Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A local charter school group battling for survival has turned to a well-known education figure to take charge, it was reported Friday

Magnolia Public Schools, under fire for money management and other issues, has hired former Los Angeles school board President Caprice Young as its new chief executive, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Based in Westminster, Magnolia operates eight schools within the L.A. Unified School District, but three face closing after district officials decided last year not to renew them. A court injunction is keeping them open.

Charters are free, publicly funded schools exempt from some rules that govern traditional campuses. A recent L.A. school district audit concluded that Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency, The Times reported.

The audit also found fiscal mismanagement, including lack of disclosure of debts, weak fiscal controls over the principals’ use of debit cards and questionable payments for immigration fees and services, among other issues, according to The Times.

Young told The Times that Magnolia is not in financial trouble but suffers from weak management and a lack of transparency.

Now 49,  Young served a four-year school board term, which ended in 2003 after the teachers union successfully targeted her for defeat. She then built the California Charters Schools Association into a powerful organization as its leader.

In 2010, she took over ICEF Public Schools, a charter group then on the verge of financial collapse. She recruited donors and slashed costs and received praise from parents after preventing a merger with another charter organization. She lost that position after a falling-out with former Mayor Richard Riordan, a major ICEF funder, who had pushed for the merger.

More recently, Young has worked with Acton-Agua Dulce Unified to develop a plan for overseeing charter schools.

—City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *