California Lawmakers Push for Audit of Highlands Community Charter School

California Lawmakers Push for Audit of Highlands Community Charter School

Sacramento, CA: Legislators in California want to check out Highlands Community Charter School (HCCS), their online school, California Innovative Career Academy (CICA), the Doc Smith Legacy Foundation, and the Twin Rivers Unified School District (TRUSD).

Assemblymembers Dawn Addis, Al Muratsuchi, David Alvarez, and Senator Josh Newman all wrote the letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

“I am joining with the Chair of the (California) Senate Education Committee, the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education Funding, and another member of the Assembly Education Committee,” Asm. Muratsuchi, who is the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee in California, said. “That should be enough to say.” That this is a serious request for an audit that should be given full attention.”

A state lawmaker says that Highlands first came up as a worry during an FCMAT audit in Sacramento County in 2018. An audit found that there wasn’t enough proof to show fraud or theft had taken place, but it did say that “other illegal fiscal practices may have occurred” because of “significant material weaknesses in the charter’s internal control environment.”

The FCMAT audit did not have the power to subpoena anyone, but if this new audit is passed, it will.

They say that an audit is needed to find out if California’s K–12 education funds are being misused and if other charter schools approved by Twin Rivers have adequate supervision.

They want to know about 11 different types of information: student enrollment and attendance, teacher credentials, student-to-teacher ratios, instructional materials, political donations and foundation spending, housing, employment contracts, TRUSD oversight, childcare, fire code, and documents related to human assistance.

“We only want the facts, and they spell it out for us.” But if they do find fraud, waste, or abuse of public school funds, it should not only lead to more actions to hold those responsible accountable, but it should also lead to any changes we need to make to our laws and rules to make our accountability and oversight process stronger, Asm. Muratsuchi said.

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