KIPP SoCal Efforts to Build New Public School Campus Thwarted by Anti-Charter Group

KIPP SoCal Efforts to Build New Public School Campus Thwarted by Anti-Charter Group

Los Angeles, CA — October 3, 2022 — Honoring our commitment to build permanent homes for our KIPPsters, KIPP SoCal has built 13 brand new, safe, nurturing campuses for our school communities over the past decade. Our goal was to build another beautiful, safe space to learn for our KIPP Pueblo Unido community. This vision was thwarted by a group of anti-charter demonstrators, the Cudahy Alliance for Justice.

In November 2020, this group filed a lawsuit to prevent KIPP SoCal from building a TK-8 school campus in Cudahy, citing misplaced allegations of environmental safety, despite KIPP SoCal’s public commitment and demonstrated remediation of the site.  KIPP SoCal has worked diligently trying to reach a settlement that would meet the demands of this group, while also enabling us to build and operate a high-quality school. In doing so, KIPP SoCal agreed to comply with every step that would be required by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to remediate the site, most of which we’d already completed on our own.

Beyond State Department guidelines, however, the Cudahy Alliance for Justice Group negotiated additional demands – not environmentally-based, but with the goal of significantly restricting our ability to operate a functional school.  In a good faith effort and commitment to our families, KIPP SoCal agreed to comply with the majority of these demands, however certain untenable constraints demanded by this group (outlined below) became so prohibitive that we have decided to put on hold our plans for the property at 7801 Otis Avenue – plans that would have provided a high-quality, free public education to over 1,000 local students.

  • KIPP SoCal agreed to allow the school’s parking garage to be used by nearby residents for overnight and weekend parking. 
  • KIPP SoCal agreed to prohibit KIPP families from parking on certain public streets near the school, including at the neighborhood park across the street. 
  • KIPP SoCal agreed to work with DTSC to oversee the remaining environmental remediation on the site.
  • KIPP SoCal agreed to seek a separate lease for at least 70 off-site parking spaces, within a mile of the campus, to be used by families during arrival and dismissal and other school-wide events. 
  • KIPP SoCal agreed to limit the number of school-wide events (back to school nights, open houses, etc.) to no more than 4 per year.
  • KIPP SoCal agreed to develop a joint use agreement with the City of Cudahy granting authority to outside organizations to use the school campus for non-educational purposes.
  • KIPP SoCal could not in good faith agree to stagger the start and end times of school, with certain grades starting before the local district school and certain grades starting afterwards. 
    • The group wanted to dictate what time and how much time our students spend learning.
    • Our parents with children in different grades would need to do drop-off and pick-up a total of four times per day. 
    • This would make it impossible for us to maintain a high-quality educational environment, not to mention placing an unreasonable burden on parents.

As a result of these demands, and in consideration of our ability to deliver a values-aligned educational program, KIPP SoCal Public School was unfortunately unable to settle.

“It hurts to tell so many families that they will have to keep waiting for a permanent home,” said KIPP SoCal CEO Angella Martinez. “It’s a shame that this property will remain an empty lot. But it seems that’s exactly what this anti-charter group wants: an empty lot rather than a school. It’s also a shame that at a time when we are all focused on recovery, we continue to see division. We will not allow this to deter us from our mission and ability to build safe spaces for our kids to learn. We remain focused on what matters most.”

For now, KIPP Pueblo Unido will continue to be co-located in LAUSD space under Prop 39 for the foreseeable future instead of getting its own permanent home. However, KIPP does not give up on our promises to our families, or on our mission to create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose—college, career and beyond—so they can lead fulfilling lives and create a more just world. We will continue to take steps to build a permanent home for our families at KIPP Pueblo Unido and for anyone who wishes to join the KIPP family. 

About KIPP SoCal Public Schools

KIPP SoCal Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that operates 24 tuition-free, open-enrollment charter public schools, grades TK-8, within 20 Local Education Agencies. KIPP SoCal’s award-winning schools educate more than 10,000 students with a whole child approach to learning and support 5,100 alumni to and through college. KIPP SoCal Public Schools have won 3 National Blue Ribbon Awards and 9 California Distinguished School Awards. In 2020, the network won 11 Top LA County Public School Awards. Together with families and communities, KIPP SoCal creates joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose — college, career and beyond — so they can lead fulfilling lives and create a more just world.

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KIPP SoCal Media Relations