Ironically, two articles in today's LA Times demonstrate why the tragic destruction of the Ambassador Hotel was totally unnecessary. The first article discusses into how long it will be until the new schools are finished. The second article explains why the schools will no longer be needed shortly after they are finished.
The school board in its dubious wisdom refused to realistically examine the district's rapidly changing demographics and the increasingly rapid decline in the numbers of students in the LA School District, particularly in the younger grades. And the second article about the situation in Santa Ana shows what our future will soon be:
Teacher Layoffs Loom in Santa Ana
Declining enrollment will force the county's largest school district to cut as many as 100 jobs by the 2006-07 year.
By Seema MehtaTimes Staff Writer January 6, 2006
Facing sharply declining enrollment, Orange County's biggest school district will lay off as many as 100 teachers before the next school year as part of an effort to cut nearly $15 million, district and union officials said Thursday.
The nearly 62,000-student Santa Ana Unified School District is facing the same problem decimating district budgets across the state. More than half of school districts statewide have declining enrollment, and fewer students means fewer state dollars. Rising housing costs, a declining birthrate and fewer people moving into Santa Ana caused enrollment to fall by 2,300 this year.
District officials expect another drop next year. "As long as the district keeps losing enrollment, we're going to have to keep making budget cuts," said Don Trigg, associate superintendent of business services. Housing costs are prompting families to move to the Inland Empire, the Central Valley, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere, Trigg said, costing the district more than $5,300 per child in annual state funding. State officials said large school districts throughout California are facing a similar crunch.
"Districts with declining enrollment in urban areas are feeling the pinch, much more than districts in some of the more suburban areas that are seeing really expansive growth," said Hilary McLean, spokeswoman for state schools Supt. Jack O'Connell.Santa Ana, which has a $453-million annual budget, has been forced to cut back in recent years.
In 2004, educators plugged a $29-million deficit by increasing class sizes, eliminating 420 jobs and persuading teachers and administrators to agree to a 4% pay cut lasting two years. The upcoming cuts will occur in the 2006-07 budget, which will be approved in June.
District officials said eliminating the teaching positions would save about $7 million, although it was unknown exactly how many positions would be eliminated. In past years, layoffs have largely been avoided through attrition and early retirement.
But teachers union President Tom Harrison expects scores of layoffs in coming months, particularly at the elementary level."It's going to be bad, no question," said Harrison, who leads the nearly 3,000-member Santa Ana Educators Assn. "We may lose 100 teachers."
And there is more at the link....
The tragedy is that having just one or even two schools on the site would have enabled Ambassador to have been easily saved. And the elementary school is the first one that is going to be redundant. Now I doubt that school district will close it as it will be too embarrassing, but in the not too distant future, other elementary school in the area are going to have to start to be closed.