September 14, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments on State
Takeover of Financially Troubled Inglewood Unified School District
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement after Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 533, providing for an emergency loan and state takeover of the Inglewood Unified School District:
"The Governor's action was necessary to keep Inglewood's public schools operating and serving students despite the district's extreme financial difficulties," Torlakson said. "The Department of Education will consult with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to name an experienced administrator to oversee the long and difficult process of returning the district to solvency and, ultimately, local control."
After taking office nearly two years ago, Torlakson warned that California's schools were in a state of financial emergency, and urged that years of severe budget cuts to schools be reversed to avoid sending more school districts into insolvency.
Initiated at the request of the school district, SB 533 (D-Wright) provides up to $55 million in emergency state loans to help the Inglewood Unified School District meet its financial obligations. The loan must be paid back to the state within 20 years.
The law requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to assume all the legal rights, duties, and powers of the governing board of the district and appoint a state administrator. The school district's elected governing board serves only in an advisory capacity until a number of conditions are met.
The administrator's authority continues until the loan has been repaid, the district has adequate fiscal systems and controls in place, and the State Superintendent has determined that the district's future compliance with the fiscal plan approved for the district is probable. The recovery plan also includes steps to improve the district's community relations and governance, pupil achievement, financial management, personnel management, and facilities management.
Inglewood Unified School District is the ninth school district to request an emergency loan and state takeover since 1990. Since then, local governance has been returned to five districts. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's State Emergency Loans Web page.