Transcript of the SRC testimony of Alexandra Yagilowich

Alex 2
Click the picture to view Alex’s testimony. Go to timestamp 18:28.

The 7 new charter schools, if approved, will only add to the already high district deficit that exists. Commissioners, it is in your best interest to turn down these seven applications due to their already high financial issues.

Specifically, earlier you denied contract renewals to two Renaissance Charters managed by Aspira acknowledging their multiple conflicts of interest, tangled governance and financial issues, as well as poor academic performance. For these two new stand alone charters, the charter offices evaluation of the application states multiple inconsistencies and omissions regarding instructional mission, budget and staffing.

At Pantoja, co-teaching will be used to serve most students with special needs. The very rigid Corrective Reading program would be used to “enhance beginning reading skills for students with literacy-based academic deficits”. There have been countless studies that express that Corrective Reading and Corrective Math are not appropriate for students with special needs and learning disabilities

Three of Aspira’s schools are located at a building that they own, on North 2nd Street, the former Cardinal Dougherty building. The company that owns the building and the property on North 5th Street, ACE/Dougherty, is a subsidiary of Aspira Inc. The individual schools lease the property from the real estate company, which is owned by the charter corporations. To make matters even more tied up, Aspira’s Facilities Manager, Andres Perez, sits on the board at ACE/ Dougherty.

The discrepancies do not stop there. Aspira’s attorney, Kenneth Trujillo admitted in his July 2016 SRC testimony that the organization had engaged in “cross-collateralization” which is another way of saying misuse of taxpayer funds. That means that money sent by the district to Olney and Stetson were used to support operations at other Aspira entities.

That is only a small glimpse into the inaccuracies within one of the charter school applications. These controversial affairs and spending continue far into the six other charter applications. What this community and our students need is dependability and affective use of financial resources. Thus, we are highly recommending that you vote to reject all seven charter school applications as it will only bring further debt to the district and this community.

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