OC Political

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Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Filbeck’

Freedom and Liberty = Public Charter Schools

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 3, 2016

As a follow up to my post of last week (Anti-Choice Teachers Unions Want to Take Control of O.C. Board of Education), former State Senator Gloria Romero has penned another excellent op-ed piece in the O.C. Register.  In Celebrating National Charter Schools Week Senator Romero not only noted that this week is a time to celebrate the tremendous success of public charter schools but the continued voracious opposition to public charter schools by unions and the local Boards of Trustees the unions pay to elect.  

Here is part of her op-ed piece:

“Increasingly, parents understand that charter schools were precisely given the flexibility to be independent of the many constraints under California’s Education codes, allowing them to be more innovative while simultaneously being held accountable for improved student achievement. Several studies confirm that charter school students do better than their traditional school peers. Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes found that charter schools do a better job teaching low-income students, minority students and English language learners than traditional schools. The Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.”

Yet despite public charter school successes unions and school boards fight parent’s desire to start and continue great public charter schools.  No example of this is the fight by the parents of children at Palm Lane Elementary School, a currently traditional public school that has been failing for over a decade.  The District’s response when the parents attempted to use the Parent Trigger law to convert the school to a public charter school? Sue them in court and spend an estimated million taxpayer dollars to stop the parents’ efforts.  In effect spend over a million in taxpayer dollars to keep children in a failing school.  Who are these deniers of parents’ rights to a quality education for their children?  Trustees Jeff Cole, Ryan A. Ruelas, Bob Gardner, David Robert H.R. Heywood and Jackie Filbeck. (Board of Trustees) And lets not forget their enforcer Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner. (Superintendent) If liberty, freedom, parents’ rights and quality education (not to mention fiscal responsibility) were grades these trustees and the superintendent needed to earn: they would receive an F grade.

And the ongoing battle of the parents of Palm Lane students: the Superior Court judge ruled against the District and in favor of the parents. See Parents and Children Win The Right to State a Public Charter School. District responded with an appeal that is still pending.  Who is among those filing legal briefs in support of the school district to deny parental choice and a quality education for their children?  You guessed it, the California Teachers Association.

I commend Senator Romero’s op-ed to your reading.

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Education Revolution in Orange County: Part II of III – Parent Trigger Law and Palm Lane Elementary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 30, 2015

Anaheim City School DistrictLast week, I began my three-part series on the education revolution brewing in Orange County with a post on the rapid increase in the number of charter schools in the county after years of stagnation.

In this second post, I will turn to the use of the Parent Trigger Law at Palm Lane Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District.  My colleague, Craig Alexander, was the first person to break the news when he posted here on OC Political that Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks had ruled in favor of the parents in Ochoa vs. Anaheim City School District when Palm Lane Elementary School families used the Parent Trigger Law to petition for a public charter school.

This is a watershed moment in Orange County education.  Should the judge’s ruling stand, this will be the first successful use of the Parent Trigger Law in Orange County and one of just a handful in California.

Utilizing the Parent Trigger Law allows parents of students in failing schools to take back control of their schools like never before.  For many parents in lower-income areas that have been traditionally pro-union, using the Parent Trigger Law exposes them to the first time to the hostility of the California Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association ̣(and their local chapters, of course).  This is an eye-opening experience that causes many of these parents to turn against these unions that are impeding their efforts to improve their children’s education.

It is no surprise that Anaheim City School District administration are opposed to the use of the Parent Trigger Law because it is essentially an indictment of their failures at Palm Lane Elementary School.  Furthermore, the conversion of Palm Lane Elementary into a charter school weakens the Anaheim City School District administration’s control of the school (and its funding).

Four of the five Anaheim City School District trustees are in their first term on the school board, so they could hardly blamed for the failures at Palm Lane Elementary School, and when the petitions were submitted to the school district, two of the trustees had been in office less than six weeks while a third trustee had not yet even been seated.

Disappointingly, the Anaheim City School District trustees voted unanimously to appeal the judge’s ruling.  Not one trustee stepped back and asked themselves one basic question: “What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

The Anaheim City School District contends that only 48.43% of Palm Lane Elementary School parents provided valid signatures for the petition.  The Superior Court found at least 51.57% of signatures were valid, but the judge stopped counting at this point because it was clearly above the 50% threshold.

