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  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017


    Last minute additions to OUSD Agenda

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Last minute additions to OUSD Agenda
    OUSD adds Interim Superintendent consideration and dumping executive search consultant
    In a late  agenda "Addendum" added to the public posting of the OUSD Board of Education's regular agenda for the August 17, 2017 meeting this Thursday,  the OUSD Trustees will consider the appointment of an Interim Superintendent and dumping the controversial executive search firm of McPearson & Jacobson.   

    After posting the original August 17th  Meeting Agenda early Monday August 14th (with nothing related to the search for a superintendent) late that same day an agenda Addendum was added that included items related to the ongoing superintendent search.

    The agenda Addendum changes the time of the Closed Session from 6:30 pm to 5:30 pm and adds two items. First it adds Closed Session Agenda Item 4. C- "Consideration of Appointment of Interim Superintendent".   Under Action Items, it adds Item 12 G- Consultant Agreement that states:
    "The Board will consider to abandon the work under the Consultant agreement for Superintendent Search Services at its sole discretion".

    This newest twist to the current OUSD Superintendent search comes after last week's Special Board Meeting was to appoint an Interim Superintendent and outline steps to McPearson & Jacobson on finding a new superintendent.  The August 10th Special Meeting was called to order by the Board Clerk Trustee Kathy Moffat with Board President Rick Ledsma, Board Vice President John Ortega and Timothy Surridge all absent after they had attended the earlier Closed Session.  

    Item 10 A on the Special Meeting Agenda  was to be a discussion with, and direction given to, Dr. Jacobson (the owner of the consultant firm McPearson & Jacobson) chosen to help find the new OUSD Superintendent. Trustee Moffat however started the agenda item by stating that discussions had taken place about the Interim Superintendent appointment (Closed Session Agenda Item 4 B) and that she was now putting into the meeting record that she requests that the renewed contract that the OUSD Board had negotiated with Superintendent  Michael Christensen in February be placed on the Regular Session meeting on August 17th. 

    With the Addendum agenda item going back to appointing an interim superintendent and based on the surprising Special Meeting of August 10th, many Greater Orange stakeholders on social media are hoping that the August 17th meeting could bring Michael Christensen back as that "Interim Superintendent" to provide stability  while the Board Leadership regroups to move forward on  recruiting a replacement.  The OUSD Board might also consider under the agenda one of the four names given to them by McPearson & Jacobson  at the July 27th OUSD Board Meeting, although it is unclear whether any of those candidates have been interviewed.

    The rapid  developments over the search for an OUSD Superintendent since the official departure of Superintendent Christensen on August 2, 2017 (after he gave a two month notice of his retirement) has plunged the OUSD District Office into disarray with three major administrative positions empty.  

    An Acting Superintendent was named in a departing email from Christensen as the Board Leadership has now twice blundered in moving to fill the Superintendent post.  First in a compressed internal search and now with a controversial consultant firm that the Trustees appear ready to fire (click on ONN on McPearson & Jacobson).

    Adding to OUSD's current administrative disarray are two currently open Measure S building critical positions -Assistant Superintendent for Business Services and Executive Director for Secondary Education, plus a recently hired Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Planning Ronald Lebs. (A new Executive Director of Secondary Education is due to be appointed Thursday).

    Panorama  Heights files a second petition to leave OUSD for Tustin Unified
    Panorama Heights has filed a second petition to leave Orange Unified and join Tustin Unified. 

    Fifteen months ago in April of 2016 the area petitioned to leave Orange Unified. In May of 2016 the petition was turned down by the  Orange County Committee on School Organization (OCCSO) after holding two Public Hearings.

    The original petition did not include the neighborhood section called "Lower Panorama Heights" and affected about 54 students costing OUSD just over $400,000 in  state average daily attendance funding (ADA).  The new July petition includes Lower Panorama Heights and now includes over 90 ADA students costing OUSD almost $800,000 in funding.  The original Panorama Heights petitioners ignored the negative financial impact on OUSD by arguing that the term negative impact means that the transfer did not affect the state finances.

    There are nine Education Code criteria that must be met for the transfer to take place.  Last year OUSD argued that the proposed transfer failed five of the nine mandated criteria:
    Criteria 8 does not allow the petition to be made primarily to increase property values.  In the 2016 petition, one of the three petitioners was a realtor who does business in the area-Jennifer Lampman.  In the original hearings the fact that Lampman was a realtor was not brought forward and the OCCSO determined that property values were not a factor. In the initial paperwork included in the 40 pages of paper work in the August 17th Agenda that is associated with the transfer, Criteria 8 is again listed (Agenda page 13) with OUSD contending "This is a motivating factor in the proposed transfer".  
    For more information click on Panorama Heights

    After 16 years, Orange Unified looks at bringing back the controversial Public Information Officer position
    Item 13 B (page 94) is an informational item looking at the possibility of bringing back a Public Information Officer position in Orange Unified.  Since discontinuing the position in 2001, the OUSD Superintendent has served as the spokesperson for the district.

    The last Orange Unified  Public Information Officer was Judy Frutig who was hired by the then Reactionary Board controlled by Education Alliance Trustee Marty Jacobson's anti-public education majority (that Board was eventually recalled in the 2001 Orange Recall Election).

    Frutig's position became the mouthpiece for the reactionary policies for a board majority out-of-control with policies growing more and more unpopular.  The information disseminated by Frutig was directly dictated by Board President Marty Jacobson. Frutig quickly became a lightning rod for uniting the Greater Orange Community against the Jacobson Majority and the beginning of uniting local social media communication under the Orange Citizens News Network-predecessor to Orange Net News

    Anthony Colin  at a Board meeting (OC Weekly)
    As the Recall pressure on the Board intensified, Frutig was unable to meet the overwhelming challenge of the growing community communication network and the state and national news scrutiny brought on by outrageous Board actions and by the landmark gay student rights case Colin vs Orange Unified. The under fire Board majority, now facing a recall election, abruptly fired Frutig. 

    For more information click on the landmark case click on Colin v OUSD
    For information about El Modena student Anthony Colin's suicide click on  
    Anthony  Colin  Made  El  Modena  High  School  a  Safer  Place

    Frutig, now the ex-OUSD PIO, sued Orange Unified for wrongful termination and joined the Orange Recall leadership. Frutig used her expertise to help the fledgling Orange Citizens News Network to upgrade into a modern 21st Century watchdog alert organization- controlled by the tight-knit invitation only local leaders known as the Roundtable Committee of the Greater Orange Community Group (now the Greater Orange Community Organization and its semi-autonomous arm, the Orange Communication System).

    After the successful 2001 Recall, Frutig settled her lawsuit with the new OUSD attorneys and was instrumental in helping the former OUSD Superintendent Dr. Robert French (forced out by the Jacobson Majority) returning to OUSD as the Superintendent replacing his replacement-Barbara Van Otterloo . Frutig then went on to host a local radio show and eventually teaching journalism at CSULB.

    Now sixteen years later, OUSD is again looking at a hiring a Public Information  Officer.  Like in 2001, the question is-Who will control the information that the position disseminates in the present-and in the future?

    Inside the August 17 Board Meeting

    Action Item 12 E.-One-year contract extensions for three top OUSD Administrators- the Deputy Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendents of Human  Resources and Facilities and Planning.

    Information Item 13 B. - Measure S Update

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday August 17, 2017
    CLOSED SESSION NOTE Time change 5:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm
    For the AGENDA-CLICK ON: 

    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

    Thursday, August 10, 2017


    Will Christensen be asked back to OUSD?

    OUSD Superintendent drama continues...
    OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen 
    Some Trustees call for Christensen to return as Superintendent
    The Thursday August 10, 2017 OUSD Board of Education Special Meeting  may go down in OUSD annals  as one of the shortest Board of Trustee meetings in district history and one of the most surprising.  

    The Regular Session of the Special Meeting was called to order by the Board Clerk, Trustee Kathy Moffat because Board President Rick Ledsma and Board Vice President John Ortega were absent from the Regular Session. Also absent from the Regular Session was Trustee Timothy Surridge.  The three absences left a quorum of the remaining four trustees- Moffat plus Trustees Dr. Alexia Deligianni-Brydges,  Brenda Lebsack and Andrea Yamasaki.

    Moffat had the Closed Session decisions ( as required by the Brown Act) reported by Ed Kissee, OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources ( the highest ranking administrator present at the meeting).  Kissee reported that under Closed Session Item 4 A that the OUSD Board had voted 7-0 ( all trustees present and voting) to hire a new elementary principal and new high school assistant principal.

    When the Action Agenda Item 10 A was next presented- the meeting quickly became unexpected. 

    Agenda Item 10 A was to be a discussion with and  direction given to Dr. Jacobson, the owner of the consultant  firm McPearson & Jacobson- chosen to help find the new OUSD Superintendent. 

    Trustee Moffat however started the agenda item by stating that discussions had taken place about the Interim Superintendent appointment (Agenda Item 4 B) and that she was now putting into the meeting record that she requests that the renewed contract that the OUSD Board had negotiated with Superintendent  Michael Christensen in February be placed on the Regular Session meeting on August 17th. 

    Trustee  Lebsack  stated that she agreed with the idea of bringing Christensen back as the Superintendent.

    The meeting was then adjourned.

    The timeline of the OUSD Superintendent drama has become more clear since the November 2016 election that brought OUSD the passing of its first Bond Measure- Measure S. 

    On January 19, 2017, the  OUSD Trustees gave the Superintendent an evaluation during the Closed Session.

    During the February 15th, 2017 meeting, the OUSD Board during Closed Session met with OUSD Attorney Spencer Covert concerning the offer to Superintendent Christensen for a new contract. The agenda item included the phrase "no final action will be taken in closed session".   Sources in the district report that during this meeting a contract for Christensen was agreed upon.

