.

CUSD Board Shuts Down Budget Debate

Twice, when Trustee Ellen Addonizio tried to speak, Trustee John Alpay successfully moved to close the discussion. A $331-million budget was approved with little conversation.

UPDATED: At 9:30 and 9:50 p.m. Wednesday with reaction quotes.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story identified a speaker as a parent. In fact, Bill Perkins – who after publication came forward as a candidate for CUSD – does not have any chidlren.

The divided trustees of the Capistrano Unified School District took the unusual step of preventing debate Wednesday night as they approved a $331-million budget and a teachers’ union agreement that will result in larger class sizes and a shorter school year.

Twice on budget-related items, trustees of the voted to not allow debate, effectively shutting out any in-depth discussion.

The first item was . As Trustee Ellen Addonizio was starting to discuss a motion to approve the agreement with the Capistrano Unified Education Association, Trustee John Alpay moved to stop all debate on the matter.

Alpay’s motion passed 4-3, with trustees Addonizio, Sue Palazzo and Anna Bryson dissenting. The contract itself was then passed by a similar 4-3 vote.

Approvals of agreements with other unions were then approved without comment.

When it came time to discuss , Trustees Bryson and Palazzo were able to make a few comments, but when Addonizio signaled that she too wanted to chime in, Alpay again moved to close debate. A heated exchange followed.

“I have a constitutional right to speak to my constituents,” Addonizio said loudly. “You should be ashamed of yourself. Are you that afraid? What are you afraid of? We’re going out of procedure.”

But President Gary Pritchard said Alpay’s motion complied with board procedure.

Several parents spoke out against the budget, which chops five instructional days from the academic calendar – and another 10 if doesn't pass. Their comments came after the first move to halt debate but before the second.

One chastised Alpay for his treatment of fellow trustees.

“Don’t act like children up here,” said  Bill Perkins. “Never, never – and I’m talking to your Mr. Alpay – cut someone off when they want to have discussion. Mr. Pritchard, don’t let that happen. You know better. This looks like a back-door deal.”

Alpay called the budget “less than ideal” and confirmed that every employee, including Superintendent Joseph Farley, would be taking a hit. He also included an addendum that the trustees’ stipends would take a similar reduction.

After the meeting, Alpay explained his actions:

I moved to close the debate because there have been continued and extensive open- and closed-session discussions over negotiations and the steps needed to solve the shortfall. In the interest of moving the meeting forward, I motioned to close the debate, to which my colleagues agreed.

As far as Addonizio is concerned, Alpay's and Pritchard's reactions were tantamount to an "assault on democracy." She also took issue with Alpay's comment that there had been much debate on the budget.

"There was no debate. He shut down the debate before it began," she said, adding that she had both questions and comments she wanted to air. "My constituents deserve to know what our students are about to lose."

