Craig Alexander, an Orange County Republican activist and attorney, accused Anna Bryson, a CUSD Trustee and candidate for the 73rd Assembly District, of being a union stooge, in so many words, in a post we published on 10/21/13.
Now Art Sanchez, another OC GOP activist, has rebutted Alexander’s post with one of his own:
By Art Sanchez, Past President, South Orange County Republican Assembly
For three years, in part because of policies Anna has pushed, the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has been California’s highest-achieving large District. One can and should judge Anna by her acts, deeds and votes. Anna Bryson has:
- Balanced the budget;
- Opposed Common Core;
- Stopped deficit spending;
- Refused to increase taxes;
- Supported charter schools;
- Fought for unbiased textbooks;
- Authored anti-nepotism reform;
- Reduced bloated administration;
- Posted checkbook, budget online;
- Fought to keep smaller class sizes;
- Repaired buildings and removed old portables;
- Promoted classroom discipline and parental rights.
CONTINUED TO VOTE AGAINST UNION CONTRACTS THAT ARE TOO COSTLY & THAT GIVE STUDENTS LESS TEACHING TIME THAN THEY NEED
08/14/13 Anna voted with the Trustee board minority to oppose the 2013 Teachers Union contract because it was too costly and because it gave students less teaching than they need – less than a full school year. “A full 180-day school year is right, just, and means more time learning,” Anna told the news media after her 2013 dissenting vote on the union contract.
In board debate, Anna has argued for both small class size and teacher quality. “It’s not appropriate to have too many students in the class,” Anna said in board discussion on March 27, 2013. “At the same time, the heavy weight goes to having a good teacher in front of your class.”
SUPPORTED EARLY RETIREMENT TO SAVE MONEY & IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING
01/25/12 Anna voted with the Trustees board majority (and against Trustees Ellen Addonizio and Sue Palazzo) for early retirement for teachers who want it. Early retirement saves money for the school district and – according to the best research – is likely to improve student performance. Craig Alexander has criticized Anna for supporting early retirement – showing that he is ignorant about education policy and economics.
Capistrano Unified School District has been giving bonuses to teachers for early retirement, and in this way, the district is changing the make-up of the teaching force.
This makes for a more effective team of teachers, since Capistrano Unified will have teachers who strongly want to be there, and we will no longer have some teachers whose thinking is focused on their retirement plans. Anna says: “This is a very positive program. But at the state level, we should not forget that we need to fix the teacher pension system.”
An interesting and very recent paper by two economists (Maria Fitzpatrick & Michael Lovenheim) says that early-retirement programs tend to increase student test scores:
Here’s another very recent paper, by a different set of economists (Cory Koedel, Michael Podgursky & Shishan Shi), on how early retirement improves teacher quality:
Minutes: Bryson seconds the motion to approve the retirement bonus – Source CUSD Board of Trustee meeting 1/25/12 agenda item #8, refer to the minutes of the meeting located on the Consent Calendar for the meeting of February 13, 2012 agenda item # 11 page 82; Motion Trustee Alpay; Seconded by Trustee Bryson.
AFTER STRIKE, VOTED TO FUND TRAINING (AS REQUIRED BY CONTRACT) FOR UNION LEADERS IN CONSTRUCTIVE APPROACHES TO NEGOTIATION
09/12/11 Anna Bryson made the motion and voted with the Trustee board majority (and against Trustees Ellen Addonizio and Sue Palazzo) to fund training (as required by contract) of union leaders and their district management counterparts on how to interact constructively during labor negotiations. The consultants (Barber & Gonzales) have been used by Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, and Southern Pacific. In Corona-Norco Unified school district, working with these consultants, has saved an annual figure of over $1 million.
Contrary to claims made by Craig Alexander, Capistrano management representatives received the same training at the same time. Costs were shared between the union and the district, with the union picking up support costs. Training was at Capistrano district headquarters, not (as inaccurately claimed by Craig Alexander) during an off-site “junket.”
Minutes: CUSD Board of Trustee meeting 9/12/11 agenda item #23, refer to the minutes of the meeting located on the Consent Calendar for the meeting of September 26, 2011 agenda item # 10 page 55: Motion made by Trustee Bryson.
SAVED SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM COSTLY COURT JUDGMENT & UPHELD SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS
12/07/2010 Anna voted with the Trustee board majority (and against Trustees Ellen Addonizio and Sue Palazzo) to restore specified amounts of teacher compensation – as required by contract. By voting to uphold the sanctity of contracts and to restore the compensation, the district avoided a costly court battle and a sure loss in court. The procedures the Trustees followed in making this decision were upheld by the Orange County District Attorney. Teachers still received a pay cut of just under 5% – a necessity in our difficult economic times.
Upholding the obligation of contracts is a bedrock conservative principle. As the great conservative philosopher Aristotle says, “Anyone who disregards or repudiates any contract is repudiating the law itself.” “Most business relations,” Aristotle points out, are controlled by contracts, and “if these lose their binding force, human dealings will cease to exist.”
Minutes: http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1229223560406/1218998864154/3577638514624170765.pdf [pages 25 & 26 of 594, 3 & 4 of Minutes]
SUPPORTED DISTRICT’S DEFENSE TO LAWSUIT THAT COST CHILDREN OVER $16,000 IN LOST LEARNING
To repeat what I have said in the past:
Trustee Ellen Addonizio voted to accept the Teachers Union contract which settled the April 2010 strike. This was a contract that she supported fully and voted for publicly.
But after supporting the contract, Ellen decided she wanted to rewrite the terms of this valid contract without negotiation. To this end, a political ally of Ellen’s sued the district with Craig Alexander as his attorney. This effort was undertaken despite the fact that California courts had already ruled on such one-sided contract changes in an Orange County Board of Supervisors case, finding — to paraphrase the appeals court judge – that just because you do not like what you have imprudently done, does not give you the right to ignore a valid contract.
Nonetheless, Ellen piled on as well and hired lawyer Craig Alexander to aid her in matters related to her ally’s lawsuit. She even had the audacity to demand that the school district pay Alexander’s attorney fees ($13,444). Fortunately the court twice rejected the lawsuit, but not until after Ellen had worked with the attorney Craig Alexander to complain to the Orange County District Attorney. The investigation of Ellen’s complaint resulted in a finding of no Brown Act violation. Unfortunately for taxpayers, to deal with her legal actions, the school district had to spend over $16 thousand — money that might have been put to better purpose.”
HAS GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED ELECTION VOTES FROM ALL, BUT HAS NEVER SOUGHT ENDORSEMENT OR SUPPORT FROM PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS
Again, to repeat what I have said in the past:
- Anna did NOT apply for endorsement from the CUEA Teachers Union and did NOT interview with them for an endorsement — even though Anna was instructed to do so by Tony Beal and Jennifer Beal.
- Anna has NEVER received the endorsement of the CUEA Teachers Union.
- Anna has NEVER received any expenditures on her behalf by the CUEA Teachers Union.
- In 2006, Anna Bryson was a pioneer among Orange County Republicans in declining public-employee union endorsement and money in principle.
- The CUEA Teachers Union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 election to remove Anna from the Capistrano school board.
As a longtime chief of staff to a local congressman stated, ‘This assault on the integrity of Anna Bryson is beyond belief. I was there, I live here. I know her standards and what an incredible job she has done.’ Anna has a proven record of almost 20 years in the trenches and in positions of responsibility in the Orange County Republican Party and Orange County Republican Women’s Federated.
Those who for political gain or expediency would like to rewrite history, as a way to diminish Anna’s stature should be ashamed of such serious falsehoods.
Here are the facts about the remaining two original ABC trustees (Ellen and Anna):
- At the instruction of Tony Beal and Jennifer Beal, ABC candidate Ellen Addonizio filled out an application for endorsement and interviewed with the CUEA Teachers Union in their HQ in 2006.
- Anna Bryson rejected the Beals’ instructions and refused to meet with the CUEA Teachers Union about an endorsement.
- Ellen received the endorsement of the CUEA Teachers Union in the Capistrano 2006 school-board election.
- Anna Bryson neither received or sought the CUEA Teachers Union endorsement in either of her election races.
- Ellen had 3 independent expenditures (letters sent to voters, etc.) paid for solely by the Teachers Union in her first election· Anna Bryson did not receive a single independent expenditure from the Teachers Union.
In the application by Ellen Addonizio (who continues to receive support from Tony and Jennifer Beal) for Teachers Union support:
- Ellen spoke of the need for ‘close cooperation.’ She promised the Teachers Union to ‘work toward a more cooperative relationship,’ in one passage in her application, and ‘immediately’ to work ‘to develop an open and cooperative relationship,’ in another passage.
- Ellen promised the Teachers Union that she had a ‘willingness’ to work with them and that she looked forward ‘to working with them.’
- Ellen promised that she opposed opportunity scholarships (vouchers) for students.
- Ellen said ‘communication with the teachers association could bear improvement.’ She promised ‘open and regular communication’ with the Teachers Union and ‘regular meetings’ between district administrators and Teachers Union figures.
- Ellen promised the Teachers Union that she understood and believed in bargaining ‘in good faith.’
- Ellen eagerly solicited Teachers Union endorsement, writing: ‘I hope to receive the support of this union [CUEA Teachers Union] and would welcome your generous support. Together we can reform CUSD.’
HAS OPPOSED “COMMON CORE” NATIONAL CURRICULUM-CONTENT STANDARDS
Anna Bryson has been, in the words of the Capistrano Dispatch, “a vocal opponent of the new standards.” She points out that they “hurt high-performing districts” like Capistrano Unified.
“California has had the highest standards in math and English. It’s sad to think that across the state, many districts will implement these lacking, lowered standards,” Anna said during board debate.. “The Common Core is not the ultimate answer. There are better ways of helping our students achieve at a higher level than imposing a blanket standard across the nation.”
HAS FOUGHT FOR UNBIASED TEXTBOOKS
During board debate in June 2013, over possible districtwide adoption of World Civilizations: The Global Experience ( 6th ed.), Anna refused to approve the book because it is too biased. The book was proposed for use in Advanced Placement world history classes.
Anna said in public debate that it is important, especially in a state with fiscal problems, to present different economic schools of thought (including the F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman approaches) and not just the Keynesian approach. She said the treatment of the Vietnam War was considered biased by many of her Vietnamese constituents and friends. “You have to show both sides,” Anna said. “It would behoove us to do better for our students,”
HAS CUT SCHOOL-CONSTRUCTION TAXES
08/14/13 Anna voted with the Trustee board majority to modestly cut property taxes in Las Flores. These are “Mello-Roos” taxes linked to paying down debt on school construction.
Anna supported property owners retaining their own money rather than having the school district pile up money for hypothetical construction in the future. The money raised through these taxes has paid for building schools to serve Las Flores residents. During public debate, Anna said that retaining Mello-Roos taxes for other purposes would be “manipulation of those funds.”
HAS SUPPORTED PARENTAL CHOICE VIA CHARTER SCHOOLS, IN PARTICULAR OXFORD PREP, ONE OF HIGHEST PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN STATE
Over her two terms on the Capistrano Unified school board, Anna has been a careful, yet energetic reformer and has therefore supported charter schools that meet the operating standards set out in state law. In particular, when Oxford Preparatory Academy, one of the highest performing schools in the State of California, sought to expand into the Capistrano Unified School District, Anna offered them advice on what was missing from the school’s proposed financial plan. Anna and the Capistrano Unified board went on to unanimously approve Oxford Prep’s revised charter proposal in early March 2011.