Santa Ana Unified School District administrators created false class rosters and misused substitute teachers to qualify for state funding earmarked for small classes for elementary students, according to eight teachers, school documents and state officials.
At Washington Elementary School, for instance, documents reveal that school officials created a second-grade roster showing students in a class that didn't exist. The phantom classroom diluted the number of second-graders in existing classrooms — allowing the average class size to fall below 20.5 and giving the district an additional $1,024 per student per year.
So what exactly is happening in Santa Ana? Is the school district lying about classes? Are they desperate for money... And if so, why? Follow me after the flip for more...
So what is the latest problem that the SAUSD is experiencing?
A substitute teacher at Washington Elementary was assigned to the nonexistent class. Several teachers at the school said she only spent a few hours over the past month in each classroom instructing students on her roster. Since then, school officials said, she has been assigned to cover full time for a teacher on medical leave and no longer visits the classes.
State officials said the district's actions appeared illegal — even if substitute teachers were used for part of the day — and plan to launch an investigation.
"That would clearly be a blatant attempt to violate the intent of the law," said Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction who wrote the class-size reduction legislation in 1996 while a member of the state Senate. "We make it real clear to schools that they need to make sure they have 20 students to a class."
I guess this shouldn't come as such a great surprise to me. I mean, they did not want to divulge the names of who would replace School Board Member Sal Tinajero once he was elected to City Council. And oh yes, they have to be so secretive... ABOUT THEIR TOTAL INCOMPETENCY...
Well, I guess this really shouldn't come as a surprise to me.
But anyways, I digress. Here's more from The LA Times story:
At Washington Elementary, eight teachers said in interviews that school administrators asked them to sign class rosters that show they had significantly fewer students than were assigned to their classrooms. Second-grade teachers Alma Olivares, Sahara Green, Donna Araujo, Christina Moreno and Rose Copes, third-grade teachers Eugenia Pedraza and Olga Escobar, and first-grade teacher Eva Zamarripa said students' names were deleted from their rosters, but they have continued to teach these children, sign their report cards and meet with their parents.
"I'm teaching them," said Olivares, who had four children removed from her roster. "They're in my class. They're my responsibility."
Since the new district policy was enacted about a month ago, several Washington teachers said they had refused to sign the new rosters.
"If I sign it, I'm agreeing to the lie," Araujo said.
A teachers union official, who has heard concerns about the altered rosters from teachers at four schools, said he requested legal justification from the district two weeks ago and had yet to receive an answer.
"When [teachers] are asked to sign rosters that aren't accurate, it makes them nervous, and justifiably so," said David Barton, president of the Santa Ana Educators Assn.
Despite the teachers' objections at Washington Elementary, four students were removed from Olivares' roster, five from Araujo's, one from Green's, three from Moreno's and two from Copes'.
So is what my school district has come to??!!
But of course, I also must wonder that if the school district really was fudging its class rosters for extra cash, then WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE DISTRICT SPENDING THE EXTRA CASH ON? If they still had to cut programs and close schools, then what exactly was all this extra money being spent on? And why should we trust what the district leadership has to say?