Magnolia Avenue parents, teachers protest sharing campus with charter school
About 50 parents, teachers and students from Magnolia Avenue Elementary School gathered Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles to protest the addition of a charter school on Magnolia’s campus.
“Our children will lose several programs,” said Guadalupe Garcia, a parent of two Magnolia Avenue Elementary students. “It’s unfair.”
Garcia said the school is located in a low income area and parents are concerned that the school’s resources will be stretched too thin if the charter move is approved. The school is located near the Pico-Union neighborhood, just south of MacArthur Park and covers pre-kindergarten to sixth grade.
On Feb. 1, the school district made a preliminary proposal of space - 11 classrooms and one administrative space - to Equitas Academy Charter School identifying Magnolia Avenue Elementary as a potential location, according to district spokeswoman Ellen T. Morgan. Letters about the proposal went out to parents and legal guardians.
On Tuesday, protesters gathered just outside the doors of the Los Angeles Unified School District building. Inside, the board was to hear about another proposal to move a charter to an existing school’s campus. This proposal would move Citizens of The World Charter School-Hollywood to the campus of Third Street Elementary in Hancock Park.
The Magnolia Avenue protesters carried signs with slogans including “Help us keep Magnolia’s Mariachi program” and “Save our computer labs. Change Prop 39!” in reference to a California law voters passed in 2000. Under Proposition 39, school districts must share public school properties fairly among all public school students, including those in charter schools.
David Hessell, one of the protesters and a Magnolia Avenue teacher for 20 years, said the issue is space.
“Our parents are really worried because under the law, under Proposition 39 ... the district counts as vacant space any room that doesn’t have a regular teacher and a classroom in it,” Hessell said. “So our Magnolia Avenue parents, teachers protest sharing campus with charter school:
Parents and students from Magnolia Avenue Elementary School protested at the LAUSD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2017. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)