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Stoner parents win, LAUSD removes co-located charter

Michael Janofsky | May 23, 2014

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CWC Mar Vista Charter School LAUSD Stoner Elementary

CWC Mar Vista Charter School


Parents of students at Stoner Elementary School, who have been fighting to get the co-located Citizens of the World  Charter School Mar Vista (CWC) off their campus, have succeeded in their quest.

A letter from LA Unified has informed them the charter “will not be co-locating” on the campus next year, a decision that effectively ends CWC’s presence at the Del Rey campus after just one tumultuous year.

The letter, dated May 22 and signed by Lorena Padilla-Melendez, director of community relations for LA Unified’s Facilities Services Division, offers no explanation for why the decision was made, and requests for comment from the district were unsuccessful.

The letter apparently caught the CWC school community by surprise. Amy Held, executive director of CWC Los Angeles, said in an email late yesterday that CWC was “caught off guard” by the letter inasmuch as CWC officials had been in talks with the district to remain at the campus,

She said her side has reached out to Superintendent John Deasy “for clarification.”

If CWC is leaving, it would bring an end to months of friction, including several incidents of violence, linked to the oil-and-water mix of the two schools.

Neighbors had complained to school and district officials that daily traffic congestion reflected an untenable relationship between the two schools, and outsiders used the conflict as an exhibit in their eternal fight against charter schools and California’s Prop 39, a decade-old law that allows under-enrolled public schools to share their space.

“The way it was handled was very much by the book,” said Adam Benitez, the father of a daughter at Stoner and one of the neighbors leading the efforts to get the charter removed. “The district told us it was a ‘compliance’ issue, but they didn’t tell us what wasn’t complied with.”

He added, “I’m not sure we can take full credit for getting them off our campus. It was their own ineptness.”

The removal of CWC, a school run by a national charter organization, means that to continue, it would need to negotiate for another space in the district.

A message left for Alison Kerr, the CWC Mar Vista principal, was not immediately returned.


* Adds comment from Amy Held, CWC Los Angeles executive director.

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