Many Echo Park area residents recently found a glossy, four-page brochure in their mail boxes asking for their support in an upcoming election most residents have probably never heard about. Later this month, L.A Unified will hold an advisory vote to help decide who gets to run Central Region Elementary school #14, a new $68.7 million campus now nearing completion southwest of Alvarado Street and Sunset Boulevard.
Charter school operator Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and two other groups headed by school district employees have submitted proposals to run the Echo Park school. While the groups get to make their pitch to parents, students and residents at community meetings, the United Teachers Los Angeles took the extra and costly step of mailing out a brochure (pictured above) usually associated with more high-profile city, state or federal campaigns.
The UTLA brochure asks residents to vote in the Jan. 29 election in favor of a group called “Local District 4 & Echo Park Community Partners Design Team.” The brochure said:
“The Teacher/Parent School plan puts children first – not the downtown bureacrats and politicians. The plan promotes innovation without LAUSD interference.”
However, the leaders of the group supported by UTLA are composed in part of school district administrators.
A group affiliated with the UTLA did submit one of the three proposal for the new Echo Park school. But Becky Koppenhaver, who wrote a story on the advisory vote for The Eastsider earlier this month, said the UTLA team has now joined forces with Local District 4 – Echo Park Community Partners.
The advisory vote is part of the district reform program called Public School Choice. The program allows groups – including charter and private school as well as teams of teachers and administrators – to operate new and existing schools.