Parents and community members fear 117-year-old South LA school will close, though LAUSD confirms there are no such plans

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) – Community members fear South LA’s Trinity Elementary School, which has been in existence for almost 120 years, may be closed.

A LAUSD official told ABC7 there are no plans to shut down Trinity, but parents say they received a letter in June suggesting that the school, which has been in their community for 117 years, may be closed. .

Superintendent Frances Baez’s letter read in part:

“I have come to the difficult but necessary conclusion that continuing to operate Trinity at current enrollment levels will not allow us to provide the quality services, support and resources that our students and staff deserve. We cannot. just not operate a stand-alone school on this site with the registration that we have. “

“A lot of people have come here and it belongs to the community,” said Francisco Pastor, parent of a Trinity student. “There’s no reason they should close it if it’s been a great school for all these years.”

Sonia Perez said her two children went to Trinity and that she had also been a teacher at the school for over 20 years. She said the school district wanted to make more room for Gabriella Charter School 2, which currently shares the same location with Trinity.

“Parents are not happy moving their students to other schools,” Perez said. “And they want to keep the school, the community and the family that we have built together.”

Trinity isn’t the only LAUSD school with declining enrollment. State data shows the district has registered fewer students for years.

An annual tally from LAUSD shows that approximately 439,000 students are enrolled this year from Kindergarten to Grade 12, down 6% from last year. Charter schools are publicly funded schools, but they are run independently. Some say they are innovative while others fear they are straying too far from the public school curriculum.

“The reason we need to keep fighting to keep Trinity open is because we need to show everyone outside of this community that we care about what’s going on in our community,” Diana said. Valbuena, USC student and Trinity alumnus.

A spokesperson for LAUSD shared the statement below with ABC7, confirming that the district has no plans to shut down Trinity. The statement, however, pointed out that Gabriella Charter School 2 has requested additional space due to increased enrollment, and that the district is looking for a solution to meet this demand.

“Trinity Street Elementary School, located in the heart of South Los Angeles, has a rich community steeped in a history spanning 117 years.

Consistently since the 2016-2017 school year, in part due to the co-location of Gabriella Charter School 2, Trinity’s enrollment has declined while Gabriella’s enrollment has increased.

Earlier this year, Gabriella requested the allocation of additional space at Trinity for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years in accordance with Proposition 39. Proposition 39 is a state law that requires school districts to make facilities available to public charter schools serving students residing in the Quartier. The problem is not the closure of the campus, but a response to Gabriella’s requests for facilities. Gabriella continues to grow and has demonstrated a need for extra space.

Since last summer, we have contacted the school community in the hope of a mutual and speedy resolution triggered by requests for additional space.

At the moment, there are no plans to close the school. Trinity will remain a unified Los Angeles facility, providing unique services to the community, and Gabriella will be co-located at this site at least until the 2022-2023 school year. “

“I came from a public school, I became a teacher, and I believe in public education,” Perez said. “And my kids went to public schools and I believe in it and you know we have to continue public education.”

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