Even accepting the school district’s lower number, at what point do the Anaheim City School District administration and trustees take another step back and simply say, “Wow.  48% of parents at Palm Lane are so upset that they want to convert it into a public charter school.”  That’s not to say that the other 52% oppose a charter school; they simply did not sign the petition (if we use the school district’s numbers).

So, we now await the Court of Appeal, as the Anaheim City School District continues their battle against the parents of Palm Lane Elementary School.

In the second half of this post, I have excerpted four of the most stunning sections of the ruling by the judge.  The two longer excerpts give a glimpse into the truly offensive way in which the Anaheim City School District has handled this process.

What is the Parent Trigger Law?

Readers familiar with the Parent Trigger Law can skip down to the next section on the scathing court ruling.

In a nutshell, the Parent Trigger Law authorizes parents to petition for one of five types of reforms at their children’s school.  The school must meet legal definitions for a low-performing school for the petition to be valid.  A majority of parents must sign the petition in order to for one of the reforms to be implemented.  Yes, a majority of parents at the school must sign the petition.  This is a very high petition threshold. (Contrast that with ballot measures, a certain percentage far below a majority [varying from 5%-20% depending on the type/jurisdiction of measure] is needed to qualify a measure for an election, and most types of ballot measures pass with a majority vote.  Getting a majority to sign your petition is a much more challenging task than getting a majority to cast their ballots for your proposal.)

One of the five options for reform is launching a public charter school, and that is the route that Palm Lane Elementary School parents opted for in their petition to the Anaheim City School District.

The Parent Trigger Law was passed in 2010 by a bipartisan coalition of Sacramento lawmakers, and I don’t mean that a couple renegades from one party hopped on board with the other party to pass it.  This was authored by former Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero ̣̣(D-East Los Angeles) and Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas).  In the Senate, 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats formed the group of 23 Senators who voted to pass the bill; in the Assembly, it was 25 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  These weren’t rogue Democrats who joined the Republicans — this included the Democrats’ top leaders: then-Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, then-Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, and future Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Truly Scathing Court Ruling in Ochoa v. Anaheim City School District

After reading the full text of the judge’s decision that Craig posted, I am amazed that no one has quoted more extensively from it.  In the published sources I’ve seen, the quotes have been limited to the judge’s findings that the Anaheim City School District’s petition “rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious” and regarding petition verification: “The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious and unfair process.”  (Craig in his original post also quoted “Clearly, the Respondents [the District] did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.”)

I am amazed no one has published more excerpts of the truly scathing court ruling.  As I read the full text of the ruling, I was actually angered and offended by the Anaheim City School District’s behavior.  Below are the four most stunning excerpts, and the two longer ones describe the repugnant fashion in which the Anaheim City School District conducted itself with regard to the petition.  In the court ruling, references to the “respondent” mean the Anaheim City School District while references to the “petitioners” mean the parents suing the school district in defense of the Parent Trigger petition.

Judge Banks noted about the school in question, “This proceeding involves parents of students at Palm Lane Elementary, a school whose performance over 10 of the last 11 years as measured by the legislatively imposed standards can be described as abysmal.”

The Anaheim City School District attempted to argue that the Court lacked jurisdiction because the parents had not completed all administrative remedies since the district had not rejected the petition. This is ludicrous because even the minutes of the school board meeting note that the motion was “to reject the Petition” of the Palm Lane parents. The Court described the school district’s brazen argument as:

The Respondent Board rejected the Petition in Exhibit 16…In the section “Action” the last sentence in relevant part reads “Accordingly the Petition…is rejected.”

Respondents sought to characterize the rejection as something less, arguing in the trial brief and at trial that the action of February 19th was not a final determination on the Petition (Respondent’s Trial Brief at page 1, lines 17-23 and page 25 lines 3-5). They presented their case in part on the theory that the Petition was returned as allowed under 5 CCR Section 4802.1(g)(j) and not rejected.  The language used by the District’s Board plainly says otherwise.  They rejected the Petition they did not return it.

