For the last several months I have been approached by OVSD staff, parents in the district and Huntington Beach citizens that happen to be following the Ocean View School District in the news. As far as the staff and parents, their collective attitude is that, when it comes to the questions they have, they are not comfortable presenting them directly to the school board. Each person conveyed to me that they were fearful of challenging this board, particularly Trustee President Gina Clayton Tarvin, in any way, shape or form. According to them, the president’s reputation was such that they feared retaliation should they be identified as “troublemakers” for voicing their opinions. Those are their words, not mine. The parents with children in the district were the most cautious of all. They have heard stories about teachers making a child’s life difficult in school in reciprocation to parents raising questions, and they didn’t want to endanger their children. (It should be noted, a number of seniors stressed to me that they have concerns about higher taxes given their fixed income status and so they are closely watching these issues within the district).
Everyone I spoke to has requested anonymity, and I met with everyone personally just to ensure their identities and positions.
There are many questions that have come from these meetings and I will be presenting them in a series of pieces, starting today. These questions will also be sent to the board directly and presented at the next board meeting. I am hopeful that the board president will address these questions as they’re very important to these staff and parents. They’re also important to Huntington Beach residents that don’t have kids in the district because after all, we are all taxpayers and some of these matters involve many tax dollars. In short, many different kinds of people have a stake in the OVSD.
Here are the first questions, collectively, from the staff, parents and citizens:
- We have heard rumors that OVSD is going for a bond this election year. Is this true?
- If the answer is yes, where is the money coming from to do the bond campaign? Also if the answer is yes, why has there has been no transparency in the process?
- We understand that the district is in major debt, we hear numbers of $30,000,000 and that the OVSD has been going to the state pleading hardship. We have also heard that the long and short term leases have been all but spent to take out CoP’s (Certificates of Participation) to cover the debt. Is the plan to use the bond to wipe out that debt?
- We have also heard the district got approximately 4 million dollars in extra revenue from the state. If that is accurate, what portion of that money was used to off set the district’s debt?
- Were raises given last year despite the growing debt?
- Are raises being given this year despite all of the debt?
- We also understand that there are less children attending OVSD this year, which of course equals less revenue. Yet it appears many new employees were hired this school year. So less students = more staff? Could you please explain?
- In regards to the asbestos, the numbers we saw quoted in the papers were not the total cost to do the construction and asbestos abatement. Missing, in our opinion, were things like, transportation of the students while the schools were closed, costs to get the schools ready for children to attend schools in different districts, costs of trustee Tarvin providing lunches for the teachers and staff, paying teachers for their transportation costs, etc… How much did all of those additional things come to?
- Was ALL the asbestos removed from the schools like trustee Tarvin promised?
10. If not, why not?
We would appreciate your answers to these questions. In the spirit of transparency, openness and honesty, you are elected to answer questions such as these and we look forward to your replies.