County board overrules LAUSD to keep the embattled Magnolia charter schools open
A Little-known county board overruled its own staff and the powerful Los Angeles Unified School District this week to allow three embattled charter schools to remain open.
The reprieve represents a full turnabout for Magnolia Public Schools, which faced the shutdown of its campuses after L.A. Unified moved against them in October.
The L.A. Unified board voted 6 to 0 to shutter the schools at the end of the current school year. But the charter group had the option of appealing to the board of the L.A. County Office of Education, and that body reached a different decision Tuesday, by a 4-1 vote, after three hours of testimony and discussion.
As a result, Magnolia Science Academy 1 in Reseda, Magnolia Science Academy 2 in Van Nuys and Magnolia Science Academy 3 in Carson will remain open.
Charters are independently run and exempt from some rules that govern traditional campuses, but they must be authorized by the local school system, the county or the state. Once L.A. Unified rejected Magnolia’s bid to keep the schools open, the county was the next agency with the authority to step in.
The county staff report echoed the school district’s concerns, concluding, among other things, that Magnolia failed to provide investigators, auditors and financial overseers with requested documents in a timely fashion after years of poor fiscal management.
The county review team also contended that the charter was top heavy in management, had a high student attrition rate and scheduled board meetings that were difficult for the public to participate in or see.
José Cole-Gutíerrez, head of the charter school division for L.A. Unified, also appeared before the county to make the case. The county education office is headed by Debra Duardo, who until recently was a top L.A. Unified administrator.
But a board majority was swayed by Magnolia’s reasonably strong academic record and County board overrules LAUSD to keep the embattled Magnolia charter schools open - LA Times: