Joint Legislative Audit Committee Approves Audit of Alliance College-Ready Public Charter Schools

May 25, 2016

Sacramento – Today, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved an audit request by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) on a vote of 8 to 3. The audit will review whether Alliance College-Ready Public Charter Schools in Los Angeles used public money for purposes unrelated to student support and learning.

“Alliance receives a significant amount of state funding each year to provide a quality education to the students it serves,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

“As such, the public and the state have an interest in ensuring that these resources are used appropriately and solely to support student learning in the classroom,” added Senator Mendoza.

“My audit request requires the California State Auditor to examine if Alliance College-Ready Public Charter Schools used public monies as required under the law,” said Senator Mendoza.

Alliance is one of the largest operators of independent charter schools in California and in Los Angeles County. It operates 27 schools throughout the state and employs approximately 650 teachers and counselors.

The audit request letter may be found here:

May 2, 2016

The Honorable Freddie Rodriguez, Chair

The Honorable Richard D. Roth, Vice Chair

Joint Legislative Audit Committee

1020 N Street, Room 107

Sacramento, CA 95814

Re:          Request for Audit of Alliance Charter Management Organization

Dear Assemblymember Rodriguez:

I am writing to request an audit of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools charter management organization and the charter schools under their operational jurisdiction (Alliance) within Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to review expenditures used outside the classroom, which were unrelated to student support or learning. Alliance is the largest operator of independent charter schools in LAUSD and one of the largest charter school operators in California. Alliance serves over 11,000 students at 27 schools and employs approximately 650 teachers and counselors.

A quality educational environment for all students and educators in our publicly-funded schools is essential. Alliance receives a significant amount of state funding each year to provide a quality

education to the students it serves. As such, the state has an interest in ensuring that resources allocated to public schools are used to advance student achievement and improve the quality of educational programs. 

In March of 2015, Alliance embarked on an ongoing campaign potentially utilizing public funding to oppose the efforts of its educators to organize a union. In November of 2015, a group of Alliance parents submitted a Public Records Act request to Alliance seeking the accounting documents of all money spent on the campaign, rather than committing these resources to educating its students. To date, Alliance has not provided the requested documentation.

The requested audit should address the following covering the most recent two-year period:

  1. Review and evaluate the laws, rules, and regulations significant to the audit objectives.
  2. For the charter schools overseen by Alliance, identify the source and amount of public funding received by Alliance and determine if public and private funding are commingled.
  3. Identify the major categories of spending including, but not limited to, salary, wages and benefits for teachers, administrative costs, contract costs, and expenditures for legal fees. Further, identify the percentage of public funding spent on classroom instruction.
  4. Determine whether the expenditures were allowable and reasonable.
  5. Address the following questions related to funding for the campaign:
  6. Determine the amount of money spent by Alliance to write, develop, print, duplicate, and distribute communication, paper or electronic, to Alliance educators, parents, and alumni referencing its campaign. 
  7. Determine the amount of money spent by Alliance to hire consultants who have assisted in developing communications, planning documents, and strategies for its campaign.
  8. Determine the cost of all legal services including, but not limited to, the costs to respond to the numerous unfair practices complaints issued by the Public Employment Relations Board to respond to and litigate the injunction issued by the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Alliance. 
  9. Determine the extent to which each Alliance school’s charter school Board of Directors and the Alliance charter management organization’s Board of Directors was involved in deciding how, when, and to what extent to allocate resources to the campaign, rather than in the classroom.
  10. Examine the policies, procedures, and practices of Alliance and the charter schools it manages, for sharing parent, student, and alumni information with third-party organizations including, but not limited to, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).
  11. Determine if parent, student, and alumni information of Alliance charter schools was shared in conflict with confidentiality laws, policies, or practices.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please feel free to contact Eusevio Padilla or Dorian Almaraz in my office at (916) 651-4032 with any questions you might have.

Sincerely,

 

TONY MENDOZA

Senator, 32nd Senate District

Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For more information about Senator Mendoza visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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