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."

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...


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