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Capo Losing Two Major Finance Experts

A budget manager and the head of the department are both headed for other ventures.

Two key officials in the ’s financial division are leaving the district, including the head of the department.

Ron Lebs will leave his position as the deputy superintendent of business services to become the assistant superintendent of business services in the Fullerton Joint Union High School. That district’s board of trustees voted to hire Lebs in a special meeting on Monday.

In addition, the Orange County Department of Education has tapped Capo’s Penny Larsen as a financial analyst, that department confirmed. Larsen is a budget manager who started with Capo in August. She’ll begin her new role Jan. 3.

Lebs first came to the district in July 2008, overseeing a budget that has suffered nearly $80 million in reductions in that time, according to district spokesman Marcus Walton. Before that, he served for nine years with the Sylvan Union School District in Modesto, first as director of facilities and then as chief business officer.

, his entire tenure at Capo has been characterized by tough financial times and uncertainty. It is currently facing a severe cash-flow problem which may prompt the need for a third short-term loan that crosses fiscal years. The district has already borrowed $75 million this year.

Then on Tuesday, to address the state’s huge deficits. For Capo, that means cutting $1.7 million from the current year’s budget.

Fullerton’s is a much smaller district than Capo. Serving 16,343 high school students, it has eight total schools: six comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school and a continuation high school. By comparison, Capistrano has 56 campuses and about 51,000 students.

The joint union school district does not keep many financial records online. The last available report was for the 2009-10 school year, which ended with the district making $7 million in cuts and netting a $26.3 million positive fund balance.

Walton said the district will initiate a regional search for a deputy superintendent of business and support services and will identify an interim appointment while that process is ongoing.

Capo mom December 23, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Wow. When you bake for the holidays, you miss a lot.
Nancy December 23, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Capo Mom, I think the kitchen is where Owen thinks you (and others with the XX chromosome) belong. And he would appreciate a sandwich, too.
shelly December 23, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Capo Parent, I disagree with the article you posted. I believe that anyone should be able to run for school board. Please don't assume my postiion on issues. I am very willing to tell you if I agree or disagree. The current board has 7 trustees. Four were supported by CUSD Reform (http://cusdreform.com). They ran and won against union endorsed candidates. Currently our board is not controlled by a slate. The former board was controlled by a slate of candidates. The voters of CUSD decided that it was not good for CUSD so they voted in new Trustees. The taxpayers and parents of CUSD who are more conservative than most places in Calfornia and the Nation voted for this board. If you have issues with the make up of the board than you should take your issues to the taxpayers and parents because we are the ones who voted for this board. CUEA is a union. A union's purpose is to try to get the best conditions and beneftis possible for its members. Teachers are in the classroom. Their purpose is to provide the best education to their students possible. CUSD has good schools.
Capo mom December 24, 2011 at 05:31 PM
I say educators should be limited in their participation as school board members, if not excluded altogether. Educators are typically the least educated of the educated. Teachers enter college with below-average SAT scores. Education curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate is less rigorous than other fields of study, particularly at the graduate level where the programs primary goal is to advance the teacher in salary scale and there is no clear benefit to students. On objective tests of cognitive ability such as the SAT, ACT, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and Armed Forces Qualification Test, teachers score only around the 40th percentile of college graduates. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203687504576655352353046120.html) Educators typically lack the experience or practical knowledge in finance or project planning on the scale needed to examine data, reports and make effective decisions for district management. Add to these considerations, the potential for the cozy kind of dynamic we've seen in our district, where the district is operated primarily for the maintenance and benefit of the union members and I'd say educators are the last people who should be on school boards.
shelly December 25, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Capo Mom, Does that mean you believe that Trustee Palazzo should not be a trustee? Wasn't she an educator? SAT, ACT, and GRE are not objective tests when some who take it are able to afford to take multiple test prep courses, have personal tutors and test advisors and others are not. These tests are turning into a test of how much money you have and are willing to spend on getting your child into college. We need people who can make good decisions and who are not controlled by outside forces or agendas. The decisions should be what is best for the district. Not how some political group wants to change education. Are you saying only certain occupations should be able to run for the school board? Who? I remember one of the first meetings that Trustee Addonizio was involved in she wanted to change the name of winter break to Christmas break. She may be able to analyze data but making proposals like that does nothing but alienate people and cause controversy. SAT, ACT and GRE does not measure intelligence, emotional intelligence, how well you work with children or how well you teach. It only tests math and English and writing. You may be a genius in English and horrible at math so you would not do well on these tests. You could be Einstein and do extremely well on the math portion and horrible on the English portions. So what would you say about Einstein? SAT, ACT, GRE are just little hoops you have to jump through. What you do with your education is what matters.

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