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Central Los Angeles : Efforts to Save Preschool Pay Off in District Takeover

August 22, 1995

The efforts of parents and teachers to keep a beloved South-Central Los Angeles preschool open paid off when the Los Angeles Unified School District recently decided to take over the school.

Since the state's closure of the David Roberti Child Development Center on July 10, teachers have worked without pay and parents have raised money by selling tamales and holding raffles to pay utility bills. Parents wanted to keep intact a staff and school that for 12 years has offered poor children a curriculum that emphasized independent thinking.

"It's a victory for the community of South-Central that they kept the school open," said Sonia Alvarez, a teacher whose 4-year-old daughter attends the school.

Los Angeles school officials said they will assume the center's state contract, and have agreed to keep the school's teachers and curriculum. "The program is a good program," said Cathy Kibala, an administrator with the district's child development division.

The state Department of Education closed the school after the school's owner, Marilyn Prosser, was indicted in March on 19 federal counts of fraud, bribery and falsifying tax returns. The counts allege, among other accusations, that Prosser used $500,000 in state funds for her own use.

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