The Respondents also argue that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this matter as well as to grant relief because the Petition was not rejected but only returned and therefore Petitioners have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.  This argument fails because the Respondents rejected the Petition.

I find the rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

The school district attempted to argue that Palm Lane did not fit the criteria of a low-performing school for purposes of the Parent Trigger Law, relying on a truly bizarre rationale that the state Department of Education did not issue a 2014 adequate yearly progress report, so Palm Lane could not have “failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP).”  The Court wrote:

The Respondents [sic] own internal communications admit to the fact that Palm Lane is a subject school subject to the [Parent Trigger] Act and has failed to make AYP.  Exhibits 29, 31, 32,67 and 80 are just some of those communications.

The reliance of the Respondents upon Exhibit 47 and the determination by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Honorable Tom Torlakson, that no 2014 AYP report for elementary and other schools would be prepared by the California Department of Education did not provide a safe harbor against parents utilizing the Act as the Respondents argue.  Instead, it froze those schools and districts in their status based on prior measured AYP results.  The evidence clearly establishes that Palm Lane failed to make adequate yearly progress.  I therefore find that Palm Lane is a subject school under the Act.

In the Anaheim City School District’s rejection of the Parent Trigger petition, their findings noted that “The Petitioners failed to submit a separate document that identifies the lead petitioners.” The judge rips the school district to shreds for attempting to use this argument:

The evidence on the “lead petitioner list” issue was directly contradictory.  The Petitioners said they provided it when they delivered the signed petitions to the District at the District’s Office on January 14, 2015.  The Respondents said they never got it.  After considering all the evidence I resolve this issue in favor of the Petitioners.  In particular, I find the testimony of Alfonso Flores to be persuasive and he to be the most credible witness on this issue, and probably in the entire case.

I would be remiss however if I left the issue there.  The behavior of the Respondents [sic] personnel in doing absolutely nothing to determine who the lead petitioners were can not go without comment.  Wisely or not, the Act requires the Local Educational Agency (LEA) to work with the lead parent petitioners in the process.  In practical terms it means the Districts must cooperate and work together with the very people who seek to take from the District a school (and its funding etc) and to establish in its place a charter school.  No clearer repudiation of a school district’s performance could be imagined.

I find that the Respondents’ claimed ignorance of the identity of the lead parents and ignorance as to how to learn their identity (feigned and contrived ignorance in the Court’s view) is unreasonable.  They could have looked at the “sign in sheet” for January 14th when the petitions were delivered to see which parents were there – but they did not.  They could have called the name and phone number of the person listed on most of the petitions; which information was listed after the words:

“For more information, all interested persons, the school district, and others should contact:” (emphasis added)

[Name and number omitted by the Court]

And if that was not enough, immediately below the name and phone number of the contact person were the words:

“Supporting organizations”

with the name of two supporting organizations, one of which is headed by Senator Romero, with whom the evidence showed the Respondents were well acquainted.

Any of those acts would have been what a reasonable person would have done and what a reasonable process would have called for.  Instead, they manufactured a continuing state of ignorance as to the lead person identities.

Finally, and not to beat a dead horse, Senator Romero herself wrote to the Respondents and offered to put them in touch with and coordinate between the District and the lead parents (Exhibit 49, page TX 049-003 to 006).  Respondents never responded to her offer.

On July 2, 2015 while testifying before the Court the District Superintendent testified that even on that day she still did not know who the lead petitioners were.  The evidence established that Exhibit 97 (list of petitioning parents, i.e. lead petitioners) was again provided shortly after the District findings were announced on February 19, 2015.  How she could not know the identities is troubling.

Clearly, the Respondents did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.

The Court found the petition signature verification process to be”unreasonable, unfair and incomplete” and with just a few phone calls, the judge himself was able to confirm enough signatures to easily exceed the 50% threshold for the Parent Trigger petition.  Judge Banks brutally dissects the signature verification process:

Under the [Parent Trigger] Act and its related regulations, the Respondents as an LEA may verify signatures on petitions, but they are not required to do so; and if they undertake to do so their efforts must be reasonable. 5 CCR § 4802.1 (b).

