Written public comments to Ojai Unified school board for Dec. 15 meeting

12 14 21 OUSD logo copyOjai Unified School District school board met in public session on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at Matilija Middle School Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai. Below are the written public comments received by the school board on Dec. 14.

The school board decided at a previous meeting to no longer read aloud written public comments at its meetings. It may also limit the length of time to hear public comments to 30 minutes, according to its agenda.

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Below are the written public comments submitted for the Dec. 15 meeting:

11/29/2021 (after 4pm) Amber Dawn (General Public Comment): "During these incredibly complex and heated times, it’s important parents and concerned citizens of ojai are allowed in person meetings with our elected representatives. As we have all learned during the pandemic, zoom learning/communication does not offer the same nuance of feeling, the power of being in the presence of on another. It’s our greatest opportunity to come together on important topics, such as the mandates, which we requested to be put on the next meeting’s agenda. I have grave concerns that the school board will have an even harder time hearing and understanding difficult subjects via an online platform. I am aware that moving the meetings to an online platform is only possible if there is a clear and imminent threat. No one has been hostile or aggressive amongst those of us who have attended meetings for the sake of discussing mandates. The one incident we had was at this months meeting when Jane wrongly applied the mask mandate requirements and demanded an attendee wear a disposable mask. When this person refused, Jane called the cops and then became visibly agitated when addressing the room and pounding on her gavel. Perhaps it’s best for Jane to attend the meetings online so that she can ensure her own safety. And those who still feel comfortable meeting in person should continue to do so. Thank you for your time."


12/02/2021 - Lachelle Bouvier (General Public Comment): "Please address the overwhelming number of people in the community about your position moving forward with SVS DEV LLC. The FAQ page added to the district website is not sufficient to answer the questions we have. Please tell us you will terminate the agreement with SVS DEV LLC and start a new proposal for the issue. We also would like to know as a community the finical deficits OUSD is experiencing and the plan to resolve our poorly performing schools if you were able to get the funds you are aiming for. We want to help better our schools. Please tell the community your plan for this budget. What can our children expect to gain?"


12/11/2021 - Robin Garrteson (8.2.1): "Dear OUSD Board, I am in favor of approving this resolution to request that California allow religious and personal belief exemptions for the covid vaccine mandate. I would ask you as the governing body of our school district to go beyond this however, and pass a resolution ensuring that our students will be able to secure an exemption for our district regardless of what California decides. If the CA legislature follows historical patterns, they will likely remove religious and personal exemptions from this mandate, and it would be a great weight off a lot of parents minds to know that we could continue sending our children to the public schools they love, without having to subject them to a new vaccine with unknown long term effects. I understand that covid itself may have long term effects that we do not yet know of, and I am in favor of continuing the other safety precautions to keep teachers and students safe, but as I have expressed before I am not OK with requiring this new vaccine for our children even though I chose to vaccinate myself. Our children are attending school this year with no vaccine requirement, and the safety protocols are working. Things should only get better as more students *choose* to be vaccinated, and taking into consideration that fully vaccinated individuals can catch and spread covid as well, it does not make logical sense to require all students to be vaccinated. Thank you for your time as board members. Sincerely, Robin Garretson"


12/13/2021 - Debbie Allen (7.1): "Ventura County Health's mask mandate is for all public indoor facilities, not just schools. As a current teacher and parent in the OUSD, I fully support the mask mandate and both my student and I are happy to remain 100% compliant."


12/14/2021 - Rachel Garahan (General Public Comment): "This comment is in general support for OUSD. I believe a healthy community has a healthy and supportive relationship with their public schools. Rather than tearing down or criticizing OUSD, it would be more productive to be inquisitive and then available to support in the ways that we hear are needed. Right now what Im hearing is needed is first and foremost kindness and openness. With those two simple things, we can better develop solutions for how to improve the schools and address the Chapparal issue without being divisive. Beyond that, I urge everyone to consider OUSD a part of their community whether or not they have school aged children or kids in private schools instead. By taking an interest in OUSD and elevating their programs, we lift the community as a whole."


12/14/2021 - Vanessa Zajfen (General Public Comment): "I support the Ojai Unified School District and the School Board in their efforts to relocate, upgrade, move and/or develop the Chaparral property. The School Board has demonstrated that it is and has been working diligently to explore various development outcomes for this property. I trust that they will work with the community of parents with students attending OUSD and those living in Ojai to select the most appropriate use of this property."


12/14/2021 - Kali coultas (General Public Comment): "I'd like to put on record my absolute disappointment in the school district for even suggesting a hotel as an option for downtown Ojai at the district office. Stop participating in the destruction of our valley with development and over water usage. No. No. No."

12/14/2021 - Sharon Lum (6.1): "As a home owner in the city of Ojai within a half mile of 414 E. Ojai Avenue, I strongly object to the proposed building project for this location. The increase in traffic would be horrendous, and the neighborhood is not appropriate for this high density building project. We do not have enough water now for the existing residents, how can you propose to add 220 units to our situation? Please rethink this project."


12/14/2021 - Katharine Pond (General Public Comment): "On the subject of developing the downtown school into a hotel, a parking lot, and housing, I oppose the plan. We have enough parking, and we don’t need another hotel, especially such a large one. We already have unrighteous congestion downtown, and hundreds more people, transient and permanent, will not help matters. It’s not for Ojai to cater to the tourist trade. Ojai needs to serve itself and its inhabitants. Moreover, that is a beautiful school, emblematic of our town in its architecture. Don’t tear it down."


12/15/2021 - Jonathan Reibold (6.1): "I support OUSD school board and appreciate the difficult work they are doing related to the property at 414 E Ojai. The FAQ webpage is very informative and addresses many of the opposing public comments. It explicitly states that AFTER entering a lease agreement, project "details would be negotiated such as the total number of housing units, water and traffic mitigation, environmental impact, etc. "

I support OUSD retaining ownership of the property and leasing it in order to develop a stable revenue stream. While families are moving to town, many of them are sending their children to private schools because of the perceived educational inferiority within the district. In order to improve public perception and actual student performance, the district needs funds to retain teachers, attract high quality teachers and administrators and offer enrichment programs."


12/15/2021 - Jonathan Reibold (8.2.2): "This resolution should differentiate between voluntary and involuntary reasons for vaccine mandate exemptions. I support vaccine mandate exemptions for medical reasons. I strongly oppose vaccine mandate exemptions for religious or personal beliefs."


12/15/2021 - Jonathan Reibold (8.2.2): "I support face covering requirements until the vaccine mandate has been implemented and all students and staff show proof of vaccination."


12/15/2021 - Darris Lange (8.2.1): "Quote: "It would not be the first time, if it happened, that a vaccine that looked good in initial safety, actually made people worse. There was the history of the Respiratory syncytial virus in children, which paradoxically made the children worse." Anthony Fauci It is important to ask, how do the vaccines potentially help or harm kids. Do vaccines prevent the spread of Covid? Fact is NO you can still get and spread the virus. In addition, Vaccines force a systemic response, and skip a local response(i.e runny nose). What virologist are finding is vaccinated individuals, are carrying the same viral load in their noses, without presenting signs of infection. Hence we are all required to wear a masks. What are the recourses for kids harmed by the vaccine? Next, virologists are finding the majority of kids already have had covid, and built a natural immunity.

Never before has a mandate, or vaccine been required for a 99.9% rate. Unless this is a pandemic drill, the mandates do not hold water. I will add that a vaccine is something that last forever, mandating a weak and ineffective shot does not provide heard immunity or inoculations. I would add for adults, Elon Musk, Denver Gov, have it right, at this point it is up to the people to do what is right for them. Why did LAUSD postpone mandate to next year? Better build up on remote learning options. More on the silent spreader A systemic response is a whole body response, a local response is a runny and red nose. When someone gets covid naturally the first response is runny nose as the body provides a local response, and then escalates to a systemic response if needed. The immune response remembers these actions, and for many vaccinated people, as a result, are walking around with a full viral load in their nose, spreading covid without knowing it. Maybe vaccinated people will soon have to take daily test to show health status, or attend school remotely? Omicron, live virus could be used to vaccinate, like what was done with polio, using a virus that has the genetic code, and is generally not harmful. I suggest the school take no action until required to by law, via the legislature."


12/15/2021 - Darris Lange (8.2.2): "It is important to realize that all masks are not the same. Mask are not good to wear all the time, for many undisputed health reasons. Forcing kids to wear the masks are harming them. Sports and other activities should never require masks that undeniably cuts of their breathing ability. Last, I disagree with the mask chart, at best masks provide 50 -60% protection. N-95 masks provide 99% protection. Teachers may not be surgeons, but they have direct contact with our kids everyday. We are past the PPE shortage, and I see no reason for allowing masks to be optional for kids if teachers are required to wear N95 masks like Dr's do in the ER. Furthermore if parents are concerned about protecting their kids, currently done at 50% with the current requirements, then they can elect to use N95 or remote learn. The masks are not protecting the kids, that is a wish list in a perfect world. Let the kids be kids, and let parents elect to be remote, issue a mask they feel comfortable with, or sign a liability waiver protecting district from legal action. I don't want to hear about the MOUs that parents did not get a voice in by way of School Site Counsels or even a General Survey. Teachers can use N95, Vaccinate or find another profession. Hurting kids to protect adults, is not a reasonable solution. Dlange"

12/15/2021 - Vanessa Zajfen (8.2.1): "I am writing in opposition to two of the three allowances for vaccine exemptions in this item. I feel health based vaccine exemptions should be addressed on a case by case basis and not be guaranteed to be granted without a valid medical concern. The other two exemptions, religious and personal should in not be allowed at OUSD."

12/15/2021 - Gloria Valladolid (General Public Comment): "Because we have limited water supplies in Ojai that promise to become more insufficient with California’s ongoing drought and climate crisis, we cannot consider new development that aims to increase our population who will intensify water needs. For that reason and additional compelling reasons presented by the concerned community, I propose that you consider the suggestion raised by the community at the Planning Commission meeting on November 17, 2021: repurpose the existing property with its present buildings as an Ojai Community Center. Please research and consider following suit as our Oak View neighbors who took a community-oriented direction in a similar situation. Instead of selling their surplus school for condominiums, they repurposed the property with its existing buildings to use as the Oak View Park and Resource Center. Funding was accomplished through a parcel tax which was voted on and passed by the affected community. For your information find the following contact information for Barbara Kennedy, the person who lead the successful repurposing of the surplus school. Barbara A Kennedy P O BOX 1337 Oak View, CA 93022 (855) 713-1088"


12/15/2021 - Bianca Roe (6.1): "We ask OUSD - WHO is driving this development and WHO are SVS Dev LLC? We as a community can find ZERO information, qualifications or credentials on this development team? They have reached out to us privately through social media, directly for endorsement but as soon as we have asked for credentials; have they ever developed a Hotel, Retail & Restaurants, Residential, Parks & Recreation properties successfully, to budget, on time?? Anywhere in the USA? We are met with Silence, Avoidance and Excuses.. but no information. Because we can’t find anything anywhere? I am meant to trust a 2-3 year ‘vetting’ process done by OUSD - which has never been made public, no credentials published, only disastrous broad stroke presentations, which include unauthorized use of our personal copy-write materials, both of our Buisness - In the Field and our Private Residence. At this time, severing the Exclusive Right to Negotiate with SVS Dec LLC is the only right choice for OUSD to make moving forward, come January 2022 when it is set to expire."


