JUST IN: In reversal, Cortines says cameras can roll at LAUSD campuses
Craig Clough | October 9, 2015
LA Unified Ramon Cortines has amended his decision yesterday to halt all film and TV productions on LA Unified campuses. In a statement just released by the district, Cortines said he will allow several projects in the works to move forward. He also said the district will approve new projects on a case-by-case basis while it reviews its procedures.
“I am satisfied that the use of our schools is appropriate at this time,” Cortines said in a statement.
Cortines’ abrupt cancelling of all productions on district campuses came a day after NBC Los Angeles aired a segment criticizing the district’s oversight of film and TV productions. According to the story, LA Unified has profited roughly $10 million over the last five years by allowing its campuses to be used as location shoots.
Cortines said he understands “the importance of filming in Los Angeles and the benefits it provides to our schools and the local economy.”
“This morning, I met with the District’s legal and facilities teams to review all filming activities previously approved and under way, as well as all filming applications pending final execution,” he said. “Based on the information presented to me, I am satisfied that the use of our schools is appropriate at this time.
“As a result, I anticipate that five filming-related licenses will move forward over the next week. I will not formally lift the suspension until staff has completed their review of existing practices and updated the District’s procedures to better ensure that the use of our schools is appropriate. However, I do believe that in the interim, requests to conduct filming activities at our schools should continue to be reviewed and may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
“It is important that this District has the appropriate measures in place to protect not only its students, but its schools and property. It is also important that our actions do not significantly impact the greater Los Angeles area, including reducing job opportunities for residents, many of whom are part of the extended LAUSD family.”
Cortines’ initial canceling of entertainment productions came one day before Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti visited the set of “American Horror Story: Hotel” today to promote how the California Film and TV Tax Credit is helping bring film and TV productions back to the LA area, creating more local jobs from the entertainment industry.