By Staff Report
Orange Unified Board Trustee Kathy Moffat’s long campaign to boost transparency by scheduling more public meetings was rejected by a 3-2 vote, Feb. 18.
Moffat has proposed adding public meetings to the board schedule for the past several years; each time with the same result. She brought it up for discussion again at the last board meeting, and asked that it go to a vote this month.
“Community members have expressed hope that we’d adopt this,” she told her colleagues, “we’re here to fulfill a legal obligation.” She recommended adding six study sessions to the calendar, each focused on a specific topic, i.e., the budget, academic achievement, bond preparedness, facilities.
She pointed out that neighbor-ing school districts hold between 21 and 29 meetings per year, and that OUSD, with 12, is the lowest of all. They’re not meetings for meetings’ sake, she stressed, but would provide the time to “talk about things before we vote.” She advocated holding two meetings per month, as it would provide sufficient study time to give due attention to the issues and communicate clearly to the community.
President Rick Ledesma said he did not want to approve it without knowing the fiscal impact, and expressed the worry that it would “stress out staff.” He suggested Moffatt bring it up again in December for next year and “then he would favor it.”
“I did bring it forward in December,” she said.
Alexia Deligianni-Brydges asked if the proposed study sessions would allow public participation. She was assured that the public would be allowed to speak, that the only difference between a board meeting and study session is that the latter has no action items.
Deligianni-Brydges subsequently joined Moffat and voted “yes” to schedule additional meetings. Ledesma, Mark Wayland and Tim Surridge voted “no.” John Ortega was absent.