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Warrants executed at Ivy Academia charter school

June 24, 2009 |  5:48 pm

Investigators fanned out to multiple campuses of Ivy Academia, a high-performing charter school in the San Fernando Valley, to execute search warrants as part of an investigation by the district attorney's Public Integrity Division, authorities said Wednesday.

It was not clear what the search was for, or what crimes are being investigated.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, said she couldn't comment on the matter, except to say that a series of warrants were executed Tuesday morning "as part of an ongoing investigation." She said the affidavit describing the reason for the warrants had been sealed.

Jerry Thornton, inspector general for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said his office assisted in the investigation. He also declined to describe the nature of the probe.

Tatyana Berkovich, the founder and president of Ivy Academia, said she didn't know what the investigators were after.

"We're a public agency, and they have the right to look at things," she said. "We are confident that any inquiries that they have will showcase what a superior educational program we have. ... Anything that they have concerns about will be taken care of."

In 2007, Thornton's office issued an audit of Ivy Academia that was critical of the school's accounting and payroll practices, and said the not-for-profit charter was co-mingling funds with other, for-profit ventures. The audit report said the school promised to change some of its practices, but disagreed that others were problematic.

Ivy Academia has about 700 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and operates four campuses in Woodland Hills, West Hills, Winnetka and Chatsworth. Its standardized test scores put it in the top 20% of all public schools in California.

-- Mitchell Landsberg