OC GOP activist Craig Alexander has written a post over at the OC Political Blog about misbehavior by Gary Pritchard and John Alpay, two Capistrano Unified School District (CAPO) Trustees who were elected last year to replace recalled Trustees Ken Maddox and Mike Winsten.
I supported the recall of Maddox and Winsten, for a lot of reasons, and was glad to see them gone. But I am most disappointed by the actions of Alpay and Pritchard. I expected better from them. They should both be replaced in November, when they are up for reelection.
Alexander wrote, “It appears that for the Board majority at CUSD they have no tolerance for any opinion but their own. During the last Board meeting at which several vital budget items were being voted on (including the secretly negotiated contract with the teacher’s union) – Trustee John Alpay moved and was successful in ending debate right as Trustee Ellen Addonizio was about the make her comments on why the union contract and budget were bad for the students and the District.”
Alexander also referred his readers to an e-mail from Julie Collier of the Parents Action League. Her email includes a link to a Mission Viejo Patch article on the meeting. It also includes an audio clip of Mr. Alpay’s undemocratic and insulting motion and Trustee Gary Pritchard’s “justification” of Mr. Alpay’s bad behavior. Alexander wrote that “Mr. Pritchard even laughs at Trustee Addonizio while he is discussing Alpay’s motion. These two Trustees need to go back to private life!”
Here is Ms. Collier’s e-mail and the link to the Patch article:
I have been to many public meetings over the last five years; however, I have NEVER witnessed such a dysfunctional and offensive public meeting as I did on June 27th at the CUSD school board meeting. This meeting was truly an insult to constituents as well as students in CUSD.
Every year I have watched CUSD make financial decisions to ease budget concerns at the risk of negatively impacting student learning. Class sizes are increased and furlough days are added with little to no regard for student success. Not to mention, LIFO (Last-In; First Out) laying off teachers because they are the newest to be hired (regardless of whether or not they have the proven ability to teach) continues to be the go to solution for CUSD. Last Wednesday was no exception.
The budget was passed 4-3 (Bryson, Addonizio, and Palazzo dissenting) with $51 million in cuts. The district administration negotiated a deal with CUEA that includes 5-15 furlough days and 1.2% salary decrease. By the way, teachers will get a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA = salary increase)
*3.2% increase for the 12-13 school year
*2.5% increase for the 13-14 school year
*2.7% increase for the 14-15 school year
District official, Jodee Brentlinger, proudly stated the negotiations with CUEA went from “. . . us vs. them and resolved into we.” Unfortunately for students in CUSD, the “we” only included CUEA and CUSD district officials that negotiated behind closed doors.
The most despicable part of the board meeting happened when the teachers’ contract and the budget of over $50 million in cuts were passed with little to no discussion. Trustees Alpay and Pritchard (both up for re-election this November) collectively and deliberately stopped any discussion twice by Trustee Addonizio a long-time student-focused school board member. Please read the article below from the MV Patch. It also includes the actual audio of the controversial shut down for discussion. You can even hear Trustee Pritchard laughing at Trustee Addonizio as he is trying to defend his actions.
Expert: CUSD Goofed in Snuffing Budget Debate http://missionviejo.patch.com/
When four trustees agreed to end debate of the teachers’ contract and 2012-13 budget before it began, they broke the very rules they were invoking. But that doesn’t undo the ultimate vote.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Trustees Addonizio, Palazzo, and Bryson for recognizing the need for discussion regarding the impact these severe budget cuts will have on students. Parents and constituents are actually entitled to hear comments from their elected officials, especially regarding cuts to student centered programs and instructional days. Trustees Pritchard and Alpay should have taken more time to consider students as opposed to what appears to be setting themselves up for a union sponsored re-election campaigning.
I cannot implore to parents enough that you must stay informed and active in your child’s education. Attending PTA meetings and volunteering in the classroom is truly wonderful, but it is still not enough. Vital decisions were made for your child and his/her education last Wednesday at the board meeting. These decisions will not only affect your student’s ability to learn next year and for years to come, but it will affect how your child will compete for college admission compared to other students across the nation.
Where were you Wednesday night? Your presence at the board meeting could have made a difference. Teachers have their union. Students have their parents. YOU are your child’s voice. It is time for YOU to stand up and use it.
Parents Advocate League