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Op-Ed: One United Eastside, One LAUSD Board of Ed Seat
Maria Brenes, Executive Director of InnerCity Struggle, argues that re-districting in Los Angeles should produce a seat for the city’s Eastside.
InnerCity Struggle is demanding that the Los Angeles City Council strengthen the Eastside’s ability to be effectively represented on the Los Angeles Unified School Board of Education. We urge the City Council to respect our demand for the Eastside to be unified in the re-districting of School Board district lines. For the last 10 years, the Eastside has been divided between two distinct Board of Education districts which have undermined our community’s ability to be taken into serious account on critical education issues. InnerCity Struggle supports new re-drawn lines which unite all of El Sereno and unincorporated East Los Angeles with the rest of our communities – specifically Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights within one School Board district.
The success of our schools depend on effective teachers, a safe school environment, a quality school curriculum, access to computers, books and many more resources. The decisions of how our schools receive these resources are made by School Board Members that represent an individual district. These districts are re-drawn every 10 years to represent approximately the same number of people in each district with common characteristics – such as language, income-level etc. This process is known as re-districting.
InnerCity Struggle has advocated for educational justice for over 10 years, making us fully aware of the challenges in having had the Eastside be divided into two different School Board districts. The collective Eastside voice has been diluted since some of our struggling schools are mixed in with schools that face different barriers in terms of academic opportunities. At the Board level, these circumstances have made it difficult to ensure that opportunity and resource gaps are actively addressed in all our Eastside schools. Eastside constituent concerns in parts of El Sereno and East LA have unfortunately not been provided the full attention needed given the challenges with the Board District lines that have been in place.
ICS has worked for 18 years to bring together Eastside residents to solve issues directly impacting them – therefore we understand the importance of unifying our communities of interest within one Board District. If new lines reflecting the true geographic boundaries of the Eastside are approved, the community will be able to more effectively hold one elected official accountable for prioritizing the needs and challenges of all our local schools. Acting on the urgency for change, we have actively participated in the re-districting public hearing process to elevate the need for the Eastside to have one elected representative on the Board of Education for the next 10 years. InnerCity Struggle’s position on the issue simply is – One Eastside/One Board of Education seat.
Maria Brenes is the Executive Direction of InnerCity Struggle in Los Angeles.
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