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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
OUSD to reveal Measure K plans
As Christensen and Pauly spar in the press...
Measure K architectural plans take center stage at the OUSD Special Board Meeting Thursday Oct 2nd
The Orange Unified School Board will hold a Special Meeting Thursday October 2nd to review the newest architectural plans prepared for the four high schools. Unlike the earlier artist renderings of high schools plans using a wish list of community stakeholders of each of the sites, the newest renderings will take into account the Measure K budget of $74 million allotted to each of OUSD's comprehensive high schools.
In August of this year the OUSD Board authorized each of the master plan architectural firms ( one for each high school) to develop the drawings of what could be accomplished at each of the high schools with the funding from Measure K with the emphasis on educationally related modernization.
In June, OUSD Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni cited the original renderings as one of her reasons she voted against placing Measure K on the November ballot. Deligianni not only voted against placing the Bond on the ballot, she also joined with Measure K opponents led by Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauly in signing the ballot argument against Measure K.
In the September issue of the Foothills Sentry Pauly pens a "Guest Editorial" against Measure K. While Pauly writes in the editorial that the OUSD buildings have " a real need for refurbishing and modernization" she falsely blames that need on "OUSD placing a low priority" on modernization. The controversial Pauly overlooks the truth of OUSD being the only district in
that has successfully modernized a handful of its 40 schools (including two of
its five middle schools) in the last decade without having a bond. For those schools, OUSD had the option for
using matching state funding. That effort to update schools in a piecemeal
fashion ended with the state budget crisis that resulted from the Great
Recession. What remains true is that OUSD is the only major district in Orange County
that has not passed a bond measure to update schools-causing student flight from
local schools and declining property values across Greater Orange despite the high
quality of education in OUSD schools. Orange County
Pauly too takes aim at the stakeholder planning that involved each of the high school's own communities in an in-depth study of the high schools. In the editorial Pauly ( who is not an attorney) also criticizes the legal wording required in the Measure K ballot description as "copy and paste". She further criticizes the community stakeholders assessment of their schools as "disconnect between 'needs' and 'wants'" while she acknowledges that the stakeholders were specifically told to look at their schools without limits. Community members dreaming big about what 21st education looks like to the community apparently makes Pauly uncomfortable enough to call for Measure K's defeat. Or is it something else that Pauly isn't forthcoming about?
In the same Foothills Sentry issue, in the Letters to the Editor section, OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen defends the process OUSD took writing that "I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some misinformation circulating about the ongoing
Facilities Master Plan/Measure K Bond
process". Christensen goes on
to write about the very open and transparent collaborative process the
community stakeholders at each of the high schools engaged in to produce not
only plans for updated educational facilities, but also for community specific library,
athletic and other student centered facilities needs. Christensen writes the resulting Master Plans
are "visioning documents that take
into account each school community".
The Superintendent rightfully points out that the "community support was immense"
for the Master Facilities Plans process, but he also acknowledges the concerns
of some community members about the "overall
costs of implementing such grand plans". He goes on to explain the
OUSD Board did polling of the community at large to find what price the voters
in the community would be comfortable in supporting for the modernization of
their high schools. He writes that the poll reported that the community would
support a $39 per $100,000 of assessed value.
His letter also states that the OUSD Board had authorized the
architectural firms to draw up plans based on the Measure K budget of a projected $74 million for each of the high
schools so the community will be fully
informed of the plans before the election.
Those plans will be presented Thursday October 2nd. OUSD High
The Superintendent also noted that the OUSD Board has authorized setting aside double the current maintenance budget to maintain the high schools. Critics like Pauly have called that figure low-despite the fact that it doubles the budget that has maintained the current schools as operational for well past their projected lifetime.
What the Superintendent's letter does not address is the bang-for-the-buck return the Greater Orange property owners will reap in property values and equity should Measure K pass. That simple message on property values is what the Measure K proponents have touted from the beginning as they have amassed a coalition of supporters that has crossed demographic, social and political lines.
NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday October 2, 2014
OPEN SESSION ONLY NOTE Time change 6:00 pm
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:
are independent news services of /O/N/N/
Orange Net News
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Measure K gets
C.A.R.E. the grass roots political organization backing OUSD's bond Measure K has announced that the City of
Orange Firefighters Association have joined the broad based community coalition pushing for the passage of Measure K.
It is the first ever endorsement of the association of a school related issue.
C.A.R.E. released this statement from the Orange Firefighters:
“We have never taken a position in a school district race or ballot measure, however, because we support safety within our schools and a positive environment for the education of our children, we are pleased to announce our endorsement of Measure K.”
Firefighters, September 16, 2014) Orange City
Alleged White House intruder has
connection Orange High School
Omar Gonzalez, the 42 year old alleged intruder who authorities say scaled a White House fence with a knife and rounds of ammunition and made it into the White House unlocked front door has connections to
. Orange High School
Gonzalez reportedly made it through the security just minutes after President Obama and his family had left the White House. After being apprehended by White House guards Gonzalez reportedly told them he wanted to give President Obama information about the "atmosphere collapsing" so Obama could warn the people.
Gonzalez had enlisted in the military in 1997 and was discharged in 2003. He then reenlisted in 2005 and served several tours in
before reviving a disability discharge in 2012. Iraq
Texas resident, Gonzalez reportedly attended in the early 1990's. Orange High School
For the OC Register story on Gonzalez and Orange High School CLICK ON: WHITE HOUSE
The five month experiment by the new owners of the Orange County Register into
has ended with the LA Register being closed. Los Angeles County
For full details CLICK ON: LA REGISTER CLOSED
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Republican leaders abandon schools
Orange County Republican leaders abandon public schools and refuse to endorse OUSD's Ledesma and Surridge
The OCPolitical blog reported live on the 2nd Round endorsements from the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee meeting on Monday September 15.
In a show of ideological purism, the OC Republican Central Committee not only refused to endorse public school bond measures across
but recommended voting against the public school measures. Orange County-
Without offering an alternative way to rebuilding the public school infrastructure across Orange County after decades of neglect, the OC Republican Central Committee members voted to endorse "no" votes on Fullerton Joint Union High School District's Measure I; Anaheim Union High School District's Measure H; North Orange County Community College District's Measure J; and Orange Unified School District's Measure K.
Orange Unified Trustees Rick Ledesma and Timothy Surridge were recommended for the party endorsement by Orange Mayor Pro Tem Fred Whitaker and Orange City Councilman Denis Bilodeau. However, according to the OCPolitical Blog, the two trustees came under attack from Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauly who claimed the two trustees ( who had voted for the Bond election) had promised her that they would vote against putting Measure K on the ballot.
In the end, a Central Committee voice vote failed to meet the 2/3 majority needed for the endorsements and the two failed to gain the parties endorsement. (Click on: OCP )
At the August 18 OC Republican Endorsement Committee Pauly also tried to prevent Whitaker from being endorsed. Pauly pointed to Whitaker's support of democrat Tita Smith for Orange Mayor. According to the OCPolitical blog, Pauly accused Whitaker of contributing to Smith's campaign and having a Smith for Mayor sign in his front yard. In
local races are non-partisan. Whitaker received the committee's endorsement. (Click on AUG 18 OCR) California
Sunday, September 14, 2014
UNO debuts to unite Orange
Eighteen neighborhoods and community advocate groups have taken a huge step in giving more voice to the citizens of the City of
Born out of the Peralta and Sully Miller land battles , the group made their debut at this year's Orange International Street Fair.
UNO is dedicated to property rights, open space and cultivating support for like-minded leaders.
For more information visit their Facebook page : CLICK ON: UNO
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Peralta,elementary music, and Measure K
Peralta lease back on the OUSD agenda and...
OUSD looks at elementary arts and music
September 11, 2014 Board agenda has an informational item on presenting options
for restoring the OUSD elementary music and arts program that was cut during
the Great Recession. Item 13 A (agenda
page 124) states options will be presented to the Trustees on restoring the
program. Orange Unified School District
On the agenda as Action Item 12 C is the Revised Budget report for 2014-15. The report shows that OUSD has a healthy balance of $70.4 million- with $7.4 million of that in a state required reserve.
