“Embattled Inglewood Unified School District finally balances the books,” read a 2015 headline in the Daily Breeze. But less than 2 years later, it had all been wiped away. The district faced an $8.1-million budget shortfall in 2017 brought on by a series of major errors in revenue and spending projections that, in retrospect, had little connection to reality. Inglewood was about a year away from running out of cash.
When the CDE stepped in to save Inglewood’s schools in 2013 after decades of mismanagement, it had a mandate to bring financial stability. Instead, the district has cycled through three leaders — not including interim appointees — chosen by Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. None has stayed long. The chaos of constant turnover has contributed to uncertainty over whether the school system still can be saved.