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ICEF charter schools to begin merger talks with Alliance charter group

April 2, 2011 |  2:28 pm

The board of directors of ICEF Public Schools voted Saturday to move forward with negotiations that are expected to result in the takeover of ICEF by another charter school organization.

The vote came after a two-hour meeting during which ICEF parents and staff could ask questions about the pending merger with Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. About 500 parents were in attendance at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.

Parents expressed concerns about whether ICEF schools would lose aspects of an academic and cultural program that includes sports, art and music. There also were worries about how well the clientele of the two nonprofits would mesh. ICEF’s enrollment is largely African American; the overwhelming majority of Alliance students are Latino.

But ICEF board chairman Richard Riordan, the former Los Angeles mayor, said ICEF’s basic choice was to merge or close because of ICEF’s financial problems. The combined organization would be the largest charter school group in Southern California and possibly the state.

The ICEF and Alliance boards can now begin formal negotiations. Sources close to the process indicated that, under terms of the proposed merger, the Alliance board would have full control over the combined operations.

-- Howard Blume