CUSD's Contentious Election Season Put to Rest

Two new trustees are sworn in and two others are reaffirmed, but not without some sharp comments from the public.

Two new trustees were sworn in Monday night, along with two re-elected trustees, as a contentious election in the Capistrano Unified School District was put to rest.

Newcomer Amy Hanacek and trustees John Alpay and Gary Pritchard took time to thank their supporters.

“It was a long, difficult campaign,” said Alpay, who was elected as board president. He credited his re-election to the “a lot of support by a lot of good people. … I sincerely appreciate what you all did for me, and it’s a true honor to be back on the dais.”

One parent later took Alpay to task for his role in purchasing an internet domain name that deceptively took visitors looking for one group to an opposing group’s webpage where it solicited donations.

“How could you stoop that low? Your behavior in this race was reprehensible,” said Melissa Alsop. “We’re not going to forget the underhanded behavior. This was unethical.”

A number of parents associated with Oxford Preparatory Academy also spoke during the open comments portion of the agenda, with some tying the election to the recent allegations that teachers at the new charter school helped students cheat on standardized testing.

“For me the gloves are off. I am disgusted that this district would fabricate a cheating allegation ironically during an election,” said parent Kim Price.

Both OPA and the school district conducted separate investigations into the charges, and both found the allegations lacking.

“I expect you to publicly exonerate and apologize to the public and students of Oxford Prep,” Price said.

Later in the evening, Trustee Anna Bryson said the initial report of the cheating allegations, which were first published in a blog, most likely came from a school board member.

“It would have to come from a trustee. We don’t know why,” she said. “It was not done at the request of anyone. We regret it very much.”

In other matters, the board:

  • Heard the year’s first financial report that showed the district will have slightly more money, about $1.4 million this year, because of Prop. 30 but will still need to cut $31 million off of next year’s budget
  • Set a timeline to come up with next year’s budget, which will include a board subcommittee
  • Gave the green light to staff to develop a , to possibly open by September 2015
shelly December 17, 2012 at 10:02 PM
southcountynative, You made a choice to homeschool. Are all your children being homeschooled? You are not teaching 20 to 30 kids. You choose who you teach. Teachers teach all and we, and you as a taxpayer hire them to teach all (not just your children). This is the system we have chosen for our country. To teach all. We disagree southcountynative. Teachers are educated credentialled professionals and they deserve their salaries and compensation. And Marco is a great school with wonderful teachers.
shelly December 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Penny, I have no idea who leaked it or why. I just think nothing is proven and there is no documentation.
shelly December 18, 2012 at 01:09 AM
southcountynative, Teachers are college educated credentialed professionals who deserve their salaries and compensation. In the USA and CA we pay taxes to educate all of our children, not just our own. Even if you have no children you pay taxes to educate the children of our society. It helps our community, state, nation, world. This is what we have chosen to do as a nation. Marco is a great school with wonderful teachers. I am happy that you have found an alternative that suits you and your family. I know several families who homeschool and they love it. It is a good thing to have choices. I wish you luck in your endeavors in homeschooling. But not every family chooses homeschooling since many thrive in a school environment. Many families choose CUSD schools and their kids are growing and learning and doing wonderfully. I did not teach my children to spell in pre-k. My children had a very unacademic magical pre-k experience. It did not hurt them and I feel it helped make them creative, problem solvers. My children do well in school, are kind, friendly and talented in their own way (I am biased of course). If you attend a private school you pay for the computer and online services through your tuition. And the schools do offer online services in the libraries. Students regularly come into the library and check out laptops and print papers.
shelly December 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Southcountynative, The laptops I am speaking of are at the high school. You chose homeschool. No one forced you into it. There are other options. If you felt Marco was not a good fit you could have chosen a different middle school. I remember when my oldest son was in middle school and an English teachers sent out a form with misspelled words early on in the year, and I judged her for this. She turned out to be one of the most engaging, interesting English teachers my son has ever had. She had students split into groups and take Greek Myths and rewrite them into short plays and make costumes. She had the students make toys (and provide a written description and present them to the class) out of materials that they could only find in the ancient time and environment in which the historical novel they were reading was set. She had the students write poetry and had a reading and then made these into a poetry book. In small groups she had them read The Hobbit and then had them construct a scene from the book in a pizza box so that it looked like a stage and then have them present it. Teachers make mistakes like all of us. We all make mistakes in our jobs once in a while. And as for the budget. It has been cut. The schools cannot provide everything you want for your family. I understand you want them to pay for your internet. I understand that you want them to pay for all of your child's supplies because of the ACLU lawsuit.
shelly December 18, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Southcountynative, We, in CA, pay less per child then most other states. We receive less ADA in our district. If a teacher assigns a project they will give the student supplies if they need them. And he/she will give them time to do a project on a computer at school. It has always been this way. Many of us do not mind purchasing supplies for our children. I don't. You might and that is your right. Buying supplies is not new. My children have been in the district for over 13 years and the supplies have never been mandatory. I have bought or recycled supplies for that amount of time because I chose to.


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