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DTLA parents win approval to establish Metro Charter Elementary School

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at 09:45AM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

The proposed Metro Charter Elementary School was founded by DTLA parents, who would plan for the school at play-dates, with neighbors and at local parks.

A new elementary school in downtown L.A. moves closer to its opening date after the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted on Tuesday to allow DTLA parents to continue their push for "Metro Charter."

This charter school slated for South Park would eventually serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and is meant to accommodate the growing population (and kid population) of DTLA.

“Downtown’s population has grown from just 10,000 people a decade ago, to close to 50,000 today,” said area Councilman José Huizar in a statement. “If we are going to keep these people from leaving, especially families with young children, we have to improve Downtown’s livability and for many, that begins with schools."

As of now, many parents living Downtown end up either moving out of the area when it's time to enroll their kids in school, or bring their kids to schools in surrounding communities.

Metro Charter Elementary School would be "a walkable school for the neighborhood," and is slated to open in 2013 with approximately 120 students enrolled in kindergarten through second grades. By fall of 2016, parents hope it will expand to about 520 students and include up to fifth grade.

According to the school's website, parents aim to create a facility for families who live and work in the area, and who hope to take advantage of the school's urban location.

"The proximity and density of resources in the DTLA core – museums, theaters, fashion, restaurants, business and civic centers – provide a rare and special environment for 'field work,' where students of Metro Charter use the many assets of DTLA as their classroom."

The school's founding parents began discussing the idea with their neighbors, in local parks and at play-dates. The Los Angeles Times reports the school's proposal has been in the works for more than a year, and now the charter board is working on selecting a South Park location for the school and hiring a principal.

“We've come a long way since we watched our children play at the park and discussed what to do when it came time to send our kids to school,” said Simon Ha, President of the Metro Charter Elementary School Board, in a statement. “The approval of the charter is a big milestone and great success for parents and the downtown community, but now the real work begins."

A site for the school hasn't been chosen yet but it's expected to open in the fall of this year.

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