INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Unified School District held a virtual town hall meeting July 14 to dispel rumors that the district is considering closing Morningside High School.
“As a proud Monarch, that’s not happening,” said Inglewood school board President D’Artagnan Scorza, who grew up in Inglewood and graduated from Morningside High School in 1998. “We are not closing Morningside High School.”
The community roundtable meeting, which was attended by about 50 people, was an opportunity for the district to share its vision for Morningside High.
However, community members were just as curious to learn what Inglewood Unified is doing to turn around declining enrollment.
District leaders said they are spending more than $30 million to renovate Morningside. They are currently updating classroom and science facilities to offer state-of-the-art technology like robotics. The district is also rebuilding career and technical education buildings, music classrooms, the pool and sports fields.
“When we have enhanced facilities, that stimulates learning,” said Alice Grigsby, a member of the Inglewood school board.
Current renovations are currently 45% finished and are tentatively expected to be completed by next March.
Scorza said he has also heard the rumors about Morningside High consolidating with Inglewood High School. He said that is not going to happen as long as he is on the school board.
In fact, Inglewood High could soon receive its own renovations, if voters approve a proposed November bond measure currently being studied by the school board.
Outside of increasing taxes, the district is looking for additional ways to create revenues, as the district has been under state control since 2012.
“We want to lease vacant land,” Scorza said.
The district has identified 22.6 acres of underutilized land that could be leased for development on 104th Street between the campuses of Morningside High and the Woodworth-Monroe K-8 Academy.
Some of that revenue would be used to pay back the millions of dollars the district still owes the state from 2012. Once the emergency loan is paid back, the district could exit state receivership and return to local control.
According to the California School Dashboard, Morningside High’s enrollment dwindled to 703 students in 2019.
Scorza believes investing in much needed renovations at Morningside will help increase declining enrollment.
“One of the exciting outcomes is that improved facilities attract parents,” Scorza said.
District leaders said renovations will create updated capacity for up to 1,000 students at Morningside High School. Recognizing future growth in Inglewood, the district also is saving land to build additional space for additional students.
“Inglewood is on the rise. We’re doing a lot of amazing things,” said county Administrator Erika Torres. “I believe that we’re going to be able to focus on increasing enrollment. That’s one of our priorities.”
Future Morningside High School community meetings are scheduled for Sept. 28 and Dec. 7.
By John W. Davis