I find that the process set up and utilized by Respondents was unreasonable, unfair and incomplete.

The process was developed by a temporary employee (Evelyn Gutierrez) who was given no training or education about the Act, the Regulations or the importance of what she was being asked to do.  She had no background, training or experience in handwriting analysis or comparison.  She was not supervised in any meaningful regard. She received no written procedures to follow.  She had to develop the script she used when calling parents phone numbers.  The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, caprcious [sic] and unfair process.  In fairness it must be noted that Ms. Gutierrez did her best in the situation into which she was placed.

The result of this defective process was that valid signed petitions were not counted.  Ms. Gutierrez testified to several petitions she rejected that on reflection should have been determined valid.  In addition she testified that a number of petitions were placed by her in a “pending” status because she could not reach the parent signatory or for some other reason.  Someone, not Ms. Gutierrez, later decided to improperly classify those petitions as invalid.

A brief description of the signature verification process is in order.  Ms. Gutierrez would call the phone number twice to try and reach a parent signatory.  She called between approximated [sic] 8:30AM and 4:30PM. If she could not reach the person, she would put them in “pending”.  If she reached the parent she inquired about their signing the petition.  Calling only during normal working hours for the parents decreased the probability of making contact.

Some persons reached by phone said they had signed; others said their spouse signed; others said they could not recall if they signed and finally some denied they had signed.

Some children had separate petitions signed by each parent.  If the first petition signature could not be verified there was no attempt to look at the other signed petition to verify the accuracy of the signature on that petition.

In sum, there are numerous deficiencies in the process.  The result of the flawed process was that valid signatures sufficient to reach and exceed the 50% threshold were improperly excluded.

In the interest of brevity I attach and include a list of 29 students and parents utilized in argument and entitled “Improperly Invalidated Petitions (Child/Parent)”.  I have independently evaluated the evidence relating to some but not all of the 29, stopping once a total of 23 additional valid signed petitions were established.  Inasmuch as the Respondents determined and found the Petitioners were 12 valid petitions short there is no need to go further.  The Petitioners needed 367, the Court finds they presented a minimum of 378.  Using the aforementioned chart, the Court determines the following numbers referenced thereon were valid petitions: 1 – 7; 9; 13 -24; 27 -29.  The Court does not reach items 25 and 26.

The Anaheim City School District has much to answer for about the reprehensible way they handled this process.

Key Question for Anaheim City School District Trustees

To reiterate my point from earlier: each Trustee should take a look in the mirror, and then, each should ask and answer this question:

“What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

Posted in Anaheim City School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Anaheim Union High School District to Fill Vacancy Tonight

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 27, 2012

Anaheim Union High School DistrictThe Anaheim Union High School District is set to fill the vacancy from the untimely passing of Jan Harp Domene.  The board is set to meet tonight at 5 PM to select which of the 13 applicants they will select to fill the seat.

It will take 3 votes to fill the seat, as the four AUHSD trustees need a majority vote to fill the fifth seat.  The four AUHSD trustees are Board President Anna Piercy (R-Cypress) and Board Members Jordan Brandman (D-Anaheim), Brian O’Neal (R-La Palma), Katherine Smith (R-Anaheim).  If the trustees fail to appoint anyone to the vacancy tonight, then that triggers the legal deadline that will force the seat to remain vacant until the November election, leaving the voters to decide who will fill the vacancy.

On Wednesday, in a five-hour meeting, the AUHSD trustees interviewed the 13 applicants.  Each applicant was asked five questions:

  • What motivated you to apply for this provisional appointment?  How does your background, training, and experience prepare you for this post?
  • What is the primary role of a member of the Anaheim Union High School District board?
  • What are the characteristics of an outstanding board member?
  • What previous involvement do you have in AUHSD, and for how many years?
  • Do you have anything else you would like to share?

