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Preserving Lincoln Heights historic church | Boyle Heights school battle | LAUSD Eastside seat up for grabs

A Roundup of Eastside News & Info

A Lincoln Heights church at the heart of the historic Chicano Movement looks for help. Eyes on an open, Eastside LAUSD board  seat. The winner could tip the board. Meanwhile, tensions rise at Boyle Heights campus shared by two schools. The week is almost up, we’re here to catch you up.

Battle for LAUSD Eastside seat heats up

The candidates are beginning to line up for the Los Angeles Unified School District seat vacated by charter proponent and former board president Ref Rodriguez. That  includes former board member Bennett Kayser, who lost to Rodriguez in 2015.

The special election March 5 is key because it will determine whether the balance of the board is weighted in favor of pro-charter backers or union supported anti-charter candidates.

Kayser, who falls on the side of the union, said this week he will run to win his board seat back. “I feel like my agenda was cut short from before,” he told the Los Feliz Ledger.

Rodriguez resigned the seat that represents a large swath of the Eastside and portions of Southeast Los Angeles County this summer after pleading guilty to a felony conspiracy to campaign contributions donations, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Other candidates that the LA Times said have expressed interest in running: public affairs consultant Ana Cubas; former school board member Jackie Goldberg; neighborhood activist Rocio Rivas; Huntington Park City Councilwoman Graciela Ortiz; and Los Angeles Board of Public Works member Heather Repenning.

Candidates must file between Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, so expect more names to pop up.

Lincoln Heights church at center of Chicano movement needs a hand


Supporters of the Episcopal church that farmworker leader Cesar Chavez and presidential aspirant Robert Kennedy once used as a home base are asking Eastsiders to help secure preservation funds.

The Church of the Epiphany — one of the oldest Episcopalian churches in L.A. — played on outsized role in the Chicano civil rights movement, not only pushing for social change but embracing the community’s culture and folding it into the liturgy, KCET explained. 

The Epiphany Conservation Trust is asking residents to vote for the church as it compete with 20 other historic sites for $2 million in funding from an initiative sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. Vote here through Oct. 26. The trust says that the Church can raise up to $150,000 for repairs and renovation.

The Church of the Epiphany is the only site in Southern California selected for the competition. More votes equals more funding.

Tensions rise between two Boyle Heights schools that share the same campus

It’s getting a little tense at the Boyle Heights campus shared by Excelencia Charter Academy and Sunrise Elementary. It’s so contentious that a teacher at Sunrise, which is operated by L.A. Unified,  put up a signs outside the campus  bashing the charter schools teachers and administrators.

“Don’t trust Excelencia Charter Academy — that was the clear message, which the new charter’s supporters saw as nothing less than harassment,” said the Los Angeles Times, which did a nice dive into the problems at campus and  how charter schools are threatening regular public schools.

The feud between charter and regular schools is nothing new. But the pitch it’s reached in Boyle Heights where both schools are losing students seems emblematic of larger problems facing the district, which saw enrollment drop below 500,000 for the first time in decades.

The LA Times blames the decline on a drop in immigration, higher housing costs near LAUSD schools and the proliferation of privately supported charter schools.

Rachel Uranga is a Los Angeles-based writer

Eastside Scene of the Day

Papayas at El Rancho Market, Echo Park | Christine Peters

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