150 at Rally Urge Unity in Beleaguered School District

Nearly 150 people turned out for a rally Monday to urge unity in the Compton Unified School District, which has been plagued with bickering between state and city officials over control.

The state took over the school district in 1993 because of poor student performance and financial mismanagement.

Four of the school board's seven members called for an end to the conflict so the district can move forward in repairing long-neglected school roofs, becoming economically sound and improving academic ratings.

"We should be working together for the betterment of these schools and the education of our kids," school board President Gorgonio Sanchez Jr. said.

Nearly two weeks ago, the fire chief personally handcuffed a roofer repairing a school because he allegedly did not have the proper city permits and was disrupting classes by working during school hours. District officials said the arrest was another move by city officials to hamper state efforts to improve Compton schools.

Roofing has stopped at three schools, and repairs at three other schools have been delayed, district spokeswoman Vivien Hao said.

Last week, school board member Carol Bradley Jordan was arrested after she disrupted a meeting in which a new school board member, appointed by the state-appointed superintendent, was being sworn in.

After Monday's rally, Mayor Omar Bradley, who has vowed to have the city's schools returned to local authorities by the end of the year, said he "has only begun to fight."

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