Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

Apparently the SAUSD is planning on converting the failed Hoover Elementary School into a charter high school that will accommodate at least 300 students. Hoover is located smack in the middle of the Park Santiago Neighborhood and as you might imagine the neighbors are in an uproar over the conversion plans.



Hoover is currently ranked 3680th of 5,789 California Elementary Schools. Click here to see Hoover’s sad scores. According to state test scores, 32% of students are proficient in math and 36% in reading. SchoolDigger ranks the SAUSD 1241st of 1525 California school districts. No bueno!

Teachers who live in the area have reported that the charter school is called Circulos and it is a school funded in party by a grant from Steve Jobs’ wife. Currently Circulos is operating at the Advanced Learning Academy (ALA)(3rd-8th Grade) at 1325 E. 4th St., in Santa Ana.

ALA is known for lower class sizes and a much more intense investment in the school due to extra funding the district receives for it from charter state funding.

ALA offers elective pathways, including VAPA- Speech and Debate, Project Lead the Way- Robotics, Makerspace, App Creator, Femineers, and academic electives- such as AVID and Leadership. They also have intramural sports in grades 6-8, which means they compete against the other SAUSD intermediate schools in girls and boys Basketball, Volleyball and Soccer.

Circulos is part of the XQ Institute, which is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to rethinking the high school experience so that every student graduates ready to succeed in life.

The Park Santiago Neighborhood is the same neighborhood that went bananas when a developer tried to convert an office building on the outskirts of the neighborhood, on the .busy commercial Main St. corridor, into luxury apartments. That project was scuttled when current Mayor Vince Sarmiento flip flopped and turned against it back when he was just a City Council member.

The neighborhood is concerned about the traffic that might ensue with high school students driving in and out of the neighborhood but the SAUSD is insisting that the students will park at a remote parking lot and be brought to the school in 15 seat vans.

Enrollment in the SAUSD has been declining for years. Many students have fled the sinking SAUSD public schools to transfer to other school districts or to attend private or charter schools. The SAUSD has taken note of this and now they are opening their own charter schools – but will these perform any better than the rest of the SAUSD’s schools?

The SAUSD public schools are still closed now due to the pandemic but every morning I see kids in my neighborhood getting into their parents’ cars as they are driven to private schools and charter schools that have found a way to thrive even during the pandemic.

SAUSD students have essentially lost an entire year of schooling. Hoover was already a train wreck. Perhaps the SAUSD realized they were better off cutting their losses and closing down Hoover?

It will be difficult to stop the Hoover conversion. The SAUSD School Board is overwhelmingly liberal and won’t care what the neighbors in Park Santiago think. The Santa Ana City Council is also now very liberal and young and the Park Santiago Neighborhood is represented by Jessie Lopez, a progressive who most likely will not try to stop the conversion either.

Given that the new charter school appears to be a move in the right direction for the SAUSD it makes it even more unlikely that the Park Santiago NIMBYs will have any say as to the future of the Hoover Elementary School site.

The Park Santiago Neighborhood shut down a quality luxury apartment development last year but this time they are likely going to have to suck it up and accept the Hoover charter high school conversion. The Neighborhood has lost its political leverage in Santa Ana.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

4 thoughts on “Will the SAUSD open a new charter high school in the Park Santiago Neighborhood?”
  1. Scathing! The real problem with Hoover Elementary School’s reputation in Park Santiago has always been the unwillingness of parents in that neighborhood to enroll their students at the school based on negative stereotypes and outright bias. Those very residents who are now so loudly protesting against the school becoming a high school could have solved the problem years ago if they had enrolled their own children and been actively involved at Hoover.

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