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Orange County

Orange Unified Board OKs Up to 60-Day Hiring Freeze

July 21, 2001|DENNIS McLELLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Orange Unified School District has approved a temporary hiring freeze on certified and classified administrators, but members left wiggle room in their ruling to allow for critical positions to be filled.

The board, which unanimously approved the plan Thursday, said the temporary hiring suspension would last up to 60 days.

Among those excluded from the freeze are teachers, principals, assistant principals, school-site nurses, psychologists and counselors, and some instructional assistant positions.

"If there's an exception to be made, then the requesting organization can come to the board and the board can authorize the hiring," board President Robert Viviano said in an interview. "That's the escape valve."

Viviano said the hiring freeze is tied to hiring a systems specialist to examine district operations "with an eye toward improving efficiency and cost reductions."

"What we're trying to do is get lean and work smarter," he said. "And if there's any money to be found we can put it in the classrooms."

Viviano said that staff is preparing organizational charts in order to account for all the district's employees and their jobs. If job and personnel changes are made as a result of the review, Viviano said, "it makes no sense to hire new people until the review has been completed--unless absolutely necessary to support operations. We don't want to cripple the district."

The temporary hiring freeze "gives the board some flexibility if they decided that changes are appropriate, with minimal effect on our employees," he said.

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