Magnolia Science Academy is without a doubt a Gulen Managed charter school

The Gulen Movement is fantastic at advertising, PR, and bestwowing fake honors on their students, politicians, local media and academia. The Parents4Magnolia blog is NOT American parents it is members of the Gulen Movement in damage control mode. Magnolia Science Academy, Pacific Technology School and Bay Area Technology is the name of their California schools. They are under several Gulen NGOs: Pacifica Institute, Willow Education, Magnolia Educaiton Foundation, Accord Institute, Bay Area Cultural Connection. Hizmet aka Gulen Movement will shamelessly act like satisifed American parents or students. They will lie, cajole, manipulate, bribe, blackmail, threaten, intimidate to get their way which is to expand the Gulen charter schools. If this doesn't work they play victim and cry "islamophobia". Beware of the Gulen propagandists and Gulen owned media outlets. DISCLAIMER: if you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed fake copyright infringement complaints to Utube



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Magnolia Science Academy Caprice Young claims victory over LAUSD for Bond funding





The girl works hard for her money, re spinning the Gulen cult
into a blame on the "recession" but no mention of $6 million in facility grant
obtained July 2014.  Caprice - Where's the money?
 
 
http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/regionalnews/california-charter-school-claims-win-over-la-school-district-1073199-1.html