From experienced volunteers to playng the race card to people who just know what’s going on when they walk into a building to people who couldn’t remember their own experiences to people who thought education was not the primary responsibility of the school district, the interviews had it all.  Here are my summaries of what each candidate said:

  • Jackie Filbeck (R-Anaheim): She noted her working relationships with each of the elementary school boards that feed into AUHSD, her experience on education committees, her roots in Anaheim, and her professional background in accounting and contracts.  She believes the board “manage[s] the district collaboratively” to ensure student success, sets policies and negotiates contracts, and serves as a community representative.  She states outstanding board members “do their homework;” investigate issues; stay informed; are each a people person who interacts with the community, staff, and students; represent the district to the community; and need to be nice people.  Her involvement in Anaheim schools included three years as a PTA President, work with school board members, service on numerous committees, art programs, school carnivals, reading programs, growing a PTA board from 4 people to 50 people, sports leagues like NJB and JUSA, directing girls’ softball; she stated she gained knowledge of parliamentary procedure from her group involvement; she has been a real estate agent, managed trust funds, been a notary, been a certified signing agent, a businesswoman, a Field Representative for Assemblyman Chris Norby, and a 12-year St. Jude volunteer.  She stated she would be honored to serve, was motivated to apply on her own and by herself alone, is a good learner, wants to expand mentoring and tutoring programs, and would like to serve as a community resource.
  • Annemarie Randle-Trejo (D-Anaheim): She noted her body of work from volunteering and being inclusive of diversity, her goal of collaborating with feeder districts, and her career as a behavior intervention specialist. She believes the board makes policy, everything goes through the board, and board members should show the public an understanding of the classroom and of parents.  She believes board members should understand students, should understand that those students are diverse and not carbon copies, should encourage the “staff team” in handling the school district during the state budget crisis, should provide more career technical education pathways, and should be “expanding our 21st century education for those who will go to college.”  Her AUHSD experience includes school site council, the accreditation committee, PTA, being president of Oxford Academy, the District Advisory Council, the “education coalition,” and the CAHSEE Advisory Council; she claimed her PTA experience helped her understand parents, teachers, and administrators. Inexplicably, she then had to reach for her notes (!) because she couldn’t remember everything she had done and found that she had been part of the John F. Kennedy High School Arts Foundation and band boosters.  She stated she was nervous because of the post’s importance, wanted the board to appoint the best fit, and then stated the board should appoint “someone who looks like 65% of our students” and that the board needed to appoint her as she would be the “missing voice of parents” on the board.
  • Greg Domene (D-Anaheim): He stated he was motivated to carry on Jan Domene’s work, his family was always involved with AUHSD, he was in PTA whenever Jan was, he was Little League President, he worked closely with Jan, he has technical expertise.  He stated the board sets policy, sets the tone, represents students and parents to administrators, and serves as “architects” of the district with the staff as the “general contractor.”  His involvement in AUHSD includes attending those schools for six years, having children who attended those schools, being involved in his kids’ sports and student government experience, providing on-campus help, and attending the national PTA board with his late wife, Jan Domene.  He stated he wanted to “carry forth my wife’s works” and “ensure that kids have a good education.”
  • Art Montez (D-Buena Park): He stated that there was racially segregated housing and segregated education in the 1960s, and today the problem is institutionalized.  He noted AUHSD is 70% minority.  He stated he had worked for 40 years in education, worked on the census, spent 12 years as a Centralia School District board member, and is the father of AUHSD graduates.  He stated the school board controls a small percentage of the budget, and half of students do not speak English.  He made reference to immigration issues and the controversial appointment of Harald Martin to the AUHSD board the last time there was a vacancy (due to the untimely passing of Denise Mansfield-Reinking in 2007).  He stated health and safety of children is the primary responsibility of the school district and “education is secondary.”  He said board members should be patient, good listenters, able to ask hard questions, understand what the community faces, and work with strained staff and the board.  His previous involvement included his kids being at Savanna High School, setting up Americorps under Bill Clinton at Savanna, and serving on SELPA at Centralia.  He noted his passion and experience, knowledge of how the Education Code and school financing works, his familiarity with the political and legislative processes, and his work on redistricting.
  • Forrest Turpen (R-Anaheim): He stated he applied for the board in a “weak moment,” has been involved in education his entire life, and wants to invest in the lives of boys and girls to build young men and women for the future of Anaheim and America.  He believes a board member should represent the community while working wih superintendent and administration.  He stated a good board members should be good at bringing consensus to staff and board members and should go to community events to represent the board.  He stated his involvement in AUHSD is that he has lived in the community for 7.5 years, lives near Savanna High School, and has driven by the district headquarters.  He stated he understands school ssytems, is sensitive to needs of different parts of the school district, was involved in the Illinois Principals’ Association, and when he walks into a building or classroom, he knows what’s going on.
  • Dominic Daddario (R-Anaheim): He stated he was a product of Catholic schools and “what I learned has done me real well.”  He believes board members should make sure each student has the opportunity to learn because people learn different ways.  He stated board members should be listeners, as listening is the top priority.  His AUHSD involvement was that his kids went through AUHSD, one son was a two-sport athlete while the other was involved in music, he supported his sons’ activities, and he joined the Santa Ana Elks Lodge (huh?).  He believes the board has a “great opportunity” to open alternative education paths, and AUHSD needs to train plumbers, electricians, carpenters, auto mechanics, and “photo printers, who will be in greater demand in our increasingly digital world.”
  • Ken Jenks (R-Buena Park): He stated he was not sure of the role of a board member, and “guess it’s policymaking,” but should include advocating for kids.  He stated board members should communicate well and work on a team.  His involvement in AUHSD included being a 20-year resident; all five of his children graduated from Cypress High School, including two ASB Presidents, music, and sports; he was involved in Boy Scouts, was a PTA PResident, and volunteered with grad night, boosters, and bingo.  He believes a “feeling of belonginess” is important and that funding programs and clubs like arts, music, and ASB ensures the “feeling of belonginess.”

