The release of an audit of a charter school co-founded by school board candidate Ref Rodriguez is heating up the waters of the already boiling LA Unified District 5 school board race.
One day after reports emerged that a school board member, Monica Garcia, tried to delay the release of the audit, conducted by the district’s Office of the Inspector General, the district made it public yesterday: It found that Lakeview Charter Academy has problems with finances, proper oversight, record-keeping and in some instances, training.
Rodriguez co-founded PUC Schools, which now has 14 charter schools operating in LA Unified, including Lakeview, and another in New York. He stepped down from running the organization in 2009 and now serves on the board of directors.
The Los Angeles Times, which was the first to release the audit, reported that the problems are not on the level that would result in the school shutting down, but that hasn’t stopped Rodriguez’s political foes, led by the teachers union, UTLA, from attempting to capitalize on the news.
“Ref Rodriguez has shown that he isn’t capable of managing 16 schools. How can we trust him to manage over 1,000 public schools with transparency and accountability?” the LA teachers union, UTLA, said in a statement. UTLA is supporting Rodriguez’s opponent in the May 19 runoff election, the incumbent, Bennett Kayser.
UTLA also said, “The audit shows that the situation at PUC Lakeview Charter Academy was so serious that it calls into question whether the school can even continue to exist.” Nothing in the audit said Lakeview was at risk of being closed.