A Letter to the LAUSD Charter School Division

This morning I sent this email to atatioss@lausd.net and Jose Cole-Gutierrez the LAUSD Charter School Division. El Camino Real Charter High School must act with transparency and publically release the report that they commissioned with public funds from Oracle Investigations Group.

Unfortunately, El Camino Real Charter High School continues to thumb its nose  at the Brown Act. As stated in a Los Angeles Daily News article published on Saturday, the Governing Board is scheduled to receive the report from Oracle Investigations Group at its September 21, meeting. Unfortunately, they are planning to retreat into closed session to do so.

According to the minutes of the June 22, 2016, Board meeting, the forensic accountant firm was hired "to investigate issues on LAUSD's Notice to Cure and the school administrators." No mention was made of this investigation being focused on "confidential employment matters".  In fact, the administration has consistently maintained that the Charter School Division's accusations were "nitpicky" and contained errors. This seems to indicate that they did not suspect any employee maleficence at the time they commissioned the report. Therefore, they should not be able to use the Brown Act's exemption for "confidential employment matters" to hear this information in a closed session. Furthermore, the use of a credit card that is paid for with public funds will not "compromise the privacy interest of employees" and should, therefore, be presented in an open session under the Brown Act. If after receiving the information the Governing Board should decide that discussion about employee discipline should take place, it would be appropriate to then move into closed session.

It should also be noted that Oracle is not employed as a law firm by the Governing Board. It, therefore, seems ludicrous for the Board to claim that a closed session is required under the guise of "attorney-client privilege". Once again, if the Governing Board has questions about this report after it is released in an open session, it would be appropriate for them move into closed session with their attornies to receive legal advice.

The report in question was paid for with $20,000 in public funds and covers the spending of funds meant for our children's education. Therefore, it is not up to the ECRCHS Governing Board to "determine whether and when the findings of the investigation will be made public." It is the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act that makes this decision and they are both clear that the people "do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know." The LAUSD Charter School Division must ensure that this report is promptly released.

Sincerely,

Carl Petersen

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