By Becky Koppenhaver
The competition to decide who will manage a new Echo Park school has left the school board inundated with letters and petitions.
Earlier this month, The Eastsider wrote about the Echo Park Moms and Dads Group for Education, whose members went to the school board officer to drop off a petition with more than 600 signatures in support of Local District 4 / Echo Park Community Partners, a team of L.A.Unified administrators seeking to operate the $68.7 million campus now under construction near Alvarado Street and Sunset Boulevard. But, as it turns out, on that same day, another group affiliated with charter schools presented more than 700 letters in support of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, which is also seeking to run the Echo Park school, called Central Region Elementary School No. #14.
The 762 letters were among the more than 5,300 delivered to the school board by Families that Can, an organzation working with the California Charter Schools Association.The letters asked the board to support charter school applicants when the board votes on March 15 to decide who operate 10 new schools and three existing schools. Charter schools are vying to control seven of the campuses.
According to the Families That Can (FTC) website, the group is a community based organization dedicated to the fight for high-quality public education choices that “advocate for quality public school choices, equitable treatment and resources for charter public schools, and the advancement and growth of successful charter schools.”
In January, during a community advisory vote on the Echo Park school, FTC brought in several busloads of parent and community member voters in hopes of swaying the vote in favor of the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. Instead, community members overwhelmingly supported a pilot school proposal submitted by Local District 4/ Echo Park Community Partners, which won the advisory vote by 2-1margin.