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Magnet School Relocation Approved

Education: Over objections of some parents, board OKs move of Community facility from decaying campus to Venice.

June 09, 1999|DOUG SMITH | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

Despite strong objections from some parents, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted Tuesday to begin moving an acclaimed magnet school from its dilapidated campus in the Mid-City area to a new facility in Venice.

The 4-1 vote authorized school district staff to conduct an environmental review of the plan to relocate the Community School to a $4.2-million facility that would be built on the playground of Walgrove Elementary School, six miles west of the current magnet school campus.

For years, staff and parents of the magnet, which was recently named a national Blue Ribbon school, have been lobbying district officials to find them a new home.

Community is now tucked into the campus of the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, a middle-through-high school magnet on West 18th Street.

A representative of the Community magnet school's parent council said the group had decided in favor of the move, and staff members said the new facility would answer all their needs.

However, several parents protested that the proposal to move west to Walgrove was forced on them by the district. They said the offer was presented to them only two weeks ago, with a demand that they make a decision by Tuesday or lose the opportunity.

Parent Tony Palermo said most of the Community School students come from east of the campus and would face a long bus trip.

If Community moves, it would be the second magnet moved from the Mid-City area. Open School, which was a block away, has been relocated to Westchester.

The plan to move Community arose after the district received a request from Crossroads School, a Westside private school, to lease part of the 8-acre Walgrove campus for a high school that would provide tutoring to Walgrove students.

District officials rejected the proposal by Crossroads, citing a legal opinion that it could not lease district land to a private school if it is needed for public school children.

Board member David Tokofsky opposed the relocation, saying it appeared to be a cynical political manipulation.

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