Get involved: Almost time to vote on new Echo Park school

Construction is wrapping up at CRES#14 - the site previously occupied by 50 homes

We received a submission from Echo Park resident, business owner, and Echo Park Mom’s Group for Education member Micki Curtis. Very concerned about the upcoming vote on Central Region Elementary School (CRES) #14, Micki is calling for the community to get involved immediately so that the community gets what it deserves with this school. Here’s what she has to say:

Dear Fellow Parents and Community Members, I am writing to you as a concerned parent and community member. A couple of years ago, the LAUSD won the battle to destroy over 50 homes and close an access street [Marathon] to build a new school facility currently called CRES #14. Click here to read some of the back story on Curbed LA.

Now that the building is almost completed, the LAUSD is using the CHOICES process to decide who will inhabit this publicly funded project. I have been attending meetings and following the decision process as to which type of school (there are two different proposals) will inhabit the new elementary and middle school facility at Sunset and Alvarado. The two proposals are: a mostly Spanish-language school called Camino Nuevo (not language emergence, but bilingual), and the second school, yet to be named but with a working title of “Echo Park Community Partners Design Team.” The second proposal has continually grasped my deep interest – it is an amazing school for the entire community.

Echo Park Community Design Team is the brainchild of current and retired amazing teachers who live in and love our community and see the need for a progressive and fantastic school. Many of them, although teaching in the area, sent their kids to open charter, a magnet school by the airport. Open School is an exceptional school with ties to its community and offering progressive fantastic opportunities to learn.

The teachers have created a proposal based on Open School, taking into consideration the richness of the arts and history in our community. It really is a dream proposal with arts, science, dual language and a place for all the children who exist in our diverse Echo Park/Silver Lake community. They are partnered with LAPHIL, CalArts, MOCA and the Tree People to offer unique opportunities to the students.

They plan not only a progressive learning school but also a progressive campus servicing pre-K-8th grade, and geared toward being a feeder to the Central High #9 fine arts school. Their proposal includes: Project-based learning, arts education, dual language, environmental science, technology, and inclusive curriculum reflecting our community’s diversity. The school will have grades Pre-K through 8 with multi-age classrooms, and will include team teaching, handicapped accessible facilities, athletics fields, shaded lunch areas and a parent center.

WOW, right? The problem is Camino Nuevo has a lot more support (they currently have three existing Ccmpuses near us), and even though I think it’s a good school for new immigrants, it is not a true reflection of what we need in our changing community now and in our future.

When asked about non-Spanish speakers learning at Camino Nuevo, Ana F. Ponce, the Director and CEO responded, “You have a choice not to attend Camino Nuevo if you don’t speak Spanish.” How is that legal to have a publicly funded school and administration that doesn’t serve the entire community? It is fine to have a charter that teaches whatever it wants in whatever way it professes, but CRES #14 will not be a charter, it will not be a lotter. It will be a neighborhood school entirely funded by the LAUSD via taxpayers and a Union LAUSD School.

Currently, every parent I know who lives around here sends their children to private school or drives a distance to magnets and charters outside our area. There is nothing in our area for our Grace and Quinn to give them a great education. This school could be the answer. The campus is there, the proposal there, the funding is there but we have to support it and vote for it or Camino Nuevo will get that amazing new state-of-the-art campus, and in essence run a specialized charter program for only some of the community, but completely funded by all our community.

Literally built on the backs and homes of our community we have an opportunity to hear the two schools’ proposals this Thursday, January 27, at Union Elementary. At 8:00 pm, a vote opens up. The people eligible to vote are parents, employees and community members in our area.

CRES #14 is in District 5 of LAUSD and is meant to relieve two other schools that reside in District 2. So, if you live in Echo Park, Silver Lake, Angelino Heights, and Elysian Heights, Westlake or downtown, this information concerns YOU. Please see the LAUSD school map by clicking here.

As a concerned parent and community member, our children need your vote and your attendance at the meeting. You and all your friends who live directly in the area or work in the area need to attend. The two voting days are Thursday, January 27 at Union Elementary School (in the cafeteria) starting at 6:00 pm, and Saturday morning at Rosemont Elementary School (in the Auditorium) from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. The League of Women Voters is running the vote. You have to state where you live or work in the direct area, have any form of ID, and then you may vote. Our children need your input and your vote!

Additional information:

Click here to download the English and Spanish language versions of the flyer with all the meeting information (in PDF form).

For the proposal for the amazing school by the Echo Park Community Partners, click here.

Questions you may have:

Where is the attendance area?

The school is at the junction of Sunset and Alvarado, a major intersection for commuters, and is the on-again off-again boundary that is Silver Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods. The School Board has not defined the area of enrollment for CRES #14. This is your chance to state that you want and need a school like the Echo Park Community Partners Design Team, and how you would like your children to attend. A two-mile radius would extend Silver Lake south of the 5 freeway, just west of Sunset Junction, and into Angelino Heights and Elysian Park. It would be a true neighborhood school and a choice for all of us. You need to write and call the school board to have realistic attendance lines drawn.

What do to?

VOTE: It is not clear how much the vote weighs on the minds of our school board members, Mr. Cortines, our Superintendent, or Yolie Flores and Monica Garcia, our School Board representatives. And because there is a School Board election happening this March, this is the time for our school board members to stand up and listen to the concerned parents in their communities.

CALL and WRITE: Please call and write the following people regarding CRES #14. Right now, the LAUSD School Board knows they need to answer to the parents’ needs first. YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Any phone call and note supporting this project is important and will be heard.

Mr. Cortines is the Superintendent of the whole district: 213-241-7000, and by email

Yolie Flores is your School Board Member Representative from District 5: 213-241-6383, fax: 213-241-8467 and by email

Monica Garcia is your School Board Member Representative from District 2: 213-241-6180, and by email

Ron Palacios, Director of Community Partnerships: 213-241-6383, and by email

184 replies
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