By Diane Singer

Orange  Unified  School  District (OUSD) voters will be asked to fill two contested trustee area seats  in  the  November  General Election.

Once  again,  the  futures  of 30,000 students hang in the balance.  Voters  must  cast  an  informed vote.  To this end, as an OUSD  mom,  teacher,  former OUSD  Legislative  Coalition president and former OUSD Area 1 Trustee, I hope you will consider voting for Trustee Area 2 candidate Daniel Correa and Trustee Area  6  candidate  Nicole  Baitx-Kennedy.

For Area 2: Daniel Correa

City of Orange Planning Commissioner  Daniel  Correa  is  the first and only candidate to challenge incumbent Area 2 Trustee John Ortega in 15 years.

Ortega seems to have lost interest in serving our OUSD community in recent years.  His attendance record at monthly meetings is spotty at best – often choosing to participate by phone if he bothers to participate at all.

Daniel Correa will not “phone it in.”  He will be actively involved with  school  principals,  parents and teachers in his important role as our new Area 2 Trustee.Your vote for Daniel Correa is a vote for OUSD student achievement, state-of-the-art curriculum, fiscal transparency and increased parental  participation.   You  can count on him to restore trust and confidence in our school board.

Daniel Correa’s experience as a planning commissioner makes him uniquely qualified to find responsible  solutions  for  OUSD’s surplus  properties  –  assets  that could  generate  millions  of  dollars needed to restore student programs victimized by budget cuts.

But  unlike  incumbent  John Ortega,  who  supported  high-density  apartments  on  the  Peralta site, Daniel Correa does not support development there.  He knows that high-density projects are not compatible with the city’s general plan.  So Daniel Correa will not support high-density development on the Peralta property or any other surplus site.

In fact, Daniel Correa believes that OUSD should review and reconsider all current surplus properties.  And, if it makes sense for these properties to continue to be considered surplus assets, then, as Area 2 trustee, he will ensure that the disposition of these properties generate  maximum  revenue  for the district, comply with a city’s general plan, and most importantly, address surrounding neighborhoods’ concerns.

Finally, incumbent John Ortega  voted  against  placing  Measure  S  on  the  ballot  before  he voted for it.  Daniel Correa has been a strong Measure S school bond supporter from the beginning. A proven conservative, you can  count  on  Daniel  Correa  to protect  your  investment  in  our schools.

For Area 6: Nicole Baitx-Kennedy

Nicole  Baitx-Kennedy  is  the only  Trustee  Area  6  candidate who currently has a child attending an OUSD school.

Like us, Nicole Baitx-Kennedy wants to make sure that our pub-lic schools prepare our children to be productive community members and participants in the global economy.

She and her six siblings are all OUSD  graduates.  Nicole  Baitx-Kennedy  has  worked  with  children for 30 years – including 21 years  in  OUSD’s  CARES  program. Currently she is a childcare supervisor  for  the  Ocean  View School District.This  experience  has  prepared Nicole Baitx-Kennedy to take on the challenges that OUSD faces.  With  her  in  the Trustee Area  6 seat,  student  achievement  will come first – not party politics.Under Nicole Baitx-Kennedy’s leadership, open communication between  parents,  teachers  and board members will be renewed.  And that’s the best way to ensure a 21st century curriculum and, in these times, safer schools.

Unlike her challengers, Jeremy Wayland  and  Brenda  Lebsack, Nicole  Baitx-Kennedy  is  not tainted  by  political  nepotism  or extremist agendas.

Jeremy  Wayland’s  candidacy would  be  nothing  more  than  a third term for his father, retiring Area 6 Trustee Mark Wayland. 

An  OUSD  school  board  seat is  too  important  to  be  handed down from father to son. It belongs to all of us. Young Jeremy has no children attending OUSD schools, nor any education background. And he is employed by the  same  real  estate  agency  as Area  5  Board  Member  Alexia Deligianni-Brydges. Given OUSD’s  vast  surplus  property inventory,  potential  conflicts  of interest abound.

Brenda  Lebsack’s  candidacy marks the return of the extremist Education Alliance to the OUSD political scene.

Now disguised as the “California Policy Center,” its leadership took over OUSD in the late 1990s by waging a divisive anti-public schools campaign that demonized teachers  and  terrorized  parents. OUSD became a national joke. The  Educational  Alliance’s radical  agenda  led  to  a  costly OUSD  recall  in  2001  that  succeeded in ridding our schools of its scourge.  It is no secret that these same people are the force behind  Brenda  Lebsack’s  campaign,  and  no  coincidence  that this group has come back from the dead, already waging Donald Trump-like tactics.

Unlike  Jeremy  Wayland  and Brenda  Lebsack,  Nicole  Baitx-Kennedy has publicly stated her support for the Measure S bond.

Diane Singer is a former OUSD Trustee from Area 1

Guest Commentary:

OUSD students must come first