Six weeks ago LA teachers union officials told the LA Unified school board that independent charter schools were costing the district about $500 million each year.
School board member Monica Ratliff called on Superintendent Michelle King to provide the board an analysis of the union-funded study on independent charter schools from which the figure was derived. But the board has met as a full body at least four times since the report was released and has yet to discuss the report publicly. The board meets again today.
A district spokeswoman has been unable to say when the board will discuss the report.
An internal district document obtained by LA School Report shows that district officials have disputed some of the findings of the union’s study.
The union’s report was immediately criticized by district staff and others, as both inaccurate and an attempt to divert attention from far larger drains on the district’s finances. District officials were directed to refrain from commenting officially.
After LA School Report obtained the interoffice correspondence, King released a statement. The interoffice letter, dated June 14, was written by the district’s Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly, Associate Superintendent Sharyn Howell, who oversees special education, and Jose Cole-Gutierrez, director of the district’s Charter Schools Division.
“The information that both our labor and charter partners have brought to the forefront regarding our financial situation is informative, valuable and appreciated,” King’s statement reads in part. “Our team will continue to scrutinize these reports as we create strategies for a successful future and the growth of a variety of high-achieving schools.”
The California Charter Schools Association issued a 10-page response to the UTLA study a week after it was released and sent it to King and members of the school board. The group called the union’s report “riddled with inaccuracies.”
“It draws sweeping and often irresponsible conclusions based on limited information and obsolete data,” the CCSA said.
An initial analysis by the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), the district’s bargaining unit for middle managers, also found inaccuracies in the report.
UTLA said in a statement in the days after the report was released that it stood by its data used in the study and said the information was provided by the district.