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  • 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    "To repair or replace aging, outdated high school classrooms/science labs with safe, modern facilities and maintain the quality of education, upgrade career-training facilities, libraries, and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
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