Friday, January 04, 2013

L.A. COUNCILMAN GARCETTI WANTS $1 A YEAR RENT TO SAVE VAN NUYS AVIATION SCHOOL

By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer, LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/ZnhwQd

Friday, 1/04/2013 05:31:52 PM PST  ::  Calling it a way to promote middle-class jobs, Councilman Eric Garcetti called Friday for a report on how to continue the Aviation Center at Van Nuys Airport to train aircraft mechanics.

The school, operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been threatened with closure because of district budget problems and the monthly rent of $12,000 it has to pay to Los Angeles World Airports.

Garcetti said he wants LAWA to see if it can develop a program to rent out the three-acre campus site at $1 a year.

"The cost is small when you consider what the city will get back in the future in terms of taxes," Garcetti said. "This has been a great way to join the middle class for years. There are folks who want a good vocational education and will take on these good middle-class jobs.

"This is about economic development and creating a qualified workforce."

Garcetti said he learned about the threat to the program from newspaper stories and wants to see what can be done to work with the LAUSD to keep the program in existence.

The two-year training course, which is open to high school students, has about 100 students per semester with an estimated cost of $2,400 per student.

There has been an increased demand for airplane mechanics in recent years as the Vietnam-era trained mechanics begin to retire.

Garcetti said his proposal is scheduled for a full City Council debate on Friday.

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