Elysian Heights school parents seek more info on sharing campus with charter operator

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.


    January 25, 2012 CELL: 213 910-2592


    (Echo Park, CA) The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) announced today its opposition to the co-location of a charter school at Elysian Heights Elementary school in Echo Park and took action to request that LAUSD Board Members make more transparent, open and inclusive the co-location process to include input from parents, teachers and community members.

    GEPENC voted to oppose the placement of the charter school based on the concerns of increased parking and traffic and the negative impact on educational opportunities for the children attending Elysian Heights. A charter school is seeking to claim three classrooms at Elysian Heights under the provisions of Proposition 39, a statewide initiative passed by voters providing charter schools with space at public schools.

    “We have a very genuine concern on the negative impacts a co-location may have on the ability of children to receive a quality education. We have an example of a co-location going bad at another public school in Echo Park. We don’t want to repeat that awful experience at Elysian by creating to Separate but Unequal schools on the same campus”, stated Jose Sigala, President of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council.

    The neighborhood council also noted the lack of any parent, teacher or community involvement in the co-location process. As a result, the Board approved sending a letter to LAUSD Board Members Kayser and Garcia urging them to amend the Mission of the Community Relations Department at LAUSD to include outreach for co-locations under Proposition 39. Currently the district provides a November 1st deadline for charter schools to apply for space and then decides by February 1st to provide the space requested. There is no transparency or opportunity for parents or community members to weigh in with concerns. Adding co-locations to an existing outreach department makes sense.

    The parents of Elysian Heights Elementary will be hosting a meeting on Monday, January 30th at 8:00 am at the school to provide up to date information on the co-location and to discuss the impact the co-location may have on the school. Everyone is welcomed to attend.

    # # #

  2. Thank you Mr. Sigala for taking this position and for clarifying the date of the meeting. I was shocked to see people in Mercedes Benzes picking up their children from the charter at Logan Elementary — and of course double parking and not allowing people to get by. it was a mess just for traffic. Imagine how it is affecting the local students who live in the neighborhood. The charter students don’t live here for the most part.
    This is an uphill fight — the Board of Education has done nothing to help our neighborhood schools. It’s truly horrendous.

    • Blooming in Echo Park

      So now the kids are getting judged on the cars their parent’s drive too! Guess it’s not only kids that bully kids these days in the fight for better education.

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