INGLEWOOD — Warren Lane Elementary School is off the chopping block in Inglewood. The school that serves kindergarten through seventh grade students will remain open during the upcoming school year, after parents rallied against the hastily planned school closure by the Inglewood Unified School District.
On June 30, the district rescinded a June 12 resolution to close Lane. County Administrator Erika Torres said the difficult decision was previously made because of declining enrollment and a proposed 10% state budget cut in education.
Lane, which was formerly known as Daniel Freeman Elementary School, was set to permanently close on June 30.
However, district officials said they recently learned that state funding to school districts for the 2020-21 school year will not be cut due to COVID-19.
Based on that information, district leaders said they will keep Lane open. The final decision to not close Lane was made by Torres, who has been tasked by the Los Angeles County Office of Education with overseeing the Inglewood district, which has been under state control since 2012.
“We look forward to looking with our Warren Lane team,” Torres said. “We look forward to working with the community to increase enrollment.”
District leaders will continue ongoing discussions on what is the best use for the 17 campuses in the district. They also will explore and develop strategies for the best use and possible closure of schools to minimize disruption to students, parents, teachers, staff and the community.
Issues of disruption and mistrust were exacerbated when parents and community members were given three weeks notice that Lane was set to close.
“The fight didn’t begin with the closure of the school,” said parent Marian Coffield. “The fight had already begun.”
Meanwhile, parents have now organized. Dozens rallied at Circle Park in Morningside Park and outside Inglewood City Hall on consecutive days in mid-June, with hopes of saving their neighborhood school.
“If we don’t hold those in power or leadership positions to commit to doing what’s right and what’s equitable, then they’re not going to do it on their own,” Coffield added.
According to district enrollment data, 316 students attended Warren Lane during the 2015-16 school year.
Lane’s enrollment is projected to be down to 156 students for the 2020-21 school year.
However, parents believe Lane has a unique opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic to offer a new, innovative curriculum to appeal to current and new students.
District leaders and community members are looking forward to partnering together to increase declining enrollment numbers at the school.
By John W. Davis