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California Department of Education to take over Inglewood Unified, district on verge of bankruptcy

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The Inglewood Unified School District today became the first Southland school district in nearly 20 years to lose local control over its ballooning budget deficit.
California Governor Jerry Brown today approved an emergency loan of $55 million to Inglewood Unified School District to keep it from going bankrupt. The move triggers an immediate takeover of the school district’s administration, said Inglewood-area State Senator Rod Wright.
“We will have a quality education for the city of Inglewood and the Inglewood Unified School District, that is our goal, that we will achieve by any means necessary. And if it required having a state takeover that is what we had to do,” Wright said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said his office will work with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to appoint an overseer for the 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 in a written statement.

Inglewood Unified’s elected school board and its superintendent will lose their decisionmaking authority. In recent months the board had tried budget cutting measures that members said could help them avoid bankruptcy.

Inglewood Teachers Association President Peter Somberg had called for a state takeover in recent months.

“They cut a lot of positions, over 200 positions were cut. They increased the class sizes on the students who can least afford to have less help, meaning students that don’t have all the resources available in the suburbs,” Somberg said.

Wright said a combination of the bad economy, Sacramento budget cuts, and poor budget decisions by the board led to the district’s situation.