The Inglewood Unified School District became the first Southland school district in nearly 20 years to lose local control over its budget, causing California Governor Jerry Brown to approve an emergency loan of $55 million to keep it from going bankrupt and implement an immediate takeover of the school district’s administration.

“We will have a quality education for the city of Inglewood and the Inglewood Unified School District. That is our goal that we will achieve by any means necessary. And if it required having a state takeover, that is what we had to do,” said Sen. Roderick Wright who carried SB 533, a bill that would allow the district to evade bankruptcy.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released a statement saying that his office would consult with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to name an experienced administrator to get the district back on track. “The governor’s action was necessary to keep Inglewood’s public schools operating and serving students despite the district’s extreme financial difficulties,” said Torlakson.

Inglewood Unified’s elected school board and its superintendent will lose their decision-making authority, instead becoming an advisory board to the newly named administrator, which an aide in the state superintendent’s office said would probably be named in the next few days.

Before Gov. Brown signed SB 533 into law, in efforts to evade impending bankruptcy, the school board had begun to implement a number of budget-cutting procedures, including cutting teacher and classified employees salaries by 15 percent.

The California Professional Employees, the union for the classified employees at Inglewood Unified School District are demanding that decision be reversed
“Local 2345 demands that the district rescind Resolution No. 12/2012-2013, restore the status quo prior to the resolution, and abide by all terms of the collective-bargaining agreement currently in place between Local 2345 and the district. If the district refuses to take these actions, the union will be forced to consider pursuing all available legal remedies to vindicate its rights and the rights of its members,” stated Christopher Graeber, field representative for the Union, which represent 650 employees in the district, including support staff, custodians, office, workers, food service, instructional aides, police and maintenance workers.

“The way the decision was made was improper and the district isn’t supposed to make unilateral decisions like that without bargaining. We are also hoping to have some sort of input when the new trustee is chosen because we certainly don’t want it to be anyone who is currently directly affiliated with the district. Even if the final round of candidates goes to some sort of vote, or we have an opportunity to do some background checking and research on the person who is being put in place beforehand we would be more comfortable with that. We are hoping that the state can offer some type of assurance that our interest is being taken into account,” said Graeber on behalf of the union.