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Thursday, May 25, 2017
OUSD Trustees ignore legal advice
OUSD Board majority ignores legal advice
and approves legally questionable
El Rancho Charter
The Orange Unified School Board Trustees voted 4-3 to approve a version of the El Rancho Charter that the district's legal counsel warned against.
Led by Trustee Timothy Surridge who cited the threat of legal action from the El Rancho Charter School, Trustees John Ortega, Dr. Alexia Deligianni-Brydges and Board President Rick Ledesma voted to approve the El Rancho Charter submitted on March 29th. Trustees Kathy Moffat, Andrea Yamasaki and Brenda Lebsack voted against the motion after voting to re-approve the original charter the school currently operates under.
The Orange Unified Administration and legal counsel had tried to negotiate an addendum called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to clear-up areas that legal counsel had concerns over.
Legal counsel addressed the OUSD Board and warned them that by approving the March 29th version (Option B on the Board Agenda) would give all the leverage to the Charter Board which had refused for the last two weeks to consider modifying their charter in ongoing negotiations.
Board President Rick Ledesma had at one point suggested that the two Boards get together and negotiate the legal terms of a MOU without lawyers.
The three trustees who voted against Option B which gave the El Rancho Charter Board no incentive to further negotiate with OUSD, had favored Option A which would have re-approved the current charter and allowed further negotiations on future changes.
The El Rancho Charter Board had put out numerous community alerts claiming that OUSD was not going to approve a charter renewal. That however was never the case. While OUSD tried to negotiate, the Charter Board refused to consider any changes using numerous legal maneuvers and threatening legal action.
Board President Rick Ledesma seemed not to understand the complicated legal issues involved insisting that by approving Option B that the two parties could then go back to the negotiating table and work out all the issues-ignoring legal counsels warning that by approving Option B the district would have no further opportunity to negotiate if the El Rancho Charter Board continued to refuse.