GANAS Academy Founder Sakshi Jain Emails Now Available — Showing A Pattern Of Increasing Anxiety And Paranoia About Anti-Co-Location Activists — Appeals To LAUSD To Punish Catskill Elementary Employees Who Seemed To Oppose Co-Location — Discussions With The California Charter School Association On Media Strategy — Wild Accusations Of “borderline libelous and slanderous accusations – not just about the Founder, but about the school as well” — Whatever The Hell That Means — Resignation Of A Board Member Who Did Not Want “to be villainized by the community [he] was hoping to help” — Other Essential Information — Including A Potential Brown Act Violation In February 2019 — Read All A-Freaking-Bout It!

Here’s more on the anti-colocation battle being fought by a brave and devoted band of teachers and parents at Catskill Elementary School in the City of Carson against impending plans to install upstart charter school GANAS Academy on their campus. I have been investigating this story using requests made to GANAS via the California Public Records Act.1 And just recently these GANASsholes handed over a trove and a half of goodies. You can read about the video over here, and today we’re talking about the emails, which, as always, are where the serious action is. Browse them yourself, of course, or download the whole damn stack of them, right here on Archive.Org.2

And today I’m just going to run through a few highlights with transcriptions and a little light commentary. They paint a revealing picture of the effect that the anti-co-location protests have been having on GANAS, with at least one board member having resigned when he became aware of the intensity of the animosity towards his charter school. They also show the growing anxiety, shading into abject paranoia, of galaxy-brained GANAS founder and head of school3 Sakshi Jain as it became increasingly clear to her that she was in for a long and bitter struggle, and that there wasn’t really much help forthcoming from either LAUSD or the California Charter School Association.

The first sign of trouble present here comes on December 18, 2018, when Jain sent this email to the rest of her board members. The board meeting she refers to took place on December 15. I’m not sure exactly what happened at the meeting, but note that Jain didn’t expect any pushback at all, so this must have been the first public manifestation of resistance to GANAS Academy’s planned co-location. It’s essential to keep in mind that as of this date no co-location had been officially announced, so neither Jain nor anyone at Catskill had access to public official information that the co-location was actually going to happen:



From: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
To: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:39:34 -0800
Bcc: Natalie Mejia <ms.nataliemejia@gmail.com>, Juliana Mercurio <juliana.mercurio@gmail.com>, Miguel Casillas <miguel.casillas1@gmail.com>, Nitin Prakash <nit.prakash@gmail.com>, Tom Scotti <gscotti@polahs.net>, Wallace Wei <wwei@ingeniumschools.org>
Subject: Updated Information – Regarding Co-location at CatSkills

Good Afternoon Team,

I want to start off by saying thank you for your professionalism and cooperation at the board meeting on Saturday. It was as unexpected for me as it as for you but I believe we handled it gracefully and professionally. I also think its a fair assessment that our board meetings may be like this during the next few months.

I have been in contact with LAUSD about Catskills and what they have told me is that the principal went rogue and did this all on her own. LAUSD was there to do due diligence and survey school sites that they believe may be best for us but there was in no way or shape any commitment made. The principal organized this meeting without the authorization of LAUSD and has been spreading lies. The local superintendent will now meet with the school community on January 9th to address this misinformation.

I am linking the video of the meeting below that the school had and as you will hear there is lots of misinformation on there as well. Again thank you for your dedication to GANAS and please contact me if you have any questions.

https://www.facebook.com/euntalan/videos/10161212454385504/

Warmly,
Sakshi


You can see Jain’s sense of entitlement, her feeling that reality will ultimately conform to her sense of propriety, no matter how unsupported by facts it might be. In her characterization of the principal of Catskill “going rogue” and her claim that LAUSD, in the person of the local superintendent, is going to meet with Catskill people to take the side of GANAS with respect to the “lies” that Jain thinks people are spreading. This latter claim was probably an overstatement, based on an email which Jain had sent to that very same local superintendent, Michael Romero, the day before before she emailed the board, and Romero’s reply, which does not mention meeting with anyone at Catskill:



From: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2018 4:03 PM
To: Romero, Michael <michael.romero@lausd.net>
Subject: Sakshi Jain from GANAS Academy, hoping to get in touch

Good Afternoon Mr. Romero,

Happy Holidays! My name is Sakshi Jain and I am the Founder and Executive Director of GANAS Academy, a TK-5 charter school opening in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2019. I was hoping to set up a phone call or meeting with you to introduce myself and our school. In addition, I had some questions and concerns I was hoping you could help me with. Please let me know when you are available. Thank you in advance.

