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Hope for South LA’s Underfunded
By Brookelynn Haylock
Published March 19, 2020

As a senior at Fremont High School in South Los Angeles, it’s increasingly alarming how underfunded schools like mine are. Unfortunately, it has been a problem for decades. From the overcrowded class sizes to empty nurse and counselor offices, students are left feeling cheated and abandoned.

It makes me sad when my classmates and I show up to our 4th period college prep class to find a locked door and no teacher in sight. Most days, we are told our teacher is coming tomorrow and not to worry. But then the next day, it’s the same thing. As the youngest of seven siblings who all tell me similar stories of their time at Fremont, I know that change is long overdue.

Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon for Fremont with Schools & Communities First (SCF). SCF is a November ballot initiative that would bring back $12 billion EVERY YEAR locally for our schools and community services by closing corporate property tax loopholes. Estimates have shown that more than $3.75 billion of that would come to Los Angeles County alone.

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Schools that are in most need of additional resources are in communities like South LA. The disparities between South LA schools and wealthier communities are enormous. I know because I have seen the difference first hand.

These other schools in the westside and Beverly Hills offer AP classes, more sports, and even after school art programs. The outside and recreation areas look brand new and well kept. At my high school, we barely have a world history class. Our library has 2015 SAT manuals. With at least 40 to 45 kids in most of my classes and one teacher who can only do so much, it gets really hard to pay attention.

More resources would mean smaller classes and more attention for students. More support and attention means more successful students.

One of the most important things that Schools & Communities First would do is make sure that major corporations like Chevron pay their fair share in commercial property taxes, which they haven’t been doing. That means schools like mine have been losing billions of dollars for decades — which is why my six older siblings and I have had the same experience at Fremont through the decades.

I didn’t choose these school conditions, but I am choosing to change it. Right now I am volunteering to gather signatures with my classmates as part of South Central Youth Empowered Thru Action to make sure that it gets on the ballot in November. The campaign has collected more than 1 million signatures already, but there’s still more work to do. I’m asking all California voters to support Schools & Communities First. I am the last of my siblings to attend Fremont. And I hope that if voters pass Schools & Communities First, I will be part of the last generation to attend underfunded schools like mine.

Brookelynn Haylock is a senior at Fremont High School. Brookelynn started her journey as a youth activist during her freshman year when she joined South Central Youth Empowered thru Action via Community Coalition, a social justice organization in South LA

 

Categories: Education | Op-Ed | Opinion
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