Good News to Bad For Gorman School Board

Gorman Elementary Board Named In Lawsuit as Five New Claims Filed

By Gary Meyer

Five new claims by former employees of Gorman Learning Center (GLC)—the troubled charter under Gorman Elementary School District (GESD) which was shown in an audit to have overbilled the state for $7.6 million—were unanimously rejected by the GESD board at its February 12 meeting. The employees say their retirement funds have been misappropriated by GLC.

Board President Steve Sonder announced that a new lawsuit filed by six former GLC employees does not name the Gorman School District as a defendant. "This is very good news for Gorman Elementary School District," Board President Steve Sonder said.

The Mountain Enterprise has obtained court documents showing that GESD is, in fact, named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The original complaint was filed on December 17, 2007 and did not name GESD as defendant. An amended complaint filed on January 18, 2008 in California Superior Court, Los Angeles does name Gorman Elementary School District as a defendant in the case.

Three claimants in the lawsuit, Lora Mosher, Jill Barrett and Kenya Corley had filed government claims (not lawsuits) against both GESD and GLC last summer, which were reported in The Mountain Enterprise, October 12, 2007 edition.

Those three claims were rejected by the GESD Board of Directors last year.

When a claim has been rejected by the government agency against whom it is made, the claimant can then sue in court.

The Governing Board of the Gorman Elementary School District (GESD) voted at the meeting to stand by its revocation of Antelope Valley Desert Montessori Charter School’s (AVDMCS) charter, rescinding an earlier settlement offer.

Letters from the Gorman district’s superintendent and board members to the charter (that serves over 200 students) show that GESD has been trying to obtain basic administrative data from AVDMCS for over a year.

The school’s new director, Robert Johnson, was unable to convince board members that ADVDMCS had credible reasons why seven criteria for settlement of the matter—established at the November 13 board meeting and repeated at an informal meeting on January 15—had not been met.

Johnson apologized for the delays and offered a ring-binder partially completed with the required data.

Board president Steve Sonder seemed exasperated at times during a lengthy question and answer session with Johnson. Sonder then allowed the matter to proceed directly to a vote of his three-person board, which was unanimous against rescinding the revocation of the charter. A last minute plea by the charter’s attorney was also unanimously rejected.

The Antelope Valley charter school’s attorney Jefferey Schwartz told The Mountain Enterprise that the matter will continue in the courts.

This is part of the February 15, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.