Lariats at Playa Vista; LAPD facelift; YMCA pancake breakfast; LAX north runway town hall

BY GEOFF MALEMAN

Responding to a proposal that would place a new charter school on the campus of Orville Wright Middle School, parents and boosters are bracing for a fight to keep the Bright Star Charter School off the Westchester campus.

The PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) and Booster organizations at Orville Wright banded together to establish a position statement that was recently circulated to their members and others throughout the community. In the statement, the parents say they are concerned about the charter school’s impact on existing and planned programs that serve Orville Wright students.

“Accommodating an additional school on campus wouldÝoccupy classroomÝspace that our school community intends to use for student enrichment programs, which are essential toÝbuilding and sustaining the growingÝsupport for our neighborhood middle school,” said the statement circulated by Ingrid Lamoureux, president of the Orville Wright Middle School PTA. “Currently, there is discussion and planning for the creation ofÝa robotics lab and a resource center for our teachers.Ý

“If we are forced to relinquish space to a high school, it would severely limit our ability to further improve andÝenrich theÝacademic environment at Orville Wright.”

The parents also bristled at the fact that Bright Star plans to have high-school-age students on the campus.

“We feel that a charter high school comprised of older ninth- and tenth-grade students on our campus would be contrary to what our community wants for this middle school,” said the statement. “The stakeholders at Orville Wright, as well as the incoming families, are in favor of preserving this campus for middle school students only.”

Bright Star, which currently houses a middle school on the Mark Twain Middle School campus on Walgrove Avenue in Mar Vista, has expanded to grades nine and ten and would like to operate a high school of approximately 120 students and five staff members out of Orville Wright beginning in September.

By law, if an LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) school has classroom space, charter schools may submit a proposal to the district to use that space.

Under the proposal, students and staff of Bright Star would use the Emerson Avenue gate to enter and exit campus. The school would occupy the shop building classrooms and the portable bungalows (Rooms 17 and 18). Students and staff of Bright Star would also have access to Orville Wright’s library, auditorium, gym and other common areas.

Those interested in commenting on the proposal may contact LAUSD school board president Marlene Canter at (213) 241-6382 or marlene.canter@lausd .net.

AUTONOMY FROM LAUSD? — Also on the education front, the Westchester/Playa del Rey Education Foundation is hoping to break from LAUSD control and provide more autonomy for the public schools in Westchester and Playa del Rey.

The group will explore the creation of “autonomy zones” within LAUSD, a new and innovative approach to provide greater influence and control over schools, at its monthly community meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7th, at the Westchester Municipal Building, 7166 Manchester Ave.

LARIATS TO PERFORM AT PLAYA VISTA — The Westchester Lariats, a nonprofit educational youth dance troupe that has performed all over the world, will present its 2007 spring show, “Around the World in Twenty Dances,” at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 9th, in Playa Vista’s Concert Park.

The performance, sponsored by Playa Vista, will highlight various dance styles from across the globe.

Admission to the event is free. Information, (310) 301-2585 or www.westchesterlariats.org/.

LAPD STATION GETS FACELIFT — Through the efforts of the community, the “Pacific Kitchen Project” team will be providing a modest “face-lift” to the break room, the cot room, and the grounds of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific Area Station at Culver Boulevard and Centinela Avenue.

The group, in conjunction with the Westchester Rotary Foundation, continues to seek donations — as little as $5 — to help with the purchase of new microwaves, mattresses, paint and other supplies.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the Westchester Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 91543, Los Angeles 90009, indicating “Kitchen Project” on the check. Any gift over $25 will receive a receipt for tax purposes.

WESTCHESTER Y’S MEN’S PANCAKE BREAKFAST — The Westchester Y’s Men’s (and Women’s) Club will be flipping pancakes on the Westchester YMCA’s back lot on Saturday, June 9th, to raise money in support of the Westchester Y’s youth, building and other worthy projects.

Starting at 8 a.m., a breakfast of pancakes, plump sausages, orange juice and coffee will be served for $5 per person or $20 for a family of four.

For more than 50 years, the Westchester Y’s Men’s Club has been a support group for the Westchester Family YMCA. In the past ten years, more than $200,000 has been contributed to Youth in Government, YMCA Youth and Campership programs, Scholarship Funds and Golf Tournaments.

Y’s Men serve on the board of managers and as campaign team captains for the Y’s annual fundraising campaign.

Additionally, Y’s Men (and Women) contribute time and labor to the maintenance of the Y’s physical structure, including roof repairs, parking lot resurfacing, interior painting and repair work at various camps.

Other organizations supported by the Y’s Men’s Club include the Airport Marina Counseling Service and National and International Y’s Men’s Clubs.

Information, Julie Judge at (310) 670-6589.

TOWN HALL ON LAX — Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey and ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion) will join with Los Angeles World Airports to hold a town hall meeting on Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the plans for runway safety and modernization.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 5th, at the Westchester Senior Citizen Center, 8740 Lincoln Blvd.

Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the issue of north airfield safety and modernization. Representatives from LAWA will present safety information and technical data on the northern runways, and will discuss various reconfiguration options.

The public is invited to attend to learn more about runway safety issues, and to give input on potential runway safety and modernization solutions.

Recently, Rosendahl called for “hard evidence” that clearly identified any and all safety issues on the northern runway, and said that he wanted a “thorough and public discussion” on safety issues.

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