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LAUSD board says no decision yet on moving Emerson adult school

Mike Szymanski | November 16, 2015

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RamonCortinesWavingStudents and staff at the Emerson Adult Center are concerned that their building will be taken over by a charter school and that LA Unified is growing less committed to adult education.

The message from LA Unified’s board: relax. The board and LAUSD officials say there is no commitment to separate the adult programs from the Westchester site and that further hearings will be scheduled before a decision is made.

At last week’s school board meeting, at least half a dozen students and teachers who have benefitted from the adult community school spoke in favor of keeping it all at the Emerson location on a quiet dead-end street near LAX. They cited personal stories of academic successes and noted that the neighborhood adults depend on the local school.

It’s one of the 10 adult community schools with its own campus in the LAUSD system, which has 89,340 adult students this year.

At the board meeting, board president Steve Zimmer, whose district includes the school, assured the speakers. “Adult education is important to the district and there is no proposal to close the school. No decision has been made.”

The staff and students of the Venice Service Center’s Emerson’s Adult Learning Center say they are concerned that the adult learning classes could be split into two locations. They are worried that a charter school could take over the campus that has been earmarked for adult education since the 1970s.

The adult education allows students to get high school equivalency diplomas, helps find jobs and assists in English Language classes. The school runs from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The staff said that the students at the adult center are generally at-risk and don’t have the transportation opportunities that the charter students have. They also said the proposed charter application wants to use the site for only three years.

Board member Mónica García said that adult education is still a priority for the district and suggested that there should still be some sort of collaboration to maximize all of the school classrooms.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines said, “We should have money to serve the adult population and we have history that we do.” He said that he has personally seen successes in families when serving the parents of children.

Local District West is having a community meeting about the issue today at 8  p.m today, at the Orville Wright Engineering and Design Magnet School. There is also a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Emerson Community Charter School.


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