LOS ANGELES — California charter school chain Magnolia Public Schools will rekindle its growth plans after settling a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, which had tried to shut down Magnolia's schools there.
The charter operator, which has $6 million in debt, is now working closely with underwriter RBC Capital Markets for a market return to price bonds to support its plans, said Caprice Young, the education turnaround expert Magnolia hired as chief executive officer in January.
Magnolia wants to be able to grow enrollment in each of its schools from 200 to 450 or 750, which Young said is a much sounder financial model.
Magnolia, a network of 11 public charter schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange counties, provides a college preparatory educational program emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math.
Its Los Angeles schools triggered the charter operator's legal battle with the massive Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest with more than 660,000 students.
"About a year ago, it was clear that Magnolia was getting really beat up," Young said.
Magnolia had received conditional approval for two of its charter schools in Los Angeles.
"Then the school district took the very drastic step of not renewing their charters on the last Friday in June - and had them closed as of July 1," Young said.
The schools LAUSD moved to close are in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley and the Palms neighborhood on L.A.'s Westside. In November, LAUSD tried to close a third school located on a LAUSD campus in Bell.
"In all three cases, the courts sided with us to keep the schools open," Young said.
The settlement document between LAUSD and the charter operator allows Magnolia to transfer money between schools, which LAUSD had challenged as a practice, she said.
"It is really important, because our ability to grow is based on our ability to loan money to schools when they are in the early stage and have them repay loans to the larger organization when they grow," she said.
In the settlement, Magnolia agreed to sever ties with a non-profit that had provided educational services to the district at its LA schools, the Accord Institute for Education Research.
The charter school chain brought in a seasoned chief financial officer and contracted its back office work to Ed Tech, a respected back-office charter school provider, Young said.
In the settlement, Magnolia also agreed to restructure its governing board, hire a new auditor, and agreed to fiscal oversight by Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team, an organization created by the state's Education Code to provide fiscal advice, management assistance and training to school organizations that need it.
The settlement agreement also notes Magnolia's hiring of Young's new management team.
The conflict between LAUSD and Magnolia led to a state audit of the charter operator, formally requested by state Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, in July 2014 and approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
The audit was released earlier this month. Magnolia officials trumpeted the result as a vindication, though the auditor's language was more nuanced.
The California state auditor concluded there was no misappropriation of state funds, though it found Magnolia's "financial controls still need to be strengthened."
Magnolia's new leadership says it is already implementing the auditor's recommendations.
"We started to implement changes to strengthen and improve our processes while the audit was taking place to reinforce our ongoing commitment to high educational outcomes," Young said.
She said Magnolia's woes are a microcosm of what happened in California during the recession.
The state, because of budget problems, began deferring scheduled payments to schools starting in 2008, delaying them as much as six months, she said.
Charter schools lacked the access to public markets traditional school districts enjoyed to issue short-term notes while they awaited funding from the state.
Magnolia's inter-school loans were appropriate and necessary given the state's deferral of $10 million in funding to Magnolia, Young said.
The auditor found that it was legal for the foundation to temporarily loan state apportionment funds between schools, so long as the loan does not adversely affect the public school purposes of the charter school that loans the funds.
The state auditor found that LAUSD acted prematurely when it moved to close three of Magnolia's Los Angeles-area schools based on a preliminary audit conducted by the school district's Office of the Inspector General.
The auditing team had just completed the field work and the document was in draft form.
"The school district took the step based on preliminary information that was inaccurate," Young said.
LAUSD "acknowledges the actions on the part of the new leadership of Magnolia Public Schools to address the substantive concerns that the district raised in fulfillment of its oversight responsibilities," said Shannon Haber, an LAUSD spokeswoman.
"The District will follow through on its stated responses to the auditor's recommendations as part of our ongoing commitment to high quality charter school authorizing, as well as monitor Magnolia's implementation of its action steps," Haber said. "As noted in the audit, the District and Magnolia Public Schools were able to reach a settlement that allows both parties to move forward together in the best interest of students and in protection of taxpayers' trust."
The report notes that Magnolia is a high-performing network of schools that generally outperforms other neighborhood schools.
Magnolia sued in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2014 to keep the schools open.
LAUSD didn't release the inspector general's report until October, which didn't give the charter school the opportunity to see the facts and findings or refute them prior to the release of the report, Young said.
"All of the charter schools that were not renewed are serving very high poverty students," Young said. "I was outraged; and when they asked if I would help. I said, 'yes."
The auditor said Magnolia's expenditures to hire skilled math and science teachers from abroad were "lawful and appropriate."
However, in the LAUSD settlement, Magnolia agreed to cease spending money on immigration fees for employees, other than renewal fees for those already hired, and to consult with LAUSD before embarking on any new foreign recruitment program.
Young said Magnolia has made significant improvements to the key areas of fiscal controls, compliance and accountability since it put in place her new management team.
Magnolia also implemented expenditure controls as well as payroll controls, training and oversight that were previously lacking.
The charter school operator also said it has instituted a new, transparent fiscal structure to ensure accurate accounting of revenues and expenditures in schools as part of a larger effort to strengthen its financial operations.
In addition, the board created a finance committee and an audit committee to involve all stakeholders in the accountability and oversight of Magnolia's finances.
"We are confident the progress we have made and our continuing commitment to improving financial, reporting and other internal controls will be apparent when the California State Auditor reviews our efforts moving forward," Young said. "Our goal is to be recognized as a model charter school leader in California and to continue to provide a high-quality, STEM-focused public education to our students."
Young said the audit is "really vindication of the work that Magnolia has done."
"It shows that when LAUSD was announced in the press that Magnolia was insolvent that it really wasn't true," she said. "This audit shows in July 2014 that Magnolia schools were financially sound."


Friday, May 8, 2015

Magnolia Science Academy - Wolf logo has symbolic meaning to the neo fascist Grey Wolves of Turkey

Grey wolf is a radical political party based out of Turkey, they are neo-fascist in nature and
military.  Mehmet Ali Acga who shot the late Pope John Paul was a Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf logo of Turkish Neo-Fascist party-
Logo of Magnolia Science Academy #5 resembles the Turkish Grey Wolf logo political party









 

Caprice Young new CEO of Magnolia Schools wastes no time having a Town Hall meeting with SC Magnolia parents

Dr. Michele Ryan saw the light

Caprice Young wastes no time had a Town Hall meeting with the parents of the Magnolia -Santa Clara on
Friday May 8, 2015 - Caprice is working her "magic"
Principal of Magnolia School-Santa Clara since he is a Gulenist Turk
will his head be on Caprice's chopping block?
Memories of the past Turkish Dancers at the 2013 Magnolia Science Academy -Multicultural Faire.
Actually the appearance of the jumps and costumes is probably more Greek in it's origin which was
the indigenous people of what today is known as republic of Turkey. 

