Saturday, April 19, 2008

Proposed School at Angels Gate Will Be Separate Facility

A Los Angeles Unified School District official has unequivocally stated the district’s intentions for the proposed South Region High School 15 at Angels Gate Cultural Center.

LAUSD Local District 8 Superintendent Linda Del Cueto told a group of community leaders Monday that the school will be a separate facility and not an annex for San Pedro High School.

“We are building a school for San Pedro residents,” she said. “It will not be for bused-in kids or magnets.”

Despite suggestions that the Angels Gate facility be used as a transitional school for ninth graders or become the home of the marine science and police magnets currently at San Pedro High, LAUSD intends to establish a new high school.

The plan is to construct a cafeteria, gymnasium, library and administrative offices to accommodate 1,215 students, although only two classroom buildings (for 810 students) would be built. A third building for another 405 students could be added later if needed.

San Pedro High’s current enrollment stands at about 3,600 and is expected to remain steady for the next few years. A list of completed, in-progress and planned development projects in San Pedro was read as proof that additional classrooms will be needed.

It is likely a San Pedro “attendance zone” will be created, allowing parents to choose which school their children would attend.

Del Cueto said there is some concern that most parents in San Pedro will prefer San Pedro High and there may be difficulty in finding enough students to attend school at Angels Gate.

Community leaders questioned the superintendent about traffic, parking and the ways a new, separate school might affect San Pedro High’s staff and students.

Del Cueto told the group there is a desire to “maintain the integrity of the current school [San Pedro High]” and not “cherry-pick the best students” for Angels Gate.

The school would field its own basketball and soccer teams, but not football. Responding to a question about whether students attending school at Angels Gate could play on San Pedro High teams, Del Cueto said rules governing athletic competition prohibit it.

LAUSD facilities official Rod Hamilton said the draft environmental report will probably be released in July, with LAUSD board action in the fall.

The plan is for construction to begin at the end of 2009, with project completion in mid-2012.

Ninth and 10th grade would start there in the fall of 2012, with additional grades added in the following year. According to Del Cueto, this is standard procedure for LAUSD.

Hamilton said the district is already doing engineering work to determine costs involved in reconfiguring a road at the north end of Angels Gate Park that could provide access to the school from Gaffey Street.

Residents in the vicinity of Alma and 30th Street are opposed to use of Alma because it is narrow and winding and lacks sidewalks south of the school site.

For more information about the proposed high school at Angels Gate, see the district's official notice of the project.


M Richards said...

The current enrollment at San Pedro High School is 3,437 students, with 1,202 Freshmens dwindling down to 574 Seniors.

Now please, can anyone tell me how building a new campus that WILL NOT reduce class size at San Pedro High School do anything to manage the high drop out rate at S.P.H.S.?

Wouldn't we just be moving one giant problem and splitting it up into two smaller, but still great problems?

It would be very hard to convince taxpayers that spending money to build an entire new campus, just to allow for more students to have lockers, less crowded hallways, easier passing periods, and better lunch times, when LAUSD has not been able to fix whatever is going on at San Pedro High School to really address the high dropout rate.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem that does contribute to the dropout rate are the things M. Richards mentioned in his comments in his last paragraph. I work at SPHS and it can be quite miserable for the students to be there for the reasons he lists. Angels Gate may or may not end up being the location of another HS but the overcrowding as a society as well as a community member myself needs to be addressed for the sake of our high school age children. If not, "the chickens will come home to roost" with our current high and inexcusable dropout rate with perhaps more crime/gang violence!