10/31/2020

Six years after the state came in to save Inglewood Unified, the district faces a budget crisis, buildings in disrepair and lack of steady leadership

When the California Department of Education stepped in to save Inglewood’s schools after decades of mismanagement, it had a mandate to bring financial stability. Instead, the district has cycled through three leaders — not including interim appointees — chosen by Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. None has stayed long. The chaos of constant turnover has contributed to uncertainty over whether the school system still can be saved.

. . . A recent report by the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team found that, under Matthews, Inglewood had left day-to-day tasks to consultants, hadn’t monitored its budget and had underestimated its salary costs by about $1 million. The district had also overestimated its revenue, in part by incorrectly counting the number of students.

The same report also said that although the district has at its disposal tens of millions of dollars earmarked for facility upgrades, very little has been spent on the many school buildings in need of serious repair. “Turnover in leadership has resulted in project delays,” it said.

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