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LAWA responds to 2UrbanGirls

2UrbanGirls is researching why it is taking so long for Inglewood USD to receive LAWA funds to insulate the schools for noise from the airplanes.  An 1980 easement signed by the Inglewood Unified School District shields the airport from further financial responsibility to pay for noise abatement at the schools. 

In a 1999 follow-up, current LAWA spokeswoman Nancy Castles had this to add:

Whether or not the schools are going to qualify for additional money
will hinge on whether they used the original noise abatement funds according to the settlement and the results of further noise level study, said Nancy Castles, public affairs director for the airport.

Inglewood Unified School District received nearly $6 million from the airport for noise insulation as part of a $20 million court judgment brought jointly by the Inglewood, Los Angeles, Centinela Valley Union, El Segundo and Lennox school districts.  Who was on the school district when that money was disbursed and more importantly, what was it spent on?  Is that when the IUSD was all women with Gloria Gray on the board?

Terrell Miller, then IUSD director of facilities and transportation for the school district, said he was unsure whether or not the schools used the original settlement for noise abatement.  Arnold Butler, principal at Monroe Middle School, also was uncertain about the use of the funds for noise insulation at the school.

2UrbanGirls contacted LAWA to get clarification on where Inglewood stands now as the FAA fought hard not to give additional funding to the schools due to the 1980 agreement, although, Lennox School District received additional funding as recently as 2011.  Here is LAWA’s response:

“Good morning,

Thank you for speaking with me briefly this morning, and as you suggested, I have prepared my questions in regards to the PFC application submitted to the FAA on behalf of Inglewood USD.

2UrbanGirls:  The funds were authorized for FAA to release due to legislation authored by Congress in 2008, why has Lennox received funds and Inglewood has not?

LAWA: http://www.ourlax.org/commBenefits/pdf/CBAStatusReport2011.pdf.   See the CBA report link here.  As you know the IUSD  PFC application has now been submitted and we are waiting for the FAA response.

2UrbanGirls: If legislation calls for FAA to release funds, why does an application need to be submitted?

LAWA:  The FAA does not actually release these funds, but they do authorize their use. The funds identified by the legislation are called Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). These funds are collected by the airlines and provided to LAWA for use subject to the specific PFC application approval that the FAA issues. Without the application to collect and use PFCs, we do not have any authority to do so. Therefore, we must apply to the FAA to collect the PFCs and can only use such funds in accordance with the Federal Agency Decision or FAD related to that specific application.

2UrbanGirls:  Inglewood USD has been using taxpayer funds, earmarked for school improvements, to provide analysis of LAWA needs.  If FAA approves the PFC application submitted in August, what is the remedy for reimbursing those expenditures back to the proper accounts?

LAWA:  The FAA approval will outline what expenditures are allowed to be paid for work related to the sound insulation of the schools. Until we received the Federal Agency Decision (FAD) related to this PFC application, we will not know what is an allowable expense. Work related to the design of the sound insulation projects would normally be an allowable expense.  Once we get FAD, we will know what is reimbursed.

2UrbanGirls:  If the FAA approves the application, what is the timeline for disbursements to Inglewood USD?

LAWA:  LAWA will follow the requirements of the settlement agreement with regard to issuance of funding. The first step will be for IUSD to provide their first annual plan outlining the expenses and plans for the first year and the first $10M allotment, assuming the funding is allowed by FAA. There are other administrative requirements, including BOAC approval with a signed letter agreement that outlines the requirements from the Settlement, and which must be signed by both LAWA and IUSD.

2UrbanGirls:  Which engineering firm completed the IUSD plan for LAWA identified projects?

LAWA:  IUSD worked with BASE Architecture to put together the sound mitigation plan.

2UrbanGirls:  Finally, do you have a copy of the original 1980 agreement which caused the delay?

LAWA:  Not sure by what you mean when you say delay.  Funds were provided by LAWA to a number of school districts following the 1980 litigation – in 1980.  Funding that has been authorized by the Settlement Agreement and allowed by the 2008 Public Law is a completely different action and different funds.”

Is the City of Inglewood having similar problems with their RSI program?  Especially since it has been an ongoing rumor around Inglewood that former mayor Edward Vincent Jr. spent the money on non LAWA related projects along with not properly documenting related accounting of the funds?

Vincent was elected to the Inglewood Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, where he served as president from 1978 to 1979. Moreover, he represented the residents of District No. 4 on the Inglewood City Council from 1979 to 1983. In 1983, Vincent began his term as the first African-American Mayor of the City of Inglewood and was re-elected for three additional terms.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!

 

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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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