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  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014

     

    OUSD to reveal Measure K plans


    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    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 Orange County 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.

    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 OUSD High School 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.

    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

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    Orange Net News

    Comments:
    Thank you for explaining the timeline of events. Now it makes sense and I am looking forward to seeing exactly what Measure K is going to get us. It is time to invest in our schools - they are old - all the maintenance in the world does not change that. I would think after 50 years of use, any fair-minded and reasonable person would see that it is a rational investment to bring these schools into the 21st century. But then again, rational and reasonable aren't the first words that come to mind when one thinks of the self-centered politicians arguing against Measure K.
     
    Thank you for pointing out that Measure K has in fact been endorsed by leaders and community members that span the political spectrum. These are people that care about our kids receiving a quality education in safe and modern learning environments. They also recognize that when we have improved school facilities, we will enjoy increased property values.

    Our ballot argument alone is signed by:

    Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer

    Former Orange County Supervisor and US Ambassador (Ret) Gaddi Vasquez

    Chapman University President James Doti

    Former OUSD Trustee Melissa Smith

    We have many more endorsers which will soon be listed on www.MeasureK.org and will be featured in our mailers.

    Unlike the opposition, our growing list of people endorsing Measure K either live in our community, serve or have served this community as volunteers/elected officials, they know our community, some have kids in our schools and/or graduated from our high schools. These are people invested in our community and they realize after more and less than a HALF A CENTURY, it is time to step up and step into the 21st Century.

    Kris Erickson
    Co-Chair CARE
    Yes on Measure K


     
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