After protests, LAUSD to review changes at Mid-City school

After protests by parents, Los Angeles Unified School District officials announced Tuesday they will review a principal’s decision to replace half of the teachers at Carthay Center Elementary when it converts to a magnet school.

The school system also announced that Principal Crystal Campbell-Shirley will not return to the campus in the next school year.


L.A. Unified last year decided to transform the campus into an environmental magnet school — a move that required teachers to reapply for their jobs.

Last week, seven of the school's 14 teachers were informed by Campbell-Shirley that they were not selected to return to the campus.

The news spurred protests by a group of parents that has clashed with the principal throughout the school year. The group called for the reinstatement of the instructors and for the principal to be removed.

The district said Tuesday that final hiring decisions were made by Campbell-Shirley and that officials have begun reviewing the interview process and the decisions that were made.

"We have been in communication with the principal and the teachers to determine the process used to make the final decisions regarding teacher positions," said district spokesman Tom Waldman. "If changes to the decisions are made, the teachers will be notified of the next steps."

Typically, teachers who are not rehired can search for openings within the district; if they don't find a position, the district will place them.

The relationship between parents and Campbell-Shirley, which had been rocky since she took over as principal at the beginning of the school year, was further strained after parents alerted district officials to what they saw as a lack of collaboration during planning for the conversion into a magnet school, said Brian Altounian, a parent of a first-grade student.

"We want to have a say in what happens here – it's critical to our children's future," he said.

Kim Silverstein, whose daughter is in kindergarten, said that some of the teachers who were not rehired were the most active and involved with parents at the school and supported their concerns.

"We really felt it was retaliatory," Silverstein said. The principal "didn't really seem to appreciate us and didn't make efforts to reach out and work with us."