INGLEWOOD – The Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) has assembled a seven member committee to assist with identifying schools for consolidation/closure to save money on modernization costs. County Administrator appointed the members during a Sept. 2021 board meeting.
The committee is comprised of parents, teachers, and community leaders within the business community who are eager to see IUSD succeed.
The district was placed under state conservatorship at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. In the process, the district took out more than half of the $55 million appropriated under Senate Bill 533 to keep the district operating.
The district began holding monthly meetings on the consolidation/closures based on attendance.
“The district continues to experience declining student enrollment due to low birth rates, and the number of school aged children that reside within the district’s boundaries,” said Janette Gomez. “Additionally, the number of charter schools in operation both within and outside of our district boundaries have a direct and profound impact on our enrollment numbers.”
District wide, enrollment has declined 50% since 2012.
“There were 12,119 students enrolled in 2012, and it dropped to 7,944 in the 2021 school year,” said Gomez. “This consistent decline in enrollment is projected to continue over the next three years with an additional loss of 1,131 students, however, the rate of decline will slow as compared to prior years.”
The committee was created out of AB 1840 which authorized school districts with outstanding emergency loans to sell or lease surplus land.
The district began holding meetings in late September, with the most recent taking place Jan. 13 where schools were identified for consolidation.
Total School Solutions was selected to prepare the report analyzing school sites for enrollment, and modernization work to analyze pros and cons of logical candidates for closure.
The district was divided into three regions: North, West, and East recommending the number of schools proposed for closure.
Recommendations are closing two schools in the North, one in the West, and two in the East regions.
The North region consists of Centinela, Parent, Highland, and LaTijera and has a combined enrollment of 2,668 schools, with modernization costs of $62.7 million. Two of these schools are being recommended for closure.
Highland was built in 1937 and has the lowest enrollment of 720 students, and is projected to drop to 384 by 2024. Centinela was built in 1952 with current enrollment at 1,020 and projected to drop 50% to 550 in 2024.
The West region includes Payne, Hudnall, Kelso, and Oak Street. The schools have a combined enrollment of 2,510 with total modernization costs of $34.5 million. One school is being recommended for closure. Oak Street currently has 448 students and projects to have 444 in 2024.
The East region includes Bennet-Kew, Warren Lane, Woodworth-Monroe, and Worthington. The schools have a combined enrollment of 3,502 with total modernization costs of $49.9 million. Warren Lane has the lowest enrollment with 540 students, projected to fall to 132 in 2024. Bennett-Kew follows with 780 students, expected to fall to 465 by 2024. Two schools are recommended for closure in this area.
The committee has listed the two priority schools for closure as Warren Lane and Worthington which would save the district close to $20 million in modernization costs.
The district released documents related to the emergency loan repayment plan, showing the district pulled down $29 million from the $55 million authorized under AB 86.
As of Nov. 1, 2021, the balance due is $22.3 million.
The amortization schedule details the loan would be fully paid off by 2034 making annual payments of approx. $2 million with balloon payments at year 2034 when the loan is expected to be fully paid back.
The consolidation/closure committee has not indicated whether the cost-savings on school closures would result in those funds being used to pay down the loan prior to 2034.
2UrbanGirls reached out to members of the advisory board, but they are not authorized to speak on district matters in an official capacity, and also declined to comment as a resident.
Residents can find previous committee meeting agenda, minutes, and videos by visiting the district’s website https://www.inglewoodusd.com/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1531273&type=d&pREC_ID=2195894