The applicants include 7 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 2 people registered as No Party Preference (known as Decline-to-State in pre-Prop 14 parlance).

They include 8 Anaheimers, 4 Buena Parkers, and 1 La Palman.

AUHSD includes the entirety of the City of Cypress, along with portions of Anaheim, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton.  AUHSD includes grades 7-12, with K-6 education provided by the Anaheim City School District, Centralia School District, Cypress School District, Magnolia School District, and Savanna School District.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should note my day job is working in the Fullerton office of Assemblyman Chris Norby.  Consequently, one of my co-workers is Jackie Filbeck, who is one of the candidates for the AUHSD seat.)

Posted in Anaheim Union High School District, Centralia School District, Cypress School District, Magnolia School District, Savanna School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Filling the Anaheim Union High School District Vacancy

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 16, 2012

Anaheim Union High School District On February 27, Anaheim Union High School District Trustee Jan Harp Domene passed away unexpectedly at home at the age of 60.  Elected to a four-year term in 2010, her untimely death left the seat vacant with more than two years remaining on the term.

On March 8, the AUHSD Board of Trustees decided to fill the seat by provisional appointment until the voters fill the seat in November 2012 for the remainder of the term expiring in 2014.  The deadline to request an application for the seat was Thursday, March 29, at which point 21 candidates had requested an application.  Wednesday, April 11 was the deadline to submit their applications, and 13 candidates did so.

Thursday, April 19 at 6:00 PM is a special meeting of the AUHSD Board of Trustees to allow the public to comment on the 13 candidates.  On Wednesday, April 25, at 5:00 PM, the AUHSD Board will hold a special meeting to interview the 13 candidates.  The following day, on Thursday, April 26, again at 5:00 PM, the AUHSD Board will hold a special meeting to vote on the appointment.  If the board fails to make an appointment by the end of Friday, April 27, the seat will remain vacant until the November 2012 election, when the voters fill the seat for the remainder of the term expiring in 2014.

It will take 3 votes to fill the seat, as the four AUHSD Trustees need a majority vote to fill the fifth seat.  The four AUHSD Trustees are Board President Anna Piercy (R-Cypress) and Board Members Jordan Brandman (D-Anaheim), Brian O’Neal (R-La Palma), Katherine Smith (R-Anaheim).

