Magnolia Schools

The case of Magnolia’s charter schools shows just how widely Turkey has cast its net in the post-coup crackdown against Gulen’s supporters. And the California network is not alone...

Robert Amsterdam's attempt to shut down Magnolia Public Schools


In unusual move, LA Unified board denies renewals to five charter schools

"The Magnolia schools, he said, “have never done anything but provide world-class education to inner-city kids in Los Angeles.”

In fact, two Magnolia schools this year were ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 100 high schools in California, with one of them, Magnolia Science Academy 2 in Van Nuys, the top-ranked charter high school in L.A. Unified. That school was one of the three Magnolia schools that were denied renewals."
LAUSD "school board members voted unanimously to remove the charters of three L.A. Magnolia schools. The reason for the decision—withholding accounting financial information from auditors—was nearly identical to the legal complaint brought by Turkey’s lawyers.

While the Los Angeles school board hearing was ostensibly unrelated, Robert Amsterdam, the attorney spearheading the nationwide campaign, believes the board’s decision was spurred by the firm’s legal complaint.
<span class="floox-title">“They closed those schools on the basis of our claims,” said Amsterdam.</span>

Here how it works:

  • Erdogan hired Amsterdam on August 28, 2015.
  • Amsterdam hired Kindel Gagan on February 3, 2016.
  • Robert Amsterdam met Steve Zimmer, president of L.A. Unified School District board on February 25, 2016.
  • Amsterdam filed a complaint against Magnolia with the California Department of Education on February 26, 2016.
  • Kindel Gagan got paid following amounts by Amsterdam:
  • Kindel Gagan met Steve Zimmer (president of LAUSD Board) on September 28, 2016.
  • Kindel Gagan made political contributions for LA School Board 2017 elections:
    • $1,100 on September 29, 2016 to Steve Zimmer.
    • $1,100 on October 7, 2016 to Steve Zimmer.
    • $1,100 on December 6, 2016 to Steve Zimmer.
    • $1,100 on January 25, 2017 to Monica Garcia.
    • $1,100 on February 14, 2017 to Imelda Padilla.
    • $1,100 on February 16, 2017 to Kelly Gonez.
  • The L.A. Unified board with Steve Zimmer as board president voted 6 to 0 to close the schools on October 18, 2016.
  • Magnolia appealed the decision to the board of the L.A. County Office of Education.
  • Kindel Gagan continued to reach out to key people and expressed support for LAUSD action to L.A. County Office (LACO) and opposition to Magnolia appeal.
  • L.A. County Office of Education overruled LAUSD board decision , by a 4-1 vote, after three hours of testimony and discussion on December 20, 2016.
  • The schools were not closed. The county now is authorizing three Magnolia charter schools, which means it will provide oversight for them. Five Magnolia charters remain under the jurisdiction of L.A. Unified, and Magnolia also has schools in San Diego and Santa Ana.
<span class="floox-title">The schools were not closed. The county now is authorizing three Magnolia charter schools, which means it will provide oversight for them.</span>