The Peralta lease returns to the September 11 Agenda as Item 12 H. At the August 10, 2014 OUSD Board meeting the Peralta Lease was the subject of a lengthy discussion on allowing Peralta Golf Partners to extend the lease with provisions of not selling the property while the extension is in effect. During the discussion Trustee Rick Ledesma warned that 'fixing the schools does not go away" and stated that if Measure K does not pass he would immediately seek to sell all of OUSD's surplus properties.
Item 12 B on the September 11 Agenda lets the OUSD Board accept or reject the auction offers for the Walnut Site. The OUSD Board had placed the value of the property at $12.9 million.
At the August 10, 2014 OUSD Board meeting several speakers from the meeting spoke during the Public Comments section on Agenda Action Item 12A . The agenda item was on extending the contracts for the architects that did the renderings for the needs assessments on the high school facilities in a lead up to placing Measure K on the November ballot.
Orange County Third District Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer was one of the audience members who spoke in favor of Measure K. Spitzer, who has children attending OUSD schools, announced his support of Measure K as he described his personal observations of the need of modernizing OUSD schools . Supervisor Spitzer also signed the ballot argument in favor of Measure K.
Spitzer's public announcement to support Measure K came just days after OUSD's teacher association endorsed Measure K. While this may not seem unusual it in fact is the first endorsement of an OUSD Bond by the teachers' union. C.A.R.E. has also announced that for the first time all four high school's parent, teacher and student (PTA's and PSFO's) have voted to support Measure K.
The OUSD Board however split over the spending of more money on facilities plans before the election. Trustee Diane Singer cautioned to wait until after the November vote on Measure K before spending further money-reasoning that if the measure does not pass, the new first phase renderings that the action item would provide would not be needed.
Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni (who voted against placing the measure on the ballot and is the only OUSD Trustee to sign the ballot arguments against Measure K) spoke again of her concerns with the original architectural renderings of high schools that were designed without a budget according to the wishes of each high school's stakeholders..
Trustee Timothy Surridge agreed that the blueprint process should be in place for what the estimated $74 million per high school bond could accomplish before the bond is potentially passed.
Trustee Rick Ledesma likened supporting the agenda item for the new renderings to being "good stewards" in preparing for the bond monies.
The Deligianni concerns mirror a recent anti-Measure K Op-Ed in The Foothill Sentry and appear to be part of the loosely organized anti-K campaign that appears to be heavily counting on the hard-right controlled Orange County Republican Party for help in defeating Measure K. The Orange County Republican Party went on record against every school bond in
on the November
Action Item 12A passed on a 5-2 vote with Deligianni and Singer voting "No" and the rest of the OUSD Trustees voting yes.
Item 12 C was also about Measure K. The agenda item requested by Trustee Singer called for Bond Transparency Training. While all the trustees supported the idea, the devil was in the details of when and where the training would take place and who would sponsor the training. At the end of competing motions, the training was ultimately supported.
Is OUSD starting on a new Consultant "Milieu"?
Is Orange Unified headed for another round of wasteful spending by bringing back a Consultant Culture, or rather as the "description" OUSD Administrative Director of Community and Student Services Dr. Kenneth Miller used in OUSD's latest press release a "milieu" (French...as in the language...for environment). Unlike OUSD's budget busting failed Focus on Results consultant experiment, this new the top down Consultant Milieu may have serious consequences not just on the budget, but on local perceptions of the "optional" schools.
