The Orange County District’s Attorney’s office is looking into complaints filed by a parent and frequent critic of the Capistrano Unified School District.
Deputy District Attorney Ray Armstrong of the special prosecutions unit confirmed he was investigating the complaints but declined to reveal specifics.
“All I can say is we’re reviewing it,” Armstrong said.
Parent Dawn Urbanek submitted several complaints to the D.A.’s office last month. Among her accusations:
- Parents were shut out of the collective bargaining process with teachers and other unions as district officials attempted to trim millions from the CUSD budget. Capistrano Unified spokesman Marcus Walton said the district afforded the public many opportunities to address the school board. (See PDF).
- CUSD started negotiations with unions in January, about three months before it was authorized to do so by the school board. As evidence, Urbanek cited an email from Patricia Koch, the representative assigned by the Orange County Department of Education to oversee CUSD’s precarious finances, which says, “They are starting to negotiate with CUEA next week beginning with a possible early retirement incentive that would be tied to class-size increases.” It was dated Jan. 5.
- The district illegally supported Prop. 30 instead of remaining neutral. Urbanek filed a similar complaint with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which chose not pursue the matter. When Patch asked CUSD for comment, Walton forwarded remarks from Superintendent Joe Farley. "Districts are entitled to use their resources to educate trustees, employees and the public about the fiscal impact of budget-related initiatives," Farley wrote in an Oct. 4 letter to Urbanek, a copy of which was also sent to the D.A.
It's unclear which of Urbanek's complaints the D.A. is looking into.