Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'M SHOCKED BROADIE tapped to lead troubled Inglewood schools | 89.3 KPCC

Audio: LA Unified administrator tapped to lead troubled Inglewood schools | 89.3 KPCC:

LA Unified administrator tapped to lead troubled Inglewood schools

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on Wednesday that he’s picked long-time local educator Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana as the new trustee for the troubled Inglewood Unified School District.
Melendez de Santa Ana currently leads the Los Angeles Unified School District's Office of Educational Services. She previously has advised Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on education issues and served as superintendent of the school districts in Pomona and Santa Ana.
That experience brings “great leadership experience [and] great experience managing challenging districts and being creative,” Torlakson said.
Inglewood Unified’s school board and superintendent were stripped of their decision-making authority in 2012 when they requested a $55 million loan from the state to avoid bankruptcy. The district’s financial troubles were brought on by a combination of mismanagement and a state fiscal crisis.
Since then, the state-run district has also been plagued by leadership turnover: Melendez de Santa Ana will be the district’s fifth trustee in five years. 
Previous trustees, Torlakson said, have moved Inglewood's budget out of a deep red zone – though the district continues to face financial challenges caused as families have fled the district. Now, Melendez de Santa Ana's charge is to boost the district's dwindling enrollment numbers and lagging academic performance. 
“She’s well aware of all of the challenges, including our goals to improve academic outcomes and to give parents choices so they want to stay in the Inglewood school district,” Torlakson said.
The most recent state trustee, Vince Matthews, left in March – a year and a half after his appointment – to accept the position of superintendent of San Francisco schools. He was unable to stem the student enrollment drop that’s been plaguing the school district for years. According to the California Department of Education, student enrollment at Inglewood schools has dropped 12 percent in the last five years, that’s three times the percentage of L.A. County’s drop in the same time period.
Student enrollment dropped nearly 600 students in the most recent year. That represents about $6 million in lost state funding. 
In her new job, Melendez de Santa Ana may also oversee layoffs. A June, 2017 letter Audio: LA Unified administrator tapped to lead troubled Inglewood schools | 89.3 KPCC:

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