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Orange County Focus

MISSION VIEJO : Teachers Pressure Trustee to Resign

November 18, 1993|RICH CORE

Nearly all the teachers in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District are calling for the resignation of controversial Trustee Frank L. Ury, saying he has undermined the district's interests.

At a Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, teachers presented a petition they said contained 996 signatures from their colleagues--amounting to 91% of the district's faculty.

"Mr. Ury, the teachers of this district have lost all confidence in you as a leader," said Mike Hamilton, a Los Alisos Intermediate School teacher. "You have made us feel a little like an army going into battle with a general who wanted the other side to win."

Ury, one of two conservative Christian trustees elected to the board last year, traveled the state speaking in support of Proposition 174, the statewide school voucher initiative soundly defeated by voters Nov. 2. The measure would have provided parents with vouchers worth $2,600 per year to be used at any voucher-redeeming public, private or parochial schools.

With teachers filling most of the seats in the board's meeting room Tuesday, Ury at times smiled as Hamilton and two other teachers spoke against him.

Sheila Hillinger, a Trabuco Hills High School teacher, accused Ury of betraying his oath to work in the interests of the district, saying he had "flagrantly abused" the public's trust.

Toni Grotsky, a Rancho Canada Elementary School teacher, said Ury had been "relentless" in his criticism of public education and had undermined the district's strong reputation.

"It is time for Mr. Ury to step down," Grotsky said.

Neither Ury nor other trustees responded to the teachers' comments during the meeting.

However, afterward Ury said: "I want to make it very clear that I in no way intend to resign my position."

Ury said he was elected to represent parents, students and the community, not the teachers' union.

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