Fund set up to raise money for LA Unified merges with group starting two charter schools
LA School Report | June 23, 2016
By Howard Blume and Zahira Torres
Two organizations set up to work within the traditional public school system are moving away from their original mission — and from the Los Angeles Unified School District — in the name of better helping students.
The governing boards of the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education and the group LA’s Promise have voted to merge to create a new organization whose plans include setting up charter schools.
The LA Fund initially was established in September 2011 to benefit L.A. Unified with donations outside the reach of district control. That was a selling point for philanthropists who were critical of the school system’s management.
The goal was to raise $200 million over five years. Although specific figures were not available Wednesday, that target was never approached.
LA’s Promise manages three L.A. Unified schools south of downtown: Manual Arts High School, West Adams Preparatory High School and Muir Middle School.
The combined annual budget of the two groups is about $6 million, with each group contributing about half of that total, said Veronica Melvin, chief executive of LA’s Promise.
“We want to create the maximum opportunities for the most disenfranchised youth of Los Angeles and we realized that together we could have a great impact,” said Melvin, who also will head the new group, under the name LA Promise Fund.
The school district recently rejected a bid by LA’s Promise to start two charter schools. L.A. school board President Steve Zimmer said at the time that LA’s Promise needed to concentrate instead on improving achievement at the schools it was managing for the district.
The group then got approval to open the charters from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, which also has jurisdiction.
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