INGLEWOOD – A small group of residents gathered in front of the Inglewood Unified School District’s administrative office to demand County Administrator Dr. Erika Torres rescind her decision to close Warren Lane Elementary School.
Dr. Torres continues to put out weekly communications reaffirming her decision to close the school after Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts appeared at a Town Hall meeting making remarks to the contrary.
“This is the last school in zip code 90305 and it’s not for sale,” said Cindy Giardinia, who was a member of the school board when it went into receivership in 2012.
The meeting proceeded with remarks from Taj Powell, who along with his wife Mary, have been spearheading community rally’s to keep the school opened.
“I’m happy that everyone came out, Naomi Hammond your school board district 1 member offered to come out and speak today and choose not to attend citing a conflict of interest,” he said.
Hammond’s term on the board expires in November. She represents the area where Warren Lane was located and has allegiance to Dr. Torres as she is the one who appointed her to the seat after Dionne Faulk was elected to the city council. Hopefully Taj runs against her. She isn’t here for the community.
In fact there are FOUR advisory board seats on the ballot this year. They should ALL be removed for failing to stand up for the community PUBLICLY and not privately in front of a controlled audience.
Taj said he found it ironic that Hammond offered private support, but didn’t want to publicly. She said she would send a letter in support of the school, but failed to provide him a copy. The mayor put his foot in his mouth when he gave misinformation during a Town Hall meeting held by Councilman George Dotson, who represents the area where the school is located.
Advisory board member Brandon Myers was all in the mix, then when asked to speak publicly he clammed up.
NO members of the city council were present, including Dionne Faulk, who previously represented Warren Lane when she was on the school board.
This is the same for the perceived frontrunner Tina McKinnor.
McKinnor received the highest number of votes in the primary election, but is not committed to publicly expressing an opinion on asking the governor to wipe out the debt owed by the district under the budget surplus. Questions to that affect were emailed to her April 9 which have still not been responded to.
McKinnor worked on the campaigns of Autumn Burke, D’artagnan Scorza, and Dionne Faulk, who ALL campaigned on a pledge to “save the district” but all left for greener pastures. We also asked if she’s committed for the long haul but didn’t reply to that either. Is that McKinnor’s plan too?
Following Taj, the next speaker questioned the investment being made in the City for sports and entertainment, but not education.
“There has been $8 billion invested along the Prairie corridor and we have failing schools,” asked John Hughes.
“A half a billion dollars have been pledged to these schools through our property taxes and they refuse to meet with us to discuss what they’ve done with our money,” said Hughes.
The assembly candidates then presented their position on the school closure.
Robert Pullen-Miles made a firm commitment to cancel the district’s debt through letters sent to the state budget committee.
“I proposed we use the state surplus to pay off the district’s debt to help move the district back to the hands of our families, and I sent. a letter to the chair of the budget committee asking to use some of the $45 billion surplus for the debt, and with that surplus, political will could make this happen,” said Pullen-Miles. “This isn’t a complicated procedure. We put $8 million in the budget for the Inglewood connector project and $4 million for Lawndale for one of our projects. We can put that in the budget to save Warren Lane.”
Pullen-Miles said he also sent a letter to the state’s department of finance asking for the surplus to cover the debt.
Tina McKinnor then followed.
“Today I am here as a volunteer for the community and you’re upset because your voices weren’t heard,” said McKinnor. She explained the district didn’t follow school closure guidelines when the decision was made.
“There was no quorum to hold the meeting when the closure was decided, but I will stand with you to make sure your voices are heard, I’m not your assembly member yet, but I will be after June 7,” said McKinnor.
She promised to keep “tracking” the issue as she did when she worked under the two previous assembly members as the district was being taken over.
“This is not the only school they plan on closing, and when they do they have to form another one of these committees, and we will keep their feet to the fire,” she said.
Then she introduced Senator Bradford.
Voters will need to ask themselves what type of representative do they want in Sacramento, as the school district will not be their sole focus once elected. Both of these candidates know what’s really at stake in Inglewood and LA County and its not Warren Lane. This is just the issue that puts them in front of voters and in the news.
Inglewood continues to fundraise for the transit connector, the Crenshaw/LAX line still hasn’t opened, the state is in a drought, housing continues to be unaffordable, the unemployment office still has issues, and the state is looking into changing the funding formula to fund schools.
Oh. And they still fighting over funding for the bullet train.
Make no mistake Inglewood is a battleground for crucial votes for Robert and Tina. Choose wisely.