Santa Ana schools lose $2 million by bungling class size reduction

A consultant/auditor hired by the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) revealed at the board meeting tonight that the district is going to lose $2 million due to their bungling of class size reduction (CSR). I will file a complete report tomorrow, but I did not want to wait to get the basic facts out.

Trustee Audrey Noji tried to intimate that the district did nothing wrong as they did not file an incorrect CSR report with the state. However, Trustee John Palacio reminded us that the district would have filed a fraudulent report were it not for the brave teachers who stepped forward.

I was astounded at how unapologetic SAUSD Superintendent Jane Russo appeared to be. I have yet to hear “I’m sorry” come out of her mouth. Nor does it appear that any of her lame administrators are going to pay for their multi-million dollar screw up. Amazing.

In fact the meeting opened with all the usual awards and such. I guess Russo did not know what was coming. It will be a miracle if she hangs on to her job.

Trustees Rob Richardson and Jose Hernandez asked that the auditor not mince words on her final report. But neither of them appeared to be ready to truly hold anyone accountable. Trustee Rosie Avila even thanked the district for their prompt report. That too was astounding. They just bungled $2 million and she thanked them?!?

Again, I will file a full report, with pictures tomorrow. I have to go audit an environmental abatement job tonight. I took over 10 pages of notes tonight, and will transcribe the scary details in my next post.


The Times O.C. and the O.C. Register both weighed in on this story in today’s papers. Here are some highlights from both articles:

From the Times: If one substitute spent her day split in two oversized classrooms, both classes would have been eligible for the “Option 2” funding.

But this method failed in every single classroom where it was implemented, according to auditor Christy White of public accounting firm Nigro, Nigro & White, because of poor instructions from district administrators, a failure to hire enough substitutes and a lack of classroom space. Additionally, the alteration of rosters was improper and has been corrected, she said.

“Ultimately, it shouldn’t have been done, in our opinion,” White said.

Also from the Times, SAUSD Board President Rob Richardson finally wakes up, “There are two ways to do things

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.