Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HUNDREDS VOTE ON TAYLOR YARDS HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMIES: The voting will continue Saturday and ballots will be counted Sunday then delivered to LAUSD's Superintendent Ramon Cortines

By Maria Zamudio | Highland Park/Mt Washington Patch | http://bit.ly/hd5HR1

25 January 2011 | 10:52am -- Hundreds of parents and students stood in line Thursday Monday night to vote which academies they wanted to operate within the soon to be opened Central Regional High School No. 13, which will serve students from across Northeast Los Angeles, including Highland Park and Mount Washington.

Construction of the school is part of the district’s $20.3 billion modernization program, which is expected to build 132 schools by 2012. The new school will relieve overcrowding in Eagle Rock, Marshall and Benjamin Franklin High Schools, according to the district’s communications office.

The school, located in the former industrial area of Taylor Yard near the border of Cypress Park and Elysian Valley, is scheduled to open in August.

For three hours, voting lines stretched along the hallway of Irving Middle School in Glassel Park. Hundreds of voters were asked to chose from five of six academies vyign to operate within Central Region High School No. 13, or "Taylor Yard" High School, on San Fernando Road.

The voting will continue Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

By the end of the two days of voting, about 36,513 eligible stakeholders will cast their ballots, said Raquel Beltran, executive director of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters and League of Women Voters Education Fund.

Beltran said The League of Women Voters will count the ballots on Sunday and deliver the certified results to the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines on Friday, Feb. 4.

The winning proposals will become part of a report to Cortines. The district’s top administrator will read the voting results and reports from two other advisory committees and make a recommendation to the Board of Education on Feb. 22.

“This is the time to for parents to support the educational programs they want for their children,” said parent Irma Alvarenga, speaking in Spanish. “This vote matters. Why would the go to the trouble of having it otherwise?”

Parents, students and other community stakeholders can choose five of the following proposed academies:

  • Technology and Math and Science High School Alliance College -Ready  Public Schools
  • ArtLab: Arts and Community Empowerment
  • Los Angeles River School
  • Partnership to Uplift Communities (PUC) LA
  • School of History and Dramatic Arts
  • School of Technology, Business and Education

Avarenga said she supports the proposal of Technology and Math and Science High School Alliance College-Ready Public Schools above all the other choices.

She also said that she felt empowered by the voting process.

Isabel Ochoa, mother of three, agrees.

“This is great,” Ochoa said after voting. “It’s good to have a chance to learn about the academies and vote.”

The voting process is part of the Public School Choice initiative, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2009 and allows outside groups, whether charter organizations or teachers, to apply to run new or low-performing schools.

No comments: