Tag Archives: Ref Rodriguez

L.A. Unified releases audit of charter school with ties to candidate.

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Ref Rodriguez
L.A. Unified Board of Education candidate Ref Rodriguez. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

An audit of a charter school with ties to a Board of Education candidate found fault with the school’s financial operations and the way it maintained employee records and other documents.

The audit was released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Unified School District in response to a Public Records Act request by The Times and other media outlets.

The school, Lakeview Charter Academy, is part of PUC Schools, which was co-founded by board candidate Ref Rodriguez. Rodriguez currently serves on the board of directors and in a part-time capacity as treasurer of the corporate arm of the organization.

The audit did not reveal problems that could result in the Lake View Terrace school being shut down. But it found some issues that L.A. Unified wants remedied.

“We appreciated the opportunity to work with the district and are grateful for the inputs that have helped us improve our practices, even though we disagree with some of the points that were made,” said Jacqueline Elliot, chief executive of PUC schools.

The Times reported Tuesday that the audit’s public release had been withheld at the request of a school board member. District sources said the delay came at the behest of school board member Monica Garcia, a political ally of Rodriguez.

L.A. Unified General Counsel David Holmquist confirmed that a board member requested the delay, but would not specify which one.

Garcia did not respond to requests for comment through her staff and email.

In an interview, Holmquist said that under the California Public Records Act, the audit was a public document that would have to be released if requested. The district decided to release it after confirming that PUC had received the final version of the report, he said.

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L.A. Unified delays release of audit on school with ties to candidate.

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A charter school with ties to L.A. school board candidate Ref Rodriguez is the subject of an audit withheld from public release. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

An audit of a charter school co-founded by a Board of Education candidate has been withheld from public release at the request of a school board member, L.A. Unified district officials have confirmed.

Two well-placed district sources said that the release of the audit was delayed at the request of school board member Monica Garcia, a political ally of candidate Ref Rodriguez. Rodriguez works for the charter organization.

L.A. Unified School District general counsel David Holmquist confirmed that a board member requested the delay, but would not specify which one.

Garcia did not respond to attempts to reach her through her staff and email.

Rodriguez would not comment until he had reviewed the document, his campaign manager said.

Insiders who read the audit said it was not overly critical of the school and that the charter’s management agreed with many findings. The audit faults the charter for failing to consistently follow some required business practices, they said.

Lakeview Charter Academy is among the local campuses run by PUC Schools, which have a generally solid reputation as academically sound and popular with parents.

Senior district officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said a board member wanted the audit handled in private because it could result in litigation. It’s permissible under state law to keep discussions about potential litigation confidential.

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