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State appoints new trustee to head struggling Inglewood Unified

Students wait for school to end outside Inglewood High School.
Students wait for school to end outside Inglewood High School.
Grant Slater/KPCC

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson appointed Don Brann Friday as the new trustee to head the Inglewood Unified School District.

Brann has worked as a teacher and school administrator for more than 40 years, including 15 as superintendent of the Wiseburn School District in Hawthorne. He inherits a school district in the midst of a severe financial crisis.

Brann could not be reached for comment Friday.

“Bringing the district back to sound financial footing—so that it can continue serving students and their community—remains my top priority, and Don Brann has the experience and vision to make it happen,” Torlakson said in a press release. “Dr. Brann will bring decades of sound judgment and strong leadership to the job of helping Inglewood’s schools regain local control.”

Inglewood Unified asked the state for help meeting its financial obligations last year. The state took over the struggling district, injecting $55 million in emergency loans.  But the money, which must be repaid within 20 years, is being spent faster than state officials anticipated. Now they're worried that the district won’t have enough funds for the 2014-2015 school year.

The district could be dissolved if it doesn’t scale back its spending.

While the state has legal power over the district, it must appoint a trustee to act as administrator. Brann steps into that role, which had temporarily been filled by La Tanya Kirk-Carter after the first administrator step down in December after two months in the job.

Kent Taylor resigned his position after the state discovered he'd made financial agreements with the teachers' union and a food company without the knowledge of state officials.

The district has to demonstrate that it can meet it's fiscal obligations before it can return to local control.

Inglewood Unified was the ninth district in California to be taken over by the state. Seven districts have regained local governance since 1990. South Monterey County Joint Union High remains under state control.

Brann recently served as the Interim Superintendent of the San Gabriel School District. He’s also a member of the board of directors for the private charter Da Vinci Schools in the South Bay.