South Los Angeles parents who give their children's elementary school an "F" are exploring legal recourse after the L.A. Unified School District announced on Saturday that a state law allowing parents to take over failing schools does not apply to the district.
In rejecting the petition concerning 20th Street Elementary School, the district said that California’s 2010 “parent trigger law,” which allows parents to take over low-performing schools if they gather enough signatures, is not valid because it asks for outdated performance measurements.
To invoke the parent trigger law, a school was required to have an API below 800 and have missed AYP benchmarks. In 2013, the school had a weighted three-year average API of 765.
Even on recent state standardized tests, though, only 19% of students met literacy standards and 20% met math standards. That’s below the statewide results, in which 44% of students in all grades met literacy standards and 33% met math standards.
Parent Karla Vilchis disagrees. Vilchis said her 5-year-old daughter is already reading and she credited the work of the teachers at the school.
"There are a lot of things that we could get better at," Vilchis said. "Improvements are always welcome but we should be working together with our teachers and the principal."
Vilchis was one of dozens of parents who attended a meeting Tuesday night with school and district administrators, including Supt. Michelle King.
King told parents that the district would work more closely with them to address their concerns.
"The important thing that I have learned over the course of the last month, or six weeks or so, is the need to bring this entire school community together in a unified way," King said.
Unhappy parents at 20th Street almost submitted a petition last year to convert the school into a district-managed pilot school, but put their campaign on hold when the district offered a plan to improve the school.
The district's rejection letter argues that the petition doesn't specify whether it wants to convert the school into a school model that the district would run, or an independent charter school that an outside group would operate.
If the parents decide to take legal action, they could sue to reverse the district's decision.
Times staff writer Zahira Torres contributed to this report.