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County puts Acton-Agua Dulce district charters on hold

Education officials cite financial concerns

Posted: June 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Citing financial concerns, Los Angeles County education officials in recent weeks have put on hold approval of some charter schools previously OK’d by the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.

In a letter dated May 30, officials from the Los Angeles County Office of Education said the office was ordering a stay of board actions approving resolutions related to five charter petitions — the Method Schools K-8 Charter Petition, Method Schools 9-12 Charter Petition, Renaissance Collegiate Academy Charter Petition, Renaissance Collegiate High School Charter Petition and the iLead Innovations Studios Charter Petition.

“We believe there is a high probability that these board actions may be inconsistent with the fiscal recovery of the district,” the letter reads. “Therefore, we are staying these board actions in order to provide sufficient time to complete a study and analysis of the district and the impact of the actions on district’s fiscal solvency.”

In another letter, dated June 12, county education officials noted two additional charter petitions — the SIA TECH Charter Petition and the Oxford Prep Charter Petition — were set to come before the board and said the Office of Education would “order a stay of board actions that approve” the two petitions.

“My understanding is that the reason LACOE wants the stay is because they want to see whether or nor our district can financially and properly operate the number of charter schools that we have,” Acton-Agua Dulce district board member Larry H. Layton said Saturday.

Part of the rationale for the moves, according to the May 30 letter, is that the district was assigned a “negative certification.”

“A negative certification is assigned to a local educational agency when it is determined that, based upon current projections, the local educational agency will not meet its financial obligations for fiscal year 2013–14 or 2014–15,” reads information on the California Department of Education website.

According to the Office of Education letter dated May 30, the county actually changed the district’s certification from “qualified,” which is assigned to local education agencies that may not meet their financial obligations for fiscal year 2013–14, 2014–15, or 2015–16, to “negative.”

As a result, the county office appointed a financial adviser to the district with the authority to “stay or rescind any action that is determined to be inconsistent with the ability of the school district to meet its obligations for the current or subsequent fiscal year,” according to the May 30 letter.

According to information released this month by the California Department of Education, Acton-Agua Dulce is one of seven districts statewide that have been assigned a negative certification.
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