Mailbag: Numbers support trustee's statement

I am writing in response to your article "Parent challenges candidate statement" (Aug. 26).

The lawsuit was filed against our Orange County Registrar of Voters that fully approved my statement. The suit itself made many far-out claims; none were supported by submitted facts. Only opinions were used to defy logic, as exemplified in my claim of 3,000 missing children. Ocean View School District demographic reports document about 12,200 children aged 5 to 14 living in our district while we only enroll about 9,200.

We hope and pray they are attending school somewhere, but we don't know because we don't count them. One number the superintendent did opine on was a total home-school student count of only 32. The enormous reality of many hundred home-school children completely eludes administration. With one in four of families opting out of our public schools, we have a real opportunity to provide the school setting that will draw them back. But not with Judge Steven L. Perk at the helm.

The ruling by Perk to prohibit candidates from calling out for the community and system to "do better" is wacky. In Judge Perk-land, everybody must apparently claim to do the same or worse today than yesterday. Candidates who stand up and speak up, striving to make things better, will be beaten down with lawsuits until everything is a pale shade of nothing. No wonder 25% of families flee our schools!

Well, I won't be beaten down by judge or jury. I have always stood up for the idea we can all do better. Even in the face of Perk's strange and novel ruling, I will stand in defiance shouting out at every opportunity, "We can do better." And here for the public record, Judge Perk, count on me, "We can do better!"

John Briscoe

Huntington Beach

Note: Briscoe is a trustee with the Ocean View School District.


There goes Briscoe again

John Briscoe is a failure as a school board member ("Parent challenges candidate statement," Aug. 26). One of the signal characteristics of an effective board member is to represent the members of the community at large and, at the same time, to work cooperatively with the other elected board members to responsibly manage the district and deal effectively with the myriad problems and issues facing public education today. Instead, he has antagonized the rest of the school board, cost the district thousands of dollars in legal fees to research his requests for information, tried to ban books, pestered other school districts for information and, after withholding payment for photocopying, finally paid in pennies and Mexican coinage.

His isolation from the rest of the board seems to be the result of his constant self-promotion coupled with accusations of secret meetings, secret spending, declining test scores, etc. An Orange County Superior Court judge has now ordered that his candidate statement for the upcoming election be purged of these accusations.

Briscoe may see himself as a maverick on a crusade, but in reality, he is a rogue, tilting at windmills.

Dan Shepard

Huntington Beach


College is community resource

I would like to thank Lisa McLaughlin for her article titled "Analyze costs and benefits of transfer path" in the Aug. 26 edition of the Independent. We hope that her professional reflections on the registration process at Golden West College will help bring to light the deficits the state budget cuts have created in California's community colleges' ability to serve our students at full capacity.

We would like to provide additional clarity to a few key points highlighted in McLaughlin's article:

In its publication "Fast Facts 2010," the Community College League of California, a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 72 local community college districts in California, provided the following facts:

•In 2008-09, 55% of CSU graduates and 28% of UC graduates began their college years at a community college, and, upon transferring to a four-year institution, obtained GPAs equal to, or better than, UC or CSU students, and graduated at rates comparable to UC or CSU students, who qualified and entered as freshmen.

•Undergraduate resident fees for 2009-10 at a California Community College are $780 compared to $4,827 at a CSU and $9,285 at a UC.

•Undergraduate student enrollment for 2008-09, for a full year of unduplicated head count (all students), is 2,897,531 at California Community Colleges; 316,370 at CSUs; 172,774 at UCs; and 149,700 at private colleges, of which there are 75 accredited in California.

Due to the effects of budget reductions at the CSU and UCs, the demand for enrollment in transferable undergraduate courses offered at our California Community Colleges has increased significantly. It is our goal to accommodate this influx of eager yet frustrated undergrads, even in these times of decreased resources. The above statistics would suggest that students who elect a community college and successfully transfer do, in fact, succeed while reducing their educational costs and debt.

Golden West College will continue to provide our community with quality and affordable educational options to transfer students, students entering vocational certificate programs and re-entry students.

Margie Bunten

Huntington Beach

Note: Bunten is the director of foundation and community relations at Golden West College.

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