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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017


    Peralta and El Rancho on OUSD Agenda

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Selling the Peralta Site back on OUSD Agenda this week
    The controversial sale of OUSD's Peralta Site is back on the OUSD Agenda on May 25th. Closed Session  starts at 5:00 pm with comments on the agenda taken before the Closed Session starts. 

    Closed Session Item  4 D has the OUSD Board discussing the price with district lawyers and "an unidentified number of potential buyers for the property" .  The agenda item only identifies the site by its address, not by name.

    In 2012 the OUSD Board voted not to lease the property to developers who were planning a high density apartment complex.

    OUSD Trustee Timothy Surridge then went on a community-wide lobbying tour trying to drum-up support for selling the property.  Surridge and his board allies stated that voters would not pass a facilities bond if the district is not using all of its resources.

    Selling the Peralta Property, which currently is being used mostly for recreation, has been a goal of Surridge and his Board allies for years.  Now with term limits, time is running out for the members of the OUSD Board who want the property sold to developers.

    OUSD Board has two options for El Rancho Charter vote on Thursday
    A renewal of the El Rancho Charter by the OUSD Board of Trustees  is certain this Thursday May 25th. The question is- Which charter will the Board approve?

    The OUSD Board Agenda Item 12 B ( Agenda pages 3-176) includes two Options for the OUSD Trustees to vote on-both options would approve a charter for El Rancho. 

    Which of the two options -and therefore charters-depend on if the El Rancho Charter Board and the district have reached an agreement by the OUSD Board meeting and have an approved Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU2). The El Rancho Charter Board held a 9 am May 22nd Special Charter Board Meeting to discuss and possibly approve a MOU2.

    Option A for the OUSD Board vote is contingent on the El Rancho Board not approving a MOU2.  Option A has the OUSD Board renewing the current El Rancho charter that was originally approved in 2012.

    Option B has the OUSD Board approving a new charter with an agreed upon MOU2 that the OUSD Administration finds meets all of their concerns.

    As of the posting of this story, the El Rancho Charter website is still urging parents to show up on Thursday wearing red to support the charter.  The website alert states that the "El Rancho Charter School has been renewed for 2017-2022 by operation of law. Unfortunately, OUSD Board acknowledge or accept it. "

    For more information click on : EL RANCHO  ALERT

    The growing problems between OUSD's second charter middle school started with a letter from El Rancho Principal Michele Walker to OUSD insisting that one of the versions of the El Rancho Charter application submitted this year was automatically renewed when the legally required 60 day time period elapsed without OUSD taking action on the charter application.  

    OUSD has taken the position that the numerous El Rancho charter applications  it received all were  drafts, and therefore not subject to the legal timelines.

    The April letter from Walker insisting that the submitted charter became official the month before (March 2017) came on the heels of  an April OUSD request for clarification on nineteen changes in the 2017 version of the El Rancho Charter.  

    Another point that OUSD is insisting on clarification is language in the charter about the OUSD loan to the charter school for a construction of a new science center.  That science center is currently under construction.

    OUSD has also cited that no evidence has been presented that the changes in the Charter were voted on by 75% of the staff as required by the original charter.  Also among the other numerous concerns outlined in the OUSD Agenda Item are deletion of required insurance related items that OUSD insists are needed to protect staff and students.

    The posted November 2016 minutes from the El Rancho Charter Board report that Principal Walker was at home recovering from a surgery. Item 19 states that Walker was "working on the charter renewal while convalescing. The intention is to present to the [charter] board at the next board meeting".

    The December 2016 El Rancho Board minutes show that the Principal Walker participated by telephone.  Nothing from the posted agenda shows that the required Brown Act notification requirements were followed in the December El Rancho Charter related to the principal teleconferencing. The only item voted on by a roll call ( another Brown Act requirement) was the Charter approval in Agenda Item 15.

    The only votes by staff reported in the agenda was a 56-3 to change the special education SELPA.

    The January 2017 El Rancho Board Minutes do not report any staff votes.  Item 15 reports that the Principal was present at the January meeting and was meeting with the district to arrange a  presentation on the El Rancho Charter to the OUSD Board in February.  The minutes continue to explain  "Possibly approval in April".

    There are no minutes posted for any other El Rancho Board meetings in 2017 (February, March, April, May) and therefore no public records of the required staff vote on the charter changes.

    In August 2016, El Rancho Charter was on a list of 250 charters from the ACLU that were allegedly in violation of state law. The ACLU report accused El Rancho of not following the state law mandating  that charters accept all students.  The ACLU report alleged that El Rancho Charter limited enrollment based on a student's academic performance.

    In February 2017, OUSD paid a $10 million dollar settlement to families of  El Rancho students injured in a 2014 bus crash.

    New OUSD Assistant Superintendent of  Facilities and Planning to be named replacing Executive Director position
    OUSD will add a third Assistant Superintendent when they name a new Assistant Superintendent of  Facilities and Planning on Thursday night.  The new position will replace the current Director of Facilities and Planning.

    Agenda Item 12 F approves a new contract for the new Assistant Superintendent "consistent with the contracts of the other two Assistant  Superintendents".

    The most current public information on salaries for 2015 from Transparent California shows the two OUSD Assistant Superintendents with benefits two years ago were between $215,000 and $219,000.  

    By comparison, Transparent California reports that same year the salary for Matthew Strother, the current Executive Director of Facilities and Planning,  was $100,000.  

    For  a list of OUSD 2015 salaries click on: 

    The new $200,000 plus Assistant Superintendent position comes as talks between the district and its employee unions have stalled.

    Executive Director Matthew Strother

    The May 24th Agenda, Consent Agenda Item 14 I (pg 288) eliminates the current OUSD position of Executive Director of Facilities and Planning.

    INSIDE the May 25th  OUSD Agenda
    Other items on the May 25th Agenda:

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday May 25, 2017
    Next OUSD Board Meeting -OUSD BOARD ROOM
    CLOSED SESSION: 5:00 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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