Five schools in the South Bay are among 48 in the Los Angeles Unified School District selected for increased minority enrollment this fall, district officials said last week.
Assistant Supt. William Rivera said the schools are Crestwood Street and Point Fermin elementary, Dodson Junior High and San Pedro High, all in San Pedro, and Narbonne High in Harbor City.
Rivera said the 48 campuses have space for up 4,000 minority youngsters, who will be bused from the district's overcrowded schools. Figures for individual schools will not be available until mid-August, he said.
In the past, the district generally limited minority enrollment to 60% in response to longstanding court orders requiring racial desegregation of the system.
But trustees last Monday voted to change the ethnic ratio to 70-30, or 70%, at the 48 schools to take more students from inner-city areas with growing minority populations. Officials said they believe the higher ratio complies with past legal mandates.
The trustees hope that increasing the number of minority students on less-crowded, outlying campuses will delay the need to take other controversial steps to create more classroom space, such as converting more campuses to a year-round schedule. Before the board's decision, several parents angrily accused the trustees of intentionally bringing segregation to schools that already have integrated student populations.
Similar sentiments were expressed by some South Bay parents last March when they learned that the district planned to add bungalows at several schools to make room for students from other areas. The parents said their schools were already becoming overcrowded and that a further influx would cause traffic and safety problems, reduce playground space as more bungalows are added and lower the quality of education.
School officials generally counter such protests by pointing out that they are legally obligated to provide the best possible education to all the district's students, no matter where they live. They estimate that Los Angeles' enrollment will surge from about 590,000 to 667,000 in the next five years, largely as a result of immigration and high birthrates.
Administrators at the five South Bay campuses designated for the 70% ratio declined to comment on how the change might affect their schools, referring inquiries to the district office.