shelly July 01, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Tax revenues are down. We do benefit from taxes. Education, safe streets, safe drinking water, clean air, etc. I get that people never want their taxes to increase but we do benefit from taxes.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 01, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Problem: The CUSD board remains in a constant state of turmoil pinballing from one issue and accusation to the next. Some trustees have been on the boards since 2006 with no appreciable positive changes. Regardless of fault, shuffling the deck chairs on this titanic district has not, and will not fix our problems, Solution: Term limits. We should be able to see big ideas and leadership in less than six years. Discuss.
Shripathi Kamath July 01, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Term limits solve what problem that voting for a different person won't? You mention that since 2006 we have shuffled the deck chairs and elected different people, but to no avail. How is that essentially different from having term limits and shuffling deck chairs by decree? If Trustee A was termed out or voted out, how exactly is it different? If the Trustee was A Good Trustee then terming out would be foolish. If he was An Evil Thug, then he would be voted out anyway. Perhaps your beef is with people not making the "right choice", and ignorantly voting in the wrong person term after term. Welcome to democracy!
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 01, 2012 at 06:22 AM
You make good points and I would generally agree about term limits. You misunderstand my point about the deckchairs. We have NOT elected ALL different people since 2006. We have people, being particularly ineffective, who have spent years on the board and plan to spend more. Yes, part of my issue may be that people don't make the "right choice". Not because I get to decide the "right choice", but because the voting public is not well informed about board candidates. Unlike higher office elections, the primary vehicle for educating the public about school board candidates is yard signs. Good for names, not so good for issues. Term limits are not antithetical to democracy. Lots of offices are term limited. Not democracy? If New Yorkers don't like Michael Bloomberg they could just vote for someone else, or, if they love him, they could re-elect him forever. That's your, very reasonable, argument, but they have term limits. Is CUSD a different kind of democracy than NYC? And thank you, it's nice to be here in democracy.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 01, 2012 at 06:24 AM
@Shripathi Kamath Sorry, one other thing, I dig your blog.
Capo Parent July 02, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Shelly Sorry, that's naive, wishful thinking. $7 billion owed to education, basically half the state deficit. At what point do the real numbers make an impression on you?
Capo Parent July 02, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Limit the time in office to two 4 year terms, and no more. They can be served consecutively or spaced out. As we have seen, extended time in office seems to breed contempt, arrogance and a belief that the office holder knows best in all circumstances.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 02, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Based on past experience, I think they'll be served spaced out.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 05:48 AM
"As we have seen, extended time in office seems to breed contempt, arrogance and a belief that the office holder knows best in all circumstances." If that is indeed the case, the office holder can and will be voted out. There is that mechanism already available to deal with it. Term limits do two things: 1. Eliminate the possibility that a genuinely competent trustee continues to serve the district for too long. 2. Eliminate the possibility that a genuinely incompetent trustee continues to serve the district for too long. We agree that 2. is desirable, that we rid ourselves of the incompetent ones. But we have a mechanism for that: vote him/her out. Can we agree that 1. is also desirable? That a competent man/woman continues to serve and do good for the district? If you have term limits, there is no way you can make that happen. I prefer to have an option on 1. since the upside is huge, so no term limits. If the only remaining argument is that voters are apathetic or clueless, the real solution is not to have them vote, OR educate them to vote for the right people. Like I said, welcome to democracy!
cusd mom July 02, 2012 at 03:18 PM
You think being on the board for 6 years is lengthy? I guess you were not around when the Fleming board was in power. Some of them had been there for 20 years and would often run unopposed when they were up for reelection.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 02, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I'm not sure i'm following the logic on term limits here. If you didn't like the majority decision on the budget, 3 of the 4 were new to the board as of 2010. They have less than two years on the job. How would have term limits changed that? If you liked the majority decision, why even discuss term limits? And, this board has been steadily turning over for the last 4-6 years with all the recalls and challengers elected. So for those of you advocating term limits, what exactly are you saying? Thanks!
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 02, 2012 at 10:13 PM
@Shripathi Kamath I would take issue with your assertion that term limits "Eliminate the possibility that a genuinely competent trustee continues to serve the district for too long." Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective. Congress? I think the polls are pretty clear that lifers in congress, on both sides, should go. How about NYC where Bloomberg fought for, and won, the right to extend his term beyond the term limit. His third term has been much less successful than his first two. And to your last point, "If the only remaining argument is that voters are apathetic or clueless, the real solution is not to have them vote..." I think you should have ended that one with "welcome to the opposite of democracy" I understand you are against term limits, but your reasoning, while sound, addresses the issue as though it were unique and not used in the US. Term limits and democracy are not mutually exclusive. So again I'll ask, if it's good enough for the president and many cities, why not CUSD?
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 10:24 PM
"Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective." Not that I need to, but for giggles: Ronald Reagan at the end of his term. Bill Clinton at the end of his term. Given that we have not worked on how we determine "ability", I'd suggest that we simply compare them to their standing with the voters at the end of their terms, and their track record for the years before it. Reagan had a great eight years, and was very popular at the end of his term. Clinton too, and polled the highest of any President leaving the office. "So again I'll ask, if it's good enough for the president and many cities, why not CUSD?" Huh? I do not accept that it is "good enough for the president and many cities.". I understand that such exists as a practice. That is not even an argument, because obviously you can turn it around and ask "if it's good enough for Congress and many cities, why change it in CUSD?" Or "If draconian communism is working so well in China, that they are debt-free, why not adopt it in the US?"
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 02, 2012 at 10:35 PM
@Penny We've had some turnover recently for the reasons you mentioned, but what about the period before that? 20 Years?!?!? I don't know if @CUSD MOM is accurate, but if she is, that's a real problem. That sort of entrenchment could lead to things like, oh, I don't know, a giant, unnecessary district office. Also, there are at least several trustees in the 6+ year category. At what point do we consider limiting their ineffectiveness? 10 years? 15? 20? Death? Now to the recent vote. More regular turnover might offer the chance, slim though it may be, for the board to work together in a way that benefits students and taxpayers. The craziness (e.g., accusations, lawsuits, silencing opponents, breaking into offices, recalls, etc.) might be mitigated with new people/ideas joining more regularly.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 10:55 PM
"At what point do we consider limiting their ineffectiveness? 10 years? 15? 20? Death?" How about E. "When voters consider them ineffective." Answer then is D. or E whichever comes first. Ike would have probably been President on D. Interestingly his view was that Term Limits reflected a loss of faith in Democracy. I did not know that till recently, but I tend to agree. Given that we have had JFK, LBJ, The Crook, Ford the Pardoner, Peanut dude, St. Reagan, Bush the Elder, Slick Willie, Bush the Younger and Nobama, really, have term limits really improved the office since Ike? All that seems to happen is that the first term is spent shoring up the second term, and then depending on Congress a whole slew of legislation to cement your legacy, or inaction, because you lost what little mandate you had in the first term shoring up support. In the end, they are *elected* officials. I can see your point if it was an appointed office, or even an indirectly elected post. "More regular turnover might offer the chance, slim though it may be, for the board to work together in a way that benefits students and taxpayers" Without supporting evidence, not any more than the board doing so if it did not have term limits.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
@Shripathi Kamath I'm afraid you've gone off the rails here. Reagan and Clinton were (just for giggles) term limited, so they did not have the option to overstay their effectiveness (and just as an aside, had there not been term limits, we very well may have had a president significantly suffering from Alzheimer's) and didn't. Clearly these examples don't answer the question that was asked and do nothing for your anti-term limit position. Talk about red herrings! "...draconian communism..."? I don't think I ever suggested we should do something that does not currently occur in the US. I understand why, lacking a more appropriate example, you'd need to resort to this, but it's totally inappropriate in this discussion. Finally, your "That is not even an argument, because obviously you can turn it around and ask "if it's good enough for Congress and many cities, why change it in CUSD?"" is again beside the point. This entire discussion is based on the question I originally asked regarding term limits (you can scroll up, it's still there). You answered by positing that it was somehow antithetical to democracy, So in response to you, I asked how term limits are at odds with democracy, since we already have term limits. I think you made some good points in your earlier posts, but lacking a reasonable answer to my seemingly simple question somehow led you to try to change the argument.
bbq July 02, 2012 at 11:26 PM
SK, "Bush the Elder" and "Bush the Younger" ? Are you sure it wasn't "Dumb" and "Dumber"?
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Bush the Elder was a really smart guy in the sense that he understood foreign policy. Not surprising since he was head of the Spook agency. His mistake was to believe the voodoo economics that he had decried a decade earlier, and to stupidly doubled down on it. Just one mistake. He was also not the greatest of public speakers, and Ross Perot basically split his base. Bush the Younger? Why, the GOP is trying very hard to erase the fact that he was ever President. Heck they'll blame Clinton today, and even Carter for something that happened 35 years ago, but Junior? Nah, there was Slick Willie in 2000, and then there was Nobama in 2009. The years 2001 through 2008 did not exist. Nothing else to see, move on now!
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 11:49 PM
(Repasted) "Reagan and Clinton were (just for giggles) term limited, so they did not have the option to overstay their effectiveness (and just as an aside, had there not been term limits, we very well may have had a president significantly suffering from Alzheimer's) and didn't. Clearly these examples don't answer the question that was asked and do nothing for your anti-term limit position. " Actually it does. Let's cut to the chase with just one. Clinton. Most popular president at the end ever. Very effective before, and people wanted him to continue. He could not. He most certainly did not overstay his welcome, and given Bush the Younger after him, you even have valid comparisons to make. Sorry, I cannot continue this without you addressing how term limits were not instrumental in DISallowing a very effective and popular President to continue to do good for voters who would have voted him in over Bush the Younger. (remember, Algore-ithm lost very narrowly) Which is exactly what my scenario in #1 was. And which is what you avoided. Once you address that, we can move to your other charges.
bbq July 02, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Thank God for term limits!
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2012 at 11:58 PM
No need to thank anyone, Bush the Younger would have been voted out in November 2008 anyway.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 03, 2012 at 02:54 AM
