OUSD Teachers are joined by hundreds of community members at the special board meeting on January 5 Credit: Courtesy OUEA

OUSD voters were warned prior to November’s election that the District was on the precipice of going back to the years of chaos when board candidates distorted their backgrounds to fool the electorate, administrators were fired at will, programs benefitting students were cut and special interest groups controlled the board majority.

Regrettably, that day is here again.

It didn’t take long for the new board majority, which included the addition of Madison Miner to begin dismantling the District.

In a hastily called special board meeting on January 5 during winter break the board terminated the popular and highly effective OUSD Superintendent, Gunn Marie Hansen, and put Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Cathleen Corella on leave. Both administrators were out of the country at the time and were not given any notice of the board’s intentions.

Newly empowered Board President Rick Ledesma took it upon himself to offer Canyon High School principal, Craig Abercrombie Corella’s job on January 4 the day prior to the board meeting.

Such a decision should have been deliberated by the entire seven-member board. This is a pattern of the past when board majorities would fire administrators and replace them with those who expressed unconditional loyalty.

Ledesma’s hiring of Abercrombie may have been improper.

It’s hard to say where the board will stop, but Ledesma stated the actions against the two administrators “…is where it starts” while expressing concern about OUSD’s educational programs and services to students.

State Senator Dave Min didn’t mince words when he issued a statement on January 6 that local school boards have become “ground zero for political extremism”.

All it took was 111 voters to be fooled by the distortions and hypocrisy in Miner’s candidate statement to push the OUSD into this untenable situation.

Miner claimed to be a speech therapist which she isn’t.

Making such a claim is a violation of the California Business and Professions Code (Section 2532) which states one cannot represent themselves as a speech therapist without a license. Miner does not possess such a license. She also alluded to be an OUSD educator which is not true.

Miner scattered the words “parent-first” throughout her candidate statement. The words are nothing more than a ruse for the board majority and their acolytes to meddle in curriculum and textbooks and as they just did, fire any administrator who doesn’t conform to their beliefs.

While the OUSD teachers are protected by a union contract, a school board with such extremist views can find ways to make it difficult for the District’s professional educators to fulfill their responsibilities to the students.

The board’s actions against the two administrators could cost OUSD taxpayers over $1 million in severance packages and legal fees plus the costs for their replacements. This is money that should be spent on students.

Miner’s hypocrisy after the vote was evident in her candidate statement where she wrote if elected, she would “cut wasteful spending”.

The handful of votes that helped Miner win her board seat was not a mandate. It was just enough to once again make OUSD the laughingstock of the state while our public schools are dismantled piece by piece.

Dr. Barry Resnick retired after 42 years as a professor of counseling with the Rancho Santiago CCD. He has resided with his family in Orange for 35 years and served as an elected trustee on the OUSD board from 1989-1993.

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