Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pondering the Continued Craziness of LAUSD

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) continues its craziness and it is certainly overdue, in my opinion, to attempt to try to reign them in.

The LAUSD Board of Education is considering placing on the November ballot, a bond measure that seeks to add another SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS into their coffers.

In an article recently found in The Daily Breeze, here is just one paragraph that demonstrates how far LAUSD will try and go to get more money.

"Included in the "bond project list" are two 810-student high school campuses in San Pedro - one already proposed adjacent Angels Gate Park and another without a stated location that would relieve overcrowding at San Pedro and Narbonne high schools. Projects that are under way - the K-8 span school in Wilmington and a new high school in Long Beach on the Carson border - are mentioned as well."

I took advantage to highlight a bit of the paragraph.

The second school mentioned in the article must be the South Region High School Number 14 (SRHS 14) that was originally proposed as a 2,025-seat high school to be built at the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.

SRHS 14 was downsized to an 810-seat proposal and the Ponte Vista proposed site was eliminated.

SRHS 14 is still on the books of LAUSD as a proposed school, but it is in a status that resembles being 'mothballed'.

The new school proposed and actively being considered in Wilmington is a Kindergarten through eighth grade campus.

That proposed campus required the districts use of its right of eminent domain to condemn businesses and a few residences in Wilmington.

Not finding a suitable location within LAUSD boundaries, LAUSD purchased land in the city of Long Beach for a new high school, it claims it needs.

The matter that the city of Long Beach already has its own school system, doesn't seem to bother LAUSD one bit, it also seems.

Playing with numbers is the next area of craziness.

During the 2007-2008 school year, San Pedro High School had an enrollment of 3,561 students.

The District wants to build another campus in order to lower the number of students attending the main campus of San Pedro High School to not more than 2,600 students.

The District plans to build a new campus in San Pedro to accommodate "810-students".

Let's take 2,600 from 3,561, and our difference equals 961.

The new campus is slated to contain only 810-seats.

Where are the 151 high school students that is the difference between what LAUSD wants for the maximum number of students at the main campus of San Pedro High School, and the number of students (810) slated to be at the new campus?

Could it be that the SECOND 810-seat campus in the proposed bond would be for the 151-students from San Pedro and the other 659 seats go to former Narbonne students?

The date that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the South Region High School Number 15 (SRHS15) is approaching.

If the document is published prior to August 11, it will be published less than six months after the Initial Study was published.

Is it possible to accomplish all the studies needed to produce a complete DEIR in less than six months after the actual studies were announced?

The site of the proposed campus is located in an area where hand grenade training was held.

The site of the proposed campus is located in an area where cesspits were dug.

The site of the proposed campus is located in an area where a motor pool for military vehicles was located.

The site of the proposed campus is located in an area where there are buildings dating back to the first World War are currently located.

Many of the buildings on the site proposed for the new campus have asbestos siding, insulation, roofing, flooring, and in other areas.

Many of the buildings contain many hazardous compounds that were not deemed hazardous years ago when their real hazards were not known.

Can or should we trust the companies contracted to removed the buildings for LAUSD, if LAUSD prevails in their attempt to build SRHS 15.

Now back to the DEIR.

LAUSD made a profound and clear error last March, when they allowed the comment period for the Notice of Preparation and Initial Study was extended from 30 days to 60 days.

They were not bright enough to see that opposition to having SRHS 15 built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur was building and organizing as fast as it was.

No matter. LAUSD obviously didn't listen very well to the bursting forth of the opposition, or they thought that is wasn't as real as it truly is.

Because of LAUSD's blunder, which was actually great news for all of San Pedro, there is no way the comment period for the DEIR will be extended beyond its required 45-days.

Making comments to what is documented in the DEIR can be done by individuals and groups.

The DEIR will be published with findings of studies done at the proposed site and the alternative sites, that will be included in the document.

The findings will be documented in the attachments to the DEIR. The attachments will be much larger than the actual main DEIR and it is in the attachments where we will probably find LAUSD's Achilles heal, concerning the proposed site.

The DEIR will, most probably, be a flawed document.

It is up to those who make comments to the DEIR to find the flaws, document them in comment form, and provide CEQA evaluators the ammunition to either stall or kill the proposed campus at the proposed site.

"CEQA" stands for California Environmental Quality Act and representatives of CEQA are charged with making findings relevant to the documents provided to them.

It is my opinion from having been involved with several DEIRs, that this upcoming one, for the proposed campus, is being produced too quickly and will not include sufficient studies of the proposed site, alternative sites, or the "no project" option.

Commenting on the DEIR is not as simple as one might think.

Creating comments that state that someone doesn't want the campus built at the proposed site, just because it will bring "too much noise", "too much traffic" or "too many people", all without using numbers or studies, will probably be ignored.

Comments containing provable facts, other studies, and other factual results must be studies by CEQA and LAUSD and LAUSD must provide reasoning and accountability to their assertions as well as rebuttal to comments.

To provide comments to the DEIR it is suggested that individuals consider the areas that are most important to them and deal with those, rather than attempting to cover the entire document.

Groups should be organized in a way that allows individuals within the group to study different parts and then include those parts in an overall set of comments from the group.

In comments, anything that would demand delaying the project is a good thing, if you oppose the construction of the campus at its proposed site.

The group, Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) wants to do two things;

"Fix Pedro High". NOISE wants to work to improve everything possible at San Pedro High School and will be working with the Lady Boosters and others to find ways to deal with the many problems at the existing campus.

Oppose having SRHS 15 built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

You can reach NOISE by Email at: nohighschool15@cox.net.

More pondering about SRHS 15 will be forthcoming on this blog.

1 comment:

KM said...

I am all for places for kids to learn, but it is nonsensical for LAUSD to pour money into new buildings while our students and teachers languish in 30 year old temporary portables. There is no reason to not increase seat capacity by making the underused parcels that the portables now sit on permanent, upgraded buildings. It's more efficent, better for the community and more cost effective.It also sends the message to students and staff that we care about them.