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School board member reelected despite issues with China program

Hacienda La Puente school board member Joseph Chang was reelected Tuesday despite allegations that he used his influence to benefit a private company that recruits students from China.

In a field of six candidates competing for three seats, former school principal Penny Fraumeni was the top finisher with 2,658 votes, or 23%. Chang, a math professor who has served on the school board for 20 years, got 2,379 votes. Anthony Duarte, another incumbent, held onto his seat with 2,280 votes.

The other candidates were Jeffrey De La Torre, Henry Gonzales and Bryan Coreas.

In September, Chang was censured by his colleagues for accepting free trips to China from Bela Education Group. 

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the California Fair Political Practices Commission are investigating the allegations, which were detailed in a report commissioned by the school district. Chang has allegedly pressured school administrators to admit unqualified students from China and has also been an advocate of lower tuition levels.

The Chinese students pay the school district $12,900 a year in tuition to attend Wilson High, while paying Bela an additional $17,000 to cover room and board, tutoring and other expenses, according to Bela's website.

Chang has said the allegations are politically motivated. He said that former school board member Norman Hsu, who is Bela's managing director, picked up the tab for the China trips and that he subsequently reimbursed Hsu.

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cindy.chang@latimes.com

Twitter: @cindychangLA

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