Warmly,
Saksh Jain


From: “Romero, Michael” <michael.romero@lausd.net>
To: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
CC: “Romo, Susana” <susana.romo@lausd.net>
Subject: RE: Sakshi Jain from GANAS Academy, hoping to get in touch
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 21:32:55

Hi Jain,

I am hoping that you are available to speak with me at 3:30 p.m. today. Please call me at 310-354-3410

Michael Romero
Local District Superintendent
Local District South
1208 Magnolia Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
Telephone: 310-354-3400


And board member Natalie Mejia, at least, was buying Jain’s version of events at this point, per this emailed response:



From: Natalie Mejia <ms.nataliemejia@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2018 15:47:00 -0800
Subject: Re: Updated Information – Regarding Co-location at CatSkills
To: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>

Thank you Sakshi for the update. I’m glad that LAUSD is looking into and addressing any misconceptions.

En solidaridad,
Natalie Mejia


The next board meeting was scheduled for January 26, 2019. Jain sent around a reminder by email on January 3. There are at least two interesting aspects of this message. First, the resistance is not yet Jain’s foremost concern. She doesn’t mention it here. Second, she hits up board members for donations to her school, presumably financial. She says that the amounts are private. In the face of the CPRA this is exceedingly unlikely to be true.4



From: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
To: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2019 14:46:59 -0800
Bcc: Natalie Mejia <ms.nataliemejia@gmail.com>, Juliana Mercurio <juliana.mercurio@gmail.com>, Miguel Casillas <miguel.casillas1@gmail.com>, Nitin Prakash <nit.prakash@gmail.com>, Tom Scotti <gscotti@polahs.net>, Wallace Wei <wwei@ingeniumschools.org>, Jasmine Ruiz <jruiz@ganasacademy.org>
Subject: January 26th Board Meeting

Good Afternoon,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a relaxing and restful holiday break. I wanted to send two updates/reminders for our board meeting this month.

1) If you have not already done so please make your meaningful contribution to the school. The amount of this donation is an amount that is meaningful to you and is not shared with any other board members.

2) We will be taking headshots that day for our website. Please bring a black blazer with you to the meeting so that you can have your picture taken.

Thank you,
Sakshi


On or about February 6, 2019, LAUSD officially announced that GANAS would be co-locating at Catskill Elementary. This confirmed Jain’s fears in at least a couple of important ways. First of all, she really really really didn’t want to have to share space with Catskill given that they’d already been protesting against her school. Second, it proved to her that Catskill had accurate advance information, and this kicked her paranoia into a much higher gear.

She announced it to her board in this email, which also made it clear that this champion of learning, poised in her own mind to out-innovate public school teachers, is a lousy speller. Also important is the fact that not only is she talking to lawyers about it, but to CCSA as well. It’s really not clear to me what kinds of services CCSA provides, although whatever they are they include social media stalking on behalf of their members, so this is an important piece of evidence:



On Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 11:00 AM Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org> wrote:

Good Morning Team,

Hope everyone is having an excellent week. I wanted to reach out and update you with the latest developments on our facility search. LAUSD has given us a Prop 39 space and unfortunately, it is Catskills Elementary School. This means that UTLA and Catskills had information prior to us on this location and that LAUSD has not been honest in my conversations with them. I have spoken to our attornies and CCSA and together we will be countering this offer based on the fact that it will impossible for us and Catskills to coexist their due to the existing animosity. I will, of course, keep you updated as this develops. Additionally, we are keeping our eyes open for private facilities and I am in conversations with someone who is looking for sites between Wilmington and Carson. However, in order to start engaging families, we will be focusing efforts in both Wilmington and Carson so that we can hit our target numbers.

We will also be canceling our February board meeting and adjusting the date of our March meeting so that we can better be prepared to meet the opposition. I will keep you updated on the date for that.

Thank you for all your support and staying strong in the face of these hurdles. I am thankful for your commitment and trust. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warmly,
Sakshi

Sakshi Jain | Executive Director & Founder | GANAS Academy
P: 323.364.3629 | sjain@ganasacademy.org | GANASAcademy.org


Also important is the fact that Jain cancelled the scheduled February 2019 board meeting in the face of the opposition from Catskill. However, it seems that there was business to transact, so on February 13, 2019 Jain announced that she needed to have a conference call with her board members:



On Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 9:28 AM Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org> wrote:

Good Morning,

I would like to schedule a 15-minute conference call to discuss some updates and get your perspective on our current Prop 39 offer. Can you please send over 2-3 times that you are available this week or early next week and I will schedule? Thank you!

