Celerity Rolas Charter School
Asumag 8128 Celerityrolas 0

Struggling charter group shuts down one of its Los Angeles schools

July 26, 2018
The Celerity Educational Group, whose offices were raided last year by investigators, is closing Celerity Rolas in Northeast L.A.

A charter school organization under federal investigation over allegations of fraud and fiscal mismanagement says it is closing one of its seven schools in Los Angeles County, Calif.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Celerity Educational Group is shutting down Celerity Rolas in Northeast Los Angeles because it has been unable to attract enough students to justify the costs of keeping it open.

In a notice on its website, the school says, "the board decided that closing Rolas is the only sustainable fiscal corrective action for the school and [Celerity] as a whole. Without the necessary increase in enrollment, there was no other viable path to keep the school open without negatively impacting our other schools and students."

Closing Rolas means several hundred students will be forced to find new placements with less than a month until classes in the Los Angeles Unified School District resume on Aug. 14.

In the aftermath of a January 2017 federal raid and news that the FBI was investigating the charter organization, Celerity was thrown into turmoil. The State Board of Education refused to renew charters for two Celerity schools, and although both schools were able to reopen under different names, some families never came back.

At Celerity Rolas, an elementary and middle school split between two sites, the school needed 435 students to break even, according to the organization’s correspondence with the state. But only 309 students enrolled last year.

The group’s most recent financial projections show that individual schools are bringing in more money than they are spending, but the organization that manages them is on less firm ground.

A Los Angeles Unified District analysis described the fiscal condition of Celerity as weak. Within a year, the nonprofit’s expenses are expected to exceed its revenue by $826,000.

Out of its total budget of $5.3 million for the coming school year, the group expects to spend more than $500,000 on legal fees alone.

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