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Charter schools may take over vacant L.A. Unified campuses

The Los Angeles Board of Education directed district staff Tuesday to enter negotiations with two charter school operators who are seeking to redevelop four campuses in the San Fernando Valley that have been closed for decades.

The four schools — formerly known as Collins Street, Highlander, Oso and Platt Ranch elementaries — have been closed for 30 years and require extensive renovations, according to the L.A. Unified School District. Several efforts to rehabilitate the dilapidated campuses have started and stalled through the years.

The CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School proposes to spend about $12 million to redevelop Collins, pooling money from a state charter school facilities grant, a proposed grant from the district, its reserves and fund-raising.

El Camino Real Charter High School is seeking to take over the other three campuses and spend about $28 million to renovate them. The charter operator intends to pay for the work with its reserves, fund-raising and a proposed district grant.

Any revenue generated from the lease of the campuses will go into the L.A. Unified's general fund, according to the district. After negotiations, any final agreements must be approved by the board.

Board member Tamar Galatzan, whose district includes the Highlander and Platt Ranch campuses, said she was excited by the prospect of these campuses once again benefiting the community.

“The district is committed to working with the charter operators and their neighbors so that we can replace these vacant campuses with high-quality projects just as soon as possible,” she said.


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