ICEF Public Schools

As you read this story about financial mismanagement, keep in mind that financial decisions for ICEF are made by its high-powered, supposedly financially-savvy, and experienced board of trustees led by a chairman who is an well-known investment banker.

The board of trustees consists of the following:
  • a former investment banker / financial analyst,
  • an actress,
  • the Co-Director of the Urban Leadership Program at Claremont Graduate University,
  • the CEO and President of Challengers Boys & Girls Club,
  • the managing director of the investment firm of Cabera Capital,
  • the owner of a vineyard and former banker,
  • the a Co-Founder and Principal of Cataumet Partners (an investment management and advisory firm),
  • a former private school employee with over 30 years of business management expertise,
  • the CEO & President of Interconnect Solutions Group, Inc, a manufacturer’s representative group,
  • the Founder and CEO of Global Broadcasting, LLC,
  • a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
  • plus two career-charter school operators.
A group of the city's leading philanthropists, including billionaire Eli Broad and former mayor Richard Riordan, rallied Monday to save ICEF Public Schools, one of the nation's largest and most successful charter school companies, which was teetering on financial insolvency.

ICEF, which operates 15 schools in low-income minority neighborhoods of Los Angeles, was virtually out of cash, unlikely to meet its Oct. 1 payroll. The nonprofit faced a $2-million deficit in the current budget year as well as substantial long-term debt…

ICEF representatives and others said the group's budget problems were caused by insufficient reserves; an overly ambitious expansion — 11 new schools in three years — that resulted in costly debt; and a reluctance to make cuts affecting students. These factors were exacerbated by the recession, which sharply reduced state funding to schools, and this year's late state budget, which has delayed payments to schools.

The rescue plan that emerged Monday was less disruptive than one under discussion as recently as Sunday. That plan would have broken up ICEF, distributed schools and students among other charter schools and forced out founder Mike Piscal…

Riordan is contributing $100,000; Broad $500,000, and philanthropist Frank Baxter $100,000—jump-starting a short-term $3-million campaign to stabilize ICEF. All are longtime supporters of charters and frequent critics of the Los Angeles Unified School District…

No comments: