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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Board May Order Studies on Belmont Alternatives

May 09, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Education is expected to decide today whether to begin studies of seven sites that could be turned into new campuses to relieve severe overcrowding at Belmont High School.

The possibility of conducting feasibility studies will be presented to the board at its regular meeting, when it will grapple once again with what to do about overcrowding.

The district's efforts to secure enough land for at least 7,000 students in the downtown area have been controversial.

Facing strong opposition, the district in late March decided against relocating about 10,000 students, mostly immigrants, from Evans Community Adult School to a Wilshire Boulevard office building.

It also rejected a downtown auto dealership because of environmental problems found there. Now, a religious organization is objecting to a new plan to convert the former Queen of Angeles Hospital into an 8.6-acre high school.

The site currently houses L.A. International Dream Center, a nonprofit group that provides outreach and free medical services to residents within a 25-block area.

In a letter to Howard Miller, the district's chief operating officer, Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett urged that the district remove "the Dream Center from the list of prospective sites."

"We have given our lives, energy, money out of our own pockets and so much more to this incredible miracle," Barnett wrote.

"The people of Echo Park deserve to have a church that will not leave them or abandon them in the midst of such great needs."

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