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Public comments for Wednesday, Sept. 8, Ojai Unified School District board meeting

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Public comment from Becky Beckett, retired OUSD employee, for Sept. 8 Ojai Unified School District meeting, agenda item 5.3.3 on increasing health benefits and stipend for school board members:

I am concerned about the concentration of resources at the district level, at a time of both declining enrollment and uncertain finances. I started working for OUSD in 2001.

At that time, the district had two Assistant Superintendents, but no Director of Fiscal Services. Matilija had Principal, AP, and two full-time counselors. Nordhoff had Principal and 2 APs. Even though the district has substantially lower enrollment of than in 2001, OUSD again has 2 Assistant Superintendents, but ALSO has the position of Director of Fiscal Services. The school sites have substantially reduced administration.

The Board is considering reinstating full health benefits in addition to a stipend, at a time when the district has many part time employees who do not have that same access. In a time of financial uncertainty, I think it is appropriate to reevaluate priorities.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Craig Gardner (Agenda 5.3.3):

"Why limit the stipend to merely $400 to qualify under Education Code 35120? Some may argue that the children of the district would be better served by allocating resources to board members rather than teachers, teachers' aides, or resources directly impacting the students. Why are any benefits bestowed based on board membership? I would expect that the names of the individual board members who avail themselves of the offered/demanded benefits to the detriment of the students will be publicly available?"

 

Editor's Note: 

More information on this agenda item can be viewed at:

OVN article on Wednesday, Sept. 8, school board meeting:

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/?view=article&id=20765:ousd-school-board-to-vote-on-board-members-health-benefits-stipend-at-sept-8-meeting&catid=856

To view the Sept. 8 school board agenda that will be held via videoconference and in person at the boardroom, visit:

https://core-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/asset/uploaded_file/1530017/September_8__2021_Agenda.pdf

 How to make a public comments to the school board

Write your public comments to the school board at:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1CCfKeZXXuRb167DjQXSDjggyD9OS3u9wFDiOcg1ESec/viewform?edit_requested=true

People can submit written comments prior to 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting — Wednesday, Sept. 8 — or in person in the boardroom at 414 E. Ojai Ave., following COVID-19 safety protocols of wearing a mask.

Because the school board does not read the written public comments aloud and limits them to 450 words and because the board may limit the amount of time verbal comments can be made, the public can also copy their comments to the Ojai Valley News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the public to be able to know their concerns. 

How to watch the school board meeting live

The public can view the meeting live via YoutubeVideo at https://www.youtube.com/user/adminojaiusdorg
and via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ojaiusd.org

 

If the above public comments were not published in the Ojai Valley News, they would not be read or viewable at the Wednesday, Sept. 8, school board meeting because written public comments are no longer read aloud at the school board meetings, per a new school board policy.

All public comments are not provided to the public until after the issue has been decided, unless, as the OVN has done, the public requests to see public comments at the same time the school board sees them, in accordance with California law — Government Code 54957.5 — and OUSD school board bylaw 9322.

To view the Ojai Valley News' Aug. 25 editorial explaining why it is vital to good governance for the school board members to allow the public to write their public comments to them, since they were considering eliminating written public comments to the school board, visit:

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/?view=article&id=20685:ovn-editorial-public-must-be-allowed-to-write-public-comments-to-school-board&catid=856

At its Aug. 25 meeting, school board members voted 4 to 1 to allow the public to continue to write their comments to them, although they would not read those comments at the meeting and they would not attach them to a school board document online on the day of the meeting.

The Aug. 25 agenda item on public comments can be viewed here: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/18UwT-LT1IgFJOCm02_XNGKAwep8-D8i0/view

School board members also agreed that the school board members would only be able to see written public comments on the Tuesday before the Wednesday meetings and that those public comments would be made available to members of the public at 5 p.m. the Tuesday before the meeting. When more public comments come in on the day of the meeting, they will be able to be viewed by the school board and the public who request them at 4 p.m. that day.

Trustee Kevin Ruf voted against the motion that the school board members would receive public comments on the Tuesday before the meeting because he said he wants all submitted public comments to be made available in a publicly accessible format at the time they are received, as he said in explaining his vote, he wants the school board and the public to be able to see public comments "in real time."

To view the board members' 31-minute Aug. 25 discussion on whether the public can write to them and whether the public can view public comments in advance of a school board meeting, see time stamp 3:46 to 4:17 at:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOxbkL5FPIM&t=13636s

 

Those who want to ensure their public comments are seen by school board members and the public when they send them may email the Ojai Valley News and all the school board members at:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Individual school board members can be reached at the following email addresses:

Jane Weil (elected to serve to November 2022)
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Kevin Ruf (elected to serve to November 2022)

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Michael Shanahan (elected to serve to November 2022)

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Rebecca Chandler (elected to serve to November 2024)
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Shelly Griffen (elected to serve through November 2024)
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