A Los Angeles school board candidate Tuesday accused incumbent Julie Korenstein of “ripping off” constituents by failing to get the board support necessary to reopen schools needed to relieve overcrowding in a fast-growing area of the San Fernando Valley.
Candidate Barbara Romey said Korenstein does not have the political clout necessary to persuade the board to reopen schools in the Valley. “She’s ripping off the district with her incompetence,” Romey maintained at a news conference in front of Parthenia Street elementary school, which was closed because of low enrollment in 1984.
“Talk is cheap,” Korenstein said of Romey’s accusation. “It’s easy to complain and to gripe about something when you’re on the outside, but it was my efforts that brought these forward.”
District officials Monday presented the board with a plan to relieve overcrowding that includes a recommendation to reopen Parthenia school in Sepulveda and Burton Street elementary school in Panorama City. Korenstein won board support in December to keep the two schools from being offered for lease so that they might be reopened.
Romey said delays in reopening schools could force some overcrowded schools to switch to year-round schedules. She said she could do a better job than Korenstein at getting those schools reopened.
Officials estimate in a report given to the board Monday that it will cost $700,000 to reopen Parthenia school, which could accommodate nearly 400 students from overcrowded Langdon Avenue and Hazeltine Avenue elementary schools nearby. The report recommends opening the school in the fall of 1990.
The report also recommends reopening Burton school next fall to relieve overcrowding at Valerio Street, Noble Avenue and Plummer elementary schools. The cost to relocate the district’s administrative offices now housed there and to refurbish classrooms is estimated to be $2.6 million.
The board is expected to consider the reopenings in the next several weeks, district officials said.
Romey is one of five candidates challenging Korenstein in the April 11 school board election.