BELL — The Los Angeles Unified School District and the City of Bell have entered into an agreement that is expected to generate $25 million for Bell schoolchildren over the next 25 years.
The Los Angeles school board last week approved a pact with the Bell Redevelopment Agency whereby the district will transfer to the agency a district-owned site at Atlantic Avenue and Randolph Street. In return, the district will receive $25 million from the tax revenue that will be generated as a result of redevelopment.
The district, which had intended to use the site for an elementary school playground, now will use some of the funds to acquire a different playground site, at Randolph Street and Flora Avenue.
'A Win-Win Situation'
According to Robert Niccum, director of real estate for the school district, the arrangement will benefit both the city and the schools.
Niccum said the district had originally planned to use the land at the corner of Atlantic and Randolph to create a playground east of proposed school buildings. Now that site will be available to the redevelopment agency for commercial development, and the school playground will be built on a quieter, safer site to the west of the new school, away from busy Atlantic Avenue, Niccum said.
"It's a win-win situation," he said. "You've got to savor those when they come along."
In addition to providing the district with tax revenue over the next 25 years, the city has agreed to build and maintain a sodded soccer field for the new school. According to Dominic Shambra, the district's administrator of special programs and activities, few local schools have such facilities.
"We don't have turf fields for elementary schools," Shambra said. "We have asphalt."
Under terms of the agreement, the field will be open for community use during non-school hours. Shambra estimated the value of the soccer field at about $150,000.
The pact is the first such venture for the school district, which usually depends on the state for school financing.
"Because of the agreement, we've developed a very positive relationship with the City of Bell," Shambra said.
City Manager Comments
Bell City Manager Byron Woosley agreed.
Woosley pointed out that green space is in short supply in Bell and that the City Council had come up with the idea of turning part of the school site into a park area for use by the community as well as the students.
"We're really pleased with this agreement," Woosley said. "This is something that we know is going to benefit both the school district and the City of Bell and, most important, our school kids."
Under terms of the agreement, the money received by the district must be used "to enhance the educational environment for the students attending schools serving the City of Bell."
According to district officials, construction of the school, known as Bell New Elementary School No. 2, will begin early next year. The new school will serve 1,000 students in the Bell area, one of the most crowded in the Los Angeles district.