Not Chaos and Corruption.
RICK LEDESMA and MADISON MINER
Before they held even one official meeting, Rick Ledesma and Madison Miner fired our superintendent without explanation or warning, ignoring her successful track record and achievements with no plan for a permanent replacement.
Ledesma and Miner brought shocking proposals to every board meeting in 2023, attempting to censor libraries, steal facility repair funds for personal projects, sell out needed school sites to faith-based charters at deep discounts, and discriminate against special needs and LGBTQ students. President Ledesma illegally changed meeting agendas on the fly and invited outside agitators in to box out concerned parents and turn meetings into a headline-grabbing battleground.
Teachers and staff are fleeing the district, including 25% of our principals and 1/3 of top-level administrators, eroding the stability of the classroom and directly affecting student learning. Ledesma and Miner's chaos has driven away quality replacements - even our hiring firm has left OUSD.
LETTING OUR KIDS DOWN
With funding taken from planned repairs, students went without air conditioning for three weeks in the hottest days of the year. School sites that serve Latino and low-income households are on the chopping block to line the pockets of for-profit charters. Over a million dollars in classroom funds have been lost in severance packages and other wasteful spending. Now they have hired a firm to fight inevitable lawsuits due to their illegal actions, which could waste millions more.
What are we so angry about?
Ledesma’s Board Majority fired our Superintendent in a complete blindside.
The meeting was called within 24 hours during Winter Break, before their first meeting of the year as the new OUSD Board.
Both Superintendents were out of town at the time.
The majority members had never mentioned their intent during their campaigns, surprising voters of all stripes.
Ledesma’s Majority did not give any reason for the firing.
They admit that Hansen had done nothing wrong.
Hansen was appointed in OUSD by a conservative board and has worked well with conservative boards for years.
Hansen has many accolades from Rick himself: “Her leadership team delivered a positive audit report to continue the stellar OUSD fiscal reputation. Dr. Hansen is a highly regarded visionary who will take OUSD to the next level. She is dedicated to the Orange community, committed long-term, and the Board of Education has great confidence in her abilities.”
Three months passed before Ledesma's Majority interviewed Superintendent search firms and NEVER HIRED ONE, we still do not have a superintendent and are not looking for a replacement.
They installed crony Edward Velasquez as an “Interim” Superintendent who is not from OUSD.
OUSD paid for Velasquez’ travel/lodging expenses for his commute to and from Idaho.
They set a vague “academic audit” goal that went undefined and unachieved.
Interim Supt. Velasquez unilaterally blocked an online library, causing chaos for students.
Ledesma failed to put Active Shooter Training on the agenda in January, essentially cancelling the March training. After public outcry the board scheduled a training for August leaving our kids at risk.
Just 5 weeks into his contract, Velasquez quit with 1 day's notice.
Interim Supt. Velasquez' $70,000 price tag added zero value to our district.
HOW MUCH MORE DAMAGE WILL THEY DO?
Our most informative reads
...The email laid out plans for the meeting and how Ledesma and board member John Ortega planned to try to avoid discussions with the opponents of the termination “so as not to get dragged into their discussion.”
Such a decision should have been deliberated by the entire seven-member board. This is a pattern of the past when board majorities would fire administrators and replace them with those who expressed unconditional loyalty.
With more than 200 community members packing the district’s chamber, and hundreds more watching online, critics complained that Board President Rick Ledesma called the special meeting during winter break, when not only families and educators are on vacation but so are the two administrators whose jobs were suddenly threatened.