12/15/2021 - Kristopher Wallin (General Public Comment): "Hello, I'm writing in support of OUSD the School District, the administration and all the teachers. The angry mob that's developed around this false narrative of "OUSD selling our community for a 200 room hotel" suffers from FEAR based marketing tactics by a few individuals. This is not what the greater community thinks....however, OUSD board needs to do a better job of being transparent and partaking in the conversation "where the conversation is being had"...i.e. holding a few public meetings does not make the cut in these days of fear based social media, divisive communities based off of conspiracy theories and fake news. You must over communicate and over engage to earn/sustain trust and buy in is everything. EVERYTHING....and the community wants to see a thriving OUSD. However, the haters out there trying to tear OUSD down just happen to be the loudest minority...please take the time to re-educate them on the RFP process, timeline and the next steps.... Let us not forget: "A community is only as good as its Public School District". Period. We can not allow OUSD to be tarred by the same brush as these outside Developers. It's apparent that the support for these Developers and how they were awarded the ERN have caused an uproar within the community. Please, for the betterment of our community, take the time tonight to articulate the next steps of OUSD's relationship with SVS Development. This decision to stay or go, becomes your do or die moment... I plan to also speak tonight to hopefully remind the community that they/we will have another opportunity to help guide the development of this important piece of Ojai toward a win for the community and a win for OUSD. Thank You, Kris Wallin OUSD - San Antonio School"


12/15/2021 - Shannon Moeller-Spaulding (8.2.1 and 8.2.2): "Dear Ojai Unified Board. I ask that you please consider what the Apple Valley school district did and amend their previous vaccine stance to no mandate whether or not the governor tries to push it. The health and safety of our children is the responsibility of the parents and the decisions should be left with the parents. I was raised to believe that we live in a Democracy not a Dictatorship. I was taught that we were supposed to live and govern by the Constitution, not circumvent it when the government officials have another agenda. Please look at the documents and research that has been previously submitted to you. If you choose to continue pushing these unhealthy mandates of masking, testing and vaccines know that we have already started planning our next move to create our own school. If you move forward, be warned that there will be a mass exodus from your schools."

12/15/2021 - Allison Jenkins (8.2.1 and 8.2.2): "I am writing in regards to the vaccine mandate resolution being discussed at the board meeting tonight. I feel that what you wrote in the resolution is basically what the governor has "promised" California already, namely, that we will be able to have some exemptions. This is not reflective of the resolutions from other school districts that I shared with you early in November when many members of the community requested that you write a similar resolution regarding the vaccine mandate. I (along with so many other community members) really want to see a stronger resolution such as the one written by the Apple Valley School Board that has the following statement, "Apple Valley USD believes that parental choice in vaccination and other health decisions is important; and that the AVUSD will NOT implement a vaccine requiremen tif one is imposed by state or local health officers." I would also state, as AVUSD did, that mask wearing shall be optional. You have received numerous studies on both the vaccine and masking. Your communtiy is asking you to read these thoroughly and with open minds and hearts. Please protect our children. Thank you for considering this in your discussion this evening."

12/15/2021 - Corrina H. Wright (General Public Comment): "I support the mask mandate at schools. As a parent of an 11th grader at Nordhoff, I can tell you that my student has never complained about wearing a mask. They want to be in school and end this pandemic, if wearing a mask is what it takes, they are all in. I want to say I am very happy with Dr. Morse and how she has handled the pandemic at Nordhoff. She is very thoughtful, communicative and makes changes for the better. We are lucky to have her in Ojai. I also don't appreciate the concept that Nordhoff is a 'bad' school because of some corporate administered test and their average results. My student's math teachers last year and presently have been incredible. She is achieving well beyond average thanks to them. We've been to other public schools and Nordhoff is a 100% better then our previous experiences. Regarding the development of 414 E Ojai Ave, a second everyone's sentiment against it and want to add, who wants to even live through the massive construction project? Thank you and thank you for keeping our kids safe at school." 




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