Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The move would displace students in the school's Arroyo Seco Academy.

By David Fonseca, HIGHLAND PARK – MT. WASHINGTON PATCH | http://bit.ly/Ieq9ka

9 April 2012 | 11:31 am   ::  Teachers at Benjamin Franklin High School claim that the potential relocation of Los Angeles International Charter High School students onto their campus would displace students and disrupt their school day.

Map of Franklin Campus provided by Richard McCarthy Credit David Fonseca


Map of Franklin Campus provided by Richard McCarthy Arroyo Seco Academy guiding document

As previously reported on Patch, the Hermon-based LAICHS in November applied to operate on Franklin's campus through California's Proposition 39.

Among other provisions that allowed for the funding of public school building projects, Prop. 39 requires public school districts to take applications from charter schools to operate in open classroom space in their buildings.

At Thursday's Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council meeting, Franklin teacher Richard McCarthy told community members that LAICHS' move would result in students in the Arroyo Seco Academy being displaced from their classrooms.

McCarthy, the academy's lead teacher, said that the charter school was offered the use of eight bungalows on the western side of the campus that currently house the Arroyo Seco Academy's classrooms.

See map above.

Franklin High School currently comprises five distinct small learning communities, each of which are able to operate on dedicated portions of the campus, said Franklin UTLA Representative Monica Whalen.

Whalen said that, in addition to classrooms, the bungalows also house a computer lab and drafting equipment used by the Arroyo Seco Academy.

According the Arroyo Seco Academy's guiding document--which can be downloaded from the above media box--the academy focuses on preparing students for careers in transportation, architecture and engineering and features a strong technical component.

Whalen said that FHS Principal Joseph Nacorda offered the cluster of bungalows to LAICHS in lieu of housing the charter students in classroom scattered across the campus.

Tony Torres--planning and development director for LAICHS--confirmed that staff from the charter school toured the campus last week during Franklin's spring break and had been offered use of the bungalows.

However, Torres said he was not aware that LAICHS would be displacing any Franklin Students.

"We have yet to hear anyone say that we would be displacing students," Torres said. "What we've been told is that they have space."

Torres said that Franklin's enrollment is down to 2,000 students from about 3,000.

"They do have space, how they use it is not up to us," Torres said.

LAICHS currently enrolls about 250 students and operates on a small hillside campus at 625 Coleman Avenue in the Hermon.

Torres said LAICHS is required by Prop. 39 to either accept or decline LAUSD's proposal by May 1, 2012. He said a decision would likely be made within two weeks.

Following LAICHS' tour of Franklin--which was conducted by LAUSD staff--Whalen and about 100 Franklin students staged a protest on the Hermon campus.

"They came to our campus and passed out fliers encouraging students to come to their school, so we thought we would go there and invite them to become Franklin Panthers," Whalen said. "We have Academic Decathlon, we have the environmental club, we have Cyber-Patriots. We thought they might want to think again about coming to Franklin. Our students were very respectful."

Torres denied that anyone from LAICHS had ever passed out fliers on Franklin's campus, and added that he intentionally scheduled the tour of the campus during Franklin's spring break so as to not disrupt students.

"We wanted to be respectful as possible," Torres said.

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