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Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) is the second largest school district in Orange County, California, the 12th largest in California and the 82nd largest in the United States. The district currently has 51,512 students . The school district serves the following cities:
CUSD encompasses 195 square miles (510 km2) and has 40 California Distinguished Schools and 11 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The district has a graduation rate of 96.5%, much higher than California's average of 85.1%, and employees 4,432 employees, making it the largest employer in South Orange County. 
On October 25 and 26, 2007, every school campus in this district was closed due to the Orange County Wildfires. Smoke was severe in south Orange County making air quality dangerous for students. On Monday, October 29, 2007, every school reopened. Disaster funding covered the Average Daily Attendance fees the school would have lost due to the school closures, so the lost school days were not made up.
Controversies regarding district management have prompted two efforts to recall school board members. On February 14, 2008, it was announced that 50-75 of the district's 148 bus drivers would be laid off due to the gross mismanagement of funds by the Board of Trustees. In one instance, the board spent $38,000,000.00 on a new district office, nicknamed by some locals as the "Taj Mahal" for its apparent extravagance.
The Capistrano Unified School District has a seven-member Board of Trustees, with each trustee representing one of seven geographic areas within the school district. Each trustee is elected to a four-year term of office and is voted upon by the entire district. Trustees must reside in the area they represent.
Current Board of Trustees:
The Board of Trustees is the policymaking body for the school district. It is charged with providing a quality educational program for students in grades kindergarten through 12 in accordance with the California Constitution, the laws of the state, adopted Board policies, and the desires of the community.
As elected officials, trustees are state officers responsible for the governance of a political subdivision of the state. The school district is independent of city and county governments, but cooperates with them.
In addition to establishing school district policies, the Board adopts an annual budget and approves all expenditures, employment decisions, curricula, textbooks, and courses of study, and makes decisions on school sites, building plans and construction contracts.
Trustees have no power to act individually in the name of the Board. Formal action can be taken only when the Board is in session with a quorum of at least half of the Trustees.
From 1991 to 2006, the Superintendent was long-time District official James A. Fleming. Due to political controversy, however, he resigned at the beginning of the 2006-2007 School Year. Following his resignation, the Board appointed an interim Superintendent, A. Woodrow Carter. The Superintendent acts as Secretary to the Board of Trustees.
The administration of the school district is delegated by Trustees to a professional administrative staff headed by the Superintendent.
Carter was ultimately fired in 2009, again after political discord. He has since filed a lawsuit against the district. The district was being managed by interim Superintendent Roberta "Bobbi" Mahler. In early May 2010, the board approved the hiring of Dr. Joseph M. Farley as Superintendent for the District.
2008 Classified Employees of the Year: 
2008 Teachers of the Year: 
The District's mission is as follows:
[Our mission, i]n partnership with the home and our richly diverse community, is to educate students and to assist them in realizing their full potential as responsible, productive, and contributing members of society by providing an educational environment in which students are challenged, excellence is expected and differences are valued.
- Aliso Niguel High
- Aliso Viejo Middle
- Arroyo Vista Elementary
- Arroyo Vista Middle
- Barcelona Hills Elementary
- Bathgate Elementary
- Bernice Ayer Middle
- Bridges Community Day
- Canyon Vista Elementary
- Capistrano Connections Academy Charter
- Capistrano Home Outreach Option For Student Educat
- Carl Hankey Elementary
- Carl Hankey Middle
- Castille Elementary
- Moulton Elementary
- Marian Bergeson Elementary
- Marco Forster Middle
- Marblehead Elementary
- Las Palmas Elementary
- Las Flores Middle
- Las Flores Elementary
- Laguna Niguel Elementary
- Ladera Ranch Middle
- Ladera Ranch Elementary