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