Los Angeles County education officials put two more charter school approvals from the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District on hold recently, in light of continued concerns about the district’s finances.
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A letter sent June 12 to school board President Mark Distaso was the second in a month, which sought to hold off on additional charter school petition approvals until the district’s budget and planned approvals can be reviewed by a Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team.
“As with our stay of five board actions taken on May 22, 2014, and communicated to you in a letter dated May 30, 2014, (attached), we believe there is a high probability that these Board actions may be inconsistent with the fiscal recovery of the district,” the letter states.
It puts a hold on the district’s approval of the SIA TECH and Oxford Prep charter petitions. The county has now put a stay on seven charter school approvals.
The embattled North Los Angeles County district recently was sued by the Newhall School District and the Los Angeles Unified School District over accusations the district was purposefully trying to usurp local control from the districts with their charter approvals.
A cease-and-desist letter sent by Newhall officials to AADUSD officials claims the district has been engaging in a “pay-for-play” scam, alleging the district approved 15 charter schools in the last three years for financial gain.
AADUSD received a negative certification for its budget by the state’s Department of Education, which was recently re-affirmed by the county’s superintendent, prompting the oversight team.
The letter was received days ahead of an anticipated vote in the state’s Assembly on a bill that would make it illegal for a school district to approve charter school locations outside of its geographic boundaries.
Related article: Charter School Bill SB 1263 Passes In Senate, Headed To Assembly
When reached for comment about the suit and legislation, AADUSD board member Ed Porter maintained all of the charter petition approvals were done legally.
“We’re operating within the legal confines for charters schools set forth by the state,” Porter said.
Senate Bill 1263, doesn’t address the real problem, he said. He called the bill’s effort short-sighted.
Porter said there wasn’t a significant financial gain for the district in the approvals of charters, and his board’s actions fell in line with the purpose of charter law.
“Theres this huge demand for something we’re not offering,” Porter said, adding the board was “offering solutions to parents.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News