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  • Tuesday, July 21, 2015


    !! El Rancho, Peralta, Bond, Deniers and MIA !!

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    OUSD untangles itself from Unity Charter and...
    OUSD Trustee Term Limits are M.I.A.
    You needed a score card for the last Orange Unified School Board meeting back on June 4, 2015.

    Board Vice President Timothy Surridge ran the meeting for the ill OUSD Board President John Ortega,  who was present-quietly sitting on the far end of the dais- for the first part of the meeting before leaving.  After the meeting opened and before approval of the minutes, Surridge announced that Item 12 C- the El Rancho construction item and Item 12 H - the Trustee Term Limit election item had been pulled from the agenda. Surridge said that the El Rancho item was taken off the agenda by request of the school and the Term Limit item by request of its sponsor- Trustee John Ortega. 

    Fast forward to this Thursday July 23rd, the first meeting since June- and the meeting's agenda shows that the El Rancho item is back as Item 12 C (page 66), but the Term Limits item has not reappeared. Yes the Term Limits item is now Missing In Action.

    For long time OUSD Board watchers, the June 23 meeting is one to be remembered.  Aside from the unusual arrangement of the Vice President running the meeting while the ill President was sitting there, you then had the ill Ortega eventually leave and the airport delayed Trustee Diane Singer eventual arrive all after Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni-Brydges who was present at  the beginning first left early.  No there will not be a please keep reading...

    Common Core Deniers worst fears
    The musical chairs of the comings-and goings of the Trustees was only overshadowed as amusing by the beginning three speakers during the Public Comments section from the Common Core Deniers  group of the Orange County Department of Education School Board- who in relay-race fashion trash talked Common Core- cherry-picking items from Special Sessions of the OCDE devoted to Common Core as they praised OCDE Trustee and Villa Park resident Dr. Ken Williams.

    Trustee Moffat wanted to rebut the information presented by the Deniers, but Vice President Surridge would not allow it.  At the end of the meeting Moffat explained she was at the OCDE meeting and the speakers got it wrong.

    Still with us? If can read the transcripts of  either or both OCDE Common Core Special Meetings and judge for yourself, just click on: Special CC #1 Special CC #2

    Eventually  the meeting got to the second vote on the Unity Middle College High School charter application.  Trustee Kathy Moffat-known for doing her homework- presented a blistering critique of the charter school and it's backers.  Moffat started by announcing that Oakland based charter school's Executive Director Dr. Erin Craig  (who is actually, according to her Linked-In profile, Dr. Erin Craig-Choi) is married to Joon Choi of the charter school 'team". Joon Choi is one of three founders of Long Beach based Harbor Associates a Southern California Real Estate Investment company.  Mr. Choi on both his company website (click on CHOI) and Linked-In site acknowledges his connections to the Middle College school.  However, Moffat in her critique of the charter application stated that Dr. Craig had not revealed that she and Mr. Choi were husband and wife- and that was only the beginning. After several minutes- and listing a dozen or so concerns- Moffat finished as Board Vice President Timothy Surridge made a weak rebuttal to one of Moffat's concerns dismissed her arguments and tried to move on.

    At this point Trustee Mark Wayland weighed in that he also had second thoughts about the charter-calling the fact that the OUSD staff had to help the charter meet the minimum requirements amounted to what Wayland described as a "sweetheart" deal. 

    In the end, Wayland and Moffat voted against the charter, Deligianni-Brydgeshad left and Singer had not arrived, resulting in a 3-2 vote, meaning the school did not get the required 4 votes.  If your keeping score...exit Ortega now.

    Fast-forward to July 2015 and the last posting before this report on the Unity Middle College School's Facebook is from July 7, 2015 about a rally for a July 9 Orange County Board of Education July 9th public hearing and here is the rest of the saga via their Facebook:
    "As you already know, the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) Board voted to conditionally approve our charter petition on May 7th with five votes in favor and two votes against.  The final approval vote was scheduled for the June 4th Board meeting. All conditions and preferred OUSD language requirements were met by Unity MCHS and during the meeting OUSD legal counsel and staff both recommended final approval to the Board.  Unfortunately, with two Board members absent from the meeting during the Unity MCHS vote, and another Board member changing their vote, the OUSD Board failed to act within the legal 60 day timeline. 

    As a result, Unity MCHS appealed our charter petition to the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) on June 17th. This means OCDE will hold another public hearing for Unity MCHS on July 9th and a OCDE Board vote on August 20th."
    Unity's best hope in the OC

    So, the fate of a close-to-home school for Dr. and Mr. Choi's Unity Middle College Charter is now in the hands of the Common Core Deniers.

    OUSD Moves on Peralta Lease and a 2016 Bond Election
    The July 23rd OUSD Board Meeting Agenda includes Action Item 12B (Agenda page 3) to approve one year lease agreements with 4 tenants on the Peralta property.  The agreements presented in the agenda include the following lease amounts: Olive Crest Academy School- $15,500 a month; Arena Soccer-$6,834 a month; Drotter Driving Range $3,084 per month; Tennis Specialists- $1,800 a month.

    Just before the Peralta item, the OUSD Board will be voting on the recommendations for numerous Bond Consultants preparing the way for another OUSD Bond attempt believed to be targeted for the November 2016 election.

    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

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    Trustees should delay term limits discussion and take advantage of community polling they are likely to do before pursuing a bond. They can use this opportunity to gain insight into what community wants to see re: term limits before creating a ballot resolution.

    Term limits couldn't be voted on before June 2016 election anyway. Seems likely this is their strategy as there appears to be broad support for getting something done on term limits.
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