Save our kids computer lab, special ed classrooms, cafeteria and more!

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March 13, 2017

Dear Community Leader,

As part of the Motor Avenue and Palms Elementary School community, I have been informed about changes to the neighborhood that may negatively affect my community’s children, business, commute, and daily routine. After extensive outreach to both residents and businesses in the community, I would like to express my position on the addition of Citizens of the World Charter School and hundreds of additional students at the property located at Palms Elementary School at 3520 Motor Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034 at Palms Boulevard. While I value the efforts of Citizens of the World Charter School to improve the educational experience for its students, I DO NOT believe that a school is a suitable option for this location at Palms Elementary School.

I request that you collaborate with our community in stopping Citizens of the World Charter School from locating at Palms Elementary.  They promise lots of good changes.  This has not and will not occur.  The kids are dropped off and picked up with nothing but the gift of more traffic, no parking and the loss of a computer lab, cafeteria, rooms for the special education students and more.  Most of the new children are not from our community. Already hundreds of immediate areas residents and businesses have signed hard copy petitions to the office of Councilman Koretz and others.  

As a member of the community, I DO NOT approve of the relocation of Citizens of the World Charter School, a privately owned institution for middle school students, to a facility currently filled with Palms Elementary School. Citizens of the World Charter School will cause several issues for our children, business owners and residents alike.

Loss of Classroom Space

The current students and this school do not have extra space.  The Charter School wishes to take rooms that are currently used for a computer lab which services over 300 students, two Special Education Classrooms, the cafeteria where all children eat, two classrooms for learning disabled student resources, classrooms for Targeted Student Population Coordinators that serve English learners, students in the foster care system and low income students.  This is not what we want for our children and do not want a Charter School to site at Palms Elementary and destroy programing for our disabled students. 

Hindrance to Revitalization

While schools can be an advantageous appendage to a community, the current makeup of this location in question is not conducive to two hundred additional students and the same amount of new vehicle trips. Motor Ave and Palms Blvd are both transitioning from single-use residential buildings to mixed use buildings with housing and commercial businesses and creating an energetic mixed use and active business environment.  The growth of commercial business is part of our design guidelines and the future of the Motor Avenue and Palms intersection as a vibrant business hub.   In an effort to promote smart growth and walk-ability in this community, MAIA supports the implementation of commercial businesses that generate activity throughout the day, evenings and weekends. Street-level businesses will provide a vibrancy and livelihood that the Motor Ave community needs and that a school will not provide.

The relocation plans by Citizens of the World Charter School to this intersection have already negatively altered the composition of businesses in the area. Businesses have been deliberating expanding or renewing their lease. In addition, it is dislocating businesses that have been part of Motor and Palms for over 15-20 years. This plan is unacceptable to our community members as many of these businesses have been the bedrock of our community for years. It will undoubtedly harm this community and hinder the extensive revitalization efforts that have taken place thus far.

Streetscape Plan

The Planning and Department of the City of Los Angeles has chosen Motor Avenue as two out of seven streets throughout the City to implement Parklets and one of five streets to implement new design guidelines and a streetscape plan. This effort is being undertaken to stimulate the business and residential community. The street and this intersection in particular will be experiencing new intersection lighting, trees, street furniture, and many other enhancements. This school will be negating these efforts and destroying the vibrancy of our core business intersection.  With parking at a premium the school will not be able to mitigate any of these damages as a Westside commuter school where kids are dropped off and picked up, there will be no economic benefit.

Parking

This location is also not a suitable option for a school due to the lack of available parking. Currently there are 30 spaces for 50 teachers.  The community works to offer and provide additional parking so the current teachers may have another option rather than having to leave the class to move their car every two hours.  There are simply no more parking spaces at the school or in the community.

Bathrooms

There is a shortage of bathrooms for current student let alone the addition of younger students having to share the facilities with older Citizens of the World Charter School students. This situation is completely inappropriate.

Traffic Concerns

The addition of a school at the Palms Elementary School address would introduce increased traffic issues to two intersections that are already plagued by traffic congestion during peak hours. Nearby residents and commuters will be completely stuck by a lengthened morning and afternoon trip to their homes and workplaces.  The local businesses will suffer even more than they do currently as they attempt to get patrons into their establishments.  In addition, the existing configuration of street access points do not provide for the passenger loading needs that a school will require. During drop off and pick up times, school traffic will prevent residents and patrons from accessing the nearby businesses. Such a disadvantage should not be imposed upon the businesses as they are a critical component of this community and a fundamental part of economic growth in this area.  This situation will just get worse as a new building with over 50 residents is build next door to the school, Fox Studios is expanded and finally as Westfield and other large entities expand. 

Citizens of the World Charter fail to mention their trips are twice a day and what about all the faculty and staff?  We are talking many hundreds of additional cars a day.  

Educational Saturation

Lastly, there is no need for another school in this area. There are three schools in just a two block radius, Palms Elementary School, Vista School, and Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, that have a collective total of over 2000 students. The inclusion of another school would not only be totally unnecessary in this community, but it would prevent the entrance of other entities or organizations that would be more beneficial to the residents and business owners. 

Furthermore, there are three additional schools within a mile radius of the intended location of the Citizens of the World Charter School—Notre Dame Academy Los Angeles, Notre Dame Academy Elementary, and Palms Middle School. This only further saturates this area with schools.

Besides the intrusion that a school at this location will cause to the vibrancy of Motor Avenue businesses, it would not be primarily serving the students of Palms.

The needs of the community are our highest priority. We hope that we have your commitment of nonsupport for the chosen location of Citizens of the World Charter School as it would have several severe negative environmental and economic impacts on our community. 

In light of these issues, I DO NOT support Citizens of the World Charter School’s relocation and do not see the benefits of another school in our already school congested Motor Avenue community.



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