Warmly,
Sakshi

Sakshi Jain | Executive Director & Founder | GANAS Academy
P: 323.364.3629 | sjain@ganasacademy.org | GANASAcademy.org


I don’t have the original email yet. The copy linked to above is from board member Wallace Wei’s response. Thus it’s not possible to be absolutely sure who was involved in this conference call. It appears from the recipient list that it was Jain, Wallace Wei, Juliana Mercurio, and Tom Scotti. This is four of what I think were seven board members at the time. If this is correct, and I am in the process of finding out, then the conference call would have constituted a meeting not open to the public, which would be a violation of the Brown Act.5 As I said, I’m looking into this carefully, and will report back when I have enough facts to either send them a demand letter or exonerate them.6

The next email, this one from March 4, 2019, reveals that the opposition had inspired Jain to try to get out of co-locating at Catskill to such an extent that she’d sought advice both from lawyers on how this might be accomplished. They seem to have told her that GANAS had no other option. She also announces here that, in the face of the opposition, she was going to limit the number of board meetings and that they would be having a “virtual” board meeting:7



On Mon, Mar 4, 2019 at 3:46 PM Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org> wrote:

Good Afternoon Team,

Hope everyone is well. I wanted to share some updates and ask for help.

As you know LAUSD offered us a colocation with Catskills Elementary and after much consideration and discussion, I accepted their offer. The reason being that regardless of the school we would be in there would be opposition and the more time we go back and forth with LAUSD the more time we are losing in recruiting students. Furthermore, after speaking with our legal counsel, I was advised that LAUSD is unlikely to budge on the location. My focus now is working with our recruitment team to ensure that we connect with families from Wilmington and Carson and share with them information about our school.

Additionally, due to the opposition being so vocal we will be limiting the number of board meetings we will be having. At this point, it does not make sense for us to have monthly board meetings as they are not productive. Our next board meeting will be virtual and in the next two weeks, I will send more information regarding that.

Lastly, I would like to ask for your help with teacher recruitment. I have been posting on all teacher job boards but am having a hard time finding candidates who are aligned with the mission of GANAS Academy. I am asking that you share the attached job description with your personal and professional networks and urge them to apply. They can apply through our website ( https://www.ganasacademy.org/careers) or you can have them personally email me. Thank you so much.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warmly,
Sakshi

Sakshi Jain | Executive Director & Founder | GANAS Academy
P: 323.364.3629 | sjain@ganasacademy.org | GANASAcademy.org


The next day, March 5, 2019, Jain sent an email to Richard Vladovic, LAUSD board member for the Harbor area, expressing her dismay at the anti-GANAS protests. This is an incredibly rich document, chock full of crazy, about which I hope to post in detail in the future. For now I am just recording it here to keep the narrative intact:



From: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
To: richard.vladovic@lausd.net
Cc: chris.torres@lausd.net, nancy.ceballos@lausd.net, dulce.j.lopez@lausd.net, john.larson@lausd.net, jessica.perez5@lausd.net, sean.jernigan@lausd.net, michael.romero@lausd.net, jose.cole-gutierrez@lausd.net
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2019 13:59:24 -0800
Bcc: Natalie Mejia <ms.nataliemejia@gmail.com>, Juliana Mercurio <juliana.mercurio@gmail.com>, Nitin Prakash <nit.prakash@gmail.com>, Tom Scotti <gscotti@polahs.net>, Wallace Wei <wwei@ingeniumschools.org>, Shiva Bhaskar <shiva.g.bhaskar@gmail.com>
Subject: GANAS Academy – reaching out for support regarding colocation

Dear Dr. Vladovic,

My name is Sakshi Jain and I am the Founder and Executive Director of GANAS Academy, a TK-5 charter school slated to open in August 2019 in Board District 7. I am contacting you today because I am requesting your support in ensuring that we have a harmonious relationship with the co-located site offered to us by LAUSD, Catskill Avenue Elementary

My concerns about this colocation stem from the events that have transpired in the last few months. The first mention of this site was brought to us in December 2018 when staff members of Catskill came to our board meeting to protest our colocation. My board and I did not know what we spoke of as preliminary offers are not sent till February 1st. During the few months, the following has occurred at our board meetings:

• The staff of Catskill informed us that LAUSD had come into their school with our team and called for segregation of their students and ours. This was in no way true as neither I nor my board members had ever heard of or stepped into Catskill and nor would ever use such language.

• After our board meeting, I contacted Local District Superintendent Michael Romero who assured me that he wanted all his colocations to be harmonious and no decisions had been made about our site and that he was going to meet with the Catskill community. I also expressed my concerns to Sean Jernigan who told me about a Facebook video that showed the principal of Catskill, Suzanne Zopatti, conducting a meeting in December during school hours with staff and parents sharing information about this proposed colocation.

