Massive Hiring-Spending Freeze Put on Santa Ana Unified School District to Battle Budget Limbo

I have a lot of friends who work at the Santa Ana Unified School District, and I'm friendly with new-ish superintendent Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, but the goings-on of the district remind me more and more of Springfield Elementary in The Simpsons, what with lettuce being tossed out, wacky teachers, out-of-control kids (oh, the stories people tell me that they, of course, will never go on the record with and which school officials will never verify), and now this: district workers are being put on a severe hiring and spending spree due to a massive budget limbo caused by–take your pick–Hollywood, Sacramento, DC, or district lunacy.


According to a memo obtained by the Weekly sent out by district executive director of business operations Tony Wold sent out to SAUSD principals, office managers, department heads and secretaries, the freeze will hold until some sort of budget legislation from Sacramento is passed for the 2013-2014 academic school year. But the tone of the memo makes Wold sound like a ship captain telling his crew that the boat won't sink just as the water goes over the crew's head. “Our schools' good work with regard to academic achievement must continue,” Wold wrote. “To this end, these freezes are not intended to impede that continued progress.

“Be thoughtful, look at the big picture, and stay focused on what's important,” Wold adds later on in a section titled “Guiding Principles.” Principals are also asked to “minimize” the use of substitutions, which'll hopefully mean the following will happen soon:

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