Another Example Of Failed Charter School Oversight
LAUSD’s Jose Cole-Guitierrez’s department finds issues at Citizens of the World but provides no consequences. Is it time for his head to roll?
- Jose Cole-Guitierrez
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are the standards by which interested parties are assured that an organization’s records reflect its true financial health. In the case of charter schools, interested parties would include parents who send their children to the school with the expectation that it will remain open through the end of the school year. Potential creditors, like bondholders and landlords, also need to know that the organizations that run these schools have the ability to pay their debts. In cases where the school is relying on donations, donors also have the right to know that they are not sending their money into a bottomless pit.
When the LAUSD authorizes a charter school, they assume responsibility for ensuring these rules, including the ones governing accounting, are followed. The district has delegated this responsibility to the Charter School Division whose employees are supposed to oversee the hundreds of charter schools operating within the district. The person the board has placed in charge of this division is Jose Cole-Gutierez, who formerly “served as general manager of the Los Angeles Region for the California Charter Schools Association.” With the fox in charge of the henhouse, the results have been predictable.
As previously reported, charter schools currently owe the LAUSD over $13.5 million in unpaid overallocation fees. According to a district source, 20 of the 58 charter schools that owe these fees, which are assessed according to a formula set by state law, have not paid any portion of their bill. This source also states that only $40,311.99 was paid in the third quarter of 2021. Unlike any other tenant who refused to pay fees outlined in their lease agreement, these delinquent charter schools are still allowed to occupy space in district schools.