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LAUSD OKs parent-trigger petition

The school board ratifies a partnership between L.A. Unified and a charter school to take control of the low-performing 24th Street Elementary in Jefferson Park.

April 17, 2013|By Dalina Castellanos, Los Angeles Times
  • Edith Medrano, with 3-year-old daughter Graidy, casts a ballot to determine the future of 24th Street Elementary School in Jefferson Park. The balloting was the result of a parent-trigger petition.
Edith Medrano, with 3-year-old daughter Graidy, casts a ballot to determine… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

For the first time since California's controversial parent-trigger law went into effect, a school district has elected not to challenge a petition submitted by parents.

The Los Angeles Board of Education this week ratified a partnership between the district and a charter school to take control of the struggling 24th Street Elementary.

The 2010 law gives parents increased authority over low-performing campuses, including the option to convert them to independently operated charter schools.

Parents at the Jefferson Park campus favored a partnership between L.A. Unified and Crown Preparatory Academy. The district will manage pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, and Crown Prep will handle grades five through eight.

Supporters, who delivered impassioned pleas to board members, cheered the outcome.

"We are so fortunate to be able to see the fruit of our labor," said parent organizer Maria Alcala.

Erica Valente, who had withdrawn her children from the school, said she looked forward to re-enrolling them. "I did everything on my part to create change, and I'm so happy my children can return to the school they loved," Valente said.

Parents at 24th Street began organizing three years ago with the assistance of Parent Revolution, a locally based nonprofit group that supports parent-trigger campaigns nationwide.

The parents and district "represent the new normal of this movement," said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution. "It's inspiring that [L.A. Unified] is the first to validate a parent trigger without being forced to do so by a court order," Austin said.

Wearing a midnight blue shirt with the words "I am the revolution" on it, Amabilia Villeda recalled knocking on doors in the rain and cold to get the petition signed.

"This is the moment we have been waiting for," Villeda said, acknowledging that the parents' work isn't over. "We'll keep working until the school is able to give our children the education they deserve."

Crown Prep's executive director, Laura McGowan-Robinson, said she welcomed continued parent activism, calling it integral to a successful school.

dalina.castellanos@latimes.com

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