Administrator announces plans to close five schools 

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Unified School District has announced plans to close five schools at the end of the 2024-25 school year.

The announcement was made by County Administrator James Morris during a live video address March 20.

According to Morris, the shutdown is due to a decline in enrollment.

“These are not easy decisions to make,” Morris said in a statement. “The time has come to make decisions. The data tells the story and the time for action is now.”

Morris cited enrollment projects through the 2029 school year.

“In 2002, the district served roughly 18,000 students; that number has now dwindled to less than 7,000,” Morris said.

The schools slated to close are Crozier Junior High, Hudnall TK-6 School, Highland TK-6 School, Morningside High School and Kelso TK-6 School.

“Our school district has been in state receivership since 2012,” Morris said. “More than a decade ago, the district faced a financial crisis due to poor fiscal management and financial decisions that quite simply, the district could not afford to make. These decisions resulted in the need for a state loan of $29 million.”

According to Morris, the district has been making the required annual debt payments of approximately $1.8 million each year.

The district said the outstanding loan balance is $21 million.

“We need to close some schools to remain competitive, improve instruction and repair the schools that will remain open,” Morris said. 

Morris also announced that close to $200 million would be invested into Inglewood High School and that the district has entered into a partnership with the city of Inglewood to make upgrades to the Inglewood Main Library which is located across the street from the campus.

The meeting was closed to the public, however, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. made comments about the anticipated closures during a local news broadcast the following day.

“While the school district is funded by a different entity and run by a different entity, we are definitely partners with Dr. Morris,” Butts said. 

Community members are outraged that the district is still in such bad shape for the last decade with little to no improvements since going into receivership.

“The district has had 12 years to improve and instead of improving it, they’ve run it into the ground,” said Fredrisha Dixon, who ran for mayor in 2022. “The lack of a plan for our district is the reason it’s failing. They are literally closing schools to either sell and/or lease the land to developers to expand the sports and entertainment district.”

Butts pushed back on parents’ assertions that the school consolidations are due to the influx of sports and entertainment venues in the city.

“There have been probably seven or eight interim superintendents since the district went into receivership in 2012 and none of them have taken the tough steps Dr. Morris has to make the tough decision to allow the district to thrive,” Butts said.

One of the schools scheduled to close, Kelso Elementary School, was originally slated to close in preparation of the proposed Inglewood Transit Connector project that is scheduled to connect the K Line to the Inglewood Sports and Entertainment District.

The site was scheduled to be a maintenance yard for the Inglewood Transit Connector, but those plans were scrapped when the project moved the yard to another location.

Kelso students will be moved to the former Daniel Freeman/Warren Lane school site in the Morningside Park area where residents fought hard to keep that school from closing in 2022.

Morris cited that coupled with declining enrollment and facility repairs that would be too costly to keep the current 16 school sites functioning.

“Many of our schools require extensive and expensive repairs,” Morris said. “Because of the age of our district facilities, plumbing, electrical, fire alarm, safety and roofing systems are in need of replacement at many sites. Spending money to repair and maintain more buildings than we need for our current student population is not a wise or prudent use of taxpayer dollars.”

Inglewood taxpayers have pledged more than $500 million in school repair bonds to the district since 1999 with the most recent bond measure passed in 2020.

“It’s sad to see so many school closures and knowing the trickle effect it will have with the residents and renters next to Morningside High School,” said Carlos Zurita, who lives near the school. “The goal is to make sure everyone is educated about rent increases and evictions so they can be better prepared.”

The district has entered into an agreement with Harridge Development Group, and two Delaware-based entities to the agreement — Harridge Development Group III and Inglewood Associates — to develop the Morningside High property into housing.

There is growing speculation that Inglewood Associates is associated with Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, however, the district has not provided any indication through public records requests that he is behind the company.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at