In the interest of accuracy, he wasn't even voted IN in 2000, but that didn't seem to stop him.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 03, 2012 at 06:23 PM
@Shripathi Kamath This is classic obfuscation. I ask a question, you don't have a reasonable answer, you want to change the question. I'll happily answer you, but let's be clear, you haven't done your part. Since we have term limits, talking about Clinton, Reagan, or other term-limited officeholders doesn't address the issue that I originally posed. It may be valid in some other discussion, but not if you're going to answer the question that was asked. Now to your question. If term limits robbed us of Clinton, then they certainly saved us from Reagan and GW. We'll never know for sure, but although GW was very unpopular at the end of his second term, it would be optimistic to assume he could not have been re-elected for a third term. He didn't set the world on fire in either of the two previous campaigns, but he did have Cheney, Rove, & Co. who would stop at nothing to get GW re-elected. Re-election Unlikely? Maybe. Possible? Scary. Whether Clinton was effective and loved or not is moot. For every beloved, effective politician sent home early, there's another beloved, addled politician we've been protected from. See, I answered your question. How about the same courtesy.
Shripathi Kamath July 03, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Sorry @55h0|35, the fact that my answer does not meet your unstated standards does not mean I have not answered it. But I'll try again: You say "Whether Clinton was effective and loved or not is moot. For every beloved, effective politician sent home early, there's another beloved, addled politician we've been protected from." No, it is not moot. Term limits do prevent us from having someone like Clinton, and the lack of term limits do not prevent us from sending a politician home. That is the point. Term limits take away something, and do not provide anything that we do not have. We can always vote someone out To try again on your question, since it should be obvious in the light of this: This was your Q "Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective." It is self-affirming. Without term limits, no one has overstayed their welcome, since people affirm that by re-electing the person. People voted him till they liked him, which is why I said at the very outset: 'Perhaps your beef is with people not making the "right choice", and ignorantly voting in the wrong person term after term.' The only way you can say (without term limits) someone who was *voted in* overstayed their welcome, is if you feel that the voters made the wrong choice *in your estimation*. if that is your contention, then it is a slightly different discussion.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 03, 2012 at 08:36 PM
@SK Of course term limits prevent us from re-electing someone, anyone, beyond that limit. But again you answer a question that wasn't asked. "Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective." The key word being EFFECTIVE. In the answer you cleverly(?) change "effective" to "overstay their welcome. If we accept your nifty change of wording then no one could argue with your assertion of self-affirmation. But we're not talking about being "welcome" we're talking about effectiveness. So perhaps you can have another look at the question that was asked and come up with an actual answer. LBJ may be the exception that proves the rule, since he left on his own opting not to run for re-election. Regarding your "term limits take away something, and do not provide anything that we do not have...". To the first part, so what? We have lots of things related to elections that limit or take things away. For example, you have to collect a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot. Why should we have a rule like that? Based on your argument, it takes away the right of EVERYONE to run and let the public decide. Would having more candidates be better? Maybe, but that's not the case today. To the second part, term limits do provide something we don't have today, a sense of urgency and a reduced incentive to do what's politically expedient in hopes of being re-elected.
Shripathi Kamath July 03, 2012 at 08:59 PM
""Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective." The key word being EFFECTIVE. In the answer you cleverly(?) change "effective" to "overstay their welcome" Oy vey! let's try that again. Last time. Your question "Tell me the instance where, without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective." My answer (and this time it is using only the words, including your grammar, as you want apparently): "It is self-affirming. Without term limits, an elected official has not overstayed their ability to be effective, since voters affirm so by re-electing the person, that the official(s) are effective" [I can retype the rest of it, if you like] Now I'll respond to other queries once you acknowledge that the above is a direct answer. Not that you like it, but that I have answered your question. Without that, I do not see a common ground of comprehension between us.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 03, 2012 at 09:32 PM
@SK Just repeating your false argument, regardless of the question, doesn't rise to the level of sensible discussion. If you honestly can't wrap your head around the difference between being "welcome" and being "effective", then I'd say that deserves an oy vey. And if you believe the same answer is reasonable regardless of the question asked, then how can we take anything you say seriously? I believe you want us to believe you've answered the question, but if you go back and reread your responses, they start at a very reasonable position and devolve into something repetitiousness that resembles an answer, but is clearly not related to the question asked. It's better to ask for help or admit defeat than to go as far off the rails as you clearly have here.
Shripathi Kamath July 03, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Suit yourself, @55h0|35 bye bye!
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 July 03, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Shripathi is leaving, does any else have a ball?
Colleen Brick September 24, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Capo Parent Why don't you run for the Board. You seem to know all the answers. By the way Brick is not a senile old man who does as he is told. Who is telling him what to do? He thinks for himself. Get a life Capo Parent. I have been married to Jack for 52 years and he is the smartest man I know. Leave him alone...

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »