Los Angeles Daily News Editorial |http://bit.ly/VLp8H0
01/09/2013 10:56:18 AM PST :: A popular airplane mechanic school in danger of losing its spot at Van Nuys Airport due to exorbitant rents charged to Los Angeles Unified School District needs a rescue.
This vocation program is in jeopardy because the school district can't afford the monthly rent charged by the city of Los Angeles, which runs the airport. Surely the two government agencies can figure out a way to keep vital job training program going. College is not always an option for high school graduates and this program provides an alternative path to well-paying jobs.
The North Valley Occupational Center - Aviation Center opened more than 40 years ago, offering a relatively cheap two-year course that teaches young people how to repair helicopters and small planes. Thousands of students have successfully graduated from the program and gone on to jobs as mechanics certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But unless school officials find a way to decrease the $12,000 in monthly rent paid to Los Angeles World Airports they may have to close.
On top of that, there is an increasing demand for entry-level airplane mechanics as those who were trained during the 1960s and 1970s are now retiring.
It's good to see that Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti has stepped into the fray by calling on LAUSD and LAWA officials to hammer out a compromise -- including a possible move to charge $1 in annual rent to the school district.
If that route fails, then advocates of the mechanic school could appeal to the FAA, which has a policy that allows airports to significantly reduce rents for nonprofit and educational aviation programs.
The FAA has already allowed LAWA to charge reduced rents to the Flight Path Museum at Los Angeles International Airport. If an exception can be made for a facility that fondly recalls the region's rich aviation history, then why not do the same thing for a vocational program that directly benefits Southern California's next generation of plane mechanics?
● This is the same LAUSD leadership that proposed to totally eliminate Adult Ed.
● When outright elimination that proved to be politically unpopular they cut the Adult Ed budget to $36 million from $180 million …and continue to claim they “saved” it!
● When the head of the Division of Adult Ed balked at the proposed cuts he was fired for disloyalty. He is a former Navy SEAL and CIA spook – Ed Morris doesn’t do disloyalty!
The proposed elimination of the The North Valley Occupational Center - Aviation Center has very little do do with the popularity or even success of the program …and even less to do with the rent charged. (Though any reduction in the rent would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.)
The undisputed truth is that the current regime in LAUSD has no use for Adult Education programs or Career Technical Ed whatsoever. They are focused on K-12 college prep and college prep only. A thru G is the Only Pathway …to the exclusion of everything else including aircraft mechanics, nursing, arts, music, after school programs and the Academic Decathlon – the stuff the District does best. And, I submit, Los Angeles needs.
The bottom line is the budget and the test score. Return on Investment is measured in API, AYP and AGT. We have confused accounting with accountability and this program costs money and is not tested.