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  • Monday, June 30, 2014

     

    OUSD votes for Bond election

    SPECIAL REPORT
      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

    "Yes."

    -OUSD Trustee Timothy Surridge

    Comments:
    Honestly, have any of you been to the local high schools to see for yourselves the crumbling infrastructure? Have you seen the remodeling and refurbishing that took place at Foothill HS? Parents with any kind of means available to them will be running like mad to enroll their kids at schools other than Orange schools unless the community takes action now!
     
    OUSD always cuts from the bottom, the "kids". They never mention that they get more money per student than any private school or that there is always plenty of money for bloated salaries and pensions, Ortega himself could not defend the FACT that they pay the OUSD Superintendent more that the Vice President of the United States of America - at 278,000.00 - OUSD needs to CUT from the top, not the bottom.
     
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