A new elitist OUSD Consultant Milieu spending spree could not come at a worst time for the community schools as the OUSD Trustees are asking voters for approval on a series of bonds to upgrade and repair aging schools that are in dire need of improvement. In all of
, OUSD stands alone
as failing to pass a much needed school bond. Measure K, the first OUSD bond in
the planned series goes before voters this November and currently has broad and
deep community support for repairing the district's aged and substandard high
The press release sent out by Superintendent Michael Christensen on Friday September 5, 2014 to the community (but not OUSD employees) touts Cerro Villa Middle School being the first ever Orange County middle school to be granted the optional "accreditation" which is called in the release an "award". In the press release "Director of Community" Dr. Miller is quoted explaining in contorted bureaucratic educrat-speak the benefits of the Cerro Villa accreditation to Greater Orange "Community" as :
"Our professional team can now see how we as a school will not only improve our service model in the current milieu but we have also will [sic ] nurture this opportunity to empower our students to achieve at optimal levels throughout their high school and postsecondary careers.”
The optional accreditation of middle, elementary and even pre-schools comes as the accreditation process itself is under increased scrutiny from educational reformers of all types.
The reason no other high achieving
district has gone
through the expense and trouble of getting the optional schools accredited is
there really is no upside to
accreditation except to say that you have it. Unlike real school recognition recognized by
the California Department of Education (Click on CDE AWARDS), accreditation only becomes
news relevant to a community when a high school or college is threatened with
its loss. With "optional
accreditation" there are
numerous downsides. Once accreditation
is granted it is a never ending expensive cycle of numerous hoops related to
confirming the accreditation. If accreditation is lost for any reason,
including a variety of non-educational reasons, that becomes news and an enormous
local public relations problem coupled with state and federal funding
complications beyond anything that No Child Left Behind had. That is the power
the federal government gave the accreditation industry over schools that are required to have accreditation for
federal funding-including student loans and transferring credits between
schools ( Orange
County Accreditation). CLICK ON
The process for the optional accreditation for Cerro Villa MS was began by Dr. Miller when he was the school's principal. For the expense of the accreditation process, Cerro Villa was "granted" a two year accreditation until 2017 by the quasi-governmental Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) with reported minimum requirements. That however will change.
In 1965 the accreditation process for "higher education" was granted to six agencies with monopolies in geographical areas by federal legislation. The status of those six "agencies" as official but "private" allows them to tout- as the WASC website does-that they do not have to give out any information under the Freedom of Information Act that government agencies do. That means there is no public scrutiny of the budgets or administrative pay.
For years the exclusive monopoly of college and high school accreditation was widely accepted with the strings of federal funding attached, but since the No Child Left Behind legislation, the accreditation "agencies" have come under increasing scrutiny by educational reformers on all sides of the political spectrum Increasing calls for reform or elimination of the six agencies and/or their monopoly power have been made by a wide range of education reformers including the notable American Council of Trustees and Alumni. WASC and the other regional accreditation monopolies are seen as pawns of the federal government wielding enormous power over public local control issues and private educational institutions. They have often been seen as anti-reform. (Click on FEDERAL and AEI ) .
All expenses of the accreditation process for the committee and agency administrators- including airfare, local transportation, lodging, meals, materials and supplies are paid for by the school district. Payment is requested in two weeks after the accreditation visit (the schools are invoiced) and if payment is not received in 30 days after the visit- a 15% "administrative fee" surcharge is added to the bill (see link below). In the OUSD press release Dr. Miller thanked educational consultant Tony Ferruzzo of the consultant firm DecisionInsite (Click on CONSULTANT) and WASC's Executive Director Dr. Van Leuven for their guidance through the process. The press release further stated that Leuven, who is based in
Burlington California, had
personally come to to participate in the Cerro Villa review. Of
course it was all at OUSD taxpayer expense ( Orange : WASC) . Click ON
Unlike governmental oversight, the private accreditation firms operate much like consultant firms with a twist, they can demand payment and add on fees all before rendering a life or death decision for schools. While the WASC uses unpaid "volunteers" for the real time consuming committee work that reviews the schools for the process, the administrators of the mega-agencies get paid- reportedly very well.
Christensen's press release included information that Yorba and Portola Middle Schools were next in line for the accreditation process-reportedly much to the surprise of the staffs at both middle schools. The staffs at those schools were only made aware that their schools would be part of an optional accreditation process when the community press release was brought to their attention. The press release stated that OUSD had "initiated the WASC process for middle schools" mentioned both Portola and Yorba by name. Now, like the costly mistake of trying to unsuccessfully impose the failed Focus on Results top down consultant culture on school stakeholders during the unpopular "Good to Great" Godley Administration, with the new influx of educational tax dollars the current OUSD administration appears poised to follow with their own expensive encore top-down Consultant Milieu.
Despite the recent OUSD mailer on Measure K to the Greater Orange Community touting the high achievement in OUSD schools (which happened after the former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Dreier ended the OUSD Consultant Culture and switched to using the talent of OUSD administrators and teachers) OUSD middle and elementary schools appear poised to work on Dr. Miller's new consultant driven "service model in the current milieu" to "nurture this opportunity to empower our students to achieve at optimal levels " because obviously what the new OUSD Director of Community and Students appears to be inferring is that OUSD teachers and schools have been failing students all these years and need more consultant hoops to jump through to prove they can "empower our students to achieve at optimal levels".
Now with tens of millions of educational tax dollars "in the current milieu" , will OUSD return to the failed top down pre-recession Consultant Culture or as it may now be know as a new Consultant Milieu?
INSIDE the September 11, 2014 Meeting
Item 9E- New Student Board Members representing OUSD's high schools
Item 9F- Walk to School Week and Day recognition
Action Items 12 D,F,E,G: Vote on revisions to various Board Policies.
NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday September 11, 2014
CLOSED SESSION NOTE Time change 5:30 pm
OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
For the 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:
are independent news services of /O/N/N/
Orange Net News
TRUSTED independent news for over 12 years" Orange
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Villa Park CALPERS vote gets attention
A move by the Villa Park City Council to notify CALPERS -the state employee benefits system- of a notice of intent is getting widespread attention throughout
The vote set for the September 23rd City Council meeting is meant to
trigger an updated CALPERS report on the city's unfunded liability for the 30
present and past employees of the city. California
Two years ago a similar report showed the small conservative city had $3.5 million liability. This month's vote to get a new report is being hailed by Mayor Barnett and Councilwomen Pauly as a public service in advertising the new costs recently voted by the
legislature to bolster the
CALPERS bottom line. California
For a full report Click on: CAPTIOL WEEKLY
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
GOP- no to bond, but Yes to....
The OCPolitical blog reported that at tonight's September 2 2014 Orange County GOP Endorsements Committee members voted to make recommendations to the full Orange County Central Committee at its meeting later this month that they oppose the OUSD Bond Measure K and endorse Trustee Rick Ledesma and Tim Surridge.
Measure K's opposition was spearheaded by Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauly who called OUSD's long involved community stakeholder vision plans the "Taj Mahal" plans. General conspiracy theories of "fiscal mismanagement" were bantered around by other committee members.
At the August 18th Orange County Central Committee Meeting, members voted to send both Ledesma and Surridge to the Endorsement Committee based on their votes to place Measure K on the ballot.
When Ledesma was asked by the Endorsement Committee about his efforts to cut spending- Ledesma pointed to his efforts to sell off the district's surplus properties to developers.
At the August 14 2014 OUSD Board Meeting, Ledesma led the charge against an extension of the lease holders (Peralta Golf Partners) of the surplus OUSD Peralta site. Ledesma repeatedly stated he opposed the 18 month extension of the lease because of a provision that the district not offer the land for sale during the extension period. Ledesma repeated that he wanted to have the option to revisit selling the site after the November election and he took the lease owners to task for profiting off the lease on the site.
At the endorsement meeting, Ledesma stated that he has opposed the Bond Measures in 2004 stating that he did that because "He could not find a way to fund maintenance without the unions scooping out the money."
Ironically (and most likely unknown to the Endorsement Committee) just last week, both Ledesma and Surridge had interviews seeking to get the endorsement and money of the Orange Unified teachers' union- the OUEA.
