“There are many people who will be affected by our cuts, but unfortunately we are in this very difficult position to keep this district financially sound.”
That was Jose Alfredo Hernandez, Santa Ana School Board President, quoted by The Register about the $14.8 million of cuts to schools that the district will be making for the next school year. The school board voted to cut up to 125 part-time special education instructional aides, as well as eliminate assistant principal positions and other jobs. On Tuesday, the board had already approved cuts that included a reduction in district security, groundskeeping and custodial services; fewer work days for hundreds of employees; the elimination of 86 portable classrooms; and closure of a small elementary school.
Since state law requires that the county periodically review and approve the budgets of school districts to ensure they are fiscally solvent, SAUSD had to seek the OC Department of Education’s approval of their budget this year. And despite the county looking for SAUSD to cut $17 million from its $500 million budget, they’ve signaled that they will likely approve the almost $15 million cuts. However, what may be the ultimate irony here is that the proposed cuts to special education may violate federal law. School Board Member John Palacio has even threatened to file a complaint with federal authorities over the special ed cuts.
So what the heck is going on in our schools in Santa Ana? What do you think about all these budget cuts? Is this happening because of declining enrollment of students in the district? Are the cuts really unfair for the students, especially the ones with special needs? Has past mismanagement of the school district led to this fiscal fiasco?
I want to hear what you have to say about Santa Ana school budget cuts. Why is it happening? How will the students cope? And what can be done to stop this mess?