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California State Auditor Report Number: 2015-101

Inglewood Unified School District
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Needs to Better Communicate His Approach for Reforming the District

Audit Results


Senate Bill 533 (Chapter 325, Statutes of 2012) defines the criteria that must be met before the State Superintendent of Public Instruction can restore full power to the Inglewood Unified School District’s governing board. The table below summarizes these criteria, our assessment of the progress made, and the overall status indicating which requirements have already been satisfied.

Table A
Criteria for Restoring the Power of the Inglewood Unified School District’s Governing Board
Criteria Auditor Assessment of Progress Status
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction (state superintendent) has approved all recovery plans for the Inglewood Unified School District (district), which include management review and recovery plan and multiyear financial recovery plan. The state administrator has prepared or obtained all required recovery plans. Although we saw no evidence indicating his approval of either recovery plan, we noted that the state superintendent informed the district that certain reports prepared by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) would serve as the district’s management review and recovery plan. Further, we saw evidence that the state superintendent’s staff approved the multiyear financial recovery plan and does not intend for the district to create another unless it demonstrates difficulty in repaying the state loan or projects future budget deficits. Completed
FCMAT has completed a minimum of two reports identifying the district’s progress in implementing the FCMAT improvement plans. FCMAT completed its comprehensive review in July 2013 and completed two subsequent reviews in 2014 and 2015. State law allows the state superintendent to return power to the district for any of the five key operational areas if he is satisfied with the district’s performance. However, the district has obtained scores ranging from less than 1 to less than 4 in each area, below the general expectation of achieving a score of 6. Completed*
The state administrator concludes, and so notifies the state superintendent and the county superintendent of schools, that future compliance by the district with the approved recovery plans is probable. According to the second state administrator, it is too early to establish how he will determine whether the district’s future compliance with the recovery plans is probable. He stated that the California Department of Education (Education) has not provided much direction except to say that generally control is returned to the board in stages, and the most important elements are having a balanced budget, high FCMAT scores, and repaying the state loan. Since the budget is balanced for fiscal year 2015–16 and the loan is being repaid, the second state administrator indicated that the district’s future progress is most contingent on its FCMAT scores. Not complete
The state superintendent determines that the district’s future compliance with the approved recovery plans is probable. Education’s director of the School Fiscal Services Division (fiscal director) was unable to provide a time frame for when the district would return to local control, stating that it is on the right track with its projection of a balanced budget entering into fiscal year 2015–16. Once the district can demonstrate a sustained period of having balanced budgets, and once employee contracts are negotiated, the fiscal director stated that the state superintendent will be better positioned to conclude whether the district can comply with its recovery plan. The fiscal director also commented on the need for the district to increase its FCMAT scores to achieve an average score of 6 in each operational area. Not complete
The state administrator certifies that all necessary collective bargaining agreements have been negotiated and ratified, and that the agreements are consistent with the terms of the district’s recovery plan. The district has yet to finalize collective bargaining agreements with its employee unions. Not complete
The state administrator certifies that members of the school board and school district personnel, as appropriate, have successfully completed the training specified in Senate Bill 533 (SB 533) (Chapter 325, Statutes of 2012). The district is actively providing training to the advisory board. According to the district, advisory board members began to take the Masters in Governance courses in September 2015. The newly appointed third administrator will need to determine which district personnel require additional training to effectively administer their responsibilities. Not complete
The school district has completed all reports required by the state superintendent and the state administrator. The state administrator submits annual reports on the financial condition of the district. In practice, Education has allowed the state administrator and the district to use the standard budgeting and financial reporting required of all school districts to meet this requirement. Additionally, although the second state administrator’s appointment contract required him to develop annual performance objectives and an action plan in response to the district’s FCMAT scores, the state superintendent ultimately did not require these reports. Therefore, we consider this requirement to be complete. Complete

Sources: SB 533; California Education Code, Section 41327.1; and interviews with Education and district personnel.

* We concluded that this requirement was complete because FCMAT has completed the minimum number of reports required pursuant to SB 533. As discussed in this table, the low FCMAT scores are a factor that has prevented the state superintendent from concluding that the district is currently capable of governing itself effectively. For this reason, FCMAT will likely continue to evaluate the district each year until its scores improve.

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