Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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Rebuttal to: Inglewood’s Choice to Quickly Close Elementary School Harms Children and Hurts Our Community
By Dr. Dionne Faulk
Published July 2, 2020

(Courtesy photo)

The state of Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) has improved significantly since I was elected in 2017. IUSD is on track to start transitioning out of receivership, we achieved a positive budget certification this year for the first time since going into receivership in 2012, our facilities have improved significantly and we are always planning for our future needs, and lastly our entire IUSD leadership team came together to provide a safe quality educational experience during COVID-19. You can see for yourself a vast improvement of our schools from where they were just a few years ago.

Recently the IUSD County Administrator and Board members had to make a very difficult decision regarding the closure of Warren Lane Elementary School. We did not want to close this school, and truthfully no Board ever chooses or sets out to close a school, however, unfortunately, we were left with few choices when IUSD received notice that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Budget was projecting massive cuts to the state education budget. Thus IUSD, along with other school districts within the State of California, faced a budget shortfall. This rapid change of events forced IUSD to act quickly to stabilize our budget and maintain the District’s financial stability. Furthermore, the Governor this month announced a 10% drastic cut for the 2020-2021 academic school year with a request for all school districts to plan accordingly. Although we managed our budget properly, this projected State shortfall due to COVID-19 caused IUSD to face a $13 million loss with an even higher deficit of $16 million the following school year 2021-2022. Because of this, decisions had to be made quickly!

Warren Lane is a close community school that has dedicated parents that value their school in their neighborhood. IUSD recognizes this, and we have been making investments in Warren Lane for years. We have raised money for resources from sponsors to help invest in our schools, and we have launched an enrollment campaign and dedicated resources for marketing to highlight our District programs. However, Warren Lane enrollment has gone down 40% over the last five years. The low enrollment has been a financial challenge for IUSD to maintain the school. The status of Warren Lane’s closure is being discussed, but If IUSD can keep it open for the upcoming 2020-21 school year, we will need to inform, encourage and convince parents in the neighborhood to enroll their kids in Warren Lane. IUSD and myself will be working hand-in-hand with parents with a goal to increase enrollment, resources, and marketing for the school.

I have two children that attend a school in the District, and I know how impactful difficult decisions are on parents. I want nothing but the best for all of our children. I will continue to fight to make Inglewood Unified School District and Warren Lane successful.

I am deeply invested in the success of IUSD and Warren Lane, our schools, and, most importantly, our Students! Once I was elected to the Board, I was able to hit the ground running and worked hard to turn the District around. I am happy to share that since succeeding in Margaret Richards-Bowers seat, the hard work of the current Board has successfully utilized all the Measure GG $90 million Bond money to remodel our schools and worked with Los Angeles International World Airport to obtain additional sound and insulation funds towards remodeling our schools as well. In addition, our Board worked with our Assembly member, Autumn Burke, to successfully pass AB 1840 that has brought millions of dollars in additional funding to IUSD to assist in stabilizing our District. Lastly, for the first time since going into receivership in 2012, and due to the current Board’s diligent efforts, we announced earlier this year the positive certification of the School District’s budget.

One of the reasons I ran for the Board is because I am committed to our kids, my kids, and IUSD. My work as a Board member of IUSD is driven by my goal of elevating this District to become one of the highest performing Districts in the State of California. So for Margaret Richards-Bowers, who has not been on the Board for several years to now point fingers, criticize and call for a recall of Board members that have successfully achieved a positive budget certification, right-sized the District, improved facilities, and created a unified IUSD leadership team, is irresponsible, petty and impedes the progress and success of IUSD, the Board and the advancement and achievement of our students.

I believe that all of us working together as a team, the Board, Administrators, and our Students, is how we move forward as a District.

Dr. Dionne Faulk serves as a Board Member for the Inglewood Unified School District.

Faulk’s work experience currently includes Community Engagement/Public Affairs for the State of California Environmental Protection Agency DTSC. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a Minor in Political Science from California State University at Dominguez Hills and a Juris Doctorate from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. Faulk is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Categories: Education | Op-Ed | Opinion
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