Damn! The OC Department of Education’s website really SUCKS!




I wish to propose a new feature for Orange Juice blog, called, “Worst government website of 2015.” Then I wish to immediately nominate a website for the award, and I warn you, there will be a great effort taken to knock this one from the pedestal before the end of the year.  Yes, I know it is only January, go take a look and then try to find one worse!

So far (January 2015) the award goes to the Orange County Department of Education.


I was alerted to a possible problem with pay raises this week, and went to find more info on the website for the District. I know that many of our faithful public servants have gone without raises, some have even taken pay cuts to help shoulder the load through tough times. Now that tax revenues are back on the upswing, those who made sacrifices SHOULD have their pay restored if it is at all possible. If they want to couple that with some pension reform to make sure that tough times don’t escalate in the future, that would probably be wise. So I figured it would be a simple thing to go see the whole story, and move on. Silly me.

While there appears to be a meeting of the Board of Education this week, you wouldn’t know it based on the DOE’s home page and the reported “events” schedule. Nope, they offer info on the GATE Teacher Network on January 15th, the Reading and Writing Interventions program on January 20th…you get the idea. But a Board Meeting? Why would we want to tell folks up front about THAT?

That’s OK, we will click on the bar up top for “Board.”

There we go, Board Meeting Information.


Let’s see, we have the current Agenda for Wednesday January 14th.   No past agendas, no calendar of future meeting dates…


This week’s agenda offers the following information:

Item J7 Approve increase of 2% for the Orange County Board of Education’s monthly stipends effective January 1, 2015.

Item J8 “Approve increase of 2% for the Orange County Superintendent’s salary effective January 1, 2015, and continue to received Health and Benefits and any monetary increases when other OCDE management employees receive them.”

Yes, I swear that really is how the Agenda item is written. That right there should disqualify an educator for keeping the job much less getting a raise.

Worst staff reports I have ever seen. Really, and I spend much of my life immersed in Anaheim’s old agendas so I know fact free and useless when I see it. At least in Anaheim they take the time to lie to me. The Department of Education does not even bother with that.

Agendas item J7 suggests the Board might want to give themselves 2% raises, and the only reason offered in the staff report is that Education Code 1090 allows them to bump their pay once a year. So hey, why the Hell not?

Agenda Item J8’s recommendation to increase the Superintendent’s pay is interesting. Justification is offered because in 2010 the Board voted to make the Supe pay and bennies consistent with other OCDE staff so that when they got raises or benefit changes so did the Superintendent. Since the OCDE staff apparently got 2% raises in July 2014, they want to offer it to the Supe as well…

In the case of Items J7 and J8, it would be helpful to offer the context of what is being offered now, both as a stipend to the Board and the salary and benefits of the Superintendent. How does that pay compare to others in similar positions? When was the last time the Supe’s pay was raised, given he was only hired in 2012? Does the Board raise their own pay every year? How does this affect the budget?

OK if they won’t tell us, we will go looking, Aren’t there new laws on transparency with required disclosure of pay for leaders and senior staff? It has to be here somewhere….


They list the Board, but do not offer stipend disclosure or even contact info for them, even on their own bio pages.


Orange County Department of Education
200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA  92626
Phone: 714-966-4000
Fax: 714-662-3570

Staff Directory, page not found


There is a link to the public schools directory that can be ordered for $10 but I don’t think that is it, and darned if I am paying for that info.


And contact for their web store

Contact Us

For technical issues, please contact:  itweb@ocde.us.

For product questions, please contact: media@ocde.us.


Public Notices

The following public notices are posted for informational purposes for Orange County Community members.

Economic Impact Aid (EIA)

Education Protection Act (EPA)

Education Protection Act Board Resolution

Nope, no info there on pay, salaries, benefits…

It appears all email goes through the one email address.

OCDE > Orange County Board of Education > Contact OCBE

Contact OCBE

Orange County Board of Education

200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-966-4012
Fax:       714-432-1916
e-mail:  ocbe@ocde.us

Map – Directions to OCDE

The only financial information I can find is here…pretty thin, folks! http://www.ocde.us/Administrative/Documents/Revised%20Education%20Protection%20Account%204-24-13.pdf

Unaudited totals

Oh wait! Here!

Certificated Supervisors’ and Administrators’ Salaries $2,733,092.86

Uh..how many people is that reporting? I guess if the staff directory page loaded we could see home many “Certificated Supervisors and Administrators Salaries” are splitting that nearly $3MM in our tax dollars, but that page does not work…

Employment page only offers job openings, does not offer info on current salaries http://www.edjoin.org/searchResults.aspx?countyID=30&districtID=533

Well now what? Ah yes, the center of all information. The Google.


June 07 2012

Al Mijares new Orange County Department of Education superintendent

Mijares will take over for long-time educator William Habermehl, who said last month he’ll retire two years before the end of his term. The county superintendent position is an elected post, so Mijares will have to run when Habermehl’s term is up.

Habermehl said he was stepping down in part to give his successor the advantage of incumbency.

The board of education offered Mijares a $287,000 yearly salary — $34,000 less than his predecessor. As chief executive, Mirajes will oversee the agency’s job of certifying the fiscal solvency of Orange County’s 28 school districts.

The Department of Education also runs schools for troubled youth and provides teacher training.

Well OK, so 2012 Al takes over the department at a pay rate $34k less than his predecessor. Seems fair to give him a raise if he has earned it and shown his leadership skills AND if the schools can afford it. I LOVE the reason Habermehl gives for stepping down early; so Mijares will have the advantage of incumbency when he has to run to keep the seat he is appointed to. Hey, way to put the kids first on the priority scale, Bill.

February 5, 2014


Oops, The Register reports that education leaders balk at being asked to reveal pay scale.

“State Controller’s John Chiang’s letter, sent this week to 992 publicly-funded charter schools, 949 school districts and 58 county offices of education, seeks to fix that.

“I am contacting every County Office of Education, school district, and charter school across the State to ask them to participate in an important expansion of the State’s public compensation website –publicpay.ca.gov – by providing pay and benefit data for all K-12 public employees and school officials,” says Chiang’s polite missive, which is landing in mailboxes right now (and getting a bit of an icy greeting).”

“’It sends the message as if teachers were overpaid — that’s why we have to post their salaries for everyone to see,” said Susan Mercer, president of Santa Ana Unified’s teachers union. “Every district has salary schedules. You can see how much teachers are being paid. But for the public to know how much every teacher is being paid is intrusive.”

The request is not surprising, she said, but she worries that it sends an inherently negative message.”

‘“I don’t see anything to gain by people knowing if a teacher is on the top of the salary scale or a beginning teacher,” Mercer said. “If that person is a good teacher, what difference does it make? We don’t go to the dentist and say, ‘Can I see how much you make? Can I see your W2 before you open your mouth?’

“It’s insulting because it’s about the job we do, not about what we are being paid,” Mercer said.”

Uh, sorry Ms. Mercer, the only insulting being done here is the arrogance of believing taxpayers have no right to know how our taxes are being spent. And yes I DO ask my dentist what the rates for services are before letting them in my mouth, but then I don’t get a gold-plated CTA policy picking up the tab on my dental care either, so I can understand why you would be out of touch with the financial realities the rest of us deal with.

OK the Register article talked about the State Controller database being built to capture this info, let’s look there…


Orange County Office of Education (Orange County)

This entity has submitted a non-compliant report to the State Controller’s Office.

non-compliant K-12 public entity is one that has filed a compensation report that was incomplete, was in a format different than the one requested by the Controller’s Office, or was submitted after the reporting deadline and is currently in the review process.

Well, I can’t be there this morning, but I AM going to put in a public records request re. pay, and make the next one.  If any of you CAN attend at this late notice, PLEASE DO, ASK QUESTIONS, and find out what the heck is going on at the….

Orange County Board of Education

200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-966-4012
Fax:       714-432-1916
e-mail:  ocbe@ocde.us

Map – Directions to OCDE

About Cynthia Ward

I am a truth-teller. It gets me in trouble. But if you ask me if a dress makes you look fat, I will tell you so, and help select another, before you go on television and realize it for yourself. My real friends are expected to be truthful with me as well. A secret shared will be taken to my grave, but lie to me, and it will end up here…on these pages… especially if you are tasked with the stewardship of public resources. I am a registered Republican who disdains the local GOP power structure, a born-again Christian who supports everyone’s right to spend their lives with the partner of their choosing. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. I am a loyal friend to those who merit that friendship and when crossed I am a bitch with a capital C. I do not fit into a box, nor do I see others through the stereotypes that politics and public affairs so often tries to shoehorn us into. I think for myself, and so do you. Welcome to our shared space in this world.