In a surreal comment, ultra conservative Endorsement Committee member Mark Bucher (who was the attorney for the 2001 Recalled OUSD Reactionary Board) is reported to have made the comment that "the unions are trying to run schools into the ground and get conservatives to vote for higher taxes"
At that same August OUSD meeting, Surridge too opposed the lease extension calling on the owners to reveal their financial records. Progressive member Diane Singer immediately took exception to her self-proclaimed "conservative colleagues" line of reasoning. Singer pointed out that she had a problem the district as a government entity getting involved with telling a private enterprise what type of profits they could make.
Those who know Surridge well should not be surprised by his anti-capitalistic streak. Surridge February 20, 2014 rant against the Peralta business is well documented (see video).
Surridge's philosophical stance about capitalism appears to follow a growing fringe Christian anti-Capitalism movement.
In April of last year, Surridge shared this link on his Facebook Page:
Tim Surridge shared a link.
Thought provoking article for the philosophical.....http://www.marketwatch.com/story/capitalism-is-killing-our-morals-our-future-2013-04-27?siteid=yhoof2
The commentary article by Paul B Farrell is titled (Click on) Capitalism is killing our morals, our future: Commentary: In a Market Society, everything is for sale
The article begins:
Over the years we’ve explored the reasons capitalism blindly continues on its self-destructive path. Recently we found someone who brilliantly explains why free-market capitalism is destined to destroy the world, absent a historic paradigm shift: That is Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, author of the new best-seller, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” and his earlier classic, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”
The premise for what Surridge writes on his Facebook that is "thought provoking" is the philosophy of Christian Anti-Capitalism (Click on: CAC )
Live blogging from the GOP Endorsement Committee meeting (see below) gives an inside detailed look at the arguments and personalities.
"We’re live from OCGOP Endorsements Committee tonight as they hold the first of two meetings to make recommendations for the September Central Committee meeting’s endorsements..."
(Blog posting on Measure K discussion)
"6:53 PM: Tim Surridge speaks about the
earthquake. He speaks about student safety and outdated facilities. Napa
6:54 PM: Deborah Pauly notes this is the largest bond ever proposed by a K-12 school district. She says the Taj Mahal plan would cost three times as much as the bond. She notes about the failure of the district to put enough money for maintenance.
6:55 PM: Robert Hammond speaks about finding better ways to fund repairs to the schools like his alma mater,
. He is concerned about the bond debt of a $296 million bond, which would be approximately $540 million to pay off. Orange High School
6:57 PM: Thomas Gordon moves to recommend opposing Measure K, the
bond. He speaks about fiscal mismanagement. Orange Unified School District
6:58 PM: Bucher speaks about fiscal mismanagement of school districts.
NO MEASURE K RECOMMENDED BY A 4-0-1 VOTE. (Mathews abstaining.)"
(Blog posting on Ledesma and Surridge discussion)
" 7:12 PM: Rick Ledesma explains he has served on the Board for years and is a financial analyst. He opposed the bonds in 2004. He could not find a way to fund maintenance without the unions scooping out the money. He reminds the committee that he is the only Republican running in his Trustee Area and that Surridge is the only Republican running in his Trustee Area.
Huang asks about his efforts to cut spending.
Ledesma speaks about his efforts to sell off surplus properties. He speaks about the cities inhibiting the full surplus property value.
Gordon asks if Ledesma opposes PLAs.
Ledesma says yes.
7:17 PM: Gordon moves to endorse Ledesma and Surridge. He is concerned about their liberal opponents. He urges them to continue opposing PLAs and to oppose future bonds.
Huang supports the motion and urges Ledesma and Surridge to act prudently if the bond passes and creatively if it fails.
Bucher says this is a tough one. He fears the unions are trying to run schools into the ground and get conservatives to vote for higher taxes.
LEDESMA AND SURRIDGE RECOMMENDED FOR ORANGE UNIFIED
SCHOOL DISTRICT 3-2 (BUCHER AND MCCURDY DISSENTING)."
For the complete report Click on: OCPOLITICAL
are independent news services of /O/N/N/
Orange Net News
's TRUSTED independent news for over 12 years" Orange