Public comment to Ojai Unified School District Board of Trustees Aug. 14 to 25

 OUSDOjai Unified School District Board of Education met Aug. 25, 2021

The school board agenda can be viewed at:

The meeting is livestreamed via District YoutubeVideo: 
via district Facebook at

Written public comments to the school board are not read aloud.

Below are the written public comments submitted to the school board on its "public comment" electronic form. The public can submit comments on that form prior to 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting at:


M. Goodwin (General Public Comment):
Dear Board Members, I am a neighbor to Chaparral School, I own Nutmeg's Ojai House at 304 N Montgomery Street. As educators, I applaud your consideration of solar power for the schools in our district. I have solar on my business, purchased from California Solar Electric, also your neighbor. Perhaps you could get a bid from them as well.

Also, in the name of ecology and saving money, I would like to suggest you consider replacing the un-ecological lawn areas on the Chaparral grounds, with drought-tolerant native plant xeriscape. I have watched over the last 25 years as the lawns were consistently overwatered. Not just a waste of water, it resulted in the slow death of all the oak trees on the north side of the property.
Our heritage trees, ordinance protected Valley Oaks Last to go was a mulberry tree that had provided some shade for the Trolley Stop. Ironically, the daycare there’s motto is “A Great Place to Grow.” Unless you're a tree.
Now you have replanted one Valley Oak in the gopher farm, as we neighbors call it, and immediately started overwatering again! The sprinklers shoot out onto the sidewalks and into the street. You can see the mud and splatters from the runoff covering the sidewalks along Aliso and Montgomery streets. Please, stop the madness.
The school is called, “Chaparral.” Plant a native chaparral landscape around it. Get the students to do it as part of an ecology class. It will look nice along the beautiful “Tear down the Dam and Restore the Beavers” mural. People will enjoy sitting at the metal tables you installed, in a native garden. No one uses or needs lawn there.
I have complained to the City Council over the last 20 years about the loss of your Oaks, but even with former assistant principal Steve Olson as Mayor, the groundskeeping at the school was never addressed. You lost another huge Valley Oak a year ago, directly behind the offices. Please consider drought-tolerant landscaping.
We have lots of examples and resources to use, including the Demonstration Garden at City Hall, Ojai Trees Volunteers, and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these important, cost-effective, climate-necessary improvements.
Meg Goodwin

M. Niglio (General Public Comment)
A Brown University study (based on decades of research in early childhood development) has linked masks on children to increased anxiety, sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating, depression and social phobias.” Children rely on facial cues and expressions for social cues and it’s impossible for them to interact without them.
According to the study, males and members of the lower socioeconomic group are the most vulnerable. School boards advocating that children wear masks are doing a great disservice to the community they profess to be helping.
Teachers who are at the forefront witnessing the harm being inflicted on their students must be extremely upset and morale in your teaching community must be very low. I wonder how much abuse inflicted on children will be necessary before a significant number of parents take their children out of school.

" 8/25/2021
B. Dutter (General Public Comment)
I would like to express my disappointment on not being able to walk my 1st grader to his classroom each morning this school year! I find it silly that I can walk to the main school gate, but not any further. I am a 1st-grade mom this year, and a brand-new parent to the Mira Monte campus. I was NEVER allowed to step foot on campus with my 1st-year learner last year in his kindergarten class or see the inside of a kinder classroom or ever meet our son’s teacher face to face.
I feel OUSD owes it to parents to let them start being a part of student/campus life again! This division cannot go on any longer. You are dividing the teachers and parents even further. It is going to be harder and harder for your PTOs to get parents to help the teachers and schools, when you are not offering anything in return to parents!
There has been no mention of parents helping in classrooms, helping with special projects or even feeling like a part of the school. I am also here to express my disappointment once again with our children being forced to wear masks on all OUSD campuses while inside classrooms.
As I have stated in my numerous letters before this one: I think it should be a choice for each family if they want their child to wear a mask at school! I also don’t agree with the school nurse going door to door at each classroom on campus and asking students if they want a COVID test. This is very intimidating. If one child in the class decides to get tested, the other students might feel left out, and shamed into getting tested. I think there should be an alternate way to test students that want to be tested somewhere else on campus, not taking away from class time, and not making other students in the class feel intimidated by this process!!!
This model seems very forced and pushy! Find an empty classroom or space on each campus and direct students to that area to get COVID tested, just as you would direct kids to go get their lunch in the cafeteria building. And lastly, I would like to see all kids using the beautiful outdoor spaces that we have on every campus. That way, since they are outside, they can remove their masks! I have seen lots of areas at every campus that are under- utilized for outdoor learning. What a beautiful town we live in that has ideal weather most of the year to sit outside and learn and be able to take off masks for longer than just recess and lunch time play outside!
OUSD school needs to start standing up for the kids in this district. Ojai is very unique in terms of being able to make some decisions for its students that other neighboring districts cannot. I would love to see the school board make some decisions for the Ojai kids for once, and not just cave to the California teachers union on every decision!
If you wait long enough, the enrollment will be gone and there won’t be any kids to teach or fight for any more.

D. Lange (Agenda item 5.4.3)
Good evening. This public comment, if read, would probably be in around 8:30 p.m., three hours after the meeting starts.
(Question No. 1 on your agenda regarding public comment is):
“If an option for public comment to be submitted in writing in advance of the meeting should continue to be allowed?”
Yes, this allows folks to measure what they want to add within 450 words and encourages comment. In addition, waiting in a room with a mask on for three hours is tough, and those with religious exemptions or other health risks associated with face masks would, by default, be excluded from meeting without controversy.
Furthermore, the comments are not paraphrased, creating a more accurate record of objections or support for an issue.
(Agenda question No. 2): “If so, should those comments be sent to Board members, and members of the public who request them, in advance of the meeting?”
What is the downside? Open and transparent allows others to get involved and offer support or opposition for public view. And potentially encourage parents to tune in to meeting.
Agenda question No. 3): “Should public comments submitted in advance of a meeting be read out loud at the meeting?”
I like this option. A student perhaps earning extra credit could read the comments if board members object. Or perhaps allow comment by video. The district could facilitate a method for parents to comment by prerecorded video or provide acceptable guidelines for 3-minute video submissions.

Marianne Ratcliff (Agenda item 5.4.3):
Dear Trustees: Thank you for your hard work. Agenda item 5.4.3 asks: 1. “If an option for public comment to be submitted in writing in advance of the meeting should continue to be allowed?”
2. “If so, should those comments be sent to Board members, and members of the public who request them, in advance of the meeting?”
3. “Should public comments submitted in advance of a meeting be read aloud at the meeting?”
Government Code 54957.5, and OUSD Board Bylaw 9322 require that any member of the public who requests them can view communications to the school board when trustees receive them; so, the question is whether trustees should be able to view public comments prior to school board meetings.
Trustees want to be as informed as possible about their constituents' concerns; they do not want to be surprised by questions/comments that have been provided to OUSD administration, but not to them. Therefore, it is incumbent upon trustees to be able to read public comments at least by the time they receive their agendas.
Trustees have been able to view public written comments in advance of board meetings after they requested them at a previous board meeting.
The Ojai Valley News is concerned that Question No. 2 is being posed again as a means of bypassing the public's ability to also view public written comments when the board receives them, as is required by the Brown Act and your bylaw.
OUSD officials have erroneously stated in writing to the OVN that written public comments have not been accepted at school board meetings prior to COVID-19. That is not accurate, as the Ojai Valley News, other media outlets and the public can attest, having attended OUSD school board meetings where written comments have long been allowed (for obvious reasons, such as accommodating schedules, driving ability, disability, child-care issues, or providing extensive information that cannot be communicated in three minutes or in 450 words). Receiving public written comments is a regular, accepted practice of elected bodies.
And, of course, whether the board meets in-person or not, COVID-19 continues to be a Public Health threat, especially for older and immunocompromised people, so limiting public comment to those who can physically attend a meeting (often waiting for hours for an agenda item) would disallow comments from them.
Also, according to Perry Education. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983): public bodies “must allow ample alternative channels of communication.” We interpret that to include written communications.


D. Lange (Agenda item 5.4.4)
I support the first draft for the Parent Advisory Committee. I expect the process and language will evolve over the next few months. I encourage engaging feedback from PTA, PTO, School Site Committees and School Site Counsels and other subgroups in the PAC appointment process.
I would like to see as part of the mission statement to include language to engage parents, i.e., communicate with their parent community, gathering and discussing goals of importance to adequately advise the governing board and superintendent.
PAC should have a district PAC Account via parent square to conduct surveys and parent outreach.

S. Moeller-Spaulding (Agenda item 4.1):
Hello Ojai Unified School Board. I hope in today's COVID updates you are not pushing for full masking of our children and the use of vaccines. I strongly believe that those who would like to be vaccinated and those who feel safer wearing a mask should do so. However, it should be a choice for individuals and families.
There is still no scientific data showing the use of mask prevents the spread as the COVID virus is so small it can go through them.
Also, the FDA approved Pfizer's Comirnaty vaccine that is not widely available, and the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine which is still
under EUA and cannot be forced or coerced under the Nuremberg Code and 21 US Code Sec.360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(III).

J. Dominguez (Agenda item 4.1)
Demanding that our children and ourselves comply with any and all COVID mandates, including, but not limited to: covering faces, restricting airways, and receiving an injection, is abusive, demoralizing, completely unsafe, and has no scientific evidence of being "healthy."
Furthermore, it is discriminatory and completely unlawful. Mandates and health orders are not laws and do not supersede our civil rights upheld by the Constitution. What we put into or onto our bodies that will affect our medical health is our individual choice and private, according to HIPPA laws. My children and I do not consent to COVID mandates as I feel they are completely inappropriate, unsafe, inhumane and ARE illegal!!!!!"

A. Jenkins (Agenda item 4.1):
I am sending a written comment because on your agenda "rules," it is states that "the Board may elect to limit public comments to 30 minutes." If there are more than 10 speakers, chances are my comments will not be heard. I am a mother of two students in the district and have been a resident of the Ojai Valley for 16 years. I am extremely concerned about the validity of your COVID "protocols and policies." Health mandates are not laws. No health mandate supersedes our civil rights protected by the United States Constitution and the California Constitution.
You do not have legal authority to require experimental medical treatments and devices. I do not consent for my children or myself to participate in any of your COVID protocols. Furthermore, it is unlawful for any student, staff member or family member to be coerced, discriminated against, bullied, or retaliated against for not following COVID protocols.


Amber (Agenda item 4.1):
Please do not mandate any more COVID measures for the kids. There is conflicting scientific evidence about so many parts of this problem, and a mandate is not a law! You have more power than you are currently using so that you can properly represent the varying people in your district. Thank you.

Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.