• In the days following UTLA also had a protest at Catskill about our colocation. ( Picture Attached – you can see that the picture was taken in December, before colocations offeres were revelaed).

• During our January board meeting, even more members of Catskills and UTLA were present. They accused us of lying to them about not knowing about this colocation and steamrolled our entire meeting. We could not conduct any business as there were constantly yelling and accusations being hurled at us. Furthermore, there were statements made about our appearance and threats made to go to our board member’s house and harass him. We will now have to hire security at our board meetings because we feel we have been placed in a very unsafe situation.

• Information is being posted on social media with lies about our school and our name is being defamed. ( See Attached)

• We are getting calls from people screaming and yelling at us.

I ask for a meeting with you to discuss options on how we can develop a harmonious colocation with the offered Prop 30 space. The intent of Prop 39 is to provide charter schools with public space equal to that of a traditional district school because we too are a public school but in this scenario, the two parties involved are not being treated equally and I urge you take action.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,

Sakshi Jain

Sakshi Jain | Executive Director & Founder | GANAS Academy
P: 323.364.3629 | sjain@ganasacademy.org | GANASAcademy.org


This email had two attachments. The first was a Facebook post from December 2018 which, according to Jain, proves that the Catskill people had advance information about the co-location offer and also, she seems to think, constitutes defamation. As does, I suppose, this other attachment, which is an image of an anti-GANAS flyer. There’s more to say about this, obviously, and more emails in the conversation, but it’ll have to wait for a future post.

The next development was on March 5, 2019, when board member Nitin Prakash sent this email to Jain at her personal email address, sakjain83@gmail.com, resigning from the board due to the protests. This is a really interesting document, showing that Prakash, at least, was sensitive to the concerns of the protesters, at least insofar as his personal interests were affected:



From: Nitin Prakash <nit.prakash@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 2:52 PM
Subject: Hey
To: <sakjain83@gmail.com>

Hey Sakshi,

I hope all is well and you are managing through all the challenges of the past few weeks.

I don’t wish to pile on, but I have been giving it a lot of thought and do not think I can continue serving as a member of the GANAS Board. The primary reason is that my schedule for this year is going to intensify and I do not believe I can adequately serve the needs of GANAS given my own time constraints, particularly in light of how much resistance there seems to be.

Secondarily, while I realized it would be a challenge to bring a new school to life, I was not prepared for the level of opposition and angst among the members of the community. I believe in the mission, the board and certainly you. At the same time, I do not want myself (or the company I work for) to be villainized by the community I was hoping to help.

I am happy to speak by phone and further discuss at your convenience—please know I believe in you and in GANAS, and will continue to be supportive however I can as a non-member.

All the best,
Nitin


The next development comes in this March 26 email exchange between Jain and Chris Copolillo of CCSA. Jain had received a request for an interview from Random Lengths News and had consulted with CCSA about how to respond.8 CCSA’s advice not to respond is probably sensible, but they seem to be under the impression that calling Sakshi Jain and her co-boardies “union busters” is somehow worth talking to a lawyer about. Ms. Jain, you union-buster, it is not.



From: Sakshi Jain <sjain@ganasacademy.org>
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2019 3:11 PM
To: Chris Copolillo <ccopolillo@ccsa.org>; Josue Cofresi <jcofresi@ccsa.org>; Ebony Wheaton <ewheaton@ccsa.org>
Subject: Request from Newspaper

Hey All,

I got a request from a reporter from Random Lengths (https://www.randomlengthsnews.com/) a local newspaper to speak on the colocation issue with Catskills. Any advise on how to handle it or if I should? Also please see attached picture and advise? [there are two attached pictures. One and Two.] Is this defamation and do we have any rights to stop this? Thank you as always!

Sakshi


On Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 4:44 PM Chris Copolillo <ccopolillo@ccsa.org> wrote:

Hi Sakshi,

I don’t think you should respond to the outlet this time. This paper is super small and seems fairly tilted against charters already; investing more time is probably not worth the cost. However, the picture (which was also on UTLA’s Twitter) may warrant a conversation with legal counsel. As you continue to encounter these comms challenges and think about how to message against these kinds of attacks, it also may be worth it to talk to someone about strategic communications (Like a Larson PR, for instance).

Thanks for running this by us!

