Monday, November 23, 2009

Parent Testifies about Redistricting

Silverado Canyon resident and parent Jeff Wilson delivered the following remarks at the last OUSD board meeting:

I’d like to talk tonight about the move of my two children, a kindergarten and a second grader, to Trabuco Elementary. My family chose to be one of many who wanted to stay in a small, rural school similar to our own Silverado Elementary that was, of course, closed by a slim majority of board members. So we requested an interdistrict transfer and are pleased with our new school within the Saddleback Valley District. We would much prefer to have kept our local Silverado Elementary open with the opportunity to work to improve it, but that was not an option.

The main thing we notice about Trabuco Elementary is the difference it makes when the school district actually supports a school. Trabuco was refurbished a few years back, the buildings and facilities are top notch. The teachers are confident of job security, knowing their position will continue, and they plan accordingly with continuing academic projects and continuing curriculum from year to year.

The contrast with the last few years at Silverado Elementary under your leadership is striking. It is absolutely clear to me that the majority of the Orange Unified School Board intentionally starved Silverado Elementary for years. Starved! With no funding, with rumors of impending closure from year to year, with no interest in the programs, with leaving Silverado Elementary out as a listed option for open enrollment, it appears to me that the majority of you board members purposefully engaged in a campaign to reduce silverado elementary to a shadow of the distinguished school it once was, to the point where families began moving their children to other schools, fleeing the neglect by certain members of this school board. When you finally used the excuse of reduced state funding to close it, there really was very little left at Silverado Elementary. The majority of the board who voted to close the school had no interest in our work nor our plans to make Silverado flourish.

Even the board member whose jurisdiction included Silverado wanted it closed, and crowed gleefully that the vote to close the school was a “done deal” even before the vote took place.

Notice that I use the term “board member”, rather than the more official “Trustee”.

Wikipedia describes “trustee” as follows:

Trustees have certain duties - These include the duty of impartiality, the duty to account for their actions, the duty of loyalty, the duty not to profit, the duty not to be in a conflict of interest position, and the duty to administer in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Etc.

We who live within the boundaries Orange Unified District are the ones who entrusted you, the board members and superintendent, to protect the interests of our children. The majority of this board voted to close our school, and laws may have been violated in the process. In my opinion those individuals have not lived up to the elected responsibilities that come with the term Trustee.

Life is good in Saddleback Valley Unified School District. It was a good move for us.



  1. Right on Jeff! Like that fightin' tone!

    Busing rural kids for 3 hours each day...Mission Acomplished!