State's top educator tours Livermore charter schools accused of mismanagement

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- Two schools in Livermore are known for their high performance, but district and city officials are accusing the corporation that runs them of mismanagement.

The allegations have caught the attention of the state's top educator California Department of Education Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

Torlakson emerged from a two-hour meeting to address a series of allegations against the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which operates the two charter schools in Livermore.

"I've had good discussion with the charter, with the city, with the school district," Torlakson said.

Among the allegations are that the corporation running the Livermore Valley Charter Schools failed to submit an audit, repay a debt to a community college, achieve ethnic balance, and charged expensive tuition to foreign exchange students.

There's also a charge that the two Chinese high school students were reported missing for a time by family members.

"There were allegations that some students were up in the air, missing for a short period of time, but I've been reassured that those girls are safe and they're back here in Livermore," Torlakson said. "Students leave campus, they do so without permission."

Attorney Derek Austin represents the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation and responded Friday to accusations about late audits. "Those things will ultimately bare themselves out and we will resolve those issues," Austin said.

But some parents said the allegations against the corporation are concerning. "As far as the administration goes, I think we only get interested, or involved, is when it looks like there are some concerns about how things are being managed," said James Smith, a parent.

Torlakson said he would return in a couple of months to see if the issues at the schools have been resolved.
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