Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SRHS 15 Plans Changed, Yet Again!

In a move straight out of Bob Bisno's playbook on how to gain supporters and win over more friends, the Los Angeles Unified School District have once again changed its mind on what might be built as South Region High School #15 (SRHS 15) on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

On Tuesday evening, the L.A.U.S.D. Board of Education approved a lowering of the number of seats proposed for SRHS 15 from 1,205-seats, down to 810-seats.

Also, in a Advisory Committee meeting earlier this month, the Local Area Superintendent change much of what SRHS was going to be and into some new plans that are an attempt to quell the community outcry that has been strong and loud concerning building a new high school campus at what is more commonly known as Angel's Gate.

The Bob Bisno playbook comes into view when the Facilities Division of LAUD is reversing itself and now is saying that they will work to get the long-closed Gaffey Street Pool reopened.

I guess LAUSD is getting as desperate as Bob is at finding any new support for a development that is just like Ponte Vista.....something that is just too big for OUR community.

Here are some of the 'new' things that are proposed to be included in the new plans for SRHS 15:

1. There will not be a separate high school built at the Upper Reservation.

2. There will be new buildings for 500 seats of classroom space to house the Marine Magnet program now at the central campus. The project capacity will be set at a maximum of 810 spaces (6/24 Board Meeting).

3. The Magnet program (governed by Integration Policies) uses citywide enrollment application procedures, but provides for preferences for local students (similar to those procedures used at South Shores Fine Arts Magnet School). There are some 329 students enrolled this year at the central campus. So the new site will allow for some expansion of the program. Apparently these students all live in the local region. (There are 329 students in the Marine Sciences Magnet and about 100 students at the Police Academy Magnet, both currently operating at San Pedro High School)

4. The Outdoor Program would have access to the new campus facilities when not in use by the Magnet program.

5. The Magnet program has funding for transportation (busing) to move students between the Upper Reservation site and the main campus. Needless to say this reduces individual student driving trips. This means that buses would move students to and from both campuses in San Pedro)

6. Magnet students will continue to have access to the main campus curriculum for other courses as well as to co-curricular and athletic programs. Athletic events will continue to be maintained at the central site. Field space at the Upper Reservation will be for intra mural and general activities rather than dedicated athletic uses.

7. The strong one high school spirit that prevails in San Pedro will continue in this plan, while there will be enrollment relief at the central high school site.

8. Angels Gate Continuation High School will be moved to a site near the Bird Rehab. facilities next Spring.

9. The curriculum of the Marine Magnet can be networked with curriculum at local elementary and middle school programs.

10. The nearby Marine Mammal and Bird facilities can be added to the laboratory activities of the new facilities being planned for the Marine Magnet program.

11. Traffic circulation and parking are still being assessed and reviewed in the planning work. For sure the current Alma St. entrance is not going to be for extensive use. Some networking with Rec. and Parks for a joint road from Gaffey Street is being worked on. Parking joint use options are also being studied.

12. LAUSD will offer to help fund the reopening of Gaffey Street Pool or build a pool on the new campus.

13. There will not be private property considered (I guess a suggestion by you?).

Item 13 refers to the fact that I strongly believe that the ONLY way to come close to providing any real access to both the new high school campus and the redeveloped Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center, directly next door to the proposed campus, is to take at least one house and lot on the south side of 30Th street, using eminent domain, to provide adequate access to both facilities.

The most probable truth is that the intersection of Gaffey Street and 30Th Street will get a new signal. Traffic to and from the facilities will utilize 30Th Street and not Alma Street or Barlow Saxton road on the Department of Parks and Rec. land at Angel's Gate.

The taking of private property for access to SRHS 15 AND the Outdoor Education Center is something LAUSD MUST NOT DO, but it is probably the only way and LAUSD is using eminent domain as close to OUR community as Wilmington.

There is still a long, long way to go before the motion to allow SRHS 15 to be built anywhere is voted on by the Board of Education.

Now that the proposed campus is slated to have 810-seats, it means the size of the campus can be lowered to between "6-8 acres" and it makes it easier for folks like me to see if we can't get SRHS 15 postponed, canceled, or moved to an alternative location within San Pedro.

When the plans were semi-officially unveiled to OUR community, not over three months ago, they included that:

1. SRHS 15 would be a separate high school from S.P.H.S.

2. SRHS 15 would have its own administration, sports teams (minus football), and amenities that would make is a completely separate high school from S.P.H.S.

3. Would have 1,205-seats.

4. Would NOT contain any Magnet programs.

5. Be a campus where ONLY students who live in San Pedro could attend.

6. Have a fair system for enrolling only San Pedro students.

I have to give a great deal of credit to the great folks working for and supporting Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) for establishing and strengthening so much great opposition to having a new high school campus built at Angel's Gate.

I think it is undeniable to everyone, including many, many folks within LAUSD that NOISE has made a great impact on plans to build a large high school on a site where it simply cannot be built.

I am not longer a member of the Board of NOISE, but I am sure proud of the great work done by all those gifted and concerned members of OUR community who are doing their best to keep the quality of life high in all of OUR community.

NOISE considers that IF a new high school is actually needed to relieve over crowding at San Pedro High School, it makes much better sense to keep it from being built farther out on the Palos Verdes peninsula and having it constructed more closer or within north San Pedro where students can get to and from it much more easily than having it built at Angel's Gate.

Six speakers from the Board of NOISE spoke at the LAUSD Board meeting that gave approval for lowering the number of seats at SRHS 15.

It now makes it easier to have alternative sites studied and approved of, for the new campus.

NOISE is not going anywhere and there is still lots and lots of work to do.

If you wish to contact NOISE and learn more information, please send your Email to:


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