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  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014

     

    Trustees cancel vote again

    SPECIAL REPORT
    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD President cancels Special Meeting of OUSD Trustees to discuss Tentative Agreements on employee contracts

    For the second time in less than 1 week, the OUSD Board President John Ortega has cancelled consideration of the Tentative Agreements with the OUSD employees groups after those groups voted last month to approve the agreements offered by OUSD.

    Orange Unified School Board President John Ortega issued a statement in a press release late Wednesday afternoon reporting that the December 18 Special Board meeting, the second meeting that  the OUSD Board was scheduled to consider the Tentative Agreements reached by OUSD and their employees, was cancelled.
    ( for coverage of the December 11 meeting CLICK ON: OUSD Dec 11 )

    Ortega's statement stated the "Unfortunately not all members of the Board are able to attend on the 18th"  and that  "...the cancellation will allow staff time to provide more information to the Board".

    (For full statement CLICK ON : ORTEGA STATEMENT  )

    Ortega had originally placed the OUSD Tentative Agreements with its employees on the December 11th Board Agenda. Those agreements were reached after months of negotiations with the district's employee groups and after five separate agendized Closed Session meetings between the OUSD Trustees and their designated district negotiators  between May and September and an additional session in December. 

    After returning 15 min late from Closed Session on December 11th, Board President John Ortega in calling for approval of the meeting's agenda stated that Item 14 D (consideration of the Tentative Agreements) would be removed and a Special Board meeting would be called for the following Thursday December 18 to take up the item.  At that time, no trustee indicated that they would not be able to make the Special December 18th meeting, and the trustees voted 7-0 to accept the agenda as changed without further comment. The December 18th Special Board Meeting then appeared on the OUSD Board of Education on Monday December 15th, but without the agenda.

    Both OUSD employee groups, the Orange Unified Education Association (OUEA) and the California School Employees Association Chapter 67 (CSEA) had asked its members to show up at the Special Board Meeting on December 18.

    Sources inside OUSD report that the Trustees delay on voting on the Tentative Agreements further complicates the employee's health benefit  situation.  OUSD had consolidated employee health plans under the CALPERS health plan.  The plan offers numerous health package choices to OUSD employees. When open enrollment began, at the beginning of the school year, many of the offered plans had substantial increases but employees could switch to less expensive plans.  Those increases are scheduled to take effect in January.

    The Tentative Agreements reached with the employees provided not only a pay increase, but also covered this year's increases to the various plans.  The employees who changed their health benefits based on the initial announced CALPERS increases in theory could re-evaluate the financial impact  taking into account the Tentative Agreements health benefit items. Based on that re-evaluation, they could then rescind the initial changes they made to their health benefits. 

    However, the deadline for those wishing to rescind health care changes is 10 am Friday December 19th.  That date would of been in plenty of time for employees to re-evaluate  finances if the Tentative Agreements were approved by the Trustees on December 11.  The December 18th date made it imposable for most employees to change, but now with both votes cancelled, the rescinding option appears to now have been taken away from any employees who might have wanted to change back to their original  health plans based on the Tentative Agreements.

    In addition, any employees who did rescind their changes based on the Tentative Agreement's health package, will now be faced with substantial health care increases in January.

    The next regularly scheduled OUEA Board meeting is January 22, 2015.    

    NEXT REGULAR OUSD BOARD MEETING January 22, 2015
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM


    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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    Comments:
    Sadly, Orange USD is one of the lowest paying districts locally. Districts all over southern California voted to give their employees raises last year. Orange is yet to do so. The teachers in our district are still not being paid what they were prior to the recession. Our district has had a high teacher turnover rate and the fact that the board is playing these games increases the distrust of our area. How will we continue to keep and bring in teachers who are highly qualified and competent if we are not respecting their basic needs of fair pay?
     
    I know your name, our dear School Board Members. I voted for you. You pledged your loyalty to the Orange Unified community: our families, children, and schools. You said you were committed to protecting the interests of the Orange Unified School District ~ making it stronger, unifying its efforts, creating a district each of us could be proud of. I voted for you. I trusted your words; shame on me. I'm disappointed by your blatant disregard to the very families who put you in office. Your current decisions are hurtful and arbitrary with a total lack of respect for your employees. Do you know your certificated and classified staffs? I wonder. If you did, would you make these types of irresponsible choices, especially at Christmas time? Is this turn of events cowardly or vindictive? I wonder.

    Do you know me? I am a dedicated OUSD teacher committed to the students and families in our district for the past 17 years. I have volunteered for numerous activities and have spent countless hours working to increase the proficiency of my students. Do you know me? I am a single mom of two beautiful children. Do you know me? Because of the financial cutbacks experienced by California schools, I have had to work two jobs for the past five years to save my family home and avoid bankruptcy. Do you know me? I was going to use part of my “raise” to purchase a few nice treasures for my children. It is Christmas time, isn’t it? Do you know me? I don't think so because if you did, if you realized that your heartless decisions impact real people and their families, you wouldn't make these choices. I voted for you...I trusted you...I believed your promises. Do you know me?

     
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