A Web of Deceit
"The public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure."
-Law Offices of Young, Minney & Corr, LLP
On behalf of El Camino Real Charter High School
Dear LAUSD Board Members:
I have previously shared with the Charter School Division (CSD) the responses that I have received from El Camino Real Charter School's (ECRCHS) law firm after attempting to gain access to the $20,000 report that the Governing Board commissioned from Oracle Investigations Group under the California Public Records Act (PRA). Unfortunately, I have not heard back from the CSD or received the report or a copy of the contract under which it was prepared. However, in reviewing the Response to Notice of Violation that was prepared on behalf of ECRCHS states on page two that "included among ECRA Board actions taken are...contracting with an independent investigator to investigate concerns raised by the LAUSD Charter Schools Division in a Notice to Cure in October of 2015". This is contradictory to responses that I received from the same law firm claiming that "as legal counsel for ECR our firm retained the services of Oracle Investigations Group, Inc." and "there are no documents responsive to your request in the possession of ECR" in response to my request for a copy of "the contract with Oracle Investigations Group that was approved by the Governing Board on June 22, 2016."Read more
Asleep at the Switch?
“In response to this very unexpected action, the district has assembled a team to provide support to students and families as they transition during this difficult time, just one month after the start of the district’s traditional school year”.
The charter industry has a propensity for manipulating data to meet their propaganda needs. For example, a recent press release stated that “more than 2,000 families [had] marched in support of charter schools”. However, the first sentence of the release told a completely different story. Instead of families showing support of these private schools operating with public funds, “more than 2,000 charter school teachers, students, families, supporters, and local representatives joined together” had participated in the march. Unless families had been prevented from sending more than one representative to the march, the headline was clearly misleading.Read more
Resolution: Improving LAUSD Performance as a Regulatory Agency for Charters
Whereas, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is “the largest district charter school authorizer in the nation, with about 250 independent and affiliated charter schools serving over 130,000 students”;
Whereas, the 1992 law that created charters specifically states that these publicly funded private schools would “provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools”;Read more
What is the Opposite of Transparent?
“The records you have requested are exempt from disclosure pursuant to California Government Code §6254(f) as they are the subject of an on-going investigation.”
-LAUSD Office of the General Counsel
It has been almost two years since David Binkle was removed from his position as LAUSD’s Food Services Director. A draft audit by the Inspector General found that the food services department was “at a minimum being mismanaged and at worst being consistently abused.” While this draft was “expected to be completed by early summer” 2015, the District still maintains that the investigation is “on-going”.
It has been more than a year since Binkle grew weary of his stay in Food Services Director Jail and retired from the District. However, the facts of the case are still relevant. While the report accused him “of failing to report payments from vendors to attend school food conferences”, Binkle has stated that his “actions were approved and encouraged from senior district officials, general counsel or the ethics office”. These senior officials include John Deasy and Michelle King, who was later promoted to be the District’s Superintendent. If Binkle is, in fact, a fall guy and his actions were approved and encouraged by Deasy and King, why is it that he alone has paid the price?Read more
Resolution: Promoting Transparency by the LAUSD
Whereas, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is accountable to all of its students, including the more than 640,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, the parents who entrust the care and education of their children to the District and the taxpayers who fund its operation;
Whereas, being accountable requires the LAUSD to be transparent in its operations;Read more
No action from charter school board as lavish spending concerns loom
"Carl Petersen, a candidate running for the LAUSD Board of Education, argued during public comments Friday that the investigative report 'should be open to the public' since public funds are being used.
He also argued that the Oracle report should not have been discussed in closed session Friday since it wasn’t specifically listed on the agenda."
How messed up is California’s charter school sector? You won’t believe how much.
"Carl J. Petersen is a candidate in next year’s Los Angeles Unified School District 2 board election. He became a public education activist while fighting for his two daughters who are on the autism spectrum. Petersen had this to say about the influence of CCSA in Los Angeles:
The California Charter School Association and their allies poured nearly $2.3 million into last year’s LAUSD election, helping to make them the nation’s most expensive school board election. Given this influence, is it any surprise that the LAUSD Charter School Division, which is responsible for overseeing the largest charter system in the country, is headed by a former staff member of the CCSA or that the district has only revoked one charter in the past three years?"
Who Does The LAUSD Board Serve?
“Charter families have lined up at dawn in biting cold winds holding babies. They’ve sweated it out for hours standing around ice chests or taking turns under canopies. They’ve waited hours—sometimes nearly a full a day—to get into an LA Unified school board meeting. Then, they wait hours more just to be heard.”
-LA School Report
Despite the stated goal of the LAUSD to have “parent and community engagement”, it is clear that the public is the furthest thing from the Board’s mind when they schedule their meetings. Most are held during the day when working parents, teachers and students cannot participate. The Board Room only holds 155 people, often leaving many people waiting outside or attempting to hear the proceedings in Beaudry's employee cafeteria amidst the din of food service. The marathon meetings often last past 8:00 PM, leaving parents with cranky, hungry children as they wait for their turn to speak.Read more
Resolution: Board Meeting Accessibility to the Public
Whereas, it is a stated goal of the Los Angeles Unified School District to have “parent and community engagement”;Read more
A Letter to the LAUSD Charter School Division
This morning I sent this email to [email protected] 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.Read more