Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fighting Off a Prop-39 Parasite

Fighting Off a Prop-39 Parasite:

Fighting Off a Prop-39 Parasite



– Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2017
When LAUSD denied two Celerity charter renewals in October LAUSD Charter School Division (CSD) Director José Cole-Gutiérrez was quoted as saying that they had “severe concerns with regard to their lack of transparency. We are not even clear who the board members are.” Since then, the FBI and other federal agents have raided the offices of Celerity Educational Group “collecting laptops and copying data from computers”.  The Los Angeles Times has also written two exposés on the publicly funded private schools that included charges that Celerity provided “few school supplies but [held] a lavish party” and the CEO, who was paid $471,842, paid for extravagant “expenses with a credit card belonging to her charter schools”. All this was not enough to stop the District from offering Celerity co-location space at Arminta Street Elementary School under Proposition 39.
At a parent meeting on Thursday morning to discuss this proposed co-location, Cole-Gutiérrez explained away his department’s offering of the site by claiming that the law does not allow him to use the existence of the investigation to reject Celerity’s request for space. However, this ignores the fact that the CSD has already used information that it has collected to recommend against the approval of two new Celerity charters along with the renewals that were rejected in October. In all of these cases, the concerns extended beyond the individual school sites to include the charter management organization that runs them. Since all of the Celerity run schools are tainted, it is clear that instead of working to find Celerity new facilities, the District should have been putting its efforts into shutting these charters down.
The parents of Arminta have organized themselves to fight the co-location at their public school and were well prepared for the meeting. They pushed to find out how much work the CSD had put into verifying that Celerity actually had enough potential students to meet the need for additional co-located space but they were not given the information that they requested. During his presentation, Cole-Gutiérrez did say that the fact that Celerity was Fighting Off a Prop-39 Parasite:

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