Chris Copolillo
Director, Regional Advocacy, Greater Los Angeles
California Charter Schools Association
(804) 398-8975


On March 28, 2019 Jain sent this peculiarly outraged email to Vernail Skaggs, who’s some kind of higher-up in LAUSD’s charter school division, weirdly referring to herself in the third person and accusing Catskill’s defenders of “borderline libelous and slanderous accusations – not just about the Founder, but about the school as well.” There’s a lot to unpack there, certainly, but I’ll leave that to you.9



Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your call yesterday to check in. As I share on the phone call, we have been harassed by UTLA nonstop. They have been posting lies on social media about myself, my board, and our school. In addition, they have been harassing us while we are conducting our business all within our legal right.

Yesterday the disturbance created by UTLA members, community organizers + parents (self-identified) occurred during a planned private event being held this morning at the Denny’s in Carson Plaza. Yesterday’s event was small and private – the intended audience is a small group of nine (9) childcare providers, to share more info about our programs – but it was disrupted by the aforementioned group. The assembled group of about 2 dozen or so individuals created a disturbance inside of a private business, were loud, shouting, disturbing other restaurant patrons and attempted multiple times to push through a closed, locked door (this door was already locked, as we were in a private room and it’s part of the restaurant’s policy to partition off the area we rented); in the process of them attempting to push through, they physically pushed aside an employee of Denny’s. Though there was no physical injury to the employee, other than the aggressive behavior they displayed, he opted not to press charges and suggested we contact the owner of the establishment to see if we could obtain footage from their security cameras (we intend to do upon his return next week). We stayed on-site for some additional time, as we did have two guests who managed to make it in, however, we were waited out by some protestors and as we were departing the premises, were approached within inches of our faces, while we had our hands full of items we were taking back to our car, and we had to repeatedly ask them to move aside as they were not only stepping within our personal space, they were blocking our path out of the restaurant. They finally stepped aside, but it took repeated requests and our claim of harassment for them to do so, all while shouting in our faces – due to our hands being full, we were unable to document this moment.

I’m also attaching an example of the type of flyers that are being circulated to the community at large, filled quite frankly with incorrect, and borderline libelous and slanderous accusations – not just about the Founder, but about the school as well. The attached video is a staff member at Catskills who was shouting and harassing our staff during morning arrival. This is the type of information we’re seeking to combat and dispel. I ask for your support to stop this harassment as we too are a school of LAUSD and our families and students deserve the same support given to traditional public schools.

Thank you,
Sakshi


Along with more copies of the flyers linked to above, this email came with a movie putatively showing harassment. Also, in case you haven’t heard of it yet, Jain called 911 over the Denny’s incident she describes in the above email, and you can listen to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dispatcher telling her repeatedly that protesting isn’t illegal.

And friends, there is a lot more interesting stuff in this batch of emails. I really encourage you to browse through yourselves or wait for future installments on the topic here. I’m planning two more at this point.


Image of manipulative brainwashing privatizer Sakshi Jain is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org.

  1. Self-plagiarism all the way here friends, if this seems familiar to you. I straight-up kiped the whole ‘graph from this post I just published a few days ago about that damn video!
  2. It’s pretty easy to get to the PDFs there, and I exported the attachments and uploaded them separately, so they’re all in there with filenames starting with zz. If you prefer you can download everything in the set via bittorrent using this link to the torrent file. Also, if you know how to import MBOX files you can get the entire set in that format at this link. If you’re not sure how to do this but you’re interested in learning get in touch with me at mike@michaelkohlhaas.org.
  3. As she’s pleased to style herself at every appropriate opportunity and well as most of the inappropriate ones.
  4. We’re certainly going to find out!
  5. In particular at §54952.2(b)(1), which states ” A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”
  6. The second possibility seems pretty unlikely, but it’s still a possibility.
  7. Probably another violation of the Brown Act. My investigation continues.
  8. Adding media relations to the list of functions that CCSA handles for charter schools. This is a really interesting organization, and ultimately I think I’ll be able to understand it thoroughly via the CPRA even though it’s entirely private and so not subject, because ALL of its communications with the schools are public.
  9. I will note, however, that whenever aggrieved people talk about “borderline libelous” statements they’re universally, one hundred percent of the time, full of shit. The “borderline” hedge is meant to create the impression that they’re expert libel-identifiers and the depth of their knowledge makes them hesitate to judge in this case. That way, of course, when someone who actually does understand the issues dismisses their claims they don’t have to feel like they committed themselves to an error. There’s really mostly not borderline libel, though. Libel is harmful false statements of fact. Calling someone a “union buster,” which is what Jain is upset about here, is not libel. Jain, you are a union buster. Come at me, my dude.
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