[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
51°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 18
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]


[CLICK HERE] to download the L.A. County Office of Education’s Fiscal Review of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

 

Los Angeles County Office of Education officials have released a report detailing financial concerns with the Acton Agua-Dulce Unified School District.

A LACOE report from the county’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team notes the district is in financial distress due to declining enrollments and a loss of students, which AADUSD officials have known for years.

actonaguadulceunified“Even with the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the district is unable to sustain fiscal solvency without increasing revenues or making additional budget adjustments,” county officials wrote. “In an attempt to increase revenues, the district has approved several charter schools from which it collects oversight fees and which it charges for extra services, including in some cases special education services provided to the charter school as a ‘school of the district.’”

The county is threatening to put the operations of the district into receivership if the financial picture doesn’t improve, but Superintendent Brent Woodard said due to a number of factors, he feels the county’s estimation is off base, and their concerns unfounded.

The county’s report is a complete misunderstanding of AADUSD’s model, according to Woodard, who acknowledged the county experts financial acumen, but claimed they were “laymen, at best” when it came to charter school operations.

FCMAT is an independent agency with the authority to audit government agencies for managerial practices, finances and other processes.

“By no means is FCMAT a group of charter experts,” Woodard said, “and by no means am I going to say I agree with them — we respectfully disagree. I think we have a model that’s going to be a success.”

The biggest challenge facing the school district is the fact the district has lost about 35 percent of its enrollment in the last 10 years, according to the report.

In the 2003-04 school year, the district had approximately 1,994 students, and in 2013-14, it had 1,301, officials reported.

In an effort to address these shortcomings, Woodard was brought in as superintendent, and he set out to build a professional learning community reliant upon charter school success, he said.

The idea was to create more options for students, which is sustainable if the schools grow and are successful, Woodard said.

The district has seen early results with its new system, he said, although county officials clearly questioned the sustainability of the district’s results, and whether the oversight fees schools were being charged are sustainable.

County officials mandated the correction of these behaviors under the threat of putting the district into state receivership.

“The district’s fund balance is negative in all three years of the projection, and the district cannot maintain its required reserve levels,” according to the FCMAT report. “The district is projecting revenues totaling $1,287,112 in the 2014-15 fiscal year based on ADA estimates and contracts with the charter schools for oversight fees, which include fiscal and special education oversight. … Because the district lacks supporting documentation for specific fees for identified services, FCMAT reduced local revenues by $723,063 to $564,049 to adjust for limits on oversight fees in accordance with Education Code.”

However, the county’s financial estimates were months out of date, according to Woodard, and didn’t reflect the whole picture.

He acknowledged the district’s plan relies upon the continued growth of charter schools, even as the county estimates a declining enrollment for the district over the next few years.

The school district has reluctantly made some tough cuts, Woodard said, including cutting their last school year short five days, in a furlough-day negotiation with the union.

The district also closed a school down and allowed Einstein Academy to take over one of their locations.

Woodard pointed to cuts last year, such as 15 full-time teacher layoffs, an instructor for English language-learners, the furlough days and several part-time positions as proof district officials are doing what they can to address a gloomy fiscal forecast.

As far as the county’s FCMAT report, the board likely will be discussing the county’s findings at their next board meeting, said board member Larry Layton, who said he was still going through the report and wanted to reserve comment until the board discussed it.

Woodard’s trust in the charter school model — what he calls an unprecedented, albeit misunderstood, professional learning community the district is trying to build — is something he wouldn’t expect fiscal experts at the county’s education office to understand, he said.

By the nature of their job, the county’s finance experts must remain conservative in their practices, Woodard said, and there’s no sustained model for what AADUSD is trying to do.

While the county’s financial experts deems significant changes necessary for the district to maintain fiscal solvency, Woodard pointed to the district’s brief track record with Assurance and Einstein Academy charter schools as part of why he’s confident on his charter schools plan.

A FCMAT report has been ordered by LACOE, looking into Albert Einstein Academy’s operations, according to county officials. That report is in progress.

“They’re skeptical at best, and because of the nature of the organization, they would be,” he said of FCMAT.

If the approved charter schools fail to live up to the district’s rigorous standards, then the district is no worse off, he added.

