A group of Elysian Heights Elementary concerned about a proposal to share the campus with a charter school have organized a community meeting for next week. Elysian Heights Elementary is one of the many L.A. Unified schools – including Micheltorena Street School in Silver Lake and King Middle School in Los Feliz – that might end up having to share classrooms and facilities with charters school operators as required by law under Prop. 39. Becky Mazel with the Friends of Elysian, a school support group, said that parents and residents have been left out of the loop about district proposals to share space that could prove disruptive to the schools and neighborhoods.
“The community is so ill informed,” said Mazel, whose group will hold a Monday morning town hall on co-location, the term used to described schools shared by different operators. “There has been no opportunity … for public comment.”
Earlier this month, Supt. John Deasy informed a group of school principals that it would be offering space on their campuses to specific charter school. The district will officially make those spaces available on Feb. 1 but the charter schools have until May to make a final decision. “This is a painstaking process and while there will be impacts to campuses, we have worked diligently to minimize the impact on campuses, and most importantly, to students,” Supt. John Deasy wrote in a letter to principals.
Three classrooms at Elysian Heights Elementary, which draws students from Echo Park and Elysian Heights, will be offered to Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts, according to the Deasy’s letter. Mazel said the Friends of Elysian has not officially taken a position on sharing space with Los Feliz Charter though some individual members are opposed.
Mazel said her group is trying to line up school officials who can explain the process and possible impact on the school and surrounding community. For example, she said traffic congestion could increase if another charter took up residence at the school. Also, a charter operator can eventually expand on the campus beyond their original allotment of classrooms, she said. Parents and residents have remained in the dark about these issues, she said. “We haven’t gotten any information.”
The meeting on Monday, Jan. 30 is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. in the auditorium of Elysian Heights Elementary.