The Hollywood chapter of a national network of charter schools is considering an offer from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to relocate some of its programming to Third Street Elementary School.
Under Proposition 39, approved by California voters in 2000, school districts are required by state law to share public school facilities “fairly” among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools.
Elvia Perez Cano, a spokeswoman for LAUSD, confirmed to the Chronicle that the district “made a preliminary proposal of space to Citizens of the World Hollywood,” identifying Third Street Elementary School as a potential co-location.
That has not set well with current Third Street parents.
“We don’t have the space,” says Claudia Rips, a parent of a Third Street student. “Those rooms are used for drama, music, special education, childcare and after-school programs.”
According to Rips, a LAUSD representative told her that if a teacher is not taking roll call in a room, it is considered empty: “That surprised me.
“I don’t believe Prop. 39 says that you should provide space at the detriment of other students. That’s what it would mean to Third Street.”
The Chronicle asked the LAUSD to clarify how they determine a classroom to be empty and available for use by a charter school, but no answer was provided before press time.
March 9 meeting
The LAUSD hosted a community meeting at Third Street on March 9 to discuss the situation. Turnout for the event was so high, the school’s auditorium was standing room only.
“It was our expectation that our questions would be answered,” says Rips.
“We were looking for answers to how this would impact our children, how our school was chosen, and how they understand these rooms to be empty.”
However, answers to specific questions went unanswered, and before the meeting adjourned, the parents staged a walkout.
“LAUSD sent a representative, but he was not the right man. I honestly think they sent a sacrificial lamb,” says Rips, who explains that the speaker was only prepared to read Prop. 39 to the crowd and would not take questions specific to Third Street.
“We asked him, do you have any information about how this will affect our school specifically? When he couldn’t answer, we walked out,” Rips said.
Parents and supporters of Third Street have been circulating a petition, which has garnered more than 3,200 signatures, to “demand that LAUSD cease all interest in any charter school from petitioning to co-locate at our campus.” Additionally, a group
of parents attended a March LAUSD school board meeting to plead their case.
“Our hope is that LAUSD, after seeing and hearing us, will realize what a big mistake this is. These rooms are not empty,” concludes Rips.
The Citizens of the World Charter School must notify the LAUSD in writing to accept or decline the offer to relocate by May 1. The charter school did not respond to multiple requests for comment.