“I’m confident we have a model of success and these charter schools will fall into that model,” Woodard said. “And if not, we’ll revoke their charter or we won’t renew it.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

7 Comments

  1. All I know is Albert Einstein has changed the course of my children’s life.

  2. Albert Einstein Academy is a wonderful learning experience for my grandchildren. Thanks.

  3. Albert Einstein Academy has been such a blessing for the children of Agua Dulce, Acton and surrounding communities. What is really sad here..schools are not about kids these days, they are money driven machines. People we need to focus on our kids, they are our future. I can not say enough good about AEA, they think outside of the box and get things done…

  4. K Pfalzgraf says:

    Interesting that the AADUSD superintendent speaks as if he has any authority or influence left in this process. I think that everyone knows by now that since AADUSD was assigned a negative certification by LACOE in January 2014, every fiscal decision the board makes needs to be cleared by the LACOE fiscal advisor that attends each and every session of AADUSD’s board meetings, open and closed.

    It is almost as if district leadership is a leaf in the ocean, waiting to see what LACOE will decide. In Acton/Agua Dulce, we are waiting to see a point by point response to the critical sections of the FCMAT report by the superintendent, more so that press chat. Ultimately, the budget will balance to LACOE’s liking or it will not. If it requires fiscal intervention, leadership will change, by mandate.

    In terms of Einstein, couldn’t agree more about the quality of the program and outcome for kids. If I were to put a finger on what it has done for our daughter, I would say that it has helped her see that her individuality is her strongest asset for her path into the future. We would follow Principal Edward Gika wherever he were to go.

    What is really riding here is whether the Governor sees the Einstein model as strong enough to carry change in California education without turning the system into a mess in which every cash poor district begins sponsoring whatever; wherever for a cut they need to survive a FCMAT audit. If he does, he will veto SB1263.

    Access the AADUSD FCMAT report here:

    http://fcmat.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/09/LACOE-Acton-Agua-Dulce-final-report-9-10-14.pdf

  5. Why don’t we just move in Albert Einstein into our middle school and high school. So sick of District and their issues. The promises got old. :-(

  6. It’s about time someone notices that corrupt crap that goes on in that district!

Leave a Comment


LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
Related Content
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi), a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host an informational session Thursday for current and prospective high school students in the school’s Shakespeare Theatre at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, the school announced Tuesday.
Friday, Jan 12, 2018
At the next regular meeting of the Saugus Union School District, the Governing Board members will hear proposals for candidates for the district's new Superintendent from three executive search firms on Tuesday, January 16.
Friday, Jan 12, 2018
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, January 17 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
Friday, Jan 12, 2018
The WiSH Education Foundation has received a $9, 564 donation from Jersey Mike’s to support the public school libraries of the Hart District, serving nearly 23,000 students in grades 7-12 in the SCV.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
The dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization that used the U.S. Postal Service to mail packages of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana from California to traffickers in Pennsylvania since at least April 2016 - and the arrests of five leaders who spearheaded the corrupt organization, including two from the Santa Clarita Valley - were announced Wednesday by Montgomery County (Penn.) District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
2 from SCV Netted in Major East Coast Drug Bust
With The Master's University's 2018 baseball season about to begin, TMU Sports Information Director Mason Nesbitt offers a preview.
TMU Previews Mustangs’ 2018 Baseball Season
Several CalArtians are among the Chicago-based United States Artists' annual fellowship class of 45 artists and collaboratives who will each receive an unrestricted $50,000 grant for their respective art practices.
CalArtians Among United States Artists’ New Fellowship Class
The TMU Mustangs' men's basketball team, on a 17-game winning streak, has moved up to No. 4 in the NAIA Division 1 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll.
TMU Men’s Hoops Team Up to No. 4 in NAIA Coaches’ Poll
Tuesday night's 93-37 rout of St. Katherine University was more than just a non-conference tune-up for the TMU women's basketball team.
Master’s Women’s Hoops Team Shoots Down Firebirds
iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
iLEAD to Honor COC’s Van Hook with 2018 ‘Vision in Education’ Award
Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters quickly extinguished a 1/4-acre brush fire in Newhall early Wednesday afternoon.
Small Brush Fire in Newhall Quickly Doused
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and the county Board of Supervisors have proclaimed January "Homeowners' Exemption Awareness Month" promote the county's property tax savings program.
County Officials:  January is ‘Homeowners’ Tax Exemption Awareness Month’
In an effort to provide support to local communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, and after the sell-out of the inaugural group on the January 20 Crown Princess sailing, Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel are adding two additional spring sailings in 2018.
Princess Adds More Caribbean Cruises for Spring 2018
California State University, Northridge journalism professor David Blumenkrantz documents the stories of the homeless of Los Angeles in an art exhibition titled “Street Scenes: Making the Homeless Count,” on display at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center in Tarzana through Jan. 27.
CSUN Prof Uses Grant to Illuminate Homelessness in LA
Host College of the Canyons rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Seahawks of Los Angeles Harbor College 96-82 on Saturday evening.
Cougars Win Third Straight with 96-82 Victory Over L.A. Harbor
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is stepping up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the Santa Clarita Valley today, officials announced this morning.
Deputies Step Up Pedestrian, Bike Safety Enforcement Today
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies checking on businesses after hours arrested two people on drug charges in separate incidents in Canyon Country on Monday and Newhall on Tuesday.
Deputies Check Businesses After Hours, Arrest 2 on Drug Charges
A Canyon Country man was killed and three people injured in a high-speed traffic collision on Golden Valley Road at Dorothy Street in the unincorporated area of the Santa Clarita Valley late Tuesday night, according to the CHP.
High-Speed Crash in SCV Leaves 1 Dead, 3 Injured
The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a court order that blocked the Trump administration from shutting down a program that shields more than 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Justice Dept. to Appeal Ruling That Blocked DACA Shutdown
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with taking bribes 'to oversee the delivery of narcotics,' federal prosecutors said.
Dirty LA Sheriff’s Officer Busted for Drugs, FBI Says
The cost of the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project through the state’s Central Valley has soared by 35 percent to $10.6 billion, officials disclosed Tuesday.
California Bullet Train Cost Climbs by $2.8 Billion
Dozens of attorneys general including California's filed a petition Tuesday challenging the Federal Communication Commission’s recent decision to roll back net neutrality rules.
State AG’s Sue FCC to Block Net Neutrality Rollback
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]
More than 4,000 newborns in Los Angeles, including some in the SCV, will be sporting little red caps, instead of the traditional pink or blue, as part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program aimed at bringing attention to heart disease.
Newborns to Sport Little Red Caps as Part of AHA Campaign
College of the Canyons Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be hosting a two-part Business Events and Training Webinar Jan. 24 (Part 1) and Jan. 31 (Part 2) from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 24, 31: Start, Grow Your E-Commerce Empire Webinar
The Santa Clarita Valley Veteran Center has found a permanent home in Newhall.
SCV Veteran Center Finds Permanent Home
The California Enterprise Development Authority will be holding a Teleconference Meeting Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Jan. 18: CEDA Teleconference Meeting
The Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency of the city of Santa Clarita will hold its Regular Meeting Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency Regular Meeting
NORTHRIDGE, Calif - The 2018 CSUN Water Polo season presents the opportunity for the Matadors to take the next step.
Matadors Start 2018 Water Polo Season Ranked No. 21
Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi), a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host an informational session Thursday for current and prospective high school students in the school’s Shakespeare Theatre at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, the school announced Tuesday.
Jan. 18: SCVi Open House, High School Information Session
Commercials, television shows, and a short film are all being filmed in Santa Clarita this week.
Currently Filming in SCV: Shadow Wolves, Seal Team, Toyota Commercial
SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a bipartisan group of 18 state attorneys general Tuesday in urging Congress to advance legislation that will enable the cannabis industry to participate in the banking system in states that have legalized medicinal or adult use of cannabis.
Becerra, State AGs Press Congress to Let Cannabis Biz Use Banks
The 25th Anniversary of the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Cowboy Festival, presented by Heritage Sierra Medical Group, is set for Apr. 19 - Apr. 22.
Dates Set for Cowboy Festival’s 25th Anniversary
College of the Canyons, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, will host a free “Family Caregivers Essentials” workshop on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
Jan. 27: Family Caregiver Workshop at SCV Senior Center
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As the California High-Speed Rail Authority continues to move from the planning phase to full construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail system, the Board of Directors announced Tuesday that it has selected a new Chief Executive Officer, Brian P. Kelly, to lead the organization, effective Feb. 1.
Brian P. Kelly Named New High-Speed Rail Authority CEO
During her first 25 years in the Santa Clarita Valley, Betty served on the board of the Child and Family Center. She was also a volunteer for the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the SCV Chamber of Commerce, the Zonta Club of SCV, the SCV Boys and Girls Club, and the local Elks Lodge.
Seldner, 2000 SCV Woman of the Year, Dies at 94
1926 - Newhall Community Hospital, est. 1922, opens in larger, more modern hospital building at 6th & Spruce streets [story]
The cities of Santa Clarita, Piru, Fillmore, Bardsdale and Santa Paula along with National Historic Site Rancho Camulos will mark the 90th anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster with special events throughout March 2018.
St. Francis Dam Disaster 90th Anniversary Events Set for March
A man arrested for allegedly burglarizing a Walmart Monday morning posted bail, then was soon arrested again for allegedly vandalizing the Valencia Library, according to officials.
Man Arrested After Alleged Walmart Burglary, Library Vandalism