State audit reveals severe shortfalls in truancy reporting from Magnolia Schools, financial and other issues resolved

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-magnolia-charter-20150507-story.html

California state audit has found that a charter school organization accused of financial mismanagement by the Los Angeles Unified School District has improved its bottom line but still needs stronger controls over spending.
The audit, released Thursday by State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, also found that the expenditure of $127,000 by the Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation to process immigration papers for foreign staff was lawful and reasonable.
In addition, the audit criticized L.A. Unified for trying to shut down three campuses in Palms, Northridge and Bell using limited information and without giving Magnolia officials adequate time to respond to charges of mismanagement. It said the district "may have acted prematurely."
Caprice Young, chief executive officer of Magnolia Public Schools, hailed the report.
"What's important about this report is not just that we're being vindicated, but that LAUSD has been called to task for its unfairness and lack of professional practices," she said.
Board of Education member Bennett Kayser, Magnolia's most vocal critic, said the district's scrutiny helped drive the charter organization's financial reform measures.
"I am glad this charter chain is fixing up its act. It is too bad it took this much effort to force them to do so," he said in a statement. "Charters in California live by very few rules but one is that they need to keep clean books."
In a statement, the district said it "acknowledges the actions on the part of the new leadership of Magnolia Public Schools to address the substantive concerns" and said it would continue to monitor the organization as legally required.
L.A. Unified sought to close the campuses after an outside audit performed last year alleged that the organization was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit said.
In addition, the review alleged fiscal mismanagement, including a lack of debt disclosure, weak fiscal controls over the principals’ use of debit cards and questionable payments for immigration fees and services.
The statewide charter organization, which enrolls 4,000 students in 11 academies focused on science and math, denied the allegations and sued the district last year to overturn the decision to close the campuses. In March, the district agreed to keep the schools open under a legal settlement.
Charters are independent, publicly funded campuses; most are nonunion.
The audit found that some of L.A. Unified's concerns had merit. It confirmed that some of the academies were insolvent at points in the last three fiscal years, in part because of delays in state funding, but that all were back in the black. It also questioned 52 of 225 transactions reviewed, the financial relationship with one vendor and controls over fundraisers.
Young, who was hired in January, said her new leadership team has moved swiftly to address the concerns. Magnolia's improvements, she said, include a new chief financial officer and controller, stronger controls over spending and staff training. Under the legal settlement with L.A. Unified, the charter chain also agreed to submit to fiscal oversight by a state financial management organization.

Was part of the deal that Caprice Young cut with LAUSD the separation of "certain" Magnolia staff largely attached to the Gulen movement like this idiot who spent more time in Sacramento, CA trying to sway government opinion that he knew nothing about


http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/05/07/51523/state-auditors-find-la-s-magnolia-charters-grossly/
LA's Magnolia charters 'grossly' underreported truancies, state auditors find

The California state auditors found all four Magnolia Public Schools reviewed "grossly" underreported truancies – errors the charter network said it is addressing.
One Magnolia school, Academy 5, reported no truancies in the 2012-2013 school year, but in a report released Thursday, the auditors discovered the rate was more than 30 percent.
State auditors said the errors "could mislead parents of potential students and other interested stakeholders regarding the school environment."
Auditors also found issues with payroll and vendor payments, but concluded the once-struggling charter network was solvent as of July 2014
Magnolia's CEO Caprice Young said her staff didn't fully understand the state's truancy definition and are making corrections. Young said the truancy errors did not impact the organization's public school funding tied to average daily attendance, which she said is calculated separately.
The Los Angeles Unified School District moved to close two Magnolia Public Schools' eight campuses last year after the district's inspector general found missing and misused funds.
Magnolia disagreed with many of the findings and fought the closures in court with the help of the California Charter Schools Association.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin sided with the charter network, and the schools remain open.
State auditors agreed "LAUSD may have acted prematurely when it rescinded its conditional approval of two academies," because it did not give Magnolia "sufficient time to respond to its criticisms."
"Was this vindicating? Absolutely!" Young said. "Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes."
Late Thursday, LAUSD issued a statement, saying it “acknowledges the actions on the part of the new leadership of Magnolia Public Schools to address the substantive concerns that the District raised in fulfillment of its oversight responsibilities.”
It added:
The District will follow through on its stated responses to the Auditor’s recommendations as part of our ongoing commitment to high quality charter school authorizing, as well as monitor Magnolia’s implementation of its action steps. As noted in the Audit, the District and Magnolia Public Schools were able to reach a settlement that allows both parties to move forward together in the best interest of students and in protection of taxpayers’ trust.

Did Caprice Young know that Magnolia Schools are modeled after Yamalar College in Turkey? 
 
 
A state audit of Magnolia Public Schools, a charter network operating in LA Unified, has found that the group’s financial controls need improvement but that the district acted too hastily in its attempts to close three of the chain’s eight campuses.
The report, issued today, brings to a close a long running episode involving Magnolia’s parent company and LA Unified efforts last year to revoke the charter renewal applications for three Magnolia Science Academy schools — in Palms, Van Nuys and Bell — over fiscal mismanagement and other financial irregularities.
The audit confirmed that the schools were insolvent at points during the past three fiscal years, but said that was due to a delay in state funding. As a result, the cash-strapped academies borrowed from schools with surplus revenues to pay off debts. While the district was critical of Magnolia for engaging in these types of inter-agency loans, the state audit concluded that “these loans served a useful purpose because they enabled the struggling academies to continue to serve their students.”
As of July, all but one of the loans was repaid, and eight academies are operating in the black with sufficient reserve funds.
However, despite an overall clean fiscal bill of health auditors say Magnolia must strengthen its financial and management processes, especially with respect to fundraising and documenting expenditures.
Another failing by Magnolia identified in the report is that it “grossly underreported truancy data to the California Department of Education.”

About 2,300 students attend Magnolia academies. Complaints of fiscal mismanagement and low enrollment have plagued nearly all of the campuses since the first charter was founded in 2002.
Still, Magnolia officials put a positive spin on the report.
Caprice Young, a former LA Unified school board president and the newly hired CEO, told LA School Report that the audit was long-awaited good news and proves that the organization is fiscally stable.
“It is a real vindication for us,” she said, adding that, “it is very, very critical of the way that LAUSD treated Magnolia.”
Young explained that Magnolia has implemented more stringent policies allowing for more transparency, including the manner in which schools report student truancies. “The problem there was that the staff was not counting all of the tardies as truancies,” she said. “But it didn’t have any impact on test scores or the amount of money we received for funding.”
“What the auditor came up with is a fix-it ticket. What LAUSD came up with was a death sentence,” Young said.
Ultimately, the report determined that “LAUSD may have acted prematurely when it rescinded the charter renewal petitions of two academies.”
Further, it said, the district did not provide sufficient time for the charter school company to respond to criticisms.The audit also said the district failed to share the complete results of an independent audit commissioned by the district with Magnolia until after it had rescinded the academies’ charter petitions.
The two sides reached reached a settlement agreement in March, resulting in the renewal of all three academies’ charters.

http://laschoolreport.com/state-audit-criticizes-magnolia-charters-and-also-la-unified/#.VUv7ccEq94A.twitter

NOTE TO CAPRICE;   A known fact around political and academic circles that you are working very hard to remove the Turks from the charter ownership.  You have pushed them into the background and put new faces "Hispanics" and other non-Turks to the front.  Until the members of the Gulen Movement are entirely removed from this charter school, it's all show for now.  You have retained some of their models for education and they should be removed as all the Turkish teachers remaining should be removed.  Hire American teachers that are not affiliated with the Gulen Movement, it isn't necessary to "target" the support of one particular ethnic group.   They as you know, have their own private schools and will never trust you or your motives. 
Keep waving the money around and making improvements, hopefully you can keep up the show long enough to push the Gulen Movement completely out of California.  Then the money can 100% go into your pockets. 




