter, so I read it at the following board meeting and offered copies to anyone there. If in fact you were at this board meeting, you either did not want to read what I had written in my defense, or you just did not care. If you want to contact me, all my information for that is on my website, markwayland.com I await your response.
     
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