This morning, Christine Peters of the Neighborhood Council, Echo Park Historical Society and other local organizations emailed me with some interesting questions regarding the apportioning of pupils in Echo Park elementary schools. She said:
In a conversation with some Teachers at Logan Elementary School, I was told...Logan's enrollment has now dropped to 650 (from 1,300 five years ago). School District high-ups have been sniffing around the "real estate." Apparently half of their classrooms are empty, and they are turning parents away for next year's enrollment. Teachers suspect the district is up to something. Meanwhile over at Elysian Heights Elementary, classrooms are being consolidated (Kindergarten and 1st grade, 4th and 5th, etc.) They are down to 228 students. David Tokofsky (out-going School Board rep), recently met with a parent group (SELPH) to discuss closing Clifford and making it a Charter School. (Tokofsky is a consultant for Green Dot, one of the larger Charter School operators.)
So, Peters asks, is the district is looking to close some neighborhood schools while trying to justify building an 875 student school nearby on Alvarado? And, if so, why?
Don't forget that over 200 people were evicted from their homes so their buildings/houses could be razed to create room for this new school.
And what I'd like to know is why is it okay for a school board member to be a consultant for a different system -- in this case Green Dot? Apparently, Tokofsky abstains from voting on issues related to charter schools. But doesn't that mean that his constituents are left unrepresented as a result, when charter school issues fact the board?
As for the incredible shrinking schools, it's a strange passing Logan Elementary's playground. It used to be packed with little people. But now those little people have been priced out of the neighborhood. Even the ice cream truck on Scott Avenue (on the back side of the school) seems to be gone.