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  • Tuesday, December 09, 2014


    Board elections and plans after K

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD Board members to remain the same-officer elections to take place at December 11th meeting

    After the November 11th election were voters re-elected all the Orange Unified Trustees who had terms expiring this year, the trustees will vote for Board officers for 2015 at the December 11, 2014 OUSD Board of Trustees Meeting ( Agenda Item 10 A page 4).

    While Trustees Timothy Surridge (53.7%) and Rick Ledesma (56.6%) won their races easily, it should be noted that Kathy Moffat garnered more votes than any candidate in OUSD (or Measure K) with 61.3% of the vote. Trustee Diane Singer had no opponents. Former OUSD Trustee and perennial candidate Steve Rocco received 10% of the vote in the 3-way race in Ledesma's Area 7 contest. Rocco has now pulled papers for the Orange County First Supervisor's Special Election Race joining  six other potential candidates: Lou Correa, Chris Phan, Andrew Do, Mark Lopez, Lupe Morfin-Moreno, and Chuyen Nguyen.

    The November election results keep the OUSD Board in the hands of a majority made up of the male members- John Ortega, Mark Wayland, Rick Ledesma and Timothy Surridge.

    Trustee John Ortega was the OUSD Board President for 2014 becoming one of the most successful Board President's since the Orange Recall.  Ortega for the most part brought civility and order back to the board, despite its polarized membership.  Taking the Board on a widely praised, highly successful and well attended  road trip meetings to the 4 high schools, Ortega was also able to help steer OUSD the closest it had ever come to passing a Facilities Bond. In addition, he averted a fight over the Peralta Property even as the Board sold off other OUSD surplus properties without major difficulties and kept popular OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen despite an extended review of the superintendent that had stakeholders all over Greater Orange rallying to Christensen's  side on rumors of a potential ousting.

    With the main four Board antagonists all re-elected for another four years, it would seem fitting for Ortega to be the statesman-like leader to work to further ease the tensions on the OUSD Board. By pushing the Board majority to elect the popular Trustee Kathy Moffat ( who received a higher percentage of votes than any trustee or Measure K ) to at least one of the Board offices as a token of continuing Ortega's inclusive leadership style to bringing the OUSD Board together would go a long way in healing a bruised board and community. Will Ortega again rise to meet the current challenge?

    Measure K results to be presented as VP's Pauly is quoted as supporting special School Facility Improvement Districts for local school improvements

    Agenda Item 8A (page 1) on the December 11th OUSD Agenda will report the final election results for the trustee races and for Measure K. Needing a super-majority of 55% to pass, the measure received 54.6% of the vote-coming up under 200 votes short of passing.

    The third defeat for an OUSD Bond measure once again by less than a few hundred votes has many in Greater Orange looking for creative solutions to repair the aging schools. On November 9th Orange Net News reported that school facilities improvement districts were being discussed as a possible solution to addressing critical update needs for some of OUSD schools. On November 11th, an article in The Orange County Register reported OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen as saying :
    "he was asked after the election by some community members about school facilities improvement districts, which he said he is looking into".

    In a November 24th Orange County Register story, former Villa Park Councilwomen Deborah Pauly (who wrote the ballot language against Measure K and lead the effort to defeat the measure) was quoted as saying that she would support the idea of  school facilities improvement districts. The article states (see link below):

    Pauly said she’d be in support of school-facilities-improvement districts, because the districts would make construction and debt more manageable.

    “I think that’s a very smart idea,” she said. “Because once again, the larger the bureaucracy, the harder it is to control what’s happening.” 

    (link Click on: Pauly) 

    Of course with other sections of Orange Unified outside of Villa Park included in school facilities improvement districts and approving bonds the four Villa Park schools would be surrounded by modern facilities. This scenario would result in the choice of Villa Park residents to have schools that could eventually look like third world facilities. That scenario could see the very real possibility of student flight into better the OUSD and private school facilities with numerous consequences to the city's school's academic and sports programs. With that doomsday scenario for Villa Park  comes plummeting property values and possible school closings- just like almost happened in 1985.
    (link Click on: VP 1985 deja vu )

    Another possible scenario is that a Villa Park centered school facilities improvement district could pass a bond for the four OUSD school's in Villa Park and include money for the mothballed and chained -off historic Villa Park Elementary buildings being restored. Built in 1919 and 1924 as the original Mountain View School (Villa Park's original name) the historic main building features Spanish tiles and a bell tower.  Restoration has long been a goal of Villa Park residents in saving the buildings from being demolished.

    Villa Park Elementary, 1922
    The first attempt to demolish the buildings was in 1998. Saved from demolition, the Villa Park Elementary School Restoration Corp was formed in 1999 to raise money for a restoration-but failed. In 2003 the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2008- the site was again barely saved from demolition as supporters tried to drum-up support for a bond to restore the buildings. That effort was never followed-up. Including those historic buildings in a Villa Park facilities district bond maybe the final hope to save the residents of Orange County's "hidden gem" from themselves. 

    INSIDE the December 11 OUSD Board Agenda
    14 A Prop 39 Clean Energy Funds (page 7) -approve 3 firms for spending $1.5 million yearly for five years from Prop 39 monies for OUSD clean energy projects

    14 B Increase OUSD Maintenance Budget (page 8) - add one custodian to the four comprehensive high schools and establish a new administrator- the Executive Director of Facilities and Planning

    14 D Contract Agreements (page 10) - new contract agreements between OUSD and its employee groups

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING December 11, 2014
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION- 6:00 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 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
    and the
    Greater Orange News Service
    are independent news services of /O/N/N/
    Orange Net News

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