OUSD picks favorite option for aquatics center

7 12 Nordhoff option 1 copy

Two master-plan options for Nordhoff High School, including a new aquatics center, were on the Ojai Unified school board meeting agenda, July 12. The school board picked Nordhoff High School Master Plan — Option 1.

The options can be viewed HERE.

(Click on blue links to be directed to specific OUSD agenda items.) 



The entire agenda can be viewed HERE.







7 12 Nordhoff Option 2 copy






The July meeting had originally been set for July 21, but that was changed when the July 12 meeting agenda was sent July 9 for a "regular" meeting. (Between July 10 and July 11, the board meeting schedule added the July 21 meeting back on calendar. As of July 12, the July 21 meeting was again removed from the calendar.) Then, on Monday, July 12, the agenda was changed to indicate the July 12 meeting is a "special" meeting.

Livestreamed and in-person meeting

Although the meeting is stated as being held via “teleconference,” three school board members were in the board room, but were on their computers at the same time in order for the meeting to be livestreamed. (Trustee Kevin Ruf was absent.)

School board members’ stipend or benefits

Among the agenda items was a discussion of providing pay or benefits to school board members, which the board had voted 3-2 to reduce on June 5, 2018. (Read OVN article on 2018 vote HERE.) The pay and benefits can be viewed HERE.

The review of board bylaw 9250 includes:

— Members may receive either a stipend for a meeting or health insurance benefits.

— District-paid health insurance benefits are only available for the board member.

— Benefits must be the lowest available option.

— Members may also insure their families by paying the difference between the single member price and the composition plan.

— Board members who have other insurance cannot participate in Ojai Unified health care plans.

 Because the July 12 school board meeting was changed from a "regular" meeting to a "special" meeting, there is a question of whether school board members' stipends can be decided since the Brown Act 54956, section b, states:

"Notwithstanding any other law, a legislative body shall not call a special meeting regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits, of a local agency executive, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 3511.1. However, this subdivision does not apply to a local agency calling a special meeting to discuss the local agency’s budget."

The referenced section 3511.1 defines a "local agency executive" as "a person employed by a local agency who is not represented by an employee organization and who meets any of the following requirements:
"(1) The person is the chief executive officer, a deputy chief executive officer or an assistant chief executive officer of the local agency.
"(2) The person is the head of a department of a local agency.
"(3)The person’s position within the local agency is held by an employment contract between the local agency and that person."

It is not clear whether a school board member would technically fall under those definitions, although the law was created after the city of Bell scandal to prevent public agencies from adequate scrutiny of top administrators' salaries.

Public participation in meeting

Members of the public who would like to be directly emailed regarding the meeting agendas can subscribe to the meeting agenda mailing list by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The livestreamed meeting can be viewed on Youtube at

or on the OUSD Facebook page,

To make a public comment, click HERE.

Public comment may be made via email before 4 p.m. the day of the meeting on the above electronic public comment form link.

Written comments are asked to be limited to 450 words. The agenda states that the public comments will be sent to board members and entered into the public record but will NOT be read at the meeting, which is different from previous meetings.

Public comments may be made in person during the meeting in the board room at 414 E. Ojai Ave. The board may limit public comments to 30 minutes.

Because the public comments will no longer be read aloud at the meeting and because the Ojai Valley News does not receive the public comments when the board gets them at the meeting, which is a violation of its board bylaw 9322, and the Brown Act, Government Code 54957.5, the public is asked to send public comments to the Ojai Valley News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for possible publication in the OVN’s online and print editions. 

Board bylaw 9322 states: With regard to public comments being available to all members of the public when they are received by the board, the bylaw reads: 

"At least three days before each regular meeting, each Board member shall be provided a copy of the agenda and agenda packet, including the Superintendent or designee's report; minutes to be approved; copies of communications; reports from committees, staff, citizens, and others; and other available documents pertinent to the meeting. ...

"Each meeting agenda shall list the address designated by the Superintendent or designee for public inspection of agenda documents that have been distributed to the Board less than 72 hours before the meeting. (Government Code 54957.5)"  )

Closed-session items

The school board will open the meeting at 4:30 p.m. in open session, at which public comment on the closed-session agenda items may be taken. The items to be discussed in closed session are anticipated litigation and conference with Sage Realty regarding negotiations on the district office property at 414 E. Ojai Ave.

School board handbook again

The open-session agenda included:

— Discussion of board handbook with recommendations including that a school board member can only put an item on the agenda if another school board member concurs. That is despite any member of the public being able to place an item on a school board agenda, according to California Education Code 35145.5.

The issue was already voted on in a board discussion of one hour and 25 minutes at its April 1, 2020 meeting at time stamp 1:16 in the recorded meeting ( )

At that meeting, the school board unanimously voted against a proposal that two school board members must agree before an item can be placed on a school board agenda. At the 1:30 time stamp of the recorded April 1, 2020 school board meeting, Trustee Kevin Ruf provided this wording, which the board unanimously approved:

“If there is at least one board member who wishes to place an item on the agenda, it shall be placed on a future agenda in a timely manner by the Superintendent, subject to the provisions of Board Policy 9322.”

Board Policy 9322 basically states that the board president and superintendent will decide whether the agenda item request is “within the subject matter jurisdiction of the board.” Board Policy 9322 can be read in full HERE.

The proposed board governance handbook is different from one proposed earlier.

Also on the agenda:

— 8 proposed school board goals. To read a preview of the goals, click HERE. The school board graphic demonstration of the goals can be viewed HERE.

— Preliminary Matilija Grounds Master Plan.

— AP government textbook adoption.

— Levered Mathematics ( ) online math curriculum adoption for grades 3 to 5 and a pilot of the program for grades K-2.

— A pilot of a social emotional learning program for Nordhoff High School called Move This World.

— Approval of concrete proposal for the Matilija Middle School Main Corridor Concrete Project.

— Approval for District Office Bus Loop Project.

— Approval of Matilija Campus Wide Painting.

OUSD employment changes

Among the consent calendar items are:

— Replacing some classified staff members with:

• A substitute senior accounting assistant.

• An accounting technician.

• A temporary chief business officer.

• A temporary accounting technician.

The OUSD 2019-20 budget audit was presented on May 12 and can be viewed HERE.

On Page 100, the audit states that OUSD management was investigating the possible charging of excess overtime "during 2019-2020 and continuing into 2020-2021..... The total amount of overtime charged by the employees was approximately $44,000 for the 2019‐2020 fiscal year. ...Controls have been established that require employees to obtain their supervisor’s approval in advance of working overtime."

— Promotion for Angie Genasci, previous OUSD Ojai Federation of Teachers president and elementary teacher, to Human Resources director; Special Education Director Katrina Madden promoted to assistant superintendent of business and administrative services; Carolyn Paulsen named administrative assistant; Marshall Webb named assistant principal at Nordhoff High School; Assistant Matilija Middle School Principal Kelley Stone promoted to principal 

OUSD payment to Rock Tree Sky

— $51,800 payment to education enrichment program vendor Rock Tree Sky at the Summit School campus in Upper Ojai.


— Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note that the school board voted to reduce school board benefits on June 5, 2018, not mostly eliminate them. The vote was in 2018, not 2019.




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