38 Schools in Valley May Operate Year-Round

Times Staff Writer

No matter what year-round conversion plan the Los Angeles Board of Education votes for, starting July 1, 1987, Portola Junior High in Tarzana will more than likely begin operating on a 12-month system.

At Monday's school board meeting, district staff members presented five options for coping with increased enrollments, including three dealing with junior high schools. In each of the three junior-high plans, it was recommended that Portola be converted to a year-round school.

Portola was one of 38 San Fernando Valley elementary and junior high schools designated for possible conversion to a year-round schedule as the school board grapples with ways to accommodate a burgeoning student population.

Indeed, there are more candidates for conversion to year-round schedules in the Valley than in any other section of the Los Angeles school district.

Schools May Be Reopened

Additionally, district officials said Monday that four or five Valley schools closed because of declining enrollment may be reopened later this year for neighborhood students and students from crowded schools in the East Valley and parts of Los Angeles.

A series of plans that potentially could place 68 elementary and 10 junior high schools on a year-round calendar was presented to the school board on Monday. There are already 93 district schools operating on a year-round schedule and creating more year-round schools would be one method of coping with the crowded conditions that exist on some campuses.

A final vote on how many schools will actually be converted to year-round is scheduled for Dec. 1. Only under the worst possible circumstances could 78 schools be placed on a year-round schedule, according to district officials.

The Valley was not being arbitrarily singled out in the year-round recommendations list, district planners said. The reason for the high number of conversion candidates is a unique combination of crowded schools in some neighborhoods and schools with plenty of room in others.

The East Valley is one of the fastest-growing sections of the district. This fall, 17 East Valley schools closed enrollment because of an influx of new students. The district has recommended that as many as 11 East Valley schools be converted to a year-round plan.

In the West Valley, many schools still have plenty of room for portable classrooms and more students. These campuses are perfect schools, according to district planners, to send students from crowded schools.

At Monday's meeting, district staff said that an announcement on possibly reopening some closed Valley schools will be made within the next two weeks.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the district closed 19 Valley campuses because of low enrollments. Eight of those schools are still empty; 10 campuses have either been leased to private schools or are being used for other school district purposes. One campus was sold.

Schools likely to reopen include Hughes Junior High in Woodland Hills, Prairie Street Elementary in Northridge and Parthenia Elementary in Sepulveda.

According to a district spokesman, the Woodland Hills junior high could hold from 1,200 to 1,500 students, depending on the number of portable classroom added to the campus.

Justification for reopening Parthenia was based on the fact that there are 250 elementary-age children in the school's attendance area. Additionally, another nearby Sepulveda elementary school, Langdon Avenue Elementary, has reached capacity. If Parthenia is reopened, some Langdon students might be transferred to Parthenia.

District researchers estimate that there are only elementary-age students in the current Prairie Street School attendance area. But enrollment at a number of nearby schools has reached capacity, so attendance boundary lines may be redrawn in order to draw students from crowded schools to the reopened Prairie.

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