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Charter School Debt Continues To Grow

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Nick Melvoin
Nick Melvoin
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"I don't have tolerance for those who are trying to get out from paying" - Nick Melvoin, September 24, 2019

As Los Angeles schools prepare to close for the three-week-long Winter Break, the Charter School Division has dumped their latest "Charter Schools Over-Allocation Summary" spreadsheet. The information on this document shows that the situation has gotten even worse with the total debt owed increasing by $173,565 since the last report. The total amount owed by charter schools is now $13,758,747.

Once again, Ocean Charter School and APEX Academy were the only two charter schools that paid down their balances. Their balances now stand at $1,205,157 and $102,124, respectively.

The amount owed by the Citizens of the World nationwide chain of charter schools remains at $1,068,684. It has been more than two years since the Executive Director of these schools committed to paying what they owed in order to have their Hollywood franchise renewed by the district. That campus remains open despite the fact that this school alone owes the students of the LAUSD $141,195 in violation of the promise that was made to the board.

New to the list are two Lashon Academy campuses. These two schools owe a total of $ 187,002. No backup was provided by the Charter School Division as to the details of the over-allocation fees that were incurred by these schools.

As Alberto M. Carvalho assumes control of the second-largest school district, he needs to find out why Megan K. Reilly failed so miserably at collecting this debt. This incompetence should exclude her from returning to the position of Deputy Superintendent, the job she held under Austin Beutner when he assigned her the task of collecting the over-allocation fees owed by charter schools.

The new Superintendent must also find out why this uncollected debt is tolerated by Jose Cole-Guitierrez and the Charter School Division. Despite admitting that not paying these fees constitutes fiscal mismanagement, Cole-Guitierrez has not forwarded a revocation for any of the deadbeat schools to the board for approval. As a former employee of the California Charter School Association (CCSA), Cole-Guitierrez has divided loyalties that appear to be affecting his ability to protect the students of Los Angeles public schools.

With a new Superintendent taking the helm, there is "cautious optimism" that the LAUSD will be given a fresh start. A good place to begin would be forcing charter schools to pay down the debt that they owe to public school students.

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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