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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Phone Number Brings Unwanted School Calls

November 12, 1987

Several times a day a receptionist at a Santa Ana equipment company says she answers calls like these: "I need information on your class schedules" and "Could I speak with the school superintendent?"

And each time, receptionist Anactacia Bingham wearily tells the caller that he or she has contacted the Rite Hite Corp., not the Irvine Unified School District.

Bingham has been fielding calls for the Irvine school district since Rite Hite, a loading-dock-equipment company, based in Milwaukee, opened its Santa Ana office in July. Callers have been insistently asking for Irvine Unified.

"We were really upset until we found out what happened," Bingham said.

What happened was that Pacific Bell gave Rite Hite Corp. an old phone number for Irvine Unified School District. Although is has not been used by the Irvine school district since 1984, some school purchasing orders still carried the old phone number until fairly recently. Rite Hite Corp. was thus getting calls from companies that wanted to do business with the school district.

Irvine Unified had problems with the phone-number change in the years before Rite Hite Corp. was given that number. A school district official said Pacific Bell failed to put a recording on the old number to tell callers that Irvine Unified had switched to a new phone number. Callers were simply told that the school system's number had been disconnected.

A Pacific Bell spokesman said the company "would be glad to issue (Rite Hite) a new number at no charge." But Bingham said Rite Hite declined the invitation because the company already has the old Irvine Unified phone number on its company stationery.

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