    That contract did not appear for approval on the March Agenda.

    The April 13, 2017 Agenda again had a Closed Session item concerning Christensen's contract. Fifteen days later, on Friday March 28th, Christensen announced his retirement.

    The February agreed to Christensen contract terms were not placed on the OUSD Agenda for over two months-apparently eventually leading Christensen into retirement.

    The first OUSD Board Meeting after Christensen's announcement  May 17, 2017 had a closed session agenda item for consideration of an Interim Superintendent.  Now, three months later and OUSD still has no Interim Superintendent and the process for replacing Christensen appears to be mired in chaos.   In addition, after Christensen's announced retirement, OUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services "Joe" Sorrera left OUSD.

    After a failed compressed attempt to find a candidate from inside OUSD, in June the OUSD Board started the process to hire an consultant firm to recruit a superintendent.  The consultant firm that was decided on was the controversial McPherson & Jacobson.  The problems with McPherson & Jacobson became clear during the July 27th OUSD Board meeting featuring  a teleconferencing call from Dr. Thomas Jacobson the owner of McPherson & Jacobson  as conflicting information was given by Dr. Jacobson.

    Now without three top administrators, school starting and  Measure S High School Bond work pending, three Trustees skip a Special Meeting on replacing the Superintendent and Trustee Kathy Moffat is left trying to get the OUSD Board to place a contract for Superintendent Christensen-approved seven months ago-on the agenda next week to approve. 

    The question now remains, will tonight's missing OUSD trustees try to block the move to return OUSD's "Superintendent of Excellence"  and keep OUSD in chaos? 

    Tuesday, August 08, 2017


    OUSD moves to find Interim Superintendent

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD      
    a news service of
     Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    OUSD Special Meeting Thursday
    OUSD moves to find Interim Superintendent

    After making his retirement announcement public three months ago in May 2017, OUSD Superintendent Mike Christensen sent a final goodbye email to the OUSD family at the end of  his last day, Wednesday August 2, 2017.  The three paragraph email was a thank you to the employees of OUSD and simply signed "Mike".

    In the email Christensen stated his great confidence in OUSD's  top administrators in the Superintendent's Cabinet and announced that Deputy Superintendent Dr. Hansen would be  the Acting Superintendent as the OUSD Board conducts a search for an Interim Superintendent.       

    The search for that Interim Superintendent is on the OUSD Board of Education Special Meeting Agenda for this Thursday August 10, 2017.  Closed Session Item 4A is for "Consideration of Appointment of Interim Superintendent".

    At the Thursday July 27th  the OUSD Board of Education  received names from McPherson & Jacobson, the  school executive recruitment firm chosen to led the search for a new OUSD Superintendent. According to on-line documents, McPherson & Jacobson does not "recruit" for Interim Superintendents. The firm uses an internal list of  candidates who will provide interim superintendent  services. The four names provided to the OUSD Board by McPherson & Jacobson  are all retired former top school administrators and do not appear to be up for consideration for the  permanent OUSD Superintendent position:  

    Dr. Carmella Franco- The 67 year old is currently employed as a headhunter for the school executive search firm Hazard,Young, Attea & Associates. She has served as Superintendent of Whittier City School District for 12 years and as Interim Superintendent for both Compton Unified School District and Woodland Joint Unified School District.

    Dr. Suzette D. Lovely- At 59 years old she is the youngest of the four and is currently a consultant to numerous entities including one of OUSD's legal firms- Atkinson,  Andelson, Loya, Rudd, Romo.  Her numerous administration positions include serving as the Superintendent of Carlsbad Unified School District for four years and acting Superintendent of Capistrano Unified School District.

    Dr. Roberta Mahler- The 73 year old Villa Park resident is currently a part-time employee of the Orange County Department of Education. She served for 13 months as an Interim Superintendent for Capistrano Unified and 12 months as Interim Superintendent of Westminster School District.

    Dr. Mary Willis - The 66 year old is currently listed as operating two consultant firms LBHI Consulting and Management Services and  MWillis Inc., Educational Consultant Services.  According to her Linked-In page, she started her consultant business while employed as Assistant Superintendent of Montebello Unified in 2010.  She also serviced as Interim Superintendent for El Monte Union High School District for four months in 2015.  

    The July 27th OUSD Agenda stated that an OUSD Special Board Meeting will be held at a later date for the OUSD Board to interview "potential candidates".  The August 10th  Closed Session begins at 5:30 pm with the Open Session beginning at 7:00pm.

    Item 10 A states Dr. Thomas Jacobson of  McPherson & Jacobson  will  be at the OUSD Board to receive input from the OUSD Board on the process for the OUSD Superintendent search.   

    NEXT OUSD BOARD MEETING Thursday August 10, 2017

    CLOSED SESSION NOTE Time change 5:30 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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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization