Cash-Strapped Inglewood School District Gets State-Appointed Head

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    A decline in enrollment and financial mismanagement has led the state to take over the Inglewood Unified School District. Superintendent of Public Instruction appointed administrator Kent Taylor was appointed to run to run the district during the roughly two-year takeover. Lolita Lopez reports from Inglewood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2012. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012)

    A declining enrollment since 2006 plus financial mismanagement has left the Inglewood Unified School District on the verge of bankruptcy, spurring the second state takeover of a California school district since 1990.

    On Wednesday, State Administrator Kent Taylor was appointed to step in. He’s expected to hold that position for at least two years while the state takes control.

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    “We won’t be here any longer than we need to be,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public administration.

    Newly-appointed Taylor, himself, is a product of Inglewood schools.

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    “They trained me and I was able to go to college… all the way up to being a superintendent,” Taylor said.

    In his new position, Taylor will run the district with the existing board and superintendent serving in advisory roles. Among the recovery effort is dealing with employee salaries.

    “We have a management problem here and I wish to have people help accountable,” said Inglewood councilman Mike Stevens.

    Part of Taylor’s plan includes reaching out to unions, parents and the educational community to create up a path forward.

    Some $55 million in emergency loans from California has been funneled into the 14,000 student district to counteract its dire state, which includes a nearly 20 percent decline in enrollment over the past five years.

    Those loans must be paid off in 20 years – many in the community hope it doesn’t take two decades to turn its success around.

    Also at issue, Inglewood’s Academic Performance Index is 731, less than the state average of 778.