Board Votes to Shut Tweedy School; No Date Set

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education has decided to close pollution-plagued Tweedy Elementary School in South Gate.

The board voted Monday to close the school "in a timely fashion" without specifying a target date. The board also requested that school district staff members meet with South Gate parents and elected officials to discuss options for relocating Tweedy's 570 students and other issues related to the closure.

Parents of Tweedy youngsters have been concerned about possible health hazards at the school site, which is at 5115 Southern Ave. adjacent to an industrial park.

In February, 1986, the school was evacuated after chlorine gas leaked from the nearby Purex Corp. bleach plant on Rayo Avenue. Last December, parents and others were alarmed when a caustic substance, apparently from nearby Cooper Drum Co., began oozing through the ground in the schoolyard. (The district fenced off and treated that portion of the schoolyard, and the oozing has since stopped.)

The motion to close the school was introduced by outgoing board members Larry M. Gonzalez, who heads the district's building committee, and John R. Greenwood, who represents South Gate and other Southeast communities.

Gonzalez said his hope is that Tweedy can be closed by January, 1988. Of the students enrolled at the year-round school, Gonzalez said: "I think their health and safety is being compromised as long as they continue to have to attend school at Tweedy."

The district's present long-term plan for Tweedy is to relocate the school on the same site with the projected South Gate Regional High School. The site favored by the district for the two schools is a largely industrial tract of more than 54 acres in eastern South Gate. The proposed site is now undergoing an unusually thorough environmental impact study, Greenwood said.

The new schools are not expected to open before 1990.

Gonzalez said that the question of what to do with Tweedy students in the meantime has no easy answer. South Gate schools are among the most crowded in the district, although, Gonzalez said: "Just because the schools are terribly overcrowded doesn't mean the children's health and safety should be compromised."

One option, Greenwood said, would be to set up interim portable classrooms for Tweedy students in South Gate Park. Another, he said, is to teach the students at the new children's center at Elizabeth Street School in Cudahy. Greenwood pointed out, however, that that facility was built because the district needs it for kindergarten classrooms.

A third possibility, Greenwood said, would be to buy part of the proposed site for the regional high school and install portable classrooms for the Tweedy youngsters.

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