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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS

Orange

November 12, 1998|Liz Seymour, (714) 966-7700

In a district known for unusual measures, school board members in Orange last week began probing another revolutionary idea: replacing retiring Supt. Robert L. French with an executive committee of board members and school administrators.

The suggestion drew immediate criticism from parents. "The plane needs a pilot, the store needs a manager, the state needs a governor and our district needs a superintendent," said Cynthia Drury, the president of the Orange Unified PTA Council.

Board member Martin Jacobson first floated the concept of a governing group of three board members and three district administrators. After tussling with French during his five-year tenure, some board members saw a change in hierarchy as a way of improving communication between elected officials and paid educators in the 30,000-student district.

But now, after unwanted publicity and a chorus of parent protests, a majority of board members no longer support pursuing the idea. "We are going to get a new superintendent," said Bill Lewis, the school board president.

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