Inglewood residents and stakeholders gathered at Inglewood High School for a Legislative Hearing on the state of the Inglewood Unified School District. The event was hosted by Assembly members Autumn Burke and Mike Gipson and Senator Isadore Hall. Many of us present knew the prognosis was grim, yet held out a sliver of hope that former state superintendent Dr. Don Brann, was doing the job he was hired to do. We found out he wasn’t.
Dr. Brann entered the troubled district under eye raising circumstances. Governor Jerry Brown allowed Brann to collect his pension and a six figure salary, yet, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, did not require the second state administrator to develop an action plan to improve the district based on FCMAT’s assessments, during his nearly three years leading the district. Brann is now running for El Segundo city council.
As FCMAT and those in the Legislative audit committee gave their presentation, notably and most importantly missing, were financial figures on how proceeds from the SB 533 $55 million dollar loan have been spent.
Documents provided said “…the district has spent more than $29 million…” How much exactly is “more”?
FCMAT also stated Dr. Brann hired many people who had no backup documentation as to their qualifications for the jobs he placed them in. One being identified by Inglewood Unified personnel as Nora Roque.
Nora Roque came to the Inglewood Unified under a cloud of suspicion. Roque’s former boss was found to have allegedly inflated her salary, without board approval. Roque was identified in court documents as being the beneficiary of gross raises, without documentation to support the raises. Roque’s Linkedin shows she received her education from the for profit college National University.
Roque is on loan from LACOE and is scheduled to have her contract extended at an IUSD board meeting to be held Wednesday, March 9th. After she is approved for additional time, she will present findings to release employees from their jobs. It remains to be seen if Ms. Roque is qualified to do her job.
Related: IUSD Board Agenda
The best remarks came from current IUSD Advisory Board member Margaret Richards-Bowers and her husband Joe, who lit into the state about their failure to do right by taxpayers. They both got so riled up, that I believe their mics were shut off.
Tom Torlakson sent remarks he “cares” about getting IUSD in the right direction, yet, didn’t bother to show up. This corroborates the report titled “The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Needs to Better Communicate His Approach for Reforming the District” which he is failing to do.
In short, Inglewood Unified School District is faring far worse under State leadership and spending more money than the district was when under local control.
This raises more eyebrows as to why IUSD was taken over in the first place?
The biggest failure of the evening was the lack of positive strides being made in the district. That’s a damn shame.