Thursday, June 25, 2009


By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer – Los Angeles Newspaper Group/Daily News

6/25 - The Los Angeles district attorney issued search warrants this week at several Ivy Academia campuses, one of the state's top performing charter schools, in connection with an ongoing investigation, officials said Wednesday.

"A series of search warrants were issued at several locations (Tuesday)," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office.

"They are in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation by the District Attorney's public integrity division."

She would not elaborate on the nature of the investigation.

Tatyana Berkovich, president and founder of Ivy Academia, said all four campuses in the West Valley, including Woodland Hills, West Hills, Winnetka and Chatsworth, were served with warrants but she was not told what the investigation was about.

"They haven't told us the who, what, where, when or why, ... but we have no problem with them looking, we are a public entity, we have nothing to hide," Berkovich said.

Officials at the charter school division of Los Angeles Unified School District would not comment on Ivy Academia and referred all inquiries to Jerry Thornton, LAUSD's inspector general.

Thornton was not available for comment Wednesday.

In 2007 the Office of Inspector General released an audit that criticized some of the school's financial practices, raising concern about co-mingling funds between the nonprofit charter and for-profit groups affiliated with the organization.

The investigation followed accusations from former teachers and parents at Ivy who said the school was padding its attendance figures to boost state funding.

The school's state standardized test scores place it in the top tier of schools in LAUSD and the state, and its charter was reauthorized by the district last year for a five year term.

Ivy Academia serves 700 students on its four campuses from kindergarten to 12th grade.

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