Families from Baldwin Hills Elementary join forces with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at rallies on December 5, 2022 to demand a fair contract. The union bargaining proposal now includes two key items — support for the Black Student Achievement Plan, as well as funding and staffing for Community Schools, which offer greater resources and wraparound services for low-income students.
Baldwin Hills Elementary is one of these community schools but no longer has the facilities to make good on that pledge due to the co-location of New LA Charter Elementary.
“Our school has been, and is trying to continue to be, the embodiment of everything relating to community schools,” says Kerri Harper-Howie, parent of a third and fifth grader, and chair of Baldwin’s Governing School Council. “And yet, we are being allowed to fail for one reason: the co-located charter school. If the District cares about this program, our school and our Black and brown scholars, they cannot continue to be passive on this issue.”
Parents, residents and teachers joined the Dec. 1 meeting of the LAUSD Curriculum and Instruction Committee to explain during public comment how the discriminatory co-location of New LA Charter has stripped Baldwin students of 8 classrooms, a computer lab, a music room, engineering classes, mental health counseling, and nutritional programs. They told the committee about how co-location means two schools must share the only bathroom, cafeteria, library, auditorium, and playground areas — leading to troubling incidents of bullying by older charter students.
“Our students are required to eat lunch in silence to accommodate the charter school and a revolving schedule!” says Love Collins-Hayden, parent of a third grader and an organizer with Neighbors in Action. “It’s contradictory to creating a nurturing environment that supports freedom of expression and mental and emotional wellness. Not having space for our Healthy Start program is offensive. Not having a computer lab in 2022 is unacceptable.”
The coalition of more than 50 parents and residents from Baldwin Hills met in-person with district officials on Nov. 2 to present their demand to relocate the charter. Officials, including District 1 Board Member George McKenna, have not explained why Baldwin Hills continues to be forced to host a charter when the district previously agreed in contract negotiations that community schools be exempt from co-location. LAUSD officials are currently reviewing whether to renew this charter, facing a Feb. 1 deadline. The fight at Baldwin Hills is the subject of a recent report by Capital & Main.