Tue, Dec

Investigation into Inglewood School District Could Lead All the Way to the Top

INSIDE INGLEWOOD-Sacramento pols have reached across the aisle  to demand an investigation of Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) that could lead all the way up to the California Department of Education (CDE) Supervisor Tom Torlakson. (Photo)

IUSD was put into state receivership in 2012 and became the ninth California school system to be treated so. It is presently enduring its third state-appointed trustee, Dr. Donald Brann, who is also the Vice President of Da Vinci Schools Board of Trustees and was stated to have “welcomed dozens of families from Ladera Heights into the Wiseburn district when they were unsuccessful in petitioning the LA County Office of Education to reassign Ladera from [IUSD] to Culver City schools.” Many IUSD parents and Inglewood residents claim that Brann helped to diminish student rolls at IUSD

At the Thursday Joint Legislative Audit Committee in Sacramento, State Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Assembly Member Isador Hall, III (D-Los Angeles) appeared again to request an independent audit of Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD).

Senator Huff wasted no time stating the reason for his request. “The handling of the [IUSD] takeover has raised some eyebrows and deserves further review. If the state receivership process is broken, we need to know so we can act to fix it on behalf of all Californians.”

Assembly Member Hall was also vocal in his concerns regarding the two years, three state trustees in quick succession and the countless scandals that have recently engulfed IUSD.

“It is imperative that transparency is provided to the residents and taxpayers of Inglewood…from a third party, one that is not grossly connected to…the implications of fraud and abuse.”

Hall may have been alluding to FCMAT’s being paid by the state. Despite it not being paid directly by the CDE, it may have been influenced by Governor Jerry Brown. According to a June 30, 2013 story in the Redlands Daily Facts, Rob Kuznia wrote, “Gov. Jerry Brown signed a little-known bill Monday that allows the new state-appointed leader of the troubled Inglewood Unified School District to collect his pension while getting paid by the K-12 district.” That special law is best known as Assembly Bill 86.

What Huff, Hall and others demand is an independent audit, and sooner rather than later.

A spokesperson for Torlakson, Kim Ramos, contended that an independent audit had been performed by and that it was dated July 30. “We have provided [attendees] with an executive summary and are happy to provide copies of the full audit to staff.”

That audit, however, does not appear to be available to the general public. The only audit mentioned in IUSD agendas since the state takeover was one described at the December 12, 2012 board meeting as “Approved the agreement with Christy White Accountancy Corporation to conduct a financial statement and performance audit to include the balance sheet of the Measure GG Bond Building Fund for three years.”

As for the FCMAT report, she disclosed that it “is due out in September but has been delayed.”

Regarding the White audit and the FCMAT report, she did not elaborate before the committee.

Nevertheless, an August 19 story at KPCC seemed to underline the growing problems at IUSD. In a story titled, “Troubled Inglewood Unified gets warning about deficit, enrollment drop,” Adolfo Guzman-Lopez stated that “documents filed with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the district predicts it will spend 3.7 percent more money in the coming school year than it’s taking in, despite increases in state funding.” 

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According to California State Auditor Elaine Howle who was also at the session, even if a current independent audit were approved, it could take five months to complete.

Torlakson is up for re-election in November. Running against him is Marshall Tuck.

Ultimately the item (numbered 2014-127) was voted on but owing to a lack of votes despite there being a quorum present, the item was put on call.

● INFO: The entire session can be seen here


(Randall Fleming is a veteran journalist and magazine publisher. He has worked at and for the New York Post, the Brooklyn Spectator and the Los Feliz Ledger. He is currently editor-in-chief at the Morningside Park Chronicle, a weekly newspaper based in Inglewood, CA and on-line at www.MorningsideParkChronicle.com.  Mr. Fleming’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.) Photo credit: Randall Fleming







Vol 12 Issue 68

Pub: Aug 22, 2014