by Laura Hibbard
According to documents obtained by The Daily, Los Angeles public schools invested nearly half a million dollars in a tutoring program tied to Scientology.
Based on invoices obtained by The Daily through a public records request, the district paid $447,338 to Applied Scholastics International, an after school tutoring program, between November 2008 and February of this year.
Radar Online reports programs for after-school tutoring are required under the No Child Left Behind law for troubled schools with low-income students.
Despite being based on the theories of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, school officials have been adamant the program is separate from the church, according to Radar Online.
What’s more, a report looking at the 2009-2010 school year showed students who received tutoring in the Applied Scholastics program earned lower standardized math and language test scores in comparison to students who did not participate.
“Are we excited or are we impressed about the type of contribution they make to our students’ performance? No,” Luis Mora, who oversees the tutoring, told The Daily. “But do we feel the same way about 95 percent of the providers? Yes.”
Back in February, a public charter school in Clearwater, Fla., became the subject of controversy after an in-depth report by the Tampa Bay Times revealed several aspects of the school’s curriculum were allegedly heavily influenced by Scientology.
Despite receiving $800,000 in public funds, The Life Force Arts and Technology Academy encountered financial troubles in 2009, leading Hana Islam of California’s World Literacy Crusade to step in to “save the school” with “no intentions of taking over.”
According to the Times, the Pinellas County School District cannot close the school because it is under bankruptcy protection.