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LAUSD Picks Ocean Charter School for Walgrove Elementary Campus

The district staff chose Ocean Charter over Green Dot's Animo Venice Middle School for the right to lease land and build at Walgrove Elementary.

In a terse early Saturday announcement, LAUSD staff made public their recommendation that be allowed to lease land on the campus so that it can build a school there to serve its kindergarten through eighth grade students at a unified site.

Ocean Charter now has two campuses with its fourth through eighth grade students at Walgrove and its younger students at a rented facility in Culver City.

The statement reads:

Los Angeles Unified School District is pleased to announce that the following charter operator has been selected, pending approval by the LAUSD Board of Education, and successful negotiation of a lease agreement for the construction, financing, and operation of a charter school on a portion of the Walgrove Elementary School campus.

The announcement did not indicate when the board will vote on the recommendation. 

The decison follows months of among parents, Ocean Charter and Green Dot School's Animo Venice Middle school -  both of which were -  and being built there.

Kristy Mack-Fett, Ocean Charter's north campus director told Patch, "Obviously, we're delighted. We're glad that the district put this process in place as an innovative solution to the facilities issues and we hope the district will contine to find innovative solutions to make facilities available for all their students."

Marco Petruzzi, CEO of Green Dot Schools told Patch, “You win some, you lose some.”

Petruzzi said he believed the process was transparent although he does not yet have any indication from the district on how they graded the proposals. Petruzzi said he’d already sent his congratulations to Ocean Charter administrators.

Animo Venice Middle School will remain at Cowan Avenue Elementary in Westchester for next year, according to Petruzzi. Green Dot, he said, will continue to work with district on finding a permanent home for the middle school, but will also look into private building options.

Ocean Charter will have to vacate the bungalows it is currently occupying on the Walgrove campus at the end of this school year. Mack-Fett said she assumes that there is still a long process ahead for the school before it can build on the Walgrove site. The school board has not announced when it will vote on the recommendation and there are still environmental studies and other hurdles facing the school. 

Mack-Fett said Ocean Charter is waiting on the district to make them an offer of space for their students for next year under Propostion 39, which requires the district to provide space to charter schools. She said she expects to get an offer for space by April 1, the traditional deadline for such offers from the district. 

John Fischer, a parent and School Site Council president at Walgrove Elementary said, "It’s a tough scenario for folks in the area who are looking for a more traditional middle school.” He added, “I personally would be happier with no other school on the Walgrove campus.”

This story has been updated to include comments from Ocean Charter administration.

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Paul January 23, 2012 at 02:11 AM
There is an all out war on public education . Gutting funds and breaking unions. Diane Ravitch spoke on the subject this week at UTLA. Read her book to see how billionaires are setting us up to fight our neighbors over education choice.

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