The Antelope Valley Union High School District has failed to account for millions of dollars earmarked for high needs students. In the 2019-2020 school year alone, more than $6.9 million intended for low-income students, English learners, and foster youth—the vast majority of whom are Black and Latinx—was left unused or was used for improper purposes, with minimal reporting and seemingly no oversight.
Equal Justice Society, which is representing Cancel the Contract-Antelope Valley, a project of Reform LA Jails, together with NLSLA, which is representing the parent of a district student who is impacted by these policies, filed a complaint with the district on February 9th.
A Newsweek article covering the complaint quotes EJS Attorney, Alexandra Santa Ana, “There are more than one thousand districts in California, and they receive this funding based on the number of high-needs students in their care, but a systemic lack of transparency has allowed them to essentially hide what they are doing with these critical funds and deprive high needs students of the resources that were promised to them.”
The complaint details the district’s failure to comply with legal requirements governing school spending plans—known as Local Control Accountability Plans—and demands the district investigate budget discrepancies, adhere to state-mandated reporting requirements, and require each school to clearly demonstrate how these funds are used to serve the high-needs students for whom they were allocated.
EJS Legal Director, Mona Tawatao is attending a campaign press conference today, being held at Antelope Valley High School at 1:30 pm pt. A live stream of this press conference can be viewed here.
For instance, the district allocated $1.7 million in funds intended for low-income students, English learners, and foster youth to pay for a contract with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, but failed to describe how increased enforcement will serve these students. These expenditures—along with the millions that were entirely unaccounted for—have come at the cost of proven strategies that can close opportunity gaps for high-needs students.