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ORANGE COUNTY IN BANKRUPTCY : BOND TICKER : Cuts Turn Agency Executive Into Typist

March 03, 1995

The county bankruptcy is forcing belt-tightening measures at the Local Agency Formation Commission, which handles land annexation and incorporation issues.

Two of the commission's four employees took early retirement in the wake of the bankruptcy, forcing LAFCO executive officer Sara Anderson to take on clerical duties, such as typing agendas and photocopying reports.

LAFCO's budget is expected to decrease from about $340,000 in fiscal year 1994-95 to $312,000 in fiscal year 1995-96. "This is pretty severe," said Anderson. "For our little budget, this is a big hit."

The commission is made up of city and county leaders and is charged with handling boundary disputes between local governments, requests to annex land, and cityhood proposals.

Anderson said the cuts have not caused any delays in service or in the processing of annexation requests. LAFCO was recently able to hire a part-time worker and is considering increasing some fees to generate extra revenue, she said.

The bankruptcy could keep the commission busy. Several unincorporated communities in South County, including Foothill Ranch and Coto de Caza, are talking about forming a city, while some cities' leaders have suggested that the county could save money by forcing unincorporated islands to join adjacent municipalities.

Saddleback Schools Keeping Temporary Teachers on Hold . . .

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District is discussing whether to renew one-year contracts for some of the district's 60 temporary teachers, who fill in for permanent teachers who are on leaves of absence.

Supt. Peter A. Hartman said he is hopeful the district will not have to let anyone go. Hartman said he wants to withhold a final decision until later this month--after the county issues a final plan for reimbursing agencies that invested in its collapsed investment pool.

George Anderson, president of the Saddleback Valley Educators Assn., said he is bracing for layoffs that could include teachers.

But Hartman insisted that talk of layoffs is premature. "We are not recommending at this point the laying off of probationary or permanent teacher."

. . . While Anaheim City District Is Busy Trying to Hire, Not Fire

While other districts might let teachers go, the Anaheim City School District is in the process of recruiting new instructors.

"Our job is going to be finding teachers, not firing them," Supt. Mel Lopez said Thursday. The district expects an influx of 700 to 800 new students starting in July and needs to hire at least 25 additional teachers.

The district, which has about $8 million in the county's frozen investment pool, has delayed some maintenance projects because of the financial crisis.

Lopez said teachers laid off by other districts are welcome to apply at Anaheim City.

Complied by Shelby Grad, with Martin Miller, Alan Eyerly, Jeff Bean and Greg Johnson.

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