Plaza parents object to planned changes

first_imgThe district announced in February that it wanted to redraw attendance boundaries to balance enrollment among campuses. Some schools, such as Golden Poppy, are jam-packed with children, while classrooms sit empty at Juniper Intermediate and Yucca schools, where student populations have been declining. Learning Plaza Principal Todd Cherland said parents reacted with “general panic” to the proposal, which would affect 2,400 students, including about 900 at Plaza. “People love this school. We have very active parents,” Cherland said. “We truly, truly cater to our clients, and our clients are our students and parents. They feel they have a voice at the Plaza.” Lackey noted that Plaza parents strongly supported the district’s $25 million construction bond that narrowly passed in November 2001. Part of the money was used to build the $22 million school. Dismantling the school, he said, would “diminish the confidence of the public in being able to trust officials to carry out promises.” The last time the district made wholesale changes to attendance zones was in 2002-03, when it switched from year-round to a traditional calendar. District officials intended to revise the boundaries two years ago, when three schools opened, but delayed the changes when enrollment leveled off. Golden Poppy, a K-8 campus, opened in 2004 near 60th Street East and Avenue R. It has more than 900 students, about 200 more than expected, because of housing development nearby. New students in seventh and eighth grades are being sent to Shadow Hills Intermediate about a mile away. At Juniper Intermediate, enrollment has shrunk for two straight years. The district had expected more than 1,000 students this year, but just 900 enrolled. Yucca School has 750 students, compared with projections of 900. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I think it’s close to outrageous,” said parent Tom Lackey, a Palmdale City Council member and former school board member. “The history of the Plaza goes way back, and we waited a long time as parents to have our site built, and now we get the site and they are talking about taking it away and dismantling the school altogether,” Lackey said. “That is really heartbreaking to most of us.” The board directed staffers to come back with more alternatives at a May1 meeting. A public hearing will be held after that to find out what parents think. Any changes, if approved, would take effect next school year. “It’s a very large change for the school and its identity,” said interim Superintendent Roger Gallizzi. “It’s certainly not a reflection on the program itself. It’s an issue of having enough facilities on the west side.” PALMDALE – Many parents involved in a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that emphasizes college prep and the arts are objecting to plans to turn the school into another neighborhood facility. Palmdale Learning Plaza opened in September 2005, offering a program that ties into the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program at local high schools. It also has a strong emphasis on the performing arts. But now Palmdale School District officials are talking about turning the school at Division Street and Rayburn Road into a kindergarten-through-sixth-grade neighborhood school because of enrollment imbalance in the district. During a Palmdale school board meeting Tuesday night, about 40 parents showed up to protest a committee recommendation for the conversion as part of a districtwide realignment of attendance boundaries. last_img read more

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