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CUSD Trustees on Themselves: It's OK Not to Vote 7-0 All the Time

But in interviews with a district consultant, they do believe they come together for the most important issues facing the sprawling district.

Capistrano Unified headquarters in San Juan Capistrano. Patch photo credit: Jenna Chandler.
Capistrano Unified headquarters in San Juan Capistrano. Patch photo credit: Jenna Chandler.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A consultant has recently queried focus groups made up of various constituents of the Capistrano Unified School District. Patch is reporting some of the major themes presented by the groups. Today's focus: Trustees’ opinions of themselves. 

Although teachers and nonteaching staff in Capistrano Unified still throw a jaundiced eye at some of the dealings of their school board, what do the trustees think about themselves and the district?

In individual, one-hour interviews with all seven of them, consultants hired by the district discovered that they don’t think they toot their own horn enough, there are too many trustees running for other offices and aging facilities and lack of cutting-edge technology are challenges.

In addition, they find their own personal governing styles conflict, according to the report. While some gather information for themselves, others just depend on what staff and the superintendent tell them.

The consultants hired to help the sprawling school district select a new superintendent now that Joseph Farley has announced his retirement conducted a number of focus groups and solicited online questionnaires to various stakeholders, including support staff.

See what teachers feel about the district

See what support staff had to say

See what parents had to say

The goal was to define the current strengths and challenges the district faces, along with the qualities the next superintendent should have.

Defined as challenges in the eyes of the trustees are:

  • Furlough days, a shortened school year and class sizes
  • Board members running for other offices
  • With classified employees, there’s an “us vs. them” way of thinking
  • Deficit spending
  • Do not “toot our horn"
  • Math is “dumbed down;” the district needs to on track for college requirements
  • Need overarching solution for facilities, which may include passing a bond
  • The public is suspicious of past and current spending
  • Technology for students; the district is not experimenting
  • Use of deferred maintenance money to funds wages

Among the strengths are:

  • Adult education has improved
  • Classroom instruction is strong
  • The district has made great progress, headed in the right direction and is well focused
  • Excellent teachers
  • The board does not always vote 7-0 but debates issues and can come together on important issues – the “schism” between previous boards is gone
  • Previous problems [undefined] are gone
  • Strong principals
  • Capo is a “very smart community”
Shripathi Kamath March 20, 2014 at 03:10 PM
"It's OK Not to Vote 7-0 All the Time' ___________________________________________________ No, really? Thank GOD they did a survey and found this out. ___________________________________________________ 'Math is “dumbed down;” the district needs to on track for college requirements' ___________________________________________________ ..and needs to send out an APB for the missing word(s) in that challenge. Suggestion: "run in triangles for hours instead of being" ___________________________________________________ "Board members running for other offices" ___________________________________________________ Bet that was not a 7-0 vote. Any thoughts on board members endorsing candidates running for other offices? ___________________________________________________ "Classroom instruction is strong" ___________________________________________________ Except for that "dumbed down" math they thought was a challenge, perhaps. ___________________________________________________ 'Capo is a “very smart community”' ___________________________________________________ Ok, are those scare-quotes or did the board just mock us? ___________________________________________________ "The district has made great progress, headed in the right direction and is well focused" ___________________________________________________ Paging Dawn Urbanek...
Shripathi Kamath March 20, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Hey Penny, after covering the perspectives of teachers, parents, the seven-member board will you also be doing an article covering how the student opined?
Penny Arévalo March 20, 2014 at 03:38 PM
The missing word is "be." That's my bad. For whatever reason, when you copy and paste that from the PDF, the word "be" is dropped. And because you love quote marks: http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com. I think I'm done with the series. I've got a lot of ground to cover (literally, OC to Malibu).
Shripathi Kamath March 20, 2014 at 03:44 PM
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 20, 2014 at 03:38 PM The missing word is ___________________________________________________ Oi, vey! Become a super-editor and one gets a bit super-sensitive to good natured ribbing?
LeAna Bui March 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Thanks for the laughs, Shripathi!

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