This is the most recent in a series of vacancies in elected office in Orange County in the past three months:

  • On January 23, Orange County Public Administrator John Williams’s resignation in a settlement with the County took effect (though he attempted to hang on to the office until February 7).  The Supervisors have not filled Williams’s seat, but Measure A has been placed on the June ballot to convert the elected Public Administrator into an appointed position.
  • On January 31, Orange County Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom’s resignation to accept a similar position in Sonoma County took effect.  The all-Republican OC Board of Supervisors almost appointed Republican Shaun Skelly to the vacancy, but Skelly withdrew.  The Supervisors are slated to determine tomorrow on how to proceed on filling Sundstrom’s vacancy.
  • On February 1, Stanton Councilman Ed Royce Sr.’s resignation due to ill health took effect.  His resignation from the Municipal Water District of Orange County Board of Directors took effect the same day.  On March 13, the majority Republican Stanton City Council appointed Republican Rigoberto Ramirez to fill the vacancy.  On March 14, the all-Republican Municipal Water District of Orange County Board of Directors appointed Republican Wayne Osborne to fill the vacancy, effective March 21.
  • On February 12, Villa Park Councilman Bob Fauteux passed away suddenly at the age of 79.  On March 27, the all-Republican Villa Park City Council appointed Republican Rick Barnett to fill the vacancy.

The 13 candidates seeking to fill the vacancy on the Board of the Anaheim Union High School District are:

  • John Alvis (D-La Palma), 69, served on the Centralia School District Board of Trustees from 1988-2005 and is currently President of the Kiwanis Club of La Palma and Vice Chair of the La Palma Traffic Safety Committee.  In 2006, he came in third out of five candidates for two seats on the La Palma City Council.  He also unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the AUHSD board in late 2007 after the untimely death of Denise Mansfield-Reinking.  (Harald Martin was appointed to the seat, but petitions forced an early 2008 special election that Jordan Brandman won.)
  • Maureen Christensen (R-Anaheim), 48, serves on the Anaheim City School District’s Measure BB Bond Oversight Committee.
  • Dominic Daddario (R-Anaheim), 64, is a businessman.
  • Helena De Coro (R-Anaheim), 65, is a music professor at Cypress College.
  • Lori Dinwiddie (NPP-Buena Park), 44, is the Safety Chair for the PTSAs at both Kennedy High School and Walker Jr. High School.
  • Greg Domene (D-Anaheim), 61, is Domene’s widower and works in the computer industry.
  • Jackie Filbeck (R-Anaheim), 54, is a Field Representative in Assemblyman Chris Norby’s office, with a long track record as a PTA parent, Anaheim Little League board member, JUSA board member, and NJB board member.  She made an unsuccessful bid for the Anaheim City School District Board in 2010.
  • Rod Hall (R-Anaheim), 80, is a retired teacher active in the Anaheim Lions Club.
  • Kenneth Jenks (R-Buena Park), 57, is an insurance salesman who is active in his church.
  • Art Montez (D-Buena Park), 62, is active with LULAC and was a Centralia School District Board Member from 1998 until 2010, when he was defeated for re-election.
  • Annemarie Randle-Trejo (D-Anaheim), 49, is a twice-defeated candidate for AUHSD: she came in sixth out of eight candidates in her 2006 bid and third out of four in her 2008 bid.  She is a behavior interventionist for the Anaheim City School District.
  • Forrest Turpen (R-Anaheim), 74, is West Coast Regional Director for Christian Educators Association International.
  • Shanin Ziemer (NPP-Buena Park), 41, is President of the PTA at Buena Terra Elementary School and Cultural Arts Chair of the Fourth District PTA.

The average age of the applicants is 59.

The applicants include 7 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 2 people registered as No Party Preference (known as Decline-to-State in pre-Prop 14 parlance).

They include 8 Anaheimers, 4 Buena Parkers, and 1 La Palman.

AUHSD includes the entirety of the City of Cypress, along with portions of Anaheim, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton.  AUHSD includes grades 7-12, with K-6 education provided by the Anaheim City School DistrictCentralia School District, Cypress School District, Magnolia School District, and Savanna School District.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should note my day job is working in the Fullerton office of Assemblyman Chris Norby.  Consequently, one of my co-workers is Jackie Filbeck, who is one of the candidates for the AUHSD seat.)

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