John Briscoe

Name: John Briscoe   

Age: 57

Birthplace: Altadena

Residence: 6812 Glen Drive, Huntington Beach

Occupation: broker and small business owner with wife

Education: master's of business administration, Claremont Graduate University, Peter Drucker School of Business; MPA Cal State Long Beach; bachelor's degree in psychology and speech communicaton from Cal State Long Beach

Experience as an educator: California School Boards Assn. has bestowed on me the master's in governance degree as an award for my class work and study in the subject of school board governance.  Additionally, I have had extensive community teaching experience in Boy Scouts of America, Sunday School, and Jewish Big Brothers of Los Angeles.

Previously elected or appointed positions: trustee and governing board member of the Ocean View School District of Orange County

Community organizations you belong to: Boy Scouts of America, Rotary International LA-5 El Rodeo, Grace Lutheran Church, National Eagle Scout Assn.

Why should constituents vote for you?

Reverse declining test scores, eliminate schools in violation of federal standards; improve music, language, shop and physical education classes; attract back 3,000 missing Ocean View School District children; implement behavior contracts, weekly parent-teacher contact, improve site security; stop furlough day thievery of teaching minutes; pay raises based on proficiency results; halt illegal secret meetings

What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?

The single biggest problem with our district is our failure to maintain (or enlarge) our teaching program in the communities of Westminster, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach that are included in our boundaries. We have stolen priceless teaching minutes from our children and used the money saved to pay raises to teachers. The board voted 4 to 1 in favor of so-called "furlough days" where teachers are paid more to work less in these difficult economic times. Yes, OVSD teachers were given a raise this year!  And that raise was paid for by students being deprived of eight teaching days in 2010 alone. This equals more than a quarter of a year of learning lost. Shame on us! We should be working to increase teaching time, not voting 4 to 1 against me to cut whole weeks of learning out of our school year. We must do better.

In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?

The district playing fields proximate to each school site are an enormous resource to the community, providing open green space for youth athletic use. Our fields are also valuable to our students during the school day for free and unfettered physical education activities. However, community members have complained about "polka-dot landscaping" due to sprinkler maintenance and water pressure, leaving vast swatches of our fields appearing poorly maintained. Administration admitted in meetings that all it takes to "green-up" a field is lots of water tempered with some care and attention. The leading example of lush, green and verdant fields can be seen at the Robinwood school site leased to Grace Lutheran Church with fields maintained by youth soccer leagues. All our fields can and should be lush, green and verdant, but they are not.

The good news is that the board nodded its collective head (without board vote) suggesting its off-the-record approval of administrative actions to encourage youth sports league leasees to contribute to field maintenance. Hope View school is a first example of this, where the previously "dangerous" field was closed for several weeks resulting in a field we can all truly be proud of. Administration has recently visited Marine View fields to observe the "polka-dot landscaping" and make plans to remedy bare dirt patches and dead/dying grass. Board direction via head-nodding has been unequivocal; we want lush, green and verdant fields for our students and our community.

In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?

There is no secret spending of public money, except in the Ocean View School District of Orange County.  The district administration has committed itself to a course of hiding information from the public and from the board. Our trustees have never voted to direct administration to hide legal billing detail. There is no basis in state law for administration to cover-up information about who initiated legal work and if written legal work was produced. And there is no legal basis for administration to conceal a general description of legal work done (omitting confidential personal information of course, and any specific legal strategy discussions). Without basis in law or board vote, the public is being deprived of its right to know.  We must stop secret district spending.

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