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Santa Clara County says NO to New Magnolia Charter School - Silicon Valley STEM Academy (SVSA)

County Says No to New Magnolia Charter Plan
They say "third time is a charm." But at last week's Santa Clara County Board of Education meetingno charmwas able to overcome the flaws in Magnolia Science Academy's proposal for reconstituting itself as a new charter school, Silicon Valley STEM Academy (SVSA) – despite the crowd of about 500 filling the County boardroom and cafeteria to overflowing, protesting what they saw as Santa Clara Unified's unwarranted shutdown of their school.

The many speakers arguing that Magnolia shouldn't be closed only confused the issue.The hearing's purpose was considering the proposal for the new charter, not continuing Magnolia's;which in any case isn't being closed. Its lease with SCUSD for the Central Park school is expiring, and the County Board has no role in district contracts. When it was signed, Magnolia was told it was likely the district wouldn't renew it because, as turns out to be the case, the school is needed to relieve over–crowding at other SCUSD schools, and the district plans to reopen it for the 2016–2017 school year.

The County Board unanimously denied SVSA'spetition for the same reasons that SCUSD did when Magnolia/SVSA presented the identical proposal in January: that "The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition." The reasons include inadequate financial plans, identification of start–up funds,and description of the school's K–5 program(Magnolia is grades 6–12). Further, because in its three presentations Magnolia made such a point of its high–achieving students, Board members expressed skepticism that SVSA could meet legal requirements to serve students at all ability levels. Board President Leon Beauchmanalso said that the fact that none of the students who spoke had been at Magnolia more than two years gave him "an uncomfortable feeling about the viability of the school in its current configuration. "It's difficult for us to separate Magnolia from the STEM Academy," he said. "A lot of the petition cites Magnolia as a reason to approve [SVSA]. I would remind folks that the charter law gives preference to schools targeting underperforming students. What that means is you have a higher bar." Because Magnolia is a county charter school, the district isn't obliged to provide facilities unless more than half its students are SCUSD residents. The district gets $500,000 in lease payments, but must give Magnolia $1.2 million for the Santa Clara students that attend.

Shortly after the school's request to extend the lease was refused last June,Magnolia administration and parents presented aproposal for a district charter, SVSA. When this SCUSD turned it down, Magnolia took its petition to the County Board. In 2008, Magnolia wanted a county charter "to facilitate the provision of instruction in a multi–site setting ... As schools of choice, Magnolia Foundation schools enroll students from wide residence areas ... [and] from many different school districts, private schools and home–schooling families." SVSA's proposal is to enroll mainly SCUSD students. "From the get–go you came to us and said Magnolia was going to be county–wide and acted like a [county] destination charter," said Board Member Anna Song. That made it difficult to reconcile the new positioning as a district school. "Now today we're being asked to consider a petition for a new school, the STEM Academy. "We're coming back again and again to Magnolia," she continued, referring to the fact that Magnolia has needed emergency help more than once. "They said they didn't need Prop 31 [district facilities], they had sites lined up. When this contract was signed it was clear there was no opportunity to extend. It would have been much better to come to us a year ago as Magnolia and ask us for help. [Now] you comein the 11th hour. I would like to see this succeed. But to do that, you have to be more transparent." Magnolia's Chief Growth Officer, Frank Gonzalez, who's been on the job two months, said Magnolia has asked for classrooms in Milpitas, Sunnyvale, and had contacted private schools for space. "I'm up here two, three days a week. [One problem is] the high cost of real estate here. I have been meeting with Stan Rose [SCUSD Superintendent] to submit a [request for a lease] extension.

All Magnolia is asking is a year's extension." One reason for the County Board's concern – and one reason why Magnolia principal Yilmaz Ak may be seeking to disconnect from the Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) organization – is the closure of two Magnolia schools last June by Los Angeles Unified after an audit uncovered financial mismanagement. The audit found thatMPSwas insolvent; with some schools operating at a deficit and profitable schools lending money to the parent organization. In addition, auditors found that MPS paid $200,000 for non–employees' immigration fees and lawyers. MPS also paid a company with interlocked board membership, Accord Institute, a third of its budget for services overlapping its own operations. MPS disputes these claimsand recently hired a new CEO.

As a result of the LAUSD audit, the California State Auditor launched a statewide audit of the Magnolia Education and Research Foundation (MERF) and Magnolia Science Academies, expected to be complete in May. Magnolia Santa Clara got its start in 2008 under the auspices of MERF as part of a chain of more than 100 U.S. charter schools, widely believed to have ties to a wealthy Turkish theologian and media mogul, Fethullah Gulen, who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Gulen is founder of a modernist, largely philosophical variant of Islam, sometimes called Hizmet ("service"); emphasizing education and tolerance in a civil society. He's a political enemy of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who tried unsuccessfully to extradite Gulen. Gulen–linked schools have predominantly Turkish staffs and offer Turkish language classes and cultural events.

The schools are sometimes accused of being training grounds for a Gulen fifth column –– much as Catholic schools a century ago were believed by some to be training grounds for a Vatican fifth column.
http://www.santaclaraweekly.com/2015/Issue-12/education_desk.htm

TIMELINE
1. March 2009: Santa Clara County Board of Education approves the charter petition for Magnolia Science Academy-Santa Clara, a countywide charter. The charter was approved for a three-year period (July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010). The school did not open as planned in fall 2009. In early 2010, the charter was revised.
2. Fall 2010: Magnolia opens MSA-Santa Clara at a site in Sunnyvale (1095 Dunford Way). This is the first of three charter schools for which a 3-year charter was granted to them by the board of the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE).
3. Fall 2012: MSA-Santa Clara moves into the campus at 2720 Sonoma Place in Santa Clara which belongs to Santa Clara Unified. This site was the longtime home to a historically important Santa Clara school, John Millikin Elementary School. The lease agreement is for three years only: 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 (exp. June).
4. Jan. 2013: SCCOE grants a five-year renewal to Magnolia despite the district finding it has a negative cash flow, poor fiscal accounting and a problem with internal controls. Anna Song is the only trustee who dissented. Also, Magnolia never opened its promised other two charter schools in Santa Clara County.
5. May 2013: SCCOE issues a Notice of Concern to MSA-Santa Clara, citing "failure to meet generally accepted accounting principals." pdf
6. June 2014: With MSA-SC's lease due to expire at the end of 2014-15, Magnolia makes its first request to Santa Clara Unified for a lease extension. It is denied.
7. Oct. 2014: Petition for a totally brand new charter school, the STEM Academy of Silicon Valley (SASV), was submitted to Santa Clara Unified. Seeing the writing on the wall (that MSA-SC will have to close if it cannot get its lease extended or find another site) -- and with the Magnolia organization in turmoil in LAUSD, etc. -- principal Yilmaz Ak and a group of individuals attempt to open a brand new charter school for 2015-16. Supposedly this school would not be operated by Magnolia, but it clearly would be a reconstituted version of MSA-SC that could enroll its soon-to-be-school-siteless student body. Clearly they did this with the hope that the new charter school would qualify for a Santa Clara Unified site under Prop 39. And/or maybe they could have qualified for some start-up grant that would help them lease a space.
8. Jan. 2015: The SCUSD board unanimously votes against the SASV proposal.
  9. Feb 2015: SCCOE hearing on SASV (at some point Yilmaz Ak, et al, submitted the same proposal to the Santa Clara County authorizer)..
10. Mar. 4, 2015: Yilmaz Ak submits letter to SCCOE urging them to call a special meeting to decide on SASV asap. He explains that he has applied for Prop 39 facilities and must have the charter approved by March 15th. He closes the letter with, "I would like to avoid having to turn to the courts to settle this issue."
11. March 6, 2015: For the 3rd time, the Magnolia community comes to a Santa Clara Unified meeting to try to persuade the school board to extend their lease for the campus on Sonoma Place (sometimes called the "Central Park" site).
12. March 11, 2015: SASV was unanimously denied its charter application by the board of SCCOE. 13. March 17, 2015: Magnolia CEO Caprice Young comes up to the Bay Area. Holds a town hall meeting w/MSA-SC families and meets with and/or threatens who knows?

Magnolia Science Academies saved by the bell from closure

After the removal of all Gulen Movement people in their administration at Magnolia, the new helm of the schools Caprice Young has convinced the LAUSD to continue with the schools and renew the 3 schools that were scheduled to be closed. However the statewide audit will continue. What is the story behind the story?
The largest chain of privately managed charter schools in the United States is that of those affiliated with the cultish Gülenist Movement. Proving that no scandal is too large for the combined financial and political power of the revenue hungry charter school industry, the Los Angeles based Magnolia branches of the Gülen Network have essentially committed the crime, but will not do the time. The Los Angeles Times outlines the scale of Magnolia's crimes: "An audit performed last year for the district’s Office of the Inspector General found that Magnolia was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit found." One cringes thinking of all the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public school libraries that could have been reopened with those millions "missing" from the privately managed Magnolia Gülen Charters. Last time millions of dollars went "missing" from a huge Los Angeles charter chain was during the massive Inner City Education Fund (ICEF) scandal. Their former "CEO" Mike Piscal is still at large somewhere in the country. Steve Poizner's partner in the crime of establishing the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), Caprice Young, was brought in as the spin-spokesperson for that staggering squandering of taxpayer money. Once more Young is brought in to provide cover for mind-boggling charter school impropriety, this time at Magnolia. Turns out Caprice Young has been working for Gülen's charter network all along documents the connections between Young and her new employer. The intrepid Scott M. Folsom gathered all the news on this issue, and added his salient thoughts on the matter. I do differ with Folsom on one point—this has everything to with "Fethullah Gülen involvement", and anyone aware of the cult's well documented undue influence over LAUSD board members like Monica Garcia, knows how much power these malfeasants have. The allegations against Magnolia are of Misuse of Public Funds. Plain and simple. No amount of “great schoolage” and kids on waiting lists forgive this. Ultimately this is a matter of law enforcement - and the LAUSD Board – as public trustees and empowered with enforcing the charter law and protecting the public purse – have blinked/waffled/whatever. I hate to be “zero intolerant” – but there are no waivers or mulligans for malfeasance. The Man Behind the Curtain has nothing to do with the case: This has nothing to do with with the Fethullah Gülen involvement with Magnolia; to bring that up is a bit of misdirection. Parental Choice does not give the right to parents to choose to send their kids to a bad school -- whether the school is bad because it does a crummy job of teaching students or managing the public’s funds. I consider Caprice Young a friend – but she has been brought in to save the day and impose order amidst fiscal chaos while framing and spinning and charming the story of the chaos as something less than egregious. The biblical metaphor of pouring oil upon the waters comes to mind – but ask the folks on the Gulf Coast – or in Alaska: Oily waters are not necessarily a desirable outcome! The Board in its role as charter authorizer and overseer moved to suspend the three charters. It may have dodged a public vote earlier – but it had authorized the superintendent to act in its behalf. That’s what superintendents and Boards of Ed do. Then the Board of Ed went into closed session and changed their mind and/or had their minds changed. The process of granting, suspending and reviewing charters is supposed to occur in Mr. Justice Brandeis’ “Disinfecting Sunshine”. Instead it happened behind closed doors in the guise of settling a lawsuit http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2015/03/financially-malfeasant-charters-run-by.html

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gulen "inspired" Magnolia Schools out bid / bribe to SDUSD by $2.2 million - epic failed

Scott Barnett ex SDUSD board member turn lobbyist for
Gulen "inspired" Magnolia Schools (Magnolia Science Academies)
 

It didn’t take long for former trustee Scott Barnett to clash with his old colleagues at San Diego Unified.
Just a month after stepping down from the school board, Barnett told San Diego Unified he’d be representing a charter school in its land sale negotiations with the district. The district objected. Now, Barnett’s out of the deal, but the tensions sparked by the squabble probably won’t die down anytime soon.
On Jan. 13, the school board voted 4-1 to sell the property where Magnolia Science Academy, a charter middle school in San Carlos, currently sits. The district estimated it could make $5.8 million from the sale, City News Service reported.
Facilitating such a deal was an unexpected move from Barnett, who’s been the district’s loudest land sales critic for the past four years.
Barnett doesn’t see it as a contradiction. He said that when Magnolia approached him after he left the school board, he thought he could help strike a deal that could be a win for all parties.
“This doesn’t change my view that selling property for one-time revenues to pay ongoing expenses is poor public policy,” Barnett said.  “But if the district was going to sell, I thought they should sell to Magnolia.”
On Jan. 4, Barnett sent an email to Superintendent Cindy Marten telling her he would represent Magnolia in its ongoing negotiations with the district.
San Diego Unified should sell to Magnolia, he wrote, because it would allow the district to meet its real estate sales goal without having to find a new space for Magnolia’s 370 students. Plus, San Carlos residents could keep a school in their neighborhood – which wouldn’t happen if the property went to a residential developer.
Barnett also upped the ante: If the district were to amend Magnolia’s charter and allow it to add an elementary school, he told Marten, Magnolia could increase its offer from $4 million to $6.2 million.
But to the district, Magnolia’s offer wasn’t the problem – it was the fact that Barnett was doing the talking.
Days after Barnett wrote Marten on Magnolia’s behalf, the district’s general counsel, Andra Donovan, emailed Magnolia, cautioning school leaders to tread lightly when dealing Barnett.
Donovan said that because Barnett potentially has insider knowledge about real estate negotiations with Magnolia, the appearance of impropriety could endanger the deal, either legally or politically. A rejected bidder could sue, or the sale could be overturned.
Even though Barnett is no longer on the school board, a court could determine that he had some involvement in discussions leading up to the deal, Donovan wrote.
The district can’t bar Magnolia from working with Barnett. It can choose not to negotiate with Barnett directly, but beyond that its power is limited.
The district’s ethical guidelines advise a cooling period – meaning employees shouldn’t immediately go work for companies that have dealings with the district – “to mitigate concerns about the appearance of a ‘revolving door’ where public offices are sometimes seen to be used for personal or private gain.” But the policy isn’t legally binding, and doesn’t specify a timeframe. Spokesperson Ursula Kroemer even said the district doesn’t expect all former employees or board members to adhere to the policy.
Still, Donovan seems to believe Barnett’s involvement wouldn’t look good.
“At the very least, an accusation that the transaction is tainted and would likely generate significant public criticism; particularly at this time, given recent scandals in the Sweetwater and San Ysidro Districts,” Donovan wrote.
Barnett said he never attended any deal-making meetings about Magnolia. And by the time Donovan sent the email to Magnolia, he’d already informed the district that he’d changed his mind and wouldn’t be representing the school in the deal.
In Barnett’s view, Donovan overreached and cost him money. He’d planned to establish a long-term relationship doing consulting for Magnolia, he said. But shortly after the school received the email from Donovan, it decided to sever ties with Barnett altogether.
Moving forward, he said he’s worried the situation will damage his reputation and make it more difficult for him to get clients.
“I’m absolutely astonished that the general counsel would reference my name and my consulting activity in the context of the criminal convictions of elected officials in Sweetwater school district.” Barnett said. “I’m just trying to earn a living so I can pay my bills.”
 

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