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L.A. County Office of Education Calls for ‘Extraordinary Audit’ of El Rancho Unified School District




Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News has learned the Los Angeles County Office of Education has called for an “extraordinary audit” of El Rancho Unified School District.

The call for the audit was due in part to an investigative series of articles published last week by HMG-LCCN that uncovered a wide-ranging scheme involving over $212 million in school bond funds perpetrated by ERUSD Board Members engaging in pay-to-play politics, financial cover-up, blatant conflicts of interests, and willful violations of California’s Education Code.

Crucial information and research obtained from Esther Mejia, former Bond Oversight Committee Chair, and ERUSD Board Members Carolyn Castillo and Teresa Merino also contributed to the story.

The long-running plot has involved ERUSD President Jose Lara and Vice-President Gabriel Orosco since 2015, newly elected Board member Leanne Ibarra and ERUSD’s current bond Program Manager Jaime Ortiz.


UNDER AUDIT: From (l-r) Christine Saavedra, ERUSD  Board President Jose Lara, ERUSD Superintendent Karling-Aguiler-Fort, Jaime Ortiz and Board VP Garbriel Orosco.


The audit was ordered by the Executive Leadership Team of LACOE which includes the Deputy Superintendent, Legal Counsel, the Chief Financial Officer and Business Services Director.

“The ERUSD will receive an AB 139 audit that will be performed by the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). ERUSD will receive formal notification in the upcoming weeks.”

AB 139 authorizes a review if the county superintendent has reason to believe that “fraud, misappropriation of funds, or other illegal fiscal practices may have occurred that merit examination.”

Emails into Lara, Orosco, Ibarra and Ortiz went unanswered.