Democrats block audit of state oversight of Inglewood schools

Democrats block audit of state oversight of Inglewood schools
State Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido, left, talks with Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, during a recent floor session. Huff's proposal to audit the state's oversight of the Inglewood school district was blocked by Democrats. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Democratic lawmakers Tuesday blocked a Republican proposal to audit the state superintendent of public instruction's oversight of  the troubled Inglewood Unified School District.

Financial and management problems led the state to take over the school district in 2012, giving State Supt. Tom Torlakson power to appoint administrators of the district and monitor its spending of a $55-million state loan.

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar had sought a state audit because of heavy turnover in the administration of the district, questioned spending of the state loan and continuing financial problems for the district.

But the request for State Auditor Elaine Howle to look at Torlakson’s stewardship fell one vote short of approval by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee when Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) voted against an audit and Democratic Sens. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara withheld their votes.

"This audit would have shined some much needed light on what happens when the state takes over a school district, so we can avoid the same mistakes in the future," Huff said. "It's unfortunate that parents of Inglewood are being denied an opportunity to keep their school district accountable. The committee voted against transparency."

Representatives of Torlakson, who is being challenged in the November election by Marshall Tuck, did not respond to a request for comment.