Across the country, parents and dedicated teachers are leaving public
school districts for the educational freedom of self-governing charter
schools. And because school districts are so fearful of losing the
revenues generated by the each student, they will do most anything they
can to stand in the way of the parent's rightful freedom of choice.
No where in this country are the efforts to keep a charter school from
opening more insidious than in the San Fernando Valley area of the Los
Angeles School Unified School District.
This woeful saga tells the tale of how Ivy Academia Charter School,
started by Russian immigrants with a large Jewish student population, has
attempted to open its doors. But if you listen to what school officials
say about this immorality tale, you'd swear that Ivy is run by the most
insincere group of administrators to come down the Russian-American pike.
I have no doubt that the Los Angeles Unified School District and San
Fernando Valley City Councilman Dennis Zine, will have their crack phone
team at the ready to respond to everything written here, just as they
have been doing as part of their vendetta against Ivy.
It's what they do best. It's also a school system and city officials at
They will tell you that Ivy should not open their permanent location
until all requirements are met.
But they won't tell you that they refuse to allow Ivy students to
temporarily use any of their vacant schools until the permanent location
has passed codes is completed.
LAUSD will speak of their concern for the children and how they need to
have the utmost assurance that they are safe above all.
But they will not speak of the fear our children deal with in the
hallways, classrooms and so many schoolyards at LAUSD schools.
They will speak of Ivy's need for an elevator in their two-story building
for those who cannot walk to open its doors even though Ivy presently has
no handicapped children or teachers.
But they will not speak of the many LAUSD schools who have no elevators,
nor have been requested to add one even though they actually have
handicapped children attending AND that Ivy administrators have said that
if required that they would surely comply. Nor will they mention that the
LAUSD Supervisor waited until one working day prior to Ivy's opening to
send an official from their office to tell Ivy they needed the elevator
(at the mere cost of some $300,000).
They will tell you that the toilet roll holders in the shiny new Ivy
bathrooms are extended rather recessed.
But they won't tell you of the girls who refuse to use LAUSD bathrooms
because of their constant state of filth.
They will speak of their awareness that they must rent a LAUSD facility
for Ivy students, as the state charter code dictates, but could not
because of their uncertainty as to whether LAUSD would need the vacant
But they will not speak of the myriad LAUSD schools that remain vacant
all year round, losing hundreds of thousands of sorely-needed revenue,
while Ivy and other charter schools are forced to pay outside landlords
for their facilities then lay out even more money to upgrade to the
acceptable standards. Money that could have gone into the pockets of the
budget-strapped LAUSD. And if you multiply the number of charter schools
that have been forced to find private facilities despite public schools
that remain deserted, millions of dollars have escaped the district's
needs. Quite the administrators, wouldn't you say?
Nor will the LAUSD supervisor will say that she has ignored any number of
calls from Ivy to use (and pay rent) for existing vacant schools
They will speak to their concern to teach our children values and ethical
But what they definitely won't speak to is the LAUSD evening phone calls,
the day before school was to open, to tell every Ivy family, many who
left Russia to escape this state intimidation, that Ivy would probably
not open on time and that there is no idea as to when it will. They won't
tell you that they read from scripts, trying to scare the parents into
going back to their old schools (tapes are available).
They will tell you that Ivy has not done the necessary traffic study to
But they won't tell you that the study cannot proceed until school
starts. They will also not tell you that they had asked Ivy to come up
with a $30,000 bond to get temporary occupancy authority. Nor will they
tell you that when Ivy brought in the $30,000, they were told that Valley
councilman, Dennis Zine refused to give approval until Ivy received the
blessing of the local community council; or that the council was unable
to deal with the issue until a later date, a date after Ivy was supposed
to open. And when Ivy administrators tried to contact Zine's office to
explain what had happened, Zine never returned their calls.
Zine will tell you, as he did the L.A. Daily News, "There are a
multiplicity of issues that absolutely infuriate me."
But what he won't tell you was that he had enjoined the "Stop At Nothing
To Stop Ivy" attack machine and that while he says he plans to send a
letter to the school's parents Friday apprising them of the situation, he
and his people have refused to return calls from Ivy officials after they
Was this all a set up, Catch 22 or just plain gotcha? There's a lot of
proof of all three. Is it anti-Russian and or anti- Semitic
discrimination? It might be if you believe what's been said by insiders
at the LAUSD.
But Zine and the LAUSD will tell you they're doing standing in the way of
Ivy's opening, "for the children."
What they won't tell you is that they are so afraid of losing state
funding that they will do everything they can to forestall or outright
abort an entrepreneurial education for those same children and true
And they certainly won't tell you that instead of being bullied by
darkness of the night, LAUSD jack-boot tactics of shameless manipulation,
fear-mongering and racial insinuations, the Ivy families rushed to the
school to ask what they could do to help and spent until midnight calling
other families to explain that the distortions LAUSD was insidiously
spreading weren't true and they would never give up fighting for their
Above all, will anyone ask, "What happened to the days when school
districts were all about serving dreams not crushing them; getting kids
to school, not stopping them?" Perhaps when school board and city council
elections next take place, Valley families will use their votes to bring
us back to those days.