County Administrator Dr. Erika Torres continues to misrepresent the truth to Inglewood residents and taxpayers about the pending closure of an elementary school in Morningside Park. During a meeting on a pending school closure, it is believed either the principal or the district ended the meeting while a community member was speaking.
Warren Lane Elementary School is scheduled to close in June, and the district claims to have no idea what they are going to do with the property. Roughly 60 people were on the meeting, with many residents stating the district failed to notify them a decision was made to close the property.
“I have put this information in my newsletter that went out Friday,” said Torres. Here is the link to her Mar. 4 newsletter that made no mention of today’s 4pm meeting.
Residents were vocal about school bonds being levearged against their property taxes, to repair the schools, meanwhile the district is planning to close them.
“This is the last school in the 90305 zip code and you are playing games with the residents,” said Cindy Giardinia. “We’ve passed multiple bond measures on our property to pay for these schools.”
The last bond that was passed, did so under peculiar circumstances, that could be violations of Government and Election Codes. A complaint was filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, who closed it within four days of receiving it.
An expose by LosCerritosNews.net looked at all of the money pouring into the “Pass Measure I” campaign, that came from outside city limits. The article also questioned whether the county administrator had the authority to call for a special election, that is typically the board’s job.
1. Can a county administrator call for a school bond instead of the local board?
“There are questions whether the law allows a County Administrator, instead of the Board, to sign off on Resolutions to implement a local tax measure authorizing the issuance of bonds, in this case, a huge bond.
California Elections Code Section 13100-13121, which govern ballot labels, has the word “local” in the citation seventeen times.
Section 13119(d)(1) says “For purposes of this Section (all of 13100), the following terms have the following meanings: Local governing body means the governing body of a city, county, city and county (thank you San Francisco), including a charter city or charter county, or district, including a school district.”
2. Did the ballot measure violate Election Code?
“the ballot label does not comply with Education Code section 15272; absent are the words “appoint a citizens’… committee” and “conduct annual audits”?
Election Code section 13119 provides for the exact statement “Shall the measure be adopted?” at the end of the label
IUSD’s Ballot Label violated the Election Code.”
The city of Inglewood pulled this same stunt last week when residents called into the council meeting to ask about the City’s finances, and participate in a scheduled public hearing related to federal funds from HUD.
“We hear all the time about updates on the Forum or SoFi Stadium, but I live down the street from a school and don’t know it’s closing?” asked a resident during the school closure meeting.
The District Attorney’s office left the door open for a civil lawsuit to be filed to challenge the legalities of the bond, and possibly prevent the school closure for failure to follow.
A representative from Rep. Maxine Waters office was on the call, as was a commissioner of George Dotson, however, residents were vocal that calls to his office are not returned and neither are their emails.
Here is a letter you can send to your local representatives about the County Administrator bamboozling residents out of their property taxes, to “fix” schools, that LA County Office of Education appears to have no intention of fixing.
As a resident of Inglewood, I am incredibly concerned to learn of the planned closing of Warren Lane Elementary School. What’s more, I was disappointed to discover that no real actions were taken to involve the local community members (residents, students and parents of students) in the decision to close the campus.
With the successful passing of Measure I, residents expected elected officials to follow through with funding upgrades to classrooms, adding new technologies, incorporating vocational education, upgrading facilities and equipment, and repairing infrastructure – not shut our schools down. The details of these promises and more were outlined in the August 3, 2020 Special Virtual Board Meeting. The following is from the meeting agenda:
“Schools in Inglewood have less funding than schools in some other nearby communities. This measure will help fix this social justice problem by providing cleaner, safer, healthier and up-to-date schools, retaining and attracting quality teachers and providing 21st Century education to our young people so they have access to the tools they need to be prepared for college and to compete for jobs.”
With $240M guaranteed through Measure I, funds from LAWA and an additional $5M+ funding provided to the IUSD by the CA Department of Education, the thought of closing another one of our public schools is inconceivable.
I urge you to please take a closer look at the resources available to improve this neighborhood school rather than shut it down. Families in Morningside Park depend on local schools like Warren Lane to provide quality education to children and expect our local officials to make our education system a top priority.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I look forward to your response.
Here are the emails below of who you can voice your concerns to.
Inglewood Unified School District Board of Education
- Margaret Evans, M.A. – Board President – Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carliss McGhee, Ph.D. – Board Vice President – email@example.com
- Naomi S. Hammonds – Board Member (Area 1) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Inglewood Unified School District Admins
- Erika Torres Ed.D., MSW – County Administrator – email@example.com
- Raphael Guzman – Chief Business Official – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bernadette Lucas, Ed.D. – Bernadette.email@example.com
- Noberto J. Perez – Chief Operating Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ufema Hosea – Executive Director of Elementary – email@example.com
- Joanna Clifton – Director of Early Education – Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Dawnyell Goolsby – Exec. Dir. Of Federal & State Programs – email@example.com
- Leonardo Lopez – Exec Dir. Of Secondary Services – Leonardo.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Orona – Deputy Chief Maintenance & Operations Officer – email@example.com
- Tiffany Egan – Director of Human Resources & Risk Management – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jannette Gomez – Sr. Exec. Dir. Of Fiscal Services – Jannette.email@example.com
City of Inglewood
- Mayor Butts – firstname.lastname@example.org
- George Dotson – email@example.com
- Dionne Faulk – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Steven Bradford, District 35 – email@example.com
- Congresswoman Maxine Waters – https://waters.house.gov/contact/email (enter your zip code here to access her contact us page)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Tony Thurmond – Superintendent@cde.ca.gov
- Included because the CA dept of Educ. Provided IUSD a grant of $5M+